Tag Archive | Restaurant

Lavendou Bistro

Plano, Texas

IMG_20171104_180458287_HDR

When you write dining and travel blogs, your friends start giving you all kinds of great advice and suggestions on places to try. I am so glad that they do! Two different people had mentioned Lavendou Bistro for me to try. After a little research, I was intrigued with this little French restaurant. It was time for me to check it out on my own. Date night!

IMG_20171104_182534731_LL

Let me first alert you to Lavendou Bistro’s “unusual” location. It is located in a strip center just a few doors down from a condom shop, a massage parlor and a vape shop (I guess this would make a great date night for some people!). This was not at all what I expected from this highly-rated French restaurant, but I was keeping an open mind. Thankfully, this questionable locale did not deter us and we walked in to a quaint little European-style restaurant with inviting decor and French charm. The interior, with exposed brick walls, was very warm and welcoming. The blue, yellow and white color theme was authentic French country-style. The ambiance, decor and lighting were romantic and unpretentious. 

 

The service we experienced was friendly and attentive. Our French-speaking server was very helpful with both wine and meal choices. She suggested a French red wine for us that turned out to be an excellent choice. A bread basket was quickly brought to our table  – complete with fresh butter and an olive tapenade dipping oil that was most enjoyable.  We both enjoyed our salads. My salad was the Croquant de Chevre Chaud sur son Lit de Jeennes Pousses, otherwise known as mixed greens with goat cheese balls, parma ham and pine nuts. The breaded goat cheese was delicious! My husband had the Crevettes en Feuille de Brique salad which had the mixed greens with shrimp (stuffed with spinach and pine nuts) then wrapped in phyllo pastry. The house-made vinaigrette salad dressings were full-bodied and flavorful. 

So far….so good. Now we were on to the main course!  I ordered the Dover Sole with Lemon Sauce which turned out to be one of the best fish dishes that I have ever been served in a restaurant. The sole was lightly browned on the outside and literally “melted” in my mouth. The lemon, butter & wine sauce elevated it even more. The fish was served with roasted potatoes and mixed vegetables and was beautifully plated. My husband ordered the Blackened Grouper (an evening special) and it was cooked to perfection with with just the right amount of seasoning.  The grouper was served with micro greens, poached pears and mixed vegetables. The portions were quite large and I actually had leftovers to take home and enjoy the following day. 

The highlight of our evening was the dessert portion of the meal. I ordered the Chocolate Souffle and my husband ordered the raspberry version. These souffles were perfection! They were light, airy, and perfectly cooked. The accompanying sauces were thick and full of flavor. We both commented that these souffles were some of the best we have ever eaten. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful meal.

If you find yourself in the mood for casual, country-style French cuisine, look no further than Lavendou Bistro. There is no trendy “fusion” food here – just excellent wine, gracious service, exquisite food and perfect ambiance. I hope to be returning soon, so maybe I will see you there. There is a chocolate souffle just waiting with my name on it!

 

If you enjoyed reading this blog, please subscribe to get my latest postings. I also love getting feedback and comments! Thanks. 🙂

 

 

Toulouse Cafe & Bar

Dallas, Texas

If you are anything like me, when you hear the words “French restaurant”…..it conjures up thoughts of snooty waiters, expensive wines, and icky snails floating in a butter sauce. That is what I always thought until I found Toulouse Cafe and Bar in Dallas. Luckily, after dining here I have a whole new appreciation for French cuisine.

Toulouse is a French bistro located in the trendy Knox-Henderson shopping area. There is convenient valet parking located right across the street from the restaurant. Once you enter the main doors, you can choose to sit in the covered patio area or inside in the casual dining room. The patio area is all draped with bright red fabric and was very quiet and relaxing – that is where we chose to dine on this particular evening. The cane-back chairs, the black & white floor tiles, the small table candles and the patrons with their dogs table-side all enhanced the feeling of dining in a cafe in Paris.

Service was really attentive and we felt like we were well taken care of this entire evening. We started with a couple of  featured cocktails – a Chanel No. 6 Champagne Cocktail and a Mint/Cucumber Gimlet. Both were very nice and quite refreshing. We ordered the Cheese Board as an appetizer and it was exceptional. There were four types of imported artisan cheeses, fresh honeycomb, fruit, prunes, candied walnuts and grilled baguette slices. We followed up with French Onion Soup which was one of the best I have ever had. The Gruyère cheese was thick and lightly toasted and the overall taste was delicious – good to the last drop. 🙂

Toulouse3

Short Rib Bourguignon with noodles

We were almost too full to eat more at this point, but decided to keep going….the food was just too good not to! My husband ordered the fish special which was an Alaskan Halibut with Beet Risotto and Brussels Sprouts. The fish was very nice and cooked to perfection. I ordered the Short Rib Bourguignon which was absolutely “mouthwatering” delicious. I am not a huge fan of meat and I honestly ordered this dish for the carrots, onions, mushrooms and wide butter noodles. I was really surprised; the ribs were red wine braised and cooked for hours until fork tender – great taste and great texture. I ate what I could and had the remainder for a really fancy lunch the next day!  

Though being completely full and satisfied at this point in the meal, we had souffles served to us. We had ordered souffles for dessert at the beginning of our meal since they take some time to cook. Who cannot make room for dessert….right?!  The Chocolate Souffle and the Grand Marnier Souffle were both extremely light in texture and in taste, the perfect finale to this excellent meal.

Overall we had a most enjoyable evening with good service, delicious food and drinks, and a nice ambiance. If you would like to dine at Toulouse, they are located at 3314 Knox in Dallas, just a couple of blocks west of Central Expressway. This is a great place for a date night – casual but very nice. Bon Appétit!

0311171752_HDR-1

What have you got “to lose?” Get it?!

Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions about this post. I would love to hear of your experiences if you have dined at Toulouse. Also, please subscribe to my blog if you enjoy reading about my dining and travel experiences. I appreciate it!

 

Dushanbe Teahouse

Boulder, Colorado

Boulder is now one of my favorite cities! You drive through the town and see mountains in one direction and modern buildings in another. There are trendy restaurants, open shopping areas, parks, creeks, evergreen trees, and sculptures scattered in between. It is a sensory overload for me. Love it!

One building that stands out from all others is the elaborate Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. Photos do not do it justice. It is an artistic structure designed in bright blues, yellows, greens, reds, golds, etc. and the more you gaze at the details – the more you see. No two panels or cedar columns are alike. The entire place is handcrafted, carved, and painted with beautiful intricate patterns that are traditional in Persian Art.

077

handcrafted ceiling & cedar columns

Dushanbe is the capital of Tajikistan and this teahouse was actually constructed there and sent as a gift to Boulder, their “sister city.” It was completely built by hand without the use of any power tools whatsoever. It was finished, disassembled, crated up and sent to Boulder to be rebuilt. The teahouse stands today as a symbol of friendship and to remind the citizens of Boulder to value cultural diversity, global cooperation and international friendship. 

Besides just being a gorgeous building, Dushanbe Teahouse is one of my absolute favorite places to eat when visiting Boulder. I have never found iced chai tea anywhere that can compare to the spicy deliciousness of the ones served here. I have had the privilege of dining here for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner and have sampled many of their tasty and somewhat unusual dishes.

You can choose to be seated indoors and enjoy the building’s architecture and beautiful plants and fountains. You can also choose to be seated outside under flowering trellises or canopies and enjoy the outdoor sights. The teahouse is a work of art to enjoy either way.

The menu is very diverse! Try Kookoo Sabzi (a Persian omelette with baba ghanoush and rice), a Honduran Beleada (tortilla, black beans, eggs, cheese, and avocado), Chickpea Kufteh (chickpea croquettes with Persian tomato sauce, greens and pomegranate) or maybe delicious Indian Samosas (with  spicy potatoes and peas). 

For the more traditional diners – try the Hummus, Whole Wheat Chai Pancakes, Russian Beet Salad, or American Breakfast (complete with a homemade pop tart). There is also a wide variety of sandwiches, salads, and pastas on the menu but I am always game to try something new and different. The desserts have always been especially good with my favorites being their Tangerine Tea Gingerbread and Mexican Chocolate Cake (which packs quite a chili pepper punch!). 

Their drink menu is extensive with wines and cocktails but I keep going back for the chai tea…..it is just too delicious to pass up. If you want something different, try one of their Blooming Teas – where a flowery dried tea ball is actually dropped into your clear glass of hot water and the artisan tea literally “blooms” as it steeps. It is quite an unusual drink, to say the least. 

153

blooming tea

One of my favorite trips to Dushanbe Teahouse was last October when the Boulder Farmer’s Market was being held on a gorgeous Saturday morning. The whole area in front of and around Dushanbe is filled with booths and stalls selling various products: plants, flowers, granola, fruits & vegetables, soaps, jams & jellies, honey, goat cheese, breads, artisan crafts, T-shirts, etc. It is truly a sight to behold! My morning was filled with sights, sounds, scents and tastes from this wonderful market. What a fantastic and memorable way to spend an autumn day in Boulder – a stroll through the Farmer’s Market and then brunch at Dushanbe with good friends and family. Life doesn’t get much better.

I also learned a very valuable chemistry lesson once while dining at Dushanbe Teahouse. While enjoying a wonderful brunch here and dining on French Toast stuffed with Orange Cream (fantastic dish!), I decided to stir a little pack of sugar into my mimosa for added sweetness. What came bubbling out of that champagne flute looked like a third grade volcano science project! Warning: NEVER add sugar to champagne and then stir. Lesson learned.

If you ever have the pleasure to visit Boulder, please make it a priority to visit Dushanbe Teahouse. I do not think you will be disappointed. And if you have visited before, please leave your comments on this blog page. I would enjoy hearing about other’s experiences. 

I hope you enjoyed this article. If so, please subscribe to this blog and read more of my dining and travel experiences. Thanks!