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Texas food trail: Houston -- try something new!


jscarbor
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There is this little vietnamese joint at Mcgowen and Fannin in midtown (houston) that serves a killer duck noodle soup. That is all I have had at this place and it is very good. Deep rich broth, fried shallots and duck confit. $5 or so.

the place you speak of is kim tai. i heard their pho is good too. but, i'm going to stop by for lunch this week to try the duck soup you recommend.

"Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks."

-Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living, 1937

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Nyonya Grill - Malaysian/Mongolian?

Thanks for the heads up about this place. I'm moving to Houston in a couple of weeks and one of my very favorite restaurants on the planet is the Banana Leaf, a Malaysian place out in the SF south bay area. So I'm pleased to know that along with all the other fine eateries in Houston, Malay cuisine is also available.

Malaysian restaurants in Houston.

If you're going to be moving to Houston you'll find b4 helpful. With regard to my part of town I find only about 60-70% of restaurants are listed but it is probably the most complete listing. Reviews are populist in nature for the most part but there are some very good posters, including some eGulleteers, and also some obvious ringers. It's useful for the maps if nothing else since you can search by part of town and zip code as well as cuisine.

I look forward to your contributions to the discussions here on the eG Texas board, pahdnuh.

KL (kuala lumpur) Malaysian restaurant on bellaire blvd. in chinatown is very good. their roti canai is to die for!

"Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks."

-Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living, 1937

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Nyonya Grill - Malaysian/Mongolian?

Thanks for the heads up about this place. I'm moving to Houston in a couple of weeks and one of my very favorite restaurants on the planet is the Banana Leaf, a Malaysian place out in the SF south bay area. So I'm pleased to know that along with all the other fine eateries in Houston, Malay cuisine is also available.

Malaysian restaurants in Houston.

If you're going to be moving to Houston you'll find b4 helpful. With regard to my part of town I find only about 60-70% of restaurants are listed but it is probably the most complete listing. Reviews are populist in nature for the most part but there are some very good posters, including some eGulleteers, and also some obvious ringers. It's useful for the maps if nothing else since you can search by part of town and zip code as well as cuisine.

I look forward to your contributions to the discussions here on the eG Texas board, pahdnuh.

KL (kuala lumpur) Malaysian restaurant on bellaire blvd. in chinatown is very good. their roti canai is to die for!

Is KL that place in what looks like an old duplex? I've wanted to stop in but usually make my way to Xiongs instead.

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Went to K.L. Sunday on the neverfail recommendation of neverfull. I thought the roti canai was heavier, not as airy or crispy and dipping sauce not quite as interesting; larger portion, though, and the texture might just have been a matter of a couple of seconds on the griddle? I had the Sizzling Tofu platter with shrimp, pork and black mushrooms - I liked the dish better than the Beef Rendang at Nyonya but they're really not comparable.

The 2 restaurant's menus are very similar and prices very comparable. K.L. is nicer on the inside than one might expect from the exterior but Nyonya is a nicer place by far, just a bit out of the way for most, I guess.

Anybody know how the 'squids' are prepared? There are numerous dishes on both menus but no explanation and I wasn't able to make myself understood by either of the staff I spoke to at K.L. - just 'calamari' rings or whole baby squid or whole squid stuffed or what???? I think I'd pass on 'calamari' unless they have some special preparation but might be interested in fried whole baby squid or something else.

Edited by brucesw (log)
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I was on the west side today and stopped off at V's Thai on Dairy Ashford. I was dining solo but wanted to try a couple things and was thinking about some Lab and a Curry. I got the lunch menu and then asked for the regular menu only to find that Lab was $12-$13. So I passed on the Lab and got a tom yum soup and order of massamam. The soup was very good but not as good as Kanamwans which is the standard for Thai soups. It was zippy with mushroom, those little corn deals, lots of lemongrass, ginger and chicken. The broth had a decent bite to it, for me it was a 3-4 on the heat scale for my wife it would have been an 8. The massamam was pretty good although the potatoes were just barely undercooked for my taste. The curry was silky smooth with decent heat, maybe a 5 for me(I did ask for very spicey). All in all I give the place a B on 1 visit. Not worth a special trip but if you live out there then its a great option. For me I would rank it, albeit after only 1 visit, behind Vieng Thai, Kanamwan, bangkok chef in Greatwood ( I know, its way off the radar) Thai corner then V's with the last three being neck and neck. Disclamer, I have not been to most of these in the last year.

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Went to K.L. Sunday on the neverfail recommendation of neverfull.

Anybody know how the 'squids' are prepared?  There are numerous dishes on both menus but no explanation and I wasn't able to make myself understood by either of the staff I spoke to at K.L. - just 'calamari' rings or whole baby squid or whole squid stuffed or what????  I think I'd pass on 'calamari' unless they have some special preparation but might be interested in fried whole baby squid or something else.

okay, i'm totally intrigued with nyonya now. i'll have to stop by there when i visit my aunt out in sugar land.

Edited by neverfull (log)

"Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks."

-Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living, 1937

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Revisit: Nyonya Grill

Crispy Golden Fried Squids

gallery_58650_5736_119718.jpg

The young waitress’ eyes lit up when I ordered it and she said ‘It’s very good.’ And it was good though it was quite salty, some pieces more than others it seemed, and not quite as crispy as I would have liked. The menu indicates it’s hot and spicy but it wasn’t either by my standards. There were some larger pieces of squid in the pile, some about the size of a chicken wing perhaps. I wondered if there would be some difference in taste or texture between the body of the squid and the tentacles but I didn’t detect any at least on this tasting. Since it was listed as 'squids' on the menu I thought it was going to be whole, baby squids; I'm sure I've had some pieces of squid like this in some seafood stews but didn't know what it was.

I also had Teh Tarik, a hot Malaysian milk tea that looked like horchata and was good. I looked this up and mine didn’t have any froth on top - maybe they don’t have anyone on staff who’s developed the special skill?

The owner/manager was very friendly. I took a longer look at the ‘buffet’ and it looked better that at first glance. The lunch special price (11-3) is $7.99, at night it’s $10.99. Meats and veggies only during the day, seafood added to the possible ingredients at night. The restaurant ticket read Bohot Mongolian Grill and Bakery, the former name of the place.

Edited by brucesw (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Had a lamb shank in a brown gravy/curry at Himalaya the other day and it was aweome. No Naan with it, I suspect because Kaiser was so busy. He wouldn't even let me get a lunch plate. That dude gets stressed out pretty quickly. Its pretty funny. Anyway, despite not getting my naan fix it was a really good dish and practically a stealk at $9-10.

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jscarbor,

Luling won by a very narrow margin, but I thought Pierson's ribs were better. Good food, huh?

I don't have a problem with Luling being a city market wanna be and I always thought they had good que but I don't remember it being better than what I have had at Piersons? Damn, another bbq run in order.

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Now, will the success of this place cause climate change due to the copiuos amounts of smoke this place is going to create?

Aren't those big fans on the roof some sort of scrubbers? I noted the first time I drove up I didn't smell any smoke and it bothered me until I tasted the meats.

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I’ve been searching for a good source for pollo asado on the SW side without satisfaction so I headed up to Long Point today to El Norteno, pollo asado en estilo Monterrey. There are usually 3 of these units out in about a mile and a half stretch of Long Point but only 2 today; I like the one about a half mile east of Gessner because the parking lot is not as cramped as the one at the corner of Gessner and Long Point.

gallery_58650_5736_56716.jpg

Medio pollo asado - $6 - 4 pieces plus frijoles charros, cebolla, peppers (toreados?), incendiary salsa verde, lime and 8 corn tortillas. The white meat portions were dry but the dark meat nice and juicy. I also got a fajita taco - a generous portion of meat - $1.25. They also have salchica (sausage) and cotilla (ribs) although apparently only on platillos, which run as high as $16. Entero pollo asado is $11. That salsa may be hotter than the ones at Jarro.

I wish they’d park one of these things down on my side of town.

I hit Taqueria El Alteno, al estilo Jalisco, on Harrisburg @ Sgt. Macario Garcia the other day, bypassing one close to me on Bissonnet thinking I’d get better Mexican food on the east side. I had carne adobado; the adobado was great, the carne was tough and chewy. Refritos (peruanos/canarios instead of pintos I think) were good; I couldn’t figure out the seasoning but it wasn’t bacon. Arroz was also good, moist instead of dry, with some vegetales mixed in. Salsa was mediocre, chips not fresh, corn tortillas like wet paper towels came apart in little pieces. This company operates 4 of these and 6 places called Taqueria El Sol de Mexico and my experience has been they vary greatly from location to location. I probably won’t give this one another try. Alteno is a nickname for people from the mountains of Jalisco.

Also hit Coozan’s on Kirby across from the north end of Reliant, on the end of the big center with the Fiesta. I had a couple of boudin balls which were good and a Cajun fried pie which was only so-so compared to the boudin balls, although a generous portion. Very limited menu, wings and a few Cajun items; other baskets I saw being served looked pretty good.

Tried the Best Burger recommended by JimH in Stafford - good burger and very convenient to me. Maybe a better charbroiled burger than Bellaire Broiler Burger. I’ve skipped the french fries and gone for chips.

Edited by brucesw (log)
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Huarache Azteca Express, 109 Ave F, Stafford, parallel to and a couple of blocks east of FM 1092, between the east and west bound routes of 90-A.

These people are being very generous with the free samples, like Pierson’s. I”ve gotten a free taco on each visit (bistec, ribs) and on my second visit free samples of chicharron and 2 different aguas frescas.

Spic and span, stainless steel and glass, very friendly crew. Free condiments bar offers 2 salsas, pico, onions, refritos, curtido (they do pupusas) and some other items plus free coffee.

This is the first time I’ve had a huarache when I got the connection to the sandal - the tlacoyo looks like the sole of a sandal. Basically a thick, torpedo shaped tortilla with refried black bean filling, warmed on a griddle for a second time then topped with more refritos, salsa of your choice, queso fresco and topping of your choice. I had the al pastor on my first visit. On the second visit the man was trying to interest me in the one described in the Press review with 2 eggs but when I wanted something else he offered any other 2 toppings and I went with carnitas and chorizo con nopalitos. I like both better than the al pastor and all 3 better than the bistec taco (gristly) and ribs (rib tips, including cartilage).

They’re very filling so I wasn’t hungry enough on my first visit to try the lamb barbacoa available on weekends but I plan to be back this weekend.

gallery_58650_5736_86980.jpg

Not a particularly good pic since the toppings obscure the ‘sole’ of the huarache - on the left, chorizo y nopalitos, on the right, carnitas. In the right lower corner, a couple of pieces of chicharron.

Edited by brucesw (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Moderator note: as was pointed out to me, Texas is apparently a pretty big place and this topic is largely confined to Houston. Therefore, I've stuck Houston in the title and we're encouraging folks to start other topics picking up on this same -- excellent, btw -- idea for other areas of the Lone Star State. Cheers

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I tried a sausage and mushroom pie from Russo's Coal oven pizzeria(NY Pizzeria with coal oven) and it was excellent. It reminded me of how good NY Pizzeria used to be(not that its bad now just not as good) only the crust was charred. its at 290 and Hwy 6.

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  • 1 month later...

Polonia - I went to the Polish grocery next door a couple of years ago but just got around to going to the restaurant recently. I’ve been a couple of times and find the food more to my liking than I expected. I’m becoming a big fan of kielbasa and the draft Pilsner Urquell is a fine beer.

Restaurante Guatemala - a Guatemalan diner, essentially, next to Jerusalem Halal Deli on Hillcroft. Competent food but nothing to rave about; nicer on the inside than any other Guatemalan place I’ve been to.

Jazzie Café on 19th - I’d heard there’d been a change of ownership and it was a good thing. Great NO style roast beef po’boy. Expanded menu, improved accommodations.

Troy’s Dawg House Grill, on Live Oak @ Southmore - 3rd ward dive offering Chicago specialties. He uses Vienna Beef wieners but HEB buns, I think. Authentic rolls from Gonella Baking Co. but he makes his Italian Beef from scratch rather than using the Vienna Beef provisions; it comes out something like deshebrada on a Gonella roll and is a damn fine sandwich. Be sure to get it wet.

I’‘ve been eating very light lately and either my tastes have improved or I’ve hit a string of mediocre new places.

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<Jazzie Café on 19th - I’d heard there’d been a change of ownership and it was a good thing. Great NO style roast beef po’boy. Expanded menu, improved accommodations.>

Bruce, can you elaborate a bit more about Jazzie's? What have they added to the menu, and describe the roast beef, please.

Red meat is not bad for you. Fuzzy green meat is bad for you.

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brucesw and jscabor inspired me last year to "try something new" on another board. So I decided that 2008 was a perfect time to start it all (get it - eight = ate. Corny, I know)

This year I have so far tried 15 new to me places. Maybe more but these are all I can remember:

Triple A on Airline, okay but I think it may be a better breakfast place. Good specials, but I need to go back and try more choices.

Beavers, I have gone twice and wasn't that impressed either time, but now they have a new chef, so I am going to try it again. My biggest regret is that I should have gone with my gut and ordered the burger, but I didn't. I got a taste of it though, and it was good.

Spanish Flowers, I liked it. Good old tex mex.

Tortas El Angel, I must have ordered the wrong thing. It was fine, but not as good as others have reported.

El Rey on Ella, I had an al pastor torta that I really enjoyed. Gotta get back to this place.

Da Marcos on Westheimer, Fabulous! Special birthday dinner treat for me, and left me craving the food. Gotta save up for this place, though.

Feast on Westheimer, went with a group and the chef prepared us a special menu. Some I liked a lot, and others not so much. If I could order off the menu and have a say, I would probably like it more.

Pierson's & Co on T C Jester, we are now regulars at this place. It's down the street and so far I have enjoyed everything.

Big Woodrows, went for the crawfish back in May. Best crawfish I have ever had. Enormous!

Steamboat House off Sam Houston Pkwy., Expensive but very good. Great service, and interesting place to wander around and look at all the Texas history.

Little Bitty Burger Barn on Pinemont, We are regulars there now as well. Recently disappointed in the Steak special, but the french dip is great, and so are the tator tots.

Los Cucos on Memorial, Alison Cook did a write up so we went. It5 was good, not great, just good, and I was terribly disappointed in the carnitas I was served. But would go back and try some other things.

Catalan on Washington, Great place. We had lots of small plates and enjoyed every bit of it.

Thai Lanna, put that review on here in another post. really liked it a lot.

China Doll on Antoine, went last week and really liked it. I am not an expert in Chinese, and was eating with a child, so I kept it simple, but the crab rangoon actually has crab. Large menu with the usuals and so dishes with names I have never seen before. I wish someone who is more knowledgeable than I am would check it out and let me know.

So far that is it, but I am on a mission! Thanks guys for the push I needed.

Red meat is not bad for you. Fuzzy green meat is bad for you.

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comments on the above....

Mexico Deli on Dairy Ashford > Tortas El Angel. Mexico Deli has creative options for tortas & home-made aguas every day. Good joint.

BB's on Montrose > Jazzie's. I've had bad food at Jazzie's & won't go back, though it's been about a year since I last went (maybe improved?). BB's has very good roast beef po-boys.

Vieng Thai > Thai Lanna. I continue to be impressed with Vieng Thai after many, many visits. Always enjoy their salad options.

Carnitas at Teotihuacan (the Irvington location!) are always good - never had them at Los Cucos.

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comments on the above....

Mexico Deli on Dairy Ashford > Tortas El Angel.  Mexico Deli has creative options for tortas & home-made aguas every day.  Good joint.

BB's on Montrose > Jazzie's.  I've had bad food at Jazzie's & won't go back, though it's been about a year since I last went (maybe improved?).  BB's has very good roast beef po-boys.

Vieng Thai > Thai Lanna.  I continue to be impressed with Vieng Thai after many, many visits.  Always enjoy their salad options.

Carnitas at Teotihuacan (the Irvington location!) are always good - never had them at Los Cucos.

I've been to Tortas El Angel just once, wasn't that impressed, but Mexico's Deli is great. BTW, Jay Francis posted recently on Eating our Words about his search for the Torta Ahogada and Robb Walsh replied that they have it at Mexico's Deli. I've been to MD since Jay told me about the quest and looked for it but didn't see it - maybe it's time for a visit to the eye doc.

Yeah, Jazzie really went down hill. I think the owner thought I was the one (Walsh) who had published a pretty negative review, she dogged me everytime I was there. That and the declining quality of food was why I stopped going..

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<Jazzie Café on 19th - I’d heard there’d been a change of ownership and it was a good thing.  Great NO style roast beef po’boy.  Expanded menu, improved accommodations.>

Bruce, can you elaborate a bit more about Jazzie's? What have they added to the menu, and describe the roast beef, please.

Don't know what to say -- you saw the picture on my blog (I'm trying to get better as a photographer). I think it's a little more down-home and messier sandwich than at BBs but it's been a couple of months since I've been to BBs and will need to go back.

Original owners were Vietnamese I think; new owners seem to be Chinese - there are lots of Chinese dishes on the menu. One new item was the Angus Beef Po'Boy which sounds like it might be an upscale version of a NO hamburger po'boy which is kind of a minor obsession for me (like the sliders at LBBB). I asked and he said it's chopped angus, patty shaped to the sandwich roll as it should be. Everybody in town that does a NO hamburger po'boy just cooks a regular patty then cuts it in half and puts the two halves side-by-side lengthwise on the roll - that's not the way it's supposed to be done.

I wouldn't hesitate to have the roast beef po'boy at either Jazzie or BBs but really can't rate which one is best right now.

BTW, congrats on your 'food exploring.' Sometimes I hit a disappointing stretch and get discouraged but sometimes I hit a real winner and that's great.

I'm planning on checking out what looks like an old fashioned neighborhood chicken shack on the North side maybe this weekend - I think I've got my hopes up too high for some killer FC.

Edited by brucesw (log)
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