Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Best Sweet Potato Fries

At Barnaby's, seriously.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pondicherri in West Ave (Kirby/Westheimer)

We love the location.  We love the decor.  I definitely had expectations and have already heard 1 negative review and nothing else.  About Pondicherri, most are like, "who where?".  They're located in West Ave, the new mix-use shopping center at Kirby and Westheimer.  First level shops, second and up are Gables Lofts West Ave.  It's a nice center, for sure.  Pondicherri is Indian food, if you couldn't tell by the name.  The owner was formerly with Indika off of Westheimer near Montrose.

As I wait for my lunchmate, Oscar, we're having a late lunch, 2pm-ish,  I'm checking out the place.  I definitely like the decor.  A very ecclectic, bold colors, casual atmosphere, industrial looking, counter service type of place.  I go ahead and decide to talk to the clerk about popular food items and ask for his recommendations.  He recommends doing one of the sampler platters to get an idea of the different styles of meats and dishes.  They have 3 options, a veggie, meats (chicken, lamb, beef), fish, $12, $16, and $22, respectively.  He highly recommends the Rancher Thali, which includes the "Butter Chicken", which he says is so good.  Anytime anyone uses "so good", I'm sold.  So, I order that and the Butter Chicken salad, because he did insist it was so good and that it's his favorite.  He takes my order, then a few seconds after I sign my receipt he gets word they are "86 Chicken".  Hm...that's an interesting thing to be out of.  With great disappointment, I still order the Rancher Thali, but with an additional portion of Lamb and get the Mushroom Burger at his suggestion.  He said it taste just like meat, which it didn't.

The Rancher Thali was interesting.  I thought it was tasty, good spicy flavors, I thought the size of Naan wasn't sufficient for the food.  We ordered another Naan and it cost $2.  It was a bigger size.  The burger was tasty, kind of subdued flavors, took a little getting used to.  The fries were fat, coated in some flour-like texture, deep fried, and fairly good.  They had this homemade kind of ketchup.  Everything was ok.  To me, everything here just felt like I was in a foreign country and all the food items and condiments I'm used to, they don't have.  So it's like some weird almost ketchup tasting concoction, almost burger tasting burger, almost cookie, etc. 

The owner came and we chatted with her a bit.  She was pleasant, but not the most exhuberant person.  Oscar tried to chat it up with her, and Oscar can chat up anyone.  He told her the food tasted just like it did in Hyderbad.  She didn't even flinch, not even a wink.  How often do people visit Hyderbad, India?  She just went over that comment like 2 week old road kill.  I thought that conversation was weird and anticlimactic.  We did talk about the fact that she had beef options.  Oscar says the cows are considered sacred, which I have heard.  He described a time an Indian coworker had a smidgeon of beef accidentally enter his mouth and almost faint.  She basically says it's the old mentality.  We live in America, so she alters her food.  She also dispelled the perception we have of Indians and their attitudes toward cows and says most have tried it at some point in their lives...I'm thinking that's probably more like American Indians, I don't know.

On leaving, the guy at the cashier was very excitable when the mention of desserts came up and specifically talked of the cookies and that I must have it.  So, of course I do.  I asked which is the best, he suggested the Oatmeal and warned me it was a little spicy.  Said everybody loves the Oatmeal cookie.  I was so full, I was going into a food coma.  It's like the food settles in your stomach and I was literally full the rest of the day, but I saved my cookie and didn't eat it till the next day.  My roommate Diana tried it first.  I didn't mention a thing, she said it was good...and spicy.  I tried it later, I really liked how chocolatey it was and it wasn't very sweet.  It was a little spicy, my mom ate the rest later.  She told me not to eat stuff like that, "you'll get fat"...and like most moms, like a garage disposal, got rid of it for me by eating it herself.

I think my overall dining exeperience was ok.  I thought the food was fairly good, but I'm wondering if it's just because I don't have a whole lot of experience with Indian food.  When I went to Whole Foods Market Montrose, I was craving something with spice and wanted a kick of flavor and I actually got a portion of Indian food, which I thought was very good, so I don't know.  Maybe I'll go visit again, maybe I won't.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Black Hole (Museum District)

My latest find! Discovered on a chance incident on our way to dinner by taking a wrong turn. Feels totally like a word of mouth place, but come to find out it's a sister of Antidote, opened only 6 months. I'd be impressed if someone brought me here. If you like Antidote, you'll appreciate Black Hole. Similar food, atmosphere, bigger, casual, buried cafe. Love it here!

4504 Graustark St
Houston, TX 77006
Neighborhood: Museum District
(713) 528-0653

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Brasserie 19

Though I missed the highlight for this new noteworthy opening, thanks to my girlfriend Janice, I was duly informed.  If the description from My Table Magazine of "So you think all the ladies who lunch are at Tiny Boxwood's?  Not if they know about this new spot from Grant Cooper and chef Charles Clark", doesn't interest you, then you probably won't like Brasserie 19 at all.  Same owners as Catalan and Ibiza.

Walking up, I'm already impressed.  I love that summer-white-wicker-Hamptons-brunch spot look.  If you do too, then I'm sure you'll like Brasserie 19.  This new restaurant is located in the old Tony Mandola's Gulf Coast Kitchen (TMGCK) spot off of W. Gray.  Tony Mandola's is currently constructing their new building, almost done, off of Waugh, close to the New Whole Foods Market Montrose. 

Kevin made a comment about the average age of TMGCK being 72, funny, but true.  The demographics here was definitely younger than TMGCK, but not young either.  This crowd was a mixture, young, old, working, priviledged, groups of women, etc.

The interior is just so indulgent.  I love the lighter interior than TMGCK had.  Lots of white, marble, wicker, pin cushion banquette seating...very pretty.  Kevin is already eyeing the Lobster Club sandwich and when our server walks up.  Coincidentally, that's what she recommends, so he's already got his item down.  I let her choose my sandwich and she decides on the Tartine sandwich (olive oil poached tuna sandwich with quinoa salad).  I did let her know I'm a blogger, so the pressure was definitely on.  But, she seemed confident with her choice.  The quinoa salad that came with my dish was light, hints of nice subtle flavors, texture good, everything was nice.  However, on arrival of my open faced sandwich, I was a little disappointed.  She said it was going to be seared, as I'm not a huge cooked tuna fan.  However, it was cooked...but, I took a bite, wow, it was really good.  The combination of the subtle tuna flavor and capers were actually really good and had a nice little kick to it.  I tried Kevin's lobster roll sandwich, yum.  The bread on both sandwiches were really good!  His sandwich I could really taste the bread and the bacon, the bacon was, my gosh, delicious!

The service was excellent.  It seemed like all the servers were helping each other out.  I liked that the servers were wearing jeans, including the managers.  The managers were topped with jackets, but it was a good look for the entire restaurant.  They all had a look of excitement and pride about the resturant, and rightfully so. 

Our server also brought us the wine list on an iPad.  How technologically advanced is that?!!  It was actually really informative, you could quickly pick a glass or bottle and look at an elaborate description with a map of the region!  I thought that was just so impressive.  They have an incredible selection of beers as well, which was suprising.  But, no wine for me for lunch, maybe next time for dinner.

We ordered the Apple Galette, but they also brought us the Dark Chocolate Cake and the chef delivered it himself, awesome!  The DCC with ice cream was nice, rich, but the cake could've been warmer.  The Apple Galette, was delicious, the crispy flaky crust with the warm spiced apple middle with ice cream was just mm mm mm.

Wow, I really liked my entire experience.  I don't usually give a really horrible review, unless deserved.  But, I'm also not generous with excellent reviews, unless deserved.  My entire experience here was excellent.  I definitely like Brasserie 19 in this spot better than Tony Mandola's Gulf Coast Kitchen...actually, love it.

1962 West Gray, Houston, TX 77019 | 713.524.1919
OPEN: Mon-Th: 11-10 | Fri-Sat: 11-11
Sun: Brunch 10-3, Dinner 3-9

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Whole Foods Market - Montrose OPENED!!


Jodie and I visit Whole Foods Market Montrose today and it was so much fun!  It's really exciting to have a WFM in our hood.  The energy inside is amazing.  Everybody is ecstatic about the opening, including the staff.  Guess I won't be going to the Kirby location much anymore.

It's a nice set up and feels about the same size as the original location, but designed completely differently as far as layout is concerned.  There were a lot of similar things in their meals/food section, but my staples weren't present, which I was disappointed about.  Today, I had my regular salad and tried some Indian food.  I was in the mood for some spice and wanted a kick of flavor, so I reached for the Indian food, very satisfying.  It's in the corner of my lunch crate.  Jodie had the Blackened tilapia, macroni and cheese, and fruit salad.  For dessert, Jods and I had this decadent fruit cup.  The only probablem was the fruit.  It kept getting in the way!  The chocolate wafer was so divine!  Tasted like chocolate and toffee, so good!

On a side note, isn't it awesome that it's been raining all day?!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

We Need Rain!

If it's any indication of how bad it's getting, today at my open house, worried about my client's plants outside, I ended up watering their plants. All around town our plants, trees, and grass are dying. Anybody up for getting together to do a rain dance?

Whole Foods Waugh Opening June 22nd!!

http://www.houstonpress.com/slideshow/view/33576832 - via Houston Press on the iPhone

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Tony Roll @Aka Sushi

This roll...is sooooo good, it requires a moment, with your eyes closed. You must try, it's delicious!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Up at Highland Village

Oops, did you miss it?  The new Up Restaurant is located on the third level of this building next to Cole Haan, adjacent to Smith & Wolensky's in Highland Village.  Yeah, you actually have to look "up" for it.

Elevator "up", interesting.  Goregous lobby.  I think the interior is so chic, nice and bright, just gorgeous.  It doesn't feel like you're in Houston, actually.  Janice and I decided to split the Chicken Salad and at our server's recommendation, the Short Ribs Pizza.  Pizza was not good, which I should've known since it had Roqufart, not a fan.  I thought the Chicken Salad was good. We finished off with the Lemon Tart that was okay too.  Coffee was fine.  Food overall, just ok, atmosphere very nice.  Our server was just way too attentive.  We couldn't have a flowing conversation because he kept interrupting us.  I think he must be new to the business.  It was actually pretty distracting.  The manager did stop by right after one of the many interruptions by our server.  We wished they would leave us alone for a bit, which is rare. 

They did have a nice curtain sectioned off area, looked ideal for a special group lunch or occasion.  Bar was nicely done as well.  Lots of marble in this restaurant, including the restrooms.  Design is beautiful.  Food, service, could be improved.  Overall experience was just ok.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Distillery in the Heights

After a night of hanging out at Ken's and playing some corn hole, we head to the new Distillery off of Houston Ave and White Oak.  It's a lot more simpler than I imagined.  They had a nice selection of beer and a decent wine list.  We played jumbo Jenga, which quite a noisy game, but fun.  Great patio for groups and closes at 2am for extended hang outs.

Friday, June 3, 2011

New Listing: 2-3/2 Bungalow (Woodland Heights)

This lovingly tended home offers a combination of modern upgrades and unique period features throughout, retaining the unique character of an original Woodland Heights home. Unique period features original to the house include a brick column, antique wavy glass, & a 1920s clawfoot tub. Updated master bathroom, spacious living room, and an oversized upstairs loft with bathroom. Exterior features great front porch, wrought iron automatic gate, and a spacious backyard. All info per seller.
Listing Price:  $310,000 Content here  
Address 121 Payne St
City  Houston 
Zip Code: 77009-7622 
Subdivision: Grota Home 
Property Type: Single Family Homes 
Status:  Active on Market 
Bedrooms: 2 - 3 Bedroom(s)
Baths: 2 Full & 0 Half Bath(s) 
Garage: 0 Car 
Stories: 2 Story 
Style: Traditional
Year Built: 1900 / Appraisal District
Building Sqft: 1,520 / Appraisal 
Lotsize: 5,250 / Appraisal District
Front Door: South 
Maintenance Fee: $0 annually
Mrkt Area: Woodland Heights
Key Map® : PAGE 493C
MLS# /  Area: 10354291  /  9-Central North 

S O O   K I M, *ABR, CNE
Greenwood King Properties
1801 Heights Blvd
Houston, Texas 77008
832-476-4114  office
832-545-0849  mobile
713-521-6814  fax