Dec 18, 2014

Eats: Boston Tea Party in Bristol Clifton

Love this great find! Here's the thing, after being in UK for several days, the boys are still jet lagged. It doesn't help that they're also sick. I actually don't care about adjusting their body clock. The only caveat is trying to find a place that serves breakfast later than 11am. 

Luckily, BTP serves breakfast all day! They have a very extended breakfast menu, everything from full English breakfast to pancakes in maple syrup. The food was done really well. I wish I took pictures of our food but, it was total chaos at our table. Just trust me when I say, it was good! And toddler approved!

The one picture I took doesn't do justice in capturing how quaint this cafe is. They get double thumbs up for being kid friendly - kid menu, high chairs at the upstairs dining room, and a changing table in the restroom!

Boston Tea Party
1 Princess Victoria St
Bristol Clifton

Aug 30, 2014

Eats: 2014 Houston Restaurant Week at Brasserie 19

With two babies around, I didn't to do a whole lot of HRWs this year. Since I can only do a couple, I was very selective with my restaurant choices. Brasserie 19's menu was one my whole family agreed on to have our family dinner at.

Since we had a big group, I made reservations weeks in advance. I highly suggest making reservations if you're planning to dine here on a Friday or Saturday night as this place gets packed! And if you have small ones like me, come early.

Last time I came here, I sat outside which I prefer if the weather permits. It's quieter outside and more space between tables. Inside gets really loud and the seating is really tight. They do have booths along the wall that made it easy to sit the carseat on.

On to the food...

HRW menu here was $35. For my starter, I chose the foie gras torchon. The torchon itself was good but the side condiments was way too sweet. As you can see below, the torchon was really small. When we were ordering, my brother asked how big it was going to be and the waiter replied about 4 oz. Umm, yeah... it wasn't even an ounce.
Foie Gras Torchon
pink peppercorn, strawberry jam, basil, pistachio

For my main course, I had the coq au vin. I was very happy with this dish. It was spot on, rustic French. The size of this dish made up for the minuscule torchon. In fact, I couldn't finish it and asked for a to-go box (very un-French).
Coq Au Vin
braised half hen, red wine, wild mushroom, bacon lardons, pearl onions, egg noodles

My dessert was the lemon bavarian. I was hoping by ordering a lemony dessert it would be refreshing. Unfortunately, the lemon curd itself was too sweet for my liking.
Lemon Bavarian
toasted marshmallow, shortbread crumble, lemon curd

Despite some things being too sweet, overall I enjoyed my dinner. After two visits here, I think it's one of the better French restaurants in town. And it helps that the service was quick and efficient despite it being a packed. I'm not crazy about how loud the restaurant gets but it made me not feel bad about bringing my toddler and baby since no one can hear them anyway. 

In reality, my babies did fine. Even the unruly toddler who has the tendency to climb out of his highchair and run around the restaurant. He behaved himself and stayed seated the whole time. Of course it was with the help of "nanny" iPad which I don't normally take with me but I did this time since we were having three-course meals. It also helped that I brought his favorite foods with me. It kept him busy munching the whole time.

Side note: if you're celebrating a birthday here, notify the staff. They'll bring out a cotton candy... with sparklers... in a trophy.

Brasserie 19
1962 W. Gray St.
Houston, TX 77019

Jun 29, 2014

Eats and More: First Day of Ramadan and Iftar

Today, Al Khobar felt like a ghost town. It's the first day of Ramadan.

I needed to go grocery shopping... yesterday! But, I heard it could be a mad house at the grocery stores with people stocking up for Suhoor (the meal eaten before fasting) and Iftar (meal eaten to break fast). So, I decided to go this morning. Smart idea! Nobody was out and about. I had the grocery store pretty much to myself and a handful of other foreigners.

To my surprise, it was still a ghost town when we ventured out for dinner right before 7pm. I thought it would be crazy with people trying to go out for Iftar. Perhaps it was the first day and everyone was celebrating at home? Perhaps it was too early? When I called Pattis France, they told me they had tables available for Iftar tonight however, for tomorrow night I would have to book a table. So perhaps it is the first.

Pattis France is one of our favorite restaurants in Al Khobar. Like many restaurants in town, they offer special Iftar buffets during Ramadan. Prices are SR135 for adults, SR75 for kids, and children under 6 are free. Since they are a French cafe, their buffet was a mix of Middle Eastern and Western food.

Being this was my first Iftar, I truly enjoyed my experience. The food was good and I got a taste of what people normally eat here when they break fast.

Table setup

Appetizers and Main Course Buffet

Traditional Iftar Drinks
I didn't quite understand what they are. The left one was super
sweet and a bit spicy. The right one was a yogurt drink of sort. 

Dessert Buffet
The middle one is Umm Ali, which is an Egyptian
bread pudding that's very popular here.

Arabic Coffee
I still can't get used to this. It doesn't taste like coffee
at all! More like a herbal drink I used to "have" to drink
in Indonesia (jamu).

May 23, 2014

Eats: BRC Gastropub Revisited

Last time I posted about BRC, it made me crave their brussel sprouts. So, while the hubs was in town, we made our way there for lunch. In addition to the brussel sprouts, we shared their foie gras burger. After being pregnant two years in a row and knowing I only had days left in the States, I didn't care about calories... I wanted to splurge! Dang, it was worth it!

We like this restaurant because it has good beer selection for the husband, a kids menu of sort (although the toddler wasn't a fan of their mac 'n cheese), and a dog-friendly patio for the... dog.

JR's Le Fat Fatboy
foie gras, onion-bacon jam, arugula, green garlic mayo, 
avocado, marinated tomato, potato bun

BRC Gastropub
519 Shepherd
Houston, TX

May 22, 2014

Eats: Caracol

Caracol opened in mid-December by the same chef behind Hugo's restaurant. It intrigued me since its focus is on Mexican coastal cuisine as oppose to regional Mexican cuisine that of Hugo's.

At first, it was a little confusing to find. My iPhone map kept directing me to Arcodoro/ Canyon Cafe shopping center when in fact, it's located on the ground floor of the new BBVA Compass building. I had limited time so when I arrived, I just valet parked my car. I read you can self park in the visitor parking garage, just bring the ticket with you so the staff could validate it.

Since I wasn't sure how packed they were for lunch, I called ahead of time to see if reservations was needed. The hostess said, no. Sure enough, my mom and I were seated immediately when we arrived. After placing our order, our waitress brought out an amuse bouche of shrimp soup that was really good - had a little kick to it. This turned out to be the second highlight of our meal.

Since it was just the two of us, to try as many dishes as we could, we opted for the 2 for $22 lunch special and ordered one dish from the regular menu. This also allowed us some room for dessert. Overall, their food was good, some dishes were better than others. Of the three that we ordered, we definitely liked the ceviche the most. I probably would've liked the pulpo (octopus) had I tasted it first but, having had the ceviche, the flavors from that overpowered the pulpo.

For lunch, their service was a little slow. At the rate they were going, I wasn't sure if we were going to have time for dessert but, I was determined to have some so, we ordered one before we were even done with our meal. I'm glad we did because their churros is so deliciously addictive! It was definitely the highlight of our meal.

Amuse bouche
shrimp soup

Ceviche de Caracol
conch, pineapple, ginger, jalapeno

Ensalada de Pulpo
grilled octopus salad, roasted potato, carrot, celery leaves, pumpkin seed dressing

"Texas T Kobe" Carne Apache
Kobe tri-tip, jicama, corn, squash, avocado-tomatillo salsa

Pineapple marmalade stuffed churros served with rum raisin ice cream

2200 Post Oak Blvd, Suite 160
Houston, TX 

Apr 23, 2014

Eats: Mama Yu

Since my last post on Mama Yu, my family and I have visited it multiple times. Sometimes we dine-in but, most of the time it's take-out.

The family who opened Mama Yu are Javanese. Because of that, their specialty is in Javanese and Sundanese cuisine. I know that means nothing to most of you so I'll just give you my recommendations:
  • Ayam Kremes (whole fried chicken with crunchy flakes). Get this, you won't regret it. Their version is very authentic.
  • Mie Ayam Jawa (stir-fry yellow noodle with chicken). You can ask to substitute the chicken with beef. It's typically a non spicy dish but you can ask them to cook it spicy. 
  • Nasi Padang Rendang (rice with beef rendang and various sides). They also have a chicken version but, I prefer the beef rendang one. 

They have different specials every weekend. Check out their Facebook page for updates. Of their weekend specials, I've had:
  • Lontong Sayur
  • Nasi Rames Pepes Ikan (rice dish steamed fish in banana leaf with deep fried tofu and tamarind soup served with spicy shrimp paste sauce)
I highly recommend both!

They used to offer passion fruit soda but, lately I don't see it offered anymore. They still serve teh botol though and that's good enough for me!

Lontong Sayur

Mie Goreng Jawa (with chicken)

Sate Padang

Nasi Padang Rendang (with beef rendang)

Nasi Padang Ayam (with chicken)

Mama Yu
10815 Beechnut
Houston, TX

Apr 7, 2014

Eats: Chuan's

The first time I ate at Chuan's was on Chinese New Year. I kinda stumbled upon it because I didn't feel like fighting Chinatown traffic that night. It sounded interesting so I decided to try it out with my family. We really liked the food and I would've blogged about it earlier but, I was with my family and before I could take any pictures, all the food was gone! Yup, my family don't mess around.

When we paid, they gave us a coupon for future visit. Since then, my life has been a little hectic. I totally forgot I had this coupon until my mom reminded me.

I like this place compared to Mala Sichuan because they're not as oily and salty. It's also an added bonus they're closer to me than going to Chinatown.

Twice Cooked Pork w/ Szechuan Guokui
As you can see, they serve this dish with buns. Similar concept to Peking duck, you stuff the pork in between the buns. The buns itself is rather bland but, it's useful to soak up grease from the pork belly. My British husband joked it was basically a bacon butty, Szechuan style. Yes, I suppose it is!

Chongqing Spicy Chicken
I'm not a big fan of this but my brother was. He dubbed it the perfect beer snack.

Stir-fry Snow Pea Leaf
I like their's because it's not as oily compared to other Chinese restaurants around town.

Steamed Tilapia
Not exactly Szechuan style dish but my son loves it so this was his dish. Yes, he can almost finish a whole fish to himself.

5901 Westheimer Rd (at Fountainview)
Houston, TX

Eats and More: Doughmaker Doughnuts at Midtown Mobile Cuisine

More and more food truck parks are popping around Houston. The most recent (that I know of) is Midtown Mobile Cuisine that just had their grand opening this past weekend. They're located on Almeda Rd under US-59 overpass.

Considering this was their grand opening weekend, there weren't a lot of food trucks in attendance - when I went, there were only five. Perhaps with time they'll have more food trucks around...

The only food truck that caught my interest that day was Doughmaker Doughnuts. I recently followed them on Facebook. They've only been in operation for about 3 weeks. They have donut flavors like blueberry lemon, orange pistachio, coconut caramel, and apple caramel to name a few. I'm not a fan of caramel so I got the orange pistachio and blueberry lemon donuts. Of the two, I prefer the blueberry lemon. The donut itself was softer. The shell of the orange pistachio was hard but, I liked the icing - it had a hint of sea salt on it. I'm always a sucker for salty/sweet combination.

Orange Pistachio and Blueberry Lemon Donuts

Midtown Mobile Cuisine

Mar 30, 2014

Eats: The Pass

Between the craziness of moving countries, having babies and living apart... my husband and I haven't had a date night in over 9 months. In fact, we can't even remember our last date night! While he was in town, I took the opportunity to make reservations at The Pass. I've always wanted to try them but, it's a little hard to eat here when one's pregnant. So yes, this dinner was my treat to myself and it didn't disappoint.

When I called to make reservation, they asked for a credit card to secure the reservation. I was determined to eat here so I never really asked what the cancellation policy was.

We chose to do the 8-course "regular" tasting. I emphasize "regular" because they also offer a vegan, gluten free tasting menu as well. You can choose to do either a 5-course or 8-course tasting from either menus. I will stop here and let the food pictures speak for itself because, while having a baby doesn't allow me much time to blog, I also lost all my notes related to this tasting when I was forced to restore my phone. Long story... Just, enjoy the pictures and know that it's worth it!


Mushroom 1/2

Mushroom 2/2



Foie Gras




Petit Fours

The Pass
807 Taft St.
Houston, TX

Mar 24, 2014

Eats: BRC Gastropub

For some reason, I never really cared to try BRC until recently. With a girlfriend, we were supposed to go to Max's Wine Dive but, changed our minds last minute and decided to try BRC instead. I'm glad we did. Their brussel sprouts are amazing! The word "cream" kind of put me off at first but, it was light and the combination of it and their bacon jam really worked.

The sandwich that I ordered was pretty good as well. I really like their bacon jam and pickled jalapeno. If it weren't for that, it would've been just an average chicken sandwich.

As is the case with most restaurants in Washington area, the restaurant's drawback is their lack of parking. We had to circle around a few times before we could find a spot.

Brussel Sprouts
sultanas, bacon jam, cream, parsley

Fried Chicken & Cheddar Biscuits
cheddar cheese, cream gravy, bacon jam, sweet jalapeno

BRC Gastropub
519 Shepherd
Houston, TX

Mar 14, 2014

Eats: River Oaks Donuts' Cro-wnut

Cronut (croissant donut) is a big hype at the moment, especially in NYC. In Houston, there are a handful of donut shops that make them, River Oaks Donuts being one. They only make about 30-40 of these a day and they sell out fast! You can call in advance to reserve them, which is what I did.

This is the first time I tried a cronut. The River Oaks Donuts' version taste like a dense donut. Personally, I'm not a fan since I like my donuts soft and pillowy. Maybe I need to fly to NYC and try the original cronut! Yea, I like that idea!

River Oaks Donuts
3601 Westheimer Rd.
Houston, TX

Eats: Tasty Tuesday's Food Truck Meetup

The Galleria area is finally getting it's share of food truck love! Every second Tuesday of the month, several food trucks gather around Apache/Stewart Title's office complex from 11am-2pm. This month, approximately a dozen food trucks participated.

Honestly, there are so many food trucks popping around Houston now, I can't keep track anymore. I've never heard of Skratch before. Passing by, a sign that said "lobster roll" caught my attention. I couldn't help but to get one. Their lobster roll was pretty good for Houston standards and I like that it wasn't doused in mayo. 
Lobster Roll
Live Maine Lobster, Chives, Dill, Celery, Mayo

Golden Grill
I've actually heard of them before but, I don't always crave grilled cheese sandwich (their specialty) so I don't usually seek them out. That day, a grilled cheese sandwich sounded good. I ordered the Hamlin which had prosciutto and jalapeno jam. The jam was definitely the highlight of the sandwich! Without it, it was just an average grilled cheese sandwich.
The Hamlin
Prosciutto, american cheese, jalapeno jam

I've been wanting to try them for some time now. I debated whether to get a savory or sweet waffle. In the end, sweet waffle won me over. I got the smores and it was really good! The only drawback was the wait time - think I waited close to half an hour for my waffle.
Chocolate ganache, graham cracker crumble, toasted marshmallow

Muiishi Makirritos
This is one of my favorite food trucks in Houston. It's the only one that I've tasted so far that puts out restaurant quality food out of a truck. My favorite things to order from them are the shwimps 'n grits, bacon jammin' biscuits, and anything with pork belly whether it's the rice bowl or sushi roll.
Shwimp 'n Grits
Spicy stone ground grits, 62° egg, tempura shrimp, sous vide pork,
fried shitake mushrooms

Pork Belly Don Juan
Sous vide pork belly, 62° egg, fried shittake and oyster mushrooms,
pickled cucumber, takuan and kim chi.

Mac 'n Cheese Eggroll
Redneck cheddar, marieke smoked gouda, ground beef, applewood bacon.

Tasty Tuesday
1990 Post Oak Blvd
Houston, TX

Mar 9, 2014

Eats: Three Brothers Bakery on Washington

Three Brothers Bakery on Washington is now open and they have all sorts of baked goods: breads, bagels, croissants, various cookies, cakes and cupcakes. However, it's not just a bakery - there's also a coffee bar and spacious indoor sitting area and patio. They're open until 8pm on weeknights and 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Three Brothers Bakery
4606 Washington Ave
Houston, TX