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I STILL love living in Houston!

Per numerous requests, we begin anew...

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  1. Believe it or not, even after the lengthy thread with a similar name, there are STILL places we go frequently that I have yet to mention or comment on.

    One of my son's favorite restaurants is a little counter service place called Masala Wok in the Carillion Center at Briarpark and Westheimer. The center is kind of a unique place which is home to a Chili's and Outback Steakhouse as well as Marini's Empanadas. It is the former home of The Great Caruso dinner theater, and Mata Hari, the first Indonesian I ever ate. Is Sherlock's still there?

    Anyway, Masala Wok is Indo-Chinese.

    Not fusion, just either/or.

    The Kid usually gets Tikka, as he just loves the rich and creamy buttery masala. He will often get a lamb curry of some sort as well, with extra naan. (Always with extra naan!)

    Occasionally I will get a "Chinese" dish, some quick stir fry of some sort or another, but I will usually get a vindaloo, etc. Although I can't say that there is anything I truly L-O-V-E, it is always better than I expect or remember, even though I've been there literally dozens of times.

    Two quick points:

    This is my son's very favorite place. Given his choice, this is where we would go. Once a month or so, I acquiesce. "I" rank it considerably lower than my "very favorite", but as I said, it is almost always better than I remember it.

    It's way cheaper than our usual South Asian spots, although probably on par (price-wise) with many of the places in the Hillcroft corridor. I think most dishes are about $8. Extra naan is $1.50, I think. (I should know this. I really should.)

    Masala Wok
    10001 Westheimer Rd Ste 1060, Houston, TX 77042

    5 Replies
    1. re: DoobieWah

      And I STILL love reading about it.

      One question - it's your son's favorite place?

      Just to put it into perspective, how old is your son? Are talking kid, or teen, or fully-growed?

      1. re: Jaymes

        He'll be 21 in two weeks.

        Pray for me.

        And he often goes there with his friends. He just likes to drag my wallet with him once a month or so.

      2. re: DoobieWah

        There's a tiny Thai restaurant in that center too, squeezed in next to the Starbucks, called Thai Cottage. It's a Houston chain, but one of my favorite Thai places. They have this chicken wing appetizer...yowza.

        1. re: Lambowner

          I've been needing a new local Thai restaurant ever since Johnny closed Singha.

          Thanks for the recommendation; I'll check it out.

          1. re: Lambowner

            We have a lot of good thai here in California so I can mark this one off the long, long list.

        2. On a short street called Del Monte between Voss and Winrock and parallel to Westheimer and San Felipe is a little Chinese restaurant named Far East. How long has it been in business? I'm not really sure, but they have a dozen or so Marvin Zindler Blue Ribbon awards; (and if you don't know who Marvin Zindler is/was, ask your parents).

          Anyway, we've been hitting this little joint off and on for twenty years or so. It's pure Americanized Chinese food, (choice of soup and eggroll), and is very good and cheap for a quick lunch. I often hit it when I'm by myself and in a hurry as a reliable option to Whataburger-at-my-desk.

          Far East Chicken is heavily laden with sliced jalapenos, and Mongolian Chicken is exactly what you think it is...

          And delicious.

          Would I recommend you drive any great distance for this place?


          Would I sincerely give it as a decent option if you're in the neighborhood and looking for a good, quick meal?


          In fact, I had lunch there myself just yesterday.

          Far East Restaurant
          6502 Del Monte Dr, Houston, TX 77057

          3 Replies
          1. re: DoobieWah

            Sounds great but I haven't been there. Here's one for you, Hong Kong Chef in Bellaire. My favorite is shrimp kew, fried shrimp and vegetables in a brown sauce, plus the best won ton around. It's not just a wonton and a few scallions, but a generous (enough for two) portion with veggies and sliced pork, and delicious large egg rolls. It's a hole in the wall that's been there for years. You walk past the kitchen to a small spartan dining room in the back. It's cash only by the way.

            Hong Kong Chef
            5112 Bissonnet St, Bellaire, TX 77401

            1. re: James Cristinian

              Hong Kong Chef is delicious, always fresh and hot. I love the sweet and sour shrimp. They actually use Gulf shrimp and not those tasteless farm raised things. And to top all the other things about it, it's dirt cheap.

              Hong Kong Chef
              5112 Bissonnet St, Bellaire, TX 77401

              1. re: texasredtop

                I was going to add the dirt cheap part, but I forgot.

          2. Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen.

            If you've missed this place so far, you need to fix that quick.

            If I recall the brief bio on the menu correctly, Sylvia herself hails from the Valley area of South Texas and her cooking reflects that.

            This is "authentic Tex-Mex", with all of the history, flavor and richness the term can conjure up.

            To make this brief, I almost always get the carne guisada because it is almost, ("almost" mind you), as good as mine. It is rich and thick and tender and...

            ...I think I'll be having it for lunch. Her various moles are also particularly interesting - rich and complex.

            We visited the original location on Westheimer, (just around the corner from Mexico's Deli) for a good long while but a couple of years ago, she opened a new store on Woodway just inside of Voss where The Grotto (and several other things), used to be. Just a few blocks from my office.

            Sylvia herself can often be seen at both locations and there is no mistaking her. She is a "Restaurateur", (with a capital "R") and is instantly recognizable by her dynamic personality.

            Try it.

            Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen
            12637 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77077

            3 Replies
            1. re: DoobieWah

              I have not had good luck or food on the several times I've visited Sylvia's. Bad service, cold food, food brought out staggered for the table, so that some are finished while others have not yet been served, promised items "not available," (cabrito, twice). This is just one place who's popularity confounds me. We long ago gave up on it.

              1. re: Lambowner

                Never had any of those issues at either location.

                Did have a stone in the beans once, but I forgave them that. Even I do that once in a while.

                Sorry you've had such bad luck in so many of the places I like...

                1. re: DoobieWah

                  Sometimes I think I'm just jinxed. I've had really awful food and service at some of Houston's most acclaimed places, most recently Laurenzo's and Catalan, both of which served food bordering on the criminal. I'm beginning to think that consistency is the greatest of all restaurant traits. We do tend to hit the same places over and over because we know they will be consistently good. On the west side, this means Rioja, Denis, Empire Turkish Cafe, occasionally Napoli for pizza/pasta, Polonia, Sushi Jin. And we drive for Lopez, Feast, Swinging Door. I'm not that picky, really. We just seem to draw the short stick sometimes, but I try to give them a second and third chance. I think there was only one other place you liked that I wasn't fond of...Burger Guys? My experience was just like Katharine Shillcutt's before she wrote the "charcoal briquette" review. But there again, I've heard lots of other people like you say it was awesome. Hence my consistency theory! Keep reporting back on your experiences! Don't let my wet blanket dampen the party!


                  Sushi Jin
                  14670 Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77079

                  11920 Westheimer Rd Ste J, Houston, TX 77077

                  Swinging Door
                  3714 Fm 359 Rd, Richmond, TX 77406

            2. Well, OK then.

              So I talked my little brother into joining me for tamales and Barbecue Inn.

              My little brother is slightly younger, slightly taller and slightly better looking than me. (Probably more than slightly ALL of those things, but no matter...

              What matters is that he is one of my favorite people to explore food with as he has a great palate. I think he likes going slumming with me also. I use "slumming" as you have realized by now that mine is not a world of haute cuisine, but rather simple but excellent food.

              Nevertheless, let's make no mistake - I do not dine, I eat.

              Anyway, enough about the Golden Child and on to Alamo Tamale and Taco Factory. This was my second visit and once again the line was to the door but moved quickly. Once again, I chose the pork, "hand-rolled" tamales vs. the "factory" ones. (Choices are pork or chicken and factory or hand.) The factory were $4.50/dz and the hand-rolled were $9.99/dz. I got three.

              Dozen. Just about the time we got away from the cash register, Jaymes shows up so we three sat down to scarf down a quick half dozen; (they come wrapped in foil, six per). They are sooooo good. These were still fresh from the steamer and about as perfect a tamale as you'll find outside of your abuelita's cocina.

              Jaymes had wanted to try but not necessarily buy. However after trying a couple, we didn't mind waiting while she navigated the line.

              So then, we're off to Barbecue Inn.

              We get there early, maybe 11:40 am. There are one or two other parties and the hostess, sensing we are going to be trouble leads us to a far back corner away from the civilized folk and sends out...

              Lily. Lily has been serving diners at Barbecue Inn for 33 years.

              To say the Barbecue Inn is an anachronism is just stating the obvious.

              To say that I will never eat at the Barbecue Inn without asking for Lily is just my promise. She is every bit as classic as the restaurant itself.

              "Alright DW, blah blah blah...How was the food?"

              Well, smarter people than me have already told you that it's awesome.

              Jaymes had the shrimp and oyster platter. She wasn't fooling around. Cole slaw for the salad choice.

              My brother ordered fried chicken. Homemade ranch dressing for his salad. BTW, the salad is iceberg lettuce and chopped tomatoes. Maybe a little red onion.

              As promised, I ordered the chicken fried steak with homemade 1000 Island. Tangy.

              As noted elsewhere, the fried chicken, (and everything else), is cooked to order, so we ate our salads and visited, (which is what people did over lunch back in 1946 when this place opened).

              Per Cristinian's note, they will sell you shrimp and oysters by the piece so my little bro and I each ordered two of each. Good call. Very darned good call.

              The CFS is lightly battered, fork tender and smothered in a cream gravy that for me was very nostalgic. I ate it all, but only a smattering of the fries that are served alongside - Remember I had already scarfed down two large tamales just before I arrived for "lunch".

              Great stuff. Really great stuff. The building, the staff, the food. It really is like stepping back in time to another place.

              A better place. Give your cardiologist the finger and just go here once. It will make you young again.

              BTW, when I dropped off my mom's dozen tamales, she assured me that I had been there before, when I was about 6. I don't remember it at all, but my brother was positive he had been there though he couldn't place it. He must have been about 4. What I could do with a memory like that...

              Thanks Jaymes. It was nice to meet you. I look forward to Polonia.

              Barbecue Inn
              116 W Crosstimbers St, Houston, TX 77018

              10 Replies
              1. re: DoobieWah

                What a grand day. Some things just don't get any better in this world and one of those is being able to meet new and simpatico friends for lunch on a beautiful sunny Saturday. Rest assured, DW, your brother may be younger and taller but he is not so much as one skinny Barbecue Inn french fry "better looking" than you. I was fortunate to be dining with two such charming companions.

                Alamo Tamales. What a place. Anyone to whom "authentic" is important must immediately go there and squeeze your way back through what turns out to be a veritable maze of aromatic authenticity. Also, anyone to whom "fabulous tamales" are important. Honestly, I suppose it's possible that somewhere on this planet there exists better hand-made pork tamales, but haven't had any, and I'm sure that they couldn't possibly be enough better to make the search worth it. As Doobs says, I had not planned on buying any but after one bite, I changed my mind, and brought home a couple of dozen. There were many other things on the menu, and I could hear other patrons calling out their orders: "Hay barbacoa?" "Pollo?" and reaching into the cases for sides of salads and salsas. I was really a little overwhelmed, but am now determined to get back to this place some weekday when it's not so crowded and learn more about what all they have to offer. Thank you so much Doobie for inviting me along with you to learn about Alamo Tamales. I am in your debt.

                And then on to Barbecue Inn.

                I think I might have to go back sometime and try the barbecue in order for that name to find its proper spot in my consciousness. It just didn't seem very "Barbecue-Inny" to me. Didn't look it, didn't smell it. But it really is a throw-back to the family restaurants of yore. And Doobs is sure right - the star in this sentimental journey through time is most certainly Lily. It's like she was ordered up from central casting, calling us Sweetheart and Sugar and Darlin' in her rasping voice, cracking time-worn jokes and telling us about the good ol' days when the restaurant offered fried gizzards and liver and onion rings.

                Doobiewah has told you what we ordered. For me, the absolute star of the meal (besides Lily, I mean) was his chicken fried steak. Man was that good. I'm not really a french fry fan, so when I return, as return I surely must (Lily's expecting me), I'll see if they have mashed potatoes to go along with that crispy slice of heart attack heaven.

                The fried shrimp and oysters were also very good. I'm currently besotted (as I've said elsewhere) with Orleans Seafood Kitchen out in Katy, as they have the best oysters and fried shrimp I've had in years, and these shrimp and oysters were definitely on a par with those.

                All in all, such a fun outing.

                And I, too, am looking forward to Polonia some afternoon very soon.

                Thanks again, Doobs, for including me.

                Barbecue Inn
                116 W Crosstimbers St, Houston, TX 77018

                Orleans Seafood Kitchen
                20940 Katy Fwy, Katy, TX 77449

                1. re: Jaymes

                  Great reports on an old classic. I miss it being close enough to go when I want. No desserts? Even a piece of pie to share? Or to go?

                  We had brunch at Brennan's today. Thread coming........

                  1. re: texasredtop

                    Bragger!!! I love Brennan's. Let us know.

                    1. re: texasredtop

                      We thought about desserts. The Doobster even asked if they make the pies there. But when Lily said that they do not, we elected to wait until another time.

                      I know some of y'all maybe think we let you down but, keep in mind, we had already polished off a half-dozen tamales for our appetizer.

                      1. re: Jaymes

                        I totally understand but for crying out loud, get a piece to go - lol

                        Their pies are very good. At least the meringue ones are. And HUGE.

                        Did I miss the report on the fried chicken? Going back to reread.

                        1. re: Jaymes

                          A word about the pies. I saw a lady unloading a bunch of pies there from the back of her car, so they appear to be home made, not Sysco for sure. There's always Flying Sauce just down the street for great variety and taste.

                          1. re: James Cristinian

                            You're right, not Sysco. Miss Lily whispered it to Doobie. I didn't catch it. She might have even said "Flying Saucer," for all I know. But it definitely ain't Sysco.

                      2. re: Jaymes

                        Alamo Tamales/Tamales Dona Tere post: After three visits to Alamo I finally tasted the tameles (the wife still has some other good homemade in the freezer.) I celebrated my birthday on a Monday morning by going. They didn't have regulars carnitas, which is what I usually go for, but had spicy carnitas instead. I ordered all they had, about a pound and a half, plus all the rajas the had. If you've never had rajas, try it. My authentic Hispanic wife turned me on to it, it's strips of poblano peppers in a spicy tomato broth with Mexican cheese. The spicy carnitas, in a broth, and rajas were delicious, along with their flour tortilllas, which the wife isn't wild about, and a container of red sauce which we both love. I ordered two tamales, not dozen, and ate one and took the other along with other leftovers to the wife. The tamale was delicious, hot and full of pork. A birthday present I got was the third edition of Fearless Critic. They claim Dona Tere has the best in town, better than Allamo. I live not too far from the Long Point location, so I checked them out one morning. If you like masa, you'll love this place. The tamales are good, but the Mexico City style with lots of masa means less meat fillings. I got the highly recommended (religious experience) oaxacaqueno wrapped in a banana leaf, chicken as they were out of pork. It come with a red mole working through the masa, but there was just too much masa and not enough filling. The same goes for the chicken rajas with jalapenos, too much masa. The masa was delicious, but I wish there was more meat and less masa. I give a strong nod to Alamo. By the way, I'm responding to Jaymes, from whom we have not heard from in a while. I hope all is well.

                      3. re: DoobieWah

                        Glad to be able to provide a tasty tidbit. I was in the area yesterday, you inspired me with a trip to Flying Saucer Pie for some strawberry and pecan pie. Did you check out the the old meniu inside the first set of doors? It looks almost the same except for the prices. Polonia, a must try is the veal schnitzel.

                        1. re: James Cristinian

                          To answer some questions above:

                          Re: Desserts. I am not a sweet eater usually, but after asking and receiving affirmative answers to the "Do you make it here?" questions regarding the breading o the fried stuff, the french fries, the salad dressings and even the tartar sauce, getting a "No" to that question on the desserts made them seem utterly superfluous. I hadn't heard anything about the desserts being "must haves" so after tamales and salad and chicken fried steak, it was easy to say "No thanks". She also mentioned Flying Saucer and if we had known it was so close we might have at least stuck our head in.

                          Re: the fried chicken. It looked great and while I did scam a piece or two of the crust off of my brother's plate, he didn't offer any, and since I had plenty of my own, I didn't ask for any either. It looked like my mom's. Crispy and juicy. Next time.

                          I missed the old menu in side the front door. Once again - Next time.

                          Cool place.

                          Lastly, Jaymes, if Orleans' oysters and shrimp are as good as those we had Saturday, I will be wanting to make a venture out there as well. Really, really good. (P.S. I haven't seen an email; did I miss it?)

                      4. Baker's Ribs.

                        I've mentioned this place of a couple of other threads; someone was looking for decent bbq near the Galleria area, and one where I was looking for smoked chicken. Neither was a full review, and this place deserves it. It's the only Houston location of a small family-owned Dallas-based chain.

                        The ribs are awesome.

                        The brisket is great at times and merely passable at other times. The jalapeno sausage is pretty darned good. The smoked chicken is edible but not as smokey as I was hoping for; (to reiterate what I said on the prior thread, they are now doing half chickens instead of just the butterflied breasts they used to serve).

                        The sides are pretty standard, and I like the dill-ed potato salad.

                        It's just a few blocks from my office and I've been picking up an order to eat my desk at least once or twice a month for the past fifteen years or so.

                        Try the ribs.

                        And tell Bruce that DW said "Hey".

                        Baker's Ribs
                        2223 S Voss Rd, Houston, TX 77057

                        1. A change in venue for a professional licensing class today gave me the opportunity to eat at Brennan's downtown. It was my first visit since Ike and the fire and only my fourth or fifth ever.

                          It was every bit as good as you would think, and let's face it, that is saying an awful lot.

                          I had one of the lunch specials, BBQ Snapper served on a bed of the creamiest grits I've ever eaten, gently swathed in a port reduction, (I think, the waiter couldn't confirm), and lightly chopped okra pickles. On the side was a medium sized sausage that looked like boudin, but turned out to be crawfish and shrimp.

                          It was every bit as good as it sounds. I drank iced tea and the busboy refused to let the level of my drink fall below one inch from the rim. Absolutely refused, I tell you!

                          Oh, for dessert I knocked back two of their $0.25 martinis. Yeah, close one eye and read that again.


                          They are smallish, but a nice dry, gin martini with an olive for a quarter? That's cheaper than gasoline.

                          What a great way to spend a lunch hour. You should try it sometime.

                          EDITED TO ADD: I forgot to mention that my lunch started with a bowl of incredibly silky crawfish and corn bisque.

                          Brennan's Houston
                          3300 Smith St, Houston, TX 77006

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: DoobieWah

                            Brennan's is the Queen and King of Houston, there is no equal. Hehe, that just reminded me of Sugar Land's motto, "Sugar Land, There is no Equal." Keep waiting for the lawsuit on that.

                            1. re: DoobieWah

                              They do make crawfish and shrimp boudin. I like Abe's crawfish the best. He also makes a shrimp and a seafood boudin but the crawfish is the best one. Actually Scotty doesn't make it, his Dad does at his grocery store in Lake Charles and I have driven over there just for that before. They ship it here daily I think. Glad to be able to pick some up in Clear Lake now.


                            2. And a one block walk the other direction today completed our two day, rising-from-the-ashes-like-a-phoenix tour and brought us to the newly rebuilt and reopened Mai's.

                              I had never been to the old location, so I can't really give any comparison. But the new space is sleek and "mid-town modern" with the right colors and lighting and furnishings. It was comfortable enough.

                              I ordered a "go-to dish" for me, the grilled pork vermicelli bowl, and it was good. The Viet eggrolls that come with that particular dish were a little differently seasoned that any I've had elsewhere. Just enough to be noticeable. Not necessarily better or worse, just different.

                              It was fairly busy at noon on the day between Good Friday and Easter, but the service was fine and the food arrived promptly. They seem to have their process worked out again.

                              Cool place.

                              Mai's Restaurant
                              3403 Milam St, Houston, TX 77002

                              1. Jonathan's The Rub

                                I first heard about this place from a friend maybe a year ago. He said it was a small place run by a guy who was proud of his dry rub blend and used it on everything from fish to french fries, (hence the name).

                                He said the entire neighborhood could be seen walking there in the evenings, with their BYOB bottle in hand. He said that the food was eclectic, elegant and excellent.

                                He said I would love it.

                                I finally had lunch there today and he was right.

                                My party of four enjoyed a grilled salmon salad, a parm encrusted pork tenderloin, a chicken and shrimp carbonara and a fried chicken breast.

                                Only the loin and the chicken came with sides, in this case, grilled asparagus and a sub of cheesy grits for the french fries.

                                First the "Good":


                                Now the "Bad":

                                They lost my order. Three entrees down and nothing in front of your old pal DW but a black tablecloth showing a few drips of everyone else's entrees.

                                Finally someone came out and said they had forgotten to put the order in but that it would be here shortly and it was.


                                I can forgive the slip. Our waitress was new, the place was hopping and the truth is that I want to like it enough to assume this was a rarity and will never, ever, EVER happen again.

                                Give it a try and see what you think. It is in a small strip center at Gaylord and Corbindale, one block south of I-10.

                                BTW, they are expanding into the space next door and are building it out now.

                                I wanted to ask for a dinner menu, but didn't get the opportunity. To tell the truth, the rest of my party was already seated at one of the four tables outside when I arrived, (on time by the way!), so I have yet to walk inside.

                                But I like the food and the vibe.

                                I like places where you can tell that the people care about what they are serving.

                                Jonathan's does that.

                                See if you don't agree.

                                Jonathan's The Rub
                                9061 Gaylord St, Houston, TX 77024

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: DoobieWah

                                  Boy, I don't know why this is, but lately when I'm typing on this board, my comments just suddenly disappear, and the screen goes back to the main page, my thoughts never to be recovered. Happened once again just now. How annoying.

                                  ANYWAY, as I was saying, but you weren't reading yet, I've heard a lot of things about this place, not all of them good, but the problems are never with the food. I'm glad to see they are expanding. I'd hate to trundle over with my bottle of wine just to stand around waiting for a table. I hear they are quite small. Perhaps they take reservations. Thanks for the review.

                                  1. re: Lambowner

                                    I had that happen a lot on another site and got in the habit of copying the post I was responding to into a word file and then typing my comment/response and copying and pasting it back at the site. That way if my post got zapped, I could just copy it again. Or just copy your comment before you hit the post my reply button so you'll have it if needed.

                                    I hate putting a lot of thought effort into something only to have to try again. I was having trouble here too but it was about a month ago or so. Haven't had any recent problems.

                                    1. re: texasredtop

                                      Gaah, thanks, ginger (or am I reading too much into your name, Texasredtop, that you have red hair?). Glad to know I'm not alone. I posted an erudite review of Piola this week, and after getting all into the whole experience, it disappeared. Went back later and put it in Word then copied it back in. Hated having to do it again, but sure wanted to share that experience. I give up on most disappearing posts,

                                      1. re: Lambowner

                                        Not reading too much into it, I am a ginger :-)

                                2. Today we decided to hit Goditas Aguascaliente on Edgebrook. We'd been once before and remembered it fondly. I'm still on my burger quest but was wanting a mexican cart taco. Anyway between the 3 of us we tried a chorizo and potato huarache, a rajas and queso sope, a pierna tostada, and 3 tacos...al pastor, chicharron, & pierna All were very good. The chorizo and potato on the hurache was delicious and probably my favorite. There was mexican cheese and crema that complimented it all. It's large enough to share with someone if you want to have a taco or try something else. The red sauce on the sope was the best and mixed well with the rajas and cheese. Of the 3 tacos my favorite was probably the al pastor but it had the taste of chorizo more then pastor. The pierna was good too and with their roasted salsa was delicious. The tostada was just down right delicious and also had the mexican cheese and crema. The chips and salsa on the table were just ok.

                                  We also saw menudo and tortas that looked worth trying.

                                  My husband was the only non-hispanic in the place.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: tlegray

                                    Sounds like my kinda place.

                                    I think the Bissonnet location is closer to me. Have you, (or anyone) ever tried that location and how does it compare?

                                    1. re: DoobieWah

                                      No, sorry I haven't been to any other location.

                                  2. Yet another place nearby I go infrequently is Mancuso's Table on Voss right next door to Baker's Ribs. It's a funky little place in what used to be a dry cleaners, and before that a Wendy's, and before that...


                                    I’m not sure why we don’t go here more often.

                                    I most often have the Chicken...


                                    Crap! There goes another brain cell. It is a breaded chicken breast served with a wedge of lemon and a cherry pepper. The trick is to squeeze both over the dish. Very tasty.

                                    The last time I was there, I tried a bite of my aunt’s Salmon Salad. It was great and I usually don’t order salmon in restaurants except for my weekly sashimi.

                                    I only had the house salad, heavy on the spinach and a great homemade house dressing. Very good and I would do that again when I’m in the mood for something light.’

                                    I’ve also had the pizza, (anchovy, of course!). I remember it being good, if not remarkable.

                                    This is a nice little home style Italian joint. Try it.

                                    See what you think.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: DoobieWah

                                      Chicken MILANESE!


                                      And it's Mancuso's Italian Table

                                      Mancuso's Italian Table
                                      2231 S Voss Rd, Houston, TX 77057

                                    2. RUGGLES GREEN: at City Centre, I highly recommend! We've been twice and the food is delicous, hot, prompt and fairly priced. A superlative restaurant in a mall of gastronomic mediocrity, it's the only restaurant at City Centre I have returned to besides Brio (I haven't been to all of them, but I think I've only missed RA Sushi and Straits). Anyway, the fish tacos ($11) come in a set of 3 delicious tacos with the most amazing herbed sauce and a darn hot orange habanero sauce on the side. They are known for their sweet potato fries, and while I'm not a big fan, I can certainly see why they are popular: crispy, coated, seasoned and hot. Massive crispy, fresh salads.

                                      Last weekend, the specials included two different soft shell crab dishes and I chose the two fried crabs over seafood paella option. Good grief, it was good. The paella was well seasoned and full of fish pieces and baby shrimp and dotted with fresh green peas, two fried crabs balanced on top. At $21 it was a bargain and enough for two meals. Great wine prices too, and 3 kinds of flavored iced teas, London Black, Mango Ginger, and Pomegranite. Order at the counter, get your tea at the drink station, and use the space age device on your table to notify the kitchen where you are sitting waiting patiently, and they will appear with your steaming plates of food.

                                      VERY crowded during peak times, suggest you go early or late, grab a menu from the box in front of the order counter, find a seat and peruse the menu before hopping in line to order. Check the specials on the blackboard by the door to the expansive patio dining area. Stay inside the cool futuristic dining room if it's too hot out. And it is.


                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Lambowner

                                        Hey Lambsy.

                                        You note that Ruggles Green was a "superlative restaurant in a mall of gastronomic mediocrity".

                                        May I ask what else you've tried in City Centre and your thoughts thereon?

                                        It's ridiculously close to me, but I never go over there. We tried to go to Flora and Muse for coffee once but couldn't find a convenient parking space so went to... uhmmm... somewhere else that might or might not rhyme with WarDucks.

                                        Anyway, tell me what to avoid and what you haven't sampled yet.

                                        I've heard good things about Straits. Tried that yet?

                                        Also, I just found out that they've opened a Sur la Table there. I did not know that.

                                        As a PSA, they have free sharpening of up to two knives, any kind, through the end of June.

                                        Link: http://www.surlatable.com/browse/stor...


                                        1. re: DoobieWah

                                          Well I think I've tried most of them. Haven't hit Straits or RA Sushi. I forgot about Bistro Alex, though, it also is very good. I think others forget it's there too, since it is away from the hub and I fear it may not make it long term for that reason.

                                          Lunch at Flora & Muse was protracted due to bad service and the food was just adequate. Cyclone Anayas is, in my opinion, a waste of money, but I know that some people really like it, I just don't know why. Eddie V's is way expensive for the same thing you can get elsewhere for much less. Fleming's steakhouse served me the worst steak I've ever had in a restaurant. How they managed to toughen up a small filet and burn the sides, I don't know, but I suspect it was "salamandered" to death. McCormick & Schmicks is technically in Town & County Village, not City Centre, but I recall it was good without being memorable. It seems to be a great place for patio happy hour with $5 menu items and drink specials.

                                          I'll be back to Ruggles Green though, even with the parking situation at City Centre, which by the way is TERRIBLE. They REALLY need to stop blocking off floor after floor of garage parking for valet. Plan on a hike, no matter where you are eating, unless you valet.

                                          Cyclone Anaya's
                                          1710 Durham Dr, Houston, TX 77007

                                          Ruggles Green
                                          2311 W Alabama St, Houston, TX 77098

                                          1. re: Lambowner

                                            Thanks for replying. I intend to go over there tomorrow for a bit of a walking tour. I may try to sample a few places.

                                            I'll let you know.


                                      2. I finally got around to visiting CityCentre, (I-10 at Beltway 8) yesterday. It's about two miles from me as the crow flies, and while I hit Williams Sonoma, James Coney Island and a few other places in Town and Country Village occasionally, I had never visited a single store or restaurant in the new incarnation of the old Mall.

                                        So after Lambowner's description of Ruggles Green above, and my own on-line research that informed me there's a Sur la Table there now, (Mecca for a cook), I was on my way.

                                        This was a Saturday afternoon around 1:30. I parked in the garage and found a space convenient to the stairwell on the second floor.

                                        First stop, Sur la Table. Ah yes, aisles and aisles of stuff I'll never own. Enameled bakers, ever more elaborate and expensive cutlery, Cadillac espresso makers, etc.

                                        I did pick up a small ceramic spoon for my salt cellar, and a teaspoon. While you can never have too many teaspoons, at $3.95 for a simple unpatterned stainless steel stirrer, you can in fact, pay too much. Nevertheless, it will be a frequent stop in my future.

                                        So now what? My neighbor had told me he hits The Yard House frequently, so that's where my shoes wanted to go next. I obliged.

                                        Sitting at the bar, I had a cup of French Onion Soup and a Pale Ale. The beer was great.

                                        The soup was a little too thin and light on the onions, and was half crouton. I'm a big French Onion Soup fan, but I don't think I'd order that again. It was tasty, but the soup to crouton ratio was waaaaaay off.

                                        However, I wasn't allowed to linger. From there, I stopped in Olive and Vine, a small shop specializing in Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegars. In fact, that's ALL they have.

                                        Interesting place. The proprietress gave me a quick tour and lay of the land. Stainless steel containers with twist spouts lined both side walls, olive oil on one side, vinegars on the other.

                                        She explained that at this time of year, they had the last of the Northern Hemisphere olive oils and in a week or two these would all be gone replaced by Southern Hemisphere oils from South America, Australia and New Zealand.

                                        I want to tread lightly here. I tried four or five of the oils, (this is a "tasting room") and found all of them flat. Maybe it was just me, but I was very underwhelmed. I tried oils from Spain, Portugal and California, and they were all less than spectacular. Also, note that while they have a number of straight oils and another handful of herbal infused oils, they were all from Western Europe and California. No Greek. No Lebanese. No Israeli. (Phoenicia, you have ruined me for all others!)

                                        I bought a small bottle of the straight balsamic, (aged "up to" eighteen years - What the heck does that mean?). I haven't tried it yet. I will go back in a month or so and try some Southern oils and will hopefully find the newer pressings a little brighter.

                                        From there, I walked around and around until I found the secret side door to the stairs leading to Ra Sushi. I sat alone at the sushi bar and chatted with the very personable itamae. I want to mention that while The Yard House was packed, Ra was almost empty. I get the fact that while a brew pub might be more appealing than sushi on a 98' Saturday in Houston, the contrast was inescapable. The Yard House had few empty tables in the whole restaurant. Ra had only two other groups besides me. Nevertheless, the chef said that evenings and happy hour are packed. Happy hour is 4-7 M-F and 8-11 on Sunday. He urged me to come back today for the HH, but warned to be there at 8, or risk having a wait. Might take him up in that.

                                        I just had a roll, (Spicy Lobster) and iced tea. It was fine and reasonable.

                                        Lastly, I popped into the coffee shop part of Flora and Muse for a latte. I thought I asked for it to go, but when she brought it to me in an oversized porcelain cup with an ardent but ultimately failed attempt at crema art, I elected to relax and enjoy it there. It was very good, and perfectly accompanied the mini cinnamon roll I added since I was staying.

                                        All in all, a positive experience. And of course, curling up for a well-deserved-and-not-to-be-denied-nap in my own bed, just ten minutes after leaving the parking garage is a definite plus.

                                        I would still like to visit Straits, Ruggles Green and Brio. What else CH'ers?

                                        BTW, just as I was arriving, they were breaking down what appeared to be a small farmer's market in the central green area. Anyone know more about that?

                                        Ra Sushi Bar Restaurant
                                        3908 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77027

                                        Yard House Restaurant
                                        800 W Sam Houston Pkwy N, Houston, TX 77024

                                        1. I could have sworn you talked about a trip to Red Balloon on this thread, Doobie. I was thinking of it because I just read that it closed last month, and it was on my list of places to visit. Ah well.

                                          Red Balloon Cafe
                                          4410 Westway Park Blvd Ste 300, Houston, TX 77041

                                          1. I need to study this thread. I'll be coming back to Houston for a short baseball and eats visit. Bringing a fellow hound Cynsa with me. We want to chow our way through Houston and must make a visit to Snow's-- she's never been and she was the one who turned me onto it last year!

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: dimsumgirl

                                              Looking forward to it!

                                              I thought about you today as I was gnawing on that giant pork chop at Corelli's.

                                              It was freaking great.

                                              Best regards,


                                              1. re: DoobieWah

                                                I forgot to mention, DSG, that unfortunately you won't be seeing any baseball while you're here.

                                                The Astros will be playing.


                                                1. re: DoobieWah

                                                  Actually, I'm going to watch the Astros play my team, the San Francisco Giants! Anything good to eat at the ballpark? Hope to see you. Never made it to Mexico Deli last time so it's on my list. Have to see if I can go through your original thread and see what else I had on my list that we didn't get to. Corelli's-- don't think I made it there either.

                                            2. You're killing me. There's tons of places from the original thread that I still haven't gotten to...

                                              1. (As an homage to my friends from the wild wild west, I put this here instead of anywhere else.)

                                                Hopefully, we will shortly have a trip report from our intrepid fellow Chowhounders, DimSumGirl and Cynsa, (who claim to have come here to watch baseball, but we know better, don't we?), regarding their recent visit to Houston. I was able to meet them a couple of times, and had to turn down another, and I eagerly look forward to hearing about everything I missed.

                                                What I didn't miss was the Snow's BBQ they brought me back last Saturday. They graciously even offered to deliver it if I were willing to meet them at Phoenicia Market. Needless to say, I was willing. (I'm a very weak man.)

                                                Anyway, after meeting up and walking every square inch of Phoenicia, (and lots of it more than once), they invited me to join them at ECK Bakery for an egg custard. DSG had mentioned this place the last time she was in town, back around Thanksgiving, but I'm not much of a sweet eater, so I never bothered to seek it out. (I think I remember her telling me that ECK stands for "Egg Custard King", but that just could be a mnemonic device of my own...)

                                                Anyway, this place is tough to find. I knew the address and we had a map, but it still eluded us.

                                                I even asked a mail lady and she didn't know, (and at that time, we less than 100 yards away).

                                                So let me start by giving directions. Go south on Wilcrest from Bellaire about 70 yards and there's a mostly vacant shopping center to your right. The center is newish, and there's a club or something in it, but you just passed ECK which sits perpendicular to Wilcrest and faces south, (or away from the direction you are traveling from). Believe me - it's there.

                                                Once you find it, you'll be glad you did.

                                                The girls came for the egg custard, swearing it was better than what they had near them in Cali. I am new to egg custard, so I can't give an honest opinion, except to say it's darned good,

                                                The croissant like miniature cups were filled with this vibrant yellow, creamy, sweet, just-barely-perceptibly-eggy-creamy-deliciousness. Truly a heavenly bite if there ever was one.

                                                However, I am still not a sweet eater, so let me tell you why I will be back every time I make an Ocean Palace/Hong Kong Market run - they also make these unbelievably good meat pies.

                                                They had three kinds during this visit. There was a chicken one, a pork one, and a curry one. The chicken was my least favorite as it was fairly bland. It was good, and if I go there and that's all they have, I will get six of them. The pork one was awesome, and just a tad sweet, (which is better to me on pork than on dessert). The curry one seemed to use ground beef, but if you told me it was lamb, I wouldn't be shocked.

                                                Again, these were made with this wonderful, flaky croissant like dough and each type of pie was made into a different shape so you can tell them apart. I picked up two of each and the pork was round, the chicken was cylindrical, (think burrito), and the curry was half moon shaped.

                                                Loved them. They kept well also. Put them in the fridge and a quick nuke brought them fully to life. Absolutely delish. I don't know what else they have. I think they are famous for the egg cream, (also available in egg whites only, if that helps), but I'll be back for the meat pies.

                                                I also got to meet DSG and Cynsa for breakfast at Mexico's Deli the next day, but I'll let them tell you about that.

                                                Wait!! I do have to mention that I had the cochinita pibil for breakfast. Very good and something I had never seen there before.

                                                Anyway, I enjoyed my visit with DSG and Cyn and look forward to another one.

                                                (However, I expect to see the folks at ECK long before that...)

                                                (EDITED TO ADD: Here's a link. I can't read it, but the pictures are great.)


                                                Mexico's Deli
                                                2374 S Dairy Ashford St, Houston, TX 77077

                                                33 Replies
                                                1. re: DoobieWah

                                                  I could very happily switch my identity to "I♥Houston". DoobieWah, 'yeah, you right' ECK is shorthand for the famous Egg Custard King that has closed on Mott Street in New York City Chinatown - there's one on Grand and another in Brooklyn. Houston is nearer than New York City from San Francisco, and Southwest flies direct from Oakland.
                                                  Dan tat at our beloved Golden Gate Bakery on Grant Avenue has disappointed me lately. I was delighted with these Portuguese egg tarts at ECK Bakery. For the very health conscious, they offer dan tat with egg whites only.
                                                  We are on our way to meet DSG and her DH for dim sum this morning - promising to add to the Houston thread with pix when I recover from mental fatigue.
                                                  Many thanks, DW, for the excellent tour of Phoenicia and the amazing breakfast at Mexico's Deli.
                                                  note: dan tat reheat easily in just a few minutes in a warm oven, flaky crisp and warmly creamy (microwaving works, too, for 5 to 10 seconds but the oven method is better if you prefer a crisp shell)

                                                  ECK Bakery
                                                  6918 Wilcrest Dr, Houston, TX 77072

                                                  1. re: DoobieWah

                                                    Wow, another whirlwind tour of Houston last week that served as a quick vacation and great eats. It was only 4 days with 2 travel days on either end but it was delicious!

                                                    Thursday was our arrival day late afternoon and dinner with family. Our only outing was a quick grocery buy trip. The next day was a lunch outing at Captain Benny's. Supposed to be multiple locations but the one we ate at looks like a boat. We got the Friday special-- a whole deep fried catfish and 12 prawns for $13.99! It was a full meal with fries and hushpuppies and there was enough for Cynsa and me to split a plate.

                                                    Saturday we started out with a quick kolache breakfast. This was our Snow's adventure day and we loved it. We each got a combo plate that came with some delicious potato salad and cole slaw. The Snow's beans were very good. It was worth the drive out to Lexington for the barbecue. We toured Phoenicia market on our way back into town and Cynsa generously bought me some spices so that I could continue to savor the Houston experience. Thanks to DoobieWah for the Phoenicia tour. I wish I had a Phoenicia market in Northern California. I could do that shopping trip every week and not get tired of it. We followed our market tour with a trip to ECK-- very hard to find as I remembered which corner but did not recognize the place itself but this was worth the hunt! These are the best don taats I've ever had. Cynsa and I and our spouses had dim sum in San Francisco yesterday but we passed on don taats knowing that they would not hold a candle to the ones we had just had in Houston.

                                                    For me, Sunday was the chow highlight of the trip. DoobieWah treated us to breakfast of cream of poblano soup and a huge torta that Cynsa and I split. It was so big that I couldn't even finish my half! The torta that we enjoyed was called lomito Argentino and it had steak, ham, cheese, eggs, avocado, mustard and cilantro mayonnaise. The torta came with a bowl of noodle soup. I could eat a bowl of that cream of poblano soup every day and not get tired of it! Thanks for the breakfast, Doobs!

                                                    That evening we went to HEB and Kroeger for more groceries. HEB was fun because of the cooking demos and the food samples. I have a stack of recipes that I picked up at HEB to try back at home.

                                                    Monday, my uncle gave us a tour of Houston's downtown area and the underground tunnels. He is known as the king of cheap eats and wanted to take us to a couple of his favorite places. We split a burger at the Hubcap Grill-- that was a really good burger. It's a little hole in the wall place and if you haven't tried it, you should put it on your list. You could taste the freshness of the meat and the bun was really good. My uncle also took us to Treebeard's for red beans and rice. The small size serving comes with a chunk of a tasty sausage. Cynsa treated for this lunch and it was $3.25 per person. I have a hankering for more of those red beans! We had dinner that night with family but then Cynsa and I snuck away for a post-meal snack at Tejas. We shared the crawfish enchiladas and a tamale. The tamale was okay but the brown gravy that was served over the tamale was so good and I would love to have more of the gravy. It probably wasn't fair that we ate at Tejas after we were already full but it was good and the server was so friendly. We packed up our leftovers and enjoyed them the following morning for breakfast before leaving for the airport.

                                                    We also got lots of inspiration for cooking from the meals that we had with family. So far, I've made the butter beans and okra dish that was cooked for us. And I've smoked a pork roast in my smoker. Lots of other ideas and recipes to try in the weeks to come.

                                                    Another great chow trip to Houston. Four days and three pounds heavier, I had to leave for California. I am already eager to return to Houston for more chowing. By the way, the Astros played a mean game of baseball and the Astros fans were so sweet to us. Thanks for your hospitality, Houston!

                                                    Tejas Restaurant
                                                    12219 Alief Rd, Houston, TX 77082

                                                    Hubcap Grill
                                                    1111 Prairie St, Houston, TX 77002

                                                    1. re: dimsumgirl

                                                      If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a pic must be 1000 chow bites/bytes? We ate so well in Houston, it rises to the top of the Food Chain. I've slipped in one home cookin' pic that is proof of good eatin' in Houston - and one mystery animal photo. If anyone can identify this animal, I will bake you cookies (no, it's not a chupacabra). Thank you, Houston, for your hospitality and good eats. We have chowed well and will happily return to do it again. I♥Houston
                                                      (none of my photos are posting - let's try another link)

                                                      1. re: dimsumgirl

                                                        Friday: NASA tour, catfish at Captain Benny's, donuts and kolache (sorry, pix failure)
                                                        Saturday: Snow's BBQ in Lexington (post to Austin board??)

                                                        1. re: Cynsa

                                                          ...AND thank you for the kind words, Cynsa and DSG. It was a pleasure to spend some time with you and DimSumGirl.

                                                          I tried to go back to ECK Friday night after dinner at SinhSinh, but they close at 7:30 and we were a half hour late. Soon.

                                                          Glad y'all had a good time. Let's do it again soon.

                                                          Warmest regards...

                                                          1. re: Cynsa

                                                            this much I know to be true:
                                                            Houston knows how-to deep fry - crisp, greaseless
                                                            Galveston oysters are delicious
                                                            New Chinatown stretches forever
                                                            best dan tat at ECK Bakery
                                                            Tex Mex is a wonder unto itself
                                                            eat bbq brisket and CFS in Texas only
                                                            Mexico's Deli is my go-to place
                                                            beef is better in Texas
                                                            I♥Phoenicia Market, Central Market at HEB

                                                            Thank You, Houston for the great chowing.

                                                            Mexico's Deli
                                                            2374 S Dairy Ashford St, Houston, TX 77077

                                                            ECK Bakery
                                                            6918 Wilcrest Dr, Houston, TX 77072

                                                            1. re: Cynsa

                                                              Great photos. Thanks again.


                                                              P.S. I don''t know what that cat/coyote thing is either.

                                                              1. re: Cynsa

                                                                Great photos! I'm glad you tried the poblano soup at Mexico's Deli - great stuff. I hope you tried the buttercake at Treebeards. I see that they have their chili right now, they don't always have it. May be a good time for a trip to the Cathedral! Tejas looks yummy, although I don't recognize it as a Houston place. Thanks for sharing.

                                                                Mexico's Deli
                                                                2374 S Dairy Ashford St, Houston, TX 77077

                                                                1. re: Lambowner

                                                                  Tejas is on the original I LOVE Living... thread. (Second entry I think.)

                                                                  Good food and a great family place. (I would advise you to ask for the "extra" hot sauce, but they sometimes run out and if you get mine, I'll be pissed, so I am not going to make that recommendation. You can just eat the regular sauce.)

                                                                  Tejas Restaurant
                                                                  12219 Alief Rd, Houston, TX 77082

                                                                  1. re: DoobieWah

                                                                    Yes, the roasted habanero salsa is the best. It's just right.

                                                                    1. re: DoobieWah

                                                                      Nice! Gonna have to try that one! I wonder if you can get to it from the Westpark Tollway.

                                                                      Where is that Capt. Benny's? It doesn't look like the one on the Katy Frwy.

                                                                      1. re: Lambowner

                                                                        Going west, Exit at the W Houston Center Blvd exit.

                                                                        Take a left under the tollway and then an immediate right on Alief Clodine.

                                                                        Tejas will be about two blocks on the left. If you see the Alief High Schools Football Stadium, you've gone one block too far.

                                                                        Tejas Restaurant
                                                                        12219 Alief Rd, Houston, TX 77082

                                                                        1. re: DoobieWah

                                                                          Well, we had lunch at Tejas today and you are correct in all respects. What a great find. The salsa was terrific and luckily came in a cereal bowl! We ordered fresh jalapenos and added them to the queso and it was creamy and cheesy, not floury or clumpy like some efforts out there. I do not think that the chips are house made, they appeared to be bagged chips, but it didn't hurt. I had the blue crab enchiladas which were stuffed full of crab and topped with white sauce and white cheese, rolled in red tortillas. They were really good and the crawfish enchiladas also drew raves. I can tell this will be a regular for us and just what I was looking for in this thread:


                                                                          Lopez has been our family's favorite for almost 30 years but its menu is limited. I need to try the chili gravy on the next trip to Tejas for comparison purposes.

                                                                          They did offer margaritas by the glass, liter or pitcher as well as wine and beer. But since they have no other liquor, I thought maybe the margs are the kind made with wine which are abominable to me, although I didn't ask. A liquor license is expensive if you are only serving margaritas. But the Shiner I had was cold and came with a frosted glass. A perfect meal. Thanks for the reco.

                                                                          Tejas Restaurant
                                                                          12219 Alief Rd, Houston, TX 77082

                                                                          1. re: Lambowner

                                                                            Glad you enjoyed it.

                                                                            The margaritas *are* wine based. That's why I didn't offer it on your linked thread. I don't really drink when I'm out, (I always drive), so it's not an issue for me.

                                                                            Nice folks too. Did you get one of the homemade pralines next to the cash register?

                                                                            1. re: DoobieWah

                                                                              What? I missed the homemade pralines!

                                                                              1. re: DoobieWah

                                                                                The server took our payment at the table, so we missed them too! But there was no real thought of dessert at that point!

                                                                                1. re: Lambowner

                                                                                  The pralines are the crumbly crispy Mexican style, as opposed to the soft, chewy N'awlins style.

                                                                                  They're a buck and two or three of us usually share one.

                                                                                  Nice capper to all of that spice.

                                                                          2. re: Lambowner

                                                                            DH identified the location from our November visit. The address is 8253 Gulf Freeway, Houston, 77017
                                                                            Can't wait to get back there-- we'll have to arrange a chowdown next time we are in Houston!

                                                                            1. re: dimsumgirl

                                                                              WOW, Captain Benny's is still there, and still good? I used to eat there all the time when I worked at one of the refineries on 225. Their fried oysters were wonderful. I had a vendor that loved it too so she would always take me there for lunch. We went at least twice a month and I went with others too. Guess I need to get over there and check that out. I haven't been there in about 10 years.

                                                                              1. re: texasredtop

                                                                                A new building has been going up about 1.5 miles from my house and coming home from the casinos today, we saw the sign was up. CAPTAIN BENNY'S!!! Can't wait to eat there again. I love their fried oysters.

                                                                                This new one is at the corner of East Blvd and East 13th St in Deer Park. They will draw a huge lunch crowd from the refineries.

                                                                              2. re: dimsumgirl

                                                                                I only went to that one once or twice when I lived on the southeast side, it was Blue Oyster Bar for me. I went to the original on S. Main many times, it has since moved further south across from Reliant. I went there last spring, it is very small with little elbow room. The one on the Gulf Freeway, I can't rmember how big it is, if there is enough seating for a chowdown. Good luck getting more than two or three people together at the bar. However, the one on 290 just outside the loop has lots of tables that can handle bigger parties. Plus, it is more convenient for DoobieWah and myself.


                                                                                1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                  Hmmm, there's a boat restaurant on I-10 in Katy, it must be something else.

                                                                                  1. re: Lambowner

                                                                                    Paul's Boat is on Highway 6 just S of Briar Forest.

                                                                                    Haven't been in years, though.

                                                                                    Is Sam's Boat still open on Richmond? It was hopping back in the day, but then Richmond moved to mid-Town and then Washington Ave, so I could see it either way.

                                                                                    What was the name of the Tex-Mex place next door that Sam's eventually absorbed? We spent some time there, once upon a time...

                                                                                    1. re: DoobieWah

                                                                                      I guess the boat in Katy is called Capt. Tom's. Different establishment. I went to that Sam's once or twice. I remember the uproar from the nearby neighbors over the live music.

                                                                                      1. re: DoobieWah

                                                                                        It was Sam's Place back as far as 88 or 89. Haven't been back in quite a while. Remember some great fajitas there.

                                                                                        1. re: txpickyeater

                                                                                          You're right. I remembered this morning on my walk (a lovely morning in the 60's - WHOOHOO!),

                                                                                          The Tex-Mex joint was Sam's "Place" and they took over the boat next door which was Paul's Boat, (I'm pretty sure), and renamed it Sam's Boat. I've eaten many a lunch at both of those establishments.

                                                                                          Paul's then opened the boat/restaurant I mentioned above on Highway 6 near Briar Forest.

                                                                                          I think that's right.

                                                                                          Sam's Boat
                                                                                          15250 Highway 105 W Ste 150, Montgomery, TX 77356

                                                                                    2. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                      I don't know why but I think they expanded the one on Gulf Freeway since the last time I was there. They also had seating outside but we always managed to get a seat inside.

                                                                                      Blue Oyster Bar was good - it was owned by the Tony Mandola. I liked it too but thought Capt Benny's was a good bit better.

                                                                                      James, how long ago did you live on this side of town?

                                                                                      Capt Benny's
                                                                                      222 W Rankin Rd, Houston, TX 77090

                                                                                      1. re: texasredtop

                                                                                        Red, I lived there, let's see, it was nineteen and 78-85, first in a small neighborhood north of the Gulf Frwy and east of 610, and later Friendswood. We were real close to the Blue Oyster Bar which we simply called the BOB. Captain Benny's might have been there, but if it was it was called the Captains. For oysters we always went to the original on South Main. Our go to restaurant was Ninfa's, either the Navigation location or the Gulf Frwy one. Navigation was best, but back then all the locations were good, and the Gulf Frwy one was good for Friday nights after working til 9, plus we new the manager and he was always good for a round or two of comped Ninfaritas. That was when they were super strong and the places were wild. I remember a Friday night with a couple of buddies from work, and the drunken girls next to us were loudly proclaiming to everyone that they were strippers, and bragged about the variety of drugs they used. One of them fell out of her chair, while another one passed out and was carried out by two waiters to wild applause from the crowd in the back room. I'm sure they were just poured in to their car, hope they didn't kill anyone. Those were different times, no three martini lunches down here, it was the three Ninfarita lunch.

                                                                                        1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                          Did you ever go to Big Humphrey's on Park Place? That was one of my favorite places. They still have wonderful pizza in Pearland and I go 3-4 times a year when I get a pizza craving.

                                                                                          1. re: texasredtop

                                                                                            Yes we did, all the time. I went a couple of years ago on the way back from fishing in Galveston. Same rectangular pizza, brought back good memories.

                                                                                            1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                              My favorite, the rectangular pizza. I love Big Humphrey's. The nostalgia on the wall is wonderful. I miss the big guy. His son is not the same but close :-)

                                                                                            2. re: texasredtop

                                                                                              I love a good thin crust pizza-- is this what Big Humphrey's makes? I like the coal fired brick ovens that they cook them in. If BH has it, then it's a must try when we are there next.

                                                                                              1. re: dimsumgirl

                                                                                                No, it is old style with a thicker crust, in a rectangular pan. I wouldn't call it pan pizza but has more of a medium thickness crust. I like both pizzas, thin or thick but BH's is my favorite pizza. I'm not a huge pizza fan either because so many people do it wrong but this is my favorite pizza and I do crave it. It hasn't changed since the first one I had in about 1971 or 1972. I hear their burgers are delicious but I always order the pizza. Love it!!

                                                                                                One recent review from a foodie blog: "...Taking in Big Humphrey's King of the Hill ambience, customers might wonder about the food. But all they need to do is sit down and order. Jasper Vitale uses recipes left by his grandmother, who was born and raised in Sicily. They supplement Grandma's Italian dishes with good ol' American and Tex-Mex favorites, as if to concede that truckers do not live by the meatball alone. Those who want wine with their pasta will have to bring it themselves."

                                                                                                Big Humphrey was the man they modeled the main character in the Joe Palooka cartoon after. His story is here: http://bighpizza.com/?page_id=17

                                                                                                I always get the Lotza Meatza Pizza http://bighpizza.com/?page_id=129

                                                                      2. LITTLE SHEEP MONGOLIAN HOTPOT. corner of Fountain View & Westheimer.

                                                                        This is a chain. But my god is it a glorious chain. The broth is out of this world. I asked for the recipe and they said there's innumerable spices ground into it. I like the combo split-pot of spicy & normal broth because the spicy will do some damage.

                                                                        They said it is possible to purchase their spice packets, but it is not the exact same as used in the restaurant

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: paleogeek

                                                                          That's close to my office. I have had Mongolian BBQ and Mongolian grill. Tell us more about Mongolian Hotpot.

                                                                        2. Taqueria de Jalisco #3, 3503 Shaver, which is technically in Pasadena but they have 2 other locations
                                                                          #1 at 15818 S. Post Oak
                                                                          #2 at 408 Old Galveston Road

                                                                          We must pass this place once a month on our way to Mi Tienda and the parking lot is always full and it doesn't matter what time of day. Today we decided to stop. My husband was the only non-Hispanic there and the waitstaff didn't speak much if any english. The menu is in both languages and has some pictures so it would be easy for a non spanish speaking person to order.

                                                                          Since it was our first visit so we thought we'd start with a variety of tacos so that we could get to taste several things. We had pastor, pierna, lengua, and chicharron. The were all tacos except for the pastor which was a gordita. All the meats were delicious. The gordita had more cheese then I would have liked with the pastor but the pastor was beautifully cooked and seasoned. I will order again as a taco. The pierna was somewhere between carnitas and pork roast. So good and tender as was the lengua which could have been seasoned a bit more but was very good non the less. The chicharron was in green sauce (you can choose between red and green) They were done very well but I like my chicharron crispy with the sauce put on at serving. These seemed as though they had been stewed in the green sauce so there was no crunch. My husband loved them.

                                                                          The chips and salsa served at seating were good. The chips being of the thicker kind. The salsa being a salsa fresca and my favorite salsa so far at any of the Mexican restaurants we've been to. We also ordered a side of refried beans that were good but nothing special. You can read into this that I didn't tasted any lard what so ever.

                                                                          We watched as food came out to other tables, there were allot of bowls of menudo and it looked good. The enchiladas also looked very good but NOT of the Tex-Mex variety.

                                                                          Other things they offer that I don't necessarily see on a menu, higado encebollado plate (liver with grilled onions), tripas, and hongo tacos. We can't wait to go back.

                                                                          1. Doobs and others, I turned DoobieWah onto the fried oysters and shrimp at Barbecue Inn by the piece, and at suspected a half order of chicken fried steak was probable, but a diner on B4-U-Eat kicked it up a notch with a half order of chicken fried steak, and one piece of fried chicken. I can see my next trip consisting of steak, shrimp, and oysters first, then a palate cleanser of fried chicken when it is ready, followed by dessert at Flying Saucer Pies. Now on to the DVR delayed Texans game.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. Next Saturday, the East End Street Fest will be on Harrisburg. This is right up my alley, small, I eschewed the I Fest mainly for the walking, (coming off an Achilles rupture), plus the ridiculous pricing, and went to Galveston instead. This looks good, small, local, food, drinks, live music, we're there. Anybody else?