byderickbailey, March 8, 2012
When heard about Wako Roll, I was nervous about trying it. I'm a bit of a sushi snob - not completely, but I have higher standards than most of the people I know in the area. Wako Roll is owned by the same people that did Teriyaki Park downtown, and I don't like the "sushi" there. I was more than pleasantly surprised at the quality of Sushi and Korean food at Wako Roll, though. It is easily the best sushi in town.

I had a Shrimp Tempura roll, Eel and pepper Tuna. They were all outstandingly good. The rice was warm - just warm enough, the way it should be. It was soft and chewy, and had just enough sushi vinegar to give the proper taste and texture. The quality of the seafood on the Nigiri was also excellent.

The eel was cooked perfectly - obviously cooked, but not charred and dry. It was flavorful, and had the right texture. Again, it was just warm, the way it should be. The pepper tuna was seared and then coated with peper, served cold. It was excellent as well. There was enough pepper to get a good flavor, but not so much that it overpowered everything else. The tempura roll was likely the best I've had in Texas. The shrimp tempura was crunchy without being overcooked and without being fresh-out-of-the-frier hot.

My wife got a bibimbap, which is basically a bowl of Korean style vegetables, with an egg, on top of some rice. She got the "black rice" with it. All of it was wonderful. It was a great mixture of flavors and textures, with a sunny-side-up egg to bring it all together.

I have high hopes for Wako Roll, at this point. If they can continue to maintain the quality of food that I had today, then I'm sure to become a regular around the restaurant.
byderickbailey, September 16, 2011
I've been meaning to try Jimmy John's for a long time. Since I was at the county office to renew my car registration today, I gave it a shot.

My overall impression is that it's a good sandwich. They seem to have a good variety, the quality of ingredients is good, and they had it done and handed to me within a minute or two of ordering it - even with the long line of people in front of me!

On the other hand... it's still just a sandwich. I'd choose Jimmy John's over Subway or other sub-sandwich shops that we currently have, though.
byderickbailey, September 7, 2011
In spite of it being a 30 minute drive from my house in Woodway, I ventured out to China Springs twice in one week to have some of the great food that they serve here. I've missed having good Vietnamese food, and this fits the bill quite nicely.

On the first trip I had a stir-fry beef Bahn Mi. It's basically a french roll sandwich, but it's one of the best sandwiches you'll have! The beef was well marinated and cooked nicely. It had a few veggies that went well with the beef, and a couple of slices of jalapeño to give it a nice kick. it also has some cucumber and mayonaise on it, which balance the flavor of the beef and the spice of sandwich perfectly. highly recommended!

On the second trip out there, I had the beef clay pot. it was also really good. It had a good mix of vegetables and mushrooms mixed in with the beef, all set on top of rice. the flavor was great and i emptied the clay pot that it was served in. :) the only drawback to this was that it didn't quite have that burn-your-mouth-off-from-broiling-in-an-oven thing going on, that i expect in a great clay pot dish. it was plenty hot... but i didn't have to scrape any charring rice off the side of the pot or blow on it for 10 minutes to get it to cool down to the point where i could eat it. that one little detail may have been enough to put this good dish over the top.

overall, if you're in the mood for some real vietnamese food made by the real-deal vietnamese "grandma and grandpa", you need to go here. it's well worth the drive.
byderickbailey, May 9, 2011
My wife and I went to 3 Spoons after lunch today. Although the end result is similar, this is definitely a different experience than Cold Stone Creamery.

3 Spoons is a do-it-yourself dessert place, offering a wide variety of frozen yogurt flavors and toppings. There are 14 individual frozen yogurt flavors, all stacked together into the double-dispenser machines that let you get either flavor individually or as a swirl of both. Once you've selected the flavor(s) of frozen yogurt and poured it into your cup, you have as wide a variety of toppings to choose from. Once again, you do it yourself, scooping as little or as much as you want.

I found the flavors of frozen yogurt to be quite nice, with a wide variety. There was everything from thin mint cookies (chocolate / mint), to apple pie, and a giner-citrus flavor. These weren't just variations on the classic vanilla and chocolate, but distinct flavors with nothing being duplicated in any of the 14 slots.

The selection of toppings was quite impressive, too. They had the standard candy bars, chocolate chips and nuts. But they also had captain crunch, cocoa puffs and bits of Andes Mints. Honestly, had I looked at the available toppings first, I would have chosen a different flavor of yogurt... yes, that's right - I would have designed my dessert around the toppings. That's just how good the topping selection is.

Once you've created your masterpiece, you set it on a scale and pay by weight.

What I don't like, though, was the constant marketing of this being a "healthy" desert. Yes, they do put live yogurt cultures into their frozen yogurt and yes, this does have some health benefit. The frozen yogurt in general has fewer calories than an ice cream equivalent (often by half if you believe the marketing of 3 spoons) as well. However, there is still a ton of sugar in the yogurt and if you add even a small amount of toppings (other than the nuts), you are significantly increasing and possibly canceling out the benefit in comparison to ice cream.

The "cups" (bowls) the provide are also somewhat mis-leasing from a psychology perspective. There is only 1 size of bowl, which would be the largest size that Cold Stone offers, you are left to your own judgment about how much or how little to put in it. It's common in restaurants and food service to do this, because it makes you feel like you are getting a better value for money. In truth, though, you end up spending more on something that you need less of because of the psychological effects that the larger serving bowl has. When you have such a large bowl, it takes significantly more yogurt to make the bowl look it it has anything substantial in it, and thus you end up putting more in than you thought you did.

In the end, it was fun and tasty. I like the idea of being able to get any / all of the frozen yogurts and toppings, as I see fit. I hope they do well and I expect that I'll be back on a fairly regular basis.
byderickbailey, April 23, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I've been twice in two days, if that says anything.

Newk's Express Cafe is not just another cafe or sandwich shop. They are part Panera, part McAllister's and part Gratziano's; and for my money, they are the hands down winner.

The interior of the building is immediately familiar and inviting to anyone that frequents Panera or McAllister's. It's a warm, friendly atmosphere with plenty of very helpful staff. It's modern design is comfortable and spacious, too.

I've had both the Shrimp Po Boy and the Spicy Shrimp Pizza, so far.

The po boy was good. With broiled shrimp and plenty of fresh veggies on a toasted roll, it made for a very satisfying sandwich. My only complaint is that they included cocktail sauce on the side. I would prefer tartar sauce or even mayonnaise, honestly. I got a "cup" of loaded potato soup with the po boy. It came in a very large bowl, and was quite tasty as well. By the end of this, it was feeling a little rich and creamy, but the over all taste and texture of the soup was top notch.

The spicy shrimp pizza was nothing short of perfect. Thin crust done right (think Gratziano's), tomatoes, shrimp, yellow & red bell peppers, spicy red pepper, cheese, cilantro, and oil; no tomato sauce! Hooray! The pizza, as it was presented to me, was nothing short of amazing. I was hooked after the first bite. However, a quick trip to their condiment table scored some Parmesan cheese and roasted garlic cloves. The addition of these two items turned an already tremendous pizza into something that has to be experienced for yourself. My son got the kid's cheese pizza. It was essentially a half cheese pizza. It was also done really well, with tomato sauce of course.

There are two things which I would like to see changed, though: 1) the limited number of sides dishes does leave a little to be desired. 2) they are a few dollars more than the competition: Panera and McAllisters. Other than these things, I expect to find myself frequenting Newk's for many years to come.
byderickbailey, April 21, 2011
I drove to Dallas 3 to 5 days a week for the first 4 years that I lived in Waco. The Czech Stop bakery was a very, very frequent stop for me and I love the kolaches that they make.

I've tried other kolache place in town and around the area, and none of them come close to the Czech Stop, in my opinion. The sausage & cheese, the ham & cheese, the fruit and cream cheese; they are all top notch. This is easily my favorite place for kolaches and related pastries.

It's too bad I live on the south end of Waco and I don't drive through West anymore... I miss my sausage and cheese kolaches.
byderickbailey, April 21, 2011
In spite of being a chain, Rudy's produces some of the best and most consistent bbq in the state.

They tend to use only a salt and pepper rub before smoking their meats. The end results are a great balance between the natural flavors of the meat and a little bit of spice from the pepper.

My personal favorites are the extra moist brisket (with all the black rub and fat still on it) and the babyback ribs. The sausage is also good, and quite surprisingly, I even like their turkey.

The only things I don't like are the pork ribs. They are much larger than the baby back ribs and have more meat, but they are not as flavorful.

Expect the usual bbq sides: potato salad, bean salad, creamed corn, and more.
byderickbailey, April 20, 2011
My wife and I have been going to Uncorked for several years now. It's a great little wine bar.

We really like the atmosphere. It's very modern and very comfortable. There are enough tables for groups to gather and enough couches and soft chairs to make it a little more intimate for a date.

The wine selection is good, but not great. I think my single complaint is that they don't change the selection often enough for my tastes. I like to try new wines on a regular basis but Uncorked only adds or removes a wine a few times a year, if that.

They also have some snack food and deserts that tend to go well with wine: cheese & sausage with crackers, fondu, cheesecake, and other items that do seem to rotate more frequently than the wine list.

If you're looking for a lite dinner with good wine, a date night to sit and talk, or a place to gather with friends for fun, Uncorked is a great place to be.
byderickbailey, April 20, 2011
I'll admit that I've only been there once, but it was an awesome burger and onion rings.

The place is a tiny little hole that doesn't hold many people and had a line out the door and around the corner when I got there.

Definitely worth the trek.