Texas Again?

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2014/05/09 01:07:58 (permalink)

Texas Again?

Had to make a medical trip to Texas earlier in the year and I tried to document my meals.  I did a lot of cooking at home and was on my own a lot of the time during the day.  Not a lot of Roadfood type places for me to find so I ate at a lot of chain fast food places where I'd never been.  That makes them Roadfood for me.
First stop was
Tucson,  AZ
El Guero Canelo   for a Sonoran Dog.  I loved it so much last year that I ordered two.  Two was too many.  Something was off this time.  Not sure what.  I ate them while driving which could have been the problem or a problem.  Didn't take a picture this time as wrapping ruined the look.
Stopped the night in Las Cruces, NM
Wanted to go eat at Nellie's but they were closed before 7PM.  Guess it was a bad day for them.  I was told that Nellie's closes when they have no more patrons.  I won't be trying to eat there again as it seems that possible customers aren't important to them.
On the way to Nellie's we saw a place right by our motel so with a feeling of defeat we stopped at Chilito's which looked like a Taco Bell sort of chain restaurant.  They are not!  They're owned by a local family that began the restaurant in 1997.
I wasn't real happy with this choice until we saw queso dip listed on the menu.  It's not offered anywhere that we know of in California.  We feasted on it while our order was being prepared.  It was fabulous and burned the mouth just right.  Gotta love Hatch Chilies!  It was chock full of chili chunks.

The colored chips were fun but I didn't find any difference in taste.  I thought that maybe the blue chips were blue corn but I don't think so.
When in New Mexico I MUST have red and green chili sauce.  My order was 2 cheese enchiladas and a chili relleno plate served Christmas.  I could not have asked for a better dinner.  For me it's all about the sauce, beans and rice.
The table sauce was also to my liking...  not a fresh tomato and onion salsa but a tomato and chili cooked sauce with lots of burn factor.  I loaded up the rice with it.

Made our destination,  Denison, Texas in two days.
Our next meal out was Sam's Southern Eatery in Sherman, Texas.  I've already extolled the virtues and my love of Sam's on another thread.  I ate the shrimp dinner there at least a half dozen times!

 Here are some of the things we ordered, but let me tell you again...  go there for the fried shrimp and red beans and rice!

Fried Green Tomatoes

Chicken Salad
Grilled Catfish  which I did't think would be good.... and it was!  i just now noticed the grilled shrimp.  I didn't order the grilled catfish.  It wasn't my plate.

This is what I ordered my first time there...  Combo plate of the wonderful fried shrimp, fried catfish, stuffed shrimp and hush puppies.  I didn't care for the stuffed shrimp as the consistancy of the stuffing was too mushy for me. 
I went back several times and ordered just the fried shrimp and hope to do that many times more on our next trip there.
Fuzzy's Taco Shop
Sherman, Texas
Crossing this one off my list.  Ordered two meat soft tacos without cilantro.  Those pictured are the second plate after a cilantro covered first plate.  I don't ever put lettuce or tomatoes on my soft tacos.  They weren't good.  The Mexican Potatoes weren't good and the beans weren't good.

Happy to have one of my favorite meals next in Denison, Texas
Huck's Catfish

2811 Trail Dr, Denison, TX 75020
I've previously reviewed Huck's here so I'll just post pictures.  We ate there twice.  On my second visit I mistakenly listened to someone who said that they had the best chicken fried steak in Texas.  Hint..  when you go to a catfish restaurant...  order the catfish!  It wasn't bad, it's just that the catfish is better.


It's from here that I really hit the chain restaurants or small places I could find. 
This place in Sherman called out to me.  I stood there in 19º weather talking to the owner/chef.  He's from San Diego and prepares authentic style Mexican food.  I ordered 2 burritos, barbacoa for lunch and carnitas for dinner. Both were excellent and the salsas were even better.  This place deserves lots of business as he does Mexican Roadfood right!
Crazy Burrito

1824 Texoma Pkwy, Sherman, TX 75090



 Next stop was for chicken fried steak in the oldest city in Texas....  Bonham
805 E Sam Rayburn Dr, Bonham, TX 75418
Now this is the best chicken fried steak I've ever had.  Good meat , good coating and good gravy.

On to my week's stay in McKinney, Texas  while traveling back and forth every day to Plano.
I was sent to the donut shop  to pick up sausage rolls for breakfast.  Pastry wrapped Smoky Links and bacon was what I picked up.  They were not my thing but I did pick up a bottle of chocolate whole milk which is not available in California.  That I liked!

I was excited to try this next place as I'd heard a lot about it. 
Raising Cane's
Allen, Texas
I ordered what I considered the sample basket.  The three chicken strip combo.  They only sell chicken strips but in all different combinations.  How does a place only sell one thing?  The strips were hot and good and the sauce seemed like mayonnaise mixed with seasoned salt.  They were hot, they were good and I guess they must be to support an entire chain.

Dinner time was more chicken.  Politics and religion aside I had to find out why every night there was a line out the door at Chick-Fil-A in McKinney, Texas.
 They are in California but I'd never been.  It was time.
I stood in the long line and when I got up to where I place my order I still wasn't sure.  I apologized telling the cashier that it was my first time.  She suggested the fried chicken sandwich and that's what I went with.  She told me it was $2.99 and if I remember correctly I gave her a $5 dollar bill.  She handed me back the receipt and my money.  I told her that she forgot to charge me and she said it was on the house for my first time visit.  IMPRESSED!
The sandwich was okay.  Nothing I couldn't get elsewhere but I'd now tried one.  I did want to go back to try the chicken salad sandwich.

Next stop was my favorite place for a char grilled burger in the United States and they also happen to have the best homemade root beer anywhere.  Smooth with slight undertones of vanilla and I drove way out of my way to have a burger and root beer at
Del's Charcoal Burgers    

110 S McKinney St, Richardson, TX 75081

It was somewhere around this time that I spoke with MetroplexJim about other places between McKinney and Plano.
One of the places Jim suggested was right across the street from where I was every day.
Red Hot and Blue Barbecue   

5017 W Plano Pkwy, Plano, TX 75093
Although a chain, it was a nice change from the fast food variety.  I did take out twice, first time a pulled pork sandwich and next time a rib and brisket combo meal.  I forgot to take pictures.  The pork sandwich with their spicy sauce was delicious.  The brisket was so tough I couldn't cut it but their pork ribs were great.

Lunch the next day was another of MetroplexJim's suggestions.  He already knew that I loved Del's AND root beer.  He suggested
Twisted Root Beer Company     
7300 Lone Star Dr
Ste C150
Plano, TX 75024

What a cool location.  It's located in an outdoor high end sort of mall.  I forgot my phone and name of the place when I was walking all over the mall, but knew it had root beer in the name.  No one I asked was helpful.  First they didn't like being bothered by me and then they feigned ignorance.  I found it.  It was on one of the back or side roads.
What an operation!  You stand in line to order your burger then you go in to another room with raised tables and a wall full of paper towels. Large screen televisions everywhere.  But what really impressed me was the pickle bar.  WOW!  They had Koolaid Pickles!  No way would I ever waste a jar of pickles to make my own, but here they were for my sampling.  I took a sampling of all of them.
I was right not to make my own Koolaid Pickles.  I didn't like them at all.  What I did like were the spicy pickles.
They also make their own root beer and it was good but it wasn't as smooth as Del's.
The burger was very good but if it was char grilled I didn't know it.  Del's wins!  Sorry Jim.
But for a class operation selling burgers, Twisted Root Beer Company definitely wins.  Del's wouldn't be able to handle the crowds if they had such an operation.
Thank you, Jim for your suggestions.  It made my visit that much more enjoyable.

Back to Denison and my next new to me chain restaurant was
McAllister's Deli
3801 U.S. 75, Sherman, TX 75090
I don't believe McAllister's has crossed the Arizona-California border.
Another class operation compared to what I have available to me at home.
My to-go order was a roast beef and cheese  with a horseradish sauce sandwich on a grilled Ciabatta.   I will be making these at home.  The coleslaw it came with is non-descript and was non-eaten.
I was fascinated with the carry out  bags they used for the iced tea.  They held 2 glasses with a separation down the middle. How clever!  McAllister's has excellent iced tea.  When in Texas, order sweetened!  They even sold it by the gallon.
For more excitement, when I left it was snowing!

Time for what I call a sit down restaurant.  The girls suggested a new Italian restaurant in town.  From the looks of it I thought it was another chain but when I asked they told me it was the first but they had plans for more.
Tuscan Slice             
306 E Hwy 82, Sherman, TX 75090
Loved their menus.  Easy to make and easy to clean.
We started out with some very soupy hot artichoke and spinach dip that was overly spiced with fresh basil and some Caprese Salad which was outstanding... but it usually is.  Not too difficult to make.
I ordered the baked manicotti which I loved.  Freshly made pasta and filling with a fresh sauce.   Very good taste and very rich.  I hope they do well.

Next meal was a suggested place that I didn't know was a chain until I got there.  I ordered some forgettable submarine sandwich and filled my paper cup with diet cherry lime ricky.  I loved the drink!
Firehouse Subs
No address as it seems that they're everywhere. 
Cute theme.

Next up  burgers at Mooyah's.
Also everywhere except California or Los Angeles.
Fun place that is an assembly line.  Reminded me of Smashburger.  By the looks of all the fries lined up and also ready for the fryer they were expecting a lot of people!  The burger was an okay chain burger.  Nothing outstanding about it.  I did like that I could have grilled onions on mine.

For years I wanted to try Cackle & Oink BBQ and for years I was told it was no good.  I was picking up meals for them and me so I made two stops, one being for me..
Cackle & Oink BBQ     
3210 Texoma Pkwy, Sherman, TX 75090

Glad I stopped there!  Located in an old Taco Bell building they made great use out of it.  They even have a drive through window.
My pulled pork sandwich was delicious.  Nice and smoky with some charred bits.
The sides were just okay.  I ordered the barbecued beans and stewed cabbage.  Both were good, but not really special.  For $1 more I got the hot link.  Guess I don't like hot links.
Moral...  make your own judgment of a place and don't listen to everything others have to say.

Ate and drank at Sonic several times and this year the hot dogs are good again.  Love their drinks!
Had to stop in Las Cruces for another visit to Chilitos on the way home.  It was that good.
Started the meal again with the queso dip.  Not as spicy as the first time but still quite good.
I had a carne asada burrito served Christmas style... of course and washed everything down with an ice cold Horchata.  Not asada like I know but great.

This was not a trip for fun, but a girl has got to eat.
I did!
post edited by mar52 - 2014/05/09 01:12:02

12 Replies Related Threads

    • Total Posts : 8785
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    Re:Texas Again? 2014/05/09 04:40:55 (permalink)
    Great thorough report. I think I would have loved the catfish at Hucks...Hope the medical stuff turned out ok. Loved your report. Thanks!
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    Re:Texas Again? 2014/05/09 08:29:01 (permalink)
    Nicely done, Mar...you picked some winners!  It would be tough to choose because charcoal-grilled burgers and fried shrimp are favorites of mine, but if you twisted my arm I think Chilito's would win by a nose.  And I do the same thing with chains: if I can't find it at home it warrants a fact-finding stop if I get the chance.
    And hopefully it was good news on the medical front.
    Filet Mignon
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    Re:Texas Again? 2014/05/09 08:52:06 (permalink)
    Mar - What an amazing report filled with so many great shots...it'll take me a week to comment!  I am even more impressed you did it in a single post!!!  I always post small as I've lost so many partial posts that the re-creation time gets crazy!  Congrats on a GREAT post...and in one single shot! 
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
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    Re:Texas Again? 2014/05/09 12:25:59 (permalink)
    Wow, Mar!  "A girl has got to eat" and you sure did well.  
    Standouts for me were the fried catfish at Huck's and Sam's and the Crazy Burrito.  Also the Christmas style burrito in Las Cruces.  Mmmm!!!
    I also hope your trip was successful from a medical standpoint. 
    Michael Hoffman
    Double-chop Porterhouse
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    Re:Texas Again? 2014/05/09 12:58:27 (permalink)
    Great report.
    Filet Mignon
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    Re:Texas Again? 2014/05/09 13:18:51 (permalink)
    Mar, great report! I was wondering why the diet started a few months back. The food looks wonderful.........take care.........Bill
    mayor al
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    Re:Texas Again? 2014/05/09 15:28:04 (permalink)
    Next trip if Las Cruces seems to be letting you down RF-wise, try Demming, just a little way west on I-10. a Czech community with a long history of sausage making and Kolache...a real change of pace from the Mexican chow usually found along the 10.
    Your doing a fine job of reporting your travels...Keep it up.
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
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    Re:Texas Again? 2014/05/09 15:36:32 (permalink)
    Great report! The food at Chilitos looks fabulous -- well worth multiple visits.
    As for Raising Cane's and Chick-Fil-A -- for a long time, the only outlets for each in the Twin Cities were on the University of Minnesota campus.  Chick-Fil-A is now also at MSP airport (where, yes, they are closed on Sundays). 
    Raising Cane's is surprisingly good and the chicken fingers are meaty and generous.   Student groups often get big trays of their food to serve at meetings.  As for Chick-Fil-A, I want to like it, but the fried chicken always leaves me feeling slightly queasy.  I'm sure it's me, not them, but I've given up on it.
    Filet Mignon
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    Re:Texas Again? 2014/05/09 15:40:42 (permalink)
    Superb report. Thank you.
    Filet Mignon
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    Re:Texas Again? 2014/05/09 15:53:30 (permalink)
    Nice report, Marlene.  I love reports that are done at one time...............makes it much more enjoyable for me to read. As for Chick-Fil_A.......................their chicken noodle soup and their chicken salad sandwiches are excellent.  This is my granddaughter's boy friend's favorite place to eat so I either have the soup or the chicken salad sandwich when I take them there.
    post edited by Greymo - 2014/05/09 15:55:56
    Double Cheeseburger
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    Re:Texas Again? 2014/05/09 15:53:55 (permalink)
    Great report and the food looks awesome.....
    Filet Mignon
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    Re:Texas Again? 2014/05/10 03:31:19 (permalink)
    Ay chiuhuahua! But it looks like you muy fun!
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