Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Plonk Bistro

My friend Julia had suggested to go to Plonk Bistro for a girls dinner.  I am all for it, as long as they got good food and good wine.  All we needed was good company.
It's funny, when I got in, they were telling me that they're super casual, aside from waiting to be seated; you walk up to the bar to order and wait for your wine.  They didn't expect the popularity after a few write-ups from local blogs and paper.  So, don't expect to be waited on.  They will deliver your food to you if you ordered any, in my case, we did.
I ordered the Pacific Northwest meat, which has alasace, salami, and olive.
The other plate, which I forgot to take a picture before diving in, was the Sottocenere Tartufo, which has cheese made of milk with black truffle and orange blossom honey, that was like crack, totally addictive.
For my entree, I had duck with roasted bok choy.  It was interesting mix, but the duck was drier than I like.  The mixed with bok choy was a nice mix.  It wasn't too gamey or over empowering.  Just dried.

I know they're known for their hangar steaks and thin crust pizza, which I didn't get to try either.  I'm still trying to take in the environment, where this nice little bistro is in the middle of 43rd Street in the Heights.  It is hidden in the end of the shopping strip, so keep your eyes peeled.

Plonk Bistro
1214 West 43rd Street
Houston, Texas 77018
Phone: 713-290-1070

Monday, July 30, 2012

Hospital Food

Had to do a surgery so into the hospital I went.  Of course, if you've ever had a surgery you know that before hand they make you not eat or drink anything.  Mine, I actually have to empty out everything, so by the time I can eat, I was given popsicle, soup, and tea.  I think there were grits in there but didn't even bother trying that.  Only in hospital that allows you to have popsicle for breakfast and called it bland food.
When I could have a solid food, I was happy to try anything.  For breakfast, you got a pretty normal breakfast, eggs, sausage, and pancakes.  It also came with applesauce.  It wasn't as bad as people think hospital food to be.
For lunch, I had beef stew and rice with green beans.  It is not what I expected for hospital food.  I was expecting for something worst, like a puddle of something that is in edible.  Ironically, the famous jello was not any good at all.  I had to have David bring in contraband jello, yes, he had to bring jello from home, which was 100 times better than the one hospitals are famous for, go figure.

Friday, July 27, 2012

SLT - Gluten Free Baking with Karen Morgan

I like it when cooking schools invites special guests to teach the class.  It's nice especially if they're hands-on.  I felt that they can give you more tips to do things better, quicker, easier.

This round, Sur La Table invited Karen Morgan of Blackbird Bakery of Austin to teach this Gluten Free Baking class.
First up, we have crepes two-way: what I like is the gluten free batter that she put together, it is very close to the real crepe.
The two-ways were: sweet with cinnamon sugar inside, you roll them up like a cigar, and just eat.  The other way is to put pesto cream cheese in the middle, and let it melt and again rolled up and enjoy. The are light and if you have the batter, you can pretty much do it either way quickly.
The other was pate a choux two ways: for savory, she taught us the Pomme a la Dauphines - which used boiled potato to make it savory.  We made these donut looking rings and it was very light and not at all dense or heavy.  It's a good and easy snack.
The other was creme puff.  Who doesn't like creme puffs?
This one is filled with chantilly creme with lavender and lemoncello.  It wasn't the type that can make you drunk, but it was pretty yummy.  Definitely go together with the puff.
Then for pate brisee two ways: we did pop-tart.  That's because it's trailing cupcake, macaron, cake pop trend, it's home made pop tart.  These aren't big either.  

For savory: we did mushroom tartlet.  They had cooked the mushroom filling for us, and we rolled the dough and put some cheese on top and decorate it (meaning we put fork to make the imprints).
For sweet: We did the blueberry frangipani tart.  I like that she gave us some baking tips for baking like after you fill in the pie crust, you can use the rolling pin to roll the tip to cut away the excess dough.

She had us filled it with a mix of blueberries, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon as filling.  Then we topped it with the frangipani creme.  Once it bakes, it leaves a nice top like you dazzled it with crumbs and sugar.  YUM!

If you like what you see here, but don't want the hassle of making your own mix of gluten free flour mix, you can buy it from Karen Morgan.  She's located in Austin, can if you're in Texas, it will be very quick delivery.  Or if you have your own flour mixture, you can get her cook book which has alot more snacks and gluten free baked goods in there.  She also have recipes on her site too.

Overall, the class was very educational, I had fun making all the food.  The class was a bit ambitious to try to make 6 things, even though it is based on the the basic dough, I think she over estimated us (the students) to be skilled enough to cook well.

Blackbird Bakery 
(online only)

Sur La Table
River Oaks
1996 West Gray 
Houston, Texas 77019

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sushi Club - not just eating

For alot of you who thinks that Sushi Club is only for eating, you'd be wrong.  This round, Carl, the founder and manager of chaos for the club, leads an annual Japan tour.  While not all of us can make that trip.  He also made sure that he got us some Japanese culture.
This time, we had a sushi class for specialty sushi... for the times you've seen the sushi chef rolled out all of the sushi rolls, now you have a chance to learn for yourself how they are made.
First, Carl taught us the secret of spicy salmon that you can do at home.  Since it's a 'secret', I won't diverge the details here.  But it's easier than you think.  So naturally, we made the Spicy Salmon Roll.  It's not as hard as I thought.
Then, we made the Caterpillar Roll.  Even though I'm not a big fan of avocado, it is a crucial part of the roll.  I'm just interested in the unagi inside the roll.  

On top of that, Carl told us that he has great luck at H Mart for fresh ingredients.   Personally, I like going to Daido on fish ingredients.  They always have sushi grade cut fish available every time I go there. 
Here's Carl with his fancy Japanese knife helping my friend Angie cut her roll.
This is what he's cutting.  A tightly rolled sushi, just with rice and a bit of avocado thinnly spread on the rice.
When you cut it vertically this is what it looks like.  It is to prep the final bit:
The Window Roll, ta da!  Ok, it's not as pretty as it could've been, but you get the idea.  I guess I should've put another cucumber in the center to hold it up better, but you know what we're trying to do here.

The Sushi Club had brought Jiro Dreams of Sushi in conjunction with MFAH.   Carl also put together sushi dinner with movies too.  So, we don't just go to eat, although it's the love of sushi that brought us together.  We do other things too.  Special thank you Carl for all your hard work and manage the chaotic request that we kept throwing at you.

Houston Sushi Club

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Every so often, you just have to have some junk food in all the fine dining.  So a friend of mine and I decided to go eat bad.  LOL.  Still on the upper end, this ain't no McDonald's, but we were just going out of our norm.

I honestly don't remember what their draw was, but their fresh, non-frozen meat is good enough for me.  Of course, it helped to have awesome fries and great milkshake.
You can really customize your burger anyway you want it.  There's so many add ons, sauce, buns to choose from, that you can make it to your taste no matter what.  They have chicken and hotdog aside from beef, they even have vegetarian.  If you want it 'skinny', you can order the Smash version, so you can leave room for other stuff.

I had the mushroom burger with a side of their Smashfries, which is cooked with olive oil, rosemary and garlic.  That's crack to me.  I'm so addicted to them.  Of course, they have a sweet potato version of the Smashfries too, in case you wanted to be a bit healthier.  HA!

I liked their milkshake because they use real ice cream and not powder.  They do put in a nice big scoop of Haagen Dazs, and talk about quality shake, if there's such a thing, they've got it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


A few friends of mine wanted to go to Feast and it was a nice surprise since I haven't been there since couple of HRW's ago.

If you're not familiar, Feast is known for using every single part of the animal to create scrumptious dishes.   They even cured their own meat, if you ever get a chance to see their meat, it is sometimes hang in a huge chamber on your way to the bathrooms.
I had ordered the Fish and Scallop Pie under the suggestion of our server.  I was surprised to not see a nice thick layer of pastry on top to cover up the top.  I had the vision that it's like a pot pie.  But instead, they sealed the pie with mashed potato and cheese mixed in with some leeks.  

You do need to dig thru the potato layer in order to find the fish and the scallops.  And the sauce is not as creamy as it was presented, which is fine by the time you mix in the potato, it is thick enough.  The brussels sprouts side is a nice touch, but not the best sprouts I've had recently.

Feast is only open for dinner, helps to make reservations ahead of time, but we find that week night dining is not hard to get int.

Feast Houston
219 Westheimer
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 529-7788

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sweet Paris

I've been driving down Rice Blvd and wondering when I can get in here to try their crepe.  Close friends know that I'm loyal to Melange Crepe. Shawn and his crew has been taking care of me and my friends from just walking up for a 'Patty Special' <- ask for it; to catering to parties.  They've always delivered.
However, being a Francophile that I am, I have to seek out and do some comparison as to what they have that's better, aside from a store front.

I will say the owner paid alot of attention to details in the store.  That's truly admirable, because antique anything from France is not cheap, and to create a smart space that incorporate a bit of France, I tip my hat off to them and their decorator.   I will say some placements of things such as soda machine and utensils were awkwardly place in front of the bathroom, and maybe another spot is more suitable, but that is not stopping people from going in.

I will say this, walking into this place you wouldn't have thought that for the past two decade this was a Thai restaurant.  They truly transform the place to a classy joint. 

As you can see, there's no trace of Thai in this France-inspired place.  Down to the details.
As you know, it means nothing if the food ain't good.  Their crepes is not so unique that you have to come back for it time and again.  I will say that not having to chase my favorite food cart is a convenient, but the menu is typical for any French/Crepe type of place.

The food is decent enough, it's not exactly a science, and you can't really screw up with what's inside the crepe.  They do serve sweet and savory crepes, and they have a separate breakfast crepe section that is served up till 11am.  As a matter of fact, they will not let you order a savory crepe if it's before 11am, you have to choose a savory from the breakfast menu.

They are not all crepes, they also serve panini, wine and beer.  While I may go back for the Frozen Nutella, because I didn't get to try it this round.  I hope it sticks around as it has potential.  I'm not going to betray Melange anytime soon, because to me, he can still whip up anything in a jiff and done well, but Sweet Paris got the right hours and not movable, that's the advantage they have over Melange.

Sweet Paris
Rice Village



(713) 360-6266


Friday, July 20, 2012

Back to Italian Macs

Back to Macaron/Dessert Friday!

I'm not sure if it's me being stubborn or it is truly a good method.  But I was determined to master the Italian technique.
They consistently come out nice and tidy... I very much wish I can pick on it some more, but it does yield results.  I still love my French method, especially I had worked so hard to work it down to a science, but this does blow me away.  It consistently perform well.
See!  It has nice pied/feet, and it has a great top, nothing uneven.  Versus French you do take a gamble on the outcome.  It is very exciting...

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Ever since David gone Paleo, we have even less reason to go to any Italian places.  Even though more and more of them are catering to the gluten free kind.  Honestly, it doesn't matter if you are Gluten Free or Paleo, if you choose your item wisely, it doesn't matter if they don't have a separate menu.  But having one is super nice.
I had the Italian Cobb which comes with chicken, bacon, tomato, egg, and blue cheese vinaigrette.   It's pretty yummy, but I am just amazed at the vinaigrette sauce.  It's so good that I can put it on everything.  They definitely give you a lot of chicken that it's impossible to finish it all.  It is definitely a hardy lunch.

1399 South Voss
Houston, TX   77057
(713) 468-0868

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Amazon Grill

Haven't been to Amazon Grill for quite some time, so when my friend has a craving, I wasn't going to say no, especially their free plantain chips bar.  They have a nice variety of sauces, definitely can go on your chips or your dish.

I had the beef enchilada dish, it was a tad drier than I remember them to be.  The cheese wasn't as cheesey as I remember them either.  But all in all it just made me miss Chuy's.  :(
They were very generous with their sides.  You have black beans and rice with chihuahua cheese on top.  Pico on the side, and cooked plantain with sour cream on top.  Frankly, they can do without all the rest and just give me a giant plate full of plantain and I would not complain because they're 'that' good.

If you're in a hurry, they do take orders online on their website ready for pick up anytime.

Amazon Grill
5114 Kirby Drive
Houston, Texas 77098
Ph: 713.522.5888 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Heard alot about Katsuya from different people and was very curious to see for myself what they're about.
They definitely have the cucumber mojito.  It has rum, crushed watermelon, cucumber, mint and lime juice.  I can tell you that drink is stiff!
Kiwi Scallop - which is a surprising mix, but it's light and fresh for summer day
Sushi Sampler - it's nothing special.
Nabeyaki Udon Soup - part of the Tasting Menu
Short Ribs Skewers - it does have enough fire and it's nicely marinated.
Black Cod
Cucumber Salad - part of the tasting
Katsuya Sampler - the shrimp ball and the yellowtail shashimi is recommended.
Skewer Samplers - Potato, Shrimp, Chicken and Crab Roll in the back
Shashito Peppers - the best thing I've tasted from the entire place.  And I'm not usually a pepper person.
Dessert Sampler - part of the tasting menu.  All of us were going after the coffee cheesecake, the rest of the dessert were dried and not done well.
Just to show you what you are greeted with when you walk in.  They are very contemporary and going for shock decoration.  You can easily find an AK-47 dipped in gold as a decoration piece on the sushi bar.
Along the wall and ceiling, you have more traditional pieces blown up to overwhelm your eyes so you forget what you're here to eat.

The entire place is really a seen or be seen type place.  I wouldn't say the food was horrible but for all that money going in to the place, you'd hope the food is there to match.  I would say Enoki bacon skewers are unexpected and truly, the cheapest dish of the Shashito Peppers were favorite for all of us, totally not worth the line you wait for the table and I don't care how stiff their drinks are.  

If you want to be seen, dressed up and show off your new clothes or shoes or handbag, come here.  If you want good food, save your money on something else. 

Katsuya Houston
2800 Kirby Drive
Houston, TX 77098