Monday, March 31, 2014

Jolibee

Needed a quick bite, and stopped by Jollibee's. 
This time, nice and easy going, and no lines... and the drive thru is open and working.
I got the Ube Pearl Cooler.  It's a tarot boba icee type texture.  It's nice and refreshing, but much like milkshake, you can sucked up everything and then at the bottom you get a hole.
I got the 2 pc Chicken Joy with sweet potato waffle fries.  I appreciate that their chicken is not dry after they fried it.  The fries are crispy and you can dip it with the gravy.  I'm not much for a gravy person, but I tasted it, not bad.

Jolibee
8001 S. Main St
Houston, TX 77025
713-665-8914
http://www.jollibeeusa.com/index.html

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cloud 10

When we had a warm day, I was just jonesing for ice cream.
Turns out parking for a quick bite is not as easy as one would think.  The street across the way does not allow parking the entire block.  You can park at the building, but they do charge for parking.  Meanwhile, if you're lucky, the shopping center down the way might have something open up, just have to be patience, it's worth it.
They were promoting the last days of winter flavors, so I went to see what I would miss.  After tasting a few other flavors, I went back to my good ol' usual: Nutella and Marshmallow.  It's a Rocky Road lite.  There's no nuts per se, but hazelnut is in Nutella.  And Marshmallow does make it all nice.  For a hot day, that is the key to kill the heat.  Can't wait to see what they have lined up for Summer Flavors.

Aside from ice cream, they have ice cream cakes, ice cream popsicle, and other treats too.  They also started to have pint to be ordered online.  Better get those Winter Flavors before it's gone.

Cloud 10 Creamery
5216 Morningside
Houston, TX 77005
713-434-6129
http://www.cloud10creamery.com/


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cook & Collins

I had heard about Cook & Collins, and was curious... 
Actually, I got Cook & Collins mixed up with Brick & Spoon, but I'm game to try a new place.  This place is in midtown behind Spec's Warehouse, by all the bars and apartments.
Our server said that their popular brunch item was the BBQ Breakfast, which is consisted off root beer marinated pork belly, which is very good.  Not dry, well marinated, and very nice and rich.  It sits on top of a bowl of mac and cheese, which were ok.  I have had better ones elsewhere.  The dish also comes with a blue berry muffin.  Talk about starch overload.  I will say that I like my blueberry muffin warm and full of blueberry, that I don't mind.

The place look very much like a diner type of set up, but nicer and more up-classed.  But aside from that, their servers are super nice, and know their stuff.  I appreciate that.

Cook & Collins
2416 Brazos St
Houston, TX 77006
832-701-1973
http://www.cookandcollins.com/


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tiny No. 5

Met up with a friend for a quick brunch, and ended up at Tiny No. 5.
I ordered an Orange Julia.  Not quite sure what it is, but it's super nice and refreshing on a muggy day.
I was super hungry so I ordered a slice of blueberry, lemon, thyme loaf.  Honestly, I like how the lemon balanced out the blueberry by adding some zing.  But not quite sure what the purpose of the thyme in the loaf.  Either way, it was good.  Light and fluffy.
I haven't had their breakfast pizza for a while, so it was nice to order one.  I forgot how filling they are, and of course, with the loaf, it was very filling.  The pizza has smoked salmon, goat cheese, egg, and hollandaise sauce.  I could've use more egg all around.  But, it's nice with the cheese and salmon.  Definitely wouldn't mind having it again.

As usual, going to Tiny No. 5, you think you're hitting a neighborhood joint and quick, fast, and easy.  Not so much during prime time.  The parking is so severe that they've hired a cop to direct traffic.  You can park on the street, just make sure you obey the signs. 

Tiny No. 5
3636 Rice Blvd
Houston, TX 77005
713-664-0141
http://tinyboxwoods.com/tinys_no5/home.html

Monday, March 24, 2014

Coppa Osteria

The last time I was there was back in December, totally love their pasta.
If I can get them gluten free, and they taste extra good, why not?!
So we did and oh my, what a great choice!  I got the Ragatoni, which is in house made ragatoni (pasta dishes are mostly gluten free, there's a few that are not, but you have to ask the server).  It came with peas, but I asked for them to not put any on mine.  It came with prosciutto, taragon, and parmesan cream.  YUM!  I have their parmesan cream, and of course, I asked for extra parm too... Double YUM!

Sadly, this visit, our server was not as attentive as the previous visit.  Don't get me wrong, we went during non-busy times, so it was odd to have such sub-par service.  I was tempted to have the manager to serve us, but I was too hungry to be bothered.  We quickly ate and quickly get our bill and left.  Food is excellent, don't get me wrong, but the one time service is not going to discourage me from going back.  But they better shape up!

Coppa Osteria
Rice Village
5120 Morningside
Houston, TX 77005
713-523-3535
http://coppaosteriahouston.com/

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Lee's Bakery - Atlanta

I had to go to Atlanta for a work conference, snuck out one night to hang out with my friend Holly.  She recommended this Vietnamese place that is the place-to-be in ATL, so of course, we have to go check that out.
First off, this place is known for their Banh Mi.  It does taste good, very fresh ingredients, warm meat inside and of course, crunchy baguette.  
They have a deal that you get half of Banh Mi and a small bowl of beef pho.  That was all under $8.  Good food and good deal, can't be beat! 
I ordered the 3 colored drink, which has red (adzuki bean), mung beants, and grassjelly with coconut milk.  It's a very traditional Vietnamese drink.  But Lee's is really famous for their smoothie with boba in them.  People line up to get those when I was there.

I guess one thing about this place is that it's in the same shopping center of 2 other very good tasting and good deals places, except the others were taco joint and a Cuban food place.  And you can easily miss this place because it's behind a gas station.  But for the locals this is a very popular spot.  We see a constant stream of people getting orders to go.  They also have a bakery there, you can tell the mom and pop gets up early to bake their own baguette and other pastries.  Definitely a must try!

Lee's Bakery
4005 Buford Hwy Ste C
Atlanta, GA 30345
404-728-1008
https://www.facebook.com/LeesBakery

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Becks Prime

Needed to grab a quick bite, and decided to go splurge at Becks Prime.  
It's been a while since I had their milk shake.  I know I said splurge, but one must do it with moderation.  Plus, their shakes are known for hard to drink it thru the straw, so you have to get a spoon to eat it like ice cream.
Now, here's the splurge.  I had the chili cheese dog.  I always find it interesting that they butterflied it and it can still fit the burger buns instead of a hot dog bun.  They just lay couple slices of cheddar and it melt along as you make your way thru the sandwich.  The chili was nice and hot and no beans, thank you!  I hate the beans in chili anyways.  At any rate, by the time you do finish the sandwich, it does make you feel very full.  And if you had the milkshake as I did, no matter what size, it is filling.

Becks Prime
708 Meyerland Plaza Mall
by Beechnut
Houston, TX 77096
713-667-4076
http://becksprime.com/

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mamak

Back in Houston, Mom and I were running errands and thought to grab a quick lunch.
We ended up at Mamak, which is own by the chef that helped blossom Banana Leaf.  So alot of stuff you see on the menu, is glaringly similar as across the way...
First we have the Singapore Style fried noodles, which is super deceiving because there's alot of noodles there.  Pretty good, and very filling.
We got Salty Fish with Chinese Broccoli.  I like that because the fish really brings out the flavors of the broccoli.
Just for nostalgia sake, we got combo satay of beef and chicken.  I really dig their peanut sauce. Very good... I can lick the bowl if it's not too embarrassing.

As I mentioned before, the chef used to be at Banana Leaf, so if you've been to BL, and you see this menu, you definitely have a feeling of deja vu.  But kudos to the chef who also added some pretty obvious dishes to Malaysian cuisine so that I appreciate too.  Now granted, the menu is gear a little more towards the Chinese portion of that culture, overall you cannot order a bad dish there.

Mamak
9889 Bellaire Blvd.
Facing the inside of the shopping center
Houston, TX 77036
713-776-2388


Monday, March 17, 2014

Snap Kitchen - Paleo Dinner

When I got the invite to a preview dinner at Snap Kitchen, I was kinda curious.  First off, a to-go type places don't usually do a sit down preview dinner, and second, they flash the words Gluten Free & Paleo, that had peaked David's interests.
This is their regional manager, showing off their home made crackers (made with coconut flour, olive oil, nuts, and cauliflower) with their Smoked Salmon.  Which by the way, they are smoked in-house, and you can get that in a small portion in the snack area.
This is their version of Devily Eggs, there is no egg yolks in this.  Instead, they replaced it with hummus and other ingredients.  Doesn't taste any less eggy, as a matter of fact, it's a favorite of the other guests there.
Veggie trays with their hummus.  It is black bean hummus and it's not bad, it's light and you don't feel like it weighs you down.  
Of course, their version of the juice cleanse.  I used to go to these when I was too lazy to order my juice from other city that had to ship overnight to me, which has an added cost.  This way, you can go to any local Snap Kitchen and grab your juice.  You don't have to drink it for cleanse.  As a matter of fact, my favorite is the Cashew Milk, and it's so filling that there are times I grab one of those to hold my hunger over between meals.  They started with six at the beginning, and now expanded to eight different flavors, definitely a must try.  If not, as a juice cleanse program, just as a alternative to soda.  
Their open kitchen, which you can order your salad your way.  And during lunch time, if you don't have time to stand in line, they do have premade salad ready for pick up in the coolers. 
Here's our menu for the evening... very thoughtful of them to point out the qualifiers such as gluten free, paleo, vegetarian...etc.  But what's super helpful is the calorie counts for those who are conscious.

Here's Snap's Dietitian introducing the new Spring menu and the philosophy behind it.
For our dinner, this is their Provencal Flatbread, which is very much like a pizza.  Wish they sell this as a whole pie.  The flatbread is made with cauliflower, egg, cheese, and zucchini puree.  It's topped with dried tomato and parsley.  While the flatbread itself is structurally soft, I totally overlook that because it more than made up by taste.  Like I said, they need to make that into a real pizza pie style.  I'd come and order it at least once a week.
This is their Kale Caesar Salad.  At first, I was very curious about that.  Kale???  But you know, the chef is brilliant, because if you eat this with your eyes closed, all you can taste is the Caesar-goodness.  Of course, to 'beef it up' they added picked raisin and parmesan cheese.  Like I said, all you associate is not the Kale, it's the Caesar salad itself. 
Here we have their version of Chicken Enchilada.  First of all, the tortilla is made with coconut flour, almond meal, eggs, and that's all made in-house.  The top green sauce is a poblano sauce.  When you first take a bit, sauce-tortilla-filling combine, you really get a good mouth full of yummy goodness. 

And David know about my contention on this, and that is, Snap's tortilla is way better than Corner Table's by leaps and bounds.  Granted, CT had been doing it for a while, and while their sauce is good, their tortilla is too obvious that it's made with coconut flour.  Versus, Snap's taste like a normal tortilla.  You know by texture that it is not, but by taste, it's pretty darn close.  I wouldn't mind if they sell those by itself.

Here's their chef talking about the ingredients and being conscientious to clients needs and demands to be more pro-paleo friendly.
He even let us try out something he's working on.  This is their Malaysian Curry, it is also made in house.  Does it taste like anything Malaysian I've tried?  No, but it is a very good curry with the rice.  Whatever they have as a protein mix very well with the dish.  I wouldn't mind having that for lunch.
For our dessert, this is a spoonful of cheese cake, which the bottom's 'crust' is made with nuts, so it's flour-free.  The middle is goat cheese and the top is strawberry fruit compote.  That is definitely a very creative dish.  The sharpness of the goat cheese was brought out by the sweetness of the compote, it's definitely richer than your landlord rich.  So, a spoonful is just right.  And just good enough to top off the evening.  

I've already been going to Snap on and off for my to-go needs.  But to have a chance to preview their summer menu was very fun.  I like to see that they are slowly making all their menu items to be gluten free and paleo friendly.  There's not alot of those in the city that focus on that.  Hate to call it a new trend, but more like a new wave of people discover that they have sensitivity and it's nice to have another place to go that has already done the homework for you.

I also appreciate that they highlighted the nutrition style for easy pick-up.  They understand that you're busy, so they just identified if it is vegetarian/vegan, gluten free, non-dairy, sodium conscious, carb conscious...etc.  It's nice.  This way, you see your symbol and you can choose from those listed.  Take the thinking out for you.  And let me tell you, the food is not bad.  

If you think this is too healthy for you, just go there to try it for the quick and easy sake.  You know you already do it with the other diet programs.  Snap is diet focus, but if you actually go into the store, you see that they pride themselves on freshness of ingredients, they care about how things taste, so no more cardboard for diet food, you can have your diet and still eat well.

Snap Kitchen
3600 Kirby Dr
Houston, TX 77098
713-526-5700
http://www.snapkitchen.com/

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sushi King

Sushi King is sorta our default sushi place now.  We know they have designated gluten free menu, and you can always get a seat there.  Some days are harder than others but it's not too trying.
We prefer sitting at the bar, the server still come to you, and in our experience, the service from the server is about the same as with the sushi chef.  Normally, it's the other way around.
The top is the Nemo roll, which has spicy tuna inside and salmon the outside.  The bottom is the Houston Roll, which has salmon, tuna, and yellowtail with avocado.  I'm not normally an avocado person, but in here that worked!
Chopped scallop but they added the spicy flakes and spiced it up tremendously.  Fire!  It was spicy!

Sushi King
3401 Kirby Dr
Houston, TX 77019
713-528-8998
http://www.sushiking.us/

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

La Madeleine - Desktop diner

For breakfast, the only things open early in the food court in the mall is Mickey D's, Sonic, Chik-fil-a, or La Madeleine.
The only thing is that this la Madeleine is opened at 8am.
I got the country breakfast, which has bacon, eggs, potato galette, and croissant.  You can call in ahead and pick up.  As I said, it opens at 8am, so you can call in then.  What I love about this is that you know it's fresh, it's made all right on the spot, plus anything early, you know it's not leftovers.  Did you know if you eat there, they have Wi-Fi?  That's what I call a Win-win.

La Madeleine
5015 Westheimer, Ste 1420
Houston, TX 77056
713-993-0287
http://lamadeleine.com/


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Azuma

For a quick lunch, I decided to duck into Azuma.
During Saturday afternoon is easy to get seated right away.
I got the Hawaiian roll, which is eel hand roll with rice and cucumber.
Chopped scallops, very fresh.
I got their ramen to give it a try.  The noodle is not bad, obviously store bought.  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hong Kong's Cafe

For afternoon tea at Hong Kong's Cafe, you can also do a set for less than $6.
Again, reminding everyone that they only accept cash.
The set includes drinks: I got the iced lemon tea, which is brewed with Lipton red tea and syrup added for taste.
Curry Fish Balls (insert laugh here), is not part of the tea set.  I just got it because I was feeling nostalgic.
I got the 'French' Toast, it is battered Texas toast, with a slice of butter and of course you put syrup on top.  It's a beautiful thing when everything melted together.  Delicious!  I was telling mom that I remember one place in Hong Kong would put peanut butter in the middle of the sandwich before battering it up and frying it.  Hmm... I'm drooling just thinking about it.
As part of the tea set, a fried chicken wing.  Hot off the fryer.  Delicious.  

Afternoon tea is usually between 2-4p, 3-ish is the popular time.  So time your meals accordingly so you can enjoy the tea.

Hong Kong's Cafe
9108 Bellaire Blvd
Ste A
Houston, TX 
713-772-9633

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sweet Paris

We went early for breakfast in the Village, and one of the better places to go is the hip Sweet Paris.
If you go early enough, it's easy to find parking and not to mention seating.  They do ask that you order your food prior to sitting down.  They also ask that if you don't have at least 3 people, you should not occupy a 4 top.  The unfortunate thing about that is people do move tables along the half-booths, so that doesn't quite work.
 For savory, I ordered the Croque Madame, which has ham, egg, cheese and b├ęchamel sauce.  So you see the sauce there.  It would've balanced out the cheese if there were enough cheese.  Their crepe just doesn't fold well, and it ended up bulky and mostly the crepe and not the fillings.
We split a sweet crepe, gluten free with buckwheat batter.  It has Nutella, banana, and strawberry.  It came with whipped cream, and it was nice to balance the taste.  But the buckwheat was not cooked all the way, so that was funny in your mouth.

I liked the space, the atmosphere, but since their food is so-so and with their more scrutinizing rules about seatings, I'm not sure I want to come when it's seemingly popular but not necessary friendly place.  I wish they understand their space is not huge, so while I understand placing the seating is necessary, but having their employees patrolling was a bit much.  Honestly, you can have better crepe with no hassle around town.  But if chic decor is what you after, then this is the place for you.

Sweet Paris
2420 Rice Blvd
Houston, TX 
713-360-6266
http://www.sweetparis.com/