Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Piola is new in midtown off of Louisiana next to Sushi Raku.  It's Italian, pizza is their specialty and they are a national chain.
I thought it looked cute on the outside.  Interior is decent.

Fun menu and designs.

Bruschetta, tons of tomatoes.  It's basically what it looks like, toasted bread, tomatoes, basil and some parmasan.

Seth got the FUSILLI BIANCO VERDE (With broccoli, chicken breast, cream and grana padano cheese. $11).  He made a comment about Piola just settling for mediocre.  I tried this dish too, it was pretty bland and boring.

I asked our server to recommend something, I always tell them I'm going to blog.  She suggested the Piola pizza. I liked it.  One complaint, there were too many sundried tomatoes.  I had to scooch some of them off.  I love thin crust, but the problem with that is you never quite feel satisfied.  It's almost like you have to have it as an appetizer.  I think La Griglia has this pizza in their bread basket and it's good and free!

I thought our server was ok.  I think she forgot us at the end.  She did seem new at the job.  The manager came by and gave us a sample of the gnocchi.  It's all you can eat for $13 every 29th day of the month.  They were very friendly and nice and I thought the gnocchi was good minus the fact it had tuna on it.  Fishy.

Final thought is that it's a decent spot in midtown and near downtown if you're looking for something Italian and/or pizza.  But even then I'd prefer NY Pizzeria.  Between the bruschetta, pasta, gnocchi and pizza I wasn't really impressed.  It felt very minimal.  I wasn't too crazy about the interior decor either.  But again, staff and sever were very friendly.  If you do make it this way, try Sushi Raku.  I've always had great experiences there from the food, staff, atmosphere, and beating on the drumbs!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kraftsmen Cafe

I read that the old Textile restaurant in the Heights went out of business and now it's a bakery, same owners.  For our Tuesday sales meeting, Kevin with BBVA Compass brings us some baked goods, which was a nice introduction to the bakery.  I tried their strawberry pastry and didn't think much of it.  Today, I was driving to Starbucks and passed by it so I decided to go in, even though I wasn't quite in the mood for breakfast.
I've aways thought this was such a cool building.  It used to be an Oriental Textile Mill building in the Heights, then was Textile the restaurant and now Kraftsmen Cafe.

I hate this purple mural.  It makes the place feel ghetto or something and doesn't quite go along with the rest of the space.  I get that it's neat, someone drew it, maybe even with chalk, but it's just not aesthetically appealing and alters the atmosphere of a quiet little rustic cafe.

The interior was rustic, maybe even a little French country.

I had the chocolate croissant and a cranberry ginger scone, both good.

I loved the decor and furnishings.  I definitely want to come back and have breakfast or a coffee with a girl friend.

It's also a cafe.  They have pastries, full breakfast menu and coffee.  They also do catering for parties and sell wholesale.  Gawd, that mural is hideous!

To sum it up, I like the building, liked the interior, the idea of it, the breakfast and lunch I need to try.  I definitely want to go back with a girlfriend, but it's not in the most central location and so far I'm not a huge fan of the food, but I want it to do well because it looks cool.  We'll see...

Kraftsmen Cafe
611 W 22nd St
Houston, TX 77007
(713) 426-1300

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tqla on Washington

No, it's not misspelled, it's short for Tequila.  On Washington next to 360 Sports Bar, Les Givral's and the Counter. 
Lots of stuff going on in this square and has a very retail look.

We sit at the bar, I order a frozen margarita.  It was pretty good, not as sweet and tangy, but pretty decent.  There is no way I could finish this, in fact, I only had 2 sips, OG finished it.

Our server/bartender said they have 175 different tequilas and a few on tap.  That's different, I'm not much of an liquor person, so I had no idea Tequila comes it tap.  There are some people that apparently love tequila.  A few people over had this wooden plate with shots and limes, looked pretty neat.

We decided to share and ordered the Seared Ahi Tuna.  If seared Ahi tuna isn't done well, things can go really awry.  Zelko's Ahi Tuna was so fishy, I had to cut off the edges.  Here, I thought the tuna was done well, didn't have a fishy taste and the salad mixture was good.  But, the chili powder or whatever it was so overpowering.  I thought it did the Ahi tuna a disservice.

We also get the beef and chicken enchilada.  The chicken enchilada is my litus test.  I thought it was good, but there was something about it that i didn't like, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.  Maybe it's because I'm used to other restaurant's enchiladas, I don't know.  But, I'm not knocking it, it was good.  The rice had bits of corn in it, which I liked.  The beans, well can you go wrong with beans?  The beef version had that chili stuff on it again, very overpowering and after a few bites, I got used to it and kind of liked it, but still felt the chili powder was overpowering.

I forgot to mention the chips and salsa.  The chipotle salsa was warm and yummy, we had 2 bowls!  The green sauce had real pineapple, it was different and a nice break from the chipotle sauce.  We tried a beginner tequila, which I had a little taste and OG finished it.  It was not tasty to me, but then I don't find any liquor tasty, not a one.

Against our server's two suggestions, we get the chocoloate brownie and ice cream dessert.  It was a brownie with ice cream in a moat of chocolate fudge and pecans.  I was expecting it not to be very good, but it was actually very good, we devoured it!

Final analysis, it's very conveniently located, food is hit or miss, but overall good.  The staff were really friendly and accommodating.  The decor and atmosphere is colorful and a bit loud.  Lots of things going on like bright colors, back lighting, flames, etc.  If you're tired of the sports bar feel, well walk on over to Tqla, more of a sit down and eat place and less like a sports bar, but it does have some touches of a sports bar type environment, good change and combination of both.

4601 Washington Ave
Houston, TX 77007
(281) 501-3237

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lights in the Heights 2010

Dropped off early in front of mine and my neighbor, Tony's, place.  I love how I still have this portopotty sitting in front of my place a day after Lights in the Heights has gone and passed.  Apparently my neighbors got into the Christmas spirit and decorated theirs as ours is sitting lonely and undecorated.

And the chaos begins at 5pm!  I had trouble getting to my place due to road blocks and the traffic. 

Lola and Cody in the Christmas spirit and waiting patiently for our guest.

Nice and helpful map of all the festivities going on in the Heights.  If you haven't gone, you have to do it next year, it's fun!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Best Shoe Repair

If you need a good shoe repair shop, this is seriously the place to go.  I've taken my shoes to the shoe hospital as long as I can remember and seriously they've never done as good a job as this shop.  It was my first time here and the job they did on my favorite heels and flats was so good, I was speechless.

Arris Shoe Repair
I-10/Durham (next to the Starbucks)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cafe Bello

A birthday lunch w/ David S. to the new Vallone's Cafe Bello, in the old La Strada building off of Westhemier, eastward past Montrose.  For some reason I was thinking this was the lighter version of Ciao Bello on San Felipe in the old La Strada in the Memorial area.  I'm not sure if that's true, but that information got into my head somehow.

I love exposed brick interiors.  Very cozy, but I'm not really loving the atmosphere, I think it may have been the furnishings.  But I think anyone wouldn't mind the interior, it's fine.

We decide to do the 3 prix fixe menu.  Looking at the website now, I should have gotten a pizza or the waffles and hotwings!

Our good sport of a server posing for a shot.

They lay bread and sticks on the table over a large white deli-like paper, different and fun.

P u l c i n e l l a
F r i s e e , A r u g u l a , S w e e t B a s i l ,
C a n d i e d N u t s a n d P a r m e s a n V i n a i g r e t t e
I thought it was good.

David S got the soup, it had crab in it, couldn't find it on the online menu so...that's as descriptive as I get for this one.  He said it was ok.  Found it! 
Z u p p a F r e s c a

C h i l l e d G r e e n H e i r l o o m T o m a t o G a z p a c h o
W i t h B a b y S h r i m p
Wedding Soup. 
They accidentally brought this out, so they left it for us.  It was interesting, bits of it good, but also bland.

E n d i v e S a l a d
G r i l l e d C h i c k e n , C a n d i e d A l m o n d s , G o r g o n z o l a a n d H o n e y E m u l s i o n.
I thought the chicken was good, the lettuce thing was pretty bitter.

G r i l l e d S a l m o n P a i l l a r d

A r u g u l a a n d C h e r r y T o m a t o S a l a d
W i t h V a l l o n e V i n a i g r e t t e a n d B a s i l P e s t o

B l u e b e r r y T a r t
Now this, was very good.  I ate half, David ate the other half.  He got the Mini Cannoli.

I hate this kind of wall paint, it's so Empire Cafe, even though I love Empire cafe.

In summary, I thought this restaurant really missed the mark.  The sad thing is it's in a really nice building, the exterior is nice, but the interior is eh.  I can see they tried, but it just wasn't good in any way from the interior to the food to the desserts.  David said it was fine.  Said, would he come back, probably not.  Me either.
322 Westheimer
Houston, Texas 77006
713 520 5599

Mo-Th 11 am - 10 pm
Fr-Sa 11 am - midnight
Su 11 am - 5 pm

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Birthday Dinner w/ the Girls

A quiet dinner with my most favorite homegirls at my favorite sushi spot, Aka Sushi.
My two favorite dishes, the Tony Roll (not on the menu) and the Red Moon.

Finish off with one of my favorite desserts, fried ice cream.  Stopping by Sonoma Wine Bar for some good ol fashion girl time.  Got to have all my favorite things, thanks chicas!

2390 West Alabama Street
Houston, TX 77098-2204
(713) 807-7875

Friday, December 3, 2010

Birthday Lunch @Masraffs!

Janice and I decide Masraff's for my birthday lunch.  Ooh la la.  Nice interior.  Recently moved 8 months ago, but have been around for 11 years!  In the old Post Oak Shopping Center.  No wonder I've never been.  Everything over there is hidden, hard to notice restaurants.  This is a much better location.

Janice orders the wine, Rombauer 2006 - Napa (Cab/Blend).  I noticed I like cab blends.  I liked it A LOT!  Very very good! 

We decide to sit outside, there's a half water wall, nice touch.  Complimentary bread, butter and olives.

I get the Filet Mignon a la Plancha, Sautéed Portobello and Green Onion, Potato, Brie and Bacon Timbale, Bordelaise ($34). When I was ordering, our server said it's one of the best in Houston.  He asked me what I thought and like I told him, it's good, but not the best I've had.  The potato wrapped in bacon was tasty.  Great with the wine!

Janice gets the Farfalle Pasta, Slow Cooked Chicken, Organic Peas, Cultured Mushrooms,Parmesan Broth ($22).  She said she liked it, but I don't believe her.  I thought it was pretty bland.

On the house, made by our server/bartender.  I forget what this was, milk, sugar and some alcohol I forget..JB something?.  Janice liked, I thought it was fine.  I was so red in the face from the wine, I couldn't get myself to drink this.  It was subtle.

Aww...complimentary dessert.

How nice.  Cake was bland, cookie yummy.  ;)

Bananas Foster, looks delicious doesn't it?  Something is wrong with this ice cream, it's to icy.  Overall tasty, not the best.

Our server/bartender...Vicent?  I forget his name.  My overall dining experience I thought was good.  I thought the service was excellent, staff were very personable and checked up on us often, including the manager.  They all really seemed like a team.  Great experience.

1753 Post Oak Blvd.
Houston, TX 77056
Tel: (713) 355-1975
Fax: (713) 355-1965

Mon-Thurs:11 am-10 pm
Fri: 11 am - 11 pm
Sat: 6 pm - 11 pm
Sun: Closed