Thursday, November 29, 2012


For our Anniversary dinner, we went to Indika for dinner.  I've already been there for HRW, and thought of it greatly.  
If you've never been, you should try them.  They might be a little on the pricy side, but the food is fully worth it.
For sitting down and ordering, you get potato cakes with apple and spicy chutney.  It's nice and yummy, it all goes well together.
We ordered the mango lassi, it was more yogurt than anything else.  Definitely very filling.  Try not to wait till the ice to melt, it only just water down everything.  So drink fast!
We ordered saag panner, which is creamy spinach.
Small order of mango chutney chicken breast, should've ordered more because the chicken was moist and the sauce went very well together.
Basmati Rice with coconut milk
We ordered a small thing of lamb, again, should've ordered more.  It was delicious and not at all dry.
Saute Spinach, we got this because underneath the chicken and lamb.  The spinach was so good that we ordered the side by itself.  But turned out, this is different type of spinach than the ones that came with the dish.  So keep that in mind, they are different, eat more of the ones with the meat.
On our way out, we got the cardamom shortbread cookies.  It's nice, warm, and yummy.  Of course, after you eat it, you feel the spice of cardamom going down.  It's definitely a kick to it but in a good way.

If Indika is too pricey for you, try Pondicheri, it's owned by the same owner.  That is more of a causal setting instead of formal dinning.  The price is also very agreeable too.  The difficulty would be getting into West Ave, but they do have free parking at the back garage.

As to Indika, every month, they host a cooking class.  You get an appetizer, 2 dishes, and a dessert for $100.  Once a month, it's on last Sunday evenings.  You can see their menu here.

Closed on Monday
516 Westheimer Rd, 
Houston, TX 77006

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sushi Club with Chef Kazato

Hey everybody!  Come and meet my new friend!  Haha...

This is a very nice sashimi spread that was made by Chef Masayoshi Kazato from Chiba, Japan.  He was here in Houston last week to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Chiba and Houston sister cities relations.  Did you know that Chiba, Japan is Houston's sister city?  Yeah, this is the first time I heard about it too.

What that means is that this is a cross promotion of people, diplomacy, culture, and idea exchanges between cities.  And Chef Kazato is an ambassador for the program.  Lucky for the Houston Sushi Club members, we got to meet the master and see his presentation.  If you want more detail on his presentation, Houston Press has a pretty good article about it.

Look at his proud work!!! 

He's a master in his own right, he is a master sushi chef, cooking since 1969.  And he was even one of the judges for TV cooking shows all around the world.  Since he's been an ambassador, he had travelled all over Europe and now US.

I was lucky enough to have a chance to sit down with him, and here's part of the interview, read on!

He wrote these menu for each of the guest at the dinner with his calligraphy set.   I did ask what Chef Kazato brings with him when he travels.  He said that he takes his knives and calligraphy set.  What a lucky piece of souvenir for those who attended.

I asked aside from traveling, making sushi for people to enjoy and calligraphy, what other activities he enjoys.  He said that he likes to paint and draw.  As a matter of fact, sake companies have asked him to draw and write for their sake labels.  That's quite a talent.

Shrimp Tempura & Teriyaki Chicken

This is actually Chef Kazato's first time in Texas, and he was able to come here and meet with sushi chefs and sushi restaurant owners in Houston.   He was greatful to have made friends and talk shop with chefs here.

I was asking Chef Kazato what he thought of the sushi in United States.  He was mentioning that he sees a lot of Japanese fusion in United States.  He followed up that, and that's suitable for the country.  Sushi made here suitable for consumers here.  I was thinking, it's like Chinese food, you have the real authentic Chinese food but not necessary the taste for the American taste buds.  So in order to survive in business, the chefs have to adapt.

Super awesome salmon, when you put it in your mouth, it melts like butter!  That's what all sushi should be! 

Chef Kazato was teaching us that when you eat sushi, the rice should not be packed densely.  It should be hallow inside, like a dome.  It really helps with the food not falling apart.  So when you pop it into your mouth, everything (rice and fish) all spread across your taste buds. 

Beautiful plate of sushi! 

One point that Chef Kazato really want to get across is that sushi chefs all over should use vinegar when they're making sushi.  More and more, he sees chefs using plastic gloves without washing hand before hand, and the glove is very dirty after handling different things.  Some times people think because they have gloves on, and they think it's clean.  It's not any better than when someone that doesn't wear gloves and don't wash their hands and cross contaminate.

He reiterated that when you put vinegar on your hands, not a lot, just a dab, it helped disinfectant your hand.  Of course, that helps bring out the taste of the rice and make it easier to work with.  If you ever try making sushi yourself, you would realize that the rice gets sticky quickly, and if you dab a bit of vinegar on your hands, it helps unstick, bring out flavors, and now you know, also disinfectant. 

We had: seared salmon with chili oil, scallop, white fish, snapper, seared salmon with miso on top, and of course tuna

I understand they took Chef Kazato to try Tex-Mex, and I was asking what he thought of it.  He was very polite to say it's good.  That is definitely different than Japanese food that is more clean and straightforward in terms of your taste buds.

Here we have Houston Roll and Crunchy Eel roll

On this visit, he was given an honorary citizen of Houston from the Mayor's office.  So Chef Kazato definitely feel like he can come back.  I think Houston left an impression where he definitely wants to come back and visit.
This is Kapachi Sashimi

I asked if Chef Kazato has any other favorite food, and with his travel experience must have tried alot of different cuisine.  The Chef answers: he is open to all food, and as long as the Master making that cuisine, any food is good; no matter where you are.

I whole-heartedly concur... any food made by the master of that art, is bound to be delicious and great... ahh, only to be so lucky!

For dessert, Kubo restaurant gave each of the guest a slice of Green Tea Tiramisu 

The purpose of Chef Kazato's purpose is really to promote fishery and agriculture industries of Chiba, Japan.  Basically, the food, agriculture and fishery program asked Chef Kazato to promote food, hygiene and food culture of Chiba and Japan.  I think there's no better way to connect people by promoting food.  

Chef mentioned that he usually does a 2 hour presentation, which teach the origin of sushi, how in the old days without refrigeration, and how to preserve the food without it going spoiled. 

Chef Kazato showed off his knife skills.  He peeled a daikon the long way and paper thin.  Then he cut them into little stripes and next thing you know it turned into a beautiful mum with carrots in the center. So neat!
My pal Joanne noticed the inscription on Chef Kazato's knife covers, and was asking what it said.  The shorter one said (loosely translated): The knife can cut thru alot of things, and the knife user (a cook) must understands it.  And knowing the intention/purpose towards your cooking.  Basically: one must respect one's tool by understanding and do things with purpose with good outcome.
The longer one loosely translated: With years and years of history, when I am young I did not notice much, but only until I have experience, I understand and see things I didn't notice before.  Things I did not feel when I was young, I now feel as I grew older.  And now, the fact that I am alive with God's grace, I am truly thankful. 

Chef Kazato continues: When you're young there are so much you don't understand  and you don't see or understand other people's heart.  As you grow older, you started to understand and at the same time, the fact that you're feeling you are allowed to live and he's very thankful for that.

This event and Chef Kazato was brought here by JETRO (Japanese External Trade Organization) which promotes mutual trade and investments between Japan and US.  Also co-sponsored by Chiba Foodstuff Exportation. Thank you Carl from Houston Sushi Club for inviting members to this event.  Thank you to Susan from JETRO for translating, and thank you to Kubo for hosting the event.

To learn about ~
Chiba Foodstuff:

Houston Sushi Club:
Kubo Restaurant:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Friends had suggested to go to Roost, and since I've never been, I'm always looking for something to try.
Cute business cards... very adorable.
They're very proud of their farm to table restaurant.  The place is small so if you are going to have a sizable dinner party, highly recommend you call ahead and make a reservation.  
Grilled White fish with bed of veggie.  I would say that it sounded good from the menu, but the flavors aren't as full as I'd thought it'd be.  

I did have a few bites on the cauliflower, and it was pretty good.  I do recommend that.
For dessert, we shared the sticky banana pudding.   It was nice, but it was super rich, and I am a super sweet tooth.  Couple bites I was already waving the white flag.

Parking situation is a bit tough because they are in the middle of the neighborhood.  Watch out for the no parking signs and of course respect the neighbors.   But if you're early enough, you may be able to snatch a spot right in front.

1972 Fairview Street 
Houston, TX 77019
(713) 523-7667
no website

Monday, November 26, 2012

Kona Lunch

Working in the Galleria, it's actually pretty hard to find a good decent sit down place that's not overly expensive, good food, and serve them in the short hour I have to eat.
I went to Kona Grill with a co-worker.  I like Kona because it has a great sushi bar.  But they also serve pasta, stir fried in fusion style and tradition style.

This time, I got the fish taco just to get out of the routine.  Amazingly, it was good.  The fried rice was the good o'l Chinese style, where they put Chinese sausage in it.  You know, even Chinese restaurant don't do often.

The taco was good, the fish is nice and crispy, it has veggie, and you can use the sauce to spice things up, but I didn't need it.  Give that a shot, fish taco are not as overrated as you think.  It's pretty good, if anything go for the fried rice.

Kona Grill
5061 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77056
(713) 877-9191

Friday, November 23, 2012

Italian Meringue - Macaron

I'm still pretty new to the Italian method, so nothing else, practice, practice, practice!
What I don't like is that you have to get the sugar going and whip your eggs at the same time.  You have to get the temp to about 121 degrees.
You have to slow whip the egg whites, while the sugar is being cooked.  I don't quite like that, because I can't really tell if I'm over whipping the egg white.
You pour the cooked sugar quickly and continue to whip on higher speed.  
Meanwhile, the dry ingredient are what they called TPT (tant pour tant = one to one).  And you drop in the eggs and make it into paste, while the eggs are being whipped on the other end.

Then you're ready to pipe.
I put cocoa powder on top... just for kicks.
Some of them dried up and cracked.  ::Sad Face::
So this is supposed to be S'more Macarons!  I put 50g of gluten free graham crackers in the dry ingredient, and you have the caster sugar and icing sugar and of course almond flour.
For the filling, I melted some marshmallow and pipped it in the middle, but doesn't turn out as pretty or as tasty.  Turns out that the marshmallow fluff is actually tastier and easier to put on the macs.  So, learn it from me.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  Looking back, we've been posting for going on 3 years.  Can hardly believe it, especially looking back on how much we've eaten thru.  

That said, I'll be going to a Thanksgiving Feast this afternoon, I'll report back on the spread.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Revival Market

If you haven't visited Revival Market yet, I suggest you go.  To me, it's a nice little local farmers market but indoors with a great coffee bar.  They also cured their own meat in-house.  They even make lunch there.
If you do order food, they have small seating areas to the right of the meat counter, and they also have some in front of the coffee counter.  If the weather is good, you can even sit outside.
That week, I got an email newsletter that they were serving 'spam' for breakfast.  How can you say no to that?!  The meat is packed by the guys in-house.  They have this generous slice of 'meat', although they can give us another egg.  The jam on the side was supposed to go with the toast, but since we opt not to have the toast, they gave it to us anyway.  Doesn't taste bad, just very different parts of my taste bud, sweet vs. savory.

If you're not already signed up, you should sign up for their newsletter.  You get their deals via that method.  They are having all the sides for Thanksgiving too.  Of course, all the Saturday breakfast specials too.  By the way, they charge $7.95 for breakfast, not the best deal in town, but the meat is good.

Revival Market
550 Heights Blvd (at White Oak)
Houston, TX 77007

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

White Oak

In the Galleria Mall, aside from 51Fifteen that has a lunch special for mall employees, the other places that does is White Oak.  Same deal limited menu at the bar area only.  
For $8, you get a soup and your entree.  Soup is different every day, and they also have tortilla soup that's highly recommended by alot of people.
I ordered the grilled chicken salad.  It was true, it was good.  They even have pad thai that is pretty good.  I highly recommend it.  

Of course, they have sandwich, pasta, burger, and salad for your choosing.  For $8, you can't beat that with a stick.  Definitely going back for the tortilla soup.  The service isn't as bad as you think by sitting at the bar.  They do pay attention to you, as a matter of fact, he made sure we got everything we need before walking away.  Then we realized the bar area started to get busy and he still managed to come and checked in on us.  So, highly recommend for great service.

White Oak Kitchen
inside Galleria Mall
3rd floor above the skating rink by Starbucks & Neiman's
5011 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77056

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cafe Lili

One of my friend's favorite place to go in the Galleria area is Cafe Lili.  It is a true mom and pop store, and you can feel the love when you walk into the door.
For starter, I ordered the stuffed grape leaves, it is stuffed with ground beef and rice.  It's definitely thinner and longer than I'm used to from Nikos & Droubi's, where it's thicker and more meat and rice.
I ordered the Beef Kabob Salad.  The meat was dry, and you can tell that it's been microwaved.  It was drenched in vinaigrette on a bed of lettuce.  Actually a mount of lettuce...  
My friend ordered the Rice Pudding, I took a couple bites, it has pistachio as you can see on top here.  It also have a hint of lavender in there with rice.  It was nice, but I wasted my calories on the salad... :(

It's actually not bad, I think I would've had better luck with the fatoush salad, but you can tell when something is microwaved when parts of it is not warmed all the way.  It's like watching Gordon Ramsey yelling at people on Kitchen Impossible that they shouldn't microwave because it doesn't take much time to cook.

Cafe Lili's
5757 Westheimer, ste 112
Houston, TX 77057

Friday, November 16, 2012

Macaron Class at SLT City Centre

It's not often that I get to go to City Centre for a class.  So when the menu looks right, I was looking forward to go... what else but of course, macaron can draw me there. 
I liked the instructor enough and I know that she is trained like all of their instructors are, the good part is that she is also a very good entertainer.  She does joke about things in order to make a point, and I'm down with humor.
Sometimes it's good to have different instructors on the same subject matter is that you get different angle on how to do something.  I think for that, it's worth money to go to the same class with a different teachers.
Of course, the disadvantage is that if they're not an expert of the subject matter, that doesn't help troubleshooting when you're stuck.  For instance, I knew that SLT changed the chocolate macaron recipe from the last class at River Oaks.  But this instructor didn't know the updated version will not turn out, nor did she realized that to fix it.  The other RO instructor did a test batch and knew that it came out funny.
The other thing, which can happen anywhere, and that is grumpy students or attitudinal people in class. We were stuck with a know it all lady who was grumpy... the teacher tried to get everyone a chance to do everything from whipping to piping, to mixing the batter.  This lady was like, oh I've done it before, I don't need to do it; I'm thinking: I've done it that many times and I take advantage any chance I get to practice... this is a picky cookie, it's not as easy as people think.  Another lady who hogs all the practice opportunity where her group tried to squeeze her out.  I feel bad for her, but the teacher specifically said to share... so not sure why they don't play nice.  Again, nothing the teacher can do about it, but I don't usually have those issues in River Oaks.
Otherwise, the baking basics were in tact.  You should always pipe up and down and avoid it showing up like poop.  Sad little macarons doesn't look pretty at all... :(  They came out funky.
Definitely not as pretty as the last class where they are nice and flat on the top and feet pied perfectly.  It still tasted good, it didn't last as long as the other ones did, these cracked very easily because the batter is under whipped, but that's just me guessing.

This location is definitely in the chic part of the area, but the store and kitchen was smaller than the RO place.  It is hard to imagine how they can fill up 16 people, with the instructor, and the helpers.  They only have one sink for students to wash hands and you waste time just standing in line waiting for that.

Aside from that, the quality is same as the other SLT classes, very concise, moved along and not have a lot of lull.  

Sur La Table City Centre
Town and Country Ln, ste 101
Houston, TX 77024