Tuesday, April 30, 2019

McCormick & Schmick - Happy Hour

Another Happy Hour favorite...
I always love McCormick & Schmick's.  It's cheap and have enough variety.
Got my fav: midori sour.  It taste like Apple Jolly Rancher.
Their Blackened Chicken Quesadilla, that has chicken, peppers, onion, sour cream with Pico to top.
Calamari plate which has more than just calamari.  Really Frito Misto, it had some veggie, pepper that were fried as well.  Not heavy, pretty light.  I'd say that's a cross between a panko coating and a bread coating for the batter.
Truffle fries, because they're like crack.
Top of the photo: Hummus, I like that they provided veggie for dipping so it's not just pita chips.  It is also a chickpea hummus, which is light and airy, not too stuffed.

I always like their Happy Hour, good deal, good food, and you always walk away filled.  At the City Centre location, they also have some daily specials on oysters, tacos, and avocado toast, so check out the menus.

McCormick & Schmick
City Centre
791 Town & Country Blvd
Houston, TX 77024

Monday, April 29, 2019

Blanco Tacos & Tequila

Went to try a new place for Happy Hour.
It's has entrance from the mall and also one on the outside.  When the weather is nice, the outside patio seating is super comfortable and nice.
I got the White Sangria.  Not too sweet, but definitely aren't as fruity as I'm used to.
They give you plenty of chips and salsa.  We just ordered queso, they came with sour cream and pico.  You know me, I don't turn down queso ever.  So, I lapped them up while I can.

Happy hour has great specials on drinks.  Mostly drinks, not too much food, about 7 items, but you can always go to the regular menu.

Sadly, I wasn't there for very long, I do know that the other folks ordered the tacos and had great feedback.  I guess I'll just have to make another trip for Happy Hour.  Twist my arm. LOL

Blanco Taco & Tequila
5115 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77056

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Cafe Poetes - afternoon tea

This is a picture heavy post, you've been warned.
For my birthday, I decided to grab a few girlfriends and get dolled up to go for afternoon tea in Midtown.
Been eyeing on this very instagrammable place for a while and can't wait to see for myself.
For those who are not imbibing they offer Lavender Lemonade, super cute also yummy.
For those who imbibe, they serve a glass of the Kir Royal or Rose Champagne, I oped for the latter.  Still very pretty.
To start, we were offered soup, either beet gazpacho or chicken soup.  Not realizing it's so small, but still very delicious, I got the chicken soup.  I was thinking, if I come to lunch and get this, is not a bad choice at all.
Viola!  La piece de resistance!
First, is the savor sandwiches.
Their twist: served on eclairs.  There were salmon, chicken and mozzarella eclairs.  All are delectable.
Then, comes the quiche, there were Lorraine and Mushrooms.  We split to try some, and both are good choices here.  Apparently, the normal size quiche is a slice of pie size so this is a mini one.
Then, we were served Madeleines with Marmalade, basically in place of the English scones.  The Madeleines were lightly lemon flavored, so if you pair with the orange marmalade it's very delightful.  Gosh, I feel like Paddington Bear just drooling about marmalade. 
Then comes the sweets, there were Chocolate and Pistachio Eclairs, meringue cookies.  The hearts are shortbread cookies that reminded me a non-ginger gingerbread cookie.  Same consistency but not the heavy flavor.  The middle are caramel choux, which surprisingly was my least favorite, not sure why but that just wasn't what I expected taste bud-wise.
As you can see, the place is not big but filled with thoughtful decorations.
They really want to give you a small piece of Paris in the bustle town of Houston.

So, a few things.  For tea, I called ahead and made a reservation.  Mainly because we have a large group, and the other is to make sure they have sets of tea for us.  They do use real Parisian if not French ex-pats that works here.  If you want to brush up your French, this is a good opportunity.  I will say, learning French for as long as I did (by no means fluent but can order food or get directions), I am truly embarrassed that I can't understand our server very well.  So much so that they sent us an American server to explain what we're getting.  That said, the owners came and pour tea and served couple of times to ensure we're having a great experience, which we did.

In terms of tea with our tea set, we were offered several kinds:  Early Grey, Pearlicious (our favorite), Herbal mix (also a favorite), Ginger Peach, and English Breakfast.  All are not over empowering and light and refreshing to go with the food and not be overwhelmed by the taste buds.  

I highly recommend you call ahead and see if a reservation is needed before coming here.  We did see many people didn't know where to go once they arrived.  That said, besides indoor seatings, they also have seatings out on the patio, so no need to worry.  They'll manage to fit you in somehow.

In regards to parking: they do have a small lot behind their building.  If not an unofficial lot is right next to that, which we've seen cars parked on it.  Of course, street parking are allowed just make sure you read all the signs and follow them.  There are a few one-way streets surrounding the cafe.

Cafe Poetes
122 West Gray
Houston, TX 77019

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Chung Wang BBQ

Driven around Asian Town in Katy a few times and saw this and curious.
It's super casual, you order at the counter and you grab a seat.  They mostly do to-go order, but they do have a few seatings at the shop.
I got the Jasmine tea, they do have a few drinks for sell, changes between a few different ones.
Got my 'go-to' dish: BBQ pork with chicken over rice.  They threw in a few bok choy in there.  I will say the Char Siu (BBQ pork) was done very well.  Very authentic and highly recommend.  The Chicken maybe because I got mostly bones and not much meat, but can't really say the taste is to par or not.  Usually, when they drizzle the ginger vinegar on top of the chicken, I cannot resist and would finish it all, but I didn't get that feeling.  That said, the pork did make up for it.

We ordered food to take home as well.  It was stir fry beef rice noodle.  It has lots of heat from the Wok, but sadly it has the color but not the taste.  Hopefully it'll improve overtime.

Chung Wang BBQ
23199 Colonial Parkway 
Suite B-1
Katy, TX 77449

Monday, April 22, 2019

Pepper Twins (Montrose)

Went back to Montrose area for Chinese.
Now, Pepper Twins, it was at the former Cooking Girl location in Montrose.
Grab their rose tea, smell nice and tasted good.
This is their Hot Diving Fish, and the outer pieces aren't as hot as the ones in the center.  There are a bunch of pepper and chili oil hidden underneath.  That said, even this wimp (me) can handle it fine.
Bok Choy
Stir Fry Green beans.
Dan Dan Noodles, the sauce is at the bottom, and there's no meat in this version.  And when you get these, you have to mix it all up.  Otherwise, by the time you get to the bottom of the bowl, it'll be very spicy.  

Not pictured, Pineapple Fried Rice, it had pineapple and shrimp and it's very generous with the shrimp.  Definitely worth getting it.

I love eating with a big group, that way you get to try out different dishes.  Even though we were eating meat-less due to Lent, it was not hard to get dishes.  

The only thing about this location is that if you come on a Thursday/Friday/Saturday night, come somewhat early.  That way you find some parking.  They do have valet next door, and had I been desperate enough, that would've been an option.  Also, they do close at 9pm, so watch your timing.

Pepper Twins 
315 Fairview St
Houston, TX 77006

Thursday, April 18, 2019


When there's a food truck, I'm naturally curious...
This is not your regular ice cream trucks.  They have all sorts of fancy sundaes, floats, milkshake.  Ice Cream of sorts of course.
We got a milkshake.  It's the good o' fashion thick you have to suck your face in type milkshake.  That said, it melts nicely and every sip is fully of real ice cream.  That said, it cost $6, which is on the higher side in terms of price.  But I do want to give small businesses a chance.

If you want to find the truck, they are pretty up-to-date on their site: http://www.moooseum.com/calendar

Moooseum Ice Cream Truck

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Original Ninfa's

Gosh, haven't been to the Original Ninfa's since the early 2000s.  Not because it wasn't good, the parking is not as accommodating as it is now.  The neighborhood hasn't been 'fixed up' until now.
I forgot how small the inside is, there's alot of great seating outside, so for good weather, that's worth while.  You don't have to valet, but as it gets later, there might not be an option to self-park.
While we already started with various appetizers, I ended up ordering Xochitl.  I haven't had their famous chicken soup for many years.  I love how the broth is simple but rich in flavor and the chicken is well cooked and seasoned.  It comes with rice, avocado, pico, and tortilla strips.  You can choose to dump all of that into the soup.  I only did the rice and the pico to add to the flavor.  It got plenty already, I was just greedy.  

Everyone from my boss to my coworkers were looking at me like crazy.  The company is paying for dinner and all I ordered was chicken soup.  They just never had this before to understand how rich in flavor the is.  This is not chicken soup for your soul, it's chicken soup for your belly.  It's nice and comforting and definitely don't get enough cred.  

If you do go to the original location, make sure you check several things.  First, make sure you make a reservation, because on any given night they are busy.  Simply because the brand is famous.  Second, check if there's any activity going on in that part of downtown, such as baseball, soccer, parade, concert, or anything else.  That will impact how you get there.  Besides cutting thru downtown, you can also cut thru I-45.  So, check before you go.  If you're going to the sporting events, they do have a shuttle service make sure you call in advance.

Original Ninfa's
2407 Navigation Blvd.
Houston, TX 77003

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Tiger Noodle House

Happened to walk by Village looking for food...
Came across this new place, looked interesting, thought heck, why not.
To our surprised, they have Xiao Long Bao, they have pork and chicken to choose from.  One order comes in 10 pieces, plenty to go around.
Then I ordered the Taiwanese Sausage Rice bowl.  The sausage is much like the other Chinese Sausage, it is dried, densely packed and the fat inside is what you use to cook the sausage.  The Taiwanese part is the minced braised pork with the mix of dark and light soy sauce over them.  You can see, it is an accompaniment, but it is actually comfort food for many.  It comes with a boiled egg, and also small bed of cabbage over a layer of rice.  It does deliver the homey feel to the dish.  You do feel like eating something comforting.  Definitely worth going back for.

The place decor is not typical, it looks more like a sit down cafe than a Chinese restaurant.  Maybe because it's near Rice, and the crowds are mostly students they decorated it more young and hip.  But to me, as long as the food is good, I don't have to look at the decor.

Tiger Noodle House
2424 Rice Blvd
Houston, TX 77005

Monday, April 15, 2019

Ishin Udon

Last time at Ishin Udon, I saw some Italian Style Udon, got me curious.
Came back to check that out:
But first, got some Iced Green Tea
For appetizer, I got the sweet potato tempura, my favorite.
Then, I got the Crab Meat Truffle Cream Udon.  So, the noodle is still udon instead of the pastas.  There are justified amount of crab meat, mushroom, veggie, but they really poured on the truffle oil in the cream.  You can taste it in the sauce, but it's so overpowering that it wasn't as enjoyable as I'd thought it'd be.

As usual, the staff are friendly and food serves very quickly.  But don't feel rush to leave, they're very courteous about not making you feel rushed.  This time I showed upon the middle of lunch service on a weekend, and was seated quickly and over all meal, did not take a full hour.

Ishin Udon
9630 Clarewood
Ste A15B
Houston, TX 77036

Thursday, April 11, 2019


Haven't gone to Bellagreen at City Centre since they've changed from Ruggles Green.
If you go early enough, parking is not an issue and you can get the front row seat of whatever going on in the Greens.  
I got their version of Huevos Rancheros, which is on tostadas instead of a big o' mush.  It is layered by beans, eggs, queso fresco and ranchero sauce.  I added a side of bacon for protein.  Plus, who doesn't like bacon, amirite?!  

This is definitely a cleaner way of eating Huevos Rancheros until you got to the egg yolk, where it just slimes everywhere.  So lesson learned, get scramble it's easier.  Of course, if you're an Egg-cellent egg-eater, and can handle the dripping, by all means.  Otherwise, safest bet is scrambled.

Like I mentioned earlier, if you go to City Centre early enough it is very manageable.  We were able to get an awesome parking, for free and enjoyed the scenery, weather until the activities at the Greens started to get set up and people starts to show up.  Otherwise, it is pretty leisurely.

City Centre
800B Town and Country Blvd
Houston, TX 77024

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Cafe Bustelo

Been seeing this in various instagram account.
I was just attracted by the colors and the graphic that's very mid-century like.
Love this neon sign.
Even their cups are bright colored, and it's to match the coffee they sell.
I got the Cafe Con Chocolate, of course the chocolate was yummy but the coffee really makes a huge difference.  I've never had Cuban coffee before, so this was an interesting experience.  If you're a regular coffee drinker, you can tell the taste is a bit more intense for the base espresso, and with a faint hint of chocolate.
They do sell some food, not a lot of food offering, per se.
Grabbed a Spinach and cheese empanada.  It's not alot, but it is something.
Cool art on the side of the shipping container, it has stairs that leads to more seating upstairs (aka top of the shipping container).  On a nice day, that's not a bad idea to enjoy a nice cup of coffee.
The ropes there, aren't a joke, on a weekend day, the line does get thru that long.  Luckily, every time I went, it's been between lulls.  Not that there weren't people coming or waiting, but not out the door like that.
So, you know the 4-1-1.  They are only open from 7am - 4pm.  As to where to park, the restaurant next door has that parking space behind the shipping container.  But if you go while the restaurant is not open, feel free to park there.  Otherwise, street parking is perfectly fine.

Everyone there is friendly and fully expect that you're not a regular and have questions, which they happily assist.  If you sign up to their rewards program, your 2nd drink is free.  Or you can get more points as you make more purchases.  It's not a bad deal. Since this is a pop up, this will go thru May 25th.  So, if you want to give them a shot, go soon!

Cafe Bustelo
3615 Montrose
(near UST)
Houston, TX