Thursday, January 29, 2015

Durian Macarons

So, another batch I made was Durian Macarons
Yellow for Durian... it was done with Trader Joe's Almond Flour.
It pipped out nicely...
And no one held hands.... yay!  So, they came out perfectly, but for Trader Joe's Almond Flour is not blenched, so you need an extra minute in the oven.  The filling didn't stand very well, it was falling all over the place.  White Chocolate has not been my friend at all.  So I retried it with milk chocolate, and it was better.  From what I'm told, they were good, but since I don't do durian, I'm hoping that's true.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

China Stix

For a quick bite, I stopped in China Stix in West U.
For $6.75 you get the dish, steam or fried rice, egg roll, hot & sour soup or egg drop soup.  The food is exactly what you expect for American Chinese food.   The entree was salty and full of sauce, it's pretty exactly what you expect, and I don't mind that with the fried rice.  The soup could've more seasoning, but it's passable for a quick fix.  You really can't beat $6.75 lunch combo.

China Stix
3141 W. Holcomb Blvd
Houston, TX 77025


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Asahi Sushi

So I happen to drive by, and saw this place at the end of a strip center.
I ordered during lunch and they gave a complimentary salad and miso soup.  The ginger dressing is just like wherever you go to get the salad.  The miso soup is just fine.
They also have crab meat balls... pretty good, also complimentary.
I ordered the Unaju and it was not bad.  Better than I had expected.  I could use more sauce on this.  The dish presents nicely and I will go back for other dishes.  They are running all the specials all week long.  And service is good, the staff is tentative and friendly.  The only thing is that this place is at the very end of the shopping center and you really won't see it unless you are going to the stadium.  I do worry that they won't last long since they are not easily get to.

Asahi Sushi
8236 Kirby Dr
Houston, TX 77054

Monday, January 26, 2015

Tout Suite

Been meaning to check out Tout Suite for a while...
Finally made it for breakfast!
In case you didn't know, Tout Suite is run by the same folks who did Sweet in City Center.
I have to share this one, it said, Caution Ladies: Mind Your Skirt.  LOL.  That's because as you can see in the back, there's another level of seating, and the part where we were is not covered.
Table with a view, it's very nice on a good day.  You are looking at traffic because you're right by an overpass, but it has its charm.
They've worked hard to preserve the original flooring, as they want to let you know.
You can see, they use clever designs to create nooks and extra seatings for intimate hang out.
Breakfast time!  I had the open faced sandwich, which obviously bread at the very bottom, arugula, prosciutto, and of course egg!  I would say, it's pretty good, and surprisingly filling.  Highly recommend it, though that is only served during the week.  Weekend is where the brunch menu appear, which has other stuff and those looks good too.

I like this place, even though it was converted from a oil shop/car dealership/night club/cafe, it managed to make people feel welcome.  Not sure if it's because it's near alot of artist studios across the way, or it's out of the way, so people who come here is here to appreciate the food and coffee.  But I like it's cool style that's very no pressure.

Tout Suite
2001 Commerce Street
Houston, TX 77002

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Lychee Macarons

Man, it's been so long since I made any macarons.
So long that I have to re-look up things... recipes, measurements, cooking time... So out of practice.
Macaronnage looked good, this is 2 eggs ~ approximately 70gm, 125g of icing sugar, 40g of caster sugar, 90g of almond flour.
It piped out ok...
Nervous about using a different oven, but 10 mins at 320 degrees are good to go.
ooooh, look!  Pied = Feet!!! Yipee!
I had used White Chocolate Ganache with Lychee flavors.  Sadly, the ganache never set, which became a hot mess.  I think it had too much cream.  I did 4oz of white chocolate, 1/3 cup of heavy cream, and 2 tbsp of butter, a 1/4 tsp of Lychee flavor and FAIL!!!

It was too runny, I tried putting it in the fridge overnight, it won't set.  I tried putting it in the freezer, it will set for a short time and melted almost immediately.  Sadly... I had to scrap all of that and use milk chocolate chips to do the Lychee, that with the 3oz of chocolate chips, 1/3 cup of heavy cream, and 1 tbsp of butter and 1/2 tsp of Lychee flavor, that did the trick.  I seriously believe the fat content is out of whack.  That and the milk chocolate is less of a challenge to work with... but for vanity sake, I wanted the coloring... too bad that didn't work.  We shall try and try again!  Oh, it tasted just fine.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hong Kong's Cafe

For a quick bite, went to Hong Kong's Cafe.
This is the Stir Fry Beef Rice Noodle.  It has beef, rice noodle, soy sauce, scallions, and sprouts.  You marinated the steak first, then you add them to the noodles.  I know it uses two types of soy sauce the aged and the young, to get that flavor and color.

It's my comfort food.  Growing up, this is what I used to eat when I miss Hong Kong.  If you want to learn how to make it, click here.  Otherwise, go to Hong Kong's Cafe and order one.  As usual, they only accepts cash.

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

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Island Grill

Went to the Island Grill for breakfast.
It was definitely a packed spot on a Sunday.  They do have a wide menu for breakfast, you have fruits, omelets, pancakes, bagels, full juice bar.

I got a Meat Lover Omelets.  It has ham, sausage, bacon and Swiss Cheese.  It definitely is a full meal for anybody.  They come with a salsa, which is on the spicy side.  Along with the toasts, it was definitely so full, I'd skipped lunch.  They have generous portion, where you definitely gets your money's worth... that's my way of saying that their dish is on the expensive side.  

Their crew do quick work, so you'll definitely don't have to wait long for a table.  If not, just get a delicious juice while you wait.

Island Grill
4024 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 

Monday, January 19, 2015


I'm warning you, this post is picture heavy... but you're allowed to drool in 3...2...1...

A friend came back from UK for work, and she was craving for Uchi, so we let her take the driver's seat and order the night's menu.
Machi Curi - smoked yellowtail with yucca chips, Spanish Almond, Asian Pear and garlic brittle.
Massachusetts Oysters with Olive Ice Cream and Lemon ice.  It's the most refreshing thing I've ever tasted.  The lemon ice is so light and it's enhanced by the Olive Ice Cream, which you don't even noticed it's there, and the moment it all hits your tongue, it's the best summer lightness in a winter day you've ever experienced.  It was so good that we ordered another round.
Uchi Salad - baby greens with parmesan flakes dip with jalapeno edamame dip.  
Gyutoro - short ribs sous vide for 72 hours.  It was so nice it is like butter.
Ham and Egg - pork belly katsu (fried) with egg yolk custard.  There are beer sauce and egg mustard.  Remember, when you get it, you're supposed to dip all 3 types of sauces into one bite.  Delish!
Sorry for the bad photo - but this is the Brussels Sprouts.  I'm telling you, if our parents cooked Brussels Sprouts this way, all kids would eat them, daily!
Kamo Nabe - which is a bit like the Chinese Sticky Rice in Hot pot, where they cook these pots of rice mixed with different meat and it's super hot.  For this dish, in particular, it has duck, egg, mushroom, and chili.  They brought a sauce to pour over and you mix it all up like you do bibimap.  I will warn you, it is spicy.
Yokai Berry - which is kale chips, which I love, salmon, pear and yuzu and blueberries.  And the trick is also to pile everything on and take a bite.  I just can't get over those kale chips... again, if they were accessible growing up, you'll get more people to eat kale for sure.
I didn't get a chance to get the name of this, but it is essentially roasted pork with a slice of fried onion.  Not exactly my favorite, but it's definitely quality.
Brie Ringo - as described, it's a slice of brie fried, and have thinly sliced apply on top.  The whole thing was held up by a slice of sweet potato chip.  Very delicious and creamy.
Foie Gras sushi - OMG, the best thing I've ever had in my life.  It literally melt in my mouth like butter.  Let me just say, there was a parade in my mouth and it was wonderful, confetti's were everywhere and there was a band behind it.  It was good.... I highly recommend everyone to order that!
This was the Lime Ash Sorbet - lime sorbet in the middle.  The cool mid century looking circles are vanilla cream, and you can have some chocolate sauce, chili meringue.  You do a spoonful altogether, it's nice, light and balance.
Not as good as the Lemon Gelato, which has pistachio powder and white balsamic.  We all liked the flavors for this one...
This is their Dessert on the Special menu - Okashi which has white chocolate, champagne and strawberry, all been nitrated and crushed into pieces.  Sad to say, this is not one of our favorite.  Kinda made me regret not getting the Fried Milk, which is tried and true and can stand all test of time.

As usual, you should definitely make a reservation.  I've read on Yelp from alot of people who are upset that they have to wait for over an hour for a table.  This is just not one of those places that you walk in and get a table, so don't even stress yourself out, just make a reservation.  The other thing that I think it's an improvement, that is you have to valet, as most of you know.  But, now what they're doing is, they ask for your ticket stub when you check in at the front desk.  Then, when you're paying your tab, the server let the front desk know, and in turn, they call the valet guys, and they go and run and grab your car.  It was super efficient, especially when the night we were there was cold.  So, it's nice not having to wait in the cold.  Definitely a thumbs up on their experience.

904 Westheimer Rd.
Houston, TX 77006

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Gimme a Break, Gimme a Break

Taking a quick break, be back Monday!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Angus Grill Brazilian

So for a work dinner, a bunch of people and I went to Angus Grill.
 So, like all the churrascaria, they give you a card... green is yes - more meat; red is no - thank you.  Stop the meat from coming.
 Here's the menu of meat that will be coming our way.
 This is the famous Brazilian bread, pao de queijo.  Which is made with tapioca flour and cheese, and a few things but it's so delicious, you don't care what else.  It's truly addictive, and they give you these chimichurri sauce to go with it, that's is so good that you will easily filled up with bread.  But you must control yourself, save room for the meat!  
 For starter, you get the salad bar, they have tomato, cucumber, corn, broccoli, cheese and cold cuts...
 There's spinach salad, potato salad, carrots, beans, ceasar salad... there are also have lentil soup, beans, rice, and mashed potato.
 Here's my starter plate... there's sausage, steak, sirloin, drum stick... I got pretty much everything else.  Here's the key: you can enjoy everything without having a bunch of cold meat stuck on your plate; just ask them to give you the smaller piece.  They are all happy to oblige.  
 This is my dessert: papaya cream, which is papaya and ice cream blend together.  
It's best enjoyed with cassis liquor, it doesn't really taste much of alcohol, it does bring out the papaya taste, it's the darnest thing... but you should try it.

A few things to note: first of all, when they say they are open at 5:30p, they meant it.  Unlike many places, who will open the bar for you to sit, get a drink while the main seating area is ready for service.  They do not open the door until 5:30p.  If you come before, they will make you wait outside.  The poor valet driver were in the cold and weren't able to park alot of cars, because everyone sits in their car in the front parking spots.  I felt bad for the guy.  The night we went was super cold, so I gave him a bigger tip since he had to bare the cold and no real cars for him to park due to the opening policy.

Second, their hostess has very poor planning issue.  We were seated in the main area, and part of our party were delayed due to traffic.  For crying out loud, they are in the busy part of Westheimer, coming and going, you're in the midst of traffic whichever direction came from.  After we got our food from the salad bar, about to sit down to eat, the hostess came over and informed us that due to our late start, we'll have to move to another table because they are expecting a large party at 1.5 hour after us.  Hmm... here's the thing, your poor planning should not impact my experience of this establishment.  She should've: A, plan ahead of time, after all, this is technically a buffet style, I can be sitting there eating all night long for all you know.  As a matter of fact, our server made us felt super welcome and invited us to take our time.  Granted, no one ever does, simply too much protein and you get filled up quickly and their servers made sure of it.  But, if I'm training for a eating contest, I could potentially be there for a while.  B, be polite when you inconvenient your customers, you don't talk to them like they were in the way, again, because your poor planning.  The hostess basically said the reason they have to relocate us, nay, she used the word MOVE, is because of our delay.  Urm... not only do you not factor in people will be late and thus won't start on time and your turn over have to have cushion, the least you can do is be polite about it.  So, the end result: the 'large party' did not arrive by the time we left, so what was the hub bub about?  Now you made a potential group of customers who enjoyed themselves, enjoyed the food, enjoyed the servers, enjoyed the live jazz mood music, think twice, if not thrice about returning because of the poor experience.  They are not the only game in town, Chama Gaucha is down the street, easier to get to, friendly staff, excellent bar, and good food, not to mention reasonable priced.  Fogo De Chau is in the other direction if I wish to be fancy schmancy... now tell me again why I would return to Angus?!

Angus Grill Brazilian Churrascaria
6106 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77057

Monday, January 12, 2015


Been a while since we were at Pondicheri
We've never been to Pondicheri during the week.  But since it was during holiday week, there were lots of people hanging out.  As a matter of fact, after we ordered, there was a line out the door, despite the weather was quite cold outside.

So, I got the crepe. Crepe was made with rice flour so the entire thing is gluten free, and for all the gluten free crepes, this one was true to the consistency of a real crepe.  Some other places either are too thick or the taste is just not up to snub.  For the inside, I had Nutella, Banana, and Strawberry.  It was nice and hit the spot for breakfast.  Try for a weekend breakfast or go upstairs to the Bake Lab (aka bakery) there's more goodies up there.

2800 Kirby
Ste B132
Houston, TX 77098

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Ruggles Bakery

Did you know that Ruggles Bakery has a Happy Hour?  From 3-6p, $3 you call it... all desserts in the house.
 So we got the Chocolate Tres Leche, it has the chocolate & caramel drizzle at the bottom, which is nice when you get some cream, some cake, and nice chocolate/caramel combo drizzle.
I got an Iced Mocha, it's kinda cool.  They have chocolate sauce in there, iced coffee and did you see the ice?  It's not funky, it's coffed-ed ice.  They also have a chocolate dipped spoon too. Since I'm already having all these sweets, I skipped the cookies.

So, how would that Happy Hour work?  $3 for the big dish of dessert.  My most expensive item was the coffee, which was $3.50.  So, I'm all for Happy Hour.  And it is dine in only.

Ruggles Bakery Cafe
2365 Rice Blvd
Houston, TX 77005

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Soma Sushi

Was running errands in the Heights area, was kinda sad that Samurai Noodles is not yet opened, but I know I can always go to Soma.
Don't be intimidated sitting at the bar, from experience, I'v always have great service and attention from the servers sitting there.  
Had a couple of pieces as appetizer: unagi & tuna.  Very few places have fresh tuna, and it's nice to have some good tuna.
I had the Soma Ramen: pork belly, 3 kinds of mushrooms, spinach, eggs.  I just love the soup, that's the best part.  While it's cold outside, I'm slurping my bowl of yummy warm soup inside.  Not only that you can really taste the fat, mmm mmm good...  Basically, any kind of ramen you can get, you can't go wrong at Soma.  I think some are thicker soup base than others and that'll be the delineation, but aside from that, you can pretty much count on the quality of the ingredients.

Soma Sushi
4820 Washington Ave
Houston, TX 77007