Friday, December 12, 2014

Where I've Been

For those of you that have read any/all of these posts, you may wonder where I disappeared to. If you follow along on Twitter you'll know I haven't completely fallen off the face of the earth. Simply put, life got in the way. My wife and I sold our home in one suburb and bought a house in another suburb 48 miles away from the previous place. But this is not a forum for my personal life, it is about the food. So here's some quick hits on where I've been eating:

We said goodbye to Katy favorites such as Alicia's Mexican Grille (not world changing, but solid Tex-Mex that we've yet to replace in our new area), Marini's Empanadas (cheap, tasty empanadas and a very good craft beer selection), Ooh La La Dessert Boutique, and Ritter's Frozen Custard.

We said hello to some new neighborhood haunts: Tita's Taco House - very good, very affordable and Tipico Cafe which has all of the charm and quirk of a family owned establishment.

We had some mighty swings and misses at other north side excursions, including "guacamole" that was literally someone smashing half of an avocado on a plate and perhaps the worst plate of food I've ever seen masquerading as Italian in my lifetime.

Of course all of this change hasn't kept me from frequenting some of Houston's hotspots.

There's been a decadent on-the-house truffle dish at Coltivare and amazing sandwiches at Common Bond.

I now live entirely too close to Corkscrew BBQ. If you'd been there in the past and not fallen in love with their brisket, go back. They bought a new smoker and the smoked meat it's churning out is second to none. I might even prefer it to Killen's brisket, and that would be saying something.

Speaking of Pearland's Prince of Beef, there's been trips there too in these almost five months since I last posted.

There was the Texas Monthly BBQ Festival, which fell right in the middle of our home selling/buying madness. Snow's was a standout that day for me.

A work trip to Austin included a Louie Mueller detour and an incredibly underwhelming first visit to In-N-Out Burger.

I had yet another thought provoking visit to Oxheart, where Chef Yu and company continue to astound my palate with their mastery of vegetables.

There were first and second visits to new Houston places such as The Honeymoon in Market Square - solid food if not perfectly executed and in my opinion slightly overpriced.

I found time for a quick jaunt through the Market Square bars as well, including Justin Vann's newest venture, Public Services. I only wish I lived closer so that I could become a regular. My wife said it right when she proclaimed it a hipster granny's living room. They're just missing the plastic covering for the couches.

Of course my usual work lunches in the Sharpstown and Chinatown areas will never stop.

Oh, and how could I forget the time I was held hostage in my car by kitchen staff for trying to take a photo of a restaurant's sign in the Hillcroft area? Not surprising, this place is no longer open.

Pondicheri Bake Lab opened with much less fanfare than other bakeries this year, but takes a backseat to no one with its fragrant and beautiful baked goods.

There was a beyond overdue first visit to Triniti. The food and service were top notch, and it will only take another visit or two for me to be confident in saying it's the best higher end Houston restaurant no one talks about.

Another overdue visit was made, this one to Ciao Bello where Tony Vallone wowed a dining companion with his commitment to service as well as amazing flavors. Three words: sweet. corn. pansoti.

Multiple stops at Revival Market (I contend they serve the best cup of coffee in the city) for various breakfasts.

I've added Cafe TH to my monthly lunch route. So affordable, so delicious.

2015 is shaping up to be another exciting food year:

Richard Knight, whose prior restaurant Feast was ahead of its time for our fair city, prepares to wow us all again.

P.J. Stoops is getting set to unleash fiercely authentic Thai food.

The H-Town Streats boys will be serving us some Hugs and Donuts in the new year - I think/hope, has anyone heard any progress on that venture?

I promise I'll try to stop being such a stranger next year!

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