Candace Rating: Worth Going!!

Price: For SLT is on the high-end of Averaged Priced

Service: Good Service

Reservations: We didn’t, I’ll explain. But it was packed, so Yes, better safe than sorry

Location: Lakefront, Ski Run Marina, 900 Ski Run Blvd. Suite 3, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96

WebPage: https://www.rivagrill.com/

Experience: Originally my husband and I went to Artemis Lakefront Café, which is next door to Riva Grill. We were sat on the patio, it was quite busy, we sat there for 15+ minutes and no one spoke to us. The servers just kept walking past us. I was quite thirsty and getting really hungry, so my husband walked next door to Riva Grill to ask if they could take us in without a wait and they said yes. So, I got up to walk over to him and then I had two servers chasing me down telling me they were about to help us. I told them we had been seated 20 minutes ago without any service and we were taking our business next door.

Deck View

When I arrived a Riva Grill, which is a much nicer restaurant, we were seated as soon as I walked up, on the patio, in the shade, in an open window area with A/C flowing out to the desk, looking out towards the water…..it really was perfect.

Food:

We started off with refreshing and delicious cocktails. I know I had a margarita, the one on the right side of the picture. But, I didn’t take a picture of the drink list…..soooo…..your guess is as good as mine as to the drink on the left side and the ingredients of both.

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Dungeness Crab Cakes: Dijon-horseradish aioli / cucumber-dill salad / avocado / basil oil

The outside was super crispy and the inside was tender, moist, and lot of sweet delectable crab meat. Being the sauce-queen that I am, I really dug the aioli. The lemon juice and avocado was a perfect complement to set the dish off.

Make sure you order these! They were so fantastic!

Wedge Salad: baby iceberg lettuce / tomatoes / red onion / bacon / Point Reyes blue cheese crumbles + grilled shrimp

My husband loves a wedge salad. It was purdy. High-quality veggies (aka: no white lettuce). He thoroughly enjoyed his lunch.

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Cobb Salad: blackened chicken skewers / roma tomatoes / Point Reyes blue cheese crumbles / egg / bacon / avocado / olives / cucumber / balsamic vinaigrette

As far as salads go, this one was a winner! It covered all the bases for maximum flavor and nutrition.

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Misc.: This was a nice place in an ideal location. We received good service and had a pleasant experience.

Final Thoughts: Take your time. Sit outside and enjoy the view. I’d recommend you checking this place out.

 

 

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Candace Rating: DO IT!!! Don’t wait!!!

Price: Averaged Priced

Service: Good Service

Reservations: Yes, better safe than sorry

Location: 26400 Kuykendahl Rd., The Woodlands, TX 77375

WebPage: https://fieldingslocal.com/

kitchen + bar

Experience: We stopped for brunch one Saturday (11a – 3p) and were pleasantly surprised by this tucked away cool vibe restaurant. We received good service and excellent food.

Food:

Mimosa Flight:

  • Classic – prosecco + orange juice
  • Blushing – cranberry vodka. orange. pineapple juice. prosecco.
  • Grapefruit – grapefruit vodka. grapefruit juice. prosecco.
  • Theresa – house strong limoncello. tart lemonade. prosecco.

Mimosa Flight

Fielding’s Exclusive Private Barrel Selection by Woodford:

  • Fielding’s #1 – Spicy with dark fruit, complex citrus notes.
  • Fielding’s #2 – Wood & sweet aromatics. Notes of honey.
  • Fielding’s #3 – Sweet, nutty, malty.

Fielding_s Exclusive Private Barrel Selection by Woodford

Deviled Eggs: romesco. pancetta. grana padano.

The deviled eggs were good, but mine are better. If we go back for brunch, I want to try their cream cheese lemon pancakes served with maple syrup and apple butter.

deviled eggs

Poached Eggs Meurette: mushroom. bacon lardons. caramelized cipollini onions. peasant toast. burgundy pinot sauce.

If you have noticed the trend yet, I love condiments and sauces. This sauce was soooo goooood! This dish was rich, hardy, and very satisfying. I highly recommend it.

poached eggs meurette

My husband’s dish, I think was a special that is not on the menu. I can’t tell you what it was called. It was a Mexican style dish. He enjoyed his dish. One word….guacamole. He said the jalapeño was quite hot!

Special Mexican Style

Misc.: They offer gluten-free options that are marked as such on the menu to find easily. The brunch menu is diverse and caters to every type of bruncher.

Final Thoughts: If you live in the area and want to support a local kitchen + bar that boast the freshness of their food by sourcing from “44 local farms, Houston Dairymaids, Mills King Family Creamery, small wineries, and craft brewers”, then this is your place. Even more impressive is that they “hand cut their own steaks, dry-age their own beef, make their own pasta, and bake their own breads and pastries every day.”

Candace Rating: Pretty Good Stuff!

Price: For the Masses

Service: Should Have Been Better

Reservations: Not Necessary

Location: 3485 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

WebPage: https://heidislaketahoe.com/

Experience: This restraint reminded me of many typical pancake houses across the country. The service wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t good either. I’m not sure if they were understaffed or what? We did have issues with being checked on when we did need something and they didn’t come back after one check and then we had to wait a while for our check.

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We both ordered pretty standard breakfasts for a traditional pancake house. Since the name of this place had to do with pancakes, we had to order some. The breakfast was good, but nothing super extraordinary.

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Misc.: The menu has so much to choose from. You receive complementary delicious homemade blueberry muffins. Sooo, you can’t be mad at that.

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Final Thoughts: If you are in SLT and want delicious blueberry muffins…..go here. Also, it is a good place for families and budget conscience folks since the prices are relatively low. Generally speaking it is a good place for traditional breakfast.

 

Candace Rating: DO IT!!! Don’t wait!!!

Price: Relatively Expensive

Service: Excellent

Reservations: Required

Location: 1169 Ski Run Blvd., Suite 5, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

 WebPage: http://www.cafefiore.com/

Brute

Experience: I wish I knew ahead of time what a fantastic place this was before I went. I would have shown up hungrier and made sure to take my sweet time, perhaps have drinks and appetizers longer before ordering. I feel like we were in and out too fast to fully grasp and enjoy the full experience.

Food:

Calamari Fritti: Fresh calamari rings lightly breaded and fried; served on a bed of marinara sauce

Our love of well-cooked calamari drives us to every Italian restaurant around. These tasty little rings were delicious and recommended.

Calamari

The Veggies: Pictured below are the salads we ordered and some roasted veggies that came with our meals. Yummy stuff.

Veal Saltimbocca: Veal scaloppini wrapped around prosciutto and mozzarella; sautéed and finished with mushrooms in a Marsala wine sauce

Someone at your table needs to order this dish so you can at the very least have a bite and maybe steal their plate. The sauce is drinkable-good!

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Di Mare Alla Fiore: Prawns, scallops, and assorted fresh seafood sautéed in a white wine, caper and lemon butter sauce; tossed with linguine

My husband ordered this dish, as he loves seafood and linguine. He said it was delicious. The plate was empty.

My apologies, I either deleted the up-close picture of his dish or we forgot to take one; probably the former. You can sorta see it in the background in this picture.

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Dessert: Flourless Chocolate Cake

It was rich and decadent….everything that a flourless chocolate dessert should be. I highly recommend it.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Misc.: This tiny Italian restaurant is so very charming. If you go during the summer, they also have a small patio for seating as well. It is the perfect restaurant for a leisurely dinner. Go hungry. Eat slowly. Enjoy every bite, the view, and the unique experience.

Final Thoughts: This is my #1 favorite restaurant that we ate at the whole time we were in SLT. If and when we make it back to the area, I may have to go eat there more than once.

Candace Rating: Worth Going!!

Price: For the Masses

Service: Good Service

Reservations: Not Necessary

Location: 1207 Emerald Bay Road in South Lake Tahoe, CA

WebPage: http://erniescoffeeshop.com/

Earnie's

Experience: When we were hiking Eagle Falls, we ran into a couple that recommended Ernie’s to us for a meal on the way back to South Lake Tahoe. Apparently, right down the road from Ernie’s is also Bert’s Café – https://www.bertscafe.com/ . They said both were good places to eat, but Ernie’s was their first choice. They love Ernie’s Bloody Mary. I didn’t have one, but if someone goes out of the way for them, I suspect they are quite delicious!

Food:

Ruben: Corned beef, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing, swiss, on rye.

I had this dish with a side of sweet potato fries. It was delicious. No complaints!

Ruben & Sweet Potato Fries

2 Egg Breakfast: 2 eggs any style, home fries or hash browns, and 2 slices of buttered toast.

My husband ordered this breakfast plate and substituted the toast for biscuits and gravy. He said it was all really tasty, but the hash browns could have been crispier.

Final Thoughts: This was a cool local spot. Quite busy. Decent food, good prices….can’t go wrong.

Candace Rating: Not so good…

Price: Relatively Expensive

Service: Good Service

Reservations: Required

Location: 100 Lake Parkway, NV 89449

WebPage: http://edgewoodtahoe.com/dine-imbibe

Restaurant

Experience: We had a 6:00p PT dinner reservation (which for our stomachs was 8:00p CT) and the sun was not down yet, which I thought would be perfect so that we could see the water and mountains, BUT the sun was streaming into the windows pretty strong, even with the “see through” shades, so my husband and I kept having to move around the table throughout the meal to keep from being blinded.

We were assigned a French server who thought himself really funny. About as quickly has he greeted us, another server (or two) re-greeted us and took our table instead. Strange.

Beverages: Old Fashion & Antipodes Sparkling Water

Food:

Bread & Butter

Herbed rolls with flake salt and butter. Delicious!

Seared Diver Scallops: Jamon Crumbs, Cauliflower Puree, Lemon Confit, Sherry Carmel Reduction

Our appetizer was these tasty scallops. I thought they were going to be over cooked, just by looking at them, but they were quite perfect and yummy. The breadcrumbs were pretty pointless, the crust on the scallop was all the texture that was needed.

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I had pretty high expectations after the scallops…..

Seafood Risotto: Day Boat Scallops, Main Lobster, Tiger Shrimp, Smoked Mussel Veloute, Prosciutto Lardons, Spring Peas

The fried prosciutto was tasty. The scallops once again were cooked well and yummy. The shrimp….well they were shrimp, nothing to write home about.

The dish went downhill at the risotto and this is a risotto dish. It was thick, clumpy, and dry. Thank goodness they had a sauce at the bottom to help, but basically it ruined the dish and I didn’t want to eat it. I ate the seafood and left the rest. I did provide feedback, however it wasn’t taken well.

Gordon Ramsay would be firing the risotto chef for the cook on this risotto! According to Gordon, risotto should be smooth, creamy, and velvety. This was not!

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Seared Elk Tenderloin: Brown Butter Spaetzle, Roasted Carrots & Asparagus, Sun-Dried Dark Cherry Relish

While my husband did eat most of this dish, because he is like Mikey…..he still had some things to say about the dish, as do I from tasting it.

This dish feels like a winter dish vs. a summer dish.

The brown butter spaetzle were not soft like an egg noodle and the cherry relish was too sweet. The two asparagus spears were good, but there were only two. The carrots weren’t cooked quite enough; they were basically raw with dehydrated skin. The elk itself was cooked well and tasted good, although it needed more salt upon searing to form a better crust.

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I was pretty over the place by the time we got to dessert.

They were nice enough to bring us a dish of a local ice-cream, to celebrate our 4-year anniversary. It was delightful!

Local Icecream

Misc.: The restaurant is located within Edgewood resort, tucked away on the South Lake Tahoe shore. It has a beautiful golf course,  lodgespa, and private beach access. It is also a wedding venue; there were two wedding celebrations occurring when we were there for dinner which was so fun to see.

The bathrooms are not close, you have to walk back down stairs towards the entry doors and down more stairs to the lower floor level.

At the end of our meal, we stepped outside a door to take in the view of the water and mountains before we left (see a couple pictures above), the door locks and you cannot get back inside. We beat on the door until another patron let us back inside.

Final Thoughts: I honestly thought that this would be the best dinner meal we would have while in Tahoe. I was quite wrong. This was the most disappointing meal of our trip. While the view is incomparable, the food that was served wasn’t worth the price.

Candace Rating: DO IT!!! Don’t Wait!!!

Price: Averaged Priced

Service: Ok Service

Reservations: Not Necessary

Location: 3542 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

WebPage: http://www.brewerylaketahoe.com/

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Experience: Our experience upon arrival was not fantastic. We seated ourselves, because no one was at the entrance to seat us. No one came to us. So my husband went inside to get a beer at the bar and find a server. Someone stopped by when he was inside and I ordered a drink. J Then my husband comes out with his beer and my drink, they gave him my drink to give me instead of them bringing both drinks to us.

Eventually a server came to our table and took our order. It took a while, but the order got in. Once that occurred, it was smooth sailing on the service front. Then when it came check time, it took a little longer than we like, but I guess CA time is a little more laid back than TX time.

The menus are huge! Lots of choose from.

The Food:

“Old Bay” Style Beer-Steamed Shrimp: Peel “N” Eat – Chilled and served with tangy cocktail sauce and lemon

You can’t go wrong with peel “n” eat shrimp. They were fine, the cocktail sauce was good.

BUT, you can’t taste the beer and the seasoning is put on the outside of the shell you peel off, so that is pretty pointless.

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Cheese Ravioli: Raviolis filled with 6 different cheeses served with our Alfredo Marinara sauce. Topped with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese.

My husband was pleasantly surprised how delicious this dish was. It was recommended by our server and it doesn’t disappoint. He said it was really really good! A must order.

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Fish “N” Chips: Served with malt vinegar and tartar sauce. I swapped the chips for onion rings with ketchup and ranch dressing.

My dish was really yummy. The onion rings were crunchy and the batter stuck to the onion! (insert clapping here) The fish was perfectly cooked; it was crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. I would recommend this dish as well.

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Misc.: This place is located right off the street so it can be quite loud with cars passing by, but when it’s summer time in SLT you don’t sit inside.

Final Thoughts: If I lived in SLT, this would be one of my favorite local spots. It’s laid back. It has a large beer and cocktail menu. And it has a very large food menu. The food is good and the prices are decedent. It’s a popular spot, put it on the list.

Candace Rating: Pretty Good Stuff!

Price: Average Priced

Service: Good-ish Service

Reservations: Yes, better safe than sorry (depends on what time of day you go)

Location: 325 East Fourth Street, Reno, NV 89512

WebPage: http://thedepotreno.com/

View From Our Table

Experience: When we arrived we were greeted and told that we could sit in the bar area or in a side room, that the upstairs was closed until dinner time. We sat in the bar area, which typically means that you’ll get better service than if you sit in a dining room with a server….but that wasn’t the case here. The restaurant wasn’t that busy and while the bartender/server was friendly, he wasn’t very on top of things / prompt. Perhaps it is the West-coast laid-back attitude, I’m not sure….cause the guy was from Illinois.

Drink Menu

Albees Knees: High Country Gin, Lemon, Lavender Honey, Lavender bitters

My husband had some sort of stout or Guinness.

Beverages

The gin cocktail was delicious, light, and refreshing.

Food Menu

Brussels Sprouts: Maple Sherry Vinaigrette, Bacon Bits

Brussel Sprouts

Some of the larger ones, weren’t cooked through, not soft, still hard. The smaller ones were soft and tasty. They needed to be set on a rack after frying to allow for the remaining grease to come off, but they still had good flavor and we enjoyed them. We were also pretty dang hungry by this point.

Soft Shell Crab Po Boy: Fried Crab, Remoulade, Shredded Lettuce, Tomato, and Choice of Side = Fries

This sandwich was delicious. The fries were crispy. The fries were served with their in-house homemade ketchup that was too liquidy (not thick like ketchup at all) and tasted like a fresh marinara sauce…not like ketchup in anyway.

Soft Shell Crab Po Boy

Chicken & Waffle Sandwich: Waffle Envy Waffles, Fried Chicken, Fried Egg, Caramelized Onions, and Choice of Side = Sweet Potato Fries

The waffles were flavorless. But the bite all together was good. The fries were crispy. It was served with in-house homemade BBQ sauce that tasted more like ketchup to me.

Chicken & Waffels

When I brought up my opinion and displeasure about the ketchup sauce to the bartender / server, he said they were proud of their homemade sauces and didn’t offer to switch anything out for me. We waited longer than we should have had to for everything (except the brussels sprouts), starting from the drinks, to ask about the weird sauces, to the to-go box, and the check.

Misc.: I was disappointed because the upstairs of the restaurant was closed during the time we were there, so I we weren’t able to see or experience the location fully. Also, we were there during Weekend Brunch time and we weren’t able to order off the larger menu, aka the full dinner menu. You can check out their dinner menu here.

Final Thoughts: The building has a cool history that you can read about here. I think my expectations were too high for this place, so the experience was a letdown for me, but generally speaking it was an ok place with average everything, except ketchup. If you are in the area, it’s still worth stopping in and checking it out.

Candace Rating: Pretty Good Stuff

Price: For the Masses

Service: Should Have Been Better

Reservations: Not Necessary

Location: 14830 State Route 89, Markleeville, CA 96120

WebPage: No dedicated WebPage

Experience: This was definitely a small town experience. The people were nice. The menu was limited, but good. Service was lacking, but we weren’t in a hurry.

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The burger was suggested to us by our server so, my husband and I both had it with fries.

The burgers automatically come with lettuce, tomato, and onion. We both added cheese. I eat my burgers with bacon, mustard, and pickles only. My husband added bacon and jalapenos.

My burger came out with no bacon, no mustard, and no pickles. **Blink blink**

It took a few minutes to get someone’s attention to get me the three things I ordered with my burger. Once I got them and put my burger together, it was delicious.

It was cooked well. It had a nice smoky flavor and char on the meat. The fries were crispy.

Burger & Fries.PNG

Misc.: Unfortunately, for us and the other patrons, the ownership of the restaurant and bar had switched a couple of months back and the new owner was having issues getting the liquor license switched over, which meant that there was no booze to be had at the time we were there. We watched more than a handful of people come in and turn around and leave at this news.

Final Thoughts: The restaurant is located in a fairly remote area, I think there are only three restaurants in the town. The historic charm and tasty food is worth stopping in for.

Candace Rating: DO IT!!! Don’t wait!!!

Price: Averaged Priced (for good sushi), Relatively Expensive

Service: Excellent

Reservations: Not Necessary. During peek hours, yes, better safe than sorry.

Location: 6615 North Grand Parkway West, Spring, TX 77389

WebPage: https://bloofin.kwickmenu.com/

Art

Experience: Both times I’ve been here….so far, I’ve received friendly, informative, and prompt service. Very pleased with the level of service. The restaurant is nice, clean, and has natural light.

The Food

Hama Chili: Baby Yellowtail, Orange, Thai Chili, Tobiko, Yuzu

I ordered this cold appetizer both times I went, because it is fan-dang-tastic! I did not eat the chili on it either time, because they are too hot for me. I’ll likely ask them to leave them off the next time I order this dish, which will be the next time I go. The yellowtail is buttery soft; it pairs well with the thin slices of apple, ginger sauce, and micro greens. I cannot speak highly enough about this dish.

Red Moon Roll: Seared Pepper Tuna and Avocado Top with Spicy Salmon and Wasabi Sauce, Tobiko

I also ordered this roll both times I went. It was so good the first time around, I wanted it again.

Shaggy Dog Roll: Shrimp Tempura, Cucumber, Avocado, Eel Sauce, Spicy Mayo, Soy Pepper

My good friend Ursula and my husband, on separate occasions, both ordered the Shaggy Dog roll. They both said that it was delicious.

Truffle: Shrimp Tempura, Cucumber Spicy Mayo covered with Seared Hamachi, White Truffle and Caviar on top.

Truffle

This roll is very tasty! It is rich and fragrant. I highly recommend this one.

Misc.: This restaurant is newly opened near me and I love sushi, but am usually a little skeptical until sushi places are recommended to me. I asked around and people said that it was good. I’ve been twice in two weeks since I was told it was fresh and delicious. The menu is more extensive than just sushi, but I doubt I’ll eat anything other than sushi here.

Final Thoughts: If you live nearby or feel like a drive for sushi, check this place out. It sits near/in a large shopping center so you can make an afternoon of it, eat and then walk around shopping.

Candace Rating: DO IT!!! Don’t Wait!!!

Price: Averaged Priced

Service: Good Service

Reservations: Does Not Accept

Location: 105 Main Street, Round Top, TX 78954

WebPage: https://royersroundtopcafe.com/

Honor System

Experience: Our experience was funny, interesting, and charming at the same time. For the funny, see the picture above. The interesting part was that they have a “host” / “gatekeeper” that has quite the prickly demeanor. He reminded me of an old grandma that doesn’t take no crap! You just do what he says and you’ll be fine.

Angus Pasta OMG!!!: Beef sautéed in a red wine crème sauce with portabella mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes on Fettuccine pasta.

Angus Pasta

The pasta and steak were both cooked perfectly. The dish was so flavorful, I wanted to hold the bowl up to my face and lick it. I managed to refrain….

Micah’s Pasta: Shrimp sautéed in olive oil, white wine, fresh basil, tomatoes, garlic, and topped with parmesan cheese. Served on fettuccine pasta.

Micah's Pasta

My friend ordered this dish. It is boasted as their “first light dish!”. She said that it was delicious! It definitely looked and smelled fantastic.

Shrimp N Grits: Cheese and jalapeno grits served with Cajun spicy shrimp. Made with cream sheese, pepper jack and American cheese!

Shrimp & Grits

No additional sides were served with this dish as it had a lot-o-grits! My husband said that the grits were very cheesy and creamy. And the shrimp were perfectly cooked.

Steak & Sides: Steak with two sides – creamed-corn and mashed potato casserole

Steak & Taters

My friend’s husband order steak with two sides and gobbled it all up. Matter of fact, I don’t think there was any talking at this table at all during the meal.

Lunch & Dinner Menu Link: https://royersroundtopcafe.com/menu-2/

Misc.: When we asked the local folks where we should eat, this was where they suggested. It is a very tiny place on the inside and there seems to be a line of wait list just about any time of day. My friend and I were allowed by the gatekeeper to go in and get drinks from the bar and bring them back out on the porch to drink while we waited for our husbands to arrive, before being seated. Make sure you have plenty of time and are not starving to death when you arrive; but it’s totally worth the time!

The View

Final Thoughts: If you ever find yourself in Round Top, TX for either of the semi-annual Antique Fair Week(s) (http://www.roundtoptexasantiques.com/show-dates) or to shop a big Junk Gypsy store (http://gypsyville.com/) or just want to get out of town to a purdy part of Texas, drive over there and eat at Royers Round Top Café! I’m looking forward to going back.

Candace Rating: Worth Going!!

Price: For the Masses

Service: Should Have Been Better

Reservations: Not Necessary

Location: 5210 FM 2920, #100, Spring, TX 77388

WebPage: http://www.thistledraftshop.com/

Thistle Draft Shop

Experience: Our experience has been overall good ones. It has been mixed for me personally. The first time we went to Thistle we had good service by a friendly bartenders, but the fries were greasy. I’m not sure if they weren’t drained well or if the oil wasn’t hot enough, but I couldn’t eat them. The second time we went to Thistle the food was good, but the service was lacking and the bartenders weren’t very friendly this time.

Truffle Fries: Parmesan, thyme, white truffle oil, garlic aioli

Truffle Fries

The execution of this dish was a fail. I do not think the oil was hot enough when they fried these; they were very greasy and I couldn’t eat them. I also couldn’t taste the truffle oil.

Pretzel Knots: Served with red dragon beer cheese, honey grain mustard.

Pretzel Knots.JPG

These came in plain and jalapeño. We ordered the jalapeño, they were not spicy hot. The red dragon beer cheese was so delicious I could eat it with a spoon. The combination of the jalapeño pretzel with the red dragon cheese sauce is probably one of the best things I’ve put in my face in a long time! We ordered a second order of them with double cheese sauce they were so good.

Bacon Grilled Cheese: Sourdough, bacon, sharp white cheddar, creamy tomato soup with tagarashi (I think this is misspelled on the menu. I think it is supposed to be Togarashi; a Japanese word for chili pepper) croutons.

Bacon Grilled Cheese

The bread was also greasy, but still eatable. The best part of this is the dipping of the grilled cheese into the soup. The combo was good, but separately the items weren’t that great.

Sliced Beef Sandwich: white cheddar, olive relish, creamy horseradish, French baguette.

Sliced Beef Sandwich

My husband ordered this dish. He said it was good; he ate it all. 🙂

On our second trip to Thistle we split the Bleu Burger: bleu cheese, smoked bacon, caramelized beer onions, garlic aioli, sesame seed bun. I unfortunately ate it all so fast that I forgot to take a picture of it! I was impressed with it, the burger was scrumptious, and the fries were not greasy.

Misc.: The appealing part of Thistle for us is that they local; bosting local owners, beers, and locally sourced foods. They have 50 beer taps. The décor and atmosphere will keep us coming back.

Final Thoughts: It is a new local spot about a mile from our house. We will continue to keep this place on rotation. The people sitting next to us had the Crispy Brussel Sprouts and Vietnamese Wings. I think next time we go, I’m definitely trying the Crispy Brussel Sprouts; they looked and smelled yummy. And….if I get the burger again (which I probably will), I’ll take a picture of it and update the post.

Crisp

Candace Rating: Worth Going!!

Price: Average Priced

Service: Excellent

Reservations: Yes, better safe than sorry.

Location: 2520 Research Forest Dr., Spring, TX 77381

WebPage: http://crispwoodlands.com/

Bar Area.jpg

Experience: We made a reservation, but that night it really wasn’t needed. We enjoy sitting at the bar, but all the seating areas are lovely. The bar tenders are really nice.

Baked Texas Goat Cheese & Marinara: Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce, Soft Garlic, EVOO and Drunken Garlic Bread

This dish was soooooo very flavorful and delicious. There was a nice balance of acidy from the tomato sauce, not sweet, the perfect amount of garlic with the bite/twang of the goat cheese was absolutely delightful! The garlic bread was also flavorful all on its own; a balanced combination of soft and crunchy.

Baked Goat Cheese & Marinara.JPG

Melting Beef Short Ribs: Soft Polenta, Wilted Spinach, Braised Mushrooms, Picked Parsley and Red Wine Braising Liquids

My husband ordered this dish. Ironically there are no bones, just tender meat. The braising liquid was good enough to drink straight. I ate his mushrooms and they were fantastic! He enjoyed this dish very much.

Melting Beef Short Ribs.JPG

Surf & Turf Risotto: Caramelized Scallops, Beef Short Rib Risotto, Asparagus, Organic Spinach and Veal Stock Reduction.

I ordered this dish. I’ve eaten it once before and enjoyed it so much I ordered it again. The scallops were perfectly cooked, very tender. The beef short rib risotto is sooooo good! It is basically the meat combined with the risotto mixed with the asparagus and spinach. You also cannot go wrong with crispy onion strings on top! Yum! The veal stock reduction is very flavorful, a nice little sweet and savory touch. I’m personally a bit more of a sour girl, so a squeeze of lemon balances it out more for me. You cannot go wrong with this dish!

Surf & Turf Risotto

Misc.: The cocktails, wine, and beer selection are good. The desserts look good; I’ve always been too full to eat them though.

Final Thoughts: This is our second time to eat at this restaurant. They serve high-quality delicious food, calm and fun atmosphere, and nice people. You cannot go wrong! It will remain on our restaurant rotation list.

Candace Rating: Pretty Good Stuff!

Price: Relatively Expensive (depends on what you order)

Service: Started Good / Ended at Should Have Been Better

Reservations: Yes, better safe than sorry.

Location: 21706 Burnet Dr, Galveston, TX 77554

WebPage: http://westendmarina.com/restaurant/

Experience: We were able to make a last minute reservation. We were seated about 15 minutes after our arrival. Our server was Denise; she started out strong, however as the evening wore on and she was given more tables our service quality reduced.

Menu.JPG

Lovely dark bread served with a sweet whipped butter. The bread was crusted on the outside and perfectly soft on the inside.

Bread

West End Calamari: No Description

The calamari was very flavorful! It was served with cherry peppers (not spicy) and tossed in a sweet chili sauce. They were a touch overcooked (some of the pieces were a little rubbery), but they were eatable for sure.

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We would have liked them a whole lot more had the kitchen took the time to remove the seeds from the cherry peppers. You do not serve cherry pepper to people with the seeds in them, I was super surprised at this choice by the chefs since this is a higher end establishment. I was not pleased with scraping off seeds so I could eat the food.

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Pork Belly Eggrolls: No Description

This starter was the bomb! I could have eaten a whole second plate of them. They were not oily, perfectly cooked, the pork belly was tender (not fatty), and served with a roasted tomato chutney. The chutney was really good. My only improvement to this dish would have been to remove the tomato skins from the chutney.

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Bone-in Ribeye: 14 oz, aged 21 days

My husband ordered the ribeye medium-rare and it came out medium. Our server was not the person who delivered our food to the table, so there was not an opportunity to cut into the steak to check the temperature to make sure that it was cooked correctly. He went ahead and took a bite while waiting for our server to emerge and it was so “melt-in-your-mouth” scrumptious he decided to keep it. He shared a piece with me and it had a wonderful flavor and texture. His sides were risotto (which I thought was under-cooked) and veggies.

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Mac’N Cheese: No Description

I ordered a side of mac’n cheese and had a couple of bites of his steak for my supper. This dish was an absolute disappointment for me. The pasta was a bit too al dente for me. It was not cheesy, creamy, nor had any flavor or seasoning. Epic fail on the mac’n cheese front.

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Misc.: Be aware there are two places to eat at this location: one is The West End Restaurant which is located upstairs and is a higher-end “white-tablecloth” experience; second is the Sandbar located downstairs and is a bar atmosphere with music and “bar food”. We’ll likely try out the Sandbar downstairs sometime, when we are back in the area. We ate at the upstairs restaurant and sat outside on the patio. Sitting on the porch was nice, breezy, and pretty.

Final Thoughts: We may come back to this place to try it out again and see how things go. The parts that they got right it was really right! The parts that they got wrong were really wrong! There is a lot of potential here and it could be an extraordinary dining experience, if they correct some of the dishes. I was 50/50 when I left on how I felt about the food.

Sea Gull.JPG

 

 

Candace Rating: Worth Going!!

Price: Relatively Expensive

Service: Should Have Been Better

Reservations: Yes, better safe than sorry. I did overhear the hostess saying that they Do Not Accept reservations after 6:00p or 6:30p

Location: 1625 E Beach Dr, Galveston, TX 77550

WebPage: http://www.porchcafe.com/

The Porch

Experience: We made a 5:30p reservation and sat on the porch. It was Independence Day weekend so there were a lot more people than the last time we were here at the end of April. The place filled up shortly after we arrived. We were seated as soon as we arrived, but it took 17 minutes before anyone took our drink order. I got up and went to the hostess to ask for someone to come to our table for service. They only serve beer and wine, they do not have a liquor license. The server listed off several beer options for my husband and then came back saying the first two my husband requested they were out of.

Avocado Caesar: Romaine, Parmesan, Bacon, Avocado, and Caesar Dressing

We both had this salad for our starter. It was a tasty salad; the Caesar dressing was delicious. They were a little stingy with the bacon, which let’s face it is the reason to order this salad.

Salad.JPG

Blackened Redfish: Grilled Shrimp with a Pontchartrain Sauce

My husband ate the redfish dish and he said that it was delicious. The pontchartrain sauce was awesome! And the grits were cooked perfectly.

Red Fish

Crabcake: Served with Fried Crawfish, Roasted Corn, Red Bell Peppers and a White Wine Butter Sauce

I ate the crab-cakes for my dinner. As you can see they looked a mess. The crab-cakes themselves were not formed, they were a mushy consistency and fell apart. I was not impressed. The flavor of the crab-cakes were good; there was a blunder on the execution. The crawfish tails were a nice idea for a crunchy consistency, however they were a bit of a miss for me as well; being a little oily and over battered. While I like the look of the cut lemons, they are not functional for squeezing. The sauce was a nice consistency, but was a little over spicy. Thank goodness for the sweet corn parts to counterbalance some of the heat.

Crab Cakes

Misc.: It would be nice if the owner would agree to get a liquor license. Even if he doesn’t utilize the bar area as a “bar” he could offer liquor to his customers who are eating meals. This was our second time to eat here this year, the first time my husband’s dish wasn’t that great and the second time mine wasn’t that great. I would love to see some consistency in the execution of every dish.

Final Thoughts: We will likely go back again to see if both of us can have a good meal at the same time. We really love the atmosphere here and time on the porch.

View

Candace Rating: DO IT!!! Don’t wait!!!

Price: Relatively Expensive

Service: Good

Reservations: Yes, better safe than sorry.

Location: 8540 Creekside Forest Dr., Tomball, TX 77375

WebPage: http://www.refugeinthewoodlands.com/the-refuge-steak-and-bourbon

Menu 1

Experience: We decided last minute to go eat at The Refuge Steakhouse & Bourbon Bar. We called to make a reservation and wanted it for 6:30p, but they said they could take us at 7:00p. We arrived at 6:30p and decided to wait at the bar and have a cocktail. My husband noticed that the table they ended up seating us at was sitting open and free for our use since our arrival at 6:30p, so we are still unsure why we couldn’t have a 6:30p reservation time or wasn’t seated when we arrived, instead of being made to wait for 30 minutes. (it’s a mystery)

Cucumber Press: This was my choice of cocktail, minus the Sprite to avoid added sugar. It was delicious! The Tajin rim made this drink!

Cucumber Press

My husband had an Old Fashion made with their homemade bitters. He said it was very well made and delicious.

Pork Belly 3 Ways: Blue Cheese Crusted, Smoked, and Maple Bourbon Glazed served on a Garlic Crostini with Mixed Greens

Who doesn’t love pork belly!?! This appetizer was very scrumptious. I cut each one down the middle so we would both get to have a bite of each flavor. I took my meat off the crostini and ate them with the greens and my husband ate all of it as served. My husband’s favorite one was the smoked and my favorite one was the glazed, despite my love of blue cheese.

Pork Belly 3 Ways

Wood Fired Steaks with Two Sides: 8oz Filet, Brussel Sprouts, Breaded Truffle Mac

When I go to a steakhouse it is very difficult for me not to order a steak, particularly if it is my first visit. The steak was cooked well, nice crust, and correct temperature. The Brussel sprouts were flash fried and then pan finished; I found them to be crispy and had good flavor…but they were way  too oily. I’m not sure if they weren’t put on a rack to drain properly or what? (it’s a mystery). The breaded truffle mac was nicely fried, creamy in the middle, but the truffle oil was so subtle that I didn’t think that it had any in it at all. My husband tasted it as well and said it did have truffle oil, but it was lost on me. Next time I go, I’ll likely pick different side dishes.

Redfish: Served with Corn Succotash, Cheesy Grits, and Hickory Smoked Beurre Blanc sauce

My husband said the fish was cooked perfectly. The grits were smooth and creamy. The plate was empty so it must have been very yummy.

Redfish on Cheesy Grits

Sopapilla Cheesecake: Cheesecake filling sandwiched between two pieces of puff pastry, served with whipped cream and toasted almond slivers.

This is their twist on cheesecake. I liked that it was not overly sweet and the cinnamon level was nice. The whipped cream was yummy and light. I didn’t like that it was cold, right out of the refrigerator. It was ok for me, I don’t think I’d order it again. BUT, my husband really liked it!

Sopapilla Cheesecake

Misc.: The ambiance of the restaurant is energetic. The owner and manager were super friendly and accommodating. My husband really liked that the owner was actively involved on the dinning floor. He received a mini-tour, see pictures below. They are currently sourcing their wood from Bastrop for the wood-fire grill. Belinda was our bartender and was super nice and made perfect drinks. Anthony was our server and was good when he was there….they got quite busy as the evening wore on and perhaps he had too many tables at one time because service level increasingly declined over time.

Side Note: The lighting is not ideal for taking pictures, there were lots of shadows, sorry.

Final Thoughts: There were a few kinks here and there, but all-in-all we enjoyed our time here and plan to go back.

 

BTW: This is what sometimes happens when my husband wants to take a picture of me…..

When my husband takes my pic

The door behind me is a walk-in cooler and there was another door across the room that is a walk-in wine room….I didn’t go see because they got so busy I didn’t want to be a pain in neck.

It has been a hot minute since I have posted about restaurants. Mostly because….LIFE….and focusing on my ByCandace: Food, Fitness, and Fun page and cooking at home more than eating-out.

But…I’ve been inspired lately to get back into sharing my dining-out experiences with you.

Once again….(2 years later)….check out the article linked below about some great new restaurants to try.

15 New Houston Restaurants and Bars We’re Looking Forward to This Spring and Beyond

If you go to any of them, please invite me! 🙂

 

 

Porch Café

Posted: May 11, 2017 in American, Galveston, TX, Seafood
Tags: , , ,

Candace Rating: DO IT!!! Don’t wait!!!

Price: Relatively Expensive

Service: Good

Reservations: Yes, better safe than sorry. I did overhear the hostess saying that they Do Not Accept reservations after 6:00p or 6:30p

Location: 1625 E Beach Dr, Galveston, TX 77550

WebPage: http://www.porchcafe.com/

Porch Cafe

Experience: We arrived around 5:30p for dinner and sat on the porch. There weren’t too many people there that early, as time went on the place filled up. Our server was young and fairly inexperienced (it showed), but he was polite and accommodating.

My husband ate the bread and butter, since I’m gluten-free. It looked really good though.

Shrimp & Grits: Jumbo Gulf Shrimp, Parmesan Poblano Grits & Charred Lemon Chimichurri

My husband ordered this dish….because grits. He said the dish was good. He was generally underwhelmed with the consistency of the grits, they were clumpy and dry.

Shrimp & Grits

Rock Lobster Tail & Side of Sweet Potato Mash: no descriptions provided

I ate the lobster tail and the sauce…both were soooooo delicious! I could have eaten 2 or 3 of them.

The sweet potato mash on the other hand I was not a fan of. It tasted like there was maple syrup added to it making it way too sweet.

Lobster Tail

Misc.: The ambiance of the restaurant is charming, warm, and lovely. It is what you would expect of a higher-end establishment in a beach town – wood, light colors, and breezy. It is aptly named for sure; the porch is covered and screened in. Do not sit inside if you can help it. It is romantic and I would say not a great place for children. Any dress code goes…we were super casual, but there were people showing up in nicer dinner attire as well.

Final Thoughts: We really enjoyed our time here and plan to go back next time we are in Galveston. The food was good, it was quite, and the lighting was nice. Overall a good experience.  

The Italian Joint

Posted: August 12, 2015 in Italian, Spring, TX

Candace Rating: Worth Going!!

Price: Averaged Priced

Service: Excellent  (we were the only people there at the time)

Reservations: Not Necessary  (dinner time is busier than other times of the day)

Location: 26420 Preston Street, Old Town Spring, TX

WebPage: The Italian Joint Facebook Page

Experience: We stopped by this joint on a Sunday afternoon and had lunch at 1:00p CT. We were lucky we were the only people in the place because we were able to ask all sorts of questions and take a short tour. Our server was accommodating and the chef was friendly. Both were super nice to us.

All seven appetizers sounded yummy to me….if they had a way for me to try all of them I would have been in heaven!

Spicy Garlic Shrimp: lightly fried gulf shrimp, hot cherry peppers, sundried tomatoes, lemon and fresh basil

This dish was sooooo good! If you only have the room in your stomach and money for one appetizer….go with this one! The sauce was so good we sopped-it-up with all our bread. Now if that is not a complement to the recipe designer and chef I don’t know what is! Also, the shrimp were perfectly cooked and not over done.

Spicy Shrimp App

Fettuccine Bolognese: no description provided…..although I do believe they make their pasta in-house.

This dish was pretty dang good. I like meat in my sauce vs meatballs, but I am a saucy kind of gal and would have preferred more sauce to meat ratio. Loads of fresh parmesan cheese topped it off. This is not a dish you can take home and reheat, it didn’t work well for me anyway.

Linguini Bolognese

Manicotti: house made crepes filled with spinach, ricotta and mozzarella, marinara sauce

My husband gave me a taste of his dish and it was quite delicious! The plate was VERY hot….do not touch it. If you give the dish a few minutes to cool down a bit, it set-up nicely. He was pleased with this dish and promptly ate it all gone.

Manicotti

Tiramisu: no description provided

This was soooooooo very yummy. If you want to make sure you are able to fit this in, order it and eat it after the spicy shrimp dish but before your main dishes. You will not regret it.

Tiramisu

Misc: The inside of this restaurant is lovely. It is an old house gutted and redone. The kitchen is big and open. They have an upstairs for parties and catering. The downstairs only seats about 40 people, so it is an intimate yet casual environment. They sell wine and beer. They also have fresh herbs on each table that look and smell wonderful.

Sprig of Rosemary

Final Thoughts: I am excited to go back to this joint and order nothing but appetizers and dessert! I guess I will have to go back until I have worked my way through the whole menu. I hope you all go and check it out and support our local, one-of-a-kind, family-owned and operated business.

The Black Sheep Bistro

Posted: August 3, 2015 in Spring, TX

Candace Rating: DO IT!!! Don’t wait!!!

Price: Some items were Averaged Priced and Some items were Relatively Expensive

Service: Excellent

Reservations: Required

Location: 326 Main Street, Spring, TX 77373

WebPage: www.theblacksheepbistro.com

Experience: We went to celebrate a birthday so we had 10 people in our group. There was also a second table later that came in of at least 10 or 12 people. Together we took up the whole main dinning space, it was quite loud. At one point the smoke from the kitchen had filled the room and a few people’s eyes were burning….however the smell that accompanied it was mouth-watering, so we did not mind so much! From looking at the menu you can tell right off that Joe puts great thought into the quality of food he cooks and serves. Our server was Eric and he was awesome. He was very patient, courteous, knowledgeable, and generally on-top of things. The second big party did stretch him a bit thin.

Lets get down to the food, shall we……

The hero of the night was the Lamb & Beef Sliders: fresh ground lamb and filet mignon, roasted red onion, tomato and bacon jam, blue cheese, challah bun, field green salad

Everyone who tasted them raved about them and made lots of Mmmmmmm sounds.

Lamb & Beef Sliders

I believe the runner up was the Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass: miso and sake marinated Chilean sea bass, soy garlic spinach, toasted sesame

The fish was perfectly cooked, the flavors of the dish were delectable. The garlic spinach was sooo good.

Sea Bass

The two dishes that were quite equal in their yummyness were….

Moroccan Style Red Drum: served with couscous, toasted almonds, medjool dates, charred tomatoes, and chermoula sauce

My husband was blown away by the couscous. He loved the sweetness of the dates mixed with the nutty flavor. There was a lot of Mmmmmm going on next to me.

Red Fish

Filet Mignon: oven roasted filet mignon, rosemary roasted potatoes, sautéed asparagus, cabernet demi-glace

This was my dish. I find it very difficult to turn down a filet when I see it on a menu. It was perfectly cooked (between medium-rare and medium). It had a nice flavor; it could have stood to have a bit more of a crust on it. The asparagus was also perfectly cooked, not too crisp and not too squishy. Unlike most restaurants that serve asparagus with their stakes who only use salt and pepper to season, they also thew in some garlic which I really appreciated. I could have eaten double the amount of asparagus because it was so tasty. I am not a huge mashed potato fan, but these were very good and flavorful. They included the skin, left some chunk, just enough butter and cream, also had nice seasoning to them. The demi-glaze was also so good you could drink it.

Steak

Double Cut Pork-Chop: quinoa salad w/ sugar snap peas and grilled pineapple, 5-spice and maple glaze

The pork chop, pineapple, and quinoa salad was good. However, I was told she did not care for the maple glaze on the dish. It stuck to the plate and the sweetness of it threw her off. Had I taken a picture of the end of the meal you would notice that it did not stop her from eating it all up.

Pork Chop

Usually I start with the appetizers and work my way through the rest of the meal. Only a few people ordered appetizers. Someone ordered the crab cake, which was good. The sauce was pretty spicy. The roasted beat salad was also ordered and was delicious. And lastly the oysters which disappeared in a flash.

Oyster

We did also go for desserts: the Chocolate Mousse with Wild Berries was hands down the most fantastic! I want to go there and beg them to teach me to make this dessert! It IS that good! The Wild Berry Tart with Ice-cream was delightful. The Cannolli, in my opinion, is not that great. The shells are bought and the filing made in-house. I have had some really good cannoli in my time and these did not measure up. Eric was nice enough to brew me some decaf coffee to go with my dessert. The coffee was good and I really appreciated the extra effort.

Misc: The Bistro is in a small house in Old Town Spring. It is charming. Joe who is also the chef and his wife Maria own and run the restaurant. Joe was very nice and accommodating. It only has one bathroom so do not “hold it” if you really have to “go”. They do serve beer and wine. You can also BYOB for a $20 /uncorking fee. Also, take note that Joe often changes up the menu items so if you do not go soon, these particular items may not be still on the menu.

Final Thoughts: Overall we had a wonderful experience and will be going back with frequency.

P.S. Please forgive me, some of the pictures are not the best quality.