DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Seasons 52 in Plano

All dressed up with someplace to go: Season 52
All dressed up with someplace to go: Season 52


Concept is everything!  But if somebody doesn’t get the concept, then the restaurant is in trouble. We tried something new to us: Seasons 52. And it has a new concept.

The Season 52 Concept

I confess, I didn’t quite get the concept when my mom told me there was something new coming to The Shops at Legacy.  She’d read about it in the Dallas Morning News and whatever she said they said just didn’t stick.  The next time I went to The Shops on Legacy, I saw the sign and thought the 52 was a 32.  So basically, I was running around clueless.

Let me explain the concept to you, in case you were clueless, also.  Seasons 52’s name comes from their menu.  They have four seasonal menus and fifty-two weekly menus.  That’s seems simple enough, but between my mom and misreading the sign, I was trying to figure out which thirty-two seasonings these people put in their food.  Now that this is straightened up, let me tell you about my visit.

The Restaurant

I immediately noticed how dark colors created a warm and cozy interior for Seasons 52.  I suppose it could be a little oppressive, but a big fire was roaring and lots of people were wearing sequins, so it didn’t seem that way on my visit.  As we settled in our seats, I realized there was live music in the bar and it set just the right tone.  The booth was a little tight for four of us, but the hostess took our coats and then we were fine.

When we looked at the menu, our first surprise was reasonable prices.  Entrees start in the mid-teens.  From the location and the rich atmosphere, I was expecting it to be more expensive.  Then I turned over to the wine list and had the same pleasant surprise.  Very decent wines-by-the-glass started around $7.25 and the bottles were comparable.  Knowing we weren’t breaking the bank made the whole thing even more enjoyable.

So what did we order and how was it?  I had the lamb.  It had been ages since I’d eaten lamb and Seasons 52 didn’t disappoint.  Cooked to perfection, seasoned just right and very tender.  Yum, yum, yum.  Two folks at the table opted for trout, one of them  being my husband.  He raved throughout the meal about freshness.  That’s high praise.  After ten years in the restaurant business, he’s a tough customer.  The other member of our party had salmon.  He’s another finicky eater, but from a different standpoint.  He doesn’t like fussy food.  He just wants the basics and that’s what he got, so he was very happy, too.

So, yes you should go to Seasons 52.  It’s delish and you won’t break the bank.  Browsing the website I saw there’s one at Northpark, too.  I was embarrassed, because I’m at Northpark weekly and hadn’t noticed it, but you can bet I’ll be looking for it.  I’m Seasons 52’s newest big fan.

DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Cafe Istanbul is No Turkey

The bellydancers always find Bill!


Well, Cafe Istanbul is not a turkey in the derogatory sense of the word or even in the holiday bird sense, but it is a little bit of Turkey right here in the Metroplex.  Let me tell you about our latest visit.  You may want to visit as a deviation from traditional holiday fare.

Getting Out of the House on Friday Night

Dragging Bill out into the world on a Friday night is not something I accomplish with any great regularity.  When I do, we scoot over to someplace close to the house for a quick bite, from which Bill can get home in time for his Friday night ritual – enjoying a bowl of apple tobacco in his hookah with wild Arabic music throbbing from his iPod.  The smoke irritates my lungs and even though I understand the music is sung by a virtuoso, I haven’t developed a taste for it, so I usually read or play computer games in another part the house.

But for Julie’s birthday, he roused himself from his ritual.  Julie’s in our small group from church and has us over all the time, always treating us to some delicious creation from her kitchen.  She rates with Bill.  I had no difficulty getting him away from his computer and out into the car in what we thought was plenty of time for a 6:45 appointment.

Since we don’t get out on Friday nights, we didn’t know The Shops at Legacy were such a happening place.  Oh, we knew it was happening, because we go there a lot, but not on Friday nights.  “Hah, I’m here with three minutes to spare,” Bill smirked, as we approached the corner of Legacy and Parkwood Boulevard.  The light turned red, so he made a right and snuck up a side street. (Yes, I know snuck is not proper, but sneaked just doesn’t sound right.)  Then we found chaos.

Whatever suits your culinary fancy, you can find it at The Shops at Legacy.  We’re regulars at Gordon Biersch, Taco Diner and Main Street Bakery.  When the cool nephew came in, we took him to Jaspers.  This was our first visit to Cafe Istanbul, but to get there we had to park.  Sure there’s valet, but Bill’s not about to use it, even if it meant being late.

Unlike a lot of hot spots, The Shops at Legacy have a lot of parking, but on Friday nights, I think they need to start a shuttle from Cowboy Stadium.  That’s the only place I can think of that might have enough spaces.  You’ll see all kinds of cars from Maserati to milquetoast and the real fun begins when you try to match the hordes of people to the cars they might have gotten out of.  The Maseratis and Mercedes will be be pulling up to the valet parking, but the rest of us peons will drive in circles around and around the parking garages.  Here’s something you may not know.  The view from the top floor of the garage is outstanding.  We wouldn’t have known it either if we hadn’t been the ones to get the last available spot there at the upper reaches of the garage.

Cafe Istanbul

But Cafe Istanbul?  Outstanding.  It really is a little bit of Turkey right there in Plano.  The mezza is marvelous!  They have this delicious large pita-ish thing for the bread, that’s not exactly pita, because it’s lighter.  We scarfed down the hummus and baba ganoush with it in no time flat.  Dolmas? Delightful!  In truth, Bill and I would have been satisfied with the mezza, but had to keep ourselves entertained while everyone else had dinner.  So we shared the Adana Kebob.  My eyes had been on the kofte, but when a waiter heard me exclaim over it, he said I’d like it in the kebob format better than the cheesy meatballs.  Maybe I would have liked the cheesy meatballs and maybe I wouldn’t, but the kebob was great.  Later some baklava appeared on the table and Bill declared it sumptuous, but it’s always sweeter than my sweet tooth, so I save my calories for other things – like the wonderful chocolate cake someone had made for Julie.

And then there was the bellydancer, but the picture tells it all.  Excuse the shiny eyes.  Someone in the group took it with their phone, but I thought you guys might enjoy it.  So, do go to Cafe Istanbul, but if you want to find a place to park, don’t go on Friday night.

DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Jasper’s Gourmet Backyard Cuisine

Valet Parking, just outside Jasper’s. Not our car, by the way.


So my cool nephew was coming to town – the investment banker who lives on the Left Coast. He and his new wife were returning to Dallas for a visit, the first one since their amazing wedding at the DMA. We were taking them out to dinner and it couldn’t be just any old restaurant. Hubby asks me where we should go and my easy answer was Jasper’s Gourmet Backyard Cuisine at the Shops at Legacy in Plano.

Choosing Jasper’s

Back in March, my best friend and nearly sister took me there for my birthday.  We loved the chic interior and the delicious food.  My nephew has one of those lifestyles that would look good on a character in a romance novel, so I’d never be able to impress him.  I just don’t want to disappoint him.  Hubby agreed Jasper’s sounded like the right choice.

It was a Sunday night, so we didn’t make reservations, but we were surprised by how very busy Jasper’s was on what should have been an off night.  (Note to self:  Next time, reservations.)  When you enter the restaurant there’s a slick-looking bar to the right and dining to the left.  Lights are dim and the feeling is both modern and warm – lots of wood, dark neutrals and luscious upholstery.  I’m particularly fond of their light fixtures.  My favorites are large, round, black and metal.  A compliment to the waiter revealed the materials used are not what the sleek appearance suggests, but chicken wire and Austin stone.

So far, so good, but then there’s the wine.  My husband and I like a good wine as much as the next guy, but our trope is finding spectacularly good wines at minuscule pricing.  The nephew plans his honeymoon around wine tastings in a South American country.  Would the wine list hold up to his very sophisticated tastes?  Absolutely!  We tried two different bottles of Napa wines, both favorites of the nephew and both delicious.

Appetizers were the next hurdle.  My nephew’s job puts him in all the best eateries.  Some are his clients, others he takes his clients to, and if I were a name dropper you’d recognize a few.  So would Jasper’s have anything my nephew would like?  I’d tried the crab cakes when I’d been there before, and they were so good, my friend and I joked about continuing to order them until we were too full to walk out of the restaurant.  Nephew chose Maytag Blue Cheese Potato Chips – and we’re not talking Lay’s here.  Sliced thin, but not too thin, then deep fried, the potatoes were drizzled with a creamy sauce and chunks of blue cheese.  We didn’t clean out the basket, because if we had, that would have been the end of the meal.  Very good,  but also very filling.

For our main course, I returned to the Texas Peach Barbecued Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon Creamed Sweet Corn I’d had before.  Not because the rest of the menu is not delicious sounding, but because once is just not enough for this entree.  I split it with Hubby and he agreed it was a stunning treat for his mouth.  Nephew and wife shared the filet and made moaning noises similar to ours, so I can only assume it was delicious.  As sides we tried the mac-and-cheese and some spinach.

To top off the night, we ordered dessert, a “Mini-Trio” with Dark Chocolate Torte, Butterfinger Crème Brulee and Rocky Road Ice Cream Sandwich.  Back in March, my friend and I had gotten pretty much the same dessert, except that we’d had  Strawberry-Rhubarb Buckle instead of the Ice Cream Sandwich.  Bad choice.  Go for the Ice Cream Sandwich.  Not that there is anything wrong with the Buckle, it’s scrumptious.  It’s just that the Ice Cream Sandwich could possibly be the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth and I’m not particularly fond of ice cream.

After the meal we took a stroll around the small lake that graces The Shops at Legacy.  It was still a little warm for my West Coast nephew to thoroughly enjoy the exercise, but he did like the banjo players at the far end of the lake.  We were tickled to see that the trash can on the north side was filled up with Cold Stone cups, just like it had been on a visit earlier in the summer.  Good ice cream, but not as good as the Rocky Road Ice Cream Sandwiches we’d just inhaled.

The Shops and Legacy Water Feature

So do go to Jasper’s.  Chic enough for a special  night out, but the meal won’t necessarily clean out your child’s college fund, unless you just made the first deposit.  People were wearing everything from the ever-ubiquitous blue denim to frothy sundresses that said ‘big date night.’  I’m sure we’ll be back, even if it’s just to share a bottle of wine over some of those Maytag Blue Cheese Potato Chips.  What about you?  Have you been to Jasper’s yet?