Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Joy Luck Palace (NYC)

Saw alot of buzz of this place...
Joy Luck Palace for dim sum in NY's Chinatown.
Unlike the dim sum places in Houston, they still have push carts.  As oppose to the checklist method.
Got a few standard or musts... Har Gow (shrimp dumpling), Siu Mai (pork dumpling), Pork Rib, and Fun Guo. 
This was called Golden cake, it tasted very much like pandan, and it's not a soft cake, it's like a steamed cake which is sturdy.
The whole reason why we're here... the Piggy Buns.  So, from seeing pictures, I was thinking since this is piggy, that they should be Pork Bun.  Right?  Piggy = Pork.  Well, to my surprise, when I bit into it, it's sweet.  It's egg custard inside.  I would say it's a tad rich.  But, it's cute, photo worthy.  I got it so you don't have to waste calories for it.

Overall, NY Chinatown opens early.  You can go to any street and get dim sum.  This is a haunt for all the retired elders.  They chew their fat there and BS about this that or another.  This is their spot for morning tea.  It does get crowded as the morning goes on, but if you could make it early, do.  As they say, early bird gets the worms.  Or in this case, early bird gets the better dish.

Joy Luck Palace
98 Mott St
New York, NY 10013

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Boqueria (NYC)

After an afternoon of shopping in NY, we were ready for some dinner.
This is a tapas style Spanish eatery.
The picture is not so good, but it was Datiles con Beicon, which is bacon wrapped date.  The date has blue cheese and almond inside.  Pretty good.
Patatas Bravas - it's like the yummy grown up version of tator tots.  It's mostly because of the bravas salsa.  It sure was delicious!
Here we have Tortilla del Dia, which is an omelet with potato frittata type dish.  We have that in Houston too.  Then Pan con Tomate, is like bruschetta but the tomato is spread on like jam.  It also have garlic and olive oil.  Definitely light and yummy.
Panceta al Horno - which is pork belly roasted, with raisin sauce and Swiss Chard.  It was delicious, but sure was rich and filling.  The raisin sauce was a surprise.  You dip some of that with the pork and it neutralizes the taste buds not to be so overwhelming.  It was a delightful surprise.

Overall, like most places in NY, you need to make a reservation.  But if you go early enough, they can accommodate walk ins.

Boqueria NYC
53 W. 19th St.
New York, NY 10011

Monday, August 29, 2016

Pig & Khao (NYC)

Went for a quick trip up to NYC, and mostly just walked, shopped and ate.
 That is pronounced Pig & Cow.
 This seems to be a great spot for brunch, we got there around 2-ish and brunch was still going strong.
 Ooooh, young coconut.  Haven't had one for a long time.  I used to go to Whole Foods to get one that's already cut open, but haven't lately.  Don't be deceived, this looks big, but there's not alot of coconut water inside.  Basically 2 sips and it's done.  They did give you a sugar cane to chew on, that was pretty refreshing.
 This is Grilled Pork Jowl.  Very tasty.  It has obviously pork jowl, brussel sprouts, and fish sauce.  The fish sauce wasn't over empowering, and if they do brussel sprouts like they do here, I'd eat more growing up.
This is the Shan Noodles, which is ground chicken, vermicelli, peanuts, greens.  The soup is pretty spicy.  Granted, I'm a chicken when it comes to spicy stuff, but this is really spicy.  I was also thinking the portion would be bigger.  But even if it's not, I'm ok with that.

Like most places in NY, the space is narrow, but they do have a nice back room in the back.  You literally can't be fatter in NYC because you basically can't sit anywhere without getting close to your neighbor.  

This is my first time staying down in Lower East Side, so it was neat to see a whole different side of NYC.  You literally feel the magic that you take a train and be transform to a different personality of the City.  LES is more up and coming, people want to be the down to earth types but not yet been taken over by hipsters.  So, lots of unique personalities are all gathered here and everyone gets along.  Not to mention, it is literally parked right next to Chinatown, you can walk or take the subway, easy either way.

Pig & Khao
68 Clinton St
New York, NY 10002

Thursday, August 25, 2016


For an afternoon treat, a fellow mom friend suggested Creamistry.
It is all the rage in Houston, catching the tail end of summer fun.  Basically you pick your milk base, your flavor and toppings and then you see them make it in front of your eyes.  
It is alot of fan fare.  You see all the nitrogen and next thing you know you get this awesome ice cream in front of you.
I would agree that it is creamier than normal ice cream.  And it's made to order, so there's as many variation as you want it to be.  This is just one scoop, you can double up for 2 scoops, or get a shake.  For your bowl, you can get a waffle bowl or brownie bowl, and the shake has all sorts of variation you can do as well.  It's nifty, but the price and wait seems to be a tad out of line.  Maybe, as their staff get more adjusted the speed will improve, but on the weekend, it gets super busy and the wait for your ice cream is long.  So, bring patience. 

5000 Westheimer Rd
Ste 608
Houston, TX 77056

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Daily Grill

Went for a quick business lunch at Daily Grill.  
I got the Seared Ahi Tuna Salad.  Obviously greens, artichoke heart, tuna (super yummy and fresh), almonds, and this lovely vinaigrette that is not oily but flavorful enough for the fish.  I highly recommend this dish.  I don't feel like I was being a pig for finishing the entire thing.

Since I don't work inside the Galleria mall anymore, I had less of an opportunity to come by here for lunch.  They've since changed their lunch menu quite a bit.  Previously, I enjoyed the 600 calories section, that way I can feel like I was making healthy choices while getting juicy burger or yummy salad with tons of dressing.  But they mixed all of them together, so you have to look for the little markings.

Daily Grill Houston
5085 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77056

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

HRW: Grotto

I know I was just here recently, but HRW brought us back to Grotto by the Cool Moms consensus.
Since it's HRW, the choices featured are pretty diverse.  I like that because when you look at a menu that everything looks good, it makes it overwhelming.  This way, they feature some of each, and you pick what looks good to you, and next time you can come back for something else.  
First course I picked Caesar Salad.  I needed some veggie, plus I liked their Caesar with the parmesan cheese.  Yum!
Main course I picked the Seafood Ravioli.  As we were saying, alot of times you choose ravioli at restaurant, they give you a few squares and you're immediately hungry again.   You see 6 squares here, but let me tell you, I was full after having this dish.  Every bite is seafood with the white wine sauce.
Since the previous course was a tad heavy, I opted for gelato instead.  As your server for the flavors of the day.  I got pistachio, and they really put the pistachio nuts on top.  It was nice and crunchy, no stale nuts here

Again, we made a reservation especially when we had a large group.  One thing we were talking about is that because it was a party of 6, they included 18% gratuity, and while they do give you an option to give more, we all agreed that for a classy place like Grotto, 20% is norm.  By doing 18% it seems to discourage us to add a few more dollars and definitely undercut the server's tip.  But oh well, we get why they did it that way, but just thought it's totally ok to do 20%, even though it's truly matter of a couple dollars.

Grotto Houston
4715 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77027

Monday, August 22, 2016

HRW: B&B Butchers

It's the annual Houston Restaurant Week.
This round we chose B&B Butchers.   So glad we had an early reservation, it was packed to the gills.
For start, I got the bellini.  Wish it was a tad cold, and they are super generous with the alcohol for sure.
First course: Wedge Salad.  It's one of the better ones I've had.  Their version of the blue cheese is super delicious and I know the lettuce is mostly all water, but it's great to soak up the dressing.  YUM!
For my main course, I did 10oz Filet.  They also had a 18oz and a 22oz that was super enticing, but let's face it, I can barely handle 10oz.  No need to challenge my own limits here.   Plus, even with 10 oz, I didn't even finish.  I got medium, the top is slightly more cooked than the medium rare that my friend had.  Was thinking that it should be less pink.  That said, the meat is good, texture is smooth and you're not having jerky as you chew, so that's good.
Just having the filet seemed like it's missing something, so I ordered a side of mushroom.  I liked their versions, every bite you can taste the flavors.
For dessert, I got their chocolate cake.  Amazingly, the cake and the cream are very harmonious, not too sweet and not dry at all.  It was so good that it tipped me over.

I love Restaurant Week, it gives me an excuse to check out the restaurants I've been eyeing but not motivated to go.  This way, I'm doing good (because they donate portion of the proceeds to the Houston Food Bank), and I get a good meal out of it.  But if they offer a link for you to make a reservation, do it, otherwise, you'll be waiting for a long time.  

B&B Butchers
1814 Washington Ave
Houston, TX 77007

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tsum Tsum Character Macaron - Sully

So, the last week I posted the Failed Experiment.
I'd like to think that this is a good outcome...
I used the blue batter for Sully, and the black and left over batter for the black and beige ones.
As you can see, these turns out much better.  The beige one, I think because it's piped out of a smaller hole, that it won't raise.
It is very cute...
Finally a batch that worked out!
The bottom side, I used just normal round as a base.  As you can see, not all the little feet for Sully stuck.  I should've but it a little closer so when they baked it would tie together.  

So, what have we learned.  Just need to leave a small batch for various colors.  I would also mix the colors once they're separated.  It might not be as tasty as the normal ones, I will work on that next round.  Another goal to work towards.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Jerry Built

Went for a quick bite at Jerry Built.
Wasn't too hungry just needed something to tie my over.  I got the kid's meal for hot dog.  Amazingly, there's more fries than the dog.  So much so that I had to get a box back.  The dog is plain and you can add whatever you want.  For a kid's dog, it's a good size for $6.  Perfect for a growing kid.

Jerry Built
3501 W. Holcomb Blvd
Houston, TX 77025

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Oiishi - Desktop Diner

Had no time to grab lunch, and ended up using Favors.
I got the Rosi Roll (L), to be honest, Rosi is really a friend of mine.  Back in the day when we all used to go there all the time.  Of course, they were not nearly as busy and popular as they are now.  So they named a roll after her, and it is salmon, cucumber, eel and salmon on top.  It was good!  

The other is the David Roll (R), it's basically a Spicy Tuna Roll with salmon, tuna & yellowtail on top.  It was actually really fresh.  No frills, just fresh fish and yummy sushi.

Favors is a cool app that will pick up food from wherever you ordered it.  The first use, they give you a free delivery, you just pay the tip for the driver who does this for a living.  After that, however, you get charge for the service charge and the delivery charge.  That can almost equal up to the meal.

3764 Richmond Ave
Houston, TX 77046

Monday, August 15, 2016

Pho BInh

We were super curious when we drove down White Oak and saw this:
It was at the old space where Sale-Sucre.
It was surreal that the interior is super close to the old space but with updated, casual seating.
Got a Thai Tea, nice and refreshing in this heat.
Cha Gio - Eggroll.  You wrap the little eggroll in the lettuce and dip it in the fish sauce.  Pretty good.  So far so good.
Pho Tai - vermicelli and eye round beef.  The broth is pretty good, you can tell not too much MSG as you would get a lot of the places.  Food got there pretty fast.  Pretty impressive.

The place has limited parking and as you know White Oak to be.  Even when we go during the off peak hour, the place is buzzing the entire time we were there.  People coming and going.  If you live in the neighborhood it's easy for you.  But if you read the parking signs properly, you can park near and walk over.

Pho Binh
2916 White Oak
Houston, TX 77007

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tsum Tsum Character Macaron - Failed

So, I've been following the trend of cartoon macarons from Hong Kong, to Malaysia, and LA.
It's been a while since I've baked any macs, so decided to try my hand at it.  I picked Tsum Tsum, because they're circle based, and should be easy to start.

I piped and went to lunch... which you'll see how it's a mistake later.
So, I get that you are suppose to let it rest.  So I did, went to lunch, which it practically 'baked' while I was enjoying lunch.  So, by the time I went back to pipe the 2nd color, it was awkward.  It's not integrated, but added a layer.
I already started the process, so might as well finish it.  The 3rd layer is his eye.  I also use the black to pipe his horns.
The finish product was not to satisfactory. 
It is basically layers on top of the layer.  But as I said, I ate lunch, that let the macs rest too long, it pretty much cooked itself.  So, by the time I added the 2nd and 3rd layer, it's like making it on top of already cooked macs.  So, you see the 2nd/3rd layer had integrated and had feet, and the 1st layer had its own feet.  It was not what I pictured.

So, what I've learned: make your standard batter, but divide into smaller batch and mix your color separately.  I had originally did 1/2 for the green, 1/4 to black, and 1/4 for white.  Not knowing how it'll turn out, I did have tons of black left over.  You do need to get a smaller hole piping bag for the horns and character's feet, or any other small details.  I would suggest do another character so you can share the colors for something else.  

This one didn't turn out well, but we'll try again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Corner Bakery

Some times you just want a quick and filling breakfast.
We went to Corner Bakery.  They are pretty quick on weekend mornings.  Given how many regulars shows up and families like us that come with kids occasionally, their turn around for food is pretty fast.  I got the Commuter Croissant.  It has bacon, cheese, tomato, and eggs.  It was super filling.  No shy of carbs and protein there.

Corner Bakery
2615 Southwest Freeway #100
Houston, TX  77098

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Aka Sushi

Out of the sudden craving for Japanese food...
we landed at Aka.  
Got an Iced Green Tea, que refreshing for 100 degree weather.
Akadashi Tofu, a MUST when you come here.  Piping hot!
Their version of spring roll has salmon with vinaigrette.  I was surprise that they have alot of salmon in there.
This is one of my favorite, Buta Kakuni.  Slow braised pork belly, 60 degree egg, bok choy, and the yellow thing is mustard.  The sauce is divine, the bok choy goes well with the meat.  The meat, falls off when you pick it up with your chopsticks.  Delish!!!
Got the Tuna Sampler, which has couple pieces of salmon sashimi and couple pieces of nigri.  Fresh fish no matter how you slice or dice it.
On top of that, I also got Unagi and chopped Scallop.  I can appreciate that they have fresh fish and they are fast.  Not to mention, I love them.

Since they have Happy Hour on the weekends, they are always packed.   But the plus side is that you get full access to their Happy Hour menu, discount on sushi and rolls, and you can do it tapas style and order a bunch of stuff, try different things and not be super stuffed but with a good price out of the meal!

Aka Sushi House
2390 W. Alabama St
Houston, TX 77098