Monday, August 31, 2015

Pho 21

Went back to Pho 21 for lunch.
Got the BBQ Pork and rice.  Unlike the BBQ the South is accustomed to, this just mean it was cooked on open grill and specially marinated.  No BBQ sauce involved.  I like the taste of the pork, but it's not the normal Grilled BBQ pork that I'm used to tasting in other Vietnamese restaurants.  Not saying if it's good or bad, just different.
I also got the egg roll.  I know fish sauce is not very popular because of the taste, but for this type of eggrolls, you MUST dip it in the fish sauce to get the maximum taste.  Seriously, go give it a try!

Pho 21
2443 Bay Area Blvd
Houston, TX 77062

Thursday, August 27, 2015

HRW: Coppa Osteria

Coppa was actually my first HRW this year.  
I got my usual Arnold Palmer, it was perfect for the rainy day we had last week.

Not sure if it was because I was there with a group or it's in the middle of the HRW, the service and food was not as good as I've had in the past when I come to visit.  
I got the Burrata for my first course.  It is stuffed risotto with burrata, fried and with the marinara sauce.  Oh my goodness, everyone at the table that got it was finding stuff to dip into that sauce.  They gave us an extra one by accident, so that people who didn't order the burrata was able to try it, and even they were impressed by the sauce.
Second course I went light and got the ceasar salad.  It comes with anchovy, and I know alot of people aren't big fans of them, but at Coppa, I am.  So much so that the lady next to me was offering hers to me, and I gladly take them off of her hands.  It's lemony, not fishy at all.  Definitely is a Ceasar done right, in my book.
 For the main course, I did Spaghetti Carbonara, and I know what you think, you can have that anywhere.  But I do know that they have gluten free pasta available, so chose that for that reason.  Otherwise, the other GF option was fish, and I wasn't much in the mood for it.  

It's definitely unique, they came to the table without sauce and has an egg over it.  And they pour some of the sauce over it, and then mix it in front of you.  As one of the servers tells us, chef recommends doing half the sauce at first, and if you feel that's not enough then add more, but start with half.  Since I'm a huge fan of their parmesan cream, plus they mix it all up with the egg for you, there's no issue for me.  Yum! 
 Lastly, for dessert, I had the Zeppole, which is Italian donut with 2 dipping sauce.  One is chocolate (L) and Mixed Berry (R).  Let's be honest, I was really there for the chocolate sauce, it's like having a mini chocolate fondue in front of you.  Don't worry, I didn't embarrass myself by licking the plate, the mixed berry is actually pretty good, but if you put the two in front of me, there's no contest which I'd go for. 

All in all, not the best Coppa experience I've had, and again, not sure if that's their typical dinner crowd, because the bar is quite a place for the seen or be seen folks.  Or, it's part of the HRW.  The food wasn't bad, but wasn't as good as I've had here in the past.  In the past, everytime I came here I've enjoyed my meal.  This time, the servers seems rushed even though they have increased staff in preparation to handle the crowd.  And the food was just off a notch from the norm.  I think next time I'll skip HRW and wait till it's over to return.

Parking, for dinner, if you're lucky to park down the block, whichever direction, do it.  If you're going to park at their garage, I think it's about the same as valet.  Valet is $5, if it is raining, they give you the umbrella to the door, and they'll collect it later.  Plus, if you park at the garage, there's a patch that does not have a cover, so you might as well valet to stay dry.

Coppa Osteria
in Rice Village
5210 Morningside
Houston, TX 77005

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

HRW: Prohibition

One of the hyped menu for this year's HRW was Prohibition.
It's downtown, right by the rail.  So, if you don't want to fuss with the parking, take the rail it's not far.  That said, there are alot of parking spots this block or one over.  If that's too far for you, they are directly across from a parking lot, $5 for the night.  Well worth it, because from where we sat, I can watch my car, the entire time. 
 If you go early enough, they do have Happy Hour from 5-7pm, and they have discount on a few appetizer items but definitely their cocktail.  This is the Lavender Marriage, and the photo doesn't do it justice, it is really purple... not just gray-ish purple.  It has Gin, Creme de violette, Lavender Bitters, and lemon.  It's even smell purple, ok, it's really lavender, but it is not too sweet and the gin does kick in after you take a sip.
 This is their Fish Beignets.  I know this is silly but the tar tar sauce that's made in house is what made the dish.  Couple of the pieces I tasted the batter but not the fish, either way, I'm telling you that sauce is crack... I welcome you pour it on top of whatever, and I'll lick that plate. 
 My friend, Joanne (aka the FoodPrincess), ordered the BBQ Oyster.  Then, I kicked myself for not ordering that, because they looked awesome.  And tasted awesome too.  Don't make the mistake I did, order the oyster!!!!
 For my main course, I ordered Short Rib in the style of Bourguignon, on top of a bed of mashed potato.  The Japanese Golden mushroom on top was a surprised, but it went well with the stew.  The short rib does fall apart as you take a stab, and the jus was nicely balanced.  Not too overwhelming on the red wine.  The pearl onion was yummy as well as the mushroom.  No complain here.
 Joanne ordered off the normal menu, and got the steak and frites.  Then, I was kicking myself, because that steak was better than the short rib.  I'm telling you, grass is always greener on the other plate.  I was having dinner envy.  Even the fries are tastier...
For dessert, I got the Peach Cobbler.  Since I haven't had a peach cobbler for a while, thought I'd take a chance.  Well.... hindsight, I would've stick with what I know, and get the Chocolate Torta.  The cobbler has sorghum streussel for the top,  ginger and mace in the mix.  Just not up my taste ally.  But if it was a tea, I think I would like that more.  Oh well, can't win them all.

The decor is very 20s-esque, trying to capture the feel of Great Gatsby.  I know they also have vaudeville shows and burlesque shows as well.  Seriously, I would recommend the drinks, as they are comparable with Anvil, and definitely get the oyster.  I'm not sure if it's HRW or maybe it could be their normal crowd, but there's alot more hipsters there.  I'm not sure if it's the drinks that brought them out or maybe they know someone that works there, but I felt a bit out of sort with the scenery.  That said, the chairs and chandelier was a nice touch.

Prohibition Supperclub & Bar
1008 Prairie
Houston, TX 77002

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

HRW: Radio Milano

Second HRW, we picked Radio Milano
 You can valet at the front and the restaurant does pick up the valet.
 They have a very diverse span across their menu.  
 I got the Lobster Bisque.  It wasn't as creamy as I'd hope but the bell pepper in it, tasted good.  Just because I'm a fan of lobster, I can always use more lobster meat, so not going to complaint about the ratio on that.
 I got the duck with red cabbage and mashed potato, the little chunks are not potatoes, they are turnips.  The duck is delicious, the red wine sauce is delicious.  I'm not very into red cabbage but the sauce, duck and mashed potato is perfection.  I liked that combo very much, tried to politely not to lick the plate.
For dessert, I got the Chocolate Tart, I'm not a fan of the peanut butter ice cream just because I was never a fan anyway, but the mix of ice cream with with the chocolate tart is great together.  The Chocolate Tart is almost a mini version of a molton cake in front of you.  Would be great in the winter time with some coffee.

Where it was once housed Bistro Alex, Radio Milano is doing something different.  Previously Bistro Alex was Americana, Radio Milano is more Italian.  The service is great, we have our server and managers, and hostess all coming by to make sure we're doing ok.  And it wasn't so disruptive where it's annoying, they know to give us our space and it was nice to catch up with my friend.  I think I'd like to go back and try other things on their menu, just to see how it differs.

Radio Milano
800 Sorella Ct
Houston, TX 77024

Monday, August 24, 2015

HRW: George's Bistro

This year I had a late start for Houston Restaurant Week.  Not for any reasons particular just didn't get a head start like in the past.  Plus, now that it's extended to a month, it's less of a mad dash and can carefully study the menu to the places I really wanted to check out.
 This time, went to George's Bistro, per Julia's suggestion.  Got a glass of Muscat while waiting for our meal.  
 This is their amuse bouche, it is pepper pimento on top of a small toast, super yummy.  I just know the night will go along fine.
 This is the Fois Gras Mousse with Tepid Brioche.  The Brioche is more like a muffin texture, and it was definitely warm.  Goes along with the fois gras nicely.  As delicious as it was, I didn't finish the entire pate mousse, because I was saving room for...
 The Rabbit Confit.  Before arriving, glancing at the menu, I'd thought I would pick the Lamb Confit, but after hearing the server who was so happy talking about her taste of the Rabbit, I had to change my order.  To her credit, she was not lying.  It was delicious.  The consistency was nice, not at all gamey.  The sauce was delicious and not super boozy as I've had my fair share of those.  Everything was strikingly balanced.  Hiding behind the rabbit is a mashed potato like starch, and it goes along beautifully.
 For dessert course, we got the Chocolate Mousse.  Look at the detail of it.  It came in a home made cone, not at all thick, if it's any thinner, it could be crepe.  And the raspberry sauce on the dish is also home made, because you can taste some of the fruit readily available to your tastebuds.

I would say, alot of true foodie don't go to, or judge a restaurant during HRW because the massive crowds that came out aren't the typical diners.  So to test a place to see if they are the real McCoy, you typically wait until after to go.  George's Bistro, however, is the real deal, they offer true French cuisine that you can get in France.  And I'm not talking about cliche tourist spots, I'm talking about food everyday French folks eat at, this is the place.  

The server spoke both French & English, the owners of course are French.  So, if you dare, try your French there.  I didn't, but the food was great, service was good.  It was a tad weird for us that we were sitting at formerly Feast, where we had HRW several years back.  Sure the decor has been French-ed up, and they do make it their own by having little touches, such as using a sewing table (sans the machine) as a dining table.  But for the most part the original pieces are still there.  That aside, I'm going back for sure, because their regular menu has lots of stuff that I like, so going back is a definite must.

George's Bistro
219 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77006

Thursday, August 20, 2015

St Regis Tea

So... the whole reason why I started the blog was to find tea that my mom and I can go to... that was 2009.
We sat down and got a little amuse bouche.  It was toast with bree and a tad of balsamic oil with raspberry.
Our server gave us 2 teas to choose from,   This is the St Regis bland, full bodied and darker.  For the dessert course, we get a White Blossom tea.  The tea is light and fruity, and it is definitely great for sweets.
For savory, you have an open faced cucumber sandwich, egg salad sandwich, beef and provolone sandwich, guyere with roasted pepper and one pecan, and chicken salad with cranberries.
What we came here for....
Scone with devonshire cream.  Long time ago, they boost that they flown those from England.  We haven't heard that lately, so cannot validate it.
Here's the dessert course: we have fruit tart, meringue tart, and a strawberry chocolate cake.  Not to mention they gave us a box of macarons to take home.  By this point, we were so stuffed that ended up taking most of these home.  Don't worry, they gave us a pretty box, so classy all the way.
This is our set up, even though we had to share the table with another party.  But everything was very pretty and it was super fancy.  Definitely a girl's afternoon with some fancy tea.

As always, reservation is highly highly encouraged, meaning, you should do it.  They have valet at the front door, and they will take good care of your car.  Of course, don't forget to tip your valet.  I've heard that One Direction and Brazilian Soccer team stayed here, so don't be surprised if you have a mob of fans hanging outside.  When they say tea is served between 3-5p, plan on being there truly that two hour span.  You want to take your time to enjoy and this is no time to rush.  

St Regis High Tea
1919 Briar Oaks Lane
(by San Felipe)
Houston, TX 77027

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Happy Ending - Food truck

My new group is so cool... as an employee appreciation, they got couple food trucks for us.
Since they kept calling it taco truck, everyone were super impressed when they saw the menu that it's more than just hot dogs.  I picked Happy Endings.  With a name like that, even grown men were having a field day with the name.
I saw their special, can't help but try that out...
But first, I got an order of eggroll.  Figured, what the heck, the office is paying for it.  These are mini eggrolls.  Honestly, I had to share it with someone, just because they're tiny doesn't mean that they're not filling.
Here's the Bulgogi Rice Bowl.  It is a big huge bowl of food.  The meat is so yummy and the kimchi is a nice mix.  I think I can skip the extra sriracha sauce, just because I'm a wimp.  All the food is super awesome.  I like how quick they turn the order around, they are totally pros at this.  They have awesome hot dogs and kimchi fries.  I've seen my co-workers ordered them.... they look awesome, too bad my eyes are bigger than my stomach and cannot eat them all, even if it is paid for by work. 

They are usually down at UH or at the Gaslamp or down at Washington Ave.  You can follow them on their Facebook and Twitter, which is usually how you found most of the food trucks and their hours.

Happy Ending Food Truck

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Finally got to go back to Uchi
Went back for the Sake Social, which starts at 5p.  My advice, the earlier you go, the better.
Alright, I'll shut up and just post pictures.
Uchiveche - their version of ceviche.  It has salmon, striped bass, tomato, cilantro, bell pepper.
Eggplant nigri - Does not taste a bit like any eggplant you've eaten.
Brussels Sprouts - must have... yummy to the max.  So addictive.
Uchi Salad - they sell it like a chip and dip style.  I do forget how the sauce has a kick to it.
Oyster with cucumber and tom kha.  Which I don't know what that is.  I can tell you, there's some lemon kick to it with ginger for sure.
Machi Cure - yellowtail, yucca chips, pear, and yummy almond.  You literally have to pile all of them into one bite in order to taste the yummy goodness.
Ham & Egg sushi roll - which had pork belly and yolk custard.  The other is the Venison dish, which was a tad disappointing.  It was more Vietnamese style and the venison didn't spark any tastebuds for me.
Zero Sen - yellowtail, shallot, cilantro, avocado.  Good as always, you must dip the sauce, or just drag thru it.
Waygu Nigiri - the beef was super soft and yummy.  That's how I like all my beef cooked from now on.
Kanpachi Crudo - which has amberjack, truffle oil, yuzu dashi, and jalapeno.  I'm not a fan of the jalapeno, but definitely yummy with the amberjack, truffle oil and the yuzu dashi.  
Okashi - we were oversold on this one.  It turned not wasn't what we expected.  It's not bad, but not as good as one of the servers described.  We were under the impression that there will be more aduzki beans, which you can hardly see here.  And we were promised little mochi type material, which also hardly been tasted or seen.  The peach were nice, so was the in-house made ice cream.  Like I said, it was better described to us than the real thing.  We should've done frozen milk, that has never failed me.
Overall, Uchi never disappoint, but some of the dishes weren't as good as I remembered, but the tried and true are truly that, they are good no matter what.  Don't forget to make a reservation and bring change for the valet.

Uchi Houston
904 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77006

Monday, August 17, 2015


Went to Pappasitos for a business lunch...
They have daily specials on their menu.  For Monday, their special is Soft Chicken Fajita Taco & Beef Tostada.  Of course, like most all of the dishes came with rice and beans.  I barely hack thru that soft taco, needless to say, I didn't touch much of the beef tostada.  But I did mix my rice with the queso, just because they're awesome that way.  

Their lunch service lives up to it's promise of speedy-ness.  There's no lolly-gagin' for this lunch.  They get you in and out as quickly as you order them.  Of course, they can tell that you're not there to chit chat.  So, I tip off to them that they are very observant.  We literally got in and out of there within the hour.  Hooray for quick service.

20099 Gulf Fwy
Webster, TX 77598