Sunday, November 29, 2009


So I am excited I finally got to use the Kitchen Aid Ryan and I got from Maw-maw & Paw-paw. I have been wanting to bake sometime and so I wanted to try out one of the Sprinkles cupcake mixes we got from Daniel and Ann from one of our showers. I do enjoy baking but I tend to not eat what I bake. I have one and then I'm done and just want others to eat the rest.

Claudia helped me make the Red Velvet Sprinkles cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. That mix sure is red!!!! The mix also got everywhere and turns anything it touches red too so if you use it- just be careful! Overall, I would say that they turned out nicely. Just as big and looked almost as nice as the real Sprinkles cupcakes. I was proud of them. I really like their cream cheese frosting recipe and will re-use that again with other cupcakes/goodies. Still have the double chocolate mix in the pantry- will try those out sometime!

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I wanted to make Pumpkin cupcakes. We made a trip to the store, made our way through the crazy crowd (note to self: stock up on campbells cream of mushroom waaayy before Thanksgiving), got home, started to make the cupcakes in the Kitchen Aid, and realized I forgot to get pumpkin for the pumpkin cupcakes.... back to the store, rushed through while Ryan circled the parking lot, got ALL the needed ingredients, back to the house, and got back to mixing. I got the recipe from another blog I like to check out from time to time- it's the same one where I got the homemade oreo recipe from: Smitten Kitchen. I used the same cream cheese recipe from the Sprinkles mix above and added a hint of maple syrup to it for extra flavor. I would make these again.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 pkg. cream cheese
1 stick butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)
Pinch of salt

*cream together cream cheese and butter, add sugar in intervals, mix in vanilla/syrup, and salt at the end
*refrigerate if you want it to firm up

ENJOY- Happy Baking.

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Ca Ri Ga

So I have a ton of posts that I need to catch up on. I told Ryan that we needed to post all these pictures and food that we have. He posted a few things below and I just never did mine.

I was craving some Ca Ri Ga- curry chicken soup. I got a recipe from Wandering Chopsticks blog. I used a whole lot more curry seasoning than it suggested and it turned out fairly well. I used chicken wings and need to use a different kind of meat next time. I also need to add more water next time. Wasn't the best and wasn't as good but not as bad as it could have been! haha. Will work on a better chicken stock and flavor next time!

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Carter & Cooley

Kimmy likes to eat man sandwiches. I think this started with her trying my Bird to the Wise (Pastrami and Turkey) at Jason's Deli a few times, and now she gets it, forcing me to get something else. There's not a Jason's Deli close to us, but a nice substitute we've found is Carter and Cooley's Deli on 19th St. Somehow we always manage to go there on the First Saturday of the month, when that street is packed with shoppers and antiquers.

Kimmy likes to get the pastrami there, on rye with mustard, and I had tried their peppered turkey before and enjoyed it, so I decided to get that again, along with a cup of chili.

Thing we or friends have eaten there before: BLT - not recommended by friends, but how bad could a BLT be?, greek salad - not bad.

I really like the historical maps and photos of the Heights they have on the wall - I always notice something new and I'm interested in Houston history. Whenever we want a nice sandwich and are around that area, we seem to end up there, so I guess you'd call us regulars.
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We've been wanting to try Lola since it opened a little while ago. It's just down the street in the Heights at 11th and Yale (note: in the dry part of the heights, so it's byob). We got a chance to go a couple weeks ago with the Summer Street crew. They have a nice, small diner menu of entrees, sandwiches, and breakfast served all day.

Brian and I both ordered the Steak frites. The steak wasn't bad, and the parmesan fries were nice, but the best part was the chimichurri sauce that came with it. That made a simple steak really special. Erik ate an open faced roast beef sandwich dysphemized "Wet Roast Beef Debris." It looked like a nice roast beef sandwich, but I would ask for the same parmesan fries that came with the steak frites.

Kimmy wanted to try their chicken and waffles, to see if it would compare with our favorite at the Breakfast Klub, and it didn't quite compare. The waffle was pretty good, but the chicken was pretty dry and didn't have much flavor to it, unlike the chicken wings that come with the Breakfast Klubs giant waffle - still our favorite. A nice place overall, the staff was very friendly and it's a nice casual place to grab a meal anytime. There's still plenty more on the menu that I'm intrigued by, so I'm sure we'll be back sometime.
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Grilled Chicken Skewers

I had made these a long time ago for kimmy at my parents' house, and she requests them every so often because they turned out really great then. This time around they were just ok, or maybe our standards are just higher these days.

I cut up some chicken breast and marinated it in soy, ginger, honey, and lime for a few hours. It's a nice, salty-sweet marinade for chicken. Kimmy helped me put the skewers together, chicken, squash, zucchini, onion, and mushrooms. Next time I need to think like Alton Brown and remember to just make the skewers of each thing separately, because it's too hard to get everything the right size to cook together at the right time. It doesn't look as pretty, but I know it would work better.

Anyway, grilled up the skewers outside while Kimmy cooked a box of soy-ginger noodles I found at the store. The noodles were ok - sauce was a little overpowering and the texture was a little different that we expected.

Overall, a nice, easy meal and a nice excuse to get the grill out.

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This was a clean out the fridge dish. Actually, I was inspired when I was watching Mad Men one day and as the credits rolled by at the end I noticed that the composer of the show's score is David Carbonara. I realized I had everything to make a Carbonara and decided to make it later that week.

While the pasta was cooking, I started with some bacon, thyme and garlic, then added sliced zucchini to that until it was softened. Made the carbonara sauce with lots of parmesan, olive oil, eggs, and lots of pepper. Then when the pasta was cooked, drained it and added it to the pan with the zucchini, tossed it all in the sauce to cook the eggs, and put a little bit of the pasta water back in it to get the texture right.

It turned out ok, I need a little bit more practice to get the proportions right, but we ate plenty of it and I finished the rest off for lunch the next day.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009


After a lazy day of football and laundry and leftover crabcakes for lunch, I decided to try something new for dinner. Inspired mainly by our visit to the glass wall last weekend, where we had Deviled agg and BLT sliders, and by the BELT - Bacon, egg salad, lettuce, tomato - that I saw listed on the menu on the wall at Carter and Cooley Deli on 19th St. in the Heights, I made an attempt at my own BELT.

Lucky for me, I finally boiled eggs properly, so that the yolks were cooked but not grey and overdone. With the yolks creamy, I was able to make a simple egg salad with just a little bit of dressing - 2 parts mayo (but a lot less than you think you should use), one part deli mustard, and then a chopped dill pickle and minced onion, salt and pepper. If I would have had some paprika, I would have added it to try to emulate the deviled egg BLT slider from Glass Wall. Then just fried up some bacon, sliced a tomato, and toasted my bread (in the oven - you are reading a subliminal Bed Bath and Beyond registry gift request - we need a toaster), and then assembled the sandwich. It was glorious. I need to experiment with ingredient placement on the sandwich to perfect it, but I went with ease of assembly for my first attempt. From bottom to top: toast, egg salad, bacon, lettuce, tomato, toast.

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Special thanks to Maw-Maw for the egg slicer - that made the egg salad really easy.

Crabcakes and Fennel-Apple Slaw

We wanted to cook something last night, didn't feel like like anything that was in my pantry, so Kimmy started suggesting a bunch of things, and we ended up deciding on crabcakes. I wanted to do something new as a side too, and I somehow came up with fennel and apple slaw - I think I've watched too many episodes of Top Chef. So I researched some recipes and mixed them together into my own creation in my mind like I usually do, and we went to the grocery store and bought everything.

I'll start with the slaw. I've never eaten fennel other than fennel seeds in italian sausage and stuff, but this worked out pretty well, so I'll probably think about it more often now. On its own, fennel has a mild black licorice taste, which is strange, but combining it with the apple and dressing calms that down and makes for an interesting taste. I sliced up the fennel bulb and a green apple into thin strips, then tossed it in salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil, with a little bit of the fennel tops - the wispy greens above the fennel bulb look and taste a little like fresh dill. I should have stopped there, but I wasn't sure, so I added a few more things. One recipe I saw called for celery seed, which I didn't have, but being the Chicago-style hot dog fiend that I am, I have celery salt, so I sprinkled just a bit of that in. I also thought it needed a little bit more acid, so I threw a few shakes of red wine vinegar in there. Like I said, in the end, I don't think it needed anything extra, because after sitting for a bit, the flavors came together, and I realized I should have stuck with the simple lemon, oil and fennel top dressing.

I've never made crabcakes before, but I felt like I had seen them made enough times before, so we gave it a shot. Started by sauteeing some onion and garlic, then mixing those in with mayonnaise, ritz cracker crumbs, green onion, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Then tossed in the crab and mixed them together. Kimmy formed the cakes and then we let them rest in the fridge to set while we worked on the slaw and everything else. After they rested, I coated the cakes in panko breadcrumbs and just fried them in a pan with a little bit of oilive oil. They stayed together surprisingly well, only the first one fell apart on me. The crabcakes were good, but I think if I made them again I'd try to do more in the crab mixture, maybe some bell pepper or just something completely different.

I also made a garlic "aioli" sauce for the crabcakes by mixing some raw pressed garlic and lemon juice into mayonnaise and sour cream, and tossed some of the fennel tops into that too. The sauce was good, but the raw garlic was pretty overpowering, so I might do a roasted garlic version instead if I did it again.

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Kimmy was in the mood for Italian food last weekend, and we wanted to try a new place, so we decided on Fratelli's, which is on 290 not far outside the loop and like Mangum. The restaurant was really empty, we didn't get there until a little before 9, but it was a weekend night, and it didn't seem like they were coming off a big rush, so I'm not sure how great theyre doing there, but I think we enjoyed it.

We ordered some mussels as an appetizer (forgot to take a picture, sorry), and really liked those. They were steamed in white wine, lemon, garlic, etc. which are the kinds of flavors we both seem to enjoy. Kimmy ordered Tagliatelle di Mare - seafood pasta. Unfortunately, it was basically the same thing as our mussels, except with pasta and some more seafood - squid, shrimp, but the sauce was exactly the same, so we were a little disappointed in that because we were expecting a creamier sauce or something. It probably would have been great if we hadn't eaten the whole bowl of mussels and sopped up the sauce with bread before it.

I ordered Saltimbocca, which Mario Batali (if your hair is red I don't think your name is allowed to end with a vowel) always seemed to be making whenever I would come across his show when it used to come on. I don't think I can count how many times I've heard him say "It mean's 'jump in mouth.'" This version was prosciutto and sage rolled up in veal and pan fried in lots of garlic and olive oil. I thought it was really good, even though the sage was a little overpowering. I ordered it with a side of fettucine alfredo, which had a really nice alfredo sauce, and that calmed the sage down a little bit when I ate them together.

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Chicken Cordon Bleu

I've made some stuffed or rolled chicken dishes before, and Kimmy and I had a mildly successful attempt at Waco's Buzzard Billy's "armadillo eggs" when she was in school at Baylor, but I've never tried to make Chicken Cordon Bleu. I realized I had all the ingredients, so we gave it a shot, and it was really not that difficult. Pounded out the chicken as thin as I could without tearing it (still tore it plenty), laid out swiss cheese and ham, rolled it up and coated it (flour, then egg wash, then seasoned panko breadcrumbs), then baked it at 350 for an hour.

The results were pretty good, we ate it with a boxed pasta side and caesar salad. It was a little salty, so I'll have to watch the seasoning next time. I don't think I considered that the ham and swiss would add plenty of saltiness. Also, the crust didn't brown too well in the oven, so I'll probably mess with cooking temperature next time I do something like this, or just break down and pan fry it first.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sopapilla Cheesecake

I was in the mood to bake but didn't feel like going to the store to get any ingredients. My sister made a sopapilla cheesecake tonight (found out via facebook status) so after hearing how she made it, I realized I already had all the ingredients for this! I only had half the amount but just double it if you want to make a bigger portion. It's very simple to make and not much can go wrong with it. Crescent rolls? Good. Cream cheese with sugar and vanilla? Good. Butter? Good. Sugar and cinnamon? Good.

1) half a crescent roll onto the bottom of a nonstick pan
2) mix 1 pkg. cream cheese, 1/2 c. sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and spread on top
3) top with rest of crescent roll
4) pour 1/4 c. of melted butter on top (was a lot of butter- could probably scale down but butter is good...)
5) sprinkle 1/4 c. sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon on top of butter
6) bake at 350 until done!

Should set after letting it cool long enough- or you can just eat it while it's gooey and it's still good!

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Taqueria Ruby aka "24 open taco"

I have always told Ryan that we are going to eat there one day and we would just keep forgetting to. So finally we went! Stopped by, picked up some taco for lunch, and headed back to my house. We got 2 of each: beef and pastor, and then one chicharron/pork skin, and one lengua/tongue.

Results: the tongue was the best one. Everything else was just ok. I was hoping that the pork skin would be a little bit crunchy... instead it was all mushy... well.. fat. If we went back (not sure when we would) we'd get a big order of lengua tacos!

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Glass Wall and Mam's House of Ice

Glass Wall is a restaurant on Studewood that we've been meaning to check out for a while because it's right near where I live. The place was relatively empty when we got there, but the only table we could get without a reservation was in the bar area, which was fine.

Their main menu is seasonal and had just recently changed to the fall menu. They also have a bar menu available all the time. We tried the beef carpaccio appetizer with fried oysters which was really good. Kimmy says carpaccio is one of her favorite dishes now. I really liked the roasted tomato with goat cheese that came with the carpaccio.

We didn't go for the ~$20 main courses on the main menu this time, since we were really just wanting to grab something for dinner. We chose some of the bar menu options instead, which were small portions, but still really good. We split the deviled egg/BLT sliders and short rib tacos. The sliders were tasty, a nice little sandwich with a good deviled egg and then just crumbled bacon, a little shredded lettuce, and small slice of tomato. Plenty of messiness from the egg, but really a refreshing sandwich. I might think about making a BELT sometime - bacon, egg salad, lettuce, tomato. We'll let you know how it goes. The tacos were really good too. Flavorful and moist meat with a good creamy sauce and queso. Served with a wedge of lime dipped in chili powder, which made a nice chili lime juice when you squeezed it, a nice touch.

The bar menu portions were small, but we were really satisfied for dinner. If you're looking for a place in the heights to grab a glass of wine and a little snack to go with it, I'd definitely recommend the bar menu. We'll let you know if we get a chance to go back for something from the regular menu besides the carpaccio.

Afterwards, we wanted to try a snow-cone place Kimmy had read about. It's called Mam's House of Ice, a little trailer located at 20th and Rutland in the Heights.
The ice was shaved really fine, which was great, but they overdid it on the syrup a little bit. Kimmy got Mango/Strawberry with condensed milk to try to imitate the Korean desserts she likes, and I tried Tiger's Blood, because it's what everyone else that was there was getting, and they didn't have the horchata flavor that I like at the place by Kimmy's house. The Tiger's Blood ended up being like a watermelon/cherry/coconut mix, which was ok, but I like my snow cones a little milder. We'll probably go back again because the ice was good, but probably ask them do go easy on the syrup.

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Auntie Pasto's

After finishing up at the clinic a few Tuesdays ago, Kelly & I were going to go out for dinner. We never made a decision where (because I didn't do it) and Kelly convinced Lauri to join us- and Lauri only joined us if Alastair, her husband, could join us too. So the four of us headed over to Auntie Pasto's (I thought was antipasta's) which was Lauri's suggestion. The food was really good here and the crazy conversation was better. Sorry you had to sit through it all Alastair! I'd go back there if I was in that area for dinner, but I probably wouldn't drive all the way over there for it.

Kelly & I got the Chicken Piccata- I am always a big fan of lemons and capers so adding that to chicken and pasta was good. The only thing I would say about this dish is that I thought the pasta would be plain pasta so that I can eat it with the sauce that came on the chicken... instead they put marinara sauce on it and it didn't go together as well. I'll have to remember to ask them not to do that next time.

Lauri got the black bean pasta - it looked really really good! It had onions, peppers, black beans, goat cheese, and chicken in a cream sauce over pasta. She seemed to enjoy it!

Alastair got the warm goat cheese salad and mussels in a white wine sauce. Honestly, everything looked good!

We even kept eating the warm bread they were bringing out too. It wasn't just that we were starving, the food was good too.

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Houston Restaurant Week- Polo's Signature

So for my birthday, the TPS girls (Stacy, Kati, & Claudia) took me out to eat. They said it was my choice, so after looking at the different restaurants on the list I picked Polo's Signature. It's a really nice place- definitely a place where you take your time to enjoy your meal because they are in noooooo rush to get you anything. I wasn't sure if it was bad or how it just is at that place- my guess is that's just how they do things there. First you get sat down, then wait a while to get a wine list, then wait a while to get some water, wait some more for some bread with herb butter and pate, then wait for the wine to come, and yup you guessed it wait some more for menus, etc etc etc. Anyways, the food was really good, the portions were big, and I would go back. If you missed out on trying places during Houston Restaurant Week, Polo's is still doing this fixed menu on Fridays & Saturdays so go check them out!

1st course-
Stacy, Claudia, and I got the salad. It had a slice of sashimi tuna, some crispy proscuitto, and good but way too much pepper caesar dressing (next time get it on the side or ask them to go easy on it).

Kati got the soup de jour. I can't remember what soup it was- Kati care to leave a comment?? It looked good though.

*surprise 2nd course*
Kiwi Lime sorbet- it was delicious! It really tasted like you were eating a kiwi. Refreshing and great!

3rd course-
I got the stripped bass- I was in the mood for some fish. The bass was good and topped with all this lump crab meat which only made it better. Under this mound of seafood was some mushroom risotto and on the side there was some tempura asparagus. I enjoyed it, but looking across the table at Claudia's and Stacy's dish made me a little jealous that I didn't take the surf and turf option instead.

Surf & Turf- I got to try a piece of Claudia's steak and it was good. Nothing fancy no additional flavors- just good cooked meat. They had a filet mignon, some lobster (I don't remember how much? 1/2?), some mashed potatoes and another side dish I think. The question when eating lobster is... what's the best part? Second question- do you save the best part for the end or eat it first? Claudia and Stacy both like the claw the best. Claudia ate hers first and enjoyed it. Stacy ate the rest of the lobster, enjoyed it, saved the claw for last, and then said the claw tasted like her grandma's closet which always smelled like moth balls. Not sure how only the claw part could taste like moth balls but I'll leave that up to Stacy to answer your questions about that!

Tuscan Chicken- Kati's dish. I don't think she cared too much for this and honestly when we tried it... we didn't either. Chicken isn't just a plain regular meat- it can be really really good if you cook it right. The flavors were just weird I think. We weren't sure where they were going with it and for some reason refused to bring her a proper cutting knife to eat the chicken with. I think we kept getting butter knives! Don't recommend the chicken but I would say try the other dishes.

4th course- dessert.
Kati, Claudia, and I ordered the Chocolate Mousse Cake with strawberries on top. Good chocolety cake with fresh strawberries- too full to finish it.

Stacy got the Key Lime English Trifle Martini- it tasted like key lime lol. I'm not the biggest key lime fan but I'm sure if you are then you'll like it too.

Sorry I didn't take any photos while we were there. Like I said above.. it's a place to relax and enjoy your food while you're there for an extended period of time haha.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Houston Restaurant Week - Masraff's

This place was great! Our second restaurant week try together - Kimmy will post about her other restuarant week experience later, which was in between Rainbow Lodge and Masraff's.

First, they had a really nice wine list, I tried an Australian pinot noir which was great, and I usually don't prefer red wines. The restaurant week menu was very nice, and we were able to make a last minute reservation and get in on a Friday night.

Here's what we ate:
1st -
Three Mushroom Ravioli with Truffle Oil and Lemon Sage - wow, this is usually an entree that they do, but they shrunk it into an appetizer for this menu. The sauce was great, very savory, but not overpowering the ravioli.

Garlic Seared Calamari with Oyster Mushrooms, Red Onion, Chinese Parsley with Soy Reduction - They tried to do an asian thing here, and the result was pretty good. The sauce was pretty sweet, but not annoyingly so like a lot of those chinese-takeout-type sweet sauces. The flavors came together really well and the calamari was cooked wonderfully.

2nd -
"Paella" Risotto with Diver Scallop, Prawns, Rock Shrimp and Texas Dry Sausage Stewed in Saffron Stock with Carnarolli Rice - interesting idea for a dish. I had wanted to get paella at another place that we had been eyeing the menu of that evening, so this worked out well for me. Just a twist on risotto giving it the paella flavors, but the risotto cooking method. The seafood and sausage were really good, and the saffron in the risotto was nice.

Pan Fired New York Strip Steak with Two Potato Lyonnaise, Port Wine Reduction and Pomme Frittes - Kimmy wanted a nice steak, and I think she got it. The port sauce was different, another sweet sauce, but it worked well.

3rd -
Warm Double Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Crème Anglaise - No report here - Kimmy ordered it, but we ended up getting the other two by mistake, I should have asked them to fix it, but we're not really complainers.

Warm Triple Berry Bread Pudding with White Chocolate, Blueberry Compote and
Cream Cheese Mousse - Disappointing after the Rainbow Lodge Croissant bread pudding, but I liked the berries a lot.

Butter Roasted Pear Crème Brulée and Whole Berry Sauce - Interesting dish. Roasted pear half, topped with a dome of creme brulee, with the classic bruleed top but in a dome shape - a nice twist I thought. - I accidentally deleted the picture from my phone, so this one isn't pictured, hopefully I explained it well enough.

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Houston Restaurant Week - Rainbow Lodge

We should have posted about Houston Restaurant Week before it happened to let people know about it, but we didn't think about it and were selfish and went out on our own.

During Houston restaurant week (actually 2 weeks - then extended an extra week), 84 restaurants, some of Houston's finest, offer a selected 3 course menu with a couple options for $35, which is a pretty good deal at a lot of these places, and $5 goes to benefit the Houston Food Bank. We saw it advertised and knew we'd have to hit at least one of them up. For Kimmy's birthday, we decided to go to Rainbow Lodge. We had heard good things before, and then recently found out that our friend's brother is the head chef there.

The menu looked really good., and we tried each of the two options for each course. Overall, the food was good, but I feel like they toned it down size wise and quality wise for restaurant week, which really goes against the spirit of the thing to me.

1st -
Barely Cooked Garden Tomato Bisque “Hot or Chilled” with panzanella salad & basil pistou - really nice, I ordered it chilled, Kimmy said she would have preferred it hot. It was like a really fresh creamy tomato sauce/soup, the little bit of panzanella bread salad was nicely dressed, and the basil pistou mixed with the soup made it even better.

Salad of Local Watermelon & Tomatoes with garden herbs & gelled white balsamic vinegar - Kimmy didn't care for this too much, the prosciutto was of course great, and I thought the gelled white balsamic was cool, but they didnt do much with the watermelon and tomato - can't blame them much for that though, they were really fresh and didnt need to be screwed with.

Charred Local Shrimp Laced with Espellete, garden peppers, chick peas & smoked ham bouillon - The shrimp was really tasty and well cooked, but the chick peas were the wrong texture for the dish. Nice flavors overall though.

Wild Boar Roasted on the Bone with purple mustard & spicy fermented cabbage - The boar was great, but the size of the dish was disappointing, it was only about 3 bites, when I hear boar I expect a man meal, haha. The purple mustard was interesting, haven't quite had a taste exactly like that before. The other disappointing thing was that the fermented cabbage that the boar sat on was really distracting. The cabbage was wayyy too acidic, and it blew out my tastebuds for the rest of the dish, while it lasted.

Coffee Crème Brûlée & Cardamom Madeleines - really stong coffee flavor and the texture was a little off, felt a little like coffee grounds, but I ate the whole thing, so I can't complain.

Rainbow Lodge’s Signature Croissant Bread Pudding with bourbon caramel & vanilla ice cream - WOW! AMAZING - one of the best desserts we've had. The description says it all I think.

Overall, we thought Rainbow Lodge's restaurant week offering was a little bit disappointing, but it was a nice experience nonetheless. The light was really dim in there and we didn't want to use a flash, so sorry for the dark pictures.

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King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Kimmy and I both like King Ranch casserole, but we had never made it. The other night, we wanted to cook something easy, casseroles came to mind, and king ranch stood out to both of us. I looked up a recipe online, it looked pretty easy, so we headed to the store to get a few ingredients.

The process was really easy, but it does take a little bit of time. I think we decided it would be good to prepare the casserole ahead of time and save it for a lazy night to just toss in the oven.

First, we sweated some onion, garlic and bell pepper in butter, then added in chicken stock, cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, rotel tomatoes and green chiles, and a few spices - cumin, chili powder, dried oregano. Stirred to combine and then let all that simmer for a bit to come together.

While I was doing that Kimmy was shredding a whole rotisserie chicken from HEB - and we had to sneak a few pieces during that process. Note: Rotisserie chicken and some easy sides would make a good easy meal too.

Then, we layered - chicken, soup mixture, cheese, corn tortillas cut into strips, chicken, soup, cheese, tortillas, and some cheese on top. Threw it in the oven for a little under an hour, let it cool, and then dug in. It was great! Kimmy's dad liked it too, and we even gave some to the guys that were finishing up some work on the siding and gutters. I had it for lunch the next 3 days or so too.

Forgot to take pictures during the cooking and of the final product, but we got a couple of the layering process:

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Redfish Seafood Grill

A few weeks (maybe months now) ago, we went and saw the Cirque du Soleil show at the Berry Center. It was pretty entertaining, some of the acts were better than others, but it was interesting to see something like that in Cypress. Afterwards, my parents wanted to go out to eat, and we ended up at Redfish. We've been to the one on 249 a long while back, and they had pretty good sushi.

This one opened recently near the ever-booming Spring Cypress/Cypress Rosehill area, in a spot where a couple other restaurants have already come and gone.

We wanted some oysters, but they're out of season here and Redfish doesn't feel like getting them from somewhere else I guess, so we got some escargots instead. They pretty much take on the flavor of what you cook them in, in this case lots of garlic, herbs, and butter, which was pretty nice with some bread.

As you'll see, they have a pretty diverse menu, which I think is a good and bad thing, but everyone basically liked what they got I think.

Kimmy stuck with sushi, we dont remember exactly which roll it was, I think the crunchy roll. It was huge, with tempura shrimp, cream cheese, jalapeno, and a sweet sauce on top. She also got some miso soup.

I ordered blackened redfish with chipotle crabmeat sauce, which was really good. The sauce overpowered the fish quite a bit, but it was a really good sauce, could have put it on fish sticks and I would have enjoyed it just as much (maybe).

My mom ordered "Gratinee Salmon Carpaccio," which I think was neither gratineed (were there cheese and breadcrumbs on top mom?) nor carpaccio, but it was really good. Thinly sliced salmon (ok, that sounds like carpaccio, right) blazed under the broiler until the plate was unhandleable (ok, now not so much) in a lemon cream sauce with mushrooms and spinach. At any rate, after it cooled down a bit it was a great plate of food, I just don't agree much with 2/3 of their name for it.

My dad stuck with his guns and ordered a plate of fried shrimp and fries, completing our seafood trip around the world of Redfish's diverse menu. The shrimp were actually pretty solid with a nice crunchy breading.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Stir Fry Beef & Broccoli

So I like to try to make some Vietnamese dishes from this one food blog I found called: Wandering Chopsticks. One thing I tried off the website(even though it isn't Vietnamese- it isn't real Chinese food either but whatever) was the beef and broccoli. It was tasty with some extra soy sauce, but I bought too much meat when I did it and did not adjust the ingredients to match as much as I should have. It was still a good stir fry- just not as saucy as the other beef and broccoli dishes you get elsewhere. I'd try it again some other time though.

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posts in progress...

photos we have but no time to write about yet:
1) Houston Restaurant Week(s) - got 3 different places to talk about
2) Red Fish in Cypress
3) Auntie Pastas in Bellaire
4) Attempt at beef & broccoli that didn't turn out right but was still tasty
5) King Ranch Chicken casserole

and things to come I guess!

We're working on it.. I plomise.


There have been a lot of changes lately and we keep falling behind on posting... but we're still trying! I thought we had a post about a trip to Seoul Garden before...ah ha! I found it here: Seoul. This is where my sister, Huong, first took my family to eat Korean food and it has been our normal place to go to when we want Korean food. Seoul Garden is good but the service can suck and they can be sort of picky about things, so this time I wanted to try a different Korean place. After looking up some things, I read nicer reviews for Korea Garden (seriously across the street from Seoul). Gave it a shot- good food, very nice staff, no one pushing us to order certain amounts, but no soup included in the mix of things. I think I like the side dishes better at Seoul though. If you're a newcomer to trying Korean food and going w/o someone who does- I would try out Korea Garden because they are nicer and speak better English...

The other photos are from our trip to Super H Mart after dinner. Fun supermarket to check out!

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bo Tai Chanh

So I have become a fan of beef carpaccio. Bo Tai Chanh is the Vietnamese version that you can order in some restaurants, and I also had some really good beef carpaccio at Beavers on one of their Thursday night Culture nights. I found a recipe for the Vietnamese version so I thought I'd give it a try. The basic way to make it is to:
1) buy some good meat and thinly slice it
2) sear it quickly to get some color
3) take off and let it sit in some lemon juice, orange juice, and a bit of fish sauce
4) after it's cooked to how you want it- drain the juices, add herbs and fried shallots/onions and enjoy!

Honestly, after getting a quick sear, the meat was really good on it's on. I think we used too much citrus with it because it kind of overpowered the meat- but it was still good. Need to tweek the measurements a bit next time, but here's what it looked it!


House of Pies

Sorry guys- Ryan and I have been falling behind on our posts! I don't really have much to say about the House of Pies- the food is just the normal stuff like Denny's-sandwiches, breakfast, what have you. I don't come here to eat that kind of food. I come for the cheesecake! I am not one for pies- If I do order them, I normally just eat all the crust and leave the rest of it on the plate. I do enjoy the cheesecakes from The Cheesecake Factory but if I ever crave turtle or strawberry cheesecake (at any given hour!) House of pies is it. I've been going there since high school. Huge piece for under $4!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dim Sum King

We had to run a few wedding errands in Bellaire (Chinatown Bellaire, not the city Bellaire), and we had been wanting to get Dim Sum for a while, so we stopped in at Dim Sum King. Kimmy had been to this one before, but I hadn't. It was pretty cheap and most of the things we ordered were really good. If you've never done dim sum before, it's basically a bunch of small plates of food - dumplings, fried stuff, etc. - and you just order a bunch of them. At this place, they have a nice menu with pictures so you know exactly what you're getting. You mark what you want on a sheet of paper, and they start bringing them out. We ordered way too much food, but Brian helped me finish the leftovers later that day. I embarrassed us by knocking my water glass over while trying to take one of these pictures, but the ladies swooped in and cleaned it up in about 10 seconds.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Snow Cone Cravings

With the weather not getting any better and just hotter than ever... I have been craving snow cones a lot. The problem is... out there near washington/heights area, I have no idea where snow cone stands are! My favorite kind of snow cones have a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the middle- I use to get it at Mr. Snow in Waco. A Korean dessert where they serve shaved ice, topped with condensed milk, ice cream, and fresh fruit would have also been great to eat with the heat but that's all the way down in Bellaire/Chinatown. After Ryan did some googling for me, he found Tampico Refresqueria which wasn't too far away. We drove up and there was a good line so we figured it would be good. It was alright as far as snow cones go I guess. They didn't have ice cream- I had to go with a regular snow cone. They put a TON of syrup on there so after you eat the top you just have flavored sugar water left over. There's a new snow cone stand that opened July 4th weekend closer to I10 that we found on the way home called Mango Beach. Will have to try that place out soon. :)

Back to that Korean dessert- In Ryan's search he found a place called Oasis. It's no where near the heights area but out in Bellaire/West U- where I work. Last week, I ended up having a lot of clients cancel or no show so there was plenty of free time. Lots of free time and nothing to do... get in the car and drive... where? We (the grad student and I) didn't know but then I realized that we were close to that snow cone place and asked if she wanted to stop by. We did. It was great! It just opened too. I got a snow cream which was shaved ice, flavored syrup, ice cream, and fresh fruit. The grad student wasn't sure if she'd like what I got so she got a lime snow cone instead, but after trying mine and after telling people at work what we had.. we went back later that week and all got snow creams. Too bad I won't be working over there for much longer. I would get snow creams almost every week!

Smash Burger

Jonathan claimed this place has the best burger in Houston, and I think we agree! Very good burger lots of choices for condiments and toppings, and some interesting "smash fries" sprinkled with rosemary. They also had hot dogs, and you know we had get a Chicago style to try, but we'll stick to the burgers from now on.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Manny's Cafe

Kimmy and I were running some wedding-type errands the other day and met up with my mom at a tailor right next to Manny's Cafe close to the Copperfield area, so we stopped in for lunch. We had read reviews while looking for other good Greek places besides Niko Niko and the ones near there, and this one kept popping up as having good reviews, so we were eager to finally try it. This place was actually pretty comparable to our favorites. Manny is a heavyset Greek guy and I assume he's always there, asking people if they want him to dance while they eat.

The spreads were good. Fresh tzatziki, hummus, and a spicy feta dip (tasted like buffalo sauce - a bit much) with soft warm pitas. I tried the chicken pita, which was really excellent. The chicken was perfectly grilled and flavorful, very juicy, and the cool tzatziki and vegetables made the whole thing very refreshing. My mom and Kimmy (and me by the end of the meal) split a gyros platter. The gyros meat was very good, a little greasy, as it probably should be. Niko Niko makes the best I've had, I like it because it's a little thicker cut and more charred, but this plate was really good for being outside the beltway. We'll probably stop by again when we're in the mood for Greek in Cypress again.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Chicken Fried Steak

I was trying to think of some new things to make for dinner, things I haven't made before. I had a box of roasted garlic scalloped potatoes in the pantry, so i tried to think of something taht would go well with that and came up with chicken fried steak. I've seen my mom make chicken fried steak maybe 100 times, so I had the procedure down pretty well I think.

Heat a pan with plenty of oil (I put enough to cover the steak, because I think it makes the crust stick a little better)
Pounded out the steak a bit to make it thinner and more tender.
Coat lightly with seasoned flour, the dip in egg/milk, then in flour again.
Put it in the oil for a few minutes on each side - when the crust looks done the meat will be too.

I also tried to make gravy, so I drained the pan, left a little bit of oil along with the stuff at the bottom of the pan, put in some flour to make a light roux (I put too much, my gravy was too thick - need to try it again to master the flour/milk ratio), cooked it a bit until the flour and oil were incorporated, then put in some milk, salt, lots of pepper, and stirred to try to get the lumps out - note: need a whisk - feel free to get us the utensil set from our BB&B registry.

On the side I made the scalloped potatoes, and some sauteed okra - which was really good - nothing special, just frozen okra sauteed with onion, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Little Big's

We went out to dinner with Jonathan and he suggested that we try out Little Bigs. This place is known for their sliders and shakes. They opened this location earlier in January I think, but for some reason, I never really noticed it up until about a month or so ago. One thing that really draws the Montrose crowd will probably be their late hours on the weekends (open until 3am Friday & Saturday). Then again BB's Kitchen is just across the street and is open until 4am on the weekends... their beignets are good- will have to post about them another time! Anyways, Little Big's concept is really simple- fresh beef, baked bread, hand cut fries, & shakes. Their food was simple too, so nothing too much to brag about. Sure I'd go back if someone wanted to, but I'd probably prefer to just have a real burger instead of these smaller sliders. If you want simple like you could do at home with regular salt/pepper beef sliders with cheese and onions then head there. I liked their fries though! Ryan tried the chicken slider and white russian milkshake. Maybe he'll add a little note below to talk about those things since I didn't try it..

Ryan - The chicken slider was ok - the batter was like a tempura type batter - think sweet and sour chicken on a bun, and the white russian milkshake tasted like a white russian (with plenty of bite to it) - naturally they call it "The Dude." It didn't really go that well with the meal - I don't generally drink vodka drinks with dinner... but it would probably be better on its own.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Homemade Oreos

So I enjoy looking at and reading different blogs. One type of blogs I enjoy reading and following are food blogs. I saw a post about these homemade oreos that I really wanted to try. Ryan's dad LOVES oreos and I have been wanting to make them for a while now. Father's day was coming up so I thought this would be the perfect time to give them a shot! I got the recipe off of the Smitten Kitchen blog. I wasn't sure how similar it would be to a real oreo but I have to say.... it is really really close!!!! I made the cookies about twice as big/thick as they should have been so it was more like an oreo cakester but still... I'm impressed! haha. They look better on her website so if you want the recipe and instructions head on over to the Smitten Kitchen. Ryan and I gave them a try after I finished making them and they were actually really good. If we had a glass of milk with them it would have been perfect. Might even be better than the real oreo! I just hope they were just as good 2 days later on Father's day when we gave them to Ryan's dad...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

100% Taquito

Kimmy felt up for Mexican food one night, so Kimmy, Jonathan, and I went to try 100% Taquito off of 59. I had heard that it was good and we wanted to try a new place. I tried the Tacos al pastor (pork tacos with pineapple), and the sopes de tinga (beef brisket, black beans, fresco cheese on a fluffy corn tortilla, and Kimmy tried a torta (sandwich made with french bread and fajita beef), which I've been interested in at other places but never got around to trying. I think Jonathan ordered chicken tacos.

The food was ok, nothing too special, but it was nice to try some new Mexican items like the sopes and torta, and the prices were nice and cheap. Overall, we decided it wasn't too bad, but we'd just rather go to another place for mexican food, even Taco C or something would be just as satisfying. Be on the lookout for a post about El Rey Taqueria coming up after the next time I make a visit there, because that's a place with tacos worth revisiting.

I decided on this rating because if you happened to be in the area and needed a cheap quick lunch or something it wouldn't be bad, but I would say it's not good enough to make a trip.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hey Cupcake - Austin, TX

Ryan and I have been traveling to Austin a lot this month. If we're not in Austin, then our Austin friends are down here so we're getting to spend a lot of good time together. My best friend Kim and I both love desserts- almost all desserts! So, she took Ryan and me out to Hey Cupcake! out on Congress. That area is cute with lots of shops and we sat outside at one of their tables while a man was playing his guitar near by. Ryan got the 24 carrot cupcake, I got the standard- a vanilla cupcake with pink icing, and Kim got the double dose-chocolate with chocolate. She also got a standard and red velvet to bring home. I had a bite of Ryan's and liked the carrot one. I tend to like more dense cakes/cupcakes and the standard cupcake just falls apart in your mouth and melts. Kim loves it and I can understand why she would or why a lot of others would- It's just my preference. It was also verrry sweet! The cupcakes were big and for a good price (only $2.50 compared to $3.50 at Crave in Houston). The atmosphere was fun and I wouldn't mind going back. I would probably try something different though or the carrot cake one.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bacon wrapped scallops and mushroom risotto

I haven't made a nice dinner in a while, so the other night I decided to make my version of the best plate of food Kimmy and I ever ate at Patrenella's a while back. Their scallops weren't wrapped in bacon, and their risotto didn't have mushrooms, but my versions were and did. It didn't quite live up to that one, but I wasn't trying to copy it, and it ended up being a pretty good dinner.

The key to the bacon wrapped scallops was precooking the bacon a little bit, that way you don't end up with chewy fatty bacon or overcooked scallops. Precooked the bacon in a pan for a couple minutes, let it cool some while I started the risotto, and then wrapped the scallops with the bacon, secured with a toothpick, and threw them in a hot pan for a couple minutes on each side. Had to keep them warm in the oven along with my asparagus for a little bit while my risotto finished, but they didn't get overcooked and were still good. The bacon was a little too much actually (blasphemy, I know) but that's because I used some peppered bacon. I think I've decided scallops are good enough on their own and the bacon can be saved for something else that needs it more.

The risotto was an experiment, it was my first time ever attempting it. I watched a few videos and looked at a few recipes online and settled on a mixture of methods from those. Earlier in the afternoon, I had tossed my dried porcini mushrooms in some hot water to dehydrate, and sauteed some shiitake mushrooms to add to the risotto later. Started by warming chicken stock on one burner and heated up some butter and olive oil on another. Tossed in onion and garlic and sweated them for a bit, then added the arborio rice to get some flavor and the beginnings of translucence on it. The first round of liquid was a cup of white wine and a little bit of the mushroom water, which had a lot of flavor. Stirred and stirred until that was soaked up, then added chicken stock to cover, let it get absorbed in and stirred to get those starches off to create the risotto's creaminess, then repeated a couple thousand times. Looking back, I think I had the temperature too hot, because I think the liquid was evaporating too fast instead of getting absorbed by the rice, so I spent way longer than I thought on the risotto. Somewhere along the way, I tossed in the chopped up mushrooms, and then at the end finished it with a bunch of grated parmesan.

It was a good experiment, and I think it turned out pretty nice, but it was a very rich meal and I made way too much risotto. The next risotto I make will be better, I'll probably do something different than mushrooms and watch the temp a little better next time, but I'm glad I've got that in my toolbox now.

Cafe Annie

Last Friday was my birthday, so Kimmy took me to lunch at Cafe Annie before we headed out to Austin. It's a nice place in the Galleria area where apparently a lot of old rich ladies like to lunch together. The food is a little bit southwestern influenced, I guess, but not like BobbyFlayBlueCornAnchoChile southwestern, thank goodness. The service was great, I think the kitchen may have been running a little slow because they brought out a complimentary crab salad amuse bouche (what's a food blog that doesn't have an amuse bouche mentioned, now we're for real). It was a crab salad served on a thick homeade tortilla chip with avocado and hot sauce.

I like (maybe love) wedge salads, and their iceberg salad was a nice version, the bleu cheese dressing was nice and tart, the tomatoes were juicy, and the bacon was thick. Kimmy's "small" caesar salad looked good too, but I didn't try it, I enjoyed my salad too much.

Kimmy ordered a grilled skirt steak with creamy avocado salsa and a little potato and cheese enchilada. The steak was really nicely cooked, and the "salsa" was really interesting, like a really creamy guacamole, no chunks, with something else in it to add some depth that I'm sure is pretty simple but I couldn't quite pick out, maybe just a lot of cilantro or parsley or something blended in. It's not something I would think to top a steak with, but that's why I don't have a restaurant, because it was really good. The red enchilada sauce was really good, and that's again not something I'd think to put with a steak like that, but it worked nicely as a side.

I had the grilled quail, which was topped with a green chile and pumpkin seed sauce, thick and nutty like a green chile romesco sauce. The quail was smoky from the wood fired grill and I really liked it. It came with pan fried white beans, which I was excited about trying when I looked at them on the menu, but they were a little too crunchy - not sure if that's what they were going for or if they undercooked them before pan frying, but I ate them all anyway, good flavor.

Sorry for the dark pictures, camera phone isn't perfect and I don't like flash pictures.

Traun Kieu

Kimmy's dad had been to this place twice already in one week with his friends that had come down from Kansas, but he decided to take us again. They have a nice deal with lots of family style seafood for pretty cheap.

I especially liked the sauce on their steamed fish, and the clay pot fish was good too, but really sweet. I also like the vegetable we ate there and have eaten many times before, rau muong, or water spinach, which apparently is classified by the USDA as a weed (thanks Wikipedia).

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


So after posting on here about the trendy sushi places and how I would rather go to cheap hole in the walls with good sushi, my cousin, John, told me that I should try Hokkido in Bellaire (not West U/Bellaire- Chinatown Bellaire). So on Friday, I asked my other cousin, Christie, to take me to Harwin and around those shops. There are tons of dresses down there and other little goodies. Didn't find anything that I liked and would want to buy but we were starving and headed to Hokkido for lunch. Christie said she loves that chicken and I ordered some tempura sushi (she doesn't enjoy raw sushi). I was trying to pay but she tricked me, told me that you pay after your meal but she lied!!! I'll get you back Christie! Anyways- it is a cute place, small, order your food at the counter, they bring it out to you, miso soup and tea is included in whatever you order. I do like this place and would come back the next time I'm in the area (every other weekend or so). This place is also in the same shopping center as the Dim Sum King- another great recommendation by my cousin John for good cheap food! That will have to be another post though because I was too busy eating there, I forgot to take pictures!

Busy Saturday

So last Saturday was the day to have parties! I ate so much munching away at things while chatting throughout the day. I had Leigh Anne's Tea Party Bridal Shower, Jonathan's graduation from South Texas, and Michelle's surprise birthday party.

1) Leigh Anne= very cute tea party! I love asparagus wrapped in prosciutto! Good finger foods and then Tres leche cake.

2) Jonathan= had fajitas from pappasitos, tamales, queso, and another cake- vanilla with chocolate marbled in.

3) Michelle= more good finger food (I tried sticking with the veggie tray by this point because I was already stuffed but couldn't help but munch when everyone around you is). good meatballs, pico, etc. The "lazy" daisy oatmeal cake was really good!

Overall- busy day going from one house to the next and eating all day long. Fun times with food and friends as cheesy as that sounds.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Gianna Italian Kitchen

A few weeks ago, we went to Gianna Italian Kitchen in Tomball with my grandparents Maw-Maw and Paw-Paw, who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

The food was pretty good. We ate some freid ravioli and bruschetta as apetizers, and both were very good. There was a nice salad with creamy italian dressing. The dressing wasn't bad, creamy and tangy, but there was just too much of it. Kimmy and I both ended up ordering their seafood ravioli, which the waitress said would be stuffed with scallops, shrimp, etc. When we got it, it was drenched in thin soupy sauce, and it seemed like there was a lot of salmon in the ravioli, which was fine, just not what we were expecting. A few other people got it too and liked it, we jsut weren't crazy about it. We tried the other things people ordered, eggplant parm and spaghetti with meatballs, and they were both good. The desserts weren't bad either.

A nice place for dinner, but I would definitely try something different if I made it back.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


So Ryan & I have started to take Lexus out to the dog park on Highway 6 and I really enjoy taking her. She cracks me up and has now become a pretty good swimmer!! Still skiddish around other dogs and comes to check in on Ryan and me everytime other dogs get too close. I think she has pragmatic issues and could use a doggie social group lol. After the first time we took her there, we stopped by a place called Hank's crawfish. I think it's hard to find a place that serves really good boiled crawfish, but this is our place!!!! We love it- wish it had more of the crawfish seasoning but it's a good mix of the way cajun places do it and how Vietnamese people do it. Just spicy enough to make you make that weird spicy noise while you eat it and enough to keep going. This past weekend, when we took her again (I am going to try to take her each weekend or so) and stopped by to pick up some as a treat for ourselves. We were worried that it wouldn't be as good as the first one, but it was still good.

We aren't regulars but this will become my regular place to get crawfish.

Eventful Friday..

So I had a very long and eventful Friday. Too much to write about but we did go to Cedar Creek for lunch! I wanted to have another Ahi Tuna Steak sandwich and so I asked if we could go to Dry Creek. We've been to Onion Creek and Dry Creek, but I didn't know that they opened another one- Cedar Creek. Their menu is very similar to that of Dry Creek's so I still got what I wanted. I like the atmosphere of Cedar Creek more than the other two. It has a lot more room and has nice tvs, fans, fire pit, etc outside. This is a nice place to grab some lunch and sit outside when the weather's nice! We'll be back sometime or another.

1) Ahi Tuna Steak Sandwich- medium rare tuna + spicy cilantro mayo
2) The Duke - basically a buger/frito pie
3) The Dutchess- burger + chili + cheese

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Crave Sushi

After running around with kids, tired, and looking like crap, I decided to have my sister-Huong and my sister in law to be- Tina (brother's fiance) meet me downtown so I can try on wedding dresses for the first time. Figured out what I thought I liked in a dress doesn't really work, so I was open to trying on all sorts of dresses... and I did! I tried on several of them! We put down two and were starving by the time we were done. We were going to head down to Azuma, but we passed by Crave Sushi and turned around. I have heard of Crave and have been wanting to go test it out. The place is small, cute, has the whole dim lighting thing going on (which doesn't work well for photo taking), and some interesting rolls. Overall, it's a nice place to go to- I think I am finding that most sushi places are starting to blur into one another. All are going for this unique atmosphere which really just ends up having the same basics but with their own styles and similar rolls with a few of their own. I still like Oishii the best because of the price and because it's nothing fancy. I will take a hole in the wall with good food instead of a nice atmosphere with ok food. Anyways, here is what we had:

1) Gyoza- they pour a lot of the sauce over it already- I kind of wish they didn't but it was still good
2) Spider roll- good - same o same o
3) Pho Sho roll- I was skeptical that a roll could taste like Pho, asked the waiter and he said he believed it did so I gave it a shot. It's a spring roll basically. It has the pretty much raw meat inside with rice noodles, bean sprouts, and hoison sauce, and it gives you just the smallest, itty bitty hint of Pho. It's good as a regular spring roll though!
4) Slow Yo roll- my sisters and I both love the S&M roll at Miyako's and so Huong was trying to find something similar to it. The waiter mentioned that this would be the closest one and it was nothing like the S&M but it was still good. The presentation on this one was pretty and I enjoyed the different kinds of eggs on top
5) Dragon roll- the waiter said this was one of their most popular ones- I think it is a popular one at most sushi places and it was just about the same as other sushi places.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Engagement Dinners

So there were a few but this is the only one I really took photos of.
1) Suppose to be with my dad, my sister, Ryan, and me but ended up being with my two aunts, two uncles, and Lien at a Vietnamese restaurant off of 249 across from Methodist Willowbrook (still don't like going over to that area very much but we might be back)
2) Fish City Grill with Ryan's parents and dessert and coffee at Mawmaw and Pawpaw's afterwards (meh, good enough to try it once)
3) Texas Steamboat House with Ryan's parents and my dad-(just meh- dad wanted to go here)- the waiter did give us a free dessert though so that was nice! Oreo covered Blue bell ice cream

Anyways, this post is about dinner #1. One thing I love about eating at Vietnamese restaurants with my family is all the food!! I love getting like 8 courses and just sharing all of it, although if Chu Long comes along you have to eat faster than you normally would because he can eat anything and everything!

Our menu for the night:
1) crab and fish soup
2) beef carpaccio salad
3) shrimp rolls
4) roasted duck with steamed buns
5) beef with veggies
6) whole steamed fish (always good sauce on these)
7) mushrooms with Vietnamese water spinach
8) salted squid (one of my favorites but a lot of places don't cook it right)
9) taro root dessert

If you have never experienced courses like this then just wait... Ryan and I are looking at at least 8 for the wedding!

We're Engaged - Crapitto's

For those that don't know, Kimmy and I got engaged a couple weeks ago. I asked her to marry me at Sesquicentennial Park near downtown Houston. On a suggestion from Brian, we decided to celebrate that night with a quiet dinner at Crapitto's (which is much nicer than its name sounds). It was near closing time by the time we got there, so there weren't very many people there when we were there, but it seems like they probably do a lot of business there. Kimmy ordered seafood risotto, which was pretty nice, but nothing has been able to compare to the scallop risotto she had at Patrenella's a while back. I was going to order some grilled chicken dish or something, but when the waiter came by and mentioned what the special was, I couldn't resist. It sounded really great, and it didn't disappoint. It was a breaded thick cut pork chop, cooked really nicely, very juicy, with grilled shrimp, penne alfredo (which was actually the best part - probably a perfect alfredo sauce) and some asparagus.

Friday, April 24, 2009

RA Sushi

Last Sunday we went out to eat with Jonathan and Brian. The hardest part about going out to eat is deciding where to go! Especially with these two.... they don't make it easy lol. Brian first showed interest when I mentioned sushi. Jonathan only offered up choices that consisted of Mexican food, Mexican food, Mexican food, or... Mexican food. I gave choices of American, Spanish, Italian, Sushi and was immediately shot down for all four choices! Jonathan and I were trying to decide where to go, while Brian was sending the text message "FOOD" over and over to Ryan. I don't remember how we ended up deciding on sushi, but when we did, Jonathan and Brian both said it's what they were going for the entire time... Not sure how I was suppose to know that but it was a fun dinner. We decided on RA because of their Sunday specials. 1/2 off some of their sushi and appetizers. We got one too many rolls and were stuffed. The Viva Las Vegas one has too much going on but it was still good. It was good sushi, but I would probably prefer to go to other places like Azuma, Oishii, or Zake instead. We couldn't finish it all and decided to make sushi art with the left overs in the end (that Ryan didn't approve of but the three of us did it anyways).

Appetizers: edamame & pork gyoza
Sushi: yellow tail, California, spicy tuna, lobster and shrimp, viva las vegas, toostie, and shrimp tempura.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Baby Barnaby's

So we were too hungry and forgot to take photos of our food, but I decided to post about it anyways- especially since Ryan just posted like 4 times! We didn't even think about taking photos until we ate about half of our food and Jonathan reminded us that we didn't take pictures. Normally on Sunday's - Ryan and I are usually with my family and we go out to visit my mom and have lunch with my dad and sister. Dad has been working crazy amounts of overtime lately and ended up going into work at 6am this Sunday so our normal routine was postponed. I drove down to Ryan's and wanted to get some brunch. Jonathan, Ryan, and I were going to go try Black Walnut Cafe, but they stopped serving breakfast at 11 and it was like 12:30. So, we ended up going to Baby Barnaby's instead. The original Barnaby's and Baby Barnaby's are actually right next to each other- we walked in, sat down, and saw a lunch menu and realized we were in the original Barnaby's instead of the Baby one that only serves breakfast. We got up and went through the door and we're now in the patio area of Baby Barnaby's. You write your name on the wait list on a clipboard hanging on a post and just wait... It's a pretty small place but had good food. I had corn beef hash and eggs, Ryan had green eggs (eggs with spinach and artichokes, chicken apple sausage - probably the BEST sausage we have ever had) and potatoes, and Jonathan had french toast with bacon and potatoes. The other one we wanted to try was the Lox platter (smoked salmon, tomatoes, red onion, capers, cream cheese, and a toasted bagel). I wouldn't mind going back here for breakfast/brunch again, but there are so many other good brunch places out in this area to try that we might not.

Here are some photos taken from google:

and someone took a photo of their green eggs so I stole it:

Pagoda Vietnamese Bistro

One sentence review by Kimmy: Mediocre Vietnamese food that's overpriced, but in a pretty restaurant.

Agreed. We tried a couple of their soups, not pho, but Bun Bo Hue and Hu Tieu, which we usually like, but these were bland. I think it's just because they cook them quickly and not for a long time, like it should be done, since they're not doing a high volume - it was pretty empty on a Friday night. They were also a few dollars overpriced from what they are at the good - more authentic - Vietnamese holes-in-the-wall with plastic table cloths.

One good point - the egg rolls were pretty good and had all the right ingredients. There's just no need to try to fancy up that kind of food with dim lighting and orchids and candles and cloth napkins (and separate places for each different vegetable to put in the soup, what the? at least their dish washer has some job security). I actually mentioned that I wanted to have the thin paper napkins that Vietnamese places usually have, it's hard to eat a giant bowl of soup without them - the starched cloth napkin wasn't cutting it.

Beaver's (again)

Brian and Jonathan and Lindsey talked me into going out for a couple beers at the Darkhorse Tavern last Thursday after work. Okay, it didn't take that much convincing, but anyway. Darkhorse was a bar we hadn't been to, it was pretty cool inside but there was no one there. We sat there for a little bit and decided to go to Beaver's for dinner. We went there a month or so ago and really liked it, but Lindsey had never been. Ryan O. met us there and Kimmy showed up eventually after she got off work. Thursday night is Culture Club night or something there, and part of the proceeds that night were going to the Houston Chorale something or other. They have a drink and food special on Thursdays to benefit whatever cultural group is there, and there was a Texas beer on there, Southern Star Bombshell Blonde, brewed in Conroe, that we had never tried, so a few of us got that. Jonathan tried the "Forecast" - cocktail with habanero-infused vodka, cucumber, and lime - it was pretty good, I know because I drank the last half after he decided to go with another "Currant Affair" like he got last time. Ryan O. tried their mint julep made with smoked whiskey. Our waitress was pretty cool and made some good recommendations on the food for us, and Brian tried his best to offend her.

One side of the table got BBQ, which they smoke every day there. Kimmy ordered the culture club special, prime rib carpaccio. I got another daily special, the Grouper cake - like a crab cake but with grouper - with potato dumplings, and Ryan O had a crawfish cornbread salad - made with their crawfish that apparently they do every Wednesday night. Everything was really good. Kimmy and I are really starting to like this place. They have really great food with different fresh specials every day, and a nice beer and drink list, but everything is still very casual.

If that doesn't sound like enough, we had heard about their candied bacon ice cream and Kimmy and I decided to get some for everyone to try, and while looking at the dessert menu I noticed the Beaver Balls - basically fried brownie batter - still plenty raw or just melted in the middle, I'm not sure which. We were waiting for the dessert for just a bit, had finished up our drinks, and I jokingly slapped the table and said "I sure could go for some Beaver balls," just as apparently they were being brought out right behind me, and the guy bringing them out said something like, "Well how about that, here you go..." It was funny, but you probably had to be there for it to make sense. The ice cream was good, I could have handled more bacon flavor, but I guess I can understand that it still needs to be ice cream-y enough.

We will definitely be going back again, I just wish we had found out about this place sooner, since it's so close to my house.

(We aren't really regulars yet, I guess, but it has to have the highest rating now, and we will be going back a few more times, I'm sure of it)