Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Movies: Time Traveler's Wife

Patty Said:

Ok, I know I've been on a food kick, so now it's time to go back to the movie bucket of this blog.

Recently, we rented Time Traveler's Wife from iTunes. As David call it, it's a full time chick-flick, despite the fact that I thought it was intriging to see the science aspect of it. But, I'm a chick, I *heart* Eric Bana, so what the hey.

I find the idea of time traveling very intriguing, everyone from the middle ages to now have been trying to find a way to do it. The only way possible is via science fiction movies and fictional novels. Perhaps that is why it's so much more reaching of the movie to the audience that the book/movie is set in today's time. I didn't get to read the book the movie is based on, but perhaps I will in the future. Just to see if there are any gaps between book and movie.

While you find out early on that little Henry has this generic disorder that cause him to involuntary time travel. You also get the perspective of little Claire, how she grew up knowing this man name Henry. Can you imagine as a little girl, you have this man that you have a crush on that spends time w/ you and play with you all your life, to become the love of your life? It was very touch to me that she is so understanding because she knew of his 'problem' all along. Only if dating in real life is that tolerable. She understands that he will come and go as he can, but no matter what, he will come back to her. I find that very sweet to know no matter what they belong to each other.

From Henry's perspective, he thinks it's odd that this girl came up to him all googly eyed and crushing hard on him. Must feel weird, especially when you've never met her before. Yet, this person knows more about you than you've ever known. On top of all that, she knows your future before you've even experienced it. When Henry told his dad about his bethroth, the father was bitter and just know this is not going to work. Yet, Henry with all his confidence know that she will understand and she will be there, and she is his mate. (yes, this is a chick-flick) His conviction changed his dad, and even the wedding was a time-traveling experience. The future Henry married the current Claire, but it's the current Henry that got to dance w/ his wife for the first time at the reception. While at times confusing, both actors deliver what the plot calls for. The Love, the Hate, the Resentment, the Understanding... and all the emotions in between.

You wanted to be Henry because that allows you to know your future, but yet you don't want to experience the problems he's been thru. He knows what he knows (i.e. picking locks, how to steal, and how to break into places) out of necessity. Unlike Claire who grew up from this picture perfect estate to the picture perfect family. The only thing that was not picture perfect is her mate. Yet, she's willing to be there no matter what.

Both Eric Bana & Rachel McAdams are my favorite actors, so I know it's hard to find fault on them. The delivery of emotion, of all that needed for the characters are flawless. I do find that Eric Bana seems to be always intense, I wish I get to see the lighter side of his acting. We shall see.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Haven Houston

Several friends and I went to dinner at the newest greenest restaurant in town. Haven is a partnership of Randy Evans (executive chef), Debbie Jaramillo and Rhea Wheeler. Evans was the Executive Chef at Brennan's since 2003.

I think you will be surprised to find that even though Evans came from a famed steakhouse, steak is not a prominent feature of the menu. Everything in the menu is fresh from a local farm, if it's not fresh, they won't buy it. I can appreciate that tremendously, given that there's alot of bad news regarding how they forced feed animals by using bad chicken feed or grass that's been sprayed w/ pesticide. This going back to basic movement I can definitely appreicate.

As I said, the menu is all organic and local farmed goods. So, the items may change without notice, but you can see their menu on their website. Their appetizers also called Enticement, for me, it wasn't very enticing the day I visited. They had deviled eggs, seared Berkshire belly, shrimp corn dogs, and artisan meat and cheese. While I think it's very unique to have shrimp corn dogs, at a restaurant this caliber, I expected something fancier. Just as the deviled eggs, I know the Grove is trying to bring it back, but to me, its' still an item featured at Tupperware Parties and Baby Showers. I think I would've gone for the meat and cheese had I had to choose, but let's see what else is there.

Their soup and greens featured a Squash Bisque, torn greens, and tomato and mozzarella. Hmmm... nothing shakes me.

The main course, ah huh, something I like... They featured free ranged chicken with the bacon spaetzel, wood grilled loin, shrimp, tuna, and free ranged eggs (again). I think my husband would've been thrilled to see eggs featured as a main entree, but I'm sure the chef would have a clever twist to it.

I chose the free ranged chicken. They cooked it w/ the skin, and it was nice and juicy yet favorful, not a bit that's dried. It is laid on top of a bed of bacon spaetzel. I've never had that before, and for those of you who don't know, it is like a very finely diced potato and the texture is even softer if that's possible, and it's cooked w/ bacon which reminds me alot of ham hock. Along side was crispy brussels sprouts leaves. Let me tell you, if my mom and all moms cooked brussels sprouts like that, no kid will ever turn their nose up on the vegetable again. It was nice and crispy, like a chip, and who doesn't like their vegetable smell and taste like a chip?

Then comes dessert... all of us at the table all chose one of the dessert. They featured, pecan pie, layered chocolate cake, banana split, and cheesecake. Both the cheesecake and the pecan pie doesn't look anything out of the ordinary. The banana split is kinda cute, they have the ice cream and the corresponding sauce that goes along w/ it, but they presented it on a plate that has different compartment for each of the ice cream and the banana. So, they are splitted, and no co-mingling occur in the ice cream. I got the layered cake, it wasn't as I'd pictured it to be. In my mind, it'd be moised chocolate cake layered and have nice buttercream in between. The cake was dried, much like a biscotti texture. If you put some of the malted ice cream on top of the cake, which moisen it and added w/ the buttercream that would be acceptable, but for the first few bites, that was a surprise to me that it was so dry.

I wanted to point out how our waitstaff was awesome. He came from Captial Grille, which as I understood, alot of the staff came from well known places from the city, so the service is top notched and attentive doesn't even begin to described how well served we were. They made sure coffee was poured the correct way, which by the way, the coffee was french pressed. The tea choices, all 12 of them, were displayed nicely, brewed fresh on the spot, and no tea leaves was poured into the cup. That was just A+ all around.

The building was a certified green building, the wood was made of recycled wood, and the a/c is delievered thru a cloth 'pipe' with holes to make sure all areas get the same temperature. If they need to, all they have to do is unzip the cloth and throw it into the washer to avoid mold. Not only that, they have a rain gutter that catches the rain and that serves as reserve water for their own garden in the back of the restaurant.

The draw back is their location. Becuase they are hidden behind 3 other restaurants (Cafe Japon, Mai Thai, and Taco Cabana), it's not the easiest to find, even though it's easily accessible via the freeway, you just need to know where it is. The other thing is their parking, because they are located at the curve of the backway, they highly encourage valet parking. I find that alot of people chose to park at the abandoned Bennigan's parking lot and just walk. Some even parked over by Mucky Duck, couple streets over. So, that's something to consider.

2502 Algerian Way
Houston, TX, 77098

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ouisie's Table

If you've never been to Ouisie's Table you're truly missing a neat place for gourmet food. My first recollection of the place was my first job. The district manager loves that place, so inevitably we'll always have our annual luncheon there. Trust me, there's no complaint from me. The place is nice, tucked away, yet have ample rooms for different occasions. The food, of course is no comparison to anything I've ever had. Fast forward years later, I've been back there for an occasion or two. This past Xmas, I got a gift certificate to go back, and you don't need to ask me twice.

This time I went with couple of friends and all of us, self-proclaimed foodie-wannabes, had dinner there. First off, they serve you cute little bread as you wade thru pages up of wine menu. Watch out for the jalapeno roll, it does have a kick to it! My disappointment on their wine list is that they aren't as well rounded as I thought. I know not everyone likes to drink what I drink, but I expected there to be a representative from the category. But alas, they were catering to the Shraz and Merlot drinkers. They don't even have a cocktail menu.

I had the veal and my friends had the steak. I've never had anything bad there, so nothing bad to write about. Plus, it's been a few weeks, so details are a tad fuzzy. I do remember that the dessert was great and the waitstaff attmpted to be formal, but there were points that were lacking. First off, ladies should always be served first, and the coffee should be hot instead of warm.

My advise about going to Ouisie, always check out the Blackboard Special. The chef shines on dishes he can play up the seasonal anything. If you go there, make sure you leave ample time for traffic, they are at the edge of the Galleria traffic. Don't let the bar intimidate you, they serve full everything and also a full menu. Don't feel bad if you want to ask for a tour of the restaurant, they do have different rooms with different personalities. They also grow alot of the herbs they use right there at their garden.

Ouisie's Table
3939 San Felipe Dr.
Houston, TX 77027

Reservations highly recommended. $4 valet