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Now Broadcasting from Central Texas

15 Sep

I moved!  I now reside in the same zipcode as this inexplicable piece of pop art/lawn junk. 

Yes, I live in Austin, surrounded by Texas’ best (and arguably the world’s greatest) pit smoked BBQ, food trailer mania, Tex-Mex-topia, lack-of-great-Asian-cuisinia, and all that is weird about Central Texas.  I’ve only been a resident for a month, and my taste buds are already diligently at work analyzing delectables like smoky brisket from Snow’s BBQ in Lexington and Opie’s BBQ in Spicewood, tender and flavorful barbacoa tacos from Taco More, indulgent eggs benedict with braised pork belly from Fabi and Rosi’s Sunday brunch, strangely textured yet surprisingly flavorful Philly seitan sandwich from vegetarian cart Counter Culture, comforting green chile macaroni from Moonshine Patio Bar and Grill, etc, etc.  It hasn’t all been a foodie paradise, though.  Disappointing bowls of pho and bibimbap from restaurants highly touted by locals present weak spots in Austin’s gastronomy scene.  Will I eat myself into a BBQ coma or finally find a plate of pad kee mow worth repeating?  Stay tuned to find out.

It’s been a great run, Dallas, and I hope to be back often to visit (and keep updated with the food scene).


…I’m Back!!!

18 Nov

A wise sage once said to me, “most blogs have a one to two year life span.”

She couldn’t have been more right.  It’s easy to get burned out on maintaining a blog, especially when your computer dies and takes all your files to the digital after life with it.  I felt unmovitated to keep up with the blog after the demise of my previous lap top, especially when it coincided with the change of a few key contributors to the Dallas food scene and a down economy where mom and pop restaurants were closing all over the place. 

In the mean time, I felt restless after finishing my graduate school work.  So naturally, I decided to go for more schooling, this time for a Culinary Arts certificate through Collin College (part time, the real world still calls).  Then it struck me like a ton of bricks.  I have a natural passion for food, cooking, and educating myself about all things culinary.  And now I get to witness all that is food from the perspective of a foodie and a culinary student.  I wanted to get back to blogging… I needed to get back to blogging.

So I’m back!  I warn you that the first two classes I took through the Culinary Arts program dealt with food safety and sanitation and nutrition and menu planning, so you might be seeing a more health paranoid diner in the restaurant reviews and a more health conscious cook in the home kitchen (more fiber and meatless Mondays, oh yeah).

But I’m still the same curious food enthusiast I have been since the launch of this blog.  I still love all things new, foreign, and different.  I’ll still try anything once.

Two Year Blog Birthday

17 Aug

261 posts…
79 DFW restaurant reviews… 
2 years and counting…

Top 7 Bites of ’07

30 Dec

It’s the list of the most delicious things I ate in 2007.  The foods that still induce a bit of saliva when I think about them. 

7. Fresh Muscat grapes from Central Market
6. Twice cooked pork from Sichuanese Cuisine
5. Fried goat cheese balls with honey from Malaga Wine & Tapas Bar in Austin
4. Crispy seared pork belly with sesame glaze from Abacus
3. Open fire grilled chicken from a no name restaurant in Piste, Mexico
2. BBQ pork and duck from First Chinese BBQ
1. Steamed mussels with sweet chili, coriander, and oyster sauce from Straivagin in Glasgow

What was your favorite, most memorable bite of 2007?

New Archive Index Page

19 Nov

In an effort to improve the navigability of this page and help readers find past posts more easily, I created an Archive Index page that lists all the DFW Restaurant Reviews, Food Travelogues, Wine Trail, and Recipe posts in their respective categories.  This page will be accessible via the Archive Index link under “Archive Search Tools” on the sidebar. 

Additionally, I’ve removed the sidebar DFW Restaurant Reviews Map.  The sidebar map was really slowing down the loading of the page.  You can still access the full size map by clicking on the DFW Restaurant Reviews Map link under “Archive Search Tools” on the sidebar, but the mini map will no longer be visible on the sidebar.

In short, there are now three ways to search this site:

1) Simple key word search box at the top of the sidebar.

2) Archive Index page under Archive Search Tools which lists all the DFW Restaurant Reviews, Food Travelogue Destinations, Wine Trails, and Recipes.

3) DFW Restaurant Reviews Map under Archive Search Tools.  Once the full size map is loaded, click on either the name of the restaurant on the “List of Places” or click on a map marker, that will bring up the details on a specific restaurant. Click on “website” link under the restaurant name and that will take you to the Donna Cooks review.

Donna Cooks Gets a New Look

12 Nov

As much as I liked the old layout, the sidebar always looked cluttered.  So I’m giving this new layout a try.  Let me know what you think!  Specifically, I’m looking for input on what features/tools/options you’d like to see added to the blog.  Is it too difficult to navigate right now?  Does the order of the items on the sidebar make sense?  How can I make this blog easier to read and navigate?

New Feature: Map for Restaurant Reviews

31 Oct

With over 60 DFW restaurant reviews (and new ones added almost every week), the search field is becoming inadequate as the sole method to track old reviews.  I’ve added an interactive map to help organize my DFW restaurant reviews, which will be updated each time I review a new restaurant.  Click on the specific restaurant marker on the map, and a link to the relevant Donna Cooks review will come up (click on “website” link below the restaurant name).

You can access the full size map here or click on the “Map of DFW Restaurant Reviews” link under Archive Search Tools on the sidebar.  Now you can easily see where I’ve eaten!