Monday, February 27, 2012

The Hay Merchant

Has everyone been waiting impatiently for this thing to open or what?  Well, they're open now!  They have a really cool website and (they say) beers too.  We, 3 girls that know nothing about beer, checked Hay Merchant.  Cool crowd, dark, but nice atmosphere.  We ordered chicken liver &  waffles, truffle fries, pig ears, gumbo, and Bombshell Blonde beer.  I thought the food was okay.  It's a place to go with a group, definitely not a pick up place, which is nice.  Staff was helpful and friendly.  It was a decent first experience.

Liberty Kitchen & Oyster Bar

I think I can safely say residents and job holders in the Heights have been anxiously waiting for Liberty Kitchen's open.  It's now been opened for about 4-6 months already.  When I walked in, I was a bit preoccupied and on the phone, the hosts were friendly and waited till I got off the phone, sat me at a booth.  Nice casual interior.  Kind of shabby, not chic, but urban cool.  Jay arrives and we order, I get the Liberty Burger substitute buffalo with fries and Jay got the Tuna Salad Melt with fries.  The burger was really good, fries were fine.  Jay said his food was good.  I guess one should try the oysters, but we didn't, it's lunch, does anyone eat oysters for lunch?  I don't eat oysters at any time of day, so I guess it doesn't matter for me.  I'd be curious to know what people think about Liberty's oysters.  That could be a huge problem if they weren't good.

The decor was nice.  Casual atmosphere, some booths, some tables.  I noticed they had reclaim wood on the walls, different paint, I liked it.  It had an original feel to it.  I wonder if they had it imported like Uchi had theirs.  You can see mostly all the patrons in the entire restaurant with their nice and open setting.  Servers are cool.  Definitely a good place and option for lunch in the Heights.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ooh La La Desserts

The shop is in a great spot in Town & Country shopping center, not City Center.  The interior is cute, I can see they tried.  But, they need a little more work it looks a little sad and definitely not cozy.  But the selection of furniture is fun and kind of shabby chic. 

The dessert casings are kind of ghetto, but whatever...the cupcakes are ginormous!  I can't wait to sink my teeth in it.  Geez, what a deflater, it was totally eh...actually I take that's worse than eh.  The chocolate cake was dry and pretty bad, but on the bright side, if you keep eating starts to grow on you.  But, if you take a break and go back, it's pretty bad again.  Also, just so you know...I warned that girl that this one cupcake would determine if I ever came back and she still recommended it to me!  That's scary.

In summary, when it comes to cupcakes, it should be about quality, not quantity. There was just no love in these cupcakes and you can't hold it against people for giving high ratings for subpar cupcakes.  They just don't know any better.  But, it was pretty bad, I didn't finish it.  That's bad.  I'd rather eat a cupcake from Costco...ok, not really.  But really, just save the calories for something better!!   If you want to know what love in a cupcake tastes like...go to Celebrity Cupcakes!  Ok now, tootles!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

ATM Station (Upper Kirby)

This is the coolest thing ever! It's an ATM station and has a variety of ATMs for different banks. This location has Frost, Wells Fargo, and Chase.  This is just the smartest thing I've seen! Would that be so cool if every ATM station had access multiple banks or what? This station is located in the same shopping square as Lupe Tortilla off of 59. Hope they start popping up everywhere!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Uchi Houston

yokai berry - atlantic salmon, dinosaur kale, asian pear, yuzu $17 = yum!  They say it's their antioxidant dish.

hanna - cauliflower $5 = it's just cauliflower tempura, why's it so dang good?

shime saba - norwegian mackerel, $5 each = wowzers, very tasty.  First time tonight I needed to close my eyes and have a moment with my food.

brussel sprouts = oh my goodness this is dang good!

yuka with asian pear, almonds, etc = pretty good.

brie ringo - tempura fried brie, apple chutney, sweet potato crisp, $9 = dang good!  Sorry, I keep saying the same thing...I can't describe the flavors, it's just all so amazing, plus I'd be here all day if I tried.
sushi chefs busy at work!

chopstick holders so cute and creative!  It's a small stone!

hotate - spicy scallop, avocado = second time I needed to close my eyes, $4 each.

wagyu with sea urchin, jelly - not on the menu...ahhhmazing!  Ask head chef Nobu for it.
hirame usuzukuri - thinly sliced flounder sashimi, candied quinoa, olive oil $18 = light and refreshing.

uchiviche - salmon, stripped bass, tomato, bell pepper, garlic, cilantro $12

uni - sea urchin.  My first time trying.  Suprisngly good. $4.5 each

maguro sashimi and goat cheese - big eye tuna, pumpkin seed oil, fuji apple $18

foi gras sushi with quinoa - wow, fantastic!  Third time the eyes went a shutting, $9 each.

wagyu - torched seared beef $4.5 each = oh my wow, need another moment!
peanut butter semi freddo - concept spin off of peanut butter jelly.
new - pistachio, etc...
fried milk - concept from cereal and milk.

This was probably, dare I say, the best dining experience I've ever had in my life!  I hate to hype things up, but I was just so impressed from the moment I sat down at the bar, to wait 2 hours for my seat at the sushi bar.  The bar staff were all so friendly, playful, attentive, hot towels for your hands, and then to hand you a dinner napkin for your lap.

So far, I'm liking very much.  Ok now, what's this?  There's a man walking around with a dish of free food for waiting guest.  He tells us to take as many as we want.  It's like some tempura jalapeno appetizer.  Who cares what it is, that's awesome!  That's great customer service!  So, we order the Yokai Berry, then a free dish gets sent to us, then another.  We order the brussel sprouts, then 2 more free dishes.  Goodness this place is crazy!  Are they trying to go out of business?  Plus, I'm starting to get full and we haven't even looked at the dinner menu.  Apparently, this is their thing.  They give free food out to their waiting and sometimes dining patrons because they want to invest in their customers.  That's such an unconventional idea, but brilliant!

We get seated at the sushi bar and between my gal friend, Nikki (who works at Uchi) and Son, our sushi chef, we get an array of amazing dishes.  Everything I ate was so good!  Sometimes, dressed with fruits and light as can be, then other dishes so bold and flavorful, creative, and so unconventional.  I loved how when the different servers would bring out our dishes they would always make a suggestion on how to eat it.  I thought that was a really nice touch.  All the food was just so amazing.  I can remember at least three times I had to take a moment while eating, closed my eyes and had a food orgasim...yes, the food was that amazing.  It was my first time trying foie gras and uni (sea urchin) and both were totally painless, even really good.  The thing is I wasn't really even worried, I had no reason to not trust the food.  Everything else I had tried so far was so amazing!  If you try anything, you must try the Wagyu sushi! 

Upon waiting for our check, we watch our server, who is a white female, speak Japanese to the sushi chef, Son, who is Vietnamese.  He hands her a receipt.  I ask Son if she just spoke in Japanese and he said yes.  They all have to learn some Japanese and speak it behind the sushi bar...interesting.  I also noticed all of the servers are white, well minus a couple.  That's also unconventional in a sushi restaurant, but, the sushi chefs are all asian.  Something of no importance, it's just different.

About their great customer service, I noticed servers were always picking up trash off the table and replacing dirty plates. I dropped one of my chopsticks and had asked for another set, upon bringing me my new pair, they made sure to take the ones that were no longer being used. It's just those little things and they happen all the time here. Service is spectacular! You get the sense that someone really wants you to enjoy your dining experience. Everyone is so friendly, helpful, seem to really like working here and all have great big ol' smiles on their faces.

I felt like Tyson Cole really got it right with Uchi.  Great atmosphere, service, and food.  The only complaint is the wait, but heck what are you to do when a million people want to eat at your resturant?  Wait 2 hours of course!  Be smart and make a reservation...but that just means you'll have to plan 3 weeks in advance...or else just come at 1030pm.  We noticed it starts to get a little light in the dining room at that hour, haha.  Ok, go and check it out, and expect to have an excellent experience and actually have it!  Happy eating!