Vanilla Brice

byVanilla Brice, December 2, 2011
I could bathe in Ninfa's salsa. I'm not sure I'd be clean, but at least I'd taste good.
byVanilla Brice, June 17, 2011
I'm from Brenham, so I grew up with ice cream. REAL ice cream. The best on the planet. Thus, maybe I'm biased against these yogurt places, but I really don't understand the craze.

Yes, it's still new, but 3 Spoons always seems to be swarming with people, and there is never enough seating. The yogurt itself is OK, and the big draw appears to be the fact that you can top your dessert yourself. Mmmmmkay. Personally, I'm not so enamored with toppings that it's much of a big deal for me.

In fact, my suggestion would be this: Park at 3 Spoons, walk over to Cold Stone, get some ice cream there, and walk back. Perhaps you'll make up the difference in the nutritional value in the exercise. And you'll definitely eat better.

That said, I speak only for myself and not for my family. My wife and kids love 3 Spoons, but again, I think it's mostly for the novelty of the picking out and piling on of toppings.
byVanilla Brice, June 17, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Just got done dining at Waco's latest Mexican food restaurant with my Friday lunch crew, and I'm fat and happy as a result. (Though I may have been fat before. I'll have to check on that).

It's a sister establishment to a place called Tres Hermanos in Whitney, which apparently was damaged by fire. A number of Whitney folks were there today, having made the drive in for their favorite Tex-Mex fare. I thought that was a good sign.

The prices were great, as everything on the lunch menu ran less than $8. I ordered the beef enchilada dinner, and it was massive and flavorful. Two of my lunchmates had the lunch burrito, another ordered the cheese enchiladas, and the fifth dude opted for quesadillas, and everyone left satisfied.

To me, the food was very good, not mind-blowing or spectacular, but good. But where Tres really excelled was in its service. In my humble and accurate opinion, the mathematical equation that determines a restaurant's service ratio is this -- the amount of time my beverage glass remains empty plus the amount of time required to receive a new beverage. The lower the total, the better.

Well, at Tres, my glass never had a chance to get empty. The servers actually apologized for the lunch rush, and yet they were extremely attentive and friendly throughout our meal.

As any Wacoan knows, our fair city has a bounty of Mexican food options. But if you combine good food with exceptional service, I'll certainly return again and again.
byVanilla Brice, June 9, 2011
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
My physique has yet to really show it, but I actually try to avoid fast food as much as possible. (With Chick Fil-A being the natural exception). But I was in a rush today and decided to stop by Carl's Jr., one of Waco's latest fast food options.

I don't know what I was expecting, and yet I got exactly what I should have expected. (Make sense? It did to me). I ordered a Western bacon cheeseburger combo, and what I received was the standard fast food burger fare, complete with the soggy bun and the oversalted fries. To me, Carl's Jr. was comparable to what you'd find at Burger King.

And there are times when such a burger may be exactly what you're looking for. However, if you have the time, I'd suggest hitting up Health Camp, Dubl-R or Tom's instead.
byVanilla Brice, May 15, 2011
Cafe Homestead
Ever partake of something at a restaurant that is so delicious that you can't ever bear to order anything else? That's me at Homestead. I feel like Billy Crystal in "The Ref" — how's that for an obscure movie reference? — when he can't ever order anything but chicken parmigiana.

The dish that captures my fancy at HH is a burger called the quesadilla burger. It's a simple burger topped with a poblano pepper and an intoxicating, creamy taco sauce. The burger never fails to be juicy and scrumptious. (Seriously, have a napkin nearby).

But everything is good at Homestead. On my last visit, there were 10 of us, and everyone LOVED their dishes. Everything on the menu is organic and comes straight from the settlement to your plate, and you can definitely taste the difference in the organic offerings. In this case, different is very, very good.

I ordered apple pie for dessert on my last visit, and it was rustic and good, if that makes sense. I felt like I was eating a slice of America.

One warning: I've only been on weekends, and the wait for a table can be long. For instance, we arrived around lunch time on a recent Saturday and were told to expect a two-hour wait. But they'll take your cell phone number, allowing you to walk around and tour the ranch, learning about woodworking, pottery, blacksmithing, etc.

My other minor criticism would be that Homestead could stand to add some variety to its "kids menu," which really isn't on the menu at all. Basically, the kids had a choice between a PB&J or a grilled cheese sandwich. That said, both of my tykes loved their grilled cheese.
byVanilla Brice, May 15, 2011
Several years ago, when Rosati's entered the Waco restaurant market, I immediately fell in love. How deeply in love, you ask? (Or perhaps you didn't, but I'm going to share anyway). Let's just put it like this — Rosati's instantly became my annual birthday destination.

I'm a big fan of deep-dish, ooey-gooey Chicago-style pizza, and I've eaten the real thing at places like Geno's East in Chicago. And trust me, Rosati's serves the real thing. It's the best I've had outside of the Windy City.

If you order the Chicago-style, you'll have to wait about 45 minutes or so for your ginormous pie, but that is noted on the menu. The other pizzas don't require as much time, and they're excellent as well, including the double dough variety. I've also eaten their sandwiches and calzones on rare occasions, but it seems almost criminal not to order a pizza.

It's that good.
byVanilla Brice, May 12, 2011
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
It's been several years since I've ventured into Poppa Rollo's, partially because I never once had a good dining experience there. I know so many Wacoans consider it a local institution, but I think they're delusional. The pizza is OK, but it's certainly not good enough to overcome the agonizingly awful service. In probably half a dozen trips to PR's, I doubt I ever waited for less than 45 minutes for a pie.

And what's with the nonstop Little Rascals marathon? It may seem kitschy once, but after a while you'd prefer the owners to change the channel to something from the 21st Century.

If you truly want the best pizza in town -- and you don't want to wait until tomorrow before it arrives -- bypass Poppa Rollo's and head over to Rosati's instead.
byVanilla Brice, May 12, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Yes, it's a chain, but it's the best chain around. I eat at Chick Fil-A as much as any local eatery for two primary reasons: (A) the chicken never fails to be delicious, and (B) the service is without peer, particularly the service at the well-managed Franklin Avenue location.

Sure, if you hit the drive-thru at noon on a weekday, you will find yourself surrounded by dozens of hungry Waco motorists. But they've actually got drive-thru service down to a science, utilizing multiple lanes and credit card-scanning carhops. And the employees are unfailingly friendly.

My one and only beef with Chick Fil-A -- or Chickle-ay, as my 3-year-old daughter calls it -- is that the cows can't spell. Come on, Chick-Fil-A! Let's teach those bovines that 'Eat Mor Chikin' won't get you past junior high-level English.
byVanilla Brice, May 5, 2011
I'd heard the buzz about Jimmy John's, and had to check it out for myself. On Wednesday, my buddy Chad (aka Papa Fork) and I met for lunch at JJ's, on the sandwich shop's second day of operation.

Naturally, they were doing bang-up business, as most long-awaited new entrants to the Waco eating scene seem to do. And I thought the sub I had -- the Italian Night Club, which included genoa salami, Italian capicola, smoked ham and provolone cheese -- was very good. It actually reminded me of a popular sub shop in my wife's hometown of Buffalo, N.Y., named John and Mary's.

That said, I've had just as tasty sandwiches at Schmaltz's or even Quizno's, for that matter. I've got a co-worker who was already a Jimmy John's addict even before their arrival in Waco and plans to eat there every day. (I wouldn't put it past this guy). But I'm not to that point. They must have left the heroin out of my sandwich.
byVanilla Brice, May 5, 2011
As a Texan, I breathe barbecue. And to me, Waco's barbecue scene doesn't quite measure up to many cities around the state. But the Gut Pak alone pushes Vitek into the pole position of Waco BBQ joints.

All the various types of sausage are scrumptious, but my personal favorite is the homemade. And if you're going to order a Gut Pak, go ahead and indulge yourself in a Dublin Dr Pepper. Vitek's is one of the few restaurants in Waco that serves that particular nectar from heaven.