Thursday, July 30, 2015

Catalina Coffee

Was down in Washington Avenue and needed some coffee...
Found Catalina Coffee.  It's a cute little place. 
Got an iced mocha latte, just what I needed to keep awake.  It tasted good and I don't need to add anything else. 
Across the way has this amazing mural for the Gorilla at the Houston Zoo.  If the weather is not so hot, you can find a few seats on the side of the building and enjoy it with your drink or pastry.

I will warn you, the place's parking is tiny and limited, they even have additional parking across the lot, but that's still not enough.  The place looks like they have some yummy pastries and with good coffee, it is the perfect combo.  Sadly, the place is overran by true hipsters and wannabes.  There are alot of people who come in and grab a cup of coffee and enjoy their day too, but given the place is so small, it just made me want to exit asap.  Maybe I'll try again earlier in the morning and maybe the work crowd would be different.

Catalina Coffee
2201 Washington Ave
Houston, TX 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

McHugh's Tea

My mom wanted to come here, so we stopped by...
Got a pot of tea to start.
We got the white tea, and it was light and refreshing for a hot summer day.
I got a lunch set, which came with Quiche Lorraine, the crust is super awesome.  Very buttery and delicious.  It came with a small cup of soup, I got the vegetable soup, and a side of fruit.  For lunch, that is actually plenty.  You can tell that the quiche and soup are homemade and no fakes about them.  Turns out, the mother/daughter team split up the mother in the back of the house and the daughter runs the front of the house.  The mother actually host cooking classes at the shop too.  

We just wanted to grab a quick bite but they were asking if we have a reservation.... Hmm. Well, once you walked in you will know why, they are very popular with the shower parties in their private room, a big party for another shower in the back dining area, and there are 4 bar seats, and the tables aren't big there.  If you just walk up, don't expect to get any afternoon tea, because they do require reservations for that.  You can get salad, sandwiches, quiche & soup, baked goods.  They do have a gluten free scones.  The place is quaint, they took up alot of space for tea and gifts, so it looks crowded when it is already tight in space.

McHugh's Tea
5305 Bissonet
Suite D
Bellaire, TX 77401

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Urban Eats

I was downtown serving Jury Duty, they were generous to give us more than an hour for lunch, so I drove down Washington and see what's opened for lunch.  
Drove past Urban Eats before, was super curious, so figured eating by myself for lunch would be less intimidating.  
Got an Arnold Palmer, which alot of people understood it to be lemonade & iced tea nowadays but alot of times people are doing it more alcoholic than not.  I have jury duty, people, have to stay sober!
I got the Cowboy Sliders and it came with a side salad, and for $3, I upgraded to truffle fries.  The Cowboy has nice meat, onion ring, bacon, bbq sauce.  The meat is superb, good quality and the fries are super yummy with parmesan cheese.  The salad was a bit more sour than my taste, but it is veggie for balance.

When you first drove up, valet is almost the easiest instead of driving around for a parking spot.  When you walk into the store, the first floor is a little market, deli style.  And they have all the cheese, prepared foods, drinks, baked goods.  And you can also order off their menu and take your food togo.  The seated area is upstairs, and they have a hostess that seats you.  Seating is not alot, but there's no bad seats in the house.  

I had Eric the barback as my server, and that dude runs circle around several servers and managers.  He made sure everyone is taken care of.  I told him it was my first time there, and he took the time to explain the menu.  Talked about the place, when they have music.  The guy just cannot sit still, but to the favor of the place, everyone was well taken care of, including his fellow staff members.  Can't say enough good stuff about that guy.

Urban Eats
3414 Washington Ave
Houston, TX 

Monday, July 27, 2015


It's been a while since I got to grab a quick lunch.
Came out to Osaka, just because I know it's non-peak and they'll be super quick.
As usual, they gave you complimentary appetizer.  This is tempura pepper, it was a tad too much batter this time.
Siu Mai, pork dumpling.  It was good but you can tell it's from frozen, not homemade. 
Got couple pieces of nigri, Smoked Salmon, Chopped Scallop, Unagi... yum!
I got this roll, forgot the name, but it has tempura-ed salmon inside with roe and cucumber, and topped with eel sauce, and crispies and roe.  It's nice and yummy.  For friends who do not eat raw, this is a good go-to.  The salmon is cooked, so it warms your belly.  It's ok, I was sitting in A/C.  

I always liked that the staff from the server to the sushi chef goes out of their way to be friendly.  And of course, at the end, they offer you complimentary ice cream.  I was so stuffed, I can't even finish that roll, little to say to add ice cream on top.  

Osaka Japanese Restaurant
4001 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Niko Niko's

Went to grab a quickie lunch
Luckily right before lunch crowd.  And people don't just come one or two, there seems to be 6 or more every party I've seen came in after me.  Luckily, I was able to secure a table.  

Got my standard Gyro Plate with potato.  Did you know that Houston Chronicle had attempted to do the recipe and shared it with everyone?  My friend tried it before, it's good but not like the real thing.  I love how the potato is nice and soft and just seasoned perfectly.  Of course the meat is yummy and you can put it together with the dolmas.  I love their dolmas, as opposed to Yia Yia Mary's, mostly because Niko Niko's pack them nice and tight and still deliver flavors, versus Yia Yia's is tons of rice but not really serving the purpose.  And never fails, when I take a bite, it falls apart.  

We were just saying that we remembered back in the 90s, this was just a small little bugalow where you walk up and it had no seating.  Then a year or so later, they enclosed the place and added a few more seats, people were lining up out the door.  Then they expanded, bought the land next to it, to add more seats, bathroom (that was nice), and parking.  Till this day, the parking lot still get packed.  Obviously they're doing something right.

Niko Niko's
2520 Montrose Blvd
Houston, TX 77006

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Yori Yori

Was doing grocery shopping at H-Mart, figured to grab lunch while we were at it.
It's funny, amongst all the places there, we always ended back up at Yori Yori.
I got the Grilled Short Ribs lunch special.  As you can see it comes with side kimchi and potato, some veggie and rice.  All for $8.95.  You can get a soup too, just ask them.

So strange, we weren't there particularly early but plenty of parking spots.  And they are reasonably fast on their dishes.  They do have a number system now, so if you wander off, you can still hear your order being called.

Yori Yori
inside H Mart
1302 Blalock Blvd.
Houston, TX 77055

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fogo de Chao

Went to Fogo for a friend's birthday, I pretty much did not eat all day in preparation.
We went during blue hair hour, so no wait, not alot of people there.  It was nice, because the servers are super attentive and they are able to accommodate to any request we got quickly.
They have a grill at the front so you can see your meat being cooked.
They give you plantain, yuca fries, and potato when you sit down... all the carbs.  Not to mention their Brazilian popover bread, which my friend had devour one basket after another... I was surprise no one stuff a couple in their pockets.
Very full salad bar, which besides greens, they also have...
More meat, in case you want more meat on top of the meat you'll be getting once you sit down.
Here's a few selection.  There's bacon wrapped ribs, sausage, and rib.  There were alot more, of course... the luxury of going early is that the servers are eager to help.  If you don't you want, you can tell them and they will make sure one of the people will get it from the kitchen for you or check when the next will come out.  So, that's super nice.
Normally, I would get the papaya cream with the blackcurrant liquor, but with all that meat and plantain and popovers, I was super stuffed.  Alas, my eyes were bigger than my stomach and ordered the creme brulee.  It was super nice and refreshing.

Of course, if you ever go you must make a reservation.  We went during non-peak hour and made a reservation anyway, just so to guarantee a spot.

Fogo de Chao
8250 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77063

Monday, July 20, 2015


We drove by the old Sorrel, and it's now Bollo Pizza
Figured we'd give that a try.  The first time we went to try for dinner time, it was packed to a waiting line out the door.  The second time we tried, we went during off peak hours, an hour before dinner rush, and it worked out perfectly.
Got an Arnold Palmer, and the server was nice enough to keep an eye for refilling it for me.
We got the Margherita, which we understood to have mozzarella and tomato, but didn't realize the proportion is so off... there were exactly the 4 slices of tomato you see here, none where hidden underneath the mozzarella.  Also, typically, since they have the mozzarella, which here they have 2 types in the pizza, they don't add the bottom layer, but they did here... so it really felt like would you like some pizza with your cheese than the other way around.
Then we got the Carne Trio, as stated there are 3 meats.  Pepperoni, Sicilian Sausage, and proscuitto with mozzarella cheese.  That proportion here is much better.  But since I got super cheesey from the previous pizza that I was kinda cheesed out.

  As gluten free pizza goes, that works because I liked thin crust.  But I think the amount of cheese pretty much give any lactose intolerant person a run for their money.

They pretty much kept much of the old Sorrel's layout, but built out the bar to be more robust and more seatings outside than before.  They kept the screen at the front desk where the hostess station is, that was interesting.  Our server was wonderful.  When you get your check, tell your server that you'll be paying by credit card, and he will whip out his little their smart device and check you out on the spot.  

Bollo Woodfire Pizza
2202A W. Alabama St
HOuston, TX 77098

Thursday, July 16, 2015

North Italia

Went to lunch with my boss, and he was asking if I wanted good or bad Italian... urm, who would want bad Italian?!?!?!
I'm happy to get to try North Italia, heard alot of cool things about that place.  
We shared the calamari.  I had to kept composure, but I sure was eyeing the last piece.  If it's not because that's my boss, I probably would have eaten the entire thing... hey, at least they have some arugula, it's practically a salad.
I ordered the lasagna, it comes in a nice dish, the garlic bread looks and tasted awesome.  There's mushroom, eggplant, spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, tomato sauce and all baked in it's own nice little dish.  The whole thing is very filling, I had barely half and was already full.  Left over wasn't so bad either.  They do have gluten free version of pasta, but not all pasta dishes were available but ask your server.

I was super surprised to see that place is small and there's a huge lunch crowd in the middle of the weekend.  That said, you may have to share a table with strangers if you want to eat and in a time crunch.  However, amid the chaos, the service is top notch.  Our server is constantly checking up on us, refill our drinks and bring us boxes when she saw that I didn't finish my dish.  Didn't even have to ask.

North Italia
1700 Post Oak Blvd
Ste 190
Houston, TX 77056

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Right by my office building, they have a nice restaurant.  Thought I'd give it a try.
Grab a quick bite... got it thru the bar.
Here's the crawfish enchiladas, they love the corn, as you can see, a third of the plate is corn.  The enchilada has decent meat in there, but you see tons of sour cream and cheese on it.  I'm not a big fan of sour cream, so I ended up scraping alot of it off.  There were tons of cheese and luckily they have enough amount of crawfish meat to balance it off.  Little to say, I had the broccoli in attempt to make the entire meal more balance.  The other stuff looks more promising, maybe they'll be better.

Tommy's Restaurant Oyster Bar
2555 Bay Area Blvd
Houston, TX 77058

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Went to dinner for Hugo's, it's been a long time since we were there.
 On weekend, they're super busy.  When in doubt, make a reservation.  That has not failed me with this place yet.  They have their own reservation system, so some browsers might not work very well, so make sure you call them.
 For starter, we got chips & guacamole, it's very nice and addictive.  I liked the salsa too, but it's a tad too spicy for me.
 I got the Carnitas, which is slow cooked pork with salsa, cilantro and onion.  Sadly, it was not as good as I'd hope.  The meat was very dry, and even though I tried to soak the meat in salsa for a bit, there were no saving it.  
 We ordered Repollito - charred Brussels sprouts, pretty good, the sauce is a tad zingy.
 Coliflor - Cauliflower roasted in poblano sauce, with pepper and onions.  It wasn't the best I've had there....
This is Lechon - which is braised pig with crispy skin and habanero salsa.  It was not as good as I'd hope.  There were no crispy skin to be had, the little bit of pig there is is dry, so not sure how long they braised it.  

The entire meal was unfortunately disappointing.  Not sure if it was because they were super busy and the kitchen suffered?  But our server was awesome, he was knowledgable of the menu, any questions you throw at him, he knows the answers.  Not only that, he kept an eye on our table and quickly notice if water or tea needed to be refill, and if we needed to box anything, he was quick to the task.  One other thing about coming here is that you have to valet because there's not alot of street parking for non-valet.  Might as well bring extra change just in case.

1600 Westheimer Rd.
Houston, TX 77006

Monday, July 13, 2015

Weights & Measures

Went to Weights & Measures for brunch.  
 I actually missed the bake shop because I went thru the wrong door, but they definitely have some pretty awesome baked goodies...
 Nice glass of OJ!
 I had house smoked salmon egg sandwich with a side of bacon.  It's basically a large piece of bread, topped with smear that is dill mascarpone.  Topped with chopped salmon and scramble eggs.  At first, I wasn't too sure about it, but after the second bite, it kinda sat well with me.  I think the initial shock was that the dish was luke cold by the time it got to me.  But, I imagine, if it's warmer it would've been kick ass, will try that again next time.
 We ordered chocolate pancake for the kiddo.  I love that they are super considerate and make kid-friendly sized.  Sadly the pancake was a tad too dry, we didn't want to douse it with syrup, but forced to.
The place is cute, it is sharing a building with a dance company.  When the bill came, it came in a nice little cassette tape box, who still have those in good shape anymore?  The front of the restaurant has a bake shop that can get busy, but you're welcome to smell the deliciousness while you wait..  The parking lot is small, so they encourage you to park on the street.  While that is all and good on a weekend, for happy hour and dinner, that would be super challenging.  So, you've been warned.  Another thing, reservation is encourage... especially for the midtown crowd, don't try your luck.

Weights & Measures
2808 Caroline
Houston, TX

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Marble Slab

Ha, when was the last time you had a banana split?  Yeah, I don't remember either...
Went to Marble Slab for some ice cream, and since there were 3 of us, we split the split.  We had Coffee, Butter Pecan, and Chocolate.  Ice cream is as good as I remembered them to be.  Nothing spectacular, but not inedible or anything.  My biggest complaint was that there was no A/C on a hot day.  Seriously?  You already got me in the door to buy ice cream, and eating it with a box fan that may hit you if no one is around is just tough.  I know, such a first world problem, but it's true.  Towards after dinner time, people stopped in for dessert, and as the store get crowded, you feel the body heat, on top of the heat lamp over head, and you're already hot from outside.  It was truly a hot mess.  The lady was so flustered that she forgot to take our money.  Don't worry, we were honest, and gave her the money, though if she remembered or not, no telling.  That said, there is a Groupon/LivingSocial deal going on right now for ice cream or ice cream cake, in case you need it.

Marble Slab
3175 W. Holcomb Blvd
Houston, TX 77025

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Liberty Kitchen

Went to dinner with a bunch of work people... enjoyed nice oyster, chips and queso (all not pictured).
But did get a chance to snap this dish.  This is their Lobster Bolognese, lobster obviously, lobster cream sauce, veggies, and garlic bread with real garlic on top.  Don't worry, after eating that bread you can still kiss people, it's not strong at all.  The sauce is nice a creamy, though when people say bolognese, I automatically think it's the red sauce.  It was really a cream white sauce.  The pasta is the chubby version of corkscrew.  Bits of lobster meat everywhere, you cannot miss this one.  So delicious, another person ordered it, and cleaned the plate.

As usual, their service is top notch.  Since we had a bunch of out of towners, he was super patient to answer and explain the menu.  The bar also has a variety of beer and wine that is perfect for everyone.  The only thing is parking and valet.  If you go early enough, they are super fast with the valet.  When it's raining or busy, however, you'll have to wait for a bit.  Either way, it's nice that they have a police directing traffic, that helped too, especially during the peak traffic hour on San Felipe.  Oh, and it is best to make a reservation, because you don't know what comes thru town and they get super busy especially when they have various apartment buildings around and a hotel right behind, they do get busy.

Liberty Kitchen
4224 San Felipe
Houston, TX 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

River Oaks Donuts

Stop in to grab a quick bite at River Oaks Donuts...  Surprisingly, I didn't get donut or filled donut holes.
Got a sausage kolache, very delicious.  Yummy sausage and nicely covered bread.
I did get a couple of the Apple Fritter, just because I cannot help myself.  They are still remain the best item on the menu... yum.  I would say, they only sell non-fat chocolate milk, all I have to say about that is why bother....

River Oaks Donuts
3601 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77027

Monday, July 6, 2015

Bite Macaron

It was so hot, we stopped into Bite Macarons for a bit of snack.
I forgot the tart's name, but it has 3 Croquembouche cream puff, covered with honey already.  And they have whip cream on top.  On the tart is a vanilla pudding type filling.  The puff itself is actually harden with the honey covered it all the way.  So, when you bite into it, it's like creme brulee when you first crack the sugar.  The tart crust however, it's more like a harden sugar cookie.  It's definitely do the job of holding what's on top, but in terms of taste and toughness, it's not my favorite there.
This is like a green tea (matcha) frappe.  It's truly green tea, where it's not sweeten at all.  The frappe part, didn't enhance the drink.  I would've been happy with a green tea over ice.  It also took a long time to make, I almost finished my tart before it came out.  And mind you, under the hot sun, I was really there for the drink more than the sweet.  Sadly, left disappointed on both.  I think I'll stick with macarons and coffee from here on out.

Bite Macaron
5172-B Buffalo Speedway
Houston, TX 77005