Friday, August 25, 2017


Had a meeting at the Woodlands location, and colleagues suggested Tex Mex
In Texas, who doesn't like Tex-Mex, really.
I got lunch special #6 (seis).  It has a beef burrito with cheese (yum), with refried beans (which are fat free), pico and Mexican rice.  I love mixing all of them and top it on top of the burrito.  Everything goes together and makes my tummy happy.  

It's a simple and quick lunch that makes everyone happy.  What more do you want?  During week day, it's mostly business lunches at the Hughes Landing location, but imagine if you come to the area for shopping, it might be a tad out of the way, but they serve fast and decent food.  Worth coming back.

1900 Hughes Landing Blvd
The Woodlands, TX 77380

Thursday, August 24, 2017


The newest Sushi game at the Houston Galleria mall...
Originated from Florida, and brought conveyor sushi to the mall.
I like that they have shields and a cover for the belt.  The cover is only the part for the 'kitchen' staff.  The booth seating that are expose, don't have a cover, which allows passerby see little dishes moving along.  Quite a sight for a lot of people.
This is Four Seasons, different tobiko on top, and also different filling too, two of them has crab meat, one has a pineapple, and one has cream cheese.
On the left is California roll, not too shabby.  Love their colored plates.
Top Blue plate is Spicy Tuna roll, a little different but not bad.  To the right in dark pink plate is Dragon Roll, unagi, avocado, kanpyo (from squash family), and cucumber.  Gray plate is salmon and Light Pink plate is Tuna.  

Overall, I was impressed that it was decently fresh.  Does it taste fresh like out of water?  No, but it doesn't tasted frozen and thawed out either.  In case you've never been and don't know how all this works.  As you see stuff on the conveyor belt, you grab.  You eat what you want and they won't clear your plates, because that's how they tally you up at the end of the meal.  That said, for having what I had, that was plenty of food.  The pricing goes according to color of the plates.

My strategy as mentioned in Sushi Sakura post didn't quite work.  That is, you sit by the kitchen or chef (or by the kitchen for hot food), you're guaranteed to have freshly made food.  That didn't work here because while I did sit by the chefs, they continuously make the sushi and stack them on the side.  And as they happen to see opening for the sushi, then they make space for the new plate.  So unless you meticulously study which has been there the longest, it's hard to tell which plate just landed there.  While the food doesn't stay in the stacking/staging area for long, it's probably a good 15 mins for the belt to make one loop around.  So, watch closely.

I like to place fine, they have dishes that you don't see, such as salmon sandwich, where the rice is the bread and fish is in the middle, and they are cut in triangles.  Some rolls use either tofu skin or kanpyo, which is not typical American palette are on there, and I'm kinda surprised.  They have bowls you can order as well, and offer options to those who are not sushi lovers.  One bad thing is that if you've never been, no one tells you where to begin.  Basically, you walk up and sit wherever and begin.  

Houston Galleria Mall
Skating Rink Level, next to La Madeleine 
5015 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77056

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

HRW: Del Frisco's

Another Houston Restaurant Week pick:
It is super close to work, I can easily walk there.  That said, for lunch, I still went ahead and made reservation, and always glad that I did, in case an influx of people decided to show up.
First course, I got the Caesar, which was good.  The croutons are too big for my taste, but the dressing is good, so I'll take that.
For the main course, I got the Wagyu French Dip.  I was enticed by the Wagyu of course...  It came with the au jus sauce, horseradish and ketchup for your fries.
Look at all the beef.  It was filling for sure, I had this half and was plenty.  That said, I can't really taste the difference between Wagyu in the sliced form, versus the steak form.   Steak, you can tell right away, how tender the meat is.  Since it's all sliced, it was not easy to tell.  Dipping in the sauce was good, but it just muddied up my taste bud further to tell the difference.

For dessert, I got the bread pudding, and like 51Fifteen, that was too much bread for one meal for me, so I took it to go.

Of course, you know service would be good, and I will say, seating upstairs has a lot of advantage than downstairs.  The servers upstairs are very attentive and even though they have to come up to bring you your dish, they never failed to get it right.  Happy with the service even the food was so-so.

Del Frisco's
5061 Westheimer Rd
Ste 8060
Houston, TX 77056

Monday, August 21, 2017

HRW: Eloise Nichols

Another Houston Restaurant Week pick:
Last time I was here for during regular lunch, so was interested to see how their dinner service was.
This upside down pineapple is my Spirit Animal.  No, really, it's called Spirit Animal, which is vodka, pineapple and lime, pretty straight forward and pretty tasty.
For first course, I got their brussel sprouts, I remembered it was good last time.  This time isn't too bad, but a tad soggier than I like.
For the main course, I got the grilled chicken, it was nice and juicy, not dry at all.  The polenta (at the bottom) did nothing for me.  I kinda felt like they're soaking up my sauce for my chicken, which I wanted it to go with.  Otherwise, no complaint here.
For dessert, I got the peach crisp.  It has Texas Peach, cinnamon crumble, and Mexican Vanilla Ice Cream.  All put together, you get yummy deliciousness.

Overall, no complaint here, the service is fine, dinner wasn't crowded or super busy, but the bar was full, so I guess the Happy Hour is the thing to get there.  Parking is a luck of the draw, if not, there is valet there.  I do see police around the corner, so I felt very safe.

Eloise Nichols
2400 Mid Ln
Houston, TX 77027

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cheesecake Factory - Desktop Cafe

We had a late work night so we ordered in...
... Since I had a large lunch, I went for a flatbread, which turn out to be bigger than I though.  This is the Skinnylicious Roasted Pear and Blue Cheese Flatbread.  I like it that the blue cheese is not over empowering and I love the arugula and cartelized onions and pecans.  The whole thing is true to the Skinnylicious brand, you don't feel too much but just enough to tie you over.  No protein on this but for a small bite, it's just right.

Cheesecake Factory
Houston Galleria
5015 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77056

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

HRW: Xochi

It wasn't that long ago that I was at Xochi.
 This time, came back for Houston Restaurant Week.

 They had 4 menus to choose from.  While I do like the variety and choices, you can't cross menus, and there are too much decision to make.  A few minutes to look over the menu was just not enough.
 To start, I had the Fruit Mojito... of course it has rum, mint, fruit, lime, simple syrup, and soda water. The alcohol content was pretty high, I can feel it pretty quickly.  I will say, it is super refreshing for a 100 degree day, so it helps cool you off, for sure.  
 I got the Agave Menu, and Amuse Bouche course was Queso de Rancho, which came with pork rind  with avocado tomatillo sauce.  The cheese is a homemade cincho with grasshopper... yes, you read it right.  I didn't know it, and thought it was crunchy, but as I was going back to read the menu, that's how I realized what it was.  Let's say, this was a better experience with the grasshopper this round than last time. 
 Tamal de Duranzo - which is peach tamal with peach chutney.  My thing is that this is too corn for me, and I can't taste much of the peach.  It looks pretty but doesn't like it look.  It does have a kick to it, so be careful.
 This fancy dish is Cochito Ismento - which is pork shank wrapped in bacon, with pineapple (hiding in the back) that comes with roasted potato and side of spinach.  Let me tell you, this is a lot of food. The pork is nicely done, not dry, the bacon was a bit much, and I say that with pain because I do love me some bacon.  The potato is yummy but fills you up.  The spinach can be a tad softer and more juice.
Dessert, perhaps is one of my favorite: Almond Cake.  It has gin infused ice cream, dried pepper rubbed apricot, and oxacan cheese.  I can't taste the cheese, but between the ice cream, apricot and cake, it was delicious.  Not too heavy, not too filling.  Light and filling.  Super good with the summer heat.

They do offer a wine pairing for 3 of the 4 course meals.  For $28, it's actually a good deal, seeing that you would pay more than that for 3 glasses of wine.  I didn't do the pairing, since I'm a light weight, but definitely an option for you.  Since this is 4 course, technically, they charge $45 for the set.  It's actually pretty fun to see what the table next to you got and do some comparison. 

When you get there, if you have time, try to get lucky and see if you get any street parking, especially for dinner, a lot of downtown folks clears out, and you can pay the meter till 6p and after that is free.  Or, valet, but inform them that you're there for the restaurant, so they don't mistakenly charge you $29.  Or, when you get to the restaurant, let the server know, they can add that to your tab, which is good for 3 hrs.  

inside Marriot Marquis Downtown
1777 Walker St
Houston, TX 77010

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

HRW: 51Fifteen

My Houston Restaurant Week second visit is 51Fifteen for lunch.
 51Fifteen has since renovated and address technically isn't 5115 anymore, but they kept the name since it already has a reputation.  
 I again started with Ceasar, which this one is tossed because they gave you slices of romaine lettuce instead of half of it.  With shaved parmesan and croutons.  It was already delicious, wonder what will come next.
 I got the grilled chicken and brie club...
 ... I was lured by the brie mix in a club sandwich.  So, a closer look, you get fresh chicken grilled, bacon, onions, poblano pepper spread and some greens.  It was a lot of food, ended up taking half of it home for leftovers.  

I like that the chicken is fresh and the combo between the cheese, the pepper spread, and the bacon, all went well together, that was a delightful discovery.
 For dessert, I got the white chocolate bread pudding.

I will say this, my lunch companion had good looking steaks that made me envy.  So, I learn that next time, try not to order bread, bread, and more bread... what can I say?  My eyes were bigger than my stomach, as usual...Shake My Head.

Typically for lunch, they give you 2 courses, but some of them give you 3, which for $20 lunch, it's a great deal.  Of course, you have to pace yourself too.  Highly recommend you make a reservation for this place because while it's non- Restaurant Week they are packed.  Yes, mostly ladies who lunch, but also a lot of business lunches going on as well.  So, book either online or by phone.

5135 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77056

Monday, August 14, 2017

HRW: Cafe Azur

My Houston Restaurant Week this year started with Cafe Azur. 
 They took over the old Max & Julie spot on Richmond & Montrose.
 First course: Ceasar Salad, it's grilled which is not what you usually see, and they cut the romaine long way, topped with slices of shaved parmesan and 2 round of bacon, which at first I thought they brought us tomato, which is uncommon but luckily it was bacon, whew!  They didn't douse the caesar dressing, just lightly drizzled, so you still get the taste but not overwhelmingly so.
 This is their squid ink risotto.  A lot of people were turned off by the squid ink.  Honestly, beside visual effect, it doesn't taste much different than a well done risotto to me.  Maybe my tastebuds hasn't been that refined but honestly just good risotto.  Of course they included squid, which also freaked a lot of people out, since it's not battered and fried; but to me, it was fresh and that's all I cared about.  And couple slices parmesan to boot.  Pretty tasty over all dish.  You don't feel over stuffed yet satisfying.
This is the Apple Jalapeno Crumble, which also scared a lot of people away mainly that apple and jalapeño don't usually go together.  The apple slices are cold but it cooked in a sauce that has jalapeño in it.  So when you eat it, it has a little spicy kick as it goes down.  Of course, you have the crumble part of the dessert to neutralizes the taste.  Very smooth going down.

This was a great experience.  First off, the staff are all polite and super accommodating to a group of 8.  They remembered everyone's order and made special accommodations for those who have different tastes.  Now, it was a Sunday evening that we went and it wasn't super crowded, but they were busy.  They came and checked on us, recommended various drinks and took really good care of us.  So between the food and service, this will be hard to top.  Looking forward to coming back after Restaurant Week.

Cafe Azur
4315 Montrose Blvd
Houston, TX 77006

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Mixology Class with Elle Talk

So, another class at the Toast & Twirl Workshop was Mixology.
 Frankly, I only drink a handful of drinks, so it'll be cool to learn about some alternatives.
 She was so thoughtful to put together a list for a basic bar, explain the spirits and the type of glass.  A lot of great tips.
 This is Michelle, Elle for short, lifestyle blogger, Mixology teacher.
 First drink: Berry Smashed, you do smash the berries (which are strawberries, blueberries, blackberries) with lemon, whiskey.  And even the garnish is pretty and say PARTY!  I'm not a big whiskey fan, but this tasted good.
 Next up: a Tiki Drink... cool, never had Curacao before.
 ooooh, aaaaahhh...
 This is a cross between Tiki and a Moscow Mule, so it's a Tiki Mule.  Actually, without the Ginger Beer, switch the Vodka with rum, you do have a really good drink already.  But to make it 'mule' the ginger beer kick it up a notch.  Pretty cool and delish!
The last drink: Secret Garden, because it has some floral in it.  Not only that, this is the first time I've ever used baking dust (edible glitter) into a drink.  It does pour with sparkle for sure.
 We made 3 drinks in an hour or so.  Not bad, since between drinks a bunch of us went and take pictures as they prep for the next drink.  It was super fun, well thought out and have education.  Like variation of whiskey, vodka, and gin.  Luckily, we had lunch before class, so got some padding before the drinks.  It's so nice to learn some different and classy drinks, so I don't have to be boring when I go out anymore.

Elle Talk

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wink by Erica

By pure accident, discovered the Toast & Twirl workshop.  It was an all day, crafty, trendy, and fun workshop.
One of the session was Donut Decorating taught by Wink by Erica.
I love going to cooking classes, they prep everything for you, and you get to make the mess and someone else is cleaning up for you. 
This is Erica, she does custom desserts, having a party?  Call her
She already baked the donuts, and taught us how to make glazed... cute!
And of course sprinkles, so cute that even Homer Simpson would be jealous.  I just loved the pearlized sprinkles, it's something different and you don't get every day.  (psst: you can get that from Michael's).
Same process, we decorated cactus donuts.  Very creative.
This is a white chocolate based glaze, and you have to work fast, otherwise, things won't stick on top.  Thank goodness she had us practice the eyes before doing it for real on the donut.  Alas!  Unicorn donuts.
She was so thoughtful to give us a box to take our goodies home.
All the decor is so pretty at the workshop that you have to just take tons of pictures.

So Erica had made it very simple and straight forward for us newbies.  She also does macarons, cake pops, and cookies.  Not only that, if you want some pretty dessert stand but don't want to buy one, she offers to rent them.  So, definitely worth checking out.

Wink by Erica