Pecan Lodge – Dallas, TX

Restaurant Name: Pecan Lodge
Address: 2702 Main Street, Dallas, TX 75226 
FACEBOOK / TWITTER / INSTAGRAM / WEBSITE

As I’m writing this blog post the US in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic. During my time stuck in my house, I figured I’d dig up some old BBQ adventures of mine that I haven’t written about yet. This post is about the Pecan Lodge in Dallas, TX.

The Pecan Lodge sits in Deep Ellum district of downtown Dallas. My first experience with the Pecan Lodge was when my boss from work brought back some BBQ from here when we had a job site in Dallas nearly 10 years ago. Since then I’ve been to the Pecan Lodge twice…once was on my very first BBQ Tour in 2014 and then most recently for a work trip and a day of vacation. Here’s their awesome menu board:

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On this particular day, which was vacation, I had just wrapped up a pretty successful round of sporting clays so I rewarded myself for my lunch before heading back to Indy. My lunch consisted of a pork sausage link, beef brisket burnt ends, collard greens, mac ‘n cheese, and peach cobbler.

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When my name got called this tray was waiting for me and I about passed out in the glorious view of my lunch. Everything looked absolutely delicious! Most appealing to my eye is probably the amount of bacon in the mac n cheese. The sausage link and the brisket burnt ends had a great color and I could tell they were legitimately smoked. The mac n cheese also screams CREAMY and it most definitely was. The collard greens looked fresh and it was a good size serving. I will admit that I barely finished this platter for my lunch but of course I did finish it LOL. Here’s some closeups of the individual items I got.

Let’s talk about the flavor experience that Pecan Lodge is. Traditional Texas style BBQ is beef, salt, & pepper. The brisket burnt ends match that pretty much perfectly. Paired with a sweet sauce though it was off the charts delicious. It was super tender…almost fork apart tender. The pork sausage was a good spicy with good hints of smoke. The casing had a solid snap when you cut into it AND bit into which is a texture I really like in smoked sausages. 

Of the two sides and dessert that I had the mac n cheese was definitely my favorite. The greens and peach cobbler were delicious but the mac n cheese took this meal completely over the top. The macaroni noodles were super soft, the cheese sauce was super creamy, and the fresh chopped up bacon on top was a delicious salty delicacy that makes all tastebuds put a cowboy hat on and say “Yeehaa!”.  The collard greens had a great smokey flavor as they had some pulled pork in it and it was very balanced with onions as well. The peach cobbler was a great finish to the meal and probably put me close to gluttony but not quite. It was warm, smooth, and the crust was solid. 

Very tough to find a true “negative” at the Pecan Lodge. The burnt ends may have been a bit too tender for me as I do enjoy a good chew. Ice cream would’ve been nice to have on the cobbler but I guess you can’t expect them to be excellent at everything. 

SUMMARY

The Pecan Lodge in Dallas, TX is an absolute must visit if you’re in Dallas area. GET THERE EARLY! There is always a line usually wrapped around the building just to get in to the building…you still have about another 100 feet or so to go before you actually get to the counter to place an order but I 100% GUARANTEE you the food will be worth the wait and worth the money. 

Bombers BBQ – Munster, IN

Restaurant Name: Bombers BBQ
Address: 435 Ridge Road, Suite F, Munster, IN 46321
FACEBOOK / WEBSITE 



In 2017, I did my annual BBQ Tour Trip and focused on just the state of Indiana. Visited six of the highest rated places outside of Indianapolis (my hometown) and the winner was Bombers BBQ in northwest Indiana in Munster. I didn’t have the food blog back then so I didn’t write about the winner, but I recently revisited this place coming back from the Chicago Auto Show with some college students from MyChurch Indy. 

Bombers BBQ recently moved. I will admit that when I pulled up to their original location and saw a bunch of white paper signs posted on the glass I thought the worst had happened and the health department shut them down. I was very relieved when I walked up to the signs to see them simply say they’ve moved just down the street. Inside the restaurant it’s got a great open concept and cafeteria style tables so you can sit with new people and enjoy BBQ together! The exposed ceiling with pendant lighting is on point and really provides a warm feel to the place. The wall decorations showcase the Air Force and has a few jackets from past wars and some neat articles. The dining area has views into the kitchen where they assemble all the food so that’s cool.

Top Left: Baby Back Ribs & Fries
Top Right Top: Alligator Eggs = Deep Fried Oreos
Top Right Bottom: Beef Brisket, Coleslaw, & Mac & Cheese
Bottom: Brisket Burnt Ends, Mac & Cheese, & Fries

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Brisket Burnt End Sandwich with smoked beans

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Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

The three students I took with me on this trip each ordered a good array of BBQ. One student ordered a full rack of baby back ribs. They were super tender (too tender for competition) and flavorful with a good amount of smoke. The beef brisket just melted in your mouth. It was super tender as well (too tender for competition again using the tug method) and had a very solid smoke ring. The burnt ends were delicious. I’m used to them being sweeter so they needed a little bit of sauce but if you’re a fan of just straight salt & pepper flavor on your beef then Bombers burnt ends are on point. The sides were good. Mac & Cheese was the guys favorite and it was good. Creamy and I liked the fact that they used shells vs. macaroni…always a nice unique twist to the dish.

I ordered the brisket burnt end sandwich with beans and the bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers. Let me start this review talking about the appearance and the plating of the food. The food comes out on metal tray on plastic paper so that’s a good middle of the road plating. The bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers looked AWESOME! I could tell that the bacon was crispy which is an absolute must for me. 

Having been at this place before, I set the bar pretty high and Bombers BBQ met it and in the grand scheme of the overall BBQ experience exceeded it. Sticking to just the review of the food I had, the burnt end sandwich was EXCELLENTLY done. The burnt ends as I mentioned earlier are simple (salt & pepper & smoke) and really allows the beef to do the talking. The burnt end chunks are a little larger than I typically see on a sandwich which caused a few pieces to fall off the sandwich. No biggie, as I got to eat those individually later.

The sandwich is served on a pretzel bun which is GENIUS! Past burnt end or brisket sandwiches I see a standard bun and if it’s not at least toasted some always makes the last few bites of the sandwich soggy. The pretzel bun, even though it wasn’t toasted any or at least didn’t appear to have been toasted any, held up very well to the moist brisket burnt ends.

The beans were good and had some of the pulled pork in it so it provided a good smokey flavor. The beans used were a little larger than I typically see for BBQ beans or baked beans which was a nice twist and they even provided a better texture as the beans were a little “meatier” so to say. The bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers weren’t nearly as spicy as I thought they’d be. Perhaps too much cheese? Regardless, it still tasted phenomenal and the bacon on the outside was SUPER CRISPY which is always a plus.

The only negative I’d have to say about the food is just the appearance and plating of the sandwich. The plate had too much “dead space” and made the sandwich look a little small. I think some red onion and pickle slices would’ve been a nice touch to the plate that could simply be used as garnish or could be used on the sandwich. It’d also provide some color that pops out to the eye.

SUMMARY

Bombers BBQ in Munster, IN won the BBQ Tour in 2017 for a reason and it didn’t disappoint again. It’s a great overall BBQ experience that everyone should try if they’re passing through Chicago area. The place is a few miles off of the interstate so it’d be a good detour well worth it.

Late Harvest Kitchen

Restaurant Name: Late Harvest Kitchen
Address: 8605 River Crossing Blvd, Indianapolis, IN 46240
FACEBOOK / TWITTER / INSTAGRAM / WEBSITE 


Pork Chop – May 3, 2018

Earlier this week, my parents came down to Indy to celebrate my birthday. I always enjoy a nice fancy type of dinner every now and then and especially for my birthday so I got my folks and I a reservation to Late Harvest Kitchen. Tucked near the Keystone at the Crossing and Fashion Mall area, this restaurant is a little bit hidden, but quite the gem of a place. 

My mom ordered the General Tso’s Pork Belly over a bed of stir fry vegetables. My dad got the salmon. We shared sides of “Potatoes Minneapolis” and the Korean Fried Broccolini. Both sides tasted fabulous. The deep fried broccoli was super crispy which made the dish AWESOME! You won’t hear me say that too often about a vegetable, but it was really good. The bread was great and had a really nice garlic butter to go with the wide array of breads.

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Pork Chop with Baked Beans, Vinegar Peppers, Bacon Marmalade, & House Kraut

My main dish was the pork chop. The pork chop was accompanied with some baked beans, vinegar peppers, bacon marmalade, and a house kraut. When the dish comes out it looks very complex. You see beans, you see the pork chop, some kraut, the mound of bacon marmalade, and a pool of pork chop juices and it can be difficult to decide where to begin.

Let me start with the accessories to the pork chop. All were complimentary and tasty by themselves, but the bacon marmalade was my definite favorite. I would take a slice of the chop and put some of the marmalade on it and it was like a pork on pork explosion which was mighty tasty. The beans, peppers, and kraut were good on the eye and unique on the tastebuds. Complimentary but not outstanding individually. 

The pork chop itself was grilled PERFECTLY! A slight bit of pink in the center which for pork is acceptable to me. I want to tip the hat to the chef as their grill mark game was SPOT ON! The meat was tender but not fork apart tender which was good. It had a simple rub and traditional pork chop flavor and really allowed you to utilize the accessory foods for a fun array of flavors. Salty and sweet with the kraut, salty and heat with the peppers, salty and smokey with the baked beans. All delicious adventures for the taste buds. 

The only “negative” about the dish would be maybe too much pork chop juice can make the plate look a little messy and disorganized. Some brighter colors to make the dish pop some I think would also be a nice addition. The green chives are good and all, but don’t quite pop as what maybe some red onion would.

SUMMARY

Overall, this plate was great. Full of flavor and easy to eat. A fun adventure of flavor with the array of complimentary sides on the pork chop. Definitely a must try if you visit Late Harvest Kitchen.

 

Mimi Blue – Indianapolis, IN

Restaurant Name: Mimi Blue
Address: 870 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46202
FACEBOOK / TWITTER / INSTAGRAM / WEBSITE 


Meatballs Part 1 – April 29, 2018

Earlier this week I met up with a former student of mine for some catching up time. A good meet in the middle type of place that we both had never been to before is this place called Mimi Blue. Most famous for their meatballs, but plenty of other things on the menu, I had to try first them first hand. 

If you explore the menu they have an option for 4 meatballs of any kind or 3 meatballs of just one kind. It was a no brainer for me to go with the any 4 meatballs and sauces to make sure I get a good spread of flavors and textures. 

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I ended up ordering a classic meatball with marinara sauce (top left), another classic meatball but with a bourbon bbq sauce (top right), a beef meatball with a spicy bolognese sauce (lower left), and lastly a turkey meatball with the honey Sriracha sauce (lower right).

Looking at the four meatballs and their accompanying sauces, I was very intrigued to see which one I would enjoy the most. All four meatballs and sauces were delicious, but my favorite meatball was actually the turkey meatball with the honey Sriracha sauce. I want to say it was more the sauce than the meatball, but I don’t take one without the other as they’re complimentary to each other. 

The meatball was very well cooked and perfect size. Not too large where I have to fork and knife the whole thing, but not too small where I can eat the whole meatball in one bite. The meatball is tender enough it could be sliced with a fork, no knife needed. The sauce is OH MY GOODNESS AWESOME! A great balance of heat and sweet is the combo of honey and Sriracha sauce. Taste bud explosion right off the bat, with a salty flavor meatball middle and another punch of heat and sweet to end it. 

The meatballs are a must try and all the sauces were good, but this first post will focus on the turkey meatball with the honey Sriracha sauce. Future posts will discuss the others, but seriously…go and try them! 

Side note…the deep fried brussels sprouts are also worth getting. I don’t usually talk much about vegetables, but you know they’ve gotta be good if I’m showcasing them. 

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Deep Fried Brussels Sprouts

I must also give a shout out to fellow foodie Samantha at In The Midst Blog for her recommendation on getting the Banana Mousse. It was a creamy deliciousness that I will admit I should’ve gotten some other photos as this one below doesn’t fully give it justice. The crushed vanilla wafers in the middle add a really awesome texture and flavor depth to the banana flavors and creaminess of this dish.

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SUMMARY

All in all my first experience at Mimi’s was AMAZING! I’ll definitely visit again and try a new spread of meatballs and sauces. You should do it too!

Moontown Brewing Company- Whitestown, IN

Restaurant Name: Moontown Brewing Company
Address: 345 S. Bowers Street, Whitestown, IN
Social Media: FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / WEBSITE


BAHN MI – NOVEMBER 9, 2018

Moontown Brewery is a place that I frequently visit. My work built the place, my boss is an owner of the place, they have dankly delicious beer, live music a lot of times, and of course very tasty food. I love the fact that they rotate their menu. Sometimes some of my favorite items are always there (Brisket Sandwich and Porky the Pig Flatbread) but sometimes some of my favorite things go away for a season like the pretzel nuggets and beer cheese. They did replace it with a a whole pretzel twist so that’s good. 

One item that has been added to the menu for the fall is ‘Bahn Mi”. If you’ve never had Bahn Mi before YOU ARE MISSING OUT! 

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Pork belly, pickled carrot, and daikon, jalapeno peppers, 5 spice BBQ rub, cilantro, cucumber, and a kimchi aioli

I ordered the Bahn Mi as soon as I saw it was added to the fall menu. As a lover of all things BBQ and smoked meats and especially pork belly, this was a no brainer for me to order and try. Decided to get this tasty sandwich with a side of french fries and dank glass of the Cecil IPA.

Let’s start with the fries real quick…freshly cut and fried to a good level of crispiness. One thing when it comes to fries that’s a big turn off is soft NOT crispy fries. These fries are on point, dash of salt, and go very well with the sandwich. 

The Bahn Mi…at first glance comes open faced and looks amazing. The cucumbers obviously jump out as it kinda covers everything underneath it, but the color is nice on the eyes and the tray looks very full and not really empty which is always good when you’re getting a meal. If you take the cucumbers off the view of the sandwich is AMAZING! You can see all the components of the sandwich and even more colors come out with some orange from the carrots and yellows from the kimchi aioli.

Biting into this sandwich is a lot of fun. Great choice on the bread with a slight toast and crisp to it really makes the sandwich hold up well and the bread doesn’t get soggy. Each bite gives you a journey of flavors that your taste buds better have a passport. Smokey pork belly, sweet and sour kimchi, spicy jalapenos, and even the veggies compliment the flavors and add an added level of crunch in the middle of the sandwich. Great balanced flavors and decent portions of the sandwich components. 

The only thing I’d really like to see changed to this sandwich is to have some of the cucumbers removed when the dish comes out so that I could see all the components of the sandwich before I bite into it. More pork belly? Perhaps too much to ask? A couple strips or thick cut pieces is nice, but can you really have too much pork belly? Maybe a flash frying of the pork belly would add a really neat texture dynamic. I can’t be too critical of this sandwich because it is amazingly balanced and quite the adventure for the taste buds. A must try for anyone visiting Moontown!


BRISKET SANDWICH – APRIL 9, 2018

Tucked away in the suburban city of Whitestown, IN was an old high school gymnasium. For many many years it sat abandoned, empty, and deteriorating. Debuting a few months ago after an extensive interior and exterior renovation, Moontown Brewing Company was born and opened. This place has a special level of value as my work did the renovation. So this may be my first food review, but it definitely won’t be the last!

 

The menu at Moontown Brewing Company is very diverse and very tasty. They’ve got small bites, big bites, flatbreads, the pit aka BBQ, desserts, and side dishes. The first meal that I enjoyed from this awesome looking brew pub is the Brisket Sandwich. The brisket is served on a brioche bun and accompanied with a house made horseradish aioli and white onions. This sandwich comes with a side dish and for this particular visit I got the smoked beans.

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Brisket sandwich on a brioche bun accompanied with a house made horseradish aioli and white onions

The brisket sandwich, and most of the dishes, come out on a metal tray lined with paper and is plated very well. The sandwich, side dish (in this case smoked beans), and a pickle provide a good sized spread that doesn’t get dwarfed by the size of the tray. A couple things jump out when this dish comes out. First is the infamous smoke ring on the beef brisket slices. It’s red and thick but not too thick and easily visible. The white onion slices are a very nice eye appeal as well when the tray is set in front of you. The smoked beans have one major thing that makes it stand out…the MASSIVE CHUNK OF PORK BELLY in it! 

Flavors of this plate are AWESOME and everything you’d expect from a BBQ sandwich. Smokey, sweet, salty, and even a little bit of tang. The buttered brioche bun is a great texture to start the sandwich. The little bit of toasting of the buns adds a nice little crunch to this sandwich too. The brisket itself was thick cut and super tender. A good amount of smoke was not only visible but also evident in each bite. The brisket slices were juicy too, but not so juicy that they made the buns soggy. 

The smoked beans were a great complimentary dish to this sandwich. Really can’t complain about the beans when a massive chunk of pork belly is in it. Takes the depth of flavor to a new level not just in taste but in texture too.

If I had to find something “negative” on this dish I would have to go with the brisket being almost too tender. This is probably me just being like a BBQ judge and having a specific tenderness that’s not quite fall apart but has some stiffness to it but still easy to eat through. 

SUMMARY

A brisket is a tough cut of meat to BBQ and smoke properly. Moontown Brewing Company does a great job of smoking the meat and pairing it with very complimentary sides and flavors for a totally enjoyable taste bud experience.

 

 

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