Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Tamashi Ramen

Met up with my friend (aka dining guest) for lunch at Tamashi.
We've both been here separately and it is actually between both of our neighborhoods, so no excuse not to meet up.  Plus, we both love noodles, that is a definite must!
We shared the takoyaki, which is the little fried battered bread balls with chunks of octopus inside.  Frankly, they are do-able, I still like Ichi Bar Ramen's takoyaki better, but this will do.
I got the Shoyu, with clear broth, slices of fish cakes, egg, chase, bamboo, veggies, and of course noodles.
I saw this on the Curry Tsukemen, and was curious, so I went ahead and ordered it.  So, it is actually a side of fried kani.  Which is kinda cool looking.  It is split open, and battered and fried.  The entire thing is thin like a giant round cookie, but it's really a kani.
Entire meal, was super fulfilling, no complaint here.

We got there just as the lunch time winding down.  They do stay true to the sign in sheet, and the turnaround was pretty quick.  If you have some time, do wait for it.  If not, plenty of food options nearby, but will have to cure your noodle fix another day.

Tamashi Ramen & Sushi
2518 W. Holcomb Blvd
Houston, TX 77030

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Beard Papa

Since we were in Katy, figured we might as well swing over to Katy Asian Town.  Of course we MUST stop at Beard Papa.
You can read their originating story here.
Cute chachki decorations around the shop.
Look at those beautiful puffs... YUM!  Not alot left.
The weekend they were running a special, so it's worth checking that out.
What special do they have this month?  The cheese based flavors.  
(upper L): Peach with Cheese, Apple with Cheese, Creme Brulee
Vanilla with Strawberry, Chocolate with Vanilla, Green tea with Vanilla.
This is the apple with cheese.  It started out like the creme brûlée but instead of the creme, it has cheese base, which you can taste it but it's so milky that it is not over empowering.  Then, chunks of crunchy apple diced on top with syrup.  Not messy, decent flavor and taste super fresh.  Since they are made to order.

Nowadays, they don't have the crazy lines like when they open.  But the cafe is still busy with diners who are enjoying their puffs after their meals nearby. 

They are also looking to open a spot in Chinatown, can't wait till open so I don't have to make that trek.

Beard Papa
23119 Colonial Parkway
Unit A-13
Katy, TX 77449

Monday, January 28, 2019

Sushi 9

So, under Mom's request, she wanted to go to an All You Can East Sushi, since Tokyo One near us had closed.

I know what you are thinking, like I did, and that's when you shutter the thought of All You Can Eat, especially Sushi.
Well, after checking around, we came to Sushi 9, be sure you get the location correctly, this is on Mason Road, not by Pin Oak.

We walked in, fully expected frozen tables to keep sad sushi cold.  BUT NO!  Nothing of the sort, as a matter of fact, it looks pretty like any other sushi restaurant in the area.  Bar, Sushi Bar, tables, kitchen, hostess stand.  Wait, where's the All You Can Eat part of the scenery? 

We sat down, and were given menu with no price.  But a big banner across that said, there will be a surcharge of 20% for any wasted food.  Now, that's interesting.
First, we ordered a Rainbow Roll, and I ordered an Unagi Handroll.  So far, pretty normal.  The rolls were made to order.
Well, the BBQ Unagi Fried Rice looked interesting, and as it arrived we realized why they do the surcharge for wasting food.  It came in a regular rice bowl size.  But don't worry, they did not skim on the ingredients.  There are chunks of unagi, rice, eggs, onions, and veggie in there.
Our fried items arrive next: Cheese Puffs (it as really hot, fresh out of the fryer).
Sweet Potato Tempura - Let's face it, it's the only thing I want from the dish anyhow.  I liked that it's lightly battered, you're not eating mouth full of batter when you pick this up.
Tempura mushrooms, 'cause why not?!
Ordered a piece of mackerel, and it was way fishier than I like my fish.
Salmon Roll, that's pretty normal besides the aesthetics.
Got the Curry Beef Rice, again came in a rice bowl portion.  But don't be fulled, it has alot of stuff in it, not enough room for rice.  I mean, there are a bit of rice at the bottom, but then it's veggies, then fried egg, then the fried beef piece, then the curry.  It's all there, just compressed into a small bowl.

For weekend, lunch is $20, and you order as you go.  Again, they do emphasize the 20% surcharge for wasting food.  Drinks are extra, not included.  And as we were about to go, our server asked if we want ice cream.  Well... I'll be fooling myself if I did that.  But they are available should you have room in your tummy.

From what I read other reviews, dinner is $25, and they do get a few more items that is not available at lunch.  Again, drinks are extra.  I will say, our servers are nice and attentive, even if it's not their table, they still make sure we got what we need.   

If it's like that, everything is called to order, I wouldn't mind.  That said, the quality of food is no different than any other American Japanese restaurant around town.  It will pass the mustard, but not super excel in any particular way.  But if you think about it, some of these places by the time you order what we did, it would've been more than $20 per person, easily.  So, that's not a bad deal.  However, if you have a big family, you're going in to the $100 for a meal.

Sushi 9
1830 S. Mason Rd
Ste 150
Katy, TX 77450

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Daily Grill

Went to a Happy Hour function at Daily Grill.
I love how colorful drinks can be.  Of course, I had my Midori Sour (yes, I drink like a 21 year old), but it tastes like a Jolly Rancher, can't help it.
Nice plating, we have veggie plate, and hummus with cucumber and pita bread.   The pita was nice and warm, so I was hooked.
Cheese and fruit tray.  Let's face it, you put cheese in from of me, I'll gobble them up.  They also included some soft cheese.

I didn't take a picture of the most important part, they brought out calamari and chicken wings.  And who doesn't like either of those?  They brought out sauces for them too, I basically was the only person that kept picking on the calamari.

I see that their normal Happy Hour the pricing is on the higher side except for Monday and Tuesday where they have specials.  But there are couple of bar menu that I'm curious about, like the bacon cheddar tots, Ahi Tuna sashimi, and the surf & turf taco.  Well, just have to come back for it.

Daily Grill
Inside Galleria Mall
5085 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77056

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Bubbles, Bibs & Brunch Bash - DFS fundraiser

So, after walking a 5K, we were invited by my friend who is involved with Dress for Success to a brunch.
It was a fundraiser, and it is perfectly matched after the 5k run and in preparation of the marathon run the following day.

It was nice line up of restaurants, perfect timing after I burned a bunch of calories, of course there's Mimosa flowing . Not to mention, doing good also helps!

On to the food: (not pictured) Chicken Pot Pie from Hay Merchant.  It was perfect for the windy morning we had for the run.
 Then it's adult pop tarts by Kitch.
 Better light here, the pop tart is filled with savory brie with fig jam.
 Then Granola Parfait from Alice Blue, which I have never heard of before, turns out they're serving American style food in the Heights.  I'm not a fan of the parfait but 
they also have a blueberry muffin that was amazing.
 Next is an awesome roll that I didn't expect.  It is from Vibrant on Montrose.  Another place that I didn't know existed.  They do gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, corn free, GMO free, and soy free.
 Better light on this roll, to my surprised, it was so delicious I went back for another one.  For all those eating restrictions, they still managed to make something yummy; I wonder what else they can do.
 For the hosting restaurant, they did egg tacos,...
 they have potato and queso for you to add to your taco, needless to say, I just have my fill.
 Shrimp & grits from Helen.  I'm not typically a shrimp and grits girl, but let me tell you, this was so delicious, too bad I was full, I was ready to go back for seconds.
 Since it's cold, I got me some Katz Hot Chocolate.  Since it was with the sweets, thought I'd start with that to warm me up!
Lastly yummy apple on a cookie dessert from Poitin.  I've always been interested in going there, now I really have a reason to go.

Places I didn't get to try: Hungry's, Nectar Juice Bar, Deep Eddy vodka, Nothing Bundt Cakes (but I've had them before), and River Oaks Donut (which were skimpy of them to just put couple boxes of donut holes and called it a station).  

Anyway, this is such a great cause, money goes back to Dress for Success.  While we were stuffing our face, we met one of the co-founder, Nancy Levicki who help start the organization in the late 90s.  To this day, they help women all ages, ethnicity, to build confidence and get them back into the work force.  By the way, I knew she did a 5k that morning as well.  For interest in donation both clothes and financial, please visit their website.

Dress for Success Houston

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Magic Cup

Been seeing Magic Cup popping up my FB feed for a bit.
Happen that I'm on that side of town, drove past it, and figured, what the heck.
At first, looking at the menu and all the options and variation can be super overwhelming.  Since they're so used to folks that already know the drill, their cashier was going for speed, not for the uninitiated.
Luckily, they have some pictures on the board, and I did the good o'l point and smile strategy.  Looked pretty full, right?
I got a Special-tea of Tropical Paradise.  It is with black fruit tea as a base, and they gave me a choice of either that or green tea.  But thought black tea goes better with fruit.  So, it is infused with strawberry and mango fruit chunks for the tea with both alot of flavor.  At the end, I finished my tea way too quick and had lots of fruit chunks left over.  Now, I know why it's better to get the larger size, just to get more tea in the mix.

Inside the store is very spacious, you can have game night with friends, or just sit on the comfy chairs to surf the web, it is suitable for parties big and small.  This location also serve various types of snacks, appetizer, and bahn mi.  Don't worry, they definitely have Boba and coffee, in case you're just dying for some.  They even have a drive thru, in case you're in a hurry.  It is definitely outside of my normal haunts in that area, that said, now I'm craving that fruit tea and nothing inside the loop is measuring up.  Now, have to make an excuse to go back out that way.

Magic Cup
11724 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77072

Monday, January 21, 2019

Ocean's Palace

It's been a long while since I've been to Ocean's Palace. 
Not any particular reasons besides parking can get aggressive there.
Random pics of food: here's the crab ball... It's best to ask the server or the cart person to cut it in half, easy to share.
Custard cream bun, I should've gotten the red bean (azuki) bun.
Turnip cake, lots of people look down on it, but it was pretty good.  You can put in Chinese sausage, or just soy sauce.  This one is plain, but fried it very nicely.
Egg tart - not the best one I've tasted.  The shell was good, but the custard wasn't much.
This is something unique, Truffle Xiao Long Bao (port soup dumpling).  You can actually see the slices of truffles inside.  It's full of flavor and it's funny that they put the baos in the individual tins, so the soup will stay in.  This is a special order.
BBQ Pork Cheung Fun, this is something I grew up with, so I'd like to think I'm somewhat of an expert.  However, the noodles is not sold enough, as soon as you put the chopsticks in it, it all fell apart.  Taste was so -so as well.
Then we have tea leaf wrapped rice.
I love that it's stickie inside and has Chinese sausage.  Some has chicken bits in there.  Overall, a yummy dish.  One order came with 2, so it's easy to share.  One of the better dish here.

Overall, it's been many years since I've been here.  As a matter of fact, the last time I was here at Ocean's, I had to go upstairs to the grand hall for dim sum.  Now that they renovated, it does look more posh.  Gone are the days of the counter.  They have push carts, but they are not very good at making the rounds to all tables.  There was a larger party than ours, they had 3 full tables, and they ended up having their server bring a lot of the dishes.  On top of that the dishes wasn't as flavorful as I'd remember them being from 'way-back'.  The service, however, was great.  Our server was very thoughtful, though towards the end of our meal, she got more tables and was harder to track her down.  Otherwise, she was pretty diligent about making sure we have enough water and our ordered dishes get there.

For dim sum, small party coming here is fine.  When you have a large party, they won't seat you unless more than half of your party arrives.  And no, they don't take reservation, so if you have a large party, go early.  I think 10:30a or 11a for dim sum (aka Chinese brunch) is reasonable.

Ocean's Palace
11215 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77072

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Cafe at the Play Space

For some down time, we drove out to Clearlake to let the little guy take out some energy.
There's a new place called the Play Space.  Naturally, by NASA, they played up the space theme.
Indoor playgrounds doesn't have to be all about the kids.  they can cater to the grown-ups too.

Here comes their cafe.  They have chips and quest, pretzel, hummus, tator tots.  Pizza by the slice or whole, house salad, cheeseburger, chicken tenders, chicken sandwich, and BLT.  Not all choices are bad here.

For kids, they have cheeseburger, chicken tenders, mini corn dogs, quesadilla, grilled cheese for $5 entree.  Sides for $2 they have tator tots, apple sauce, fruit cup, chips and salsa and yogurt pouch.  Dessert, they have ice cream sandwich, ice cream, candies.  For drinks they have the spiffy coke machine that are new and high tech with lots of variety.
Piece la resistance: they sell beer and wine.  Of course, do not get in the car with the littles after you have a drink.  Always get a DD especially if you have any kids with you.  But, in case you really can't stand the running around, screaming and bright lights, you can get an adult beverage and make the day more tolerable.  
We got slices of pizza, which is $3 each.  They immediate cook it there, since they have the rolling ovens on site.  And a drink.  Of course, they have candy galore for the kids, and also a popcorn machine in case you just need something to tie you over.

All that aside, they have lots of seating for grown-ups, some benches, some leather seats.  By the Cafe, there's also big screen TVs, not on kids channels, so you can catch up on your game, while your kid run around.  Beside the cafe, they have arcade games and you can get tickets for prizes.  They are really cheap so $10 goes a long way.  

Besides the kids area, they have a toddler area, and a baby area, in case their sibling is off playing and they're stuck.  Those areas are in the space amid all the space tunnels, so you can still keep an eye on the older kid if need be.

My favorite part of the place: right outside of the restroom area, they have sinks for hand washing and Lord knows, these places, you need to wash your hands constantly. They also have decent size party room, some can be partition off into smaller room, but you still get enough quiet to sing birthday songs and visit with your guests.

My tip, everyone should wear socks here.  They have ample shoe cubbies, so no worries there.  If not, for adults, they do have shoe covers.  Also, sign the waiver online before arrival.  It'll get your pay/check-in process, faster.

The Play Space
1020 W. NASA Pkwy
Ste 224
Webster, TX 77598