Saturday, August 14, 2010

Houston Food

During my travels in Houston, I took pictures of my food so I would remember to blog/yelp about them. Of course, I do this in Austin as well, so I guess it isn't any different than normal :) I was a little concerned about taking pictures of my food in front of my classmates but I did it with my iPhone to be stealthy. Since I did take them with my iPhone it means that the quality isn't the best, especially since there was low light in some restaurants.

Bellaire Coffee Shop

5422 Bissonnet St

Bellaire, Tx 77401

My first lunch there was at a little hole in the wall type place. I knew my stomach was in the mood for breakfast, I decided on going with the turkey and bacon sandwich with fries. When I first walked in I was motioned to sit where ever I wanted but then I sat there for a few minutes without anybody else coming over to check on me. Eventually a sweet little lady, who kept calling me Hon, came over and got my order. The sandwich came and it was a simple yet tasty sandwich. I wish I had gone with breakfast but i did enjoy my sandwich.

I cannot for the life of me remember the name of this restaurant, but as soon as I check my expense report I'll post it. As we were driving over to this restaurant, the one bit of advice that one of my classmates gave me was to not get the chicken. She said the last 3 or 4 chicken dishes that she has ordered were always dried out and lacked taste. Taking her advice and staying away from the chicken, I ordered the fajita beef tacos. The beef was tender and had a slight taste of citrus which was a nice surprise. The beef (which was plentiful) was wrapped in home made tortillas, yum!! Luckily for me, the 2 tacos were enough to fill me up. For my sides I ordered rice and grilled veggies. I ended up with beans but waiter eventually brought me rice, which was bland. I was so hopeful for the veggies, they had nice grill marks and looked to have spice on them. I realized my disappointment after my first bite. The veggies were luke warm and had zero flavor. The chips and salsa were tasty and my tacos were really good so I would recommend this restaurant but would issue some warnings about the chicken and the veggies!

Benno's on the Beach
1200 Seawall Blvd
Galveston, Tx 77550

I drove down to Galveston one night after training. I didn't really have a plan, I just knew I wanted to get out of town and go hang on the beach. Unfortunately Houston traffic is insanely crazy busy so it took me about 1.5 hrs to get to the coast. I loved every minute of it and don't regret it for a minute. While I was on the ferry to East Island I yelped restaurants in the area and this one popped up and looked promising. For whatever reason, I have been wanting to try fried oysters. I decided on the fried oyster and shrimp platter with fries and coleslaw. For $13.95 I received a big platter of fried food. The shrimp were cooked perfectly (tender not dry and chewy) and had a nice season to them. The fries were okay, definitely needed some salt. I can't really review the oysters because I didn't really care for them, but I think it is my issue not the oysters fault. There was a cornmeal coating on them that was nice a crispy and the oyster inside was... an oyster. Not my cup of tea... I have always said that frying food makes it better but apparently frying oysters does not make it better according to my palate :) I was glad I made the stop at this casual restaurant. They are located right across the street from the gulf so I bet during the day you have an awesome view while you enjoy your food.

Charlies Bar-B-Q in Bellaire
4803 Bissonnet Street
Bellaire, Tx 77401

I really didn't know what to think as I walked into this tucked away restaurant. I had looked up the Yelp reviews and it didn't look good. But my classmates decided to give them a try so I was stuck going here. I ordered the St. Louis rib plate with a side for around $7. My ribs looked dark so right off the bat I was a little worried. However, when I took a bite of the rib, I was pleasantly surprised! It was very tender with a slight smoky taste. I had them put the sauce on the sauce because I'm more of a dry rub rib girl.. The sauce was on the thin side but it didn't lack in flavor. The potato salad was okay, kind of tasted like the kind that you can buy at HEB. If I was back in the area and craved BBQ I would be willing to give them another try.

Cafe Express
1101 Uptown Park Blvd
Houston, Tx 77056

During training I depended on my classmates tastes for lunch. I let them choose where to go since they were familiar with the area and luckily for me they picked some good places! :) Cafe Express is a bustling little restaurant where you order at the front and you get buzzed when your food is ready. I was all set to order from the breakfast menu (their frittata sounded awesome) but they stopped serving breakfast at 11am. BOOO. I went with my second choice, the Rustica chicken sandwich. The sandwich had sliced chicken, sun dried tomato's, pesto and dressed greens all on a focacicia bread. Everything tasted really fresh and the chicken was tender and not dried out. I can't remember the price, but it was around $9 or $10 for the sandwich and fries. A little pricey to do every day lunch, but it was good. Other classmates ordered a couple of other sandwiches and pastas and it all looked really good. To bad I didn't know they better or I would have asked them for a bite :)

La Vista
1936 Fountain View Dr
Houston, Tx 77057

I was in the mood for pasta on my last night in Houston, so I went in search of an Italian restaurant. I found a couple near the hotel, but they looked more on the fancy side, and I wasn't in the mood to get dressed up. I found La Vista which looked promising and after I looked at their menu I knew I needed to eat there. I was drawn to two different dishes: Linguini Gamberri (shrimp and scallops with sun dried tomato's, tomato's, garlic and balsamic vinegar and their Shrimp and Grits (spicy prosciutto wrapped shrimp over cheesy polenta with Grand Marnier). Once I got there I decided on the Shrimp and Grits and I am glad that I ordered it. First, I was given a cheesy garlic bread with herbed olive oil for dipping. I had to stop myself from eating all of the bread in front of me, it was excellent. I then had my Cesar salad, which honestly was just a Cesar salad nothing special. Shortly after finishing my salad my shrimp and grits was delivered. The shrimp were huge, spicy, cooked perfectly and as promised on the menu, the grits were cheesy. I wish I had a bigger stomach because I didn't want to stop eating until it was all gone. The sauce around the grits was a perfect flavor to enhance the shrimp. All of the employees were very polite and made sure that I was attended to without being overwhelming. I am very glad that I found this restaurant (Thanks Yelp!!) to eat at while I was visiting Houston.

Daily Grill
5085 Westheimer Rd
Houston, Tx 77056

For breakfast all week I was eating at Panera Bread… bagel and coffee. I like a substantial breakfast but didn’t want to eat that heavy every day. So I decided that on my last morning in Houston I would splurge and get a nice breakfast. The hotel I stayed in didn’t have a restaurant connected but across the mall hallway was a Daily Grill that was a part of the hotel. I checked out the menu and decided on the Eggs Florentine (2 poached eggs on sautéed spinach and an English muffin, topped with hollandaise sauce). I started off with coffee which was good, strong enough and not burnt tasting. My breakfast was placed in front of me and I thought “this is going to be good”. Well… I was disappointed in my breakfast. Everything lacked seasoning, the hollandaise sauce was solid but it wasn’t enough to help the eggs and spinach. The first egg stack was decent, but as soon as I cut into the 2nd egg stack I knew I wasn’t going to be happy. The English muffin was soggy, which meant either the poached egg wasn’t properly strained or the spinach had way to much liquid in it. Blech. I pulled off the egg and ate it by itself. I was hoping for a better breakfast to celebrate my last day of class but I didn’t get it.

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