Thursday, June 30, 2016

Nippon Japanese Restaurant

I saw on Facebook that they have a renovation, so was curious to check it out.
Love the shiny menu.
They give you a salad to start.
I got the bento box with tempura & pork katsu.  I love the tempura but the pork was a tad rich for me.  The bento came with rice, obviously, agadashi tofu (yummy by the way), pickled veggies, potato salad.  This altogether is a lot of food, I didn't finish it all. But it was a great combo, and well worth the $13.50. 

Nippon Japanese Restaurant
4464 Montrose Blvd
Houston, TX 77006

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Poke Akua Pop Up dinner

So, randomly saw the Poke Akua Pop Up Dinner on Facebook
It was at Lincoln Bar, which I've never been before.  Luckily, my friend got there early and saved us a table.  When I got there a little after 5p, tables were filled but everyone were sitting comfortably.
This was our menu for the night.  The star is the 3 Poke bowls.  In case you don't know what Poke (po-key) is, read about them here.
To match up with the theme for the night, the bar has hurricane to match.  Mine has dark rum, passion fruit, and lemon.  Nice and refreshing for a hot muggy day.
This edamame was a win, it said it was wok smoked edamame with kimchi butter.  It was awesome.  Not too sure about the kimchi butter, as in, I didn't get the usual kimchi sour, but definitely got the spice from it.  Nice and yummy.
The spam masubi was on point.  Seemingly simple, yet well executed.  I know it's silly but it's true.  So good that I ordered more.
The top one is Hamachi Poke with yuzu soy sauce, green apple, negi oil, and pine nuts.  I didn't know what negi oil taste like, did not see any pine nuts, but love the sauce that went with it.  Not so much on the hamachi, not sure if it's not fresh enough or what.  The bottom is the Bluefin Tuna Poke.  Came with soy sauce, black sesame, bonito, and onion.  This bowl, the fish is fresher, but the rest of the sauce was so-so.  I did overhear that someone was saying the bowls were too bland.  I wouldn't exactly described them as bland, as they do have the taste, just not enough of it, I think.
The dessert is the coconut butter mochi cake with lemongrass ice cream, and candied seaweed.  I'm not sure if the little chunks were the candied seaweed, they reminded me of a Chinese candy that is molasses with nuts.  That was what I was reminded.  The ice cream was pretty much melted by the time it got to our table, didn't get to try that.  But the cake!  Oh goodness, the cake is on point.  It reminds me of some of the old fashion cakes made in Asia, with various flavor.  I don't mind having that again.

This night was put together by Chef Jason Liao & Pastry Chef Dory Fung and the nice folks at Lincoln Bar.  I read somewhere that they think Poke is the next food trend.  I'm not sure about that, but majority of the attendees are Asian, mostly was just trying to get some fresh and delicious food with some nice drinks.  So, not sure about the next food trend, per se.  That said, I think the idea is there, the taste needs to be tweaked, then again, to each their own.  Some of the food were on point, some I can take it or leave it.  The place was well organized and parking was not horrendous and I appreciated that.

More info on their Facebook page or other events

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Samurai Noodles - Conservatory

So, I can't go down to the Conservatory and not have some noodles while I'm there.
It was a mini version of the shop.  And the menu is also a mini version of it.
Yes, a plastic bowl, and I got a Miso Ramen, because they did not have tonkotsu, that said, I did not see any butter.  Frankly, I'm still a big fan of tonkotsu.   
We wanted gyoza and they were out too.  So, we got takoyaki.  It was delicious, but as most takoyaki, there's more batter than squid.  But the sauce is addicting and I wouldn't mind ordering again.

Basically, this visit at Samurai wasn't one of the better ones.  Maybe I'll stick with the original shop instead.

Samurai Noodle at Conservatory
1010 Prairie Street
Houston, TX 77002

Monday, June 27, 2016

Melange Creperie - Conservatory

Last time we visited Melange was at H.E.B.  This time we went downtown to see them.
I remember when the Conservatory was Mercury Club.  Back in the late 90s, we would go down the stairs to listen to live band and Swing Dance.  Now, they took advantage of the space and offer 60 types of beers on tap and 4 different kinds of eatery in a nice underground garden setting.
Glad to see Melange set up shop here.
 They offer a few more things than the good ole' days of the cart.  But he still have a few classics.  On top of that, they also offer pretzel bites with mustard beer dip, which goes perfectly with the beer on tap.  They have coffee, cakes, and even offer mini crepes.  The mini crepes I have to warn you, is that they have to come in a flight of 4, because it's made from one big one, cut into 4s, so you can't just get a small one.
 The day I went, they didn't have bananas, it was left in the kitchen which was super warm, which practically cooked them.  So, no Patty Special.  But, they have strawberries, I will take what I can get.

I will say this, I miss the creativity that Buffalo Shawn brings to the crepe.  He would get something from farmers market or wherever, and create something awesome on the spot.  If you like some ingredients you see, but it's not on the menu board, he doesn't mind mixing them together to make a customer happy, plus he gets to create something fun.  I do miss that. 

Quality-wise, they did learn from Shawn so I know the quality is good, just like the one located at H.E.B.  But I do miss Shawn's friendly banter for sure.

Melange Creperie at Conservatory
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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tiny Boxwood

Always enjoy a quiet breakfast at Tiny's.  At the original location, you see alot of business folks wheelin' and dealin'.
I'm here for the coffee and the food.  I got the mocha, which was not too sweet.  Note that in place of soy milk, they have almond milk.  That worked out just fine.  
I'm always torn when I come here, I liked their Migas and their Mother's Breakfast, but alas, I can only get one, and I went with the Migas.  Even though it looked like a pile of tortilla chips, there's eggs, sausage, potato, peppers, and hot sauce underneath.  I basically couldn't finish the whole thing, which was a noble goal.  However, I did get to slowly enjoy my coffee, which is more than I can say alot of days.

I love sitting at the bar, you get quicker service and the folks come to talk to you.  It's fun to be there.

Tiny Boxwoods
3614 W. Alabama St
at Saint Street
Houston, TX 77027

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Decided to stop by West Ave for breakfast.
Must confess that I haven't been here over a year.  Not by design, just haven't made it over here.
I love their juice and coffee are super fresh.  They definitely moved stuff around.
Ended up getting their French Toast because they stopped doing the crepe.  It's a pretty standard French Toast, nothing bad but nothing spectacular either.
I did appreciate that the fruit plate is very tropical and something you would find in South Asian cuisine, you don't get to have mango at a standard restaurant, just not in their repertoire.  

I was pretty bummed about not having the crepe.  They're the only place in town that uses rice flour to make the crepe batter that has the consistency of the normal crepe.  That said, I happened to venture upstairs to the Bake Lab, kinda regretting not going upstairs first.  They have a cafe feel, where you can order your pastry, grab a cup of coffee, sit with a laptop and just chill out.  Definitely more casual than downstairs.

2800 Kirby Dr
Ste B 132
Houston, TX 77098

Monday, June 20, 2016

Baby Barnaby's

Met up with a friend for breakfast.  I thought of Baby Barnaby's because it must've been years since I've gone there for breakfast.  
 I know for sure it was way before my kiddo came into the picture.  I basically stayed away from Baby Barnaby's because the house is homey and not that they're not kid-friendly, I just get claustrophobic between the tight seats and a screaming toddler.
 I love their nods to dogs, super cute dog bone with wings.
Got the corn beef hash, forgot how big that dish is.  Needless to say, I did not finish the entire plate, but everything on it was delicious.  No regret for sure.  Plus, I love their fresh squeezed juice, more pulp for me!  

I love that their staff is super friendly and patient.  We must've sat there for an hour to catch up, and not that they were busy and eyeing on our table for a turn over, but they wanted to make sure we got what we need, enough juice, enough coffee.  I always feel so welcome there!  Plus, when you go on a weekday, the wait is pretty much slim to none, so take advantage of that if you can.  I know my friend liked it so much that she came back and brought her family with her.  That said something.

Baby Barnaby's
602 Fairview
Houston, TX

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Willie G's

Decided to belly up to the bar for dinner...
 Got the Lobster Bisque to start.... it is definitely lobster meat in there, just wish the soup thicker and more filling that way.
 This is the Carolina Oyster, which the strange combo somehow worked so well together.  It has a slide of cherry tomato on top, jalapeno aioli sauce, fried oyster, cole slaw, pulled pork and some cheese.  The whole thing together somehow worked out so perfectly, which the order come in 6 not 3.
 Then, my eye got bigger than my stomach, and ordered Buffalo Chicken Sliders.  When it got here, I realized, that's too much food.  But for the sake of good food, must try them all.
It's really super simple, Buffalo fried chicken it was a tad spicy.  A few fried onion rings, shoe string style, and sit between toasted slider buns.  After the first full one, I already hit the limit.  Just ended up picking the rest apart. 

Food is always good there, but what I love is their servers.  Doesn't matter if you sit at the bar or at the dining, the servers are always attentive and make sure you're well taken care of.  Granted I know they work for tips, but several has great relationships with clients that they kept coming back.  You definitely feel a 'Cheers' type feel at a classy joint.

Willie G's Seafood & Steaks
1605 Post Oak Blvd
Houston, TX 77056

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

North Italia

Went to meet up with some gal pals for lunch.
 I always liked their food, from salad to lasagna.  
 Got the Arnold Palmer, but they brought me the wrong drink for the refill.
One of my favorites from them is the Zucca Chips.  It's like eating air, except tastier.  I really love it!
Got the Prosciutto pizza.  They have goat cheese, arugula, and fig.  I find that more and more people copying the idea of prosciutto and fig.  It's very much a true contrast of sweet and savory right next to each other to show case the freshness in both.  Needless to say, I really enjoyed my pizza.  The only thing was that it was alot of me but no regrets for ordering this for sure!

They also have great pasta and gluten free pastas and other dishes.  One of these days I'll have enough time and room to have dessert and coffee which my friends told me is superb!  Reservation is highly encouraged.

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

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Ruggle's Green

Haven't been back to Ruggles Green for breakfast for a while.
I forgot how big the breakfast plate was.  I was ashamed to say, had I paid attention to the cashier when he asked if I wanted bacon or turkey lean, I would've known to picked bacon.  I thought they had turkey bacon, but he meant turkey sausage.  Sadly the turkey sausage had no taste.  The pancake was a bit dry, the eggs and potato were good though.  I liked their other food, so was super surprised how the rest wasn't as good as I'd expected.

There's only one Ruggles out of all the location that serves breakfast.  We went early and it was nice because you can get in and out in no time.  And of course, as it gets later, it gets busier.  That said, on a Sunday, read the signs around the area, since the church has space but it is not available until after 1pm.  You've been warned.

Ruggles Green
748 East 11th Street
Houston, TX 77008

Monday, June 13, 2016

Christi's Donut

Time to make the donut!  Well, for me, it's more like eat the donut!
I haven't been there since I moved out of the neighborhood.  I forgot how homey they are and how they truly are the family business that never got too big for their breaches.
 Grabbed an old fashion chocolate cake they were so nice to throw in 2 donut holes in there.  Except I  also grabbed a dozen of donut holes so that makes 14 donut holes.  Womp, whomp.  All the donuts and kolaches were in an old fashion display case.  Besides the donut variations, cream filled and different flavors, but they also have bear claws, cinnamon rolls are their number 1 seller. Different types of kolaches, and the lines is never stopping at that place.

Christi's Donuts & Kolaches
1103 W. Gray
Houston, TX 77019

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Hong Kong's Cafe

Went to grab a quick breakfast down in Chinatown for errands.
Got my Hong Kong styled iced tea - yum!
This is something I remember getting on my way to school.  And you go to an alley where there's a show cobbler and a guy that makes copies of keys, and in a little stall is a guy that does these sandwiches.  He has the bread the condiments, a small pan to fry the eggs, and toasters.
Mine is an egg and spam sandwich, with toasted bread.  If you don't specify, they will not have toasted it for you.  So, make sure you say so.  It was a good tie in with...
My Soy Sauce Stir Fried Noodles.  It has no meat in it except the sprouts.  It's a morning treat.  The entire meal doesn't cost more than $8.  That's a steal.  Make sure you bring cash, they're cash only.

Hong Kong's Cafe
9108 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Goode Co.

Was dying for some barbecue, actually, I was hoping for some cobbler, and typically they have it at a barbecue place, except this bet was not it.  That said, I had good food in return, that sorta made up for it.
For barbecue in town, best go to Goode Company.
Granted, they don't have lines out the door like Killen's, but for the convenience, this is pretty darn close.
Got a meal, and it was $15 with my stuffed potato, drink and tax.
Closer look, it was pretty much potato all the way without sour cream.  And thank god for that, they literally put down a slab of butter.  Not just a bit, it was maybe 1/4 of a stick of butter there.  Then cheese, chives, and chopped beef.  We cannot skip the bbq sauce, because that's the whole reason for coming.  

It was not as messy as I am usually with stuffed potato, and the beef was nice and tender, not dried at all.  It was smoked and you can taste the difference.  Of course, if you put their bbq sauce on anything, I'll lick it all up.  I was so stuffed (haha get it?!) that I had to skip dessert and good plan that was.

The shopping center matches the kitsch, it has a Country Outfitter, a Boot Company and BBQ, you can get all your cowboy/cowgirl needs all at one place.  The place looked real fancy on the outside by the door and the awning, but don't let it fool you, there's a line and it's seating yourself.  Though, you may be enjoying your meal with a stuffed buffalo or some rhinestone cowboy gear, but it's definitely not as open and super casual like the Kirby location.

Goode Co.
Katy Freeway
8911 Katy Fwy
Houston, TX 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Mom wanted some noodles, and we were heading towards I-10 and Bunker Hill, figured we'd stop at H-Mart.
We like going there, there's always good food and at least 5-6 vendors to choose from, and it's all at a reasonable price.
 I got the Ome Rice, which is inspired by Japanese's Omurice.  Basically, it's omelet over rice.  The rice is fried rice with ham.  Separately, they cook this thin omelet, supposed to be as smooth as possible, and then put the fried rice in the middle and wrap it around.  Of course, their schtick is the ketchup mix, so it's decorated as such.  
You can see the fried rice up close, and how thin the omelet is.  What else I like about Korean dishes is that they give you those side dishes.  It has kimchi, picked turnip, spiced fish cake (which is not really spicy), and chilled cooked sprout.  It's nice because this dish is on the heavier side and you can add the veggies in the mix to balance things out.  They even give you miso soup.  The entire tray was less than $8, well worth the price.

inside H-Mart
1302 Black Rd
Houston, TX 77055

Monday, June 6, 2016

Giacomo's Cibo e Vino

A bunch of mom's and I decided to meet up sans kids.  We were ready for a break and this was the perfect spot.
 I've driven past here for years, but finally got an opportunity to try them out.  I was thinking of a casual Italian, which seems to be popular with everyone.  Turns out it was a good choice!

For starters, we ordered a bunch of the small plates like tapas, and then talk and eat as we go.
 This was the lamb meatballs, which we all agreed this was the best tasting thing at the table.
 This, you cannot see very well, but it's Ratatouille with egg and cheese on top, this is a warm dish.
 Not very well photographed, but this is a chicken skewer with zucchini and onion, and you can dip into the green goddess sauce with yogurt.  Chicken was moist but the sauce was not my thing.
 This was shrimp with hot pepper sauce has garlic and olive oil.  Not bad at all.
 Since we tapas-ed so much stuff, we decided to order a small plate of pasta.  I love how they have half order, so you don't feel like stuffing yourself and having to roll yourself out of the place.  This is actually smaller than it looks.  The pasta is fresh, you can taste that they homemade that, and definitely can taste the egg, but the pasta connoisseur at our table gave it a B-/C for the pasta.  Not al dente or spectacular, but not too shabby either.  I tend to agree.
 This is a cold ratatouille, it's like a being served like a cold veggie stew.  It's pretty good for a cold dish, and seeing that I don't like gazpacho, this is way above that.  Personally, I still prefer my food warm, so I'll be sticking to my warm ratatouille.
 This is the Pollo Guido, which is a stuffed chicken with prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato, basil, garlic with a white wine sauce.  It's pretty delicious.  And being shared amongst the four ladies, that was perfect amount of food.
Of course, I can't say no to dessert, even though I don't need it.  I got the affagato, since I was ordering coffee anyway.  They just pour a shot of espresso on top of 2 scoop of vanilla gelato.  Pretty yummy, not as strong as I'd thought it'd be like they do at Paciuco.

Overall, the place is intimate but has plenty patio space.  Parking is also not too much of a concern, the parking at the back of the building and nearby buildings as they're closed for business was perfect if you don't want to park in front.  Even the side street on Bammel is friendly for parking.  

Our server was friendly and patient, she explained the menu and answered our questions.  We do feel bad for the patrons nearby as four moms sat there and exchange war stories and laughing up a storm.  Well, for sure we were the funnest people there that night.  Go early, as they do not take reservation.

Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
3215 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX