Thursday, October 30, 2014

Great Pumpkin!

Taking the next couple of days off to wait for the Great Pumpkin.  Be back with more exciting stuff!

Happy Halloween, All Saints Day, All Souls Day!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

La Madeleine

Grabbed a quick breakfast at La Medeleine.  The French breakfast comes with bacon (or sausage), eggs, and potato galette.  Instead of croissants, I exchanged for mini muffins, and yes there's a surcharge to change.

This is really a quick and fast breakfast, no frills, just quick.  I love their potato galette so going in, I know it'll all be a hit.  Next time if I have more time, I'll try their crepe or other dishes.  But for now, like this breakfast, it'll be quick.

La Madeline
6205 Kirby Dr.
Houston, TX 77007

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hong Kong's Cafe

Some comfort food here:
Here's Curry Beef with Ramen with bok Choy.  I love the sauce and it mixed into the soup is a nice little piece of home.  It's all very simple, but somehow it brings home to you.  Amazing, isn't it?!  Anyway, the beef is cooked in a curry sauce and they add the sauce into the bowl of noodles.  So, it might be just some random ramen noodle, but the sauce into the mix, it was delightful.

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

Monday, October 27, 2014

Onion Creek

Went to a friends gathering, more like a going away and the gathering spot was Onion Creek.  You should note that there's more than one creek on White Oaks, so you don't get it confused.
I got a Woodchuck Hard Cider, very delicious on a warm fall day.
When we decided to get something to nibble, we got: the Trio, which has salsa, queso, and guacamole.  The queso was good.
Meat Lover pizza, which has ham, salami, Italian Sausage, and pepperoni.
This is the Margherita Pizza: which has 3 cheeses, tomato, and basil.
Here's the Med Plate, which has pita bread with spinach artichoke hummus and feta salad sauce.

I know it's all appetizers, but since we have a group of people, it was easier to get a bunch of share plates.  I would say that the queso was awesome, the guac is good.  The pizzas are well done and since it's personal size, you'll need at least a couple to share.  

Onion Creek
3106 White Oak
Houston, TX 77007

Thursday, October 23, 2014

60 Degrees Mastercraft

I was attending a happy hour for a Mom's group, and they picked 60 Degrees Mastercrafted.
If you recall, I only had a so-so experienced there last time.
We started with the cheese plate, as you can see, it came with alot of stuff.  5 kinds of cheese, 4 kinds of dips and toasts.  I wish they gave you more toasts, we had to ask for them couple of times.  I think some times common sense needs to kick in, when you see a group of ladies, big cheese and dip plate with 5 pieces of toast just wasn't going to cut it.
This is their Seafood Campechana, which has big lumps of crab meat, shrimps, onion, tomato salsa, avocado and plantain chips.  This was very good, everyone liked it and almost ordered another one.

Not pictured were Ribs, Bruschetta, Truffle Fries, Fried Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts.  They also have good drinks specials.  I had the Tajito, which is Mojito - Texas Style, really just put moonshine instead of rum.  Very good and refreshing on a hot day.  Plus, it's $6 during happy hour special, it's worth having a couple.

Overall, this experience is better than last one.  The food is good, and maybe because we have a decent size group and the conversation distracted me on their service.  But, I will say, it was weird that the Happy Hour food only goes till 6pm, and the drinks goes till 8pm.  Usually, places changes over at 7pm, this split thing threw us off.  The drinks were good, and of course, if your drink is made by the sommelier, chances are your drink is perfect.  Still have an issue on the forced valet thing, but if you go during the weekday, it's not crowded and you can find street parking around the corner.

60 Degrees Mastercrafted
2300 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77098

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Vietopia Vietnamese

A friend of mine wanted to get some good Asian food... with a baby, I can only think of one place.
... mostly because we live nearby and if we need to make an escape back with the baby, I can do so easily.  Plus, I know their service is fast and the food is good.
We got the duck appetizer.  The duck is roasted and the white stuff is coconut fried rice.  It's a little ball of solid rice.  And while the duck and the coconut rice mixed together doesn't feel harmonious, each of them individually was pretty darn good.  The duck wasn't dry and the coconut rice is sweet.  I'm definitely going to order this again, if anything each of those mix well with some other dish.
Then, I ordered the grilled pork, which I normally eat it with vermicelli, but by accident, the server said tomato rice and that sounded interesting, so I'd figure what the heck, I'll give it a whirl.  To my surprise, it was pretty good.  It may not be my usual stable, but for something I'm not normally a huge fan of, it was pretty tasty.  Works with the pork easily, and mixed with all the veggie, I actually cleaned the plate.

5176 Buffalo Speedway
Houston, TX 77005

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Chuanr - Skewer Bar

While hanging out in Chinatown, we spotted a new restaurant...
It looks like barbeque of some sort... so out of hunger and curiosity, we walked in.
We ordered some dumpling to start... while the look resemble a great deal of frozen dumplings, it does taste pretty good.  They give you the sesame soy sauce, very tasty.
As promised, the barbequed skewers.  We had squid, the legs and body.
Barbequed fried squid, mushroom, beef, and pork.

So, here's the thing... the squid and mushrooms were good.  The beef and the pork were so-so.  They put too much of the Sa Cha sauce on it, and sometimes, the skewers doesn't need much marinating or just some basic marinate will do the trick.  The beef was dried, and the pork was ok just too much of whatever they marinated with.  

Here's another thing, when I read the menu it said 5 per order.  Not realizing that there are 5 pieces per skewer, so for two people, what you see, definitely is not enough.  So, make sure you order two or three per order, it does come in 5 pieces individually.  The other thing for this place, which I think it's such a misnomer, and that is, they are actually pushing much of their hot pot.  They have half the menu in skewers and the other half in hot pot.  Then why call yourself a skewer bar?  You should call yourself hot pot.  There were some stuff on the menu, that were sides, and apparently you have to order the hot pot in order to get the sides, so maybe I'll come back and try the hot pot when it gets cooler.

I've heard from people who think their service was impolite, I didn't have that issue myself.  I only witness them short staffed and wasn't able to handle a crowd in an off hour.  Key to Chinatown, even off peak hours can get busy.  Wasn't horrible at all, just one versus 6 tables wasn't as efficient is all.

Chuanr - Skewer Bar
9889 Bellaire Blvd
Ste C-314
Houston, TX 77036

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ramen In Common

So, it was a nice of Thomas from Samurai Noodles to host an event with Ramen in Common members.
Even though he wasn't able to serve us the true Samurai's noodle...
he still brought the pork, egg, bamboo, and seaweed, and of course, broth with him.  Everything was pretty perfect despite of using the temporary kitchen.  The broth was good and egg was the exact 60 degree soft boil egg.  The noodle had elasticity, not super chewy but good and consistent. Of course the broth is piping hot just as a nice bowl of noodles should.
At the end of the meal, Chef Thomas brought us mochi, sake and just asked us as consumer of ramen, what we look for, what we we pay, and what is important to us.  I definitely appreciate that he took these extra measure to take a temperature of the Houston market.   The shop will be situated between the neighborhood of Heights and party-ers of Washington.  It shows that he knows how finicky the Houston consumers can be and he wanted to get things right to ensure success of the shop.  You definitely need to visit when they open.

1801 Durham #2
Houston, TX

Ramen in Common

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

River Oaks Donuts

Just because one donut place is not enough...
I've been trying different things at River Oaks Donuts...
This time I decided to try a filled.  It's a chocolate cappuccino filled.  Frankly, it taste more like chocolate filled...
Of course, can't help myself but to get the little bites.  As usual, I got the Apple Frite bites, two Blue Berry cake, and then two chocolate filled.  The bites are a good way to taste all that you like, and then decide which to get for full size.  Perfect for little kids too.

Quick tip: on Friday, the drive thru does get busy, and highly recommend you to park and go in, that'll be faster.  They also do not have kid's size milk or orange juice for little ones.  So, either share or have to go to another place for small size. 

River Oaks Donuts
3601 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77027

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Been hearing about this new doughnut place that's open 24 hours... 
On top of that, they have gourmet doughnuts.  And you know when it comes to sweets, you don't need to twist my arm to go check it out.  
I'm not going to lie, they do have fun with their doughnuts.  They were really popular with Maple Bacon, Sprinkles and Red Velvet, the day I was there. 
Don't worry, they do have plain glazed too...
That day on Facebook, they were advertising their Toffee doughnut, of course I have to have it.  

It's not too sweet, not too dough-y.  I would say the basic they've mastered.  Even the packaging of individual doughnuts, they want you to experience it, the way they designed the doughnut.  Not swishing around in a bag or a big box.  Their plain, sprinkles, and Cinnamon Sugar doughnuts are 99 cents.  Their specialty doughnuts range from 1.49 to 1.99 each.  They also serve breakfast sandwich, espresso drinks, Juan Valdez and Ciphon Iced Coffee, and normal tea, water, milk variety.  

The space can be arranged differently to accommodate Saturday rush.  When we got there, the line was already out the door.  By the time we're in the middle of it, the line had to snake it back to itself, and it doesn't take much either.  The side does open to the kitchen, so you can see doughnuts being decorated and made.  And there are some seating along side of the kitchen, so you can enjoy your doughnut while watching them being made.  I think I'll come back and try the S'more or the Dirty Zebra, just sounded interesting.

1333 Old Spanish Trail
Unit E
Houston, TX
*they do take order online for delivery within 10 miles radius, of course with $30 minimum and a $5.5 delivery fee

Golden Dim Sum

Been craving the fried rice noodle roll... plus it's time to try a new dim sum place.
It's a bit further than my usual haunts.  Word on the street is that the chef from Golden Palace, came and open a place of his own.  The place has been opened for couple of years, and they serve dim sum pretty much all day.  But, truth be told, most people eat dishes for dinner.  Which they do look like they have an extensive offerings.
This is the first round, the rest just trickles in as we eat.  So we got the standard, har gao (shrimp dumpling), siu mai (pork dumpling), char siu bao (pork bun).  There are chicken feet (front and center), steamed peppered pork ribs, turnip cake, my rice noodle roll with pork in the middle.  And another variation is rice noodle wrapped with Chinese doughnut.  Trust me,  little by little, that's alot of food tapas style.

There are alot of people on Yelp had mentioned that it takes a long time to get their food.  But, come to find out that they do wait till you order to steam, fried, or cook the food.  As opposed to other places that has already heated up the food and kept warm in steamer or heat lamp.  I understand the speediness on that, but it's speed versus how fresh you want your food.

Golden Dim Sum
10600 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77072

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Macaron by Patisse at HEB

We were at HEB on Buffalo Speedway the other, who did we see but Patisse herself.  
Turns out, she just set up a new kiosk inside the HEB to test out the audience.  That, to me, is the perfect location, you're near by all the families last stop before home, and you're in the heart of several neighborhood.  So, people that don't make it over to River Oaks or Galleria can make it to HEB and get some macaron goodness.

What did we get?  So, we got Cookies n' Cream (top left), Cinnamon Roll (with the swirl), Goat Cheese & Fig, Almond (front left), and another Cookies n' Cream.  All are gluten free, and all are delicious.  The Cinnamon Roll has been the best seller ever since they rolled it out couple weeks ago to match up with Fall, but I'm hoping that makes it to their permanent menu.

She did say she was there to see how the traffic flow would be, and how to run the supermarket's PLU system before training her employees.  I admire a business woman who is willing to roll up her sleeves and get to work like that.  She must've been standing there all day, but when she saw us, still greeted us with friendly smile.  Don't worry, just because it's now at HEB the quality did not suffer.  They still bake the macs in their kitchen and ship them over.  As a matter of fact, one mac was in our fridge for couple of days (I know, hard to believe) and it was still good after that.  So, the standard of quality is still excellent.  Go visit her!

Macaron by Patisse
inside HEB Buffalo Speedway
5225 Buffalo Speedway
Houston, TX 77005

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cafe Express

I rarely leave the office for lunch, but needed to go meet someone, so went to Cafe Express Uptown.
I got the Grilled Chicken with Pesto Pasta Deli.  They were very generous with the chicken for sure.  There's fair amount of lettuce, not too much.  What you don't see is the pesto pasta at the bottom.  You needed to mix it up to see it.  They do have tons in a big bowl.  Of course, I have to get a limeade too, because that's just THE thing to get there...

Lunch there gets busy, so go early.  I suggest do about 11:30-11:45a, otherwise, it'll just be very crowded.  If it's nice outside you can sit out, but otherwise, you'll have to stand around and wait.  But they do have a quick turn around, so they get you in and out very quickly.  Plus, if you're going there, you probably have about an hour for lunch anyhow, so they'll get you back on the road nice and quick.

Cafe Express
1101 Uptown Park Blvd
Houston, TX 77056

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


There's only one place in town that has a wall this impressive...
At first, it looks like jars after jars of something fermented.
A closer look, they are fruit inside...
The only place that has that would be Dosi.
So, the jars hold the soju with different fruits.  They have Raspberry, Lychee, Blueberry, mint, grapefruit, orange, strawberry... etc.  The drink up there is Berry la Fleur, which is raspberry soju with blueberry, lavender, and lime.  By the way, before 7pm, they run drinks special, which is half off of all the soju related drinks.  The happy hour does not apply to food.
First we got the fried oyster.  You eat that like a wrap, you do lettuce, the garlic mayo, ginger, quail egg, and oyster.  That is actually pretty good.
This is Squid Kimchee Jjigae, with the sourdough toast, the hot pot with squid and kimchee in seafood broth.  You put that on the toast. It was mildly spicy and I actually liked it very much. 
Korean Yam Pancake, it looks really much like the Turnip cake that you get at dim sum... you're supposed to dip it in the chive soy sauce.  It was accompanied with the white kimchee, but nothing to write home about.
This is my next favorite dish, the waygu beef with herb roasted allium and veggie that reminds me of one of the small side dishes you get when you go to Korean grill.  I loved the beef with the veggie and the sauce... so delicious. 
This is their pork belly, and again in the wrap style.  The white thing is turnip, leave plus chives, and pork belly in this thick sauce.  You do need the sauce in order to make the dish.  But, for us, the pork belly itself is fine.
This is the red bean/green bean cake with lychee sorbet.  The sorbet was awesome but the cake was underwhelming... since there was only two choices, I still would've chosen this one again.
As a send off, they give you these ginger jelee candy.  It reminds me of the Turkish Delight some, but it's good.

Overall, I would say I was disappointed when our server told us that this is a Korean-American fusion, where they take Korean dishes and adapt to American taste.  That, to me, said that this is the watered-down version of Korean food just in case you're a whimp.  I think that somewhat insult the foodies in Houston.  Since we're such a diverse city, you can say Korean inspired and be nothing like it, I wouldn't have been insulted.  But true to that description, there were alot of the dishes were watered down.  There are flavor palettes that are yet to be put on a plate.

To dine in this place, first of all, you need to remember the place is really tapas style.  So all the dishes are meant to be small and meant to be shared.  For party of two, our server suggested two on the left side and three on the right side.  And he's right, it is pretty much enough for both of us.  Second, they would prefer no children under 7 coming to the restaurant.  Third, they are pushing their valet pretty hard... they blocked all available spots for the valet, but let me tell you, on a Saturday night, there were a few tables, but had they opened the lot, it would've accommodated everyone there.  Instead, people just park on the street.  I would highly suggest them to reconsider.  You're not Uchi or Nara, you don't command that type of parking situation.  Overall the entire experience was underwhelming, but now that I've been, I can check it off the list.

2802 S. Shepherd
Houston, TX 77098

Monday, October 6, 2014

Saks 3rd Floor

Now, I know not everyone goes to Saks out of the blue, but now that I've talked about 51Fifteen lunch, only fair to talk about it's sister location.  3rd floor.
So, basically, it is a bar in the men's floor in Saks Fifth Avenue.  They serve the full bar selection, and the food came from 51Fifteen, so the menu is identical.  If you don't want to deal with a crowd or want the piano accompaniment to your meal, you can come up to the 3rd Floor.  They have 2 bartenders that man the place, and they do work pretty quickly.  As soon as the food is ready, they have a runner that runs the food up to you.  Price is the same for the associate lunch, which is $13 and includes a drink, so you can enjoy the food with the same price.

12 Bar on 3
Bar insides Saks 3rd Floor
5115 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77056

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Cloud 10

Whenever I'm in the Village, I always somehow ended up at Cloud 10.
This is their Hazelnut and Miso.  I actually can taste the nut... and it's not too sweet, guess that's the miso balancing it out.  What was surprising to me was that it was very smooth.  As it the ever cliche' silky smooth.  And I just kept thinking it would've kick it up a notch if they put some sesame in it or on it... hmm.  Next time!

You know what else is surprising?  They do these 5 or 7 course tasting.  From $50 to $75 per person.  They take care of you from amuse bouche to appetizers to entree to dessert.  Don't worry, you won't be having sweets for entree, it's proper entree.  So you can say it'll be a battle of the sweet vs. savory, and hopefully you'll be the winner at the end of it.  They will seat you at the bar at the side of the ice cream counter.  And Chris Leung will cook everything in front of you.  Of course, it's best to share with friends, and they seat max 6 people.  And you do need to make a reservation so they can plan the menu ahead of time.  Maybe I need to ask for that for my birthday... 

Cloud 10 Creamery
5216 Morningside
Houston, TX 77005

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Oceanaire Happy Hour

So had a happy hour at Oceanaire... 
Prosecco Sangria: it has rum, strawberry, cucumber and prosecco.  It was too spicy for my taste.
Red Chili Calamari.  It was pretty yummy.
Spicy Ahi Tuna Tower, it has tuna, avocado, mango, pico and wanton chips.
Truffle fries... 

The happy hour has great deals.  For food, they have specials for $6, $7, $8.  They have what we shown above, to sliders, mussels and shrimp & grits.  For drinks specials, they have $4 draft beer, $5 wine, $6 specialty drinks, $7 for martini.

5061 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77056