Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Heights West

Hello Heights West...lively looking joint, isn't it?  Well, I think my friends at Starbucks...Rusty to be exact, recommended this place, so here I finally am, with Justin. 
I'm a little worried driving you can see.  It's not an attractive restaurant, not even in an ecclectic kind of way.

Sign, a little hard to see.  Nestled here behind this beatiful landscaping.

Inside and I think I'm starting to feel a little regret, but thankfully I see Justin and am ready to explore.

The menu is really simple.  They have two choices for lunch each day.  Yeah, that's the menu.  You don't have any other options than those two items.  Isn't that a little restrictive and presumptuous?  On the flip side, is the dinner menu, with the freedom to choose from several options.  But, for lunch, you have two choices, daily.

We order and I'm just looking eyes are exploring our surroundings...I'm a little confused, but the more I sit there, the more I like it.  However, let me be clear, I don't love it.  There are things I like about the decor and things I don't.  They have faux's a first for me.  They have these large patterened sheets strangely arranged on random spots on the walls and ceiling.  Oddly, I find that I like it and don't all at the same's all very confusing and I find I'm very unsure what I think.

What visually appealing isn't it?  I had some anyways, what I realized is that you just can't go wrong with ciabatta bread and butter.  Our waitress is very friendly and nice.

Well of course I got the pot roast with mash potatoes and peas since I'm not a cooked salmon fan.  Look at the marbling on the edge of this meat.  It was a little...very little...tough, but it was really good.  I liked it, it was salty and flavorful.  The mash potatoes tasted really homemade, you could see the potato skin...I love potato skin!  The gravy looked homemade too and looked like it was made of real beef juices. Even the peas were good...I just wished there was more of it.  I don't typically eat all my mashed potatoes, but I did this time.  Everything just tasted like good old homemade cooking.

Justin got the salmon croquette.  I had a bite of it and I tasted shrimpy and a slight hint of seafoodiness, which I don't like, but I actually thought overall it was tastful anyway.  I thought it stuck to the homemade theme, Justin liked it, said as he got more into the croquette it tasted a little bit more seafood.

You know, I walked in a little worried, not really that pleased by the aesthics, but I left feeling like I got the place.  It's good old fashioned homemade cookin.  Is that supposed to be in some primped up joint or pretentious looking building?  I can see they tried with the aesthics, but it was probably too much work and they gave up and said damn it, who the hell cares, the food is good.  The building and decor is good enough.  I think behind this restaurant is probably a small family, maybe mama or papa or...grandma or grandpa, maybe someone running it from passed down recipes and they just decided one day, they can cook and they want to own and run a small, modest joint with just some good old fashioned home cooking.  I liked it, it was a nice experience.  Wednesdays are Pot Roast and Salmon Croquettes.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Petrol Station

Finally get someone to go with me to try the food. Ryan is starting to look like my hole in the wall burger partner. Petrol Stattion is just cool. Located in Garden Oaks off the beaten path. You won't just run into this joint, someone told you about it or you were invited to join a small group. Unassuming, small when you enter, but the longer you stay, you like it even more. It's surprising how crowded it gets, but not too crowded that you can't move around. Though, sometimes you're left standing at the bar for some time.

Mostly unfamiliar beers on tap, bar is small, inside is small, an hour wait for food. Someone told me that they don't usually say anything is the best, but that they actually thought the burger here was maybe one of the best they've ever had. The burger was good, the meat was thick and juicy and actually flavorful. But, I asked for mustard no mayo and they got neither right. I stood at the bar to get a knife and to no avail, I was left there standing trying to get someone's attention, after 10 minutes left to scrape the mayo off with a napkin. I wasn't very hungry, so I probably wasn't in the right mode and may have enjoyed it much more if I was.

The regular fries are nothing to write home about, I forgot to order the "other" fries. They have feta and some other style, I forget. I'll have to try for next time. They have outdoor seating in the front and back. It's quite comfortable and simple. While I was there, every table was taken.

Overall, I definitely like the casual atmosphere, I'll have to go back and give the burger another try. But, I still thought the burger was good, regardless, but, I didn't think it was the best. So, don't go in there thinking that's the case, I probably had grandiose expectations. While it is a good burger, I don't think it's the best. I liked the atmosphere for a casual mood, which is my favorite kind of mood. Ok, go and try and have fun.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Jalapeno popper and veggie tempura, sooooo good! And they have free wifi! Owners are so awesome!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

45 Miles in Bellville

4 more weeks to MS150...I'm so dreading it.  Definitely not ready this year.  This a shot from my lonesome break on my March 19th training finish a volunteer asks how my ride was...painful and lonely.  Don't you just love friends that commit to something with you and bail out at the last minute leaving you to do something all by yourself?  I guess this year, I'll be doing MS150  :|

Friday, March 11, 2011

I <3 Celebrity Cupcakes

Cupcakes again???  I know, it's scary how often I go. I took Susan by today to pick up some cupcake minis for her and Kirk and ran into an old college friend, Thao and her girlfriend and a total of 3 kids between them. As a matter of fact, while we were all sitting outside, enjoying the beautiful weather and eating our cupcakes another asian girl walks up to the cupcakery.  Wow, all three sets of patrons were asian females. Even yesterday, asian females.  Men...I don't know what it would do for your image hanging out at a cupcake shop with other guys, but that's all I'm saying.

By the way, Thao said Cele Cupcakes is her favorite cupcake spot too. Said she came specifically to try the Italian Cream cupcake, it's new, I had a mini and it's yummy.  It was sweet, has substance, and is moist though it's small.  I just love these minis because they're so easy to eat.  It's not messy at all and in two bites you're done.

Recycle @Washington Heights

Since I've moved to this side of town, my recycle bins have been overflowing since this neighborhood isn't as ecofriendly. But, good news! I found an easy drop off center, on Center st, just one street east of Heights Blvd! Happy Recycling!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Celebrity Cupcake Minis

So cute, I'm going to explode!  I think this is such a great way to sample and have all your favorite flavors.  They're $1.75 each.  I'm a total a cupcake freak and this is my favorite cupcake shop in Houston!  The cupcakes are so stinkin cute, presentation is impeccable and they taste really good too. There's great attention to detail with each cupcake from the moistness and lightness of the cake, sweet and flavorful with all organic ingredients, icing is perfection and the edible decorative fondant is just such a charming finish.

For Sam and Katie...

One for Jodie, two for me...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Les Givrals Try #2

On try #2 of Les Givrals on Washington, since my first visit wasn't too favorable. This time I return with a groupon and a friend happy to be used and treated before my groupon expires.

Last time, I got the vermicelli and a tofu spring roll and wasn't very happy with either.  They both were so tasteless, which is a mystery to me since most of it is just fresh ingredients.  Maybe it was the fish sauce. This time with much heeded advice I had the banh mi #1 (charbroiled pork). The bread was nice and crispy like it was fresh out of the oven or at least it tasted like it.  The amount of veggies and cilantro were good, overall very fresh ingredients.  I felt like my sandwich was a bit roomy, it could of used a few more pieces of pork.  The bread to the ingredients ratio was a little off, but overall it met my requirements.  Add the spicy chile sirracha stuff and it's perfect.  The banh mi was $3.  I think I wondered with this nice new building would the food cost more, but no...I think it's pretty much the same as the one in downtown.  Jay got the rice dish with charbroiled pork. He liked his dish and I liked my banh mi...success, this time!

My conclusion is it's a decent spot to go for vietnamese food if you're closer to the west end of the inner loop and away from downtown. Little tidbit, Rice Military used to be called West End back in the day. I think one day, we're going to look back and say, did you know Katy used to be considered west houston? It's not a secret, Houston is estimated to double in population by 2035. Real Estate is cheap now, trust me, carpe diem! I'm in real estate, so if you or anyone you know needs a real estate expert, call me, I'd love to help you find your perfect home or sell it and find you a new perfect home!


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bernie's Burger Bus (Sackett near Westheimer)

So Ryan tells me about this burger place, insists I must go, but he doesn't know the name or's all very mysterious, I'm intrigued.  We pull up...ok...different, ok...definitely has character...I already like it, but what is it?
What it is, is Lizzard's Pub with Bernie's Burger Bus parked on the side.  They are not affiliated.  The owner of Lizzard's Pub is kind enough to let BBB park, provide food, do their own thing and patrons can sit and buy a beer or drinks at Lizzard's Pub and sit and enjoy their patio.  Awesome casual atmosphere, great quiet tree lined street surrounded by bungalow homes occupied by commercial businesses.

The owner, Justin, who's burger bus is named after his grandfather Bernie, has been operating this bus here since October, but I wanna say he said he's been in the business for 15 years...don't quote me on that.

Justin is super friendly and you can tell he chats a lot with his customers, he's got his window lean down.  Ok so, here's the menu on the side of the bus, it's pretty simple, but also creative and fun.  All the menu items follow a school theme...the principal, substitute, bully, detention, the preschoolers, kindergartners, etc.  

I get a classic burger called the Principal (Traditional approach to the classic American burger with mustard, ketchup, pickle, thin sliced onions, shredded lettuce, and slow roasted garlic tomatoes $7).  I thought it was pretty good.  It had a different flavor to it, but I couldn't put my finger on...then I realized maybe it's like a slight worcestershire flavor.  Under "extracirricular activities", since they ran out of sweet potato fries, I get the handcut fries, which I thought were good too, nice and just the right amount of salt.

Ryan gets the Substitute (Burger topped with a bleu cheese, thick sliced crispy bacon, burgundy laced mushrooms and Bernie’s Tipsy caramelized onions $8 or $9 I forget).  He said his was good, said he really liked it.  

They make their own condiments, ketchup texture looked a little different, but they both tasted like good ol ketchup and mustard, just the way I like.  Nobody likes gourmet ketchup or natural ketchup that doesn't taste like ketchup, right?

Justin brings out this Truffle Laced Hand-Cut Fries w/ Parmesan and Green Onions.  I liked it, but since Ryan doesn't eat fries, I ate most of the handcut fries and was kind of french fried out by the time he brought out this free order of fries, which was awfully nice of him.  I did have a few bites though.  I liked the combination of the parmesan on the fries, that was different.  When they say something is truffle laced, I can never taste truffle laced popcorn.  But, the person I'm with usually can, maybe I need more refinement or maybe they're just lying!  What is it supposed to taste like?  I have no idea.  Am I the only person that relates the word "truffle" to chocolate?   Or maybe it's like the Emperor and his invisible coat, like all these chefs are telling us these things are laced with truffles when in reality it's not and it's just for us to be like "ooh yes, I taste it, it's magnificient"...when truffles.  Ok, anyways I digress, I wished I could have tried the sweet potato fries...more reason to come back!

Overall, I liked my whole experience.  I loved the charm and character of the whole idea.  This mobile school bus burger concept parked off a side street found, either by word of mouth or you accidentally fell upon it.  It's just stinkin cool.  This kind of business you hope that the food is good because the idea is so cool...and you sit down and eat and the food IS good.  I'm gonna be honest, it's not the best burger I've had, not that I expected it to be, but it was a dang good burger and tasty and satisfying, good fries.  But, the best thing about this place is that they make all their own ingredients FROM SCRATCH!!  That's just so unusual.  Organic grass-fed black angus beef (have you seen how these conglomerate companies raise and process beef? If not, trust me you'll appreciate grass-fed beef), condiments made FROM SCRATCH, that's just so strange...even the bun!  No perservatives or chemicals.  What is the world coming to...a fast food joint...located in a mobile school bus...that serves burgers and fries with all natural ingredients.  This whole concept is just so weird...I love loved it all!  It's got such an unpretentious, casual, fun, ogranic quality, the whole thing I just loved.  I'll be back for those extracirricular sweet potato fries!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Beck's Prime on a Beautiful Day!

Apparently, not everyone likes the veggie burger at Beck's Prime, like their own employees! Well, one in particular, knocking the veggie burger, he was...what does he know about good veggie foods, I told him his coworker doesn't look like he eats veggie burgers...haha!  Totally kidding.

I love it though, but Jay tried it and didn't like it so much either, said it had a Mediterranean flavor to it. Sweet potato fries are crispy and good!  Jay had the bacon cheeseburger, says it's really good...and speaking from past experience the hamburger is really good too, a big fat patty and mesquitey flavor...soooo mm...
Lamar students breaking away to enjoy this beautiful day.  I guess schools let kids eat off campus these days.