Posts tagged ‘restaurants’

Turning a new leaf

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. ^_^

-chelle reina-sm


October 12, 2016 at 2:29 am Leave a comment

austin eats part 1

I went to Austin this past weekend just to get away. It was relaxing and I had a great time. I’ll have to post about it next time, but I’ve taken part of a wellness/health program at my Drs. office and for the first two weeks, I can only eat fruits and veggies. For a girl that loves meat and rice and chocolate, it’s been tough. Luckily, Austin is quite health conscious and I found great food while there.

First stop on Saturday was brunch at Eastside Cafe with my cousin and her husband. I hadn’t seen them in years and they said this place had yummy food and the freshest veggies. The restaurant is cozy, dainty, and the service was excellent. They grow their own veggies in the garden out back, which you can stroll around in while you wait for your table, and they raise their own chickens. I believe all their veggies served come straight from the garden. As you sit down, they bring out these mini cornbread muffins and oh how delicious they smelled.

I had a mixed greens salad with goat cheese and tossed in a rice wine vinaigrette. It tasted so different from what I’ve had before. It tasted so fresh. No photo, but everyone’s seen a salad before.  But, what I loved most was their roasted acorn squash with a soy ginger sauce.

Doesn’t that look awesome? I just took a fork, scraped the side, dipped a bit and took a bite. It was so tasty and I was in love. My cousin’s husband ordered a veggie burger, but my cousin ordered this artichoke manicotti, which is “Carrot pasta filled with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, pistachios, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese.  Topped with sun-dried tomato cream sauce and parmesan cheese.” I was jealous she got to eat that.

For the sake of a photo op, and because what kind of review is this without dessert? They were kind enough to eat this delicious cherry cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream. Aren’t they the sweetest? By the way, cherry cobblers and cherry pies are in my top 5 favorite desserts. I was brave and strong willed and did not falter. Behold.

As much as I wanted to take a bite of that, I couldn’t. Instead, I watched my cousin and her husband devour it. =( When I’m untubby and can eat that again, I’m coming back for sure. Haha! This is definitely a place to return to and Austinites, if you haven’t made it out to this place…GO!! They take reservations, prices are decent, and food is delicious.

– chelle

May 21, 2010 at 2:40 am 1 comment

Nirvana Café, Sri Lankan food in Manhattan


I would describe Sri Lankan food as spicy and pungent (which may scare off people more than the spice part). These were from a visit earlier this month but I was sidetracked by other stuff, so finally here are the pictures from the Nirvana Café 218 3rd Ave New York, NY 10010. (Menu)

We missed the lunch buffet but there is the dinner special. Get one entrée and the second one is half off.


Passion fruit cordial and Faluda (mixture of milk, rose syrup, and jelly). The sweet drinks really helped to curb the spice load.


We had the Appetizer Assortment (platter of three cutlets, spring rolls and vadais/lentil cake). The cutlet is like a knish with tuna, I really liked it. The spring rolls were good with the spicy dipping sauces. The lentil cakes were hard and I didn’t really care for them.


We really filled up too much on the appetizers. So the Eggplant Moju side was really unnecessary. It’s a deeply caramelized dish of onions and eggplant, its okay, would’ve been better paired with plain rice.



For entrées; I had the String Hopper Kottu: shredded, steamed rice noodles sautéed with vegetables and egg served with fish curry sauce (had to contend with some small bones, not too many). Evan had the Lamprai: dutch-style savory rice accompanied with a curry, sweet-spicy onion relish (seeni sambol) fish cutlet, ash plantain and shrimp blachan (malay shrimp paste) wrapped altogether in a banana leaf. The shrimp paste gave it a really strong smell but the taste wasn’t as strong. It was a lot of food, we end up taking home half our plates and most of the eggplant. I had the Curd and Treacle (forgot to take pic) for dessert, it’s a tart yogurt drizzled with honey (good for digestion). Next time I want to try more desserts and maybe cut back on the appetizers.

lina-sm.gif – Lina

March 24, 2008 at 7:56 am 2 comments

Azuma Sushi & Robata Bar


Azuma is located in the heart of the Rice Village area ( 5600 Kirby Dr, Ste 5, Houston, TX 77005), right off Kirby. The decor is modern, with a hint of traditional Japanese flair. The wait staff, hostesses, and even the managers have been friendly and very helpful the past few times I’ve been. Azuma also has a nice wine & sake list, which I have yet to sample. I’ve been here 3 times in the past two weeks. I’m really loving this place.

Sushi. I’ve tried several times, and I must tell you, as much as I’ve tried to eat sushi, I can’t. Sushi and I just aren’t meant to be. So, I try everything else and this time around I tried their shrimp tempura, which is served with miso soup & rice. Their miso soup is delicious and I love the tenderness of the jumbo battered shrimp. They also have a variety of beef, seafood, pork, and chicken dishes. Another dish that you must absolutely try is the Azuma hot rock beef. You can choose from their standard beef or their kobe beef. Basically it’s about 6 oz. of beautifully sliced beef which comes with this extremely hot (so hot it’s red) rock that you in turn cook the beef on. They offer a side of their mango ginger sauce and their terriyaki sauce for dipping the meat in. It was inventive and the rock stayed hot until I cooked all my beef.

P.S. My friends who’ve had the sushi thought it was really good, so I’ll just have to take their word for it. And, when they say spicy tuna roll, they really mean spicy tuna.


Azuma also serves robata dishes. These are different meats, seafood, pork, chicken grilled on a hot plate. Now, the grilling is mainly done in the back and what comes out are these cute and tasty grilled appetizers. I’ve had a few of the items already and I would highly suggest the Japanese short ribs. Oh they’re my favorite. Also, my friend enjoyed the lightness & taste of the grilled calamari (pictured above).


I’m a little upset that I couldn’t get a better photo of Azuma’s friend banana tempura w/ice cream. It was good, but you can’t really go wrong with banana tempura, and ice cream makes everything taste better. I would have to say that the dessert menu could have more items on it, but what they do have, and I don’t have a photo of, is MOCHI ICE CREAM. For those who’ve never had mochi before, it’s a Japanese sticky rice dough with an ice cream filling (mochi wiki). At Azuma, they serve you with green tea, red bean, mango, and vanilla mochi. The green tea is my favorite. It’s light and cute and full of yum.

reina-sm.gif –Chelle

February 9, 2008 at 6:43 am 2 comments

Restaurant Week NYC, a wonderful dinner at Dévi

My trusty cookbooks (by Suvir Saran owner/chef of Dévi)

First off, I didn’t bring a camera with me, and even if I did, it was really dark inside so I doubt I could’ve gotten any good shots. This week (and last week) is New York Restaurant Week. It’s a great opportunity to eat at some restaurants that you were saving for a special occasion but never got around to. Dévi (8 E. 18th St., New York, NY 10003) is a really nice though pricey (for moi) Indian restaurant near Union Square. I’ve been dying to go there for the past year, ever since I bought Indian Home Cooking.

This is the first time I ever ate at a Michelin star rated* (1 star) restaurant (I’m frugal). The Hubby and I got the prix-fixe three course dinner (menu). I had the Grilled Scallops (with roasted red pepper chutney, Manchurian cauliflower, spicy bitter-orange marmalade), the scallop (it was just one) and roasted pepper chutney had a great smoky flavor combo, followed by Tandoori Prawns (yogurt marinated with crispy okra salad and spicy eggplant). The Manchurian cauliflower was a great surprise, it was mind-blowing. You can definitely taste a Chinese influence and made me a cauliflower convert. The Pawns were succulent and the crispy okra was equally great.
The hubby had the Goan Shrimp Balchao Bruschettas (with onion-tomato marmalade, red chiles, vinegar, on brioche bread) and Poori aur Tari Wale Aloo (puffy bread, spiced potato curry, fenugreek chutney). We ordered extra sides of Garlic Naan (bread), Saag (spinach) with mushrooms, and Ragda Chaat (potato cakes, white peas, tamarind and mint chutneys), which were completely unnecessary but we wanted to taste as many things as we can in one go.
We were pretty stuffed before we moved onto desserts but that didn’t stop me from enjoying my kulfi falooda (Indian ice cream, falooda noodles, rose milk) and the goat cheese ice cream from the hubby’s fig cake (with wine macerated figs, mascarpone, ginger caramel sauce, goat cheese ice cream). We also had to try the mango lassi along with some Mint Lavender tea to go with dessert. At the end I was happily full and dying to try recreating the Manchurian cauliflower at home. In fact, we went straight to Whole Foods afterwards and picked up a head of cauliflower (I bought other stuff too, I’m sane, I swear!).
* but Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery might count. Their pastries are heavenly.
lina-sm.gif L

January 29, 2008 at 6:38 am 1 comment

The Chocolate Bar

No, not a bar of chocolate, but a bar for chocolate. I first visited The Chocolate Bar ( 1835 W Alabama St., Houston, TX 77098) a few years ago when a friend of mine mentioned it to me. Since that one time, I have absolutely loved the place and take anyone who hasn’t been there yet. So, when an out of town friend told me she liked chocolate, I thought what better place to go than The Chocolate Bar.

This place has its own chocolate shop adjacent to the “bar” area where you can find an assortment of chocolates, from seasonal designs to your chocolate covered bon bons. But, I must say my favorite area is the bar area. The walls are a bold purple, adorned with candy inspired movie type posters and randomly placed disco balls hanging from the ceiling. There’s plenty of seating, although it doesn’t seem like plenty on a busy Friday night.

So since we were full from dinner, we decided to share a slice of cake. Do you see how gigantic that happy slice of heaven is? Do you see the bottle of milk behind it? You’ll surely need it to get through your decadent dessert. We decided on a slice of Uncle Darryll’s chocolate cake. This moist, 4 layer chocolate cake had the richest, yet lightest chocolate filling. It was covered with what seems like a chocolate ganache and then topped with toffee bits. It was fantastic. Between the two of us, we still couldn’t finish it.

Besides their different varieties of cakes, they also serve their own home made ice cream. I’ve had it in the past, and I think the one I’ve deemed my favorite is the one with white and dark chocolate bits in it. It was just all sorts of yum, and if it wasn’t so chilly, I probably would have had some tonight. I have yet to try everything on their menu, but one of these days I will. There is also fresh brewed coffee and a killer hot chocolate. The staff has always been friendly and helpful and my trips have always been pleasant. I believe the desserts are moderately and reasonably priced, anywhere from $6.95 and $9.95, for the portion of cake/pie you get. Others may disagree, but I have no problem throwing down for some good old chocolate cake.

The Chocolate Bar is a place “Where every hour is happy hour” (yups, that’s their motto). It truly is. Sitting there and enjoying good chocolatey desserts and good company makes a cold Friday night feel remarkably warm.

reina-sm.gif –Chelle

January 26, 2008 at 6:56 am 2 comments

Té House of Tea

Té House of Tea ( 1927 Fairview St. Houston, TX 77019) is snuggled between Montrose & Shepherd, right on the corner of Woodhead & Fairview. The ambience is very mellow, and I noticed that the second we walked in today, with the soft reggae playing over the speakers. There’s a butterfly hanging from the ceiling, photos (for sale) hanging decoratively along the walls, and the cutest tea pots/sets/cups displayed throughout the cafe. The seats are comfy and the whole place gives off this cozy vibe.

It’s definitely a place I’d go to on a relaxing Saturday morning or afternoon for some tea. However, as I learned today, it’s not somewhere I’d go for my quick one hour lunch from work. This place is really just somewhere you go and meet friends, have a good talk, share a crepe (or get your own, because those things are DELICIOUS). I had eyed the menu before heading over there, and decided on the roasted chicken & brie panini, which comes with a salad, all for the lovely price of $5.95. I did not know there was going to be cranberry sauce on my panini. I’m not a cranberry sauce kind of girl, so my friend was kind enough to share her margherita panini with me (pictured above). It was divine. The fresh tomato, melted mozarella, and basil served on a perfectly herbed foccacia bread really hit the spot. OH!! The salad was great too. I’m not sure what type of vinaigrette they used, but I really liked it.

I should have gotten tea, but didn’t this time. I wanted to be able to enjoy it, and not be in a rush to finish it. My friend did get a small pot of their Strawberry Fields Green Tea. She’s not a tea drinker, so it really wasn’t her cup of tea. It did smell fabulous, though.

So I leave yall on a happy note. The highlight of my meal was the crepe with chocolate spread, topped with fresh strawberries, whip cream and powdered sugar (see below). It was like a taste bud orgasm. You can choose from a variety of spreads and fresh fruits. That crepe was certainly the best I’ve had. I’m definitely going back for more.

reina-sm.gif –Chelle

January 23, 2008 at 5:00 am 5 comments

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