Thursday, February 27, 2014

House of Pies

You know when you know you can't have something you miss it even more?  That is the case with House of Pies
Ever since the fire burned the Kirby's location, and they were out from October till now, the more I'm craving their food.  Not that it was exceptionally good, just a comfort thing.
For breakfast, because it's too early to have pie - nonsense, I know, but I have to have some sort of normalcy.  For breakfast, morning or late night, I always get their corn beef hash and eggs.  So, as you can see here, it comes with 2 eggs (any style), corn beef hash (delicious with eggs), and cottage fries (aka tator tots).  It usually came with toast too, but wasn't going to add on to the load on carbs.  It's delicious as I remembered it from the Kirby location.  It's just quaint because it's dive-y cafe type feel for breakfast.  Too bad it was too early for pie.

House of Pies
6142 Westheimer Rd.
Houston, TX 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ruggles Green - Heights

As you know, we like to go to Ruggles Green for a quick bite.
It's fast, it's easy, and you know you can get any sandwich or pizza gluten free, and they don't look at you like you have 3 heads.
So imagine our delight when we heard that they are doing breakfast.  Sadly, it is only available in the Heights location only.
I wonder if it's because that location, in previous lives always known for breakfast and it make sense to continue that tradition for the sake of the house.  It's previous carnation, 11th Street Cafe, was known to the neighbors as the breakfast go-to.  As a matter of fact, it had changed hands in ownership, things went down hill, that's when Ruggles Green swooped in.  

Not that they didn't have their challenge.  At their first try, they kept alot of stuff the same, and business was just not going well.  But after all the renovations, it breaths new life into the site, and while on the outside remain the same, the inside looked fresh and comfortable for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
This is the lemon poppy seed gluten free pancake with jalapeno bacon.  The bacon indeed is spicy, it spare no mercy.  If you're weak like me, pick the turkey links.  My only thing on the pancake is that the texture reminds me of a muffin top more than a light and fluffy pancake.  The whipped cream is very homemade, the berries are fresh and went perfectly, but it's like eating a muffin top to me.

Also, if they can make it lemon poppy seed, which no one can take any drug test anytime soon, why can't they do different variation?  I'm dying for chocolate chip gluten free pancake that I didn't make myself.  (hint, hint)
We also got the Huevos Rancheros.  I'm not used to the eggs, beans, queso on top of a taco shell.  It definitely invite you to split this, or eat this like a dish on its own.  The trick is to eat this quick before the tomato sauce soak it all the way thru and made the shelly too soft to pick up.  The potatoes can be done in 3 ways, whichever way you choose, you can't go wrong.

The only thing about this Ruggles Green location is parking, parking, parking.  I remember when it was 11th Street Cafe that we either had to time it right, meaning: get there early.  Or, you are parking down the street and good luck finding a street parking because there's a church next door also fighting for parking.  They do have a small lot next to the building, but between the mandatory handicap spots, and they added a electric car charging station, your chance of parking there is slim to none.  In it's previous incarnation of Ruggles Green, and even the 2nd owner of 11th Street Cafe, they tried to have valet park, which failed miserably, because the clientele that goes to have $5 breakfast is not going to foot over $5 for someone else to park their car. Luckily, the next building on Studewood is becoming a retail building you can park there while they're not in business.  And their parking behind the house, which again, can be used when they are not opened.  So, problem solved, sort of.  If not, you can always go to the street parking... good luck.  Why, you ask?  That's because Liberty Kitchen is right across the street.  So, if those people haven't exhausted their lots (front and back of LK) they will encroach to across the street.  That's the beauty of the Heights, right?

Ruggles Green
11th Street & Studewood
748 11th Street
Houston, TX 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Underbelly - San Diego

My co-worker recommended ramen for dinner.  You know, I won't say no.
 This place is called underbelly, and it's cute because it has inside and outside seating like a Japanese ramen place.
 Besides ramen, they pride themselves of their craft beer.  But since I haven't had the UCC ice green tea forever.  I only get anything UCC when I'm in Japan or if it's imported somewhere.
So I got the Tonkatsu Ramen.  The slices of pork are very delicious, it went well with the broth, which they highly recommend you slurp.  They could've go light on the ginger there...
We shared sous vided pork belly bun, which has pickled cucumber, scallion, cilantro, and a homemade ginger hoisin mayo.  Very well done, but not as good as Fat Bao's.

The noodles you can tell is not homemade.  It does have some elasticity, but it is also a tad dry.  The broth is light and very good.  But I'm not sure if it's super good enough for me to slurp the entire thing as they encourage you to do.  As a matter of fact, they do not provide a spoon is to encourage you to slurp.  Frankly, I use my spoon to help hold all the goodies I eat, so bring back the spoon.  If you think this is a traditional type Asian eatery, you're wrong.  The guys that opened this are anything but Asian.  That said, that is probably the reason why they have a wide arrange of craft beer available.  You can try alot of beer there if you want.  

You go into this small shop, order your food and beverages.  Pay, then find a seat either inside or outside.  They have the half in and half out so you can your friend can chat while one of you is inside and one of you is outside.  It's eat and hip, very fun to go along with the food.

750 W. Fir Street
San Diego, CA 92101

Monday, February 24, 2014

Waters - San Diego

I had to be in San Diego for work, and on the way from work to the hotel I came across this cute little shop opened.
 That night was quite late, so whatever they have either was made to order or leftovers.
 I did managed to get the Banana Berry Quick Bread for breakfast the following morning.
 For dinner, I got the Eggplant Panini on gluten free bread.
 Yummm, nice and filling.  Of course, it has Eggplants, mozzarella, bell pepper, goat cheese, and arugula for taste.  It's nice and yummy, on a cold night, it hits the spot right on.  Highly recommend it!

  The following day, since this is right by the office, I went back to Waters and this time there's more people.  Line does get out the door, but they are pretty fast, so it's not a long wait.
This time I got a Caprese sandwich.  Obviously, it has mozzarella and tomato.  But the focaccia is also layered by pesto sauce.  Very delicious!
For dessert, I got a small scoop of Panna Cotta that has banana and chocolate.  That combo cannot go wrong.  And the fact that it's gluten free, that was just a bonus.

Basically, Waters is really a Catering business, but don't discount them, the shop, as I said has a line out the door as early as 11am.  So it's good enough that people are coming down to have lunch.  They have gluten free alternatives, as well as vegan and dairy free alternatives.  All you have to do is ask.  The staff are super friendly and made sure that you're well taken care of from the manager to the clerks, to the staff in the kitchen.  This makes you feel like you're at home.

555 West C Street
San Diego, CA

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Dessert Gallery

It's no secret that I'm not a fan of Dessert Gallery.  Long time ago, they filled a niche, but doesn't mean that their cakes are super delicious . 
As trend would dictate, macarons needed to be on the list.   They had 4 flavors but the staff just didn't seem very interested in telling you what they have to sell.
They charge 1.95 per macaron
As you bite into it, the shell fell apart, that just tells me that you didn't sell them fast enough and been in the fridge too long.  As you as you take a bite, you already can tell everything had fallen apart.  The fillings are fresh, but I'm not confident enough to have them  again. 

You can tell that they used the Italian Method.  You can tell there's so much sugar.   Thank goodness they kept everything refrigerated, otherwise, I'm not sure how the macs would come out.  Bottom line, it's crunchy,  bring some hot cocoa or coffee to get your macarons, you'll be able to tolerate it more!

Otherwise, make sure you don't exceed one, that's all you should get.  Go across the way and go to Oui restaurant.

Dessert Galelry
3600 Kirby Suite
Houston, Tx 77098

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


When we heard that Vietopia has a gluten free menu, I was curious.
Actually, as far as Asian cuisines goes, most all of them are gluten free.  There are more items on the menu that should be listed as gf than they have in that section.  And it's not because the way they made something, but it was just oversight on their part.
We had the Vietnamese Spring Rolls, it has shrimp, thinly cut pork, vermicelli, and lettuce.  You dip it with fish sauce.
This is beef fried rice, gluten free version.  It's actually still quite good.  As a matter of fact, there are more eggs than the normal version.

5176 Buffalo Speedway
Houston, TX 77005

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Kata Robata

My friends and I met up for a birthday dinner at Kata
We happened to catch the tail end of happy hour, and of course you want to take advantage of it.
From the Happy Hour Menu, I got the spicy salmon roll.
The pork belly buns with cabbage slaw.  The pork is nicely braised and marinated, if it's not because there's more food coming, I think we'd stick with this.
Chicken Karaage, I tell my friends that this is like the chicken nuggets Japanese style.  The bottom layer is some sort of hummus type texture, which goes very well with the crispy fried chicken.
Then my friend and I shared the Amberjack with Fois Gras.  I don't think she enjoyed it as much as I did.  I like to wrap the fois gras with the thin slices of amberjack, and swirl it with the sauce and nuts.  So good in one bite!
I got 2 pieces of chopped scallops and 2 pieces of yellowtail, nice and fresh.
This is my first time trying the Toro and Short Ribs roll.  The tuna is wrapped in the middle and the rib is on top.  I will say that since I had so much before, I didn't get a chance to truly enjoy this.  This is really good, between the marinate of the ribs and the fat of the tuna is really a good combo.  If you get a chance, make this a focus.  Definitely worth it.

Don't forget, for dinner, definitely make a reservation, they do fill up fast.

Kata Robata
3600 Kirby St
Ste H
Houston, TX 77098

Monday, February 17, 2014

Korea house

Since the last time I went to Korea House, this time we got a gang to take advantage of their All You Can Eat Korean BBQ.
As usual, they give you a spread of sides.  We also ordered the egg pancake, and dumplings.  Which was much like the Japanese Gyoza, but without the ponzo dipping sauce.
This is also part of the menu, this is the spicy squid.  They cook that separately, so by the time it arrive to the table, it's a nice bucket of yummy spicy calamari.
The wait staff put down all of the meat and getting ready to cook.  One of our burner was out, so these meat, was waiting for the other burner to cook the rest.  If you want, the staff would cook it all for you too.
Here's another shot of the egg pancake, it has scallion and spices, and here's the dumplings.
And of course, the purple rice.

This time the purple rice is not in a rock bowl, it does come out piping hot.  What I'm impressed about this place is that usually when we go to Korean BBQ, you're sure to smell like the meal after.  Surprisingly, this time, there were no smell what-so-ever.  

You do get to order #1-14 and however many times you want.  You definitely want to get the spicy pork and ribs (both not pictured - because as soon as they hit the table, it's all gone).  The spicy pork was so well marinated, albeit truly spicy, it's so delicious.  If you were to get anything else, you need to get it just to taste it for yourself.  This time, there's no soup or dessert after, but it still worth it.  There were 7 of us, and it came out to $33 per person, which was $26 + tax + tips.

Korea House
10078 Long Point
Houston, TX 77055

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Oui Dessert

So we just got done with eating sushi at Sushi King's next door.  I saw this sign.
Very clever, I thought.  And how very French of them!  Of course, right after dinner, I demanded to go be nosy.  Because if they are French-ish and Dessert place, they must have...
MACARONS!!!!  That's right, boys and girls, a new place for macs!
This is their soft opening, and they have 4 flavors.  Chocolate, Vanilla, Coffee, and Raspberry.
Both the Chocolate and Vanilla must've been made that day.  Because the shell is nice and chewy.  Versus the Coffee and Raspberry was in the fridge too long, it started to crack as you bit into them.  However, the latter two filling is delish!  The coffee, she must've put some coffee in the shell because it came thru nicely.  The raspberry, besides jam filling, she also had some mascarpone cheese to compliment.  It was yummy, too bad the shell broke as you bite into them.  But for $1.50, it's worth the price.

She asked us for feedback, and we were honest, telling her what we thought.  Not that I'm a professional baker like she is, but after having made macarons, and post about them over 80 times, I know what I'm eating and how they are made, let's say. 

As you saw in the case, she also has eclaire, tarts, brulee, bread, and cookies.  Right now, it's just the owner, one man band.  But, I see good things for them, they are next to a sushi place, a bao/ramen place, a Mexican place, and a pizza joint in the corner of the same strip center.  I hope this keeps going!

Oui Dessert
3411 Kirby Dr.
Houston, TX

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sushi King

So, David found out that Sushi King has a gluten free menu, thought we give them a try
They do have a separate Gluten Free/Vegetarian menu, but you have to ask for it when you're being seated.
Agedashi Tofu, they used gluten free ponzu sauce.  I forgot to ask what was the batter, if any on the tofu.  Most don't but if you are deadly allergic, you should ask.
 The top roll is Spicy Salmon Roll.  The bottom is Houston roll, which has salmon, tuna, yellowtail with avocado.  Very filling.
This is the King Crab Rainbow roll.  The King Crab is in the middle, but if you count the color, they do get 7 types of topping.  Though the menu said 7 types of fish, they are misnomer because they included shrimp and squid, which both are not fish.  Delicious just the same.
Of course, I have to get their chopped scallops, it's nice and fresh.  No complaints here.

I don't usually go to Sushi King even though they've been around for a while now.  Mainly because for similar pricing I can get good quality and creative Japanese food catty corner from Sushi King, at Kata's.  And since I'm adventurous with food, I like the creative part of Kata.  Sushi King did a good job with the gluten free menu.  It helps customer with a very good guide as to what is or isn't gluten free.  Even their servers are knowledgable.  Our server came back and told us what we ordered has gluten in it, if it's ok.  I wish more servers paid that close attention like that guy.

Sushi King
3401 Kirby Dr
Houston, TX

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Desktop Lunch - Salata

So very excited that Salata chose to open in the Galleria.
I used to go to them when I was working downtown.   And given so many offices in and around Galleria, it's only natural to have a Salata here.  They even have a yogurt bar and they let you pair it with fresh fruits and nuts.
 In case you don't know how it works, you get to pick everything from spinach, toppings, dressing and protein.
So what I got here: Spinach salad with crab meat, dried cranberry, almonds, broccoli, sprouts, mushroom, and fat-free mango dressing.  Since I built it, of course, it was the best salad ever!

They also can make it into a wrap, and those comes with pita chips.  I saw that they have 3 kinds of soup for you to choose from.  And if you want, you can get a slice of bread, toasted to go with your soup or salad.  The cost of a plain salad with chicken protein is $8, with seafood (by the way, they have grilled salmon too) that cost $11.  Since this is quite popular, you need to go line up early on.  And if you like their dressing so much that you want to take some home, they sell it by the bottle too.

Houston Galleria
5015 Westheimer
Food court
Houston, TX 77056

Monday, February 3, 2014


Went to BRC for brunch with a friend who has never been.  I think you're missing out if you don't go give them a shot.
 First of all, if you go early brunch, you're guaranteed to have a great table and a great parking spot.  Of course, that is usually before any sports game begin, and you get to enjoy good food before the bar gets crowded, and it does get crowded.
 First off, they are known for their cheddar biscuit and bacon jam.  I think the other is chipotle pimento, but don't quote me on the last part.  All I can say is that when you put all 3 together, it is to die for.
To carb up some more, I had the 'off the menu' mac and cheese.  As you can see, there's the 2 eggs on top, mac and cheese in the middle.  Middle?  You asked.  Yes, middle; because at the bottom is a layer of sausage and potato.  Talk about a condensed little dish.  Honestly, the combo is so rich that I was only able to finish half of it.  As the manager said in passing, they'd be surprised if I can finish the entire thing.  Guess that's a common occurrence.

BRC GastroPub
519 Shepherd Dr.
Houston, TX 77007