Monday, September 30, 2013

Mia's

While driving down Kirby, this little house caught my eyes.
After digging around on the internet, realize that Mia's is part of the Carrabba's chain.  And Mia is Johnny Carrabba's daughter.  And the food here is casual southern style.  They have burger, bbq, pulled pork, chicken sandwiches. 
Chocolate Shake.  This looked too delicious to pass up.  
I got the pulled pork sandwich.  They ask you if you want to add pickles and onion.  It's nice and warm, and as it turns out, the buns are toasted.  YUM!  Mine came with 2 sides, I got the potato salad and cole slaw.  To my surprise, I love the cole slaw much more than the potato salad.  I'm usually a potato salad person, but for some reason, their version is too zingy for my taste buds.  So I decided to try the cole slaw, and it was super fresh, and tasty.  I recommend it.

Mia's Table
3131 Argonne St
Houston, TX 77098
713-522-6427
https://www.miastable.com/

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cheesecake Factory

Been meaning to get together with Mrs. Ripple.  So we decided to go to Cheesecake Factory.
Been drinking tons of water at home, so something non-fizzy is a nice change of pace.  I always get their Strawberry Lemonade, just perfect for a summer day.
We split the fried mac and cheese.  It was nice and fried and paired with marinara sauce it was delicioso!
For lunch, I got the herb crusted grilled salmon.  Super healthy, right?  I'm sure it's not with the buttery mashed potato.  That's the best part of the dish.  The salmon was a bit blah.  I'm super surprised because everything come out of their kitchen is always delicious.  I'm not sure if it's because it's a lunch special and that's why, but it's not as flavorful as their other dishes.

I want to note the location in Memorial City was not as friendly as the Galleria location.  Reason was that we've requested a table because both of us got our kiddos and our carseats.  They usually have the tables where they are half booth, and half chairs.  If it's half chairs they can give us a sling and be done with.  But, the staff and manager were not very accommodating.  They gave us a booth that was too small.  And then proceeded to give tables away to people that came after us.  And kept pushing us to seat outside.  Needless to say, 30 minutes later, they finally got a table that fits.  Mind you, we both have babies that can wake up at any moment.  The saving grace was that when we finally got a table, our server was awesome and fun.  I probably will stick with the Cheesecake Factory in Galleria.

Cheesecake Factory
Memorial City Mall
303 Memorial City 
Houston, TX 77024
713-932-6344
http://www.thecheesecakefactory.com/

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Da Marco Cucina e Vino

So my friends been meaning to check out Da Marco's and invited a few of us to join her.
Funny thing was that I used to live in that neighborhood and never manage to stop in there.  I mean, I literally drink down the street all the time, yet never manage to stop in.
 Once we sat down, they gave us an amuse bouche.  It's like a bruschetta, but it's really feta cheese, basil leaves, marinara sauce, bread and olive oil on top.  The bread, sadly was not toasted... so I guess not really a real bruschetta.
 They were showcasing their Sea Urchin for catch of the day.  Which cost $24, and underneath it is a bed of salad which lettuce, cabbage, and apple.  Sadly, the uni was a bit fishy, and the salad frankly tasted better.
 For the main course, I asked them to make a Primi into an Entree size dish.  This is the corn ravioli with lobster.  Since they have a gluten free pasta, I thought this was corn made ravioli, but instead, it's ravioli with corn inside it.  Less impressive.  The sauce is good, but would've love for it to be a tad heavier.  Definitely love the generous lobsters on the dish.
 Here's their dessert menu.
This is the Caramel Pistachio Rotolo.  Rotolo is really a rolled cream cake, which is what's at the bottom.  On top is the pistachio gelato, you can really see and tasted the pistachio.  Definitely worth coming here for it.

This space is small, so reservations is advised.  The place is full of old money, and the patrons showed it.  This is definitely a valet type of place, so bring some change.

Da Marco
1520 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 
713-807-8857
http://www.damarcohouston.com/

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cloud 10 Creamery

Thank goodness to my friend Angie for telling me about Cloud 10 soft opening.
 Sure enough, on Facebook, they were announcing hours to the soft opening!  Wohoo!
 You can see Chris Leung is on hand to scoop ice cream to customers.
 They are showcasing their Fall flavors instead of the Summer's favors.  Some of them are: Gingersnap, Lemon sorbet, Toasted Rice, Nutella Marshmallow, Mango Sorbet, PB&J, Poached Pear Sorbet, Maple bacon, Cafe Su Da... just to name a few.
 Chris was on hand to train the staff and help scoop ice cream, and serve them too.  He was way nice, and when we asked him about the soft opening.  He was definitely flattered and honored that friends and family and fans all came out in drones to support the shop.  His staff were great and are super friendly too.  
So, what did I get?!  I got the Poached Pear Sorbet and Nutella Marshmallow.  I know naturally they don't mix well, but they both tasted good, so there you go.  This is the small size and they can fit 2 scoops and let you do different flavors.  It was $3.45 for 2 scoops.  They also have medium and large of course.  They also have milkshake, adult milkshake, bottled soda, bottled floats, banana splits... just to get you started.

On a Sunday night, parking is easy to find, that makes standing outside pleasant.  We got there in time while most people are having dinner at Torchy's or Coppa's, so our line was inside.  By the time we got thru the line, the line was out the door and different blogger from different publications are all present for a taste.

Cloud 10 Creamery
5216 Morningside
Houston, TX 77005
281-310-1662
http://www.cloud10creamery.com/

Monday, September 23, 2013

Soma

So, my friend Angie got a gift cert burning a hole in her pocket, so we decided to go. 
During weekends, they have great Happy Hour Specials. I kept forgetting that they have a great special. But now, have to make an effort to go there more often. 
We both had the Black Bean Ramen. It does have kimchi, braised short rib, tamago on top, and of course black bean soup. What made this different type of noodle than when we first tried it with Ramen in Common. In that, they have used a different type of noodles. They've made tgeir own Soma Noodle, which doesn't have yolk in the noodle, which is chewy-ier, more elastic. It can withstand the black bean soup nicely. You've got to try it. 

Beware of the parking signs at the shopping center. We went during a non-peak hour of the day, and plenty of parking to be had. But, the new signs segregate which spots are for Soma and which are for other businesses. So, watch out. 

Soma
4820 Washington Ave
Houston, TX77007
www.somasushi.com

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Macaron by Patisse

We were running errands around town, and since we were in the neighborhood, we stopped in for some macarons.
I always liked going to Patisse, always classy, and always friendly service.
Beautiful displayed case.  See!  They are refrigerated... Unlike Sweet, which allow their macs melts and warp out of shape.  Just embarrassing to try to sell it to customers.
Colorful shells.  Would be cool to have one.
Colorful macs.  Here are: Apriot, Green tea, Cappuccino, Nutella.
Here's green tea, you can definitely taste a bit in the shell, but definitely in the ganache.  Which, by the way, was not melting on you.  Nice and soft shells.
Cappuccino, you can taste the espresso mixed in with the ganache,  I enjoy that one very much.

Macaron by Patisse
2033 W. Gray
Houston, TX 77019
713-965-7359
http://macaronbypatisse.com/

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Panera

I always forget that there's a Panera near me.  I like them for their baked goods, between them and Corner Bakery, you really have a great selection within reach.
When I go there, I always get the Iced Green Tea, which taste nothing like the real green tea, of course.  It's sweeten and it just taste more like a fruit tea than a green tea.  If you drink real green tea, you'd know that it's bitter.  And this is not it, but it tastes good nonetheless.  
They, like Corner Bakery, has a half and half for lunch.  You can do 1/2 sandwich with a small soup, 1/2 sandwich with a 1/2 salad, or 1/2 salad with small soup.  Apparently, certain sandwich may ask for an up charge, so ask the counter before hand.

I would say for a fast joint, they have some quality people that works there.  I had my baby with me, fiddling with things, keeping the baby entertained.  All this going on, the lady behind the counter was super patient.  She helped me to my table and helped with getting water, since she saw how clumsy I was.  And she didn't have to do that, but she did anyway.  So, I'll come back just because they went above and beyond.

Panera Bread
3151 Holcomb Suite A
Houston, TX
713-821-1065
https://www.panerabread.com/en-us/home.html

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Nippon's

Since I'm making up for lost time, we're going back to our favorite Japanese places.
Nippon's is always one of my favorite, simply that they make good food.
If you get a rice dish, they come with a complimentary salad.  This one comes with the ginger vinaigrette.  The vinaigrette is definitely zingy.
I got the Chirashi, I like it because you get a sampler when you cannot make up your mind on sushi, this is the best solution.  Also a good deal for the price too.  If you're ever like me, want to try them all, and can't make up your mind.  Try this!

I love going to Nippon, but the parking can be a hassle.  They have a small lot behind the building, but some times, during prime time, you may have issue with getting a spot. You may have to go across the street and park on the street.  But it's not impossible.

Nippon's Japanese Restaurant
4464 Montrose Blvd
Houston, TX 
713-523-3939
http://nippon-sushi.com/
closed on Mondays

Monday, September 16, 2013

Blacksmith Coffee

I've been meaning to go try Blacksmith Coffee a while, just needed an excuse.  
 Here's the ordering counter.  You walk up, order, or there's a few seats at the bar.  There's a few more 'bar' seats by the window and by the bar, then there's about 5 tables.  So, this is not the place to bring a big crowd.  I can only imagine when it used to be Mary's on Montrose.
 Instead of coffee, I got the Jasmine Pearl tea.  It's really just jasmine tea.
I got a modified Croque Monsieur - ham, gruyere cheese, egg, b├ęchamel sauce.   It came with chips and mini pickles.

I'm not sure if it's that day or not, but the guy at the counter was a bit miffed when I told him that this is the first time and asked for recommendation.  Like: dude if you don't know what you're walking into, why bother coming.  See, this is what I usually do, I ask the person behind the counter, or server, what their favorite or what they recommend.  Usually, they are very enthusiastic about telling you what they like.  This guy was like, well, it's all sandwiches.  Urm... yes, I'm just asking what he liked, it wasn't a pick up line.  Anyway, he ended up settling on the Croque, so I went with it.  It's good, tasted good.  But maybe I'll try going there when another person at the counter.  

If you worry about parking, don't have to.  They do have a small bit of parking next to the building.  Another small triangle behind the building.  Then you can also park at Underbelly's and Hay Merchant's.  So, don't worry about parking there.

Blacksmith Coffee
1018 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77006
832-360-7470
https://www.facebook.com/blacksmithhouston

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sweet

Since I was in City Centre, thought I'd stop by Sweet.  
Seems like it's becoming a once a year event... the last time I was here was a year ago.
The display case still hasn't improve.  By that I mean, macarons should be refrigerated somewhat.  Unless you sell out so quickly that you don't need to.  But the space does warm up quickly, having it refrigerated just ensure the quality of the cookies.

When I was looking for something to buy, I asked the server which she recommends, knowing that the flavors are rotated.  She said their popular seller is the Rose.  Yes I'd like that too, but if you look at the picture (next to the green), it's all smeared and not put together like a mac should, I would hesitant to buy it.  I'm embarrassed for her for even recommending it, since it looked so sloppy.

Since my friend bought something, I decided to give them a shot.  After all, you'd hope they've improved since the last year I was here.
They definitely kept the cute bag, and improved by having a professional logo sticker... let's see about the macs.
This is their version of Earl Grey.  They sprayed the silver on top.  The flavor was in the middle filling as opposed to Bite, which has the flavors in the cookie shell.
This is their espresso mac.  The shell is nicely decorated, just wish they let the filling and the cookie set before selling.  You can tell the buttercream is about to be mushed and it's not because its so fresh, it's because it was melting and the cookie is coming apart.

To say I was disappointed is an understatement.  They were the first shop in Houston to sell macs, and while the flavor is awesome, the finishing is subpar.  If someone's defrosted macs taste better than their 'fresh' ones, and looked more presentables, this is just embarrassing.  Definitely remind me that once a year visit is enough.

Sweet
801 Town and Country Boulevard
Suite A120, 
Citycentre Way, 
Houston, TX 77024
(713) 647-9338
www.sweethouston.com/

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Osaka

Since I'm making up for lost time, we went for quick sushi at Osaka.
 For some nigiri: I had chopped scallops, smoked salmon, and tuna... those are my stables.
 Since we're sharing with others, we had 2 spicy tuna rolls and a Philadelphia roll... for you purists, don't worry, I didn't have the Philly roll, just because I don't care for creme cheese on anything other than my bagel.
For more sharing, we have here 2 spicy salmon rolls (on the outers) and the Hamachi/Masago Roll in the middle.  As described, it has Hamachi (yellowtail) and Masago (capelin fish) with green scallion.  Not bad, I think that'll be part of my repertoire going forward.

The thing about Osaka is that the chefs are fast and the service is always quick.  When you sit down and order, they give you a complimentary appetizer.  When you're ready to pay for your tab they'll offer you a scoop of ice cream with fried banana, it's nice.  Which almost made it justifiable to pay $6.95 for 2 pieces of nigiri of average grade.  Comparatively, Kata charges $5 for 2 pieces of same if not better quality sushi... hmm.

Osaka (Bellaire)
4001 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77025
713-838-9812


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Grub Burger Bar

It was my friend Shawn's birthday, so we decided to meet up for lunch.  
 She saw Grub, which neither one of us have heard of it, so what the hey... we're adventurous.
 First off, they have shake... yum!  I had the Nutella shake, and Shawn had the Chocolate shake, classic!  Don't worry, if you want to shake things up, they do have Spiked version of these shakes too.
 Guess they have Happy Hour drinks special daily, from $3, $4, and $5 up.  Of course some grub to go along with those beverages.  
 I had the Lockhard Legend, which has onion rings, applewood smoked bacon, melted cheddar cheese, with Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce, and pickle at the bottom.  Mine came with sweet potato fries.
Shawn got the Off-the Menu Special, which was pulled pork with cole slaw and it came with onion rings.  She said it was only ok, but the other stuff is good enough for her to return, so that's a good sign.

This place is relatively new, they only have locations in College Station and Houston (City Centre).  They also have a full bar, patio, and a small portion for full service seating.  Otherwise, you walk up to the counter, order, grab a number, fill your drink at the drink station, and find a seat.  They do have a server that tends to your area in case you need to find more napkins, forks, and what have yous.  They do pride themselves on the freshly baked buns.  Give them a try.

Grub Burger Bar
City Centre (upstairs from Urban Outfitters)
709 Town & Country Blvd
Ste 200
Houston, TX 77024
713-827-7157
http://www.grubburgerbar.com/city_centre_houston.html

Monday, September 9, 2013

Chatters

I think Chatters is one of the underrated neighborhood joints that are overshadowed by all the fancy hipster restaurants on Washington Ave.  
Again, I got my Arnold Palmer, which is now a 'usual' that I measure against between bars everywhere I go lately.  It's not too sweet, but not super outstanding either.
Every dinner entree comes with either soup or salad.
I had the Gyro plate with rice.  Very low thrilled, but the meat is done right.  Usually it comes pita bread, but since we're doing it gluten free style, you can swap out for rice. 

They do have a gluten free menu separate from the main, but when you tell the server, it is truly them taking out the bread portion and replacing it with something that's not.  No big theatrical about it, just subbing things out.

Like I said, Chatters is underrated and overshadowed by the big name, hipsters on Washington.  The food here is not bad, the atmosphere is nice.  There are a few odd paintings that are head scratchers, and location is not bad.  Servers are always attentive and ample parking for ease.  Yet, every time we come here there's plenty of empty tables.  They do mostly do Mediterranean but they also have other stuff too.  Truly deserve another look.

Chatters
140 S. Heights Blvd
Houston, TX 77007
713-864-8080
http://www.chatterscafe.com/