RA Sushi Gives Back with Nicky's Week Menu Benefiting St. Jude

Today kicked off the 13th Annual Nicky's Week at RA Sushi benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital with a special curated menu where 100% of the proceeds are donated from May 22-28. Ever since my visit to Nobu a few weeks ago, I've been craving some good sashimi and seared tuna, so I definitely wanted to try this spot out and share about this thoughtful fundraiser.

About Nicky's Week

Nicky's Week honors the life of Nicholas Mailliard, who lost his battle with pediatric cancer in 2005 at the age of 13. Nicky was the nephew of Rich Howland, one of RA Sushi’s founders. His battle with cancer deeply impacted the RA Sushi family and inspired the annual event benefiting St. Jude.

RA Sushi anticipates to raise over $200,000 this year bringing their overall contributions since its inception in 2005 to $2 million. Cash donations are also accepted. Dallas locations include: Southlake, Addison, and Plano.

My sister and I visited the RA Sushi location in Addison which is an excellent location for busy business professionals in the area who want a solid lunch, happy hour or girls' night out/date night dinner. It's a pretty casual restaurant that still has the swank of an upscale spot. There's even a fire pit on the patio that would be amazing to sip cocktails by in the evening. All of the menu items we had the opportunity to taste were delicious and we thoroughly enjoyed each dish. 

Here's what we got to taste:

Unfortunately, I won't be able to make it back to the restaurant again before the end of Nicky's Week, but I have definitely found a new restaurant with three convenient locations for me: Addison, Southlake, and Plano. I'm excited to return very soon though! I've been dying to find a restaurant nearby with good sashimi and seared tuna, and RA Sushi has both at affordable prices. Visit my foodie page @Gastronomic Grub for more/future photos from RA Sushi!

Browse the full Nicky's Week menu at RA Sushi

Happy Hour at Nobu in Hotel Crescent Court

Outside of Nobu Dallas in Hotel Crescent Court

If you haven't already read about my #BreakForBeauty spa experience at Hotel Crescent Court, you can catch up here. After a full 50-minute relaxing Blueberry Smoothie facial and peel, we all headed downstairs for happy hour at Nobu. This was a little surprise to the afternoon's itinerary and I was super excited because I'd never eaten there...and y'all know I LOVE tasting at new spots to share on the blog and Gastronomic Grub.

Nobu is described as "the world's most recognized Japanese restaurant known for its innovative new cuisine style" by celebrity chef, Nobu Matsuhisa. Located downstairs just near the main lobby of the hotel, Nobu is a convenient happy hour or dinner option for hotel guests and Dallasites alike with excellent dishes and cocktails!

See photos from my tasting experience:

(Click to enlarge photo and hover for captions)

If you're looking for a restaurant with plenty of flavor that is upscale, Nobu is a great spot to add to your list. I've since tried a few other similar places, but I think there are many elements of the dishes that make theirs unique...so I'm kinda itching to return. Thank you to Hotel Crescent Court for accommodating me at Spa Crescent and Nobu. I had a fabulous time connecting and meeting a few new bloggers in Dallas!

Photography by Tony Valadez

Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse in Uptown

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to dine with 4 friends at the new Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse location in Uptown Dallas. I'd been to Texas de Brazil when I was a teenager, but that was a long time ago. However, I did remember that this experience would entail lots of meat-eating...and I couldn't wait. I actually didn't eat very much during the day because I wanted to be super hungry by the time dinner rolled around.

The Market Table

First, our server brought us a few small bowls of the Pão de Queijo which were warm, soft cheesy bread rolls. No one could stop munching on them throughout the evening! We started with the Market Table which is great for non-meat eaters. This pretty much includes everything you need in order to make a salad and more. There are some meats in this area, but nothing heavy compared to what the servers would be bringing around for the main churrascaria.

The Cocktails

The cocktails were delicious and pretty strong! Most of us settled on the Superfruit Lemonade described as VeeV Açai Spirit, Grand Marnier with muddled fresh strawberry, blueberry, lemon in a tall glass over ice. Jamisha of ItMustBeJam had the Caramelized Pineapple Old Fashioned described from the menu as Bulleit Rye Whiskey, muddled caramelized pineapple, orange, Luxardo cherry, served over ice.

Cocktail descriptions from Fogo de Chão's website.

The Main Churrascaria 

How It Works

  • There is a little round card at each place setting that begins on its red side which tells the servers that you do not want any meat served at that time; when it is flipped to green, they will keep the options coming, so brace yourself and be ready to eat! 
  • There are a pair of personal tongs at each seat to receive the meat from the server. Sometimes they will place it on your plate for you, but sometimes they may need your assistance.
  • Keep in mind that even if your card is on green, you can still decline any meats you do not want and they will tell you the type of meat when they arrive.
  • For those who like their meat cooked a certain way (personally, I like well-done), all you have to do is tell your server and they will get it for you.
  • You are also able to request meats. For instance, if you're a sausage lover...you may request it to be served.

This part was so much fun! With our cards flipped to green, we were ready for them to bring it on. The servers were all very nice and had great personalities that made us all feel welcome. They also brought a small plate of four sauces that we could pair with the meats and the caramelized plantains (SO DELICIOUS), more pão de queijo (cheesy rolls), and garlic mashed potatoes for the table. We even had jumbo shrimp cocktail served with malagueta cocktail sauce. I didn't have any shrimp since I can sometimes breakout from allergies, but everyone told me it was really good!

Overall, our experience at Fogo de Chão was fantastic and everyone enjoyed themselves. I'd certainly recommend it especially if you like buffets, but not those nasty ones where people breathe and hover all over the food as it sits under a light for hours. Fresh food only, here. You really get what you pay for at Fogo and you'll be pleased with the service! I think it's perfect for family dinners, special occasions, date night, or just dining with friends. You will probably catch me here again for the happy hour menu and another cocktail soon. 

Gastronomy 101 at Dallas's Public School 972

A few years ago before I brought my foodie experiences to the blog, I had a solo lunch at Public School 214 in West Village for the first time. I thought the schoolhouse ambiance was the cutest idea in the world. From the notebook-printed napkins to the vintage books and paraphernalia, the details of the spot were clearly well thought out.

I had an opportunity to dine at the new location in Dallas, Public School 972, which is nestled comfortably on Montfort Drive in Addison and perfectly located for easy access to "recess" (their version of happy hour). There are also Public School locations in California: Los Angeles, Culver City, Thousand Oaks, Sherman Oaks; Colorado: Denver; Nevada: Las Vegas; and (soon) Atlanta, GA. 

Craft Cocktails | Crushed Velvet

My reservation was at 6PM, so just in time for recess! I perused the curriculum for drinks and settled on the Crushed Velvet (not included in recess specials) which is crafted with vodka, blackberries, blueberries, and ginger beer. It tastes SO much better than it sounds. I really enjoyed it -- not too weak, not too strong.

The Crushed Velvet cocktail with blackberries

The Crushed Velvet cocktail with blackberries

For the Table | Parmesan Truffle Frites

To start, I ordered the Parmesan Truffle Frites. Nomally, I try to stay away from truffle fries because they tend to be very strong on the breath, but I was dining solo and was feeling a bit risky. To my surprise, they actually weren't that strong with the truffle oil. They were served with preserved lemon aioli and what I believe was a delicious Sriracha ketchup. I barely touched the aoli as I'm not a huge fan, but Sriracha ketchup with fries? YES MA'AM.

Parmesan Truffle Frites with preserved lemon aioli and Sriracha ketchup

Parmesan Truffle Frites with preserved lemon aioli and Sriracha ketchup

Plates | Pan-Seared Salmon with Harissa Vinaigrette

Since I ordered a burger for lunch during my last Public School meal, I decided to order a more dinner-like dish. The Pan-Seared Salmon with Harissa Vinaigrette sounded like a solid choice and my waitress recommended it. I love asking for favorites so I can order differently. The salmon rested on a bed of zucchini and asparagus topped with mandarin orange slices and herb salad. Salmon with a sweet salsa or citrus is my fave.

Sweets | Chalkboard Special (varies by day/location)

Dessert was completely unexpected, but my waitress said the restaurant was offering it with my meal and I gladly accepted. I indulged in a very rich chocolate brownie drizzled with a Guinness sauce and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream drizzled/sprinkled with caramel and cayenne pepper. It was heavenly, but the brownie was so rich that I had to box most of it to-go...but the party definitely continued as soon as I got home! 

This is a fun spot to hang out with friends! I highly recommend their recess menu which is available everyday from 3-7PM and 9PM to close. Of course, you can order additional dishes, but I'm always down for tasty and inexpensive small plates that I can share with my friends over cocktails!

Public School 972 is located at 14854 Montford Dr. in Dallas

DINNER | Jamaican Delicacies at The Island Spot in Oak Cliff

I've been eyeing The Island Spot for a minute and now that they have locations in both of my hoods (Oak Cliff and Carrollton), I had to go ahead and try them out! With some roots in Trinidad and a Nigerian boyfriend, I'm no stranger to flavorful foods...but I'm always down to try new things. Plus, it's black-owned and authentic -- no BS here. Originally, I scheduled to visit the spot this week until a few friends wanted to try it out last Friday. There was a live DJ and plenty of people enjoying the vibes. I ordered fried plantains to start and brown stew chicken for my main dish along with Jamaican soda. It was delicious and my leftovers were even better the next afternoon after the spices really had a chance to settle.

When I went back earlier this week, I was able to sample quite a few different Caribbean dishes from what I had before. The Island Spot is definitely great for weekend nights if you want to go out with friends for dinner and their drinks are delicious! I love that this restaurant is so authentic and the food is perfectly prepared. Everything had flavor and a kick which is exactly what I live for when it comes to food. I enjoyed every drink and dish from the rum punch to the jerk chicken. I now have a new spot to frequent on my list!

Here's a little of what's on the menu:

Learn more about The Island Spot and read their story

What are you waiting for? Stop by and enjoy the vibes! There are locations in Carrollton and Oak Cliff.