Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Haven't been to Coppa a while, I missed their pasta. 
We like to go late lunch to beat the crowd.
Had to have an Arnold Palmer to cool down from the muggy-ness.
Anchovies.  We talked about it, and really think that they got a bad rep.  If you add it to some pasta, minus the lemony sauce, it can be a decent dish.  Do I want an entire entree with anchovies?  No, but it can accent alot of dishes if you only give it a chance.
I have to have my 'usual', which is Ragtoni with Prosciutto and parmesan cream sauce.  Of course, what you don't see is a side plate of more parmesan... I'm crazy for that cheese... So yummy! 

I like to come during 'off peak' it's easy to find parking either on the street, in the shopping nearby or in the garage.  It's also very easy to get seated.  Even they have a 'busy' morning, you can always grab a seat inside or out.  It's nicer out, and it's has a nice breeze sitting outside.   Just watch where you park to avoid getting ticketed, we've been there too.

Coppa Osteria
5210 Morningside
Houston, TX 77005

Monday, September 29, 2014


Went to Mockingbird for a friend's bday dinner...
Haven't been there forever, I used to love going to their wine dinner, even though I'm such a light weight.  The food is always excellent.
This time, instead of a glass of wine, I decided to try their Kiwi Mojito, it was nice since it's muggy out, it works out perfectly.
For amuse-bouche, they gave us some tuna tartare.  I wouldn't mind having a dish like that all to its own.  We did have to comment that a nice place like this, giving us a plastic spoon was a tad awkward, especially when they have put that spoon in the fridge to keep the tartare cold... it just was a weird mouth experience. 
We split the mussels together.  And it has a very delicious sauce that went with it.  You can taste the coconut in there, but not overbearing.  
We can't help ourselves and ordered the truffle fries.  Between the mussels and the fries, I felt like we had a Belgian meal or something.
We each got a bowl of onion soup... I'm not much of  fan of the soup itself, as much as the amount of cheese they put in there.   That's the part that draws me every time.  Not to say the soup wasn't good, but also not much to write home about either.
Comes the entree: Seared Scallop with celeric apple pureed and tons of tomatoes.  I can appreciate the tomato being there, but there were alot alot of them... do you really need that many on a plate?  I'm personally not much of a fan already, so when you put that many on one plate, I'm definitely not enjoying it.  The scallops themselves are good, not too fishy, and seared the right amount.  

We were so full that we didn't even order dessert, much to our waitress' dismay.  Since we were there to celebrate a birthday, they were really hoping a chance to sing happy birthday arise.  No worries, the table across the room from us had a birthday dinner too... it wasn't going to waste.  

I highly recommend you make a reservation.  We went on a Friday night and it was packed by 7:30p.  When they have several large tables, the room they set us in started to echo and you can't hear your friends.  If they're rowdy, then you can forget about it.  Hope you know how to sign to each other.  The price is to be expected, nothing out of the ordinary for this caliber of places.  And they do have a great wine list, if you're a wine-o.

Mockingbird Bistro
1985 Welch Blvd
Houston, TX 77019

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cacao & Cardamom

My friend was just telling me about this new chocolate place near work...
Of course, I don't need an excuse to go find new chocolate... yum!
This is a boutique chocolate bar, much like what Arraya had to offer.  Except their chocolate art style is different, but still strive to showcase chocolate from around the world and the artistry of mixing and matching different palette for enjoyment.
Everything is super colorful and the way they display the name is very creative too.  
Ahh, pricing, it cost $2.25 a piece...
Look at the colorful pieces... it's more art than chocolate.  So, I have (from left) Cardamom Rose which has a bit of cardamom and a bit of rose with white chocolate.  Masala Pistachio, I was expecting it'll be spicy, but just a bit of after taste of licorice.  Lavender, which is my favorite, nice and soft.  I vote for it again!  
What I was really there for... the Frozen Drinking Chocolate.  The staff talked me into the milk chocolate version which used this milk chocolate + hazelnut, so it does taste a bit like Nutella.  Sign me up!  It's very delicious, now I would warn you that it is rich, but this non-milkshake and non-frappe is really just what the doctors order.  I will say, this will set you back $5.75, but worth a drink!

I need to go back to try the hot sipping chocolate, which sounds very rich, but that is why it comes in a small cup for you to enjoy because of its intensity.  On top of that, they do serve gelato, despite the fact that they are right next door to a frozen yogurt shop.  That said, they do offer pretty boxes, so just in time for the holiday gift-giving season around the corner.

Cacao & Cardamom
5000 Westheimer Rd
Ste 602
Houston, TX 77056

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Kata Robata

When you're around the Upper Kirby, where would you go for sushi?  
Kata Robata, of course!
Just because it was right in front of me at the sushi bar: I had the seared peppered tuna, sake, and unagi.
This is the Charity Roll, which has soft shell crab, mango, unagi, sesame, masago.  This sounded good on the menu and decided to try it.  It was designed as a fundraiser for Chef Luis who is battling cancer.  While I am sad that he has to go thru that, but I'm super glad that they are doing something special for one of their own.  More importantly, the roll is so good that I told the chef that made it that they should consider making in a permanent item on the menu.  The roll cost $15 and 10 of which goes to the chef, so you should definitely go try it mainly because you'll be doing a great thing AND it's delicious... why the heck not?!

Kata Robata
3600 Kirby Dr. #H
Houston, TX 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

True Food Kitchen

Heard about the new place in the BLVD place on Post Oak & San Felipe.
From what we heard this place is focused on healthy, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options... 
The place looks very young, hip, and with the theme of fresh.  They are not altogether clean, they do have a full bar.
I ordered the watermelon lemonade.  It's actually very refreshing and you taste more watermelon than lemonade.  This is a very seasonal item, though, it will not be around much longer after they change the menu for the season.
This is the margherita pizza with gluten free crust.  But as you can see, it's more tomato than cheese than basil... hmm...  I wish there's a bit more on the pizza than that though.  However, the size is perfect for personal size.

Overall, the place is cool and hip which fits for the residence around the place.  The food has good intention, not sure if it got the upclass shi-shi rep that it's trying to build up.  They only offer valet, which is $6.  If you drive further down, they are not allowing parking because they are saving it for future Whole Foods customers.  So, the self parking is around the building to get into the garage.  There are plenty of space and you can park and you can get to the restaurant easily.

True Foods Kitchen
1700 Post Oak Blvd
Houston TX

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bodard Vietnamese

Sometimes it's nice to change things up and eat something else in Chinatown.
So we ended up on Bodard at the corner of the DiHo Shopping center.  
This is the Che 3 Mau, which is red bean (adzuki), green bean (mung bean), and grass jelly (agar jelly).  There's pandan taste and coconut milk too.    
This is Cha Gio, which is Vietnamese for eggroll.  You eat it with the lettuce wrapped it and you add other veggies, with eggroll in the middle.  And you dip it in the fish sauce.  It's actually very filling. There is a whole huge discussion about eggroll versus spring roll.  In Chinese, seems like spring roll (which is a straight translation of its Chinese name) is the fried roll with fillings inside.  The Vietnamese has the eggrolls and the fillings are similar with meat and veggie and vermicelli of sort.  But in Vietnamese, spring roll is wrapped in rice paper with either Vietnamese sausage or shrimp, lettuce, and vermicelli.  And either way, the Vietnamese rolls of both kinds you dip it in fish sauce to bring out the taste.

When we were there, there's alot of people waiting for catering order, so I guess that is the popular thing from here.  And you see people tray after tray walking out of there, so they must be good in order to be so popular.

Bodard Bistro 
9140 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Snow Skin Moon Cake

First of all, thank you to my friend Juliana Chan that made the content of this post possible.  Meaning: she supplied the food, I ate it... and now writing about it.
When there was the super moon during early September, it is no coincident that it is also Autumn Mood Festival.  Other incarnations of the festivals are Mid-Autumn Festival, Moon Festival, Lantern Festival, or Harvest Moon.  During the festival, the families will gather together and enjoy the moon over the meals they've prepared and play with lantern they've made.  
One thing that is always featured, is the mooncake.  So named because it's round, to shape like the moon.  Later on, people put the cake into a mold and make very pretty patterns on the cake themselves.  Growing up, it is sweet inside but it's always how many yolks to see how fancy that cake is, supposedly the more yolks the more rich to your family.  Frankly, I'm not a fan of the yolks, because it's savory wrapped around a bunch of sweet lotus paste and with the delicious baked skin.  
So, the new incarnation of the mooncake is the Snow Skinned Mooncake.  Basically instead of the skin being baked, it is now made with glutenous rice.  The texture is really like a mochi but with cake inside.  And they do need to be frozen instead of the baked ones which can last longer.  The flavors are also very different, instead of the traditional lotus seed paste, inside was chocolate with rice krispy.  So it is crunchy from the inside.    The package is also very different.  Back in the day, they sell them in a tin with 4 inside, lately people are much more health conscience and downsized to 2 and put them in a paper box with cool design, this one came with a reusable bag; as opposed to the old ones that came with a gift bag of the moon, which everyone knows where that came from.

This new renovation in baking is very interesting to me because growing up, I hear people would work in mooncake bakeries and begin making them several months in advance in preparation for the demand during the Autumn Moon Festival.  Now, this new way, you can easily make it yourself at home, and since it has a short shelf life you can make it and eat it right away.  With the cool and healthy way to approach tradition, it can only be healthy, right?  Nah!  It's best enjoyed with your family.

These recipes are ones that I've seen and liked (not mine), take a look see:
Snow Skin Mooncake recipe here.
Traditional Mooncake recipe here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Long Tong Lane Shanghai

This will be super confusing... so, there's this new Shanghainese restaurant opened in the same shopping center as Jusgo supermarket.  Photo courtesy: Juliana Chan
The problem is that they still haven't gotten their new sign up yet.  So, in order to locate it, you have to find One Dragon Restaurant.
So we ordered the braised pork.  I like that it's not too fattening as some places makes them, so I'm down with that.  I just wish they have more heat.
This is the sweet pork ribs, it's fall off the bone good.  The sweet is not too sweet, and it's very nice mix with molasses.
Shanghai Styled Stir Fried noodles.  It's much oilier and not enough flavors. 
Here's the star of the visit... Sui Long Bao - Shanghai soup dumping.  I guess I was looking forward to it so much that I totally built it up.  The technique in making them was great, but it is lacking something... can't quite pin point it yet.
This is the sweet red bean bao.  The entire bao is steamed, as opposed to baked.  So the filling is the sweet aduki beans.  It's nice and yummy. 
This is the Sheng Jian Bao, which is really steamed bao with pork as filling, and they pan fried them.  This is the perfect consistency, and the right size.  

From what I understand one of the chefs from E-Tao opened this store.  And while, that should put authentic in the dishes, there's alot of stuff that's missing.  For instance, some flavors in the dishes are not consistent.  Also, when you try to order dishes on the menu, 3 out of the 5 we've asked for was not available.  The servers must be family of the chef, because they seem very green to customer service.  And when they have a large party, they can't really handle the rush.  That said to me that they weren't ready.  Let's not even mention the confusing sign.  I was looking forward to this new place, and may give them another try later, but right now, they need some more improvement.

Long Tong Lane Shanghai Restaurant
(Formerly in One Dragon's Restaurant's spot)
9310 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77036

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hong Kong's Cafe

No secret that we are frequent diner at Hong Kong's Cafe.  We go there so often that if I were to blog every time I went, you would quit reading this blog... seriously, it is practically a weekly occurrence for us.  Is their food super awesome good?  Not necessarily, but it does bring a little home to those of us who grew up eating that type of food.  So, you can call it a Hong Kong-nese comfort food.
While, they are also not the only game in town, but they do get alot of the dishes right, and the owners and staff do treat you like you would when you go to Cheers, so that's what drew us back time and again. 
Hong Kong Style lemon tea.  So, after living here many years, I found that in a non-Chinese restaurant you can achieve similar tasting tea.  That's the Arnold Palmer.  It's not exact, but pretty darn close without dosing your entire tea with sugar.
This is the Cantonese Soy Sauce Pan Fried noodles.  You often see this in a dim sum setting, but it's also a great snack dish that you get.  I do remember growing up having congee, Chinese fried Donut (not sweet) and the noodles for breakfast.   The most basic ingredients are egg noodles, sprouts, and obvious soy sauce.  That said, you have to use the 2 types of soy sauce to achieve the taste.  You have to use fair amount of Dark Soy Sauce and mix in a little of the Light soy sauce in order to get the taste.  Here's a recipe from an author I like that cooks Cantonese food.  

How I understood the difference between Dark Soy Sauce vs. Light Soy Sauce is that one is aged and the other isn't so much.  Like wine or alcohol, if you store it longer it taste better.  In this case, they age the soy sauce with molasses and other ingredients, that's why they have a hint of sweetness to it.  Also in the name, Dark Soy Sauce is also called Old Soy Sauce.  As you can see, marketing in English won't work very well calling it old soy sauce.  Thus the name.

Hong Kong's Cafe
9108-A Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77036

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Toreore

This week will be all Asian food themed... not on purpose, just how things lined up.

Ended up at H-Mart over by I-10, and decided to grab lunch before grocery shopping.
Since Korean Fried Chicken has became such a thing after the popular Korean TV Drama.  I thought I'd give it a try to see what's it all about.  Now, not watching the show, did not know if this is the same resemblance or not, but I was in the mood to try something different, so what the hey!
Here's our lady cooking and mixing it all together for us...
Don't think that dish is small, I cannot finish it in one sitting.  Basically, it's fried chicken, with a spicy sauce, mixed in with the Korean Rice Cake (that's the little round white stuff).  The Rice Cake consistency is that of thick noodles.  And yes, you saw there's pepper, and it is spicy.  At first you didn't notice the heat, but after a few bite, you can feel it in the back of your throat; mind you, I got the Original, which is not supposed to be spicy.  If you're a fan of spicy, this is for you...  The side bowl is pickled veggie to balance out the spice.  But I was too far gone to appreciate it.

This is located inside H-Mart on Blalock near I-10, inside the food court area.  I take it is a franchise that opens a location wherever H-Mart has a location across US.  That said, every stall there, at the Houston H-Mark, has good food, you cannot go wrong if you were to do lunch there.  Give that a try.

The Toreore
inside H-Mart
1302 Blalock
Houston, TX 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Petite Sweet

Since we were down on W. Alabama, it was an easy stop to make.
It's a rare treat to get some macarons.  
 I got the Cookies N' Cream macaron and a Rose.  The Cookies N' Cream is true to the taste.  The Rose had a very very small hint of rose, not strong at all.  I like that they are not too sweet and it's true to taste.  I can always appreciate that.  

Over time, they really perfected the macaron technique.  You can tell by the smoothness of the shell and the balance of the filling.  I wish I have the time to dedicate to making more of it.  In the meantime, I just have to keep coming back.

Petite Sweet
2700 W. Alabama
Houston, TX 77098

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


We love going to Aka, because it's Happy Hour all day Saturday and Sunday.  Plus, my favorite waiter works there, so I love it even more!
 I didn't know this, but Aka means red in Japanese, which explains all the red decor in the restaurant, duh.  LOL
 From the Happy Hour special, this is the Salmon Sampler, which has 2 pieces of sashimi, and 2 pieces of nigri.  The Salmon is nice and fresh, it's so tender it nears melts in your mouth.
We ordered a bunch of rolls to share.  Left to Right: Philadelphia roll, Salmon Roll, Tuna Roll, and Spicy Salmon roll.  Everything is fresh and it's lovely.  The spicy salmon is fiery hot because of the hot flakes but otherwise, the fish is good... I would say, I did not have anything there that's not fresh or not good.  That's why we like to come back time and time again.

Aka Sushi
2390 W. Alabama
Houston, TX 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Breakfast at Tiny Boxwood

Haven't been to Tiny Boxwood for a long time...
Not that we don't want to, just got too popular to squeeze myself in there between the parking and the space.  I have much better luck with finding a parking, a space, and truly enjoy the experience at Tiny No.5 more times than not.  Though, that neighborhood joint is also getting crowded as the popularity increase.

So, it was nice to stop in during the week when people are at work, and kids are at school.  I ordered my favorite Migas.  They had eggs, potato, and spicy sauce with tomatilla sauce.  That sauce is so awesome, it totally makes the dish.  It's the freshness of everything that makes it so good.  I was expecting some tortilla chips to the mix, but not having it is just as good.  It's definitely my favorite there.

Sitting at the bar you can get full service there.  But if you end up at the big table in the middle of the place, remember that's a sharing table.  Sharing is caring, but also if you don't want people to hear your conversation, that is probably not the table for you.

Tiny Boxwood
West Alabama & Saint Street

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sabai Thai

After a long day of shopping at Sugar Land mall, it's best to sit down and grab a meal.  On our way out of the mall's parking lot, we saw Sabai Thai, which my mom has been before.  But thought I'd give that a shot too.
This is the Thai Iced Tea, it's made with black tea and condensed milk.  Super delicious and refreshing for a hot Texas day.
This is Ong Choy, also known is Water Spinach, or some people called it emptied middle veggie.  It's leafy, has a bit of sweetness but a little nutty undertone too.
Beef Pad Thai, pretty good, and you can tell it has what we call the Wok Chi, which you can taste the 'fire' came from the Wok that cooked it.  
My favorite was this, the Mango Sticky Rice.  They drizzled coconut milk over the mango and rice.  There were bits of sticky rice that was burnt, but I don't care, the combo was so good, the mango was so fresh that I ate as much as I could... which obviously not the entire dish, though my heart wanted to, my stomach said no.  So I obeyed.

The dishes are good here, isn't over the top, which matches the entire place.  Low key, but put out good dishes.  Glad we found this place on our way out.  It was a gem in a hidden strip center.  Definitely worth going back.

Sabai Thai
2705 Town Center Rd
Sugarland, TX 77479