I think that Mi Familia a little better than “A-OK.”
I went for lunch today. For starters, I started chomping down on the chips and salsa. The chips and salsa are AWESOME here. Not in a Pappasito’s kind of way, more in just a “classic Mexican joint” kind of way. There wasn’t anything particularly special about the salsa, it was just a perfect–not too spicy, with a great texture and not too watery. The chips worked very well as well. The chips are notable as they seem to have some kind of a flavor (perhaps a kind of seasoned salt?) that has been sprinkled on them when you get them. It’s awesome.
After I got done comping down 2 bowls of salsa, we then ordered a queso. The queso was very good as well (I’d probably give it 4 stars.) However, the salsa was so good that I kept going back to that.
For my meal, I ordered the chicken fajita lunch special (I think that’s #11.) This was ok but a bit underwhelming… When I order fajitas, I’m pretty damn picky. I expect for them to come on a skillet, still sizzling. They don’t do that here (at least for lunch.) They’ll serve you the fajitas on a plate with rice and beans. The lunch portion seemed to have too much veggies and not enough chicken. The other thing that was kind of crazy is that they only gave me a total of 2 tortillas. I figure that if you’re going to serve fajitas like this, if I was the restaurant, I would probably describe the lunch special as “chicken fajita tacos” and rolling them before serving them.
I didn’t really eat the rice, but I did eat most of my beans. They were okay… I’d give them 2 and a half stars.
Our service was a bit slow–it took us a while to get our food and even to get rolling on our appetizer. (And there weren’t a ton of people in the restaurant–most of them seemed to be on the patio, which looks happening here at lunch time.) Our server was nice, though.
I’d probably return, but for lunch, I’d probably go for the bean and cheese burrito and beef taco combo. (I forget what number that was.)
My wife and I had our wedding cakes done by the Cake Guys.
The cakes were incredible. My wife found the cake guys very easy to work with, and was equally surprised to learn that Chad (the baker she was working with) would be featured on a reality show about baking cakes with the “Cake Boss”!
I personally didn’t watch the show (I’m not a huge reality TV nut), but this made our cake even more exciting to me… and I hear it was a conversation piece at our wedding.
All reality television aside, our cake was amazing. For our wedding cake, we got the whtie cake with dulce de leche and for my grooms cake (which my wife designed for me) was a chocolate cake with peanut butter. Both were awesome–it was hard to determine which one was better.
Grooms – make sure you go to the cake tasting with your future brides. Man… that was awesome, and probably one of the more fun parts of wedding planning.
In any case, I would definitely recommend. It’s great to be able to say honestly that our wedding cakes were the best looking and tasting wedding cakes we’ve ever had (and we’ve been to a LOT of weddings.)
How did I not find Herrera’s sooner? Potentially it’s location, but… damn.
Herrera’s is easily one of the better Tex-Mex joints in DFW. It’s really popular (which adds to my shock in how long it took me to find it.)
One of my best friends and I were talking shop at his place, and we were talking about places to go for lunch. He mentioned Herrera’s, and I told him I had never been, but I had heard about it in passing here and there. He told me we should try it out. We drove to the original one. It was a Monday, so it was closed. We were somewhat dejected… and we decided to try to find their other location. (This one.) So we did, and it was open.
I ordered the Denise combo… and I believe our server was Denise. My buddy ordered another combo, who Denise told us was her twin sister. I forget what the name of his combo was, but I know it involved the sour cream sauce and chicken enchiladas. Actually, I had he Denise slightly modified to include a Bean and Cheese taco.
So yeah–when I think of Tex-Mex, there’s different “general” flavors to me. There’s the “fancy” Papasito’s / Uncle Julio’s flavor, there’s the “Dallas-chains” Mi Cocina / Manny’s / Taco Diner / Mia’s / Luna de Noche flavor, there’s some with a twist (lke Desperado’s, Chuy’s, and others like it) and then there’s more the local, classic tex mex flavor. (Think, El Fenix, Los Lupes in Carrollton, and most of your standard tex-mex places.) I’d place this in the Classic flavor category… more specifically, I’d place it on TOP of that category.
We had the sopapillas for dessert. They were very good as well.
I’ve only been once. I don’t usually give away 5 star reviews on my first go-around with any location, but in this case, I’m going to make an exception. Wow.
Overall, for the money, I’d say there’s certainly a lot better casual Italian joints to consider before Carino’s. Carino’s is OK, and I’d usually give it 3 stars, but this location appears to be pretty severely mismanaged.
Overall, the pasta is underwhelming, though I’ve had worse. My staple to get here (which is actually quite good) are the Fire Sticks appetizer. Not very authentic Italian, but quite tasty.
As for the service, it seems like the few experience I’ve had at this location were either not that positive, or were underwhelming to the point of not really enticing me to return. The last time I went (this week), we arrived and ordered our appetizers. Then, my wife looked across the table at me and said, “how are they so empty?” We would soon have an answer to that question, when we proceeded to wait about 45 minutes for our main dishes to come out.
This was pretty unacceptable. Our server knew it was (though he didn’t check back in with us as much as we would have liked, he still was apologetic for how long it was taking. I’m pretty sure that our server was the only server in the restaurant.) We ended up getting so frustrated with the situation, we had them wrap up our entrees to go, and we took it home and ate it. If I was a manager, our meals would have been free. No manager visited our table, however, and we weren’t really asked how our experience was. So, one star. They’re not on my s**t list, though, as I didn’t leave this experience extremely angry… just somewhat frustrated.
Carino’s as a larger chain probably deserves 2.5 stars for the food. However, I will point out that when I can go to Carabba’s (heck, Buca for that matter) and pay literally the same prices for much better food, I don’t see why anyone would spend their money here.
The Texas State Fair is consistently ranked in the top 5 state fairs in the country. (The other top ones generally include Minnesota, New York, and Iowa.)
It’s not hard to see why. There’s multiple good reasons.:
1 – Rides. There’s many notable ones on the midway here, including three roller coasters. And they’re far, far better than your dinky portable roller coasters. There’s a “crazy mouse”, a classic metal-cyclone style, and another coaster, all here. (These aren’t here year round, but they seem to come back every year.) One of the most important traditions is the “Texas Star” ferris wheel, which is the largest Ferris Wheel in North America.
2 – Traditions. There’s many traditions of the Texas State Fair. The rides (especially the Texas Star) represent many of these traditions, but one of the other main traditions is the general layout of the fair, the common booths from year to year, the gigantic butter sculpture, and of course, Big Tex. Big Tex is a large statue that serves as a landmark of the fair, while welcoming folks to the state fair and actually engaging them. His mouth moves and he is bilingual–speaking both Spanish and English to fair-goers.
3 – Wacky food. – Fried food is clearly one of the traditions of the Texas State Fair as well. Every year, they give out awards for tasty and unique fried foods. Try to find the awards and seek out the award winners. But, save room for the real treat…
There’s a lot of conflicting evidence as to where the original corn dog was made. My money’s on Fletcher’s, who claim that they produced the Original Corny Dog in the late 30′s. I’m not sure if they’re the original but they definitely are the best that I’ve had. I’m pretty sure you can’t get them in any other location. You can get a smaller version of the “real McCoy” at the Taste of Dallas, also held at the Texas State Fairgrounds at a different time of year.
4 – Size. Texas is known for everything being big… the sheer size of the overall fair is impressive. Other state fairs that I have been to pale in comparison in multiple ways, and the sheer size of the State Fair of Texas really drives this home in the mind of the attendee.
Today, Big Tex burned to the ground. I started writing this review a couple of hours before the sad event. Big Tex represents a very important part of Dallas-ite culture. (This coming from a guy that showed up at the Halloween Yelp event 2 years ago dressed as Big Tex.)
I dedicate this review to Big Tex. Thanks for the memories buddy, and I hope to see you again next year… with a little more flame resistance.