St. Ann’s and How to Eat Their Food Every Day

Downtown Dallas is becoming a huge attraction to foodies like me. The new and exciting restaurants and bars have a welcoming atmosphere and menus to suit everyone. One of my most recent adventures was to St. Ann’s, which instantly stole my heart with not only the food, but the patio, architecture and gardens surrounding it. The whole restaurant/bar is beautiful and modern and the patio is always full of people.

Like I said, the restaurant stole my heart. The food, however, stole my soul. The variety at St. Ann’s is incredible and effortlessly exciting. If you check out any of their reviews, they’re all glowing. I highly recommend trying whatever sounds good, but I will also suggest a few things…

The appetizers are all very different. There are traditional ones, such as hummus or bacon wrapped, jalapeño-stuffed chicken, tons of delicious seafood options and soups. My absolute favorite is the Coconut soup, without a doubt. While I have a tendency to ask what the soup of the day is just to get the opportunity to try something new, I can’t stop ordering this soup. The shrimp, ginger, lemongrass, Thai basil and mushrooms are so rich and flavorful, they entice me every time. The sides are also fantastic: whenever I go with my mom we can’t decide between the sweet potato fries or the truffle fries, so we order both. No compromises at St. Ann’s, you’ll always get an excellent variety of food and drinks to create the perfect night or day out.

The entrées are all excellent as well. The whole menu changes depending on the season and what is fresh, especially because of the amount of seafood they serve. The food served has an extremely wide variety of health options and can cater to anyone’s needs. One specific entrée I recommend is the trout. I have a weakness for heirloom tomatoes and the way the trout is seasoned and cooked is so exquisite.

Go out, sit on the patio, order a few of their drinks (or try some of the local beers) and enjoy the very eccentric and very wonderful atmosphere provided at St. Ann’s. If Erica is working the bar, let her know I sent you.

With food this delicious, you’ll want to eat at St. Ann’s on a daily basis, but as a college student, that may not be an option financially. However, you can recreate their menu right in your dorm for a fraction of their prices.

For an appetizer, you can start with my favorite hummus recipe from Budget Bytes, or any of the four flavor variations that are included on the recipe page. It only takes 10 minutes to make, and the total cost of groceries ends up being a little over 5 dollars. The recipe calls for a blender, but if you’re dedicated you can easily make it by hand. This recipe is great for pairing with your favorite veggies or pita chips.

If hummus isn’t for you, you can also mimic St. Ann’s delicious coconut soup. I recently made my own coconut chicken soup and it’s become my absolute favorite dorm friendly recipe. As many soup recipes as I’d like to try, I always end up making this soup because it’s just that good. The grocery list and pricing is as follows:

  • 4 inches of fresh, ground ginger ($1.12)

  • 1 medium lime ($0.50)

  • 2 tbsp sriracha sauce (no price b/c I usually steal it from my roommate)

  • 2 cans of coconut milk ($3.38)

  • 1 can of chicken broth ($1.25)

  • 3 cups of water

  • 2 chicken breasts ($6.48)

  • 1 bunch of cilantro ($0.69)

All you have to do is add all of the ingredients except the chicken breast into a pot and bring it to a simmer. Then you add the thinly sliced chicken breast and continue simmering for about 10 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. The longer you simmer it, the more flavor the soup will have, but be careful not to overcook and dry out the chicken. This recipe makes about 8 bowls of soup, so its great to make in bulk and reheat throughout the week.

Budget Bytes also gives you a way to copy St. Ann’s tilapia entree. Try out this recipe for baked tilapia with tomatoes, which is not only affordable, but extremely healthy and nutritious as well.

And to finish your St. Ann’s meal, instead of their lemon tart with pine nut crust, try this lighter, lower fat version of a lemon tart recipe with a delicious rosemary almond crust.


Why You Shouldn’t Buy Kale Chips

Now don’t get me wrong, I love kale. I love everything about kale. Not only is kale filled with antioxidants, vitamin k, and other nutrients that you can read about here, but you can do so many things with it; salads, stir-fries, and my personal favorite, chips. But as good as kale chips are, you shouldn’t buy them.

During a recent trip to my local Whole Foods, I came across bags of pre-packaged kale chips, which I had never seen before. They were in delicious, tempting flavors like barbecue, ranch, and sea salt and vinegar. But as I reached for a bag to add to my cart, my eyes scanned the price tag. Nine dollars? For a tiny package of kale chips that I would eat in one sitting? And even worse, the full size bags were starting at eleven dollars. But the health nut in me couldn’t resist so I splurged and bought a small pack anyways. Mistake. I was highly disappointed. The ranch flavor was extremely artificial and overly salty, and the kale wasn’t crisp and flaky like fresh baked kale. It was crunchy, almost like granola. Overall, the pre-packaged kale chips had absolutely no resemblance to the fresh kale chips I had eaten elsewhere. I decided to try another brand around the same price (I couldn’t find many cheaper options that looked any better) to see if the extra money would be worth the pre-packaged convenience, but I came across the same problems; artificial flavor and artificial texture for an insanely high price.

Buying pre-packaged kale chips just isn’t worth it. Rather than buying a large bag of chips for eleven dollars, you can buy one bunch of organic kale for two dollars, which will make a large bags worth. All you need is one bunch of kale, an oil of your choice, and seasonings of your choice. And if you’re nervous about finding a good kale chip flavor, you can follow my favorite kale chip recipe. Your homemade chips will be more fresh, delicious, and cost effective than buying kale chips off the shelf.

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa salad is my favorite meal to make in my dorm. The ingredients are relatively cheap, I can make it in bulk for easy eating all week, and it doesn’t take much effort. It’s also an easy way to get all of the grains, protein, and veggies I need.

Here you can find a few variations of quinoa salad and recipes to go along with them. However, these recipes require pots, pans, and stoves, which I often don’t have access to in my dorm. If you have a similar situation as mine, you can follow this easy recipe for microwave cooked quinoa which only requires a bowl and a microwave, to make the recipes linked above easier.

Start: Real Food Fast

Being a full time student and part time employee is really tough schedule-wise. Especially the days when i have class until 3:30 then have to be at work by 5. And with my dining hall being closed from 4 to 5, its really hard for me to grab dinner before work, and I cant always cook. So I went on the hunt for any fast food place that had healthy options, and I found my new, all time favorite food joint. It’s called Start: Real Food Fast, and they’re dedicated to reinventing drive-thru fast food to be made from scratch using clean ingredients.

After learning about their from scratch cooking and clean, fresh ingredients, I was expecting to spend a lot more than fast food would be worth, I was expecting restaurant prices. However, their prices are pretty reasonable. You can get a full meal for less than 10 dollars, which is much less than if you were to pick up the same healthy fast food from a Whole Foods or Central Market. The price definitely isn’t bad for the great ingredients and laborious cooking they offer.  And since it’s drive through, you don’t even have to leave your car. It’s the easiest, most convenient, guilt free meal you can get. So far I’ve tried their Turkey and Raspberry Chipotle Wrap and their Quinoa Salad, both of which were some of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted. This definitely wasn’t what I expected from a fast food joint. The food was restaurant quality with more convenience and a decent, affordable price. To see more of their delicious, healthy food options, you can check out their menu here.

And if my word isn’t enough, Start has been featured in numerous articles by well known companies, blogs, and magazines, like D Magazine, Eater, and the Dallas Observer, all of which you can read here. So if you’re short on time and looking for an affordable, drive-thru, healthy, delicious meal, go to Start: Real Food Fast located on Greenville and University. It’s restaurant quality food at fast food speed. And it’ll be the best fast food you ever eat.