Posts tagged ‘houston’
Apparently, it’s been three years since either Lina or myself have updated our blog. Good news is, I feel like I have plenty to start writing about again.
So why the rebirth? Long story short is that I’ve gone from cute and chubby to cute and fat. So much so that it’s now affecting my health. So almost two months ago, I decided it was time to make a life change. That meant eating better and exercising. I love sweets, rice, and meat. Part of this change meant I needed to eat vegetables and fruits and cut down on the things that I love. I’ve had to find vegetables I do like and recipes to incorporate it with some protein. I’ve made quite a few dishes that I’ve enjoyed and have been placed in the “I will eat you again” pile and there’s others I’d rather not have again.
Recipes will be posted. Food will be showcased. Today’s real post is about my veggie purchase this week and how I ate broccoli and didn’t die!
Every once in a while, the hubby and I like to hit up the Eastside Farmer’s Market. There’s over 50 vendors, including food trucks and stands. This past weekend was absolutely beautiful, so I convinced him we needed to go.
Priorities. Breakfast. Let me start with, I loathe broccoli. I refuse to eat it. The smell makes me nauseous and in my opinion, anything that smells like that can’t possibly be edible. However, Shade & Canopy has a stand at the market and in trying to decide what to eat, I settled on this quiche:
It looked amazing and it smelled delicious, but it had broccoli in it. Oh yeah. All those little green specs is broccoli. I ate it, because I was hungry, and I thought I should give it a go since I’m trying to eat more veggies, and, amazingly, I didn’t die eating it. It was actually really good, but it was likely masked by the tomatoes, yellow squash, creamy eggs, italian sausage and smoked gouda all up in it, too.
We walked around a bit and people watched and doggie watched. There are so many cute dogs at the market. This is what we ended up with. The most difficult choice I had to make was which farm was I buying eggs from. We picked up two dozen eggs, a lovely acorn squash, beautiful cherry tomatoes, yellow squash and some really fresh bibb and green leaf lettuce. I plan on making some roasted tomatoes and squash thing, so I’m sure I’ll post about that soon.
It was nice to blog again. It really has been so long. On a side note, as of today, I’m down 23 pounds. ^_^
It’s Houston Restaurant Week!!! One of the reasons I love that my birthday is in August. hehe. For those not familiar with Houston Restaurant Week (HRW), it started in 2009 as a week long event where Houston restaurants offered their usually snazzy and pricey meals for a fixed price of $35.00. Each meal has your choice of appetizer, main entree, and dessert! And, for each meal sold, $5 will be donated to the Houston Food Bank. As I mentioned earlier, it started as a week long event, but it was so popular that it actually went on for 3 weeks.
This year, HRW runs from August 1-21. There are over 100 restaurants participating, so if you’re from Houston and haven’t been yet, you’ve still got time! It’s also for a good cause, so you’re doing your part for our community. So, as of today, I’ve eaten at two restaurants. I’m hitting up one more tomorrow, and probably a couple more before it ends next week. Keep in mind that HRW is reservation only. If you go to the site, reservations are easily made with OpenTable.
Tonight, however, I write to you about Ray’s Grill in Fulshear, TX which is right outside of the Katy/Richmond area. Most of you folks who live in the loop would never think to venture out that far, but I promise you, it is worth the trip. It is one of those hidden gems that you would never really know of unless someone told you. So, here I am, telling you.
The restaurant is quaint, but modern. There’s even a private room called The Maple Room at the back of the restaurant. The kitchen is open for all to see. The dimmed lights and live jazz band provided for a mellow ambiance. The staff was extremely friendly and we were seated promptly at one of the high tables viewing the kitchen. So my sister and I went on a Thursday night, which also happened to be Wine Tasting Night! I went in for food, and got to sample wine as well =) That makes for a happy Chelle!
**Note: I apologize for the low quality photos. I took them with my blackberry, and for you blackberry users, you know the photo quality is not up to par**
My sister was kind enough to give me her share as she is not the wine drinker. hehe. We were also first served their bread and cheese spread? I question it because we couldn’t decide if it was cheese or butter. That’s just how smooth it was and whatever herb/spice they put in it…yum. So, if someone from Ray’s is reading this, I’d really like you to know that the cheese(butter) spread is the bomb.com. But for HRW, their menu choices are listed here: http://www.raysgrill.com/wp-content/uploads/Menu-HRW2010.jpg
While my sister opted for the New England style seafood chowder, I decided on the jumbo lump crab cakes with a lemon butter sauce. They were delicious. I was nice and shared one with my sister, but I still remember the taste. See, the problem I find at some restaurants is that the crabcakes have too much “cake” and not enough crab. The breading with Ray’s crabcakes were perfect. The crab meat was fresh and it was just so rich and full of flavor. And that lemon butter was heavenly. YUM. I did also have a few spoonfuls of the seafood chowder. So tasty! Even tastier when you dip your bread in it. hehehe.
Doesn’t that look lovely? That my friends is the NY Strip Steak over a bed of french fries, topped with their barbecue sauce. My steak was properly cooked at medium well, flavorful and juicy. I usually find bbq sauce to be too tangy for my tastebuds, but Ray’s bbq sauce was just right. It was a great balance of sweet & tangy. My only complaint is that I wish there was a little more bbq sauce ^_^ The fries were fantastic. Sure, they’re just fries you think, but I love how crispy yet soggy they were. My favorite kind. ❤
And so we moved on to dessert. I honestly did not think I’d be able to eat any more food, but I had to be a soldier and go forth with my sweet treat. I present to you beignets with coffee ice cream. On my first bite, I cut off a piece of the most sugared beignet, took a spoonful of the coffee ice cream and had my first bite of delicious. There’s really no other way to describe it than that. The beignet wasn’t too heavy and the coffee ice cream had great flavor and wasn’t too rich. If I remember correctly, I ate maybe half of it. One serving is definitely enough for two, maybe even three if you’re in a sharing mood, but I guarantee you will fight for that ice cream.
Ray’s Grill also has Sunday brunch from 10:30-2:00. It’s a $20 buffet and I’ve been told by several people that it is excellent and not your typical brunch fare. I’ll be taking the family out there one of these Sundays. I appreciate the fact they are reservation only. My family is fairly big now. When we go somewhere and reservations are not allowed, it’s a pretty long wait to seat 7 people. We don’t have the patience for that when we’re hungry.
Thank you Ray’s for a fabulous dinner. I’ve already told my friends about you and I’m sure we’ll be back, because I’m dying to try that fried macaroni & cheese with lobster and white truffle. ^_^
I had dinner with Michael & Angela last Monday and they were like, so how do you feel about getting together once a week and each of us taking turns cooking dinner? Like it took much convincing, so of course I said sure! This week was my week, since I was “new” to the group.
Tonight’s menu was Korean BBQ (galbi), a simple soup with ground beef (since it was a bit cooler and soup is always good when the weather is like this), seaweed salad, and ultimate fudge brownies. Lots right? No worries. The only ones I made from scratch are the bbq and soup.
Korean BBQ: Marinating!
- 4-6 strips of short ribs (can be found at most Asian grocery stores)
- 3 tbsp. soy sauce
- 5 tbsp. water
- 4 tbsp. Korean rice wine
- 1 tbsp. Asian sesame oil
- 3 tbsp. corn syrup
- 6 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp. minced/grated ginger
- Pinch of black pepper
- 1 gallon size ziploc bag (or tupperware that’s big enough to fit all your bbq)
Depending on how your ribs were cut, you might want to wash them thoroughly to make sure there aren’t any stray bone pieces from the rib. The worst thing is trying to eat your bbq and biting into bone fragments. No fun. Once the meat is cleaned off, you’ll want to use a meat tenderizer (this is what i have) to mash the meaty part down to about 1/8th of an inch. You definitely don’t want your bbq too thick. It grills better when it’s thinned out.
In a bowl, wisk the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice wine, corn syrup, sugar, water, and sesame oil together. Place your meat in your ziploc bag or tupperware and pour in the marinade, making sure all the meat is covered. Refrigerate anywhere from 4 hours to overnight.
When you’re ready to cook, heat up your grill, shake off the excess marinade and toss it on the grill. For those who don’t have a grill, like myself, a panini press pan or any other stove top grill pan works just as well. You’ll want to cook it on each side about 5-7 minutes to give it a semi crunchy texture, yet it’s still so tender.
Served with seaweed salad, which I picked up at my local Korean grocery store (Super HMart, 1302 Blalock Rd.,Houston, TX 77055). I love this place really. They have tons of prepared kimchi, stewed potatoes, and other side dishes usually served with Korean bbq.
And here’s the soup. It was more experimental than anything and I won’t b e posting this recipe as I really threw alot of items together without measuring and I’d rather not give bad info on the recipe. I just wanted a simple soup with a flavorful broth and it worked! The basics though are garlic, onion, tomato, green beans, ground beef and water. Add salt, pepper, tamarind soup base seasoning, fish sauce or soy sauce (whatever makes you happy) to taste.
Oh and the brownies. Ghirardelli Ultimate Fudge Brownies are the awesomest. I don’t care if it’s not from scratch. These brownies are to die for.
It was a successful night. I’m exhausted and stuffed.
I’ve been craving omurice since the other night when I was talking to a friend about it. Living in Houston, I haven’t found any places that serve omurice. It makes me sad, so if any Houstonites know where I can find some, please let me know. Anyways, I figured this would be a yummy Sunday morning breakfast!
What is omurice anyways? Basically it’s a sweeter fried rice topped with a not fully cooked egg omelette. A demi-glaze sauce is what usually tops the omurice, but I’ve seen many recipes just use ketchup. The sweetness of the fried rice is due to the use of ketchup rather than soy sauce, and it’s cooked in butter rather than oil. I also overcooked the egg because I was concentrating on flipping it over and making it look pretty. Most recipes I found called for chicken and mushrooms in the fried rice, but I only had chinese sausage. heh. And, I’ve come to the realization that I suck at making pretty omelettes. =(
- 1 cup cooked white rice
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1/4 of an onion diced as mini as possible
- 1/2 stick of chinese sausage (diced in cubes)
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 tsp. ketchup (or enough to add color to the rice)
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 tsp salt & pepper
- 1 tbsp. butter
Add about 2 tbsp. of water into the rice and using your hands, separate the rice. Place to the side. Place butter in pan on med-high heat and allow it to melt. Add the garlic and onions and sautee. Add in chinese sausage and let it cook. Add rice and sautee. Add the ketchup and mix well until all the rice is colored a light red/brown tint. Plate rice once cooked.
For the omelette, whisk the 2 eggs, salt, and pepper in a bowl. In the same pan you used for your fried rice, add the other tbsp. of butter and let it melt. Add in your whisked eggs and let cook. As it cooks, fold over the bottom half of the omelette and then the top half of the omelette, so it kind of looks like a burrito. Once outside layer looks cooked, remove from pan and flip the egg upside down on top of your plated rice.Top with ketchup or hot sauce or whatever you like on your eggs!
You’ll know your egg is perfect if you cut a line right down the middle of your egg and it kind of spreads out over your rice. Mine was overcooked, but it was still delicious. I am going to perfect this one of these days. It’s such a quick and simple dish too.
On the corner of Shepherd and 59 lies Amy’s Ice Creams (http://www.amysicecreams.com/). You’ll see the cow sitting atop the shop with neon red lights. This lovely ice cream shop has been there for years and I can say I’ve only been a handful of times because, until recently, I lived too far. Based in Austin, the location off of Shepherd is the only location in Houston. Thanks to Miss Emmarose’s mention of it in a comment, I craved it and managed to convince a friend to come with and buy me some this Saturday night. Thanks Joseph ^__^ I am now a happy camper.
There’s a variety of flavors to choose from and the menu will often change as all ice creams are home made. Now, while you can pick and choose your ice cream flavors and toppings, they have some ice cream concoctions that are already pre-set. One such example would be the Cookie Monster. Your choice of ice cream with 3 different types of cookies mixed in.
Amy’s carries non-fat non-sugar yogurts, smoothies, fruit ices, etc. I have yet to venture from the ice cream, but I’ve been told the fruit ices are pretty delicious. Well, I’m sure the guy making the Cookie Monster was wondering why in the world I was taking photos of him smushing cookies into ice cream, and if he ever reads this he’ll stop and say, “Ahhh…that’s why…”. Tonight, I decided on sweet cream ice cream, with bananas and topped with hot fudge. Why not get a banana split you say? Because Amy’s says I don’t have to be like everyone else and get a banana split. I can get it mushed. And Marie had the rose ice cream. It actually tasted quite rosy.
Amy’s is fun and the decor is bright and even has a brick wall where people have left there mark at Amy’s with their permanent markers. It makes me wonder why so many people walk around with markers in their possession. Go. Get some ice cream. Go to Amy’s. They’re open late on weekends. =D
Thai Spice (http://www.thaispice.com) is a chain of Thai restaurants in the Houston area. I’ve been going for years and although some Thai aficionados may think differently, I still think Thai Spice has some of the best pad thai noodles. Ever. The good news is there’s now a Thai Spice in Katy, TX (1420 S. MASON RD. SUITE# 170, KATY, TX. 77450). Yes, you’ve seen it driving down Mason Rd. wondering when it would finally open, and now it has.
My family and I went there tonight around 7pm and it was just packed. You walk in and you sense a very modern East Asian vibe. The walls are a dark, yet calming green, and my favorite part really is the ceiling.
It looked like a pinwheel that spanned the entire ceiling. Anyways, this Thais Spice is not buffet style like some of their other restaurants. It’s more like placing your order, having a seat, and some nice young person brings your food out to you. The staff was very helpful, and granted it was their first night, I commend them for doing a great job under stress. The owners were walking around all night trying to make sure everyone was happy.
On to the food. During lunch, you have the option of choosing from their standard menu, or going through the line kind of cafeteria style. They have an awesome lunch special for $5.50 which includes steamed rice, 3 entrees, and unlimited soup and tea. Tonight, my family and I ordered quite a bit. For appetizers, we had the Thai chicken wings and the tempura calamari. I can only vouch for the wings, and I can say they were fantastic. The wings had this sweet yet spicy sauce over them and it was just great.
For the main dishes, we ordered my favorite pad thai noodles (first picture). At our table we also had green curry with pork, garlic and black bean sauce with shrimp, calamari, and scallops, and we had an order of the crispy soft shell crab served over green curry sauce, broccoli, and eggplant.
If you are not a big curry fan or even a big Thai food fan, they had other dishes like chargrilled pork w/steamed rice and fried egg (it’s what i had and it was yum). There are plenty of appetizers, soups, and salads to choose from. Another plus is the service of beer and wine. And let us not forget the dessert. May I suggest Eva’s Chocolate Cake? It is a nicely sized multi-layered chocolate cake with a chocolate ganash icing. Yum.
So if you’re out in Katy and you’ve been wanting to give Thai food a chance or if you were just looking for a new place close by, here’s your chance!
Empire Cafe, located off of Westheimer & Dunlavy (Houston, TX) is a quaint little spot that I’ve loved going to for years. It’s a great place to go on any given day, but especially great on a beautiful day, as they have plenty of outdoor seating. I enjoy going with friends and having a glass of wine with one of their decadent desserts (mmmm Italian creme cake). I behaved and did not get one that night. I know…For shame! I like that it’s within walking distance of the many boutique, thrift, and antique shops down Westheimer.
So this past Friday, my brother, sister and I hit up Empire because my brother wanted the Friday special. Friday special? I ask. See that delicious glazed salmon pictured above with asparagus and other veggies served over rice? That is the Friday special. My brother was kind enough to let us taste a bit of it. Absolutely delicious. The salmon was cooked just right and didn’t have that fishy taste salmon sometimes has.
I started backwards with this post, but my brother also ordered a mojito and I thought it looked pretty interesting. Mojitos are mojitos, but this was darned good. It wasn’t as strong, which I appreciated. I think for most people, you’re not there to get drunk. You’re there to enjoy the atmosphere and have a good drink on a lovely day. I think next time, I’ll grab a mimosa.
And a meal with my family wouldn’t be complete without an appetizer. That night we had *dips of the world*. An appetizer with baked pita bread and three different dipping sauces; a spinach & artichoke dip, black bean dip, and a marinara sauce. Personally, that spinach & artichoke dip was my favorite. I ate most of it. heh =)