Tuesday, January 31, 2012

24 Diner

David had been reading different forums about restaurants that are Paleo friendly. That mainly means that they serve food that are local, grass fed, and hopefully hormone free. Seeing that you're eating at a restaurant, alot of these are really best efforts. They are for sure, gluten considerate.

We've driven by it several times and we always see a line outside of the doors. This time, we made a point of waiting and getting in for sure!
As you can see, the inside is not that big, but definitely have ample seating to accommodate the demand.
I ordered the ham and gruyere frittata, and let me tell you, that thing is huge. You can make 2 meals out of it. It is rich and thick, you think that you can easily finish it, and then realized that's not the case. It is like a deep dish pizza except it's all eggs, ham, and cheese. I chose my side of fruit instead of anything else, Lord knows I don't need more filling side. And what a good choice that was!

Coming here definitely requires your patience. First you have to be patience about finding a parking. They are hard to come by since they also share the same strip center as Waterloo. That is a blessing and a curse because it is such a fun store to go in, even though I don't buy as many CDs as I used to. They have vintage records and funky items that truely makes Austin 'weird'. After you find a parking, we usually ended up a couple of streets over, you have to wait to get a seat. Once you're seated, you have to wait patiently for your server to come and acknowledge, serve, and take your order. Luckily, food came out pretty quickly, but then again your patience is in need when you try to get your check. The only upside on that is your belly is filled and not too hungry to get annoyed. Food is good, but not sure about all the wait you have to go thru in order to get there. While they are open 24 hours, that doesn't mean that you don't have to wait in any hour.

24 Diner
600 N. Lamar,
on 6th and Lamar
Austin, TX

Monday, January 30, 2012

McCormick & Schmick's

So we were thinking that we can grab a quick bite, and ended up at McCormick & Schmick's. I used to come here for their happy hour. $3.95 for 1/2 pound burger, was the best deal ever.

This round, we were really here for a quick bite. I got a wedge salad, after being told that the seafood side is really to go on top of the seafood entree' and not really a side.
And of course, the Lobster Bisque. I like how they have the lobster meat on the bowl and they pour the bisque over it. The one thing I forgot is that they have a wee bit of alcohol in it. Now, I'm not adversed to having alcohol in my food, but when my brain was expecting a certain taste and something else shows you, you do take notice.
One of the sides I was picking at, was the red pepper white cheddar mash. You can't really see the white cheddar on there, but you can definitely taste it.

McCormick & Schmick's
1151-01 Uptown Park Blvd
Uptown Park Shopping Center
Houston, TX 77056

Friday, January 27, 2012

no glitz mac

So for NYE, I decided to make some macarons for my friend's party. It seemed like a festive thing to do. And I managed to hunt down black color gel, so I was just beyond myself. In my head, I was thinking, it will be black and have glimmer of glitz a la Lady Macaron. So in my head, everything works out perfectly, especially I got me some pearl dust.

These were still a tad close, you can see that they're holding hands...
So, while at SLT, they didn't have the pastry brush I wanted, the sales clerk recommended to use kids painting brush which will do just as good of a job. So I did. I've seen people put some lemon juice and add the pearl dust. So I did.

Let's just say, it didn't turn up. I can show you a picture, but it'll just show up like the gray/black macs you saw up there. Yep, you got it, diddly squat. So the effort to glitz was a bust.

The buttercream is also only so-so for me. Again, NYE, I thought, what would be better than to have a champagne filling. You can't have just champagne, so I did a buttercream instead. Hindsight, I would've liked the white chocolate ganache better, but I didn't have time to sit it overnight.

I just did what I called a lazy buttercream, literally butter and sugar. I dropped a few drops of champagne, pink food gel. It's all nice a pink. As far as taste goes, I think it has a bit of sour champagne brought to it. Over the cookies wasn't bad, I think I would've liked it with some thicker agent like the white chocolate to balance it out.

So, here's my NYE mac!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Whole Food - Austin

Yes, this is a re-visit. We were in Austin for the MLK weekend for an event, and in a hurry Whole Foods is always our default. It doesn't matter the price range, almost anywhere good has a line and wait and no parking in Austin. So it's no wonder that I rushed straight into Whole Foods when their freshly prepared food section. It is cooked in front of you, prepared in front of you. This ain't no salad bar for the kiddies.
See, I got a nice protein with 2 veggies, for $6.99. It's about the same you would get a dish like this at a cheaper eatery, but you get it right there and you can see them make it at the grill. It not only look good, it also taste good. Now, don't get me wrong, this is not some 5 star Michelin restaurant quality, but it is very good food on the go.

Whole Food Flagship
525 N Lamar Blvd.,
Austin, TX 78703

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Azuma - Downtown

I have never been to Azuma downtown for lunch before, so I called my friend who works in my building to go over there to help me kill that Groupon I've got.

Since we have to spend $40, we were just trying to find ways to use them up. Normally, for lunch, I wouldn't have ordered an appetizer, but since we each have a goal to spend, we ordered away.

I had the agadeshi tofu, it's fried tofu with ponzu sauce and little fish flakes. YUM!
Then we split the seaweed salad, it was not anything special.
Then comes the big bento. I had thought it'd be unagi (eel fish) over a bed of rice, it was not the case and not that I'm complaining. It came with sushi, fried rice, my fish, salad, bok choy, and a brownie. Are they serious? Oy!

I ate the fish and the rice. Then I told myself, it's only 2 tiny pieces of sushi, so I ate that. Then I said to myself, that seaweed salad isn't a real salad, so I ate the bok choy. Then I felt bad for not eating the other veggie. I just decided I have to stop. Don't worry, I did not have the brownie. Even though my eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach, I'm not crazy. I felt bad because the server came up and asked if we were unsatisfied with our food. That was far from the truth, we were just stuffed. Plus, we barely got to the $30s for my $4o Groupon. Had that been dinner, it'll be a very different story.

Azuma Downtown
909 Texas Street,
Houston, TX 77002

(O) 713-223-0909

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I know we were just here not too long ago, but it's so good that we can't wait to come back. The wait was longer this time, but it is still well worth it.

For starter, I had the kani salad. This is not the usual kani salad that I'm used to, which was usually imitation crab with gobs of mayo and mixed it topped with sesame seeds. This one has pickled cucumber, but still fresh, with real crab meat on top. Not super sour just a little to taste.

The rest I just ordered sepearately. From top: Salmon skin handroll (which has a nice chunk of salmon with skin on it, usually in other places, just crispy skin with hardly any meat), chopped scallop, unagi at the bottom, and tuna (which was very fresh and not gamey).

As you know ordering sushi by pieces are more expensive than rolls but since it's so fresh I don't really care... you shouldn't either.

Nippon Japanese Restaurant
4464 Montrose Blvd
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 523-3939

Monday, January 23, 2012

Melange Creperie

So when my friend Julia tagged a photo of me on FB, I was curious because I haven't seen her since before Xmas. Turns out, she was tagging a photo of Melange Creperie. Since the City Hall Farmers Market is on hiatus, I haven't been down to Westheimer & Taft to visit Buffalo Shawn. I did see him a few times when friends hired him to cater their parties.
The big deal of her photo was that Shawn put the Patty's Special(tm) on the board. You're know you're official if you're on the board! So I drove my mom down there to see Shawn as soon as I can. Luckily, my special was still up. As a matter of fact, several people were ordering the special while I was there. I'm so thrilled...

In case you want your very own Patty's Special(tm), it is: Strawberry, Banana, Nutella. I know the ingrediants aren't super special, but there's a story behind it. Go see Shawn and ask him about it.

You can catch Melange Creperie in 2 locations:
Westheimer & Taft in front of Mango's


1001 Studewood St in front of Stella Sola.

Best follow him on twitter for time and place!

Friday, January 20, 2012

2/3rd S'mores

I've been trolling around the interweb for a s'more macaron recipe. And I did find a few that I like, especially if they use graham crackers in the crust but then it means that it is not gluten free.
So instead, I used chocolate and just added marshmallow fluff. I can actually make the marshmallow fluff myself, but then I would want to add more flavors for real marshmallows, so the jar it is.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Candelari's Gluten Free

For some gluten free comfort food, we went to Candelari's. We've been here before, and we're back for more.

Basically for gluten free crust, they charge you $13 to start, and you add your toppings as you choose. It only comes in 12inch, so each topping is $1.75.

We started out with a pepperoni and pineapple.

And a veggie with spinach, onions and mushroom.
See, being gluten free can still enjoy decent pizza. Note that only a few locations of Candelari's serves gluten free crusts. So check before you go.

Candelari's West U
2617 W. Holcombe
Houston, TX

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bonga Garden Restaurant

The other day, I was just craving Korean BBQ. Since David went on Paleo diet, alot of the outings we used to do, we've stopped. Literally, we haven't been to K-BBQ for about 2 years. So, when I got a chance to talked my friends into it, I snapped at the chance.

The biggest thing they're known for is the table barbeque. So we ordered a beef and a pork to barbeque. Sizzling. And don't wear sweaters to go K-BBQ because it will make your hair and clothes smell... mine already went to the cleaners.
What else I love about the K-BBQ is the side dishes. I would say, that mostly depend on the restaurant. I loved the little fish cakes, kimchi, and little fishes (which are anchioves), but they don't have anchioves here.
One unique thing is that this one restaurant in particular serves purple rice. You don't see that very often. As a matter of fact, the only other time I've seen it was having Korean in Dallas. It doesn't taste any different than normal white rice, but it's just uniquely adding color to your meal.
This is a Seafood Hot Pot, it's literally a sea of seafood in a pot with occasionally veggie.
Here's what's in my bowl. The soup is a little spicy, and yes there are squid, mussel, fish, sprouts, chives, veggie of some kind.

I want to thank the girls that took me there, this is a hole in the wall that is definitely a gem.

Bon Ga (Gargen Restaurant)
9861 Long Point Rd
Houston, TX 77055
(713) 461-5265

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Kata Robata

I have a co-worker in town to do some training, so when he asked where the good sushi is, I didn't hestitate to recommend Kata Robata.

For starter, we had the Pork Belly Buns. It's very nice, and pork belly is braised and they have some pickled onions for you to add to your pocket. But, the bun itself has enough flavors that we didn't think it needed it. Although, it reminds me of the Eatsie Boy's Pork Snuggie quite a bit.
We then ordered a few rolls to share: this is the Pork belly roll, which has pork belly, avacado, sliced thin egg, and jalapeno. I keep removing the jalapeno, so I can't tell you how spicy or not that it is. But for the rest of the part, the egg was unique, you can barely get the pork flavor out, between the sauce and the egg, but I wouldn't mind re-visiting it again.
Then we had the Sexy Scallop, which has scallop bits and tobiko. I remember the flavor was super fresh, and I just love anything with caviar. Lastly, we ordered the Salmon & Soft shelled Crab. It has a little bit of green on top, so I felt totally healthy for eating that. (haha). It has a little kick to it because they added the Korean BBQ powder.
Of course, I can't just leave without having some mochi. I know, I'm a total pig in front of co-workers. But from left to right, it was green tea, strawberry, and mango. On the left side, it has tempura-ed banana with a dab of whip cream with a pocky stick on top. I have to say, I miss mochi, and this was a perfect size for sharing.

Kata Robata
3600 Kirby Suite H
Houston TX 77099

Friday, January 13, 2012


From all sorts of failed attempts to, finally, success!
These are 1.5 inches wide macs, I used a template and while I piped they looked fine.
But after I baked, they were holding hands... so I guess I need to revamp the template to have more space in between. Hmm... work in progress.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jungle Cafe

If you live in Houston and haven't been to Jungle Cafe, I don't know what you're waiting for. Their cakes are so pretty and definitely a very French patisserie training of the owner and staff here.

I remember when they used to be in a dinky shop and they sold bubble tea and the cakes were pretty and definitely looked indulgent. To my surprised, it taste just as it looks. Pretty, delicate, and yummy. You can tell alot of artisan work went into each slice.
Now, they moved to a place that is truely fitting to their products, and make you think what took them so long. Their pretty, yummy, and stylish cakes now have a fancy, stylish cafe to suit. They have display cases of macaron work, sugar work, and just amazing cake work.
Of course, if they have something for kids, I wouldn't want to deprive them, but personally, I wouldn't want to eat them, they're so pretty.

They finally accept credit card purchase, but if you pay with cash, they give you a discount. If you want a cake, while they have extra for purchase, but to make sure to get what you want, you may want to order in advance.

9889 Bellaire Blvd
Ste 217
Houston, TX 77036
(713) 272-6633

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Frank's Chop House - Happy Hour

So, this time at Frank's, I did quick Happy Hour appetizers. Since it's still very hot here in Houston, I ordered Tomato Caprese, which is sliced tomato with mozzarella cheese slices with basil on top. I'm sure there's olive oil on there somewhere, but it's not alot.
For my 'main meal', I had spare ribs with the bbq sauce and cole slaw. I've never been a slaw person, but it wasn't bad. The ribs were quite meaty, definitely recommend that again.

Frank's Chop House
3736 Westheimer
Houston, TX 77027

Friday, January 6, 2012

Laduree NYC - holiday edition

Because you don't hear enough about macaron from me... but it is Friday, which we talk MORE about macaron. LOL.

My friend J asked her buddy who was traveling thru NYC to pick up a box of mac from Laduree.
Bless the guy who picked it up, no idea how long of the line he stood in, but he did picked up the designer box of the season. Meaning, they do rotate out design, and next time you go back, they won't have the box anymore.
I can't help and ate one before the official photo. You got your variety flavors: chocolate, salted carmel, vanilla, blackcurrant, pistachio, rose, and the one I ate... nom nom.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Post Oak Grill

So I had a Groupon to kill, so I took my mom to Post Oak Grill. Last time when I was there, I had a great experience. This time, not so much.

When I made the reservation online, it was not easy to change the reservation. When I called in person to make the adjustment, they failed to mentioned that they have 3 private parties going on that the entire restaurant is pretty much occupied by party people and no one will come and tend to you.

Even though we had a reservation, it took them about 20 minutes to clear, set, and seat us. After that, another 10 minutes for water and bread. When the bustboy walked by, I attacked him and asked him to bring over the menu. They basically dedicated all staff to the parties and anticipate the longest wait ever, and oh yeah, the Groupon is all due within a week, so that made the demand for a table even higher.

Realistically, they had one server to serve at least 8 tables in the front room, and 4 tiny tables in the back that they stuffed people at. That is with 2 bustboys who are just as busily running around.

Had they told us on the phone that they are packed and service will suffer, I would've either tried to bargain to extend my Groupon (sometimes if they're nice they would accommodate); or, tried to move up or after the dinner. Our entire meal suffered, took us 45 minutes to get our steak, and while the food is good, before we request our check, they didn't even bother to offer us the dessert menu or coffee. Seriously???

*sigh* I had such a great time 2 years ago, I was thinking that my mom would've loved it. While she's too polite to say anything, we all know that the evening just sucked. While I do feel bad for our server, I also felt neglected as a patron. Groupon or not, I had spoke highly of them before, and now I'm not too sure. Does good food help overlook poor service? Hmmm... afraid not.

Post Oak Grill
1415 S. Post Oak Ln
Houston, TX 77056
(713) 993-9966

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Oceannaire - lunch

After all the Christmas shopping, we needed to rest our feet and grab a bite. I settled for Oceannaire, because not everyday you have an excuse to go.

I grabbed a Spinach Salad, and it came with hot bacon dressing. It's actually not hot or spicy, but you do taste the bacon, not so much the dressing, though you can tell it's in there. They chopped up the spinach into thinner strands. I also added the jumbo lump crabmeat on top to give it proteins. It's not a bad mix, it's quick, it's easy, and yummy! Don't forget to use your Laundry Select card if you are a member.

Oceannaire - Galleria
5061 Westheimer Road Suite 8050
Houston, TX 77056
Phone: 832-487-8862