Thursday, August 28, 2014


Somedays, when a cup of Starbucks can't do the trick, I just wanted a Bubble tea to perk me up... 
It was nice to have a choice... Teahouse's has a vast menu.
This round I got almond milk tea with boba.  Boba is essentially what Taiwanese called Pearls in their tea.  But here, Pearls doesn't translate very well, so they call it Bubble Tea because it looks like little bubbles floating in the tea.  Essentially, it is tapioca balls that are larger size.  So, it's a drink and a snack all in one.

Teahouse - Galleria Mall
in the Food Court
5085 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77056

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

HRW: Caracol

For my 3rd Restaurant Weeks selection: Caracol.
Been meaning to try them, since I'm a big fan of Hugo's.  They made special menus for the event.  And it's broken down in Ocean Lover (which is seafood centric), On dry Land (which is mostly meat centric), Vegetarian option, and Our Style (which feature their best dishes).
While waiting, I got a mojito.  The bartender did a great job on that.  I highly recommend it.
While we were waiting, we got a dozen of oysters.  They chipotle butter isn't all that, it tasted better without it.  But I will say the oyster is fresh.  The price is very reasonable too!
Comparatively, this is the Wood-Grilled Oyster.  It is also great pricing.  However, the cheese kind of over empowered the oyster.  If you like to mask the oyster taste, this may be the right dish for you.
This is our Amuse Bouche, which is Gazpacho Rojo.  Which is pretty salty and spicy.  Obviously tomato, cilantro, onion, and bits of seafood.  It went very well with the corn chips they provided.  
First course is conch, pineapple, ginger, red jalapeno, and cilantro.  It's very fresh, and mix with the sweetness of pineapple, it went together very well.  I would definitely get this again.
This is the main entree, which is catch of the day (I forgot to ask what it was), on top of tomatillo sauce.  The sauce really highlighted the crispy fish.  It wasn't dry at all.  My only thing is the pickled shallot and pepper.  I'm not a pickled and peppered person, so needless to say, I stuck with the tomatillo sauce.
For dessert, I got the rum roasted pineapple on top of pistachio cake topped with coconut ice cream.  We all liked the coconut ice cream quite a bit.  The pineapple slice on top was new to us.  But wish there's a bigger piece of the pistachio cake.  It was quite small by the time you cut into it. 

Overall, the dishes were delicious and fresh, and I can definitely appreciate that.  My friends and I were just commenting that after you ate all those courses, you don't feel so weighed down and heavy that you feel the need to be wheeled to your car.  You still feel full, but without the rich and heaviness of a big meal.  

The dinning room does fill up quickly, so reservation is a must.  Parking was tricky, you don't readily see the self park in the garage.  So, some of us parked there.  Took a ticket, went to the designated parking.  Walked back down, and have the hostess validate as you exit after your meal.  Versus, they do have complimentary parking, which of course, you need to tip the drivers.  I wish the signs were more clear that it is complimentary.  Or, that the self park directions were clearer. 

My only problem with their HRW menu, which is the same issue I have with Hugo's HRW, is that they limit one dish per course, and they already pre-defined what each meal would be.  So, it limits your choices.  I like how the other participating restaurants allow you 2 to 3 dishes per course to choose from.  So, even though, it is prix fixe, at least you have some wiggle room.  One thing to point out too is that, they are proud to provide gluten free option, yet, they cannot compose an entire HRW prix fixe with all gluten free dishes like they did for the Vegetarians.  So, that's something to think about.

2200 Post Oak Blvd
Houston, TX

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

HRW: Nara

Haven't been back to Nara since they opened in the beginning of the year.  
The place looks so different during the day.  I didn't realized they have a patch of fake grass out front before.  
Pretty details.
For 1st Course: Korean Fried Chicken Grilled Bao.  The Bao itself is grilled, so it is crispy in the middle.  And the fried chicken has been all the rage in Korea.  It's pretty decent.  With the potato chips.
Main course, I chose the Bibimbap.  You can see chicken, veggies, zucchini, and quail egg on top.
Our server was kind enough to mix it all up for us.  I didn't realized it's super spicy, so I couldn't even finish it.  Definitely not for a weakling like me.
Dessert was assorted mochi.  I had coffee, strawberry, and lychee.  The lychee, amazingly was super delicious, and so was the coffee.  YUM!

It was kinda strange comparing notes with a friend of mine who also went to Nara for HRW lunch.  She said the tables were not cleaned when they were there, there was a nail on the table.  For the nigri part of the meal, there were uncooked rice mixed in with the sushi rice.  The service was slow and there was not toilet paper in the bathroom.  Comparatively, when we got there, just 2 weeks after my friend, the place is clean and tidy.  Service was ok until towards the end, they only have one server for all tables.  So, make sure you go when you have the time to spare.

2800 Kirby Dr
Ste 100
Houston, TX

Monday, August 25, 2014

Fat Bao

Need a quick bite, so went back to Fat Bao.
It has been a while since I've been to Fat Bao.  This time I got the Pork Belly Bao on left, and the pork is braised for a long time, it does fall apart as you bite into it.  The flavor was full, and all I can tell you is that it conjures up Tonkotsu Ramen, so maybe I'll come back and give that a try next time.

The other bao was the Pork Katsu Bao, which is fried pork bits with avocado slices and cole slaw.  That one is a bit spicy, and it wasn't quite as to my taste as I had hoped... but hey, I tried something new.

Fat Bao
3419 Kirby Dr
Houston, TX 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Baked Sale

The other day, Becky Masson from Fluff Bake Bar had a Bake Sale at Southside Espresso.  So I had to go check it out.
As you can see, they were super busy and totally ready for the crowd.
Here's Becky checking me out.  If you remember, I had asked her to teach a macaron class several years ago.
So what did I get???  I got the chocolate crossants.  Super fresh and very nice and flakey.
Hidden underneath the crossant was the Plum Financier, and in the front were Monkey Bread.  The Monkey bread was delicious and yes, it was sticky and awesome.  I just love the taste of the Financier, it has nice texture and the flavor is not too sweet and just perfect.  I can't wait till she has her own shop!  Until then, catch her at the next bake sale.

Fluff Bake Bar

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

River Oaks Donuts

So when I was at River Oaks Donuts, I saw the Krownuts.
I was curious to give that a try.
Of course, I have to get my Fritter Bites.
They come in Chocolate and Cinnamon flavors.
When you cut it open, you can see all the layers.  In the middle you can see the filling.  I will admit that it's all very rich even for my taste.  The outside isn't soft like a crossant, it really has a hard chocolate shell with powdered sugar.  The layers do looks fluffy, but it is truly bready.  For $3.49, it is not a cheap way to ruin your teeth.  I'm glad I've tried it, it's not the Cronut I've imagined from watching various food shows, but glad I tried it.

River Oaks Donuts
3601 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77027

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Snowblock Shavery

So I was in the Village the other day and saw this place.
They are like Hippo Ice that sells Ribbon Ice with different toppings, but they also sell block toast.  
Block toast is all the rage in Taiwan.  They have all sorts of combinations with whip cream, apple pie, condensed milk, or caramel.  I got the Mmm Nutella Block Toast.  So, as you can see, there's banana, strawberry, toast, drizzled with Nutella and powdered sugar with whip cream in case you needed something to balance the taste buds off.  

Toast is well done.  Yes, it is sweet, and it's not easily stomached by anybody.  You need to know what you're getting yourself into, or split it with someone, that's probably better.  I think next time I will give their Ribbon Ice or their ice cream a try.

Snow Block Shavery
2518 Rice Blvd
Houston, TX 77673

Monday, August 18, 2014

HRW: 60 Degrees Mastercraft

This year we weren't really inspired by the list, there are a few restaurants that I'd like to try.  So I was lucky enough to join a well known Houston Foodie, Joanne Witt.  
I've heard alot about 60 Degrees, so it was serendipitous to go there.
 I know this sounds silly, but this is the best, most proportioned Arnold Palmer, I've ever had.  Come to find out because the sommelier made it for me.  It was perfect to taste... and you can tell someone else made it for the subsequent refills. 
 For my first course, I was tempted by the Oyster Gratine, and this is it.  The oyster has very little to desire for, but the sauce and the crawfish and andouille mix is delicious.
 This was Joann's first course, which was beef carpaccio with arugula with parmesan and bread.  It was delicious. 
 My second course is spiced watermelon and tomato salad.  I will tell you that the watermelon wasn't ripped enough, and if it's not for the feta that mixed well with the tomato, I would've send this back.  
 Joanne's second course was their take of Southwest Cesare... no offense, but it doesn't attract me visually, my stomach is probably not going to like it either.  It's a classic: eye eat first syndrome.
 This was my main entree: Akaushi Bistro Steak.  Apparently, the Akaushi is the Kobe of US.  I took it medium well and it was done well.  I actually quite liked the mashed potato and the veggie.  I know, steak and potato is hard to mess up, but I liked my dish.
 This is Joanne's entree: that is the catch of the day.  The tilapia was more salted than normal.  The risotto was delicious though... 
 My dessert: Chocolate Truffle Cake.  It was supposed to come with ice cream, but as you can see, it's been sitting there for the ice cream to have melted and the cake wasn't anything special that I can't get elsewhere.  Sadly, I've had better molten chocolate cake at Chili's than this... sigh, so disappointed.
This was the Frozen Orange Souffle.  It is in a citrus soup of some kind, which kept the souffle chilled.  The thing is not a real souffle, and while the soup is good on its own, this souffle is good on its own, but together is not that great. 

Overall, I'm kinda disappointed with the experience overall.  This restaurant's menu was very hopeful for me, and the real thing wasn't as I had hope was a downer.  The service seems to be good, we had a guy that's shadowing our server, and while I appreciate that, there are some etiquette stuff they weren't paying attention to, such as reaching across to serve the dish or grab a dirty fork.  That was kinda awkward.  Not to mention the side room they put us make conversation very difficult when a larger party is seated.  So, I would've liked to sit in the main dining room next time.

60 Degrees Mastercraft
2300 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77019

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pugon de Manila

When we drive down Main Street, can't help but notice a Filippino place next to a laundromat and a car repair place. Peaked our curiosity, and decided to stop by. 
Most what people go in for is their bread. Some just looks like dinner roll, but some have different filling inside. Like a different version of kolaches. They even have different Filippino dessert that are very coomon there, of course the ingridents are coconut, pandan, and taro based, since those are common ingridents to Fillipino people. 

We went there for dinner. Though the menu looked like there's alot to choose from, people were lining up for dishes in front of them, so we followed. Very Asian of them, a box has rice and 2 entrees. I picked chicken (L) and pork (R). The chicken looked very good, but unfortunately, that was that. It was cold and tough, so it's been there for a while. The pork, surprising enough, is very tasty, temperature was right, a little spicy. For $7, that includes a drink, it's ok if you need a quick meal. I may come back and try the bakery, but no so much the food. 

Pugon de Manila

8017 South Main Street, Suite 250, Houston, TX 77025

(713) 664-7228

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ranch 99

When you tell people Ranch 99, they automatically think of the one on I-10.  Amazingly, we go to the one in Sugarland more.  
The Sugarland location is not as big, of course.  But they have just as good of selection for food.  They have dim sum, dishes with rice, and of course noodles.  This is wonton noodles with braised beef.  I will say that they do have very good wonton, but I wish they have a few more in the dish.  The braised beef was cooked well, and they were definitely have tons of veggies to boot.  The lady cooked my noodles separate from the rest of the ingredients, and after the noodle, she pour soup over.  It was definitely a good pick for $5.

Ranch 99
3430 Hwy 6
Sugarland, TX 77478

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Not knowing that Urban Swank had gone to Preview around the same time we went...  
Their review is more of a highlight of their visit, this is a recap of my revisit... lookout, picture heavy!
Pretty pretzel bread with cute butter.
We are off to a great start!
This is our amuse bouche, which was fried octopus with kumquat and coke gastrique.  You would think the dish would be sweeter than it should, but amazingly enough, it balance out very nicely.
This is their Yellowtail Crudo - which has lime zest and candied garlic.  The little dots in between are blueberry gastrique.  You do need to experience the entire palette together to appreciate the dish.  
This is New Zealand King Salmon with edamame puree.  This was interesting, since I've never had edamame puree before, but it works out nicely.  It's a perfect summer dish.
This is my favorite dish of the entire meal, this is Ceviche with snapper chips, yes, those are snapper!  There are scallop, tuna and avocado in a mix, and you don't get that sour taste that you normally get with ceviche.  
So good, had to have another picture!
This is the well talked about Lobster Bisque.  I think all of us were hoping it'd be more soup. Instead, the amount was more like gravy to cover the fried lobster.  Our server told us that it takes 48 hours to make.  Sadly, our lobster wasn't cooked thru, so it was kinda cold in the middle.  I think we would've love it if it was truly a bisque (aka soup).
This is seared scallops with yam gnocchi.  We loved the gnocchi that we all wanted more of it.  Of course, the whole thing dosed with more truffle oil would not hurt either.  Yum!
This is another of their signature dish, KFT! Kentucky Fried Tuna.  Amazedly it is very floral, they used peached to balance out the salt palette.  And since it's fried, it's definitely crunchy.
This is Mahi Mahi with butternut squash.  The fish wasn't good, but the squash was very good.  The fish was spicy after you taste and a bit salty for my taste.
Squid Rivioli - it was more tough than I imagined, but it was definitely interesting.  Inside has feta cheese, shiitake creme and pecan.
This is Apple Tortellini with two different sauces, one is pesto and the other is tomato.  The pesto is superb, I highly recommend the entire dish with pesto.  The tomato was a bit spicy, and it wasn't as tasty as the pesto. 
This is another of their Signature Dessert, which is Chocolate Ripped Strawberry.  The chips are strawberry yogurt like taste, it went together nicely, too bad there weren't alot to share.  
Our server had offered us an off the menu dessert, as it turns out they were out of it, so instead, they sent us blueberry cheesecake with taro paste.  It was pretty tasty.

Overall, the place was beautiful, the food is creative and good.  With minor issues here and there, it can be great.  The only thing is the location.  While I understand real estate is touch out there.  Preview is in the deep of Sugarland.  While I know people in Sugarland deserves to have great cuisine in their backdoor, that may not be able to sustain business-wise.  When we were there for dinner, there were our table and we basically order one if not two of everything on the menu.  Besides us, there were one couple came in later.  If that's the cover you do, not sure how that's sustaining the rent and the fresh ingredients they flown in.  While, being in Town Center is probably more suitable, Preview could provide another options for the rest of the folks in the area.  Truly, for this type of fusion and creativity, they are best suited for inside the loop crowd.  While totally understand the reluctant of selling out, we worry how long they will be in business.  Please don't go away.

Preview Modern Seafood
4645-C Highway 6
Sugarland, TX TX