Monday, December 31, 2018

Rise No.2

It's been a while since I've been back to Rise.
Always loved their set up, put a little European in the middle of Uptown.
Love the wine rack.
Great attention to details.
We decided to split the cheese plate, which came in 3 types, 4 types, or 5 types.
Let's just admire the beautiful display of cheeseeeeeeeeeee.
Cute little plate of 3 types of cheese, there's Bardy Buzzed from Utah, St Andre's brie from France, and forgot the last one, sorry... BUT!  It comes with chutney, walnut, fig, pickle and olives to go with the toasts.
So, we split the dishes, which makes the lunch that much more fun.  You get to try a bit of this and that, and not feel like a pig. 

This is the Cauliflower & Brie.  You definitely can taste the brie, the cauliflower you know it's there, but not over empowering at all.  Sorry, missed the soufflé's shot.
The other dish we shared was the Salad Nicoise, which is seared Tuna with sliced egg, potato, tomato, with onion on top of a bed of greens.  Since their size is pretty generous, sharing is just right.
Of course, I have my priority straight, and that is, to save room for the Chocolate Soufflé.  This is so delectable.  The server, first create an opening and then drizzle the chocolate sauce into the space and the soufflé deflates some, and then drizzle more on top of the dish.  Oh my goodness, just wonderful. It was nice and piping hot, but it is not too sweet as one might suspected.  It is so fun to do this.

Ran into another set of friends, turns out they do cooking classes there in the shop.  So, that's something to consider if you're trying to think of something to do for a small group.  

That said, no matter if it's a holiday or not, dinner or lunch always make a reservation.  They do get filled up quickly.

Rise No. 2
1700 Post Oak Blvd
Houston, TX 77056

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Smelly Pot

Christmas day, you know what's open?  A lot of stuff in Chinatown.
 I said a lot because not everything was open.  Our first and second choice weren't open, so we landed on 3rd choice.
 This is Taiwanese Hot Pot and they can be included with stinky tofu, which is a Taiwanese specialty.
 Got a milk tea for drink.
Got fried calamari as an appetizer.  Nice and crispy.
 Upper left corer is another appetizer, it is popcorn chicken.  It looked a tad dark, but it tastes good.

Since we were sharing the hot pot, which are meant for individual use, they asked us to add a protein for $3.95 more, which we picked beef all rolled up.  Turns out, there are 4 slices per roll, so that's alot of beef on top of all the stuff we got.  And our hot pot comes with either rice or vermicelli.
 We got the Curry Fish Ball Hot Pot - that comes with fried fish ball, fish cake, iced tofu, enoki mushroom, cabbage, fish cakes, crab sticks, sliced pork.  Of course, the aforementioned sliced beef.

This is really meant for one person, and as you can see 2 people sharing it is just fine.  Had our eyes were bigger than our stomach, we can upgrade to a bigger size, but since from experience, one pot is enough, we chose wisely this time.  Not to mention, you can ask them to add soup, or if you feel like you didn't get enough you can ask for second, which is essentially like ordering another set. I know sometimes they run specials, so you have to time them right.  Not too bad, wouldn't mind coming back.

Smelly Pot
6348E Corporate Dr
Houston, TX 77036

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas

Just want to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Hong Kong's Cafe

Went back to Hong Kong's Cafe for breakfast, which has been a while.
Throat was sore, so I got the honey water with lemon.  Nice and warm and soothing for throat.
The main entree: 2 eggs sunny side up, 2 slices of spam, and 2 slices of toasts.  It's so simple, yet so satisfying.
For 'side' - we get vermicelli with mustard greens and shredded pork.  I just appreciated that the soup that has no MSGs.  It's just easy and filling.

Entire meal is $6.25 that's drink included. Remember cash only, and they serve from 10-11:30a, so go early for seat.

Hong Kong's Cafe
9108 A Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77036

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Raclette Dinner

It is our annual Raclette dinner with the Mom friends.
As a starter, our host provided us some cranberry tartlet, cheese with pita chips.  The tartlets are cute and delicious... totally homemade and super addictive.
Salad, don't worry no e-coli ridden lettuce here.  It has pepperochini with cucumber, a light vinaigrette to pair.
For the grill, we have zucchini, yellow squash, pork, and chicken.

On the bottom shelf, you get a little tray and you put your raclette cheese in there and let it melt like a mini boiler.
We were served boiled potato, and you pour your cheese over it.  Of course, we put cheese over everything in sight, so that's not really a thing for us.  Either way, it is just so delicious I think I ate more potato just to have the cheese all night long.
For dessert, our hostess made a homemade apple pie, Swiss style, it is light and fluffy.  The crust is not full of butter like its American counterpart.  The slices are thin and dainty, but it was so good that we all took an extra slice home.

Since this is a different host, the price is $50pp.  She was kind enough to host us at her home, but if you have the space, you should have her come out.  She was the owner of the Swiss Inn so service is not only top notch, her food (i.e. the homemade pie, salad, and tartlets) are spot on as well.

Raclette Dinner

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

One Dragon

Was wanting a change of scenery, we went back to One Dragon.
In case you need some pictorial guidance. 
We got the snow pea leaves, it is best and freshest in the winter time.  They use rice wine and garlic on theirs.
Shanghainese Stir Fry Thick Noodles.  It has shredded pork, cabbage, onion, and soy sauce with thick noodles.  It's full of the wok chi - aka the flavor of really stir fried.  Very good, definitely one of my comfort food.
Xiao Long Bao - very authentic, got enough soup but not in a messy way.  It has a medium thick wrapping so when you peel it up it won't tear the dumpling but easily eaten and don't feel like squirting the soup everywhere.

We were there before 11:30a and the seating was full and already got a wait list going with 3 or 4 people in front of us.  It goes to show that they are doing something right.  Don't be shy if they ask you to share a table, you don't have to engage, so don't feel pressured.  Plus, you get to peek at what the other people are ordering without embarrassing yourself.  Welcome to dining in the Chinese way.

One Dragon Restaurant
9310 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, Tx 770336

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Yokushi Robata

Mom wanted to go to Yokushi Robata for ramen, so off we went.
We happened to arrived a few minutes before they open, but they were not going to have anybody hang around until they're good and ready.
Finally sat down and was able to order.  We started out with Gyoza, it's neither here nor there.  It doesn't taste frozen, but they also doesn't taste like homemade either.
For skewer, I got the pork belly.  Nice and yummy, not too dry not too fatty.  Right on!
This is the Okonomiyaki, which is pancake cooked teppanyaki style.  It has no batter like a pancake, but it has layers of cabbage, with bacon slice-like pork on top, and topped with mayo, bonito flakes and eel sauce.  It's pretty much no batter in it.  It's best shared.  Otherwise, view it as a cooked salad with bacon.  Not bad, but it is pretty rich between the pork and the cabbage.

This time has got to be the worst service we've ever gotten ever since we've been coming here.  As mentioned before, we arrived a little early, the server said they weren't open yet.  Alright, we walked around and came back when their official open time is (which by the way, it didn't say on the door.  It's only later I went on Yelp to find that info, it wasn't even listed on their website).

Anyway, once we came back, she just said sit.  Not sit anywhere, or anything. Then she threw the menu on the table like we were bothering her.  It wasn't just us.  The 2 sets of guests the came after us also got this cold treatment.  Maybe she's having a bad day, or maybe someone was suppose to help her, whatever, it was just not the best we've seen here.  That is very sad, because food is decent, and we've referred people here many of times.  Now, it makes me leery to even do that.   I'll go back and give them one more chance.  Though, with high reservation.

Yokushi Robata
3837 Richmond Ave
Houston, TX 77027

Monday, December 17, 2018

Whiskey Cake

This is a new Whiskey Cake on the South side of Houston.
 New and shiny, located right outside of Baybrook Mall.
 I got the Campfire Night - which has apple brandy, apple infused rye, cinnamon simple and old fashion bitters.  It was supposed to be double the size, but since I'm a weakling, I just asked them half it.
 For appetizers, we got: Deviled Eggs, has a little kick to it with bacon on top.  Love this!
 Not as much as I love the Fried Green Tomato.  The batter is not heavy, the tomato was hardy, and the remoulade sauce was so delicious, it's addictive.
 Got 2 kinds of sides with the hummus.  The hummus still has some chick peas in whole in it.  One version with veggies.
 Another version with bread.
 Finally sitting down, and we had salad paired with white balsamic vinaigrette.
 Got the pork brisket.  More like a pork steak than a brisket.  Paired with apple, potato and onion.  At the bottom is poblano jack grits.  I'm not usually a grits person, but I really love theirs.
Last but not least, the Whiskey Cake.  It was more like a toffee gooey cake.  It has a bourbon anglaise at the bottom with cartelized pecan infused with whiskey.  Talk about decadent, it was super lovely.  I had to stop myself from finishing the entire thing.

Whiskey Cake boost that they are farm to table, and you can taste that.  It's not stale or frozen, which after having the fresh stuff you can tell the difference.  The place has a casual atmosphere, but just a hair from being a party atmosphere because you can tell the folks at the bar spare no expense.  Good fun place, if you're having dinner here, it gets busy very quickly.

Whiskey Cake
11840 Gulf Fwy
Friendswood, TX 77546

Thursday, December 13, 2018

QJD Peking Duck

I knew about a new Peking Duck place in town.
So took the opportunity to take my mom there for her birthday lunch.
As you sit down, they give you 2 freebies: picked daikon with veggies.
And spiced duck wings, claws and head.  
For balance sake, we got some veggie: snow pea leaves stir fried with garlic.
Here's the main event: duck. I ordered their 'combo' for 2.  Which has the duck.  I have to say, it's nicely done, not too dry, the skin is crispy and flavorful.
Hoisin sauce (a must when it comes to Peking Duck), scallion (top), and cucumber (bottom).
Pancakes.  I was telling my mom that I remembered them to be thicker in the past or at other places.  This is practically crepe thin.
Viola!  Final product, pancake, sauce (hidden), scallion, cucumber, meat.  You roll them up and eat.  I think every cuisine has a version of this.  There's Fajita, Vietnamese Spring Roll, Korean has grilled meat roll, Chinese has bao, Italian has calzone... you get the idea, something you wrap meat and veggie in the middle.

For the price for 2, it is ok given the duck quality was good.  Not counting the veggie, the rest came with the 'combo'.  You can definitely ala carte, either for more, or to do without some of it.  Otherwise, the set works out.  I even had extra duck to bring home.  

Looking around, I also see alot of people order their Dan Dan Noodles, and maybe that's on the list next time.  The menu is a tad all over the place because there are stuffed jalapeño, agedashi tofu, and other Chinese food.  Their main menu is less duck-centric, there are other dishes too.

However, if you are going with a bigger party, I highly recommend you go for the Combo 1, which is the Duck 3 ways.  They do the duck by it's entirety, from skin to bone.  The skin is obviously with this part of the pancake eating, then they do the skin, and then they use the bone to make soup, which is very flavorful.  I haven't had it here yet, but worth trying if the rest of the dishes are as skilled as the duck.

For lunch you can make a reservation if you'd like.  For dinner however, reservation is highly recommended.  It took them a while to get our duck ready, so I can only imagine when it's busy how much longer it takes.

Peking Duck
5901 Westheimer Rd
Ste N
Houston, TX 77057

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Yummy Pho & Bo Ne

Quite by accident that I landed here.
I was supposed to meet my friend next door, but the other place's name was quite misleading, I thought they only had tea, turns out they served noodles as well.  But we were hungry, had already sat down and ordered, so we joined our friends.  Turns out, I ran into another set of friends, what a popular spot!
To start, I ordered a Peach Iced Tea, which, they actually put couple slices of peaches in there.  I can tell it's in there, but not too much flavor coming out of it. Definitely unique!
For lunch, I'm glad that they featured their specialty.  I got the Yummy Pho Special, but next time for sure will get the Bo Ne.  Anyway, the Pho Special, boy, it was huge.  As you can see, there are no shortage of meat.  There are meatballs, tripe, short rib, filet mignon, tendon and brisket.  Oh yeah, and there's vermicelli in there somewhere.  That was huge!  Not only were there tons of meat, there was ton of flavors too.  You can tell they put in some time for the broth.  Not bland, decent soup with texture especially if it was made with ribs like the one in the photo.  Pretty decent for that price, which was $10.95.

The Bo Ne, which my friend got was steak, egg, spam, that has a side of salad and baguette, which she opted for rice instead, served on a sizzling hot plate.  Not only were there tons of meat, there's also a salad that came with it.  You can mix in some meat with that salad.  I can pretty much make 2 meals out of that one dish.

Yummy Pho & Bo Ne
23119 Colonial Pkwy
Katy, TX 77479