Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mona Lisa at the City Center. I think that's the name, I go where I'm told. Apparently there's a restaurant and a bar/lounge and outside pool cabanna area. We didn't eat, just stopped by for wine. We sat on the patio loungers, across the way were 3 cabannas. It was a nice trendy spot. City Center has really vamped up. Supposedly the new big epicenter, the Memorial/I-10 area. One of my girlfriends said the spot is nice and trendy, but the people don't quite live up to the atmosphere...that was her observation, I hadn't noticed.

Before that, we stopped by Straits for the chocolate lava cake. Friends said it's good, as we gobbled it up in a couple bites, but Flemmings is still better. We had some more Roti bread, yum yum. They thought the curry sauce was overpowering and skipped the sauce. Bartender was a Korean guy, tall, very nice.

Before that, we were at Yardhouse. We had the Korean bbq, calamari, and margherita pizza. Happy Hour is 5-7pm, they have a slew of things to pick from at half the price and wine is $1.50/glass.

I like City Center, but it's too far for me, but okay once in awhile. If I lived on that side of town, it would definitely be my hot spot.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Soon…

So Christmas is just around the corner, 3 days. I was driving down the streets of the Heights the other day, at night when all the lights were up and the decorations were out and it made me think, what makes a person decide to decorate their house or not? I thought, I never decorate my place, although I'm usually in an apartment. But for those that have a house and don't have any inclination or desire to decorate or maybe they do one year and not another. Then I was thinking, if a person were in financial hardships, which is probably the most stressful life situation that influences the way a person behaves or thinks, I would assume they wouldn't feel the desire to decorate their houses. So, is it then, houses that are decorated are happy and in a good place? What about those that aren't in a good place or happy, stressed, depressed, would they decorate their houses? And if they do, I'm sure there are those out there, how does that work? So you can be depressed about your life and still decorate your house? I just find it so odd a person can compartmentalize these things. I guess everybody is different...it's the Christmas season and maybe that in itself helps people get through the tough times, get their mind off of things. They say when you're depressed, look at a picture of something that makes you happy. Or that pets extend your life for 5 years.

Christmas is just around the corner...happy thoughts...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

MNF at YardHouse

This week MNF was held at Yardhouse in the City Center near Town & Country. I must say, they've done a great job with the City Center. It makes the old Town & Country square seem so sad and lonely. It feels like a new city. One complaint, there are no directional signs, I'll be driving down a lane and realize I'm going the wrong way, only because of the direction the cars are parked on the side. They really do need one way signs.

Yardhouse is a little fahncy for sports watching, but they do have plasmas, picture clear, long sitting booths, and over 100 bears on tap. Happy Hour was between 6-9pm ish and half off everything off the happy hour menu, which has a really good selection. We ordered buffalo wings, yum, jerk chicken, alright, margherita pizza, yum, bbq chicken, sliders and fries. I thought everything was good, a bit further than I'd like to go for mnf, but all in all, a good experience.

Sorry forgot the pictures again, must pay better attention.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Straits in City Center

My friend Nikki works as a chef at Straits, which is an asian fusion restaurant from San Francisco, I think. I've heard from a couple of people say the food isn't good. For my birthday, Nikki took me to Straits, she ordered the Tuna Tower, Ahi Jewels, Ginger, Kaffir Lime Leaf, Wasabi Aioli, Wonton Chips $15, which I thought was pretty yum. She also ordered the Grilled Grape Leaf Beef Butter Lettuce Wrap, Sweet Chili Vinaigrette $10, pretty good. Roti Prata Crisp griddled Indian Flatbread, Curry Dip $7 was so good, I devoured it!

For my main meal I had the "Spicy Basil Chicken Tender Chicken, Shiitake Mushrooms, Bamboo Shoots, Thai Basil $12". This I did not like. It had that, sorry folks, strong chinese flavor. Nikki said it was the "Singapore" flavor in the dish that I probably didn't like. I looked it up, it didn't say anything about "Singapore", so whatever it was in that dish, I didn't like it.

For dessert, they brought out a ginger cake which was eh, a bit dry and lack luster. But, the server did sing me happy birthday, unashamedly, which I thought was cute. Nikki ordered the "Chocolate Lava Cake house-made vanilla ice cream, Thai tea caramel". I've had lava cake that looks similar, but this was actually pretty darn good, so chocolately and tasty...we devoured it too :)

The front manager came by, was told it was my birthday and brought out 3 shots, which I didn't drink. I don't do shots, Nikki and Mel weren't complaining as they polished it off for me.

It's big, modern, and "fahncy" design. Has a bar on one side, that seems pretty popular with the hip folk, and a white, subway tiled, unisex bathroom with pink neon lights...that's different. It's outside my neighborhood, but I'd probably go back for a special occasion. Sorry no food pictures, I forgot. We did manage to take one photo right outside the restaurant near the perty lights on trees. The guy that took the photo obviously does not know how to take a photo.

I forgot to mention, I had breakfast tacos at Tiny's with Jenny on snow day, black bean and cheese and it was super yummy, I went back for seconds! But the second time, the tortilla wasn't as heated, it was hard and not ask gooey. Forgot to take pictures again, must pay better attention.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Rainbow Lodge

With much reserved anticipation, I finally visited Rainbow Lodge for my birthday after 3 years of first hearing of it. I've always heard great reviews but was always hesitant envisioning walls decorated with deer heads and other game, dark, and very uninspiring space. I was half right. There were deer heads and other gamey animals on the walls, felt much like an authentic cabin in the woods. However, there was one section, full of windows, on one side, the bayou, lots of greenery, which gave it a really nice woodsy feel with lots of sunlight. Our waiter said guest can actually walk in the bayou area just on the other side of the windows and that people actually get married there, wink wink.

I had the NY strip steak with fries. I actually had to call our waiter back and ask if the fries were supposed to look this way. He came back with a fresh plate of long fries. The steak was not the best I've had, probably on a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a 5. The fries were crispy and tasty. I finished off my meal with a pumpkin cheesecake. I'm not a cheesecake fan, but this cheesecake was delish! Crust was yums, cheesecake didn't taste too pumpkiny. My dining mate had the Crab Risotto, it was a bit too crabby for me, but he liked it. The atmosphere cozy, very log cabin like, service was excellent, our waiter, Mike was fun, friendly and very accommodating.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Giacomo’s Cibo e Vino

Giacomo's. It's new. On Westheimer near Kirby. I've been wanting to visit and try this new restaurant, Italian, organic ingredients, wines, express dining. I got the Pappardelle al telefono - wide noodles with garlic & oil, cherry tomatoes, basil & mozzarella, $10.00. One of my dining mates got the tortelli di bietola ravioli - stuffed with swiss chard, ricotta, and goat cheese in sage butter, $11.00. The other got cotoletta di maiale alla milanese - pork loin chop coated in seasoned breadcrumbs, sautéed in butter and topped with frisee, fennel, and olives, $12.00. I had a bite of eaches, all the dishes were good, tasty. What I wasn't crazy about was the atmosphere or the funky odor...smelled a bit like an old house and a bit dark and gloomy inside, but the decor is updated and modern. I'd probably go back...not really. I'm big on atmosphere, there's enough good places out there for me to go back to something that's overall ok.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weekend of Food

I frequent Tiny's at least once a week. The atmosphere is relaxing, food is good, energy good, but crowd and parking is ridiculous. It's enough to never step foot in there again! Anyways, everything I've tried here is good. buffalo burger, steak & avocado salad, turkey & avocado sandwich, frites, bread plate, and the infamous beet-it-burger, not for the faint of heart! The patty, beets and beans on a toasted wheat bun. I like it, but I like it mostly because it's healthy and it's actually not bad. I decided to have the orzo pasta, but the frites are tastier and go better.

It was Jodie's birthday so we had Crave's red velvet, the best, in my opinion. It's super yum. There's just something really magical about that top layer...mmm...

At Dolce Vita's, my second time. I asked our server to recommend their best pizza, he suggested the Margherita pizza, I had it, it's was just okay, and Margherita is my favorite pizza. I'm starting to think pizza is not Dolce Vita's forte. They should drop the "Pizzeria" behind their name. I will go again for the atmosphere, but definitely won't be ordering pizza this time. I overheard another patron saying the short ribs were awesome, maybe my next thing to order. They also have this bread appetizer I haven't had a chance to try, maybe next time.

Saturday dinner was at Bonga with the fam. I just noticed on Fearless Critic, they gave Bonga a 8.8 rating, top 12 out of over 100 restaurants under the category of "casual". Bonga is my go to Korean restaurant at the moment. Good dwen jang gigae, that's tofu bean soup.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pizza at Dolce Vita

Ahh...Dolce Vita...hm...went by yesterday, turns out they really do have a great atmosphere. Warm lighting, busy, good crowd, food...well...not quite what I expected. I was thinking, it’s a pizzeria, I should try a pizza. Better yet, try the only pizza on the specials menu. My pizza had spinach, porchetta, some cheese, some marinara on a thin crust. Sounds good, not really. I’ll have to give it another try. My dining mate had the Pesce, it was undercooked, we sent it back, chef came out to personally deliever the new dish and apologized profusely, and waited till my dining mate took a bite, now that’s something you don’t see often. I’ve learned you can’t judge a restaurant on one dish alone and since I’m an atmosphere person and it meets my atmosphere criteria, I’ll have to give it another try. Great for small groups of friends, couples, double dating.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Monday Night Football @Shuck Daddy’s

So regularly on Mondays, the boys, me and reb eat bar food while watching football. Now the guys are probably the only ones watching, unless one of my fantasy football players are playing, but other than that, it's just to eat junk and be in a fun and high energy atmosphere. So usually we do steak night, one of my favorite things to do, but we've been throwing in different ideas to meet at, last night, Shuck Daddy's. I've been before, on opening night, didn't have much for me to eat at that time, but I've heard they've added to their menu. Happy Hour is 3-7pm Monday through Saturday. Mostly seafood, crawfish and fried stuff. Yesterday, I had the calamari, stuffed crab jalapenos, buffalo wings, and fish tacos. Fish tacos were bland, and I'm not usually a tabassco person, but it needed some flavor, so add tabassco and all was good. I think we were all unanimous on the buffalo wings, worst I've ever tasted. We couldn't get Lou to even lick them for a taste. Stuffed jalapenos were actually good, calamari was soggy. I also tasted the michelada, which is beer and bloody mary mix, that was eh too. I'm not quite sure how the place stays open. I think Shuck's problem is they do the minimum. People don't like minimum regarding food unless you have a rocking atmosphere. There was a comment about unattractive waitresses, that usually doesn't help a restaurant of that type either. I think I got the thumbs down for recommending Shucks, maybe it's different for crawfish and oysters, which I believe is their main thing.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I am a sushi snob

I am what I am. But, just to clear up I am a sushi-snob, but not because of some social elitest perception I have of myself, but because I didn't grow up eating seafood. Therefore, I have a very sensitive pallette to seafood. I don't like anything even remotely close to a "fishy" taste. So if it's not fresh sushi, I can tell immediately. I went to Kata Robata Sushi & Grill with OG yesterday and the atmosphere is nice and warm, lots of textures, traditional meets new, lots of bamboo, warm lighting, new and updated. Our waiter seemed a bit new, nervous a little. I didn't like how they put my sushi on my dinning mate's plate, I didn't get a chance to eat it. We ordered edamame, salad with miso dressing, Tropical Salmon roll and the Oceanic Picante something roll (had salmon, tuna, tempura asparagus). They were both just okay, nothing to write home about. Actually, they both just tasted watered down, that's the best way I can describe it. A friend had recommended Kata Robata, said the food was so good. Some people just aren't very picky. I still stand by my Aka Sushi, still my favorite sushi spot.

Stopped by Tasting Room Uptown, had the bread pudding, very good. I find when you order bread pudding, you get everything under the sun. Some like a loaf of cinnamin type loaf to that which is offered at Ruggles, but the bread pudding at TR was different. Very tasty, didn't go very good with wine, but I guess you can't have it all. The circle of girls sitting next to me were eating the Margherita pizza, smelled soooo good. I'll have to try that next time.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

damn I need some chocolate

So my car gets broken into last night while I was at the gym...I work out at the Fit on Waugh and West Gray. Apparently they have a lot of break ins and they have security supposedly driving around. I just happen to switch purses and left it in the car that early afternoon, so at the time my car got broken into, I had two purses in the car. They got away with my cash, $40 or so, all my credit cards, and I had a lot, and withdrew $500 from my debit account and spent $300 at Fiesta. They also tried to use my Target card at Target, which I think is funny. They apparently thought you have to use a Target credit card at Target. Tried to charge $300, then $200, but they didn't know that card is maxed out...ahahahaha...fools. The staff at the Fit, pulled out the cleaning supplies, cleaned, vaccumed, and trash bagged and taped up my car since it was raining...they're so awesome.

I had lunch with one of my clients, Lauren, to discuss some stuff and she said she felt like God had brought me to them because he wants his little girl back, this is where I started to cry, at Tiny Boxwood's, I looked up at her and she was welling up too. I told her she was weird. ;)

I get back to the office, a specific builder that sounds like short version of three convicts, doesn't want to pay my bonus, losers and I can't basicially do anything about it.

damn I'm having a bad day...I need chocolate!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cappuccinos & Brownie at Barnaby’s

So lately I've been really into cappuccinos, had two at Barnaby's in company of Jennifer and Janice and surprisingly Barnaby's West Gray has a nice, strong cappuccino, I just learned how to spell "cappuccino". Two caps and still able to go to sleep easily at night. I wonder why some are affected and some aren't by caffeine and I'm no regular coffee drinker. Btw, Jennifer is a perv, she said our drinks look like boobies. Cute aren't they? We actually ended up at Barnaby's craving a brownie, got a brownie a la mode and it was ok, I've had it before. The ice cream and brownie, not the greatest of pairings, the ice cream, as jennifer noted, tastes like flowers, eat the brownie wo and it's much better. Still on the lookout for a good brownie spot...another btw, I just went to the Barnaby's next to Baby Barnaby's on Fairview for the first time, all this time I thought it was all the same thing, but no, Barnaby's next to Baby Barnaby's on Fairview is the original, I like, very hole in the wall feel, wait staff at this particular location are fsuper duper friendly.