Sunday, May 31, 2015

It's 5:00 Somewhere


We are coming up on a decade of living in Dallas. That is really hard to believe. We were always so transient, moving every three to four years, and so we have now lived here longer than anywhere else. We are definitely set in some traditions and routines now, and one of those categories would include having a list of our favorite restaurants. 

When we lived in McAllen, we had so few restaurants to choose from, and so when we arrived in Dallas, we felt like the flood gates of possibilities had opened up. We soon discovered - or really rediscovered - a new family favorite. Steve and I actually first found Uncle Julio's in 1991, when he and I traveled to Dallas from The Woodlands {Houston} to do some research on a children's church program. We ate at Uncle Julio's on Lemmon back then, and loved it, and then sort of forgot about it until 2005. 

I would never be able to tell you how many times we have eaten at Uncle Julio's. I can tell you the three locations we love: the tollway (best service and friendliest bar), the one in Allen (easiest to get to and best patio) , the original one on Lemmon (best food, smallest restaurant, and farthest from us). I can't tell you how many guests we have taken over the past decade to Uncle Julio's, but I can tell you that it is in our repertoire of places we love to offer up, and I can also tell you that I have some guests that request {and I really mean demand here} to be taken there. I can't tell you exactly what my sons will order when there, but I can tell you that each and every time, Steve and I will split the same meal. 

The Guadalajara, all beef, no cheese and no sour cream, extra guacamole. The Guadalajara is a combination platter of fajitas and jalapeƱo shrimp brochette. It's just the right amount of food to split. Steve can usually eat one shrimp and three fajitas. I will eat two shrimp and one fajita. We will usually add a side order of guacamole to our dinner, because theirs is some of the best. We never need a menu. We have been going to the one in Allen long enough to catalog the change in servers, and we usually have a little bit of a dialog with the regular, good servers, and we miss them when they move on, as good servers always do. Sometimes I feel like Steve and I are good training candidates for waiters. I know we have trained a lot of waiters at Uncle Julio's.

After eating at Uncle Julio's as a family of four, and then three, for nine of the ten years, we built up quite a tradition of eating there together, most often in the evening, and sometimes on a Sunday after church. Special occasions, celebrations, cold nights when we wanted some warm comfort food. Any old reason will do. We don't have to have it very often, but we do have to have it regularly. When the boys left Texas for college, I knew one of the things they would miss the most would be their Mexican food. And, true enough, when they come home, one of the first things they want is to go out for "some good Mexican food, mom". I do think it is one of the reasons why I might would never be able to move out of my native state.

As the boys have gone off to college, we have turned into that couple that rarely cooks at home. Now, we do eat at home, but it will usually involve a salad with some grilled chicken on it, or some shrimp tacos. Simple meals here anymore. But, we do love to eat out, and Uncle Julio's is in our regular rotation.  We can go there during football season and sit in the bar and catch the game that is playing either before or after our Cowboys play. We can go on a spring day and sit outside and enjoy the weather. We can meet there on a night where we have both worked later than we wanted to, and we are "starving".

I have always loved Mexican food. Back as a child, mother would take us in the summer to Monterrey House on Woodforest, in the North Shore end of the street. I can still see the red sign with the script lettering, and the little man sitting on the cart, being pulled by a burro. I'd always order the Summer Special: a tostado, a taco, and a dollop of guacamole. That combination remains one of my favorites to this day, even though Monterrey House has long gone out of business. Mexican food has morphed over the years, but my love for it has only increased. Steve, of course, grew up in New York and had to be introduced to proper Mexican food. He was a quick study, taking to it whole heartedly and loving it as much as me. ;-) 

Our regular restaurant portfolio shifts a little in the rotation order. Sometimes we crave flautas more than shrimp brochette, and head to Pappasito's. Sometimes we want those yummy cheese enchiladas that Anamia's can serve up, or the nachos we get at Blue Goose. But when it comes to picking a restaurant to dine al fresco in some of our beautiful north Texas patio weather, Uncle Julio's is the go to place. And this gal is always up for dinner on the patio time.

Patio Time ~ Uncle Julio's ~ 2014
This layout was featured in the March issue of Create by Scrapbook Generation which can be seen here on their website. 
Sketch Credit: Scrapbook Generation 
Paper: Bo Bunny
Title Font: Pacifico, Comic Sans