Houston’s Food Scene is Slammin’

Who knew?  Did you know?  I’d heard that Austin was the place-to-be in Texas.  I am here to tell you that given my recent work trips to H-Town there are restaurants here that could rival anywhere else.

You want a list?  Boom.  Here is it.

Number 1 with a bullet – Uchi.          You’re still sitting there?  You haven’t made a reservation and started driving yet?  I see I’m going to have to list out some reasons for you to get going.  How about the fact that they’re serving foie nigiri – which may be the single most delicious bite of food I’ve ever had.  It’s seared foie gras on a little quinoa bed and it is roll-your-eyes-up-into-your-head-and-moan good.  Ooh, I just closed my eyes picturing it.  I go to Uchi with my friend MC and we always get the Brussels sprouts.  I don’t usually like Brussels sprouts, but I love this dish.  Caramelized and crisp little morsels in a sweet chili sauce… I strongly urge you to try them even if you think you don’t like Brussels sprouts.  We’ve had the walu walu which is oak-grilled escolar (fish) with candied citrus and yuzu.  Delish.  We’ve had the bacon tataki which, come on, is delish.  But last time I was in town we tried the jar jar duck.  You need to try it too.  Not only is it delectable, it is also a little bit theatrical.  It arrives at your table in a cloudy jar, and when the lid is unscrewed, the applewood smoke wafts out.  Stir that baby up and tuck in.  You can end your meal with the peanut butter semifreddo or the fried milk; but I am partial to the lemon gelato with pistachios and white balsamic.  It strikes the perfect end note for me as I blissfully roll out.

Uchi is a higher end restaurant and I have dropped a pretty penny there.  If you’re looking for amazing food that is not as hard on your wallet, head to BRC.  BRC or Big Red erm… Rooster… is a gastropub that has a great neighborhood feel to it.  I adore their velvety red wallpaper.  They also have one of the best deviled eggs I’ve ever eaten.  You’re really not going to beat a deviled egg that has bacon jam and a fried oyster on top.  You’re just not.  Their whole menu is decadent.  Think not only fried oysters and bacon jam, but foie gras topped burgers, short ribs on salad, honey roasted cauliflower with sherry vinegar.  If you’re not stuffed (and even if you are) please do not leave without ordering the red velvet cheesecake.  Brought in from a related bakery Petite Sweets, this is not a mere piece of red velvet cake topped with regular cheesecake.  To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how they do it.  It just looks like deep, red, full-on cheesecake through and through.  If you’re a good little reader, I will post a pic of the crimson deliciousness which I am clearly not describing well at all.

I can rattle off a few more gems so that this post doesn’t drone on and on… though it’ll be tough to keep it short.  Visit Pollo Brava for some dirt cheap but incredibly tasty Peruvian food.  The Lomo Saltado is very good.  It is excellent when doused with aji amarillo sauce.  This chain boasts the only Lucuma (Peruvian fruit) flavored desserts in Houston.   Our office catered Gatlin’s BBQ for “Go Texan” Day.  I was in BBQ heaven feasting on their baby back ribs, homemade spicy sausage and pink ring smoked brisket. The accompaniments of fresh bread, pickles, onions, jalapenos and ranch style beans hit the spot.  This might be my favorite BBQ, and it’s easy to see why they’ve won so many awards.  It might have been even tastier because I was wearing cowboy boots when I ate lunch.  Go Texan!   Underbelly is the relatively new hotness boasting a new daily menu chock full of local and organic ingredients.  Particularly memorable was the fresh baked bread with green onion butter and the Korean braised goat & dumplings.  Finally, I’ll end with the surprising choice of Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar in Upper Kirby.  A group of officemates and I went there because we had an “in” with a co-owner and sommelier.  In a town that is rife with steak joints I was surprised to have one of the best steaks I can remember.  I ordered the tomahawk chop which doesn’t seem to be on the regular menu, and I had them prepare it extra crusty.  I honestly don’t remember what the extra treatment was called having been plied with lots of good red wine by Sam, our “in”.  All I know is that the char was fantastic, and it truly melted in my mouth. 

So that, dear reader, is my ode to Houston.  I am excited to come down here every so often because MC always has a fun new place to take me to, be it upscale or divey.  Who cares though right?  As long as the food is delicious!

Did you notice how I totally avoided the several year gap between blog posts?  I am a sneaky kitten.  With any luck I can bust out more frequent posts for your reading enjoyment.  Anything for you.  Xx

BRC Red Velvet Cheesecake WP_2014 02 28_20_19_43

Ending the evening with Red Velvet Cheesecake. You know you want some.


Birthday Blog

Happy Birthday to me!  Man, I really love my birthday.  I’m happy from the moment I wake up and I revel in the birthday wishes that pour in online, on the phone, by text and from my friends and co-workers that I see.  How can you not be happy on a day when everyone wishes you and calls to tell you they love you?!

Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate!

In a happy coincidence my boss has the same birthday as me.  Even better, he thinks it’s totally cool that we share the day and we walk around all day annoying our team by constantly reminding them that February 3rd is the best day of the year.  They roll their eyes and we laugh like crazy.  If you’re rolling your eyes now, you’re obviously not born on February 3rd.

Well the boss and I obviously had to celebrate the momentous day by going out to lunch.  A group of us went to The Elm Street Oyster House in Greenwich.  I’d never been there before and had heard good things so I was eager to try it for myself.  We walked to the restaurant located just off of Greenwich Avenue, on Elm Street.  It’s not a very big place.  You enter the restaurant on one side with a bar with exposed brick face and lots of lovely dark wood, which I love.  Cross over to the dining room and you’ll find white walls with bold colorful artwork and lots of light pouring in from the large windows.

Obviously seafood was what we were in the mood for.  Upon first glance the menu seemed imaginative though a little on the expensive side considering what I would expect to pay for lunch.  This is, after all, Greenwich.

I chose shrimp cocktail for an appetizer, and for my entrée I had the Maryland Crab Cakes & Zucchini Fritter with Sautéed Spinach.  The shrimp cocktail was quite good… good size and not ice cold.  The cocktail sauce was of the ubiquitous red variety, I don’t know if it was homemade, but I’m a fan of the bottled stuff so I was happy.  I wanted to love the crab cakes – but I didn’t.  They were made with flaked crab, rather than lump meat.  To be honest I have yet to find a crab cake that is really rave-worthy.  The potato zucchini fritter was clever in thought, though I don’t think it quite hit the mark either.  It might have been better with a crispier texture.

I had mild plate envy looking at what one of my co-workers ordered.  He got the Lump Crab Salad Sandwich with melted Jack cheese, mesquite fries and corn relish.  It looked really delicious and he seemed to really enjoy it, but I was aiming for something a little healthier or at least not covered in cheese.  (I had a training appointment scheduled at the gym that evening and so guilt helped me make my selection.)

All in all it was a pleasant meal, but I didn’t find the need to tell anyone about it, which is usually a good indication of an exceptional dining experience for me.

So birthday lunch didn’t set off fireworks, but I am looking forward to birthday weekend plans.  And before the day ends I’m pretty sure that my boss and I can come up with a dozen reasons why Aquarians rule or why February 3rd should be a national holiday. 

Stop rolling your eyes.