Mac’s Bar-B-Que has been a regular spot in my Dallas dining scene and somehow I forgot to take Frankie and photograph. So when we last visited I got some photos to include on this series of Dallas posts. Chef and owner Billy McDonald put Mac’s up for sale (2015) but that’s been a while and based on the crowd it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast. The restaurant opened in the mid-50’s and moved to this spot, very near the main Baylor Hospital, in 1982 when his dad and mom still had the place. It’s a plain little place that you’d easily drive by but there is parking on the side and in back. Inside the tables are good sized and spaced nicely. Customers line up at the window and the menu is posted on the wall beside you. While your order is being prepared you can chose from a nice selection of condiments, including pickle relish, onions, lemons, banana peppers, dill pickles and jalapeños.
Herrera’s Café has been around since 1971 and been in many locations. There are now a number of similarly named places but this is the original that started on Maple St. I have eaten there for years but don’t get to this “new” location as often as it’s not real convenient. They were a staple for a long time because they had a really spicy salsa with warm really corny chips. They still have that and some of the original family are around too. At this location there is a fairly good sized parking lot but it naturally leads you to a door that is not the entrance, so go around the building to where it faces Sylvan and you’ll find the proper entrance as well as a large area for outdoor dining. Inside a wall of press about the place greets you and the desk that takes names as well as check you out when you’re through. To the right are the bathrooms and kitchen and to the left is a large dining room. If you go straight ahead you’ll be in another dining room with the bar and a doorway to another smaller dining area. At lunch it was bustling with people but we didn’t have to wait long for a table to become free. Service is friendly and efficient. Continue reading
Instead of enjoying retirement, Anita and Octavio Avila opened a restaurant featuring family favorites in 1986. They have added new items as well as expanding their selection of beers since that time. They are at 4714 Maple Avenue in Dallas, near where “Little Mexico” still holds many locations but neighborhood change has brought a more diverse population to the area. Located in a little house they have 2 main dining rooms, one much small than the other. Along the walls they utilize bench seating to work in the maximum number of tables. There is a mix of 2 and 4 top tables and they seemed to turn over quickly, as lunch sometimes has a short wait. They do have an adjacent parking lot as well as a few spaces in front. They have only had this location but now a sign on the table refers to a second location in the planning for Casa Linda in East Dallas. The menu has lots of options but I generally go here for the tasty Tex-Mex food and the fairly spicy salsa on the table. Service is friendly and efficient and they have lunch specials which are delivered fast enough to be able to fit a meal here on a lunch hour. They do have lunch specials but nothing on the menu is over $20. Continue reading
Jack’s Kitchen opened this year in Lakewood. Scott Jones is chef and provides most of the service but I believe his sister makes the desserts. It is in a medium sized location between a well known Thai restaurant and organic nursery. They are open for dinner, Sunday brunch and lunch as well as offering take out, delivery and catering services. The small menu didn’t change between lunch visits. The walls are decorated with art pieces and the tables are set with a placemats and plants or candles. Windows to the street line one wall and a display cabinet held a collection of enameled cast iron cookware. Both visits the owner was our server and was most cooperative in helping us place our orders. They serve fairly simple but honest food that is nicely seasoned and generously portioned. It won’t make you want to lick the plate but it was plenty good enough that I’ll go again. It helps that the owner is on sight and very nice. Continue reading
Petra and the Beast opened last April and is two restaurants in one. During the week (closed Monday and Tuesday) they have a chalkboard menu where everything is a la carte for lunch and dinner but on Saturday night they produce a tasting menu for 18 lucky people. This menu included things not on the regular menu and changes every week. Seating was communal with 3 tables each seating 6. It is BYOB at all times. We were there for the Saturday evening tasting. The building used to be a service station but chef Misti Norris has transformed the space into a pleasant space decorated with dried herbs and flowers and lots of jars of ingredients. A high tin ceiling was above the exposed ductwork and the bare wood tables, set with metal chairs, were all slightly different. It was a setting full of hard surfaces and so the noise level could be a bit high. Seating was not assigned so it’s a fun opportunity to meet some new people also interested in food. Arrival time was 7:00 but then there was a period for you to look around and enjoy a welcome cocktail, which is given to you after you’d taken care of the evening’s payment. Continue reading
E Bar is a medium sized place that serves Tex-Mex food. There is a small parking lot adjacent to the place as well as 3 spaces in front and otherwise parking is find as you can. Seating inside is in 2 areas divided by a large bar and there is patio dining, where they have optional plastic walls to enclose it. We were there for an early lunch and so had no problems but I have seen lines out the door waiting for a seat in the evening. Tables were nice sized bare wood with fair spacing between. A wood bench provided one side of the seating. Service was friendly, efficient and helpful and they had a large menu that offered the full dinner menu as well as lunch specials. While I wasn’t blown away by the food, I expected to be as they get amazing crowds of people. However it was nicely done and good enough that I’ll go back and try some more dishes. Sometimes you just have to find that option that works for you, and obviously they have for a lot of people. Continue reading
Urban Vines is a large place in East Dallas. They are open for lunch and dinner and offer snacks if you just want a place to drink some wine. You enter through a patio with a large fireplace and plenty of outdoor seating into bar area that adjoins the dining area. Some bench seating, regular tables and high top tables are available. Tables are bare wood but cloth napkins are part of the set up. The walls display art, some of which is for sale. Different days offer specials and Thursday is half price wine by the glass. Two of the walls have large windows letting in some natural light in the daytime but in the evening the lighting is fairly low. The menu offers sandwiches, flatbreads and a few bigger dishes. Frankie and I visited a couple times to try some of the options. It is a casual place with friendly and helpful servers and while the food is not outstanding it is a perfectly adequate place to meet with friends over wine and food.
The flatbreads are thin crust pizzas. The Jalapeno Flatbread is made with jalapeno cream cheese spread, mozzarella, red wine onions, roasted tomatoes and crispy prosciutto. It had a bit of spice but was not overwhelmingly hot. Good flavors made it a fun choice.
The Steak Flatbread came with chimichurri sauce, mozzarella, skirt steak, onions, tomatoes, avocado and jalapenos. The bits of beef were quite chewy and it was okay.
The Italian panini was composed of hard salami, capicola with mozzarella, roasted red peppers, field greens, tomatoes and roasted garlic balsamic vinaigrette on a grilled panini bread. All paninis are served with a choice of pasta salad, pita chips or fruit. We tried the pasta salad and it was pretty ordinary, but the sandwich was well stuffed and quite tasty with a nice crispy bread.
On a second visit, this time at lunch, we tried two other panini options – the waitress said they were the 2 top sellers. The Turkey and Brie panini was made with oven roasted turkey, brie, cranberries and raspberry vinaigrette served on grilled panini bread. It was well stuffed but the brie flavor dwarfed that of the the turkey.
It didn’t come together as well as the Braised Chicken and Drunken Goat Panini made with roasted tomato pesto aioli, braised chicken and drunken goat on a grilled panini bread. Drunken Goat is a wine infused goat cheese. It was quite good. With the sandwiches we got pita chips which were very crisp and unseasoned. They added a nice crunch but had a fairly dull flavor. All paninis also came with a dill pickle that was very strongly flavored and full of juice – nice.
On the side we had a small Wedge Salad made with blue cheese dressing. It was plenty to split and the lettuce was fresh and crisp but I found the blue cheese flavor wasn’t strong enough for me.
For dessert we had daily special chocolate torte. The crust was made with ground chocolate graham crackers and then that was spread with layers of dulce de leche and chocolate. It was gooey and sweet and apparently sells out every time they make it.