Monday, November 28, 2011

Simone Wine Bar (West U)

The last time I was here it was known as Vintage 49.  I always thought it was a nicely designed and cozy wine bar, but the crowd just wasn't there.  On my return and discovering there was a change of name and owners, I was surprised to see it actually had a really good and diverse crowd.

The staff was always friendly and they still are.  The wine by the glass options are few, liquor and unfamiliar beer options, cheese plate was decent to good.  I was told the menu was really vamped, and truffle fries weren't bad and presented in a decorative deep fryer, cute.  They also have a nice outdoor patio out front with walls covered with climbing vines.  This will definitely be on my list of favorite late night wine bars.  Go visit!

Blink at Memorial Park

Over this past weekend, I saw these brand new Blink (brand) charge stations at Memorial Park.  Interesting. These are becoming more and more popular.  The first one I saw in person was at the new Whole Foods Market Montrose location.  I hear they also have these at the Houston Arboretum.  Just a sign of our civilzation becoming more and more modern.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Day!

Turkey Trot in the morning with Jim, Thanksgiving lunch with mom and visiting with Andy's grandma, father, Marcus, Sarah, and Hannah in the nursing home. Dinner with the Rovangs'. They say on average a person consumes 4000 calories on Thanksgiving day. I'm sure I accomplished that at the Rovang's alone!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Turkey Trot Ready!

Registration still open!  Resources and additional photos below provided by my Turkey Trotting partner, Jim.

Friday, November 18, 2011

HEB Montrose Opened!

I haven't been yet, but I'm just learning about the opening of this new HEB in Montrose and wanted to share the news.  It's located on the corner of of Dunlavy and W. Alabama.  It's 75,000 sf and they say it's larger and wider than the Buffalo location.  I'm planning to visit looks naiss (nice).


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Arpi's Phoenicia Deli (Downtown)

Bread and Rolls Section

Salad and Olives Bar

Refrigerated Pre-made foods, including Hummus, Tabouli, other salads

Pita Bread Section

Desserts and Pastries

Line for warm foods, Chef's Corner

I was so excited about having lunch here, like a giddy school girl.  Walking in, I'm very pleased. It's so much bigger than I expected!  I'm absolutely in love, as I walk around, taking it all in.  I'm very excited to be here! 

I stand in line at Chef's Corner with Jay.  My typical staples for Mediterranean food are falafel (chick pea patty), hummus and tabouli with pita bread.  As I'm going through the line, I'm realizing my items aren't here except the falafel.  The lady tells me the hummus and tabouli are on the salad bar.  She doesn't look like she's very happy or excited about working.  I ask her if I can have two tzatziki sauce and she responds, "you can have one".  I'm sure I made a face and she responded, something about the owner being mean or a tight ass.  I walk off and go to the salad bar and the hummus and tabouli are nowhere to be found.  I ask an employee, he tells me he has no idea.  Frankly, I think it's the first time he's heard the name of these foods.  He says he'll ask someone, I walk around and find it in the refrigerated casing section.  I'm left standing there for a long time.  Nobody to greet me or say, one second, we'll be right with you.  There is one guy trying to work the weighing machine.  Another customer walks and and we stand there for a long time.  Then, another customer, and another customer.  I'm thinking, this place doesn't have their act together.  Finally someone helps me after 10-15 minutes. 

I'm wondering if either A. everyone is really unhappy to be working for this owner or this company or B. everybody just hates their job.  Either way, I promise, I found not one smiling or happy to help employee.  Everybody seemed so grumpy.  You know, it sounds like a small deal, but when Whole Foods Montrose opened, everybody was so excited, from the customers to the employees.  It was such a great experience.  Not so at Arpi's Phoencia Deli Downtown.  The employees and service was just so bad, I left totally deflated.

Also there was no water machine available, no free pita bread like at their west location, and the food wasn't very good either. The falafel was really hard.  It was Jay's first time at Phoenicia Deli all together.  He said he didn't think his food was very good.  I hated my entire experience!  But, I have to say, I still think the atmosphere was nice.  It was super big and had everything under the sun including fresh produce, zico coconut water and I'm sure whatever else you could think of.  One other plus, the food was really cheap.  My 3 falafel patties came out to $0.65!  My hummus and tabouli were both $2 something each, total around $6.  Definitely visit, but don't expect good service or nice, helpful, happy to be there employees.

Monday, November 14, 2011

SF Day 10 - Last Day!

Last day in SF. Lots of fun things. Started my day reluctant to run, a little boost from Stu and off I went to run down Post to Union Square and down Market. Took this photo of City Hall on my run back, beautiful isn't it? I have a crazy story, keep reading, it'll be my last paragraph...which will explain Halbert's scared face.

We brunched at Mission Beach Cafe, which had a long line, as usual, but it went fast and we were sat within 30 minutes. Food was excellent, very tasty. I got the recommended Mushrooms & Spinach Eggs Benedict, Denyse and Halbert got the Dungeness Crab Eggs Benedict and we all shared the French Toast. I liked the atmosphere here the most.  Go check it out if you get a chance.

We finished at Pier 39. So much fun! Love the energy there. I guess it's basically a farmer's market around the entire pier. Fun shops, mostly food related, and a ton of people, no joke...a ton. I was told by Shawn Russell, an agent in Houston, that I must try the sourdough and that SF is known for it.  Apparently, SF is the only legitimate place that grows sourdough due to cool weather and that sourdough in Texas is just "wanna be sourdough". So, of course I had to try it.  I got me a small loaf from Acme Bread in the Ferry Building just before leaving SF and it came in handy on my 8 hour flight back. I must say, with butter, it was delicious! However, I'm not sure I would have noticed the difference whether in SF or Houston. Maybe I need to try the stuff in Sausalito, where it originates.

Finally back in Houston and so glad to be home. Ten days is way too long of a trip. Ok, so ready for that story I promised? So...I was running down one of the busiest streets, Market, and was running closest to side of the retail shops.  At this particular moment, I happen to be looking at a store window while running by, and do notice random people on the street, saw a homeless woman far away, maybe 20 feet. After looking at the store window and then looking back towards the sidewalk again, that same homeless woman is running towards me, now about 5 feet away, flailing her arms and yelling something crazy like watch where you're going.  She had crazy in her eyes.  Her eyes had very dark, looked almost like bruising under her eyes.   I was completely caught off guard and react like I'm about to get into a car collision...I stretch my arms forward and do this slow, oh crap, I'm about to get into a collision, ugly face...matched with this really ugly noise, that I didn't know I was capable of. As she runs into me, I end up pushing her on her chest and actually end up grabbing her chest, totally unintentional. She didn't do anything else but act like a crazy lune, as I ran around her and ran off.   When I got to the corner of the street, I looked back to make sure she wasn't following me and I was standing there, shaking.   Besides the fact that that was the oddest thing I've experienced in my life, I kept thinking about it and found myself really embarrassed at how very retarded my reaction was pretty unattractive...if I replayed it for you, you'd agree. So for the rest of the day, we were all imitating my reaction right before the homeless lady and I collided, which is what Halbert is doing with his face.  No joke, that's exactly what I looked like as she was running towards me, it was pretty sexy.

I had a great time in SF, very cold, but it's an awesome walking city.  I loved that you can walk around for hours.  It'd be a great way to spend with a date, friends, or by yourself.  Thanks to Halbert andy my sister in San Jose for being great hosts!

My SF recommendations:

My San Jose recommendations:
  • SJ Omagari Korean Restaurant - cheese bi beem bahp (stone pot), dwen jang soup
  • Milan Cafe for Shaved Ice
  • She She Boutique
  • Bella Rossa Boutique

Saturday, November 12, 2011

SF Day 9 - Rain, Pho & Burmese Food

A fantastic breakfast at The Grove.  The french toast was excellent, seriously good to the last bite!  Drizzing rain all day, but we purchased umbrellas for $8 each (best thing we purchased all day!) and we walked all the way to Ghirardelli's Square, then hopped over to Fisherman's Wharf, and then waited in a long line for an hour in the cold for the cable car.  We ended up in Union Square, shoped in Chinatown, had pho at Golden Star, where we're not sure if we were just really hungry or if the pho was really that good.  It really hit the spot on this cold and rainy day.  They did have a ton of Yelp reviews, in the thousands.

Dinner later at Mandalay Burmese & Mandarin Cuisine where they had the Tea Leaf Salad (excellent), Mandalay Beef (yummny), Roasted Tea Duck (really good, moist), Coconut Rice, Mandalay Ginger Lemonade (good, but sweet), Coconut juice (very good for you and refreshing), and for dessert Pauldon something, good and tasted like a Vietnamese 3 bean dessert.  What a full day!  Going home tomorrow and really looking back to getting back to Houston!