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Everything posted by tetsujustin

  1. I thought I had saw an earlier post, but I think Beaver's would be a great place for a eGullet gathering. Let Bobby and Kevin make some drinks, try out some of Dax's new dishes. I think it'd be a good time. Anyone down? Also I have no idea and forget what I need to do to make this a non-offical eGullet meeting. Someone do the disclaimer thing for me.
  2. when I went to take a wine class there (no, not the rip-off cia bachelor's program one) I stayed at the Lodge at Calistoga. Nothing special, clean rooms, quiet area. Martini House isn't super far away, neither is CIA. Make sure to stop by Taylor's Refresher, if for anything, just to say you did. Plus it's the only decent lunch you can fit in when they give you your short breaks without having to eat the same spread you made at in Americas class in Hyde Park.
  3. tetsujustin

    [HOU] Soma

    I've been twice, and though I don't think its in any way a bad restaurant, I don't think I would go back on my dime because the food quickly adds up and it just doesn't justify it to what I want to spend for what I'm looking for. Plus service was poor but forgivable one time, and abysmal the next. Food-wise, some of it's pretty good, but a lot of it just sounds better on the menu than what actually comes out. The fish and chips I was greatly anticipating came out underseasoned the one time I ordered it and dry the second time my friend ordered it. Sushi was decent, but I'd heard from somewhere that they had boasted fish flown in from the tsjuki market in Japan, and having been there this past winter, I'd be inclined to either day they got the ends of the pickings, or it wasn't from Japan because the selection wasn't great, nor did it taste pristinely fresh. The one thing I just don't like, though it's absolutely just a personal preferance of mine, is the high glitz factor of the food and place. At this point in my life, I like well flavored, well composed restaurants that don't need to be flashy or sound elitist, but with the use of micro greens everywhere they shouldn't be, l'atelier de soma written on the menu, the waiters telling me how I should eat the food, I felt like I was under a microscope. And it didn't even feel comfortably under the microscope like some restaurants can manage to finangle in NY or Chicago or SF, like awkwardly under the microscope. Either way, the atmosphere is clubby, the food is okay to good, and the service didn't quite impress. That's my thought.
  4. Everyone has to go make it out to H-mart on blalock, the new Korean supermarket just a block off of I-10. Though I wasn't impressed by every item from the food court, it beats the pants off of Ko-mart which in my opinion sunk into a very depressed state. There's Korean fried chicken chain that's good, but oddly sweet in taste, though if you get the korean spiced fried chicken, it won't matter because your face is going to be burned off. The Korean Snack Stand has a huge korean omelet that was delicious, and there's also several types of bibimbap, served in the superheated stone bowls if you would like, though those take about 20 minutes to receive. Produce an product wise, this is the best selection you'll get short of going down to Bellaire. There's dried and fresh noodles, lots of Ramen, and also your run of the mill Asian produce, includng the all-important durian. The best, however, is the super-fresh and reasonably priced fish area, where yesterday's selection included whole albacore tunas for 2.99 a pound, black cod, grouper, belt fish, several different types of mackeral, live lobsters for 6.99 a pound, milkfish, and a whole bunch more. Then of course is your live tilapia and catfish. Either way, I urge you all to go give it a shot, for me, it's much closer than chinatown and I would make a trip by itself just because of the fish.
  5. I'm pretty sure you can't bring cookbooks or recipes onto the show.
  6. I've yet to make it up to The Lodge, but I competed against their chef de cuisine at the young chef's competition the last three years. great, great cook (and a nice guy too), so I'm not surprised by your experience. I've really gotta make it up there.
  7. My guess is that it's supposed to be Yucca, as in a Yucca root. My immediate reaction is that no one is going to be able to distinguish tastes by the end of the meat starter just because most every single one of your tastes are pretty heavy, pounding tastes, without any breaks: feta, duck, salmon, pork cheek, vacherin, hickory, indian curry, then a whole load of sweet-sounding desserts. Just reading it, the turbot is the only break that your tastebuds get and eating this way not only wears on your tongue, but also makes you feel fuller quicker. I understand where you're coming from, the progression of the meal seems to be following a normal, say 5 course meal of amuse, 2 starters, fish, meat, dessert, but in something as long as a 12-course menu, you've got to keep an eye of the pace of flavors, if you take a look at Alinea's 12 course tasting, you'll see that (and it's easy to see, just look at the bubbles) there's like meals within the meal. I guess my suggestion is that it needs more vegetables, it needs more acid, and it needs way, way less protein. Of course I could be totally wrong, maybe somehow you've worked it out taste-wise that we just can't get by just looking at a menu
  8. Having a fiancee that's been looking for the same thing, the only thing we've found that just teaches beginners the basics and regular ol cooking 101 is the Central Market cooking classes and Sur La Table. Watch out though, because with the sur la table classes that bring in professional chefs, they don't let you do much of the cooking. If you go with like the CM or SLT staff classes, I've been told they do a decent job. From what I know, both art institute and LeNotre don't do just regular beginning cooking classes. good luck hunting, report back if you find anything.
  9. www.thegrovehouston.com menu's on there, not sure about wine list. From what I hear, the Lake House is supposed to be just nice burgers and fries. So I don't think any of the menu's supposed to transfer over. Could be wrong. Ryan Pera, formerly of 17 is heading the kitchen as executive chef. Having once worked for him, I can say the food should be anywhere from extremely solid to really good. The food is a lot calmer than 17's menu was though.
  10. On a nice day, Cafe Rabelais's mussels and frites outside with one of their many half bottle selections is one of the best things ever. I personally think Rabelais is more of a lunch spot, but it's still good for dinner.
  11. you would think Richard Blais has a lot more to lose than to win, but it'll be fun to see if any of the contestants are intimidated by someone with such a big name. Plus, I suppose everyone needs a challenge. A dark horse I would say is Stephanie Izard, former owner Scylla in Chicago. I had an absolutel stellar meal there about a year ago. Scylla closed late last year to make room for Takashi Yagihashi's new restaurant, even though they claimed they were still making quality money. Looks like a lot of quality cooks, should be an interesting season.
  12. Cafe Le Jadeite probably isn't the best way to spend your expense account, but if you're around that area, you're no more than 10 minutes away from some great restaurants. Hugo's was a pretty good choice - here's some other ones (if you're really looking to work that account) Da Marco on Westheimer (not too far from Hugo's) Dolce Vita on Westheimer (again, not too far) Mark's on Westheimer (mixed reviews lately, but many seem to enjoy it) The same goes for Tony's in Greenway Plaza. Nippon on Montrose, as long as you ask for the Japanese menu and/or order the omakase Brasserie Max and Julie on Montrose and Richmond for quality renditions of classic bistro fare. For some reason, anytime someone comes to Texas, they always have to have steak. Vic and Anthony's is a good choice. Actually, the best steak I've had in Houston was recently at Del Frisco's double eagle, but the service was atrocious. So if you can bear bad service, the steaks are really good and they're really good about cooking it to temperature. Farther away there's REEF in midtown, 17 in downtown, and Catalan on Washington Ave. I went to Catalan a few weeks ago, and while there's still nothing Catalonian about it, the kitchen's churning out really, really solid food. Then of course there's things such as Himalaya for Pakistani food or one of your several taquerias, but that won't exactly dent an expense account. I look forward to your reviews.
  13. Odd, I've had quite a few peking ducks in my life and the ones at Peking cuisine have never come out dry at all. When I reviewed it, I factored in the service/quality with the fact that you can get out of there, filled to the brim, under 12 bucks a head. The food is greasy but full of flavor. I guess that's how I like it. It's more or less a difference in personal taste, I'm Chinese, but am in no way from China. Thanks for the shoutout though, I hope any person who's had a chance to look at the book likes it, but most of all, finds it useful. Let me be the first to thank everyone from this forum, also, because I've found some of my favorite restaurants (that I highlight in the book) on this board (notably Himalaya) and hopefully those restaurants get a bigger following from it. Happy eating.
  14. Robert Gadsby, late of NOE and his chef de cuisine, former pastry chef at noe, Plinio Sandalio have opened up Soma Sushi on the corner Washington and Sheperd. Looking at Plinio's blog, his desserts look really exciting. Very Alex Stupak-esque (of WD~50.) The backers are the people who own all the Azumas. First, has anyone been? Second, not that I really pay all that much attention to the opinions of (because they more often than not, aren't very accurate) but the three current reviews of Soma on b4-u-eat aren't all that favorable. Given that this place has probably been only open for a week or two, but it seems as if people are overlooking the hot food in favor of the sushi rolls etc... could it be because they have the word sushi in their name? With Chef Gadsby's background, that would mean the food he's strongest in, which is his composed plates, might be underordered. The whole buzz surrounding this place reminds me of Rickshaw when it opened. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing, and Chef Sandalio I believe is a Rickshaw alum. Otherwise, the aspect of having these two on Washington is pretty exciting. I look forward to trying it out when I get the chance. Thoughts?
  15. Well health and safety recommendations say that you should cook a duck breast (actually, all poultry) to an internal temperature of 165 degrees fahrenheit, but that results in a well done duck breast and well, well done duck breasts suck. 50 degrees celsius (which is what I believe is what you're trying to get at with the oc mark) is 122 degrees fahrenheit, which is just a touch over rare, heading towards midrare, and yes that is "safe" as most restaurants serve their duck midrare to medium depending on the varietal of the duck. The soy marinade doesn't act as a protector beause it doesn't have enough acid in it to kill off all bacteria, and though it's high in salt, it won't completely cure a duck breast (which I don't think you're going for anyway) Just for general curiousity, why steaming it? And why searing it first before it goes into the bag?
  16. from the sound of it, lets just hope that this isn't a small run show. Lets also hope I can get my tivo working in time too. I'm also really excited about the iron chef battle this week. Is fifteen Jamie's only restaurant? And does he change his crew every year? (I haven't rooted around to look)
  17. went to dinner there last night, and was pretty impressed as to how much they've improved. Not that I didn't like it before, in fact I loved Dolce Vita before, but from my experience there last night, they stepped it up. We started off with a few of the appetizers. The rapini from the fritto section is quickly turning into one of my favorite appetizers in Houston, as long as I have someone to share it with. We also got the eggplant agro dolce, Roasted cauliflower, and the fennel "bagna cauda," which I'd never gotten before but was both homey and refreshing at the same time. That being said, I could see it being an intimidating dish because it's weird being served a plate of raw fennel pieces with just a side of vinaigrette. The eggplant was way too sour/vinegary this time around, probably because we were the last table to walk in. What really impressed me, however, was the improvement on Dolce Vita's pizzas. When I first started eating there shortly after it opened, I thought the pizzas were the weakest part of the menu because the crusts were so flimsy and subpar, but last night's pizzas were all delicious, with extra crispy, thin crusts. We got margherita, the pizza special with asparagus, proscuitto, mushrooms, mozzarella (plus egg), and the finocchio as well, which I think was with tuna bottarga grated over it. I wonder if they'll ever have the chance to try cod bottarga over it bc I think it might be even better, but that rendition of the finocchio with the slight fishiness with the sweet fennel and slight spice was great. We got a pasta dish but I didn't get to try it. This being said, my experience at DV last night made it a "visit once a month" sort of place rather than a "visit every few months" sort of place. Service was again very well paced and friendly, the food is delicious and light, and the wine list is nicely selected and food friendly. Plus now, I won't think twice about ordering off of any part of the menu. edit:spelling
  18. I saw a few commercials for this show, it finally looks like a really, really promising one. I'm not sure if this is a draw from BBC or if it's Foodnetwork produced, but it looks like Jamie Oliver pulls from his own garden at home and cooks seasonally and simply-- something that's been missing on foodtv for forever, a real cook cooking what looks to be quality food. I for one am at least excited at the fact that it's someone who has a real sense of food coming back to cook instead of wasting time watching home cooks, this may be more directed towards those who have more experience in the kitchen. Plus watching the commercial, you see the produce pulled directly from the ground... maybe a food geek sort of thing. Anyway, the premiere is January 12th
  19. I took my brother and a few of his friends up to Austin for his bachelor's party last night, and as part of the itienerary, we stopped by lockhart to have a massive bbq crawl (not exactly the best idea a few hours before heading to 6th, but yesterday wasn't about good ideas) We went to Black's, Kreuz's, and Chisolm Trail. Before you get up in arms about us not hitting up Smitty's, when we were driving up, they were flipping the sign to closed. So I guess I'll have to make a return trip to finish off the bbq trinity. Overall, Black's was my favorite, the fatty brisket was moist and flavorful, and the sausage was decent and dense in flavor. But best of all, the staff seemed generally happy to see us there which is always a good feeling. Kreuz's had the best sausage, but the ribs and brisket were really lackluster. For an establishment to demand no forks or sauce is fine, but both the ribs and brisket needed it, they were really, really dry, and the ribs were mealy for some reason. I'd take an order at Beaver's and Rudy's over theirs anyday though it could've just been this one time, I'm planning on a return trip sometime soon just to make sure I didn't miss anything. Chisolm Trail by then was overkill, but the ribs were exceptionally tender even though the sauce was really candylicious in how sweet it was. Not really my cup of tea. They did have an exceptional peach cobber though. Good ratio of topping to peach. As to Kent pointing out about how the sausage should spray rivlets of juice into your mouth when you bite into it, this happened moreso at Black's than at Kreuz's. I'm not sure how I feel about it because then it made the sausage seem really, really greasy to eat and if you take a bite then put it down and eat other things, a lot of the juice had seeped out by then and the sausage was dry-ish. Given it is a really cool affect, and it made the sausage more plump and juicy to eat, maybe I just don't eat quickly enough to really enjoy it. It's fun to find the difference in cooking though. Any way around it, the whole trip was fun. There was no bad que to be had in Lockhart. Comparing it to other, more southern styles, it's different. No better, no worse, it just really depends what you have a hankering for, I guess.
  20. I think what rebecca was pointing to (hence the quotation marks) was that they've "studied" with the lockhart folk as in both the sous chef and chef there are frequenters of the city and the heartiness within. Unless the above two posts were sarcastic to respond to her sarcasm in which I just don't get through the power of the internet. Having been to Beavers a few days into their inception, I will have to say that this isn't (at least to me) a "BBQ joint." Both by looking at their menu and eating their food, it's feels that this is just a comfort food joint that takes their BBQ seriously. But again it isn't Central Texas Style bbq, but it is very good bbq. You can tell by both taste and by hearing it from the chef that there the meats use different smoke-times using different wood (not just mesquite, as is the offense of many-a-bbq pit) I will withhold complete and utter judgement since I've worked with the guys, but I will say that both the sausage from Jolie Vue (I think) and the brisket I found to be exceptionally good. Try the other things too, the campechana and chickpeas I found to be good, and my girlfriend (a vegetarian) loved the nut burger. I (and so should you) look forward to the weeks when they can get in free range berkshire pork for their pit because lets face it, free range pork and bbq = culinary orgasm. Also, sit at the bar and talk to Bobby and just tell him to make you whatever, no holds barred. He started me out with a pisco (sp?) sour complete with raw egg white and ended a strightforward, clean, crispy, martini (stirred). I admit to previously being an extra-dirty w/ vodka martini kind of guy before. But now I just can't do it anymore. (without sarcasm) thanks for ruining it for me. The place has very Monica Pope-touches to it (attention to vegetarians, middle eastern and indian flavors) but isn't a dumbed down t'afia. It's all on it's own, and hey, it's good. With a good price, good drinks, good food. I would say a place you could visit every week or two. Now only if they would open for lunch. (but they are open till 12 am) edited to fix spelling/redundancy.
  21. Just as a note, I've heard down the grapevine that Bistro Moderne is closing. Not sure where phillipe schmidt et al is going, but as an ex sous (or chef de cuisine?) at Le Bernadin, I'm doubiting it'll be in houston.
  22. Yeah, he's moving to a cordua restaurant I believe, opening in the woodlands. I think an Americas. They hired a new chef over the last few weeks or month or so. He was the chef at Bice I believe. I went to 13 celsius last week, and it's now my new favorite wine bar. Well selected wines, a Berkel handcranked slicer for charcuterie, and the fact that they may be the only friggin place in houston that doesn't serve their red wines at room temperature. (they have a temperature controlled cellar/room behind the bar to grab bottles. A little on the pricey side, and if you're big on Californian wines, big, bad, fruit bombs, etc. This probably won't be your place. Otherwise, except for the decor which I find a little *too* barren, it's a great place. Plus it has couches.
  23. Xiong's I do not believe has them. Classic kitchen right next door (owned I believe by the same people) does.
  24. Note that if you have himalaya scheduled for lunch next week, you're going to want to go back again and again over the next several days until you've tried the entire menu. So far, the only thing I've had that was just okay is the saag paneer. Just saying, maybe you should keep your schedule open. you can go try, but I don't thin arirang is really worth your time. The korean restaurants down on longpoint/gesser area are much better.
  25. So as I've had all eyes out on the Houston Soup Dumpling watch, after being horribly underwhelmed by Robb Walsh's recommendation of FuFu's Cafe's soup dumplings (the dumplings were way too big, skins too thick, flavor was so so.) A few doors down from there in the Dun Huang center, across the street from Sinh Sinh, like a block down from beltway 8 and bellaire, there's a place called Paradise Cafe. I was first drawn to the place because they had a picture of a guy stretching a mainland china specialty (I think) called lai mein (or beef la noodles on the menu), or hand stretched noodles that result in bucatini-like doughy noodles served in a thick, beefy broth. I ordered those and noticed that the soup dumplings were on the menu too (disguised as pork bun w. juice) The noodles looked nothing like on the picture outside, but the soup dumplings had a porky center and a nice gingery, exploding broth to it. Plus if you have a big enough mouth the whole thing can fit in unlike the ones a fufu. As an overall restaurant, fufu is better, but for just soup dumplings, give paradise a chance.
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