I'm making it my personal mission to single-handedly eat my way across the nation, one delicious animal at a time.

Fire up the pit, here I come!!!!!

Search The Blog

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Outlaw's Bar-B-Que & Grill (Grand Prairie, TX)

I hadn't eaten anything all day (except for a few of my assistant's french fries), so I decided to cut out from work a little early and grab some grub on my drive home. Outlaw's Bar-B-Que isn't really on my normal route, but it wasn't too far out of the way either. I figured it was worth a slight detour to try and find some tasty 'que.

Outlaw's Bar-B-Que and Grill BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Dallas Grand Prairie DFW

Normally when I walk into a barbecue joint, I expect to be greeted by the smell of delicious smoke. At Outlaw's, you're greeted by something a little more unexpected: a life-size cutout of a cartoon cowpoke, who I'm assuming is supposed to represent "The Outlaw". His twin holsters are both empty, so I'm not sure how menacing of an outlaw he is. This might be something that children and hillbillies find amusing, but to me it just seemed a little amateurish and juvenile, like a barbecue version of Ronald McDonald.

Outlaw's Bar-B-Que and Grill BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Dallas Grand Prairie DFW

Outlaw's felt more like an IHOP than a barbecue restaurant. They do serve breakfast every day, so I guess that kind of makes sense. In the corner you'll find an array of slot machines and a dated big screen TV, which also seemed a tad out of place. Although, the furniture reminded me of a 1980s Indian casino, in which case the slot machines fit perfectly. By the look of things, there's actually a smoking section that exists around the slot machines and the table closest to them. Maybe I've lived within the Dallas city limits for too long, because it was really unusual and unsettling to see people smoking in a restaurant.

Outlaw's Bar-B-Que and Grill BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Dallas Grand Prairie DFW

Since I was extra hungry today, I ordered their 3 Meat Combo: brisket, sausage, and pork ribs with potato salad and mac n' cheese on the side. Their wall-mounted menu explicitly states that all meats come sauced unless otherwise requested. I appreciated the heads up, and asked for my sauce on the side.

Outlaw's Bar-B-Que and Grill BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Dallas Grand Prairie DFW Brisket Sausage Ribs

The mac n' cheese had a few visible specs of black pepper mixed in, but it added no spice whatsoever. Basically, this was Kraft macaroni with added pepper. The potato salad was much more enjoyable. I liked the finely-diced potatoes as well as the pleasant sweetness. It would have been nice if there had been a little more crunch to it though. The slices of Texas toast that came with my meal aren't worth much description, except to say that they were absolutely drowning in butter.

I started my meat trio with the brisket, which had a nice black crust and a fairly pronounced smoke ring. It honestly looked a little bland and dry, but ended up having a pretty decent flavor. There was a good amount of salt on the edges and a moderate amount of smoke throughout. The slices were a little thinner than I prefer, though I won't fault them too much for that. Even with a leaner cut the meat wasn't dried out, making the sauce unnecessary. Out of pure curiosity, I decided to try the sauce anyway. I couldn't put my finger on it exactly, but something in the combination of flavors just wasn't quite right.

As for the sausage, it wasn't nearly as tasty as the brisket had been. The casings were nice and crisp, although the meat underneath was a little mushy. There was plenty of black pepper mixed in, but I couldn't really taste any of it. I couldn't taste any smoke either. Overall, the sausage was pretty bland. I tried the sauce again here, but it didn't fit with the sausage any more than it had with the brisket. I received a much larger portion of sliced sausage than I cared to finish, so I just cast it aside and moved on.

I finished things off with the ribs. My two spare ribs were kind of raggedy looking, as if the cook's knives had never been sharpened. The meat itself was tender and clearly cooked well. I saw a slight red hue on the edges, but I couldn't taste any smoke. I also didn't find much, if any, seasoning. In fact, the main flavor seemed to be grease, which is just sad. Two of these disappointing ribs was more than enough.

Unless Outlaw's Bar-B-Que can get the rest of their food on par with the brisket, I don't see any reason to go back.


Outlaw's Bar-B-Que & Grill
2334 S. Belt Line Rd.
Grand Prairie, TX 75051
(972) 263-6063

Outlaws BBQ on Urbanspoon

Outlaw's Bar-B-Que & Grill

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Taste of Dallas 2013 (Dallas, TX)

My in-laws were visiting this weekend, and we needed something to entertain them. It was time once again for the annual Taste of Dallas food festival down in Fair Park. This seemed like a great way to showcase some of what Dallas-area restaurants have to offer, despite the sweltering July heat.

Taste of Dallas Fair Park FairPark Food Festival BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

We live within walking distance of Mockingbird Station, which makes the DART train ideal for traveling to Fair Park. The train stops right at the entrance, so we were able to avoid any potential parking difficulties. Tickets are $10.00, and I couldn't find any discounts available online. I think there were Groupon discounts in years past, but no such luck for 2013.

The official website for Taste of Dallas says that booth tastings are priced from $1.00 to $3.00 each. However, I didn't really see anything besides $3.00 samples. As you might expect, my main focus here was smoked meat. There were about ten different options for barbecue this year, and I managed to sample seven of them. Enjoy!

Daddy Rex's Twisted BBQ
121 W. Fourth Street
Anna, TX 75409
(972) 924-7218
Daddy Rex's Twisted BBQ on Urbanspoon

Taste of Dallas Fair Park FairPark Food Festival BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

Daddy Rex's was the first barbecue vendor that we came to. Some basic Googling told me that their restaurant is based out of Anna, Texas, which looks to be a small town about halfway between Dallas and the Oklahoma border. They describe their food as "barbecue fusion," which mostly just took the form of barbecue tacos. I opted for a Brisket Taco, which comes topped with their homemade coleslaw.

Taste of Dallas Fair Park FairPark Food Festival BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

The brisket here was basically shredded, not chopped. The seasonings were good, but I couldn't find any smoke. Despite my general dislike for coleslaw, it really worked here. The slaw was slightly spicy, and added a good crunchiness to the soft shredded meat. I doubt I will be driving all the way to Anna, Texas to try their full menu, but I'm glad I got to sample Daddy Rex's.

My Place Bar-B-Q
2021 Gibson Street
Muskogee, OK 74403
(918) 683-2021
My Place BBQ on Urbanspoon

Taste of Dallas Fair Park FairPark Food Festival BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

My Place Bar-B-Q wasn't one of the vendors I had seen on the official Taste of Dallas website, but I certainly wasn't going to pass it up. It appears that My Place is a staple of Muskogee, Oklahoma, although their presence at Taste of Dallas may suggest an expansion into the Lone Star State. I decided to try their Sliced Beef Sandwich.

Taste of Dallas Fair Park FairPark Food Festival BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

This was one of the largest portions of food I received at Taste of Dallas, but quantity can't take the place of quality. What I ended up with was gray, flavorless meat on a grocery store-style hamburger bun. There was no smoke at all, and not even a hint of bark on the meat. I found a pinch of salt, but no other noticeable seasonings. My Place Bar-B-Q was pretty disappointing, and I hope they stay north of the Red River where expectations for barbecue are presumably lower.

Riscky's Barbeque
Various Locations
Fort Worth, TX
Riscky's Barbeque on Urbanspoon

Taste of Dallas Fair Park FairPark Food Festival BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

I've had Riscky's on several prior occasions, so I was curious to see how their food held up against the harsh festival conditions. I usually eat pork ribs from Riscky's, but this seemed like a good opportunity to try their beef variety. I ordered a sample of Beef Ribs, which was reasonably priced at $3.00 for two bones.

Taste of Dallas Fair Park FairPark Food Festival BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

As much anticipation as I had for Riscky's beef ribs, they were a pretty big let down. I found a good crust on the ribs, but the meat itself was gristly and rather tough to eat. It took significant effort to remove meat (well, meat plus connective tissue) from bone, and even then the meat wasn't very tasty. Their seasoning blend was ok, although there wasn't much smoke to be had. Riscky's usually serves up pretty legit barbecue, but I guess they haven't quite mastered the mass production of smoked meat.

Ole School BBQ
9630 Lake June Road
Dallas, TX 75217
(214) 718-9153
Ole School BBQ on Urbanspoon

Taste of Dallas Fair Park FairPark Food Festival BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

Ole School BBQ seemed more like East Texas-style barbecue, so I wasn't expecting them to have spectacular brisket. That being said, if there's one thing that East Texas does well, it's hot links. It didn't take much decision-making for me to settle on an order of their Hot Sausage Links.

Taste of Dallas Fair Park FairPark Food Festival BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

In true East Texas form, my hot links came drowning in sauce. The pre-sliced links had a great spiciness to them and a good snap to the casings. The sauce itself had a nice acidic flavor, but it was too thick and was applied way too heavily. I think I'll stick to Central Texas-style barbecue if at all possible.

Lockhart Smokehouse
400 W. Davis Street
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 944-5521
Lockhart Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

Taste of Dallas Fair Park FairPark Food Festival BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

Lockhart Smokehouse has some of the tastiest barbecue in The Big D, so I was anxious to introduce my in-laws to their magnificent smoked meats. The only options they had for the Taste of Dallas samples were Brisket and Kreuz Sausage. As much as I love Lockhart's sausage, I couldn't resist the Brisket.

Taste of Dallas Fair Park FairPark Food Festival BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

Even though it was a much smaller portion than I'm used to from Lockhart, the brisket was delicious as always. The seasoning and smokiness were both fantastic, and the meat completely melted in my mouth. The one downfall was the fat. I always prefer fatty brisket over lean, but the fat level here was pretty high, even for Lockhart. The fat also wasn't as translucent as it should have been. The sample I received wasn't quite on par with Lockhart's usual food, but I'll cut them some slack given the venue.

Epic Cones
3025 Main Street
Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 741-1111
Epic Cone on Urbanspoon

Taste of Dallas Fair Park FairPark Food Festival BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

I was really looking forward to sampling Epic Cones, especially since I still haven't found the time to try their storefront location in Deep Ellum. The idea of meat-filled cones was ingenious and seemed like a great new vehicle for barbecue. Naturally, I gravitated toward their BBQ Brisket Cone.

Taste of Dallas Fair Park FairPark Food Festival BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

My sample-size cone was much smaller than the ones I'd seen advertised online, but that was probably a good thing. I saw some good crust on the meat, although most of the flavors were masked by massive amounts of gooey cheddar cheese. This also precluded any hope of tasting smoke. For some reason I was imagining a waffle cone, but the cone itself tasted a lot like pita bread. Epic Cones has a really interesting concept, which I think would work better as street food than as an actual restaurant.

Longoria's BBQ
100 Christopher Drive
Everman, TX 76140
(817) 568-9494
Longoria's BBQ on Urbanspoon

Taste of Dallas Fair Park FairPark Food Festival BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

I was getting pretty full by this point, but I definitely wanted to try out Longoria's BBQ before we left. Longoria's was recently listed as one of Texas Monthly's Top 50 BBQ Joints for 2013, which is a pretty impressive accomplishment. I had eaten enough sliced brisket for today, so I ordered their Smoked Brisket Sausage on a Stick, which sounded pretty interesting.

Taste of Dallas Fair Park FairPark Food Festival BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

Their sausage was coarsely-ground and really tasty. There was a great flavor both from the seasonings and the smoke. The casing also had some good snap to it, which is always a plus. The meat itself was really tender and a pleasure to eat. I'm glad I decided to save Longoria's for last, because it ended up being a really delicious end to the day.


Taste of Dallas 2013
Fair Park
1200 S. Second Ave
Dallas, TX 75210

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ellis County BBQ (Midlothian, TX)

My job forced me into an Ellis/Tarrant/Dallas tri-county drive today, and as a result I found myself in Midlothian around lunchtime. I had a little time to kill before my afternoon duties kicked in, so I decided pull over for a bit and try out Ellis County BBQ.

Ellis County BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que DFW Midlothian Dennis DeWeerd

Although it's certainly not the norm for barbecue, Ellis County BBQ is set up as a table service restaurant. They had a nice big bar area (usually my location of choice whilst dining alone), but today I felt like grabbing an actual table. The dining room is decorated in a more upscale western motif, which was surprisingly swanky for a place like Midlothian.

Ellis County BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que DFW Midlothian Dennis DeWeerd

I ordered up their Dennis Plate, which comes with three meats, two sides, and Texas toast. I usually try to avoid handheld barbecue when I'm wearing a suit, but I was feeling pretty cavalier today. After much deliberation, I settled on pork ribs, beef brisket, and sliced sausage with potato salad and macaroni and cheese on the side. I didn't know if Ellis County BBQ pre-sauced their meats or not, but since I couldn't see my plate being prepared, I made sure to ask for sauce on the side. After ordering I noticed a bottle of sauce on my table, so this was probably an unnecessary request, but you can't be too careful with these things.

Ellis County BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que DFW Midlothian Dennis DeWeerd

As always, I started my meal by sampling the side dishes. The potato salad had a good crunch from the pickles and pimentos. The potatoes were slightly creamy, though chunkier than mashed potatoes. It had a nice natural flavor to it without being bland. The mac and cheese, however, was not quite so pleasant. What I received was basically plain elbow macaroni with a little cheese melted over the top. It was pretty skimpy on flavor, and tasted only slightly better than Easy Mac.

From the outset, the brisket looked a little dry and far too lean. It had a decent black crust on it, but no actual bark. I also didn't notice much of a smoke ring, and I certainly couldn't taste any smoke either. Actually, all I could taste was dry meat and salt. I added some of their house barbecue sauce out of pure necessity. The sweet vinegar sauce helped things, but not enough for me to continue eating it.

The pre-sliced sausage had no visible black pepper or other spices, which made it look suspiciously like Hormel or Eckrich. I hoped the taste would change my opinion, but no such luck. It tasted exactly like it looked: grocery store sausage. There definitely wasn't any smoke to it either. The casings did have a decent snap, but that's really the only positive thing I can say.

After my first two meat selections, I wasn't feeling very optimistic about the ribs. The big meaty spare ribs looked like they had a good crust, but were lacking much of a red smoky hue. I found some smoke in the crust, but it tasted more like artificial liquid smoke rather than the natural kind. This gave the ribs a really weird taste. The meat came cleanly off the bone one bite at a time, so at least the ribs were cooked properly (from a time standpoint only).

I took the remainder of my food in a to-go box just to be polite, but I had no intention of eating any more of it. Ellis County BBQ definitely has some work to do on their seasonings and their smoking process. Getting rid of the liquid smoke should certainly be step one, but I'd also suggest they steer clear of Kroger and find a new sausage supplier.


UPDATE (December 5, 2013): Once again, I found a restaurant owner posting comments to my blog post under the guise of an average customer. This time the comments came courtesy of Dennis DeWeerd, who is in fact the owner of Ellis County BBQ. Apparently Mr. DeWeerd was not aware that his name would show up next to the comments, which speaks to both his carelessness and his technological ignorance. In order to prevent his comments from being prematurely deleted, I have chosen to re-post them here. These comments are unabridged and unaltered:

"Where is your restaurant??? Ellis County Bbq has won numerous awards for their Bbq . We eat there 3-4 times a week the food is awesome. Anyone with a keyboard thinks they are a valid critic. Suit up and start your own restaurant and then I'll listen to you. Your a Joke"

1. The fact that Mr. DeWeerd has to resort to posing as a customer in order to defend his restaurant is just sad. Other comments seem to agree with my critique of Ellis County BBQ. Considering that there are no actual customers coming to his rescue, I'll stand by my review.

2. Mr. DeWeerd mentions numerous awards won by Ellis County BBQ. Interestingly, the restaurant's website doesn't list a single specific award. After 20 minutes of Googling, I couldn't come up with any results either. Perhaps none of these awards were recent enough to be noteworthy.

3. The comments suggest that simply starting a restaurant somehow magically makes a food critic's opinions valid. Does owning a McDonald's qualify someone to critique a Michelin-star steakhouse? I have eaten at countless horrible restaurants over the years, so maybe we should strive for standards a little higher than that.

4. If Mr. DeWeerd wants his comments to be taken seriously, I suggest he first learn to spell and use proper punctuation. The sloppiness with which he writes truly exemplifies the quality of the food at Ellis County BBQ.

UPDATE (December 19, 2013): Today I received more comments from Dennis DeWeerd, the owner of Ellis County BBQ. Here are his unabridged and unaltered comments:

"For your information, A Customer read your joke of a review, and ask if he could use my IPad to respond. Once again you don't know the facts. Just another idiot with a keypad.if you would like to talk face to face and see our numerous awards, I will be more than glad to show them to you. I can take criticism, but not from a person who doesn't even verify facts before writing an ignorant response . Any customer that would like to show here try our bbq and comment to me or my wife about it is welcomed. Not a coward who runs home and misleads people with a keypad and a $ 20 web site. Call and get facts before you accuse a restaurant owner of doing something they didn't do. Oh yea and next time check IBCA, LSBS, and KCBS. The trophies are here and always have been. If you are such a BBQ expert lets do a head to head cookoff with the loser giving $1000 to the winners favorite Charity. Wiling to put your money where your mouth is. I think not"

At no point did I claim to be an expert on barbecue or anything else, and I do not make that claim now. I won't even address the fact that Mr. DeWeerd chooses to respond to customer criticism by calling me an idiot and a coward and saying that I am ignorant. However, at Mr. DeWeerd's request I did some additional research into his assertion that "Ellis County BBQ has won numerous awards."

The International Bar-B-Que Cookers Association (IBCA) has cookoff results posted on their website from January 2011 through March 2013. I read through the results for each and every barbecue cookoff listed. For 2011 and 2012, I found no mention of Dennis DeWeerd or Ellis County BBQ. 2013 seemed to have been a better year for Mr. DeWeerd. He won 2nd place sauce in the Waxahachie Knights of Columbus cookoff. Then came the 20th Annual West, Texas Volunteer Fire Department cookoff, where he won 4th place brisket, 8th place sausage, and 14th place overall.

I next looked through the records of the Lonestar Barbeque Society (LSBS), which are posted from January 2011 through December 2013. Again, I read through the results of each individual barbecue cookoff. There were no awards listed for Mr. DeWeerd in 2011. In 2012, Mr. DeWeerd won 5th place fajitas at the San Marcos League of United Latin American Citizens BBQ & Chili Cookoff. He went on to win several awards at the Bridgeport 1st Ever Volunteer Fire Department BBQ Cook-Off: 7th place brisket, 9th place pork spare ribs, and 4th place chicken. It is worth noting that there were a total of 10 participants at the Bridgeport event. I found no awards listed for Mr. DeWeerd in 2013.

As for the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS), they had cookoff results going back to 2007, but there are far too many events to go through one-by-one, especially when I don't know the name of Mr. DeWeerd's team (results are listed by team name, not individual name).

3 hours of researching, and these were the most prestigious awards I could find for Mr. DeWeerd. It's worth mentioning that these awards were given to Mr. DeWeerd personally, not to Ellis County BBQ. In a cookoff, you'll typically give a lot of attention to a small quantity of meat, and you'll offer only the best cuts to the judges. I fail to see how Mr. DeWeerd's "lofty" individual achievements in the realm of competition-quality barbecue translate into the Ellis County BBQ restaurant having award-winning food. Suppose for a moment that I owned and operated a burger joint somewhere in DFW, and that I had personally won 4th place in the hypothetical 2011 Grayson County League of Women Voters Burger Cookoff. Does that give me the right to claim that my restaurant serves award-winning hamburgers? I think not.

UPDATE (December 20, 2013): Here are some more delightful comments I received from Dennis DeWeerd:

"Once again your facts are wrong. The challange is still on . Hard to cook when you hide behind a keypad and have no life other than to criticize other people's hard work. The fact you found any of the awards and shows you lie and do not have a clue. Read your own words.
FACT: We have won numerous Championships with Cookoffs having over 100 Teams.
FACT: We have been in Business 6 years and serve over 250+ people a day.
FACT: We sell over $1,000,000.00 a year in BBQ
FACT: I am not Hostile, every Village has an idiot and I thank you for being ours.
FACT: instead of confronting a Restaurant Owner You lie about you choose to call Kirby and cry to him .
FACT: You choose to hide behind your Little Key Board instead of raising money for your favorite charity. Or your just not that good.
FACT: I really don't care about a persons opinion that is to afraid to complain to an owner of a Restaurant Face To Face .
FACT: Ellis County BBQ help raise over $100,000 for Fallen Navy Seal Chris Kyle's family this year,
I'll take my credentials over yours any day of the week.
FACT: You missed all of our 1st place Awards and our Grand Championship just a few short months ago.
FACT: your piss poor at research
Tell Kirby I said Hi tomorrow. And by the way you should join him for lunch, He eats up here all the time, well until he goes to work, The Crack Of March"

I typically don't respond to such things directly, but this time I couldn't help myself. Here is my reply, just in case the comments section is on the fritz:

"Wow, you really don't get it, do you? I have absolutely nothing to prove to you, and you are clearly out of touch with public opinion.

After searching several different websites, I found dozens of negative reviews for Ellis County BBQ. On Yelp.com, 47% of reviewers had negative comments, as did 43% of reviewers on TripAdvisor.com. On Urbanspoon.com, 48% gave Ellis County BBQ bad reviews, and out of 148 votes it only received a 64% approval rating. One review on Urbanspoon states, "the restaurant owner is probably the rudest person i have ever met. will never step foot in your establishment ever again." I guess we're all just cowardly idiots who hide behind our keyboards.

You seem to completely disregard the opinions of amateur critics such as myself, but how about author of Full Custom Gospel BBQ and the recently-appointed BBQ Editor at Texas Monthly magazine, Daniel Vaughn? Like me, Mr. Vaughn gave Ellis County BBQ a two-star rating, stating, "Ribs were tender and came easily off the bone, but the flavor tasted of liquid smoke. While the meat was moist and well cooked, I couldn't get past the odd flavor profile. Unlike competition brisket, these slices had no smoke ring and were missing a deep smoke flavor in bites that didn't include crust." You can scoff at my expertise all you like, but it's hard to argue with Mr. Vaughn.

Perhaps you should simply take customer criticism for what it is and focus on the quality and consistency of food coming out of your kitchen, rather than hurling insults and issuing ridiculous challenges for the sake of your own ego. It is quite clear that nothing I say will get past your narcissism, so I won't bother responding to any more of your hostility.

P.S. Who in the hell is Kirby?"


Ellis County BBQ
700 Silken Crossing
Suite 300
Midlothian, TX 76065
(972) 775-7500

Ellis County BBQ on Urbanspoon

Ellis County BBQ

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Meddlesome Moth (Dallas, TX)

Meddlesome Moth isn't really a place you would think to look for barbecue, but as a gastropub, they have a lot of really interesting food offerings on the menu...including ribs! My wife and I don't get out as much as we'd like to, so today was a great opportunity for a random dinner date. We headed on over to the Dallas design district to give Meddlesome Moth a try.

Meddlesome Moth Dallas DFW Gastropub Tapas BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

As soon as you walk in the door, your eyes are immediately drawn to the huge stained glass windows towering over the back half of the dining room. The upscale, semi-posh atmosphere of Meddlesome Moth doesn't really scream "rock and roll," that is until closer examination of the three stained glass panels depicting some true rock legends: Chuck Berry, Elvis, and Jerry Lee Lewis. There was some great old school music playing all night, which helped further the rock theme. Overall, it felt much more like a restaurant than a bar, which I was completely ok with. Meddlesome Moth was opened by the same folks responsible for Flying Saucer, so their massive beer selection is no surprise.

Meddlesome Moth Dallas DFW Gastropub Tapas BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

Meddlesome Moth Dallas DFW Gastropub Tapas BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

The menu at Meddlesome Moth is pretty much set up tapas style, so we ordered several different "small plates" to try out: Heirloom Tomato Burrata, Pig and Fig, Baby Back Ribs, and Chicken & Waffles (one of their daily specials).

The Heirloom Tomato Burrata was the first dish to come out, which made sense since it came from the salad section of the menu.

Meddlesome Moth Dallas DFW Gastropub Tapas BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

This dish was pretty self-explanatory: mixed heirloom tomatoes, Italian burrata cheese, and basil pesto. It was an interesting twist on a tomato and mozzarella salad, and a great way to start the meal. The acidity of the heirloom tomatoes paired nicely with the burrata cheese. I also enjoyed the aromatic basil pesto, although they were a little heavy-handed with the olive oil. All in all, this was a very tasty salad.

I wasn't entirely sure how the food would be coming out, but waiter seemed content to bring the individual plates out one by one. This made it more like a four-course meal, and up next was the Pig and Fig.

Meddlesome Moth Dallas DFW Gastropub Tapas BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

The "Pig and Fig" needs a little more explanation than the first dish. Here we have crispy pork belly, blue cheese grits, and bbq fig. The image I had in my head didn't really compare to the extremely purple food that came out, courtesy of the fig-laden grits. My first bite of the grits came with a big punch of blue cheese that was pretty overpowering. The grits themselves had very little flavor, though the addition of the fig barbecue sauce helped tremendously. The star of this dish was clearly the pork belly, but I really wish there had been more of it. For my last bite, I coupled the pork belly with a whole fig, and I found the combination to be spectacular! I would have preferred a big plate of figs and pork belly actually.

Two plates down, two more to go. Our third selection ended up being the Baby Back Ribs, which the barbecue lover in me had been eagerly anticipating all evening.

Meddlesome Moth Dallas DFW Gastropub Tapas BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

The menu describes their Baby Back Ribs as a half-rack of ribs with an agave glaze. I wasn't really expecting smoked ribs at a place like this, but I was hoping they'd at least be tasty. The ribs came pre-cut and stacked on the plate like Jenga pieces. The glaze had a very honey-like quality to it, and was too sweet for my liking. It actually gave the ribs more of an Asian barbecue flavor, though I'm not sure that's what they were going for. Most restaurants make the mistake of thinking that "falling off the bone" is something to strive for with ribs, but these were actually a little undercooked and hard to separate from the bone. While I didn't find any smokiness in the ribs, the side of potato salad had a weird flavor reminiscent of artificial smoke flavoring. I liked the mix of white and purple potatoes, but the taste was just off. It was also pretty sweet, and my wife and I agreed that a more acidic potato salad would have paired better with the sweetness of the ribs.

Our last plate was their special Chicken & Waffles, which looked more like an actual entree than the previous three.

Meddlesome Moth Dallas DFW Gastropub Tapas BBQ Barbecue Barbeque Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que

Their version of chicken and waffles was a crispy fried chicken breast, served atop waffle triangles, and covered in a maple hollandaise. My previous experiences with chicken and waffles have all involved maple syrup, but the hollandaise was a really interesting alternative. It was less sweet than syrup, and gave it more of a savory quality. The chicken was really tender, though the batter was maybe just a little too crispy. My wife and I agreed that this was the best of our four dinner selections. In fact, we inhaled it so quickly that by the end she was asking, "Do I have chicken on my nose?"

Our dinner here ended up being much more slow-paced than I'm used to (especially in Dallas), but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. It gave us ample time to enjoy each other's company. If it hadn't been for the sub-par ribs, this would have probably been a four-star meal. The one thing I wasn't really that excited about was the price. I don't consider myself to be a cheapskate, but the quantity and quality we got at Meddlesome Moth didn't really feel like a $100 dinner. If we go back, I'll definitely have to re-evaluate my menu selections.


Meddlesome Moth
1621 Oak Lawn Ave.
Dallas, TX 75207
(214) 628-7900

Meddlesome Moth on Urbanspoon

Meddlesome Moth

Monday, July 1, 2013

La Paloma Taqueria (Dallas, TX)

I knew I was only a few hours away from my dinner date with some Oscar Mayer hot dogs, but I was in dire need of sustenance. I decided to take a slight detour on my way home and swung through La Paloma in search of barbacoa.

La Paloma Taqueria Dallas DFW Barbacoa BBQ Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que Barbecue Barbeque Tacos

La Paloma has a drive-thru window, and I took full advantage of it. The drive-thru menu didn't look nearly as extensive as the menu I had seen online. For example, the drive-thru menu didn't list any individual tacos, which is really what I wanted. The pricing was also a little higher than I was expecting for what are basically street tacos, so I was hoping that this would at least translate into higher quality.

La Paloma Taqueria Dallas DFW Barbacoa BBQ Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que Barbecue Barbeque Tacos

I didn't know enough Spanish to ask about the possibility of a la carte tacos, so a combo would have to do. I asked for a #4 Taco Plate which, according to the menu, comes with two flour tortilla tacos, rice, and beans. The rice and beans are probably what adds to the pricing here. I picked one barbacoa and one lengua (tongue) for my taco selections, and then the drive-thru attendant asked what I wanted for my third taco. Despite what was written on the menu, I certainly wasn't going to argue about getting extra food. I added on an al pastor (pork) for taco numero tres.

La Paloma Taqueria Dallas DFW Barbacoa BBQ Bar-B-Q Bar-B-Que Barbecue Barbeque Tacos

Even though I really didn't want them, I started by sampling my side dishes. The rice was a little too al dente and had no flavor other than salt. It was pretty sad and overly orange. The beans were nothing special either. They probably came from a can marked "Goya," and the cheese sprinkled on top added absolutely nothing.

My barbacoa taco definitely didn't taste like true barbacoa (i.e. cow's head), but instead seemed like brisket meat that had been roasted or stewed. In fact, the meat had a stew-like flavor that didn't taste quite right. It was also pretty salty. The shredded lettuce and tomatoes seemed to just get in the way, and I much prefer the usual onions and cilantro. 

The lengua also tasted slightly stewed. The meat was very greasy and more than a little chewy. I didn't find much flavor while eating this taco. That being said, there was an odd aftertaste which, despite what you might think, is pretty atypical for tongue meat.

I finished things off with the al pastor taco, which was as disappointing as the first two had been. There was more gristle than I care to eat. The pork didn't have much flavor and there was certainly no spiciness to it. I also found the meat to be a little dry, so perhaps it had been warming for a while.

La Paloma definitely fell short of my expectations. I'm not sure why I thought getting organ-meat tacos from a drive-thru taqueria was a good idea, but I won't make that mistake again. Chalk this one up to trial and error.


La Paloma Taqueria
10233 N. Central Expressway
Dallas, TX 75231
(214) 378-8220

Taqueria la Paloma on Urbanspoon