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Best and Worst meal of the year


jscarbor
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The worse meal of the year is easy. Last night my wife ate at Kona Grill near are new house in the burbs. The food was aweful and 2 entrees an appetizer and 1 drink ran $55 after tax and tip! We had the signature macadamia nut crusted chicken which wasn't aweful except this nasty cream sauce concoction on the side. My wife had the peanut chicken noodle dish and it was just autrocious.

Best meal in the expensive caqtegory in a close race goes to Aries over Noe. Reason being Aries had 3 or 4 very memorable dishes like the well executed white bean soup, the chicken perfectly poached in milk with buttered leaks, the duck dish (less memorable than the others) and the watermelon and mint tapioca drink.

Best meal affordable goes to Vieng Thai on long point. I met up with about 12 friends one afternoon and sampled some great dishes at this place. Its my favorite thai in houston.

Best meal affordable runner-up goes to Himalaya where me and a buddy dined on a good 6 dishes between us. It was a feast and ran $40 for a ton of food. Chapli, hunters beef, best chicken biriani in town, chicken masala and a couple others. It was great

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Best meal goes to Lanny's Alta Cocina Mexicana in Ft Worth, with a close second going to Aurora in Dallas.

Worst meal goes to Lola's, but everyone in the party said it was very unusual. I still have to get back to give it a second run.

Best meal affordable, goes to Asian Mint in Dallas. I really recommend the snapper in green curry sauce. delicious. And dont' pass up desert, the green tea cake is excellent.

Worst meal affordable, lets not go there.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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Best meal - Bossa & Americas although i was very disappointed with the dessert, particularly the tres leches that they claim is the best.

Besy meal affordable- used to be mekong , vietnamese chinese until new owners took over ...not that great anymore!

Worst meal -not soo affordable but i don't even remember the name anymore!!

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Great idea!

Highlights: York Street in Dallas (went twice), Besso in Houston, and Hugo's in Houston on Friday night. I always forget how great Hugo's can be and this time may have been one of the best. Also, eating at the barbecue temples of Kreutz's and Smitty's. Affordable: Zorba's (Plano) is always a perennial fave, and we've recently gotten much more into Thai thanks to Richard Kilgore, so I can't go more than a few weeks without a jaunt over to Jasmine in Plano as well.

Biggest Disappointments: Dragonfly in Dallas and Jasper's in Plano.

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in Houston....

Best: Vieng Thai on Long Point. Go with a large group & order lots of stuff to share. Great flavors, lots of interesting stuff on the menu. (thanks Scar for continuing to push this place....it got me to go as I had been a Kanomwan mainstay)

Worst: Teotihuacan on Airline seems to be going downhill. Luckily their location on Irvington remains a reliable Tex-Mex comfort zone.

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Great idea!

Highlights: York Street in Dallas (went twice), Besso in Houston, and Hugo's in Houston on Friday night.  I always forget how great Hugo's can be and this time may have been one of the best.  Also, eating at the barbecue temples of Kreutz's and Smitty's. Affordable: Zorba's (Plano) is always a perennial fave, and we've recently gotten much more into Thai thanks to Richard Kilgore, so I can't go more than a few weeks without a jaunt over to Jasmine in Plano as well.

Biggest Disappointments: Dragonfly in Dallas and Jasper's in Plano.

I would fully agree with Jasmine and go there often since it's very close to my house. I would also agree with Zorba's (other than the entire check splitting thing). I do question Jaspers, what happened?

Never trust a skinny chef

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Say it aint so...I really like Teotihuacan. Tough to get people to go even further to the Irvington location in addition to Gorditas Aguascaliente being in that area but will give it a shot.

Worst: Teotihuacan on Airline seems to be going downhill. Luckily their location on Irvington remains a reliable Tex-Mex comfort zone.

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I would fully agree with Jasmine and go there often since it's very close to my house. I would also agree with  Zorba's (other than the entire check splitting thing).  I do question Jaspers, what happened?

Jasper's Experience.

Took some more out-of-town guests to Zorba's last night and they loved it. I had lamb chops and they came with these peas that had me just rhapsodic. I can't remember the last time I got veggies at a place that weren't an afterthought and here they were very distinctively seasoned. Even my pea-not-liker wife lit up when she tried them. And, we split the check! :laugh:

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Best: Noë. The finest dining experience my wife and I have ever had in Houston.

Worst: Terlingua Texas Border Cafe. Bland, boring and cold mexican food. The trifecta for never going back. My first blind date in college was better than this. Also, the worst margaritas, EVER.

Most Disappointing:

Gravitas: There must be something about me dining at a Scott Tycer restaurant. The space loud; the food marginal; the wines overpriced; the waitstaff clueless. But, it wasn't so bad to give it a "worst".

Mark's: I have trepidations including Mark's in this category. My disappointment is probably more a function of high expectations. The meal was good. However, based on past experience and Mark's reputation, my wife and I expected great, or at least excellent or outstanding. Nothing about the meal was memorable except the jerk at the table next to us who sent back a bottle of Dom Perignon because "it wasn't as good as Cristal." Seating upstairs is cramped and noisy. The waitstaff is very good.

Tila's: This used to be my favorite mexican restaurant. Food was fresh, the margarita's cold and tart. I don't know what has happened. Now, the food is dull, the margarita's sweet. I'd rather stay home.

Places We Like More Each Time We Go:

Shade: The first time I went I swore I would never go back. I am glad I changed my mind. My wife and I have been four time this year. Each time, the food has been outstanding. Creative, innovative, tasty and well prepared. The wine list is reasonably priced, and the sommelier is both knowledgeable and skilled at pairing.

Mockingbird Bistro: The first time we went, the food was mediocre, the waiter argued with me about a wine being corked and the patrons seemed more interested in seeing who was with whom. My wife finally talked me into going back. We have been twice this year. The food is well prepared. Maybe the best foie gras in the city. The wine list interesting.

Places I am Glad I Found:

Texas Tamale Factory: Hooray, a place in the Heights that makes really, really good breakfast tacos.

Places I am Looking Forward to Opening:

The Glass Wall: I have never been disappointed in a meal when Lance Fegen has been in the kitchen. Better yet, the restaurant is less than 4 blocks from my house. Now I can have a great meal, and help the planet and my waistline.

Laidback Manor: Thanks Randy for sharing your experience of opening a restaurant. Good luck. I look forward to trying it out.

Lindsey

"As far as I'm concerned, bacon comes from a magical, happy place" Frank, John Doe

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Worst: Black's BBQ in Lockhart.....pathetic.

Why? I haven't been but it's very well-liked by many.

It was several months back, so I don't remember all the details, but I found some notes I'd written about it on my computer, which I'll copy below:

BLACK'S: Our second stop, we arrived here to find a practically empty restaurant, just one other couple there. Here we sampled 1/4 lb of brisket, 1/4 lb of pork ribs, a link of regular sausage, 1/4 of a chicken, and one 1/4 lb turkey (along with a few non-meat things like cornbread, potato salad, and peach cobbler, but back to the good stuff).

The brisket here was only passable. Not good but not bad. Very little smoke ring evident, and the flavor and moistness were kind of lacking. The ribs were terrible. The sausage was practically inedible. They were too loosely packed, leaving a soft wrinkly casing. They were so incredibly greasy that any attempt to cut or bite them left a nasty trail of grease in its wake. Just disgusting. The chicken was juicy and pretty flavorful, and the turkey was boring and dry, but we were not terribly fond of either. After all Texas BBQ is about beef, not birds, darnit. FWIW, the sides were very weak as well. And unlike Kreuz and Smitty's, Black's offers BBQ sauce. Says something about the quality (or lack thereof) of their meat if you ask me, but that's just my two cents. I really doubt we'll be back here next trip to Lockhart.

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I have to go with dishes:

Favorite dish(es) of the year: white truffle pasta, gnocci with sausage and favas, both at Da Marco. Rafia cocktails at t'Afia. "Tour of Crab," soft shell crabs at Marks. Sausage pizza on multigrain crust at Candelaris. Christian Totem cheeseburger. Chaat at Indika. Ponzo's Original italian sub. Texas Tasting menu at t'Afia.

Biggest disappointment of year: whole experience at Vic and Anthony's (I know it's Landrys and big and loud, etc. and normally I would avoid it, but a colleague wanted to go there). Service was pathetic, took forever to get wine, surrounded by large parties of loud men wearing short sleeve dress shirts on expense account. Bar menu at Gravitas.

Grossest dishes: overmicrowaved lamb stew at Cafe Montrose that disintegrated under fork (never order anything there but mussels and fries).

Most anticipated event of 2006: Dolce Vita on Westheimer. Da Marco's pizza is perfection.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Small Town Tour-

Best: A small B&B in Jefferson called the Stillwater Inn. 4 star dining with a price similar to chain restaurants. There is something about a small town restaurant where people actually care about the food.

Worst: Without question it was The Mansion on the Hill in Tyler. I don't know why this rates so high but it was so awful, I swore off steak for a month to get the bad taste out of my mouth. One could get a much better steak at Outback, and save $150 on the meal.

Edited by Mnehrling (log)

"Instead of orange juice, I'm going to use the juice from the inside of the orange."- The Brilliant Sandra Lee

http://www.matthewnehrlingmba.com

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I have a new worst, the Applebee's in Paris. It was after 8pm on a weeknight and almost everyone else was closed already (like they close at 8pm) except the drive through windows at all the ususal fast food suspects. They did give me broccoli with my steak, and it was pretty much medium rare, but flavorless and the broccoli was almost overcooked. I didn't do dessert. I didn't do breakfast in Paris, nothing looked interesting.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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Best: Lanny's in Fort Worth. Pretty good take on haute Mexican. Poor wine list, though, and the food a little too precious. I think they could go a little further for the price. but I like what their attempting.

Worst: Stephan Pyles: hideous and embarassing. Sets the Dallas dining scene back somewhere behind Omaha and St Petersburg. Don't know what these people were thinking

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Just spent six weeks in Dallas, and most of the food there was of such middling quality that it's not worth mentioning. I was quite surprised by some good Chinese restaurants in Richardson, though.

However, I did have the best barbecue I've had in YEARS at Clark's Outpost in Tioga. Really outstanding. So good that it even comes close to some of the barbecue I've had in North Carolina! :wink:

My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Despite regular access to Sripraphai, I do miss Jasmine (whose desserts easily beat Sri's), which is one of those rare finds anywhere, along with York Street. Both restaurants are run by two very knowledgable and talented female chefs who deserve mad props. Sharon's food is better and quirkier than most of the stuff I've found in NY, not to mention radically cheaper.

il

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