Sunday, August 30, 2015

Uchi

Bair Hugger Deluxe made sure Uchi was the first dinner I had in Houston.  I guess it's a big deal here.  It is in Austin, where it was first opened up by Chef Tyson Cole.  He won Best Chef Southwest in 2011.  Uchi and its sister restaurant Uchiko might sound more familiar as the former kitchen of Top Chef season 9 winner Paul Qui.  He started there as an intern and over 7 years worked his way up to chef de cuisine.  Uchi can be thought of as a Nobu-esque restaurant.  Modern Japanese meets Asian fusion meets cool/upscale.  The place is super popular.  Bair Hugger makes it seem like restaurants of this caliber are few and far between.  He usually takes all out-of-towners here.

We got great seats at the bar.  I love sitting at the bar.  I love being a stone's throw from the action.  Sadly we didn't get to sit in front of this guy.  Only a bad ass can walk around with just one patch of hair on his head.  I believe he was the main sushi guy, cutting all the fish for sashimi/nigiri.  It's an interesting set up.  Each guy behind the bar mans a different station.  Our guy was actually just the roll guy.  There was another guy manning the yakitori type things.  There was another guy in the kitchen just making the Brussels sprouts.  


Sorbet
Refreshing, cool, not too sweet.  A pleasant way to start.


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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Zydeco Louisiana Diner

Zydeco Louisiana Diner
1119 Pease St.
Houston, TX 77002
zydecolouisianadiner.com
Yelp

I've only ever been to Houston once in my life.  It was for a funeral.  Kinda morbid I know, but you can imagine that I didn't do much recreational eating during my short trip there 4 years ago.  I was visiting Bair Hugger, who calls Houston his home, ever so begrudgingly.  Bair Hugger is aware of my passion for eating and food blogging.  He too shares a similar passion, though he believes iPhone pictures posted on Facebook is passable food porn.  Unfortunately, we do not share the same love for Zydeco Kitchen.  I have a pretty high bar when it comes to Southern food because it's just not one of my favorites being so heavy and unhealthy.

The setup at Zydeco is pretty casual.  It's cafeteria style.  You grab a tray, you point to what you want and you're meal is handed to you.  Some dishes do require ordering and waiting for a number call.

Crawfish Etouffee stewed okra & tomatoes, corn maque choux, cornbread
So I guess the closest thing to Southern food I've had lately has been the panroast, gumbos, jambalayas at Ritters.  Maybe it's blasphemy that I even put Ritter's in the same category as Zydeco.  What do I know?  I am no Southern food expert.  I liked that the crawfish was plentiful here.  I wasn't very impressed with the depth of flavor.  Even the side dishes of okra, corn, and cornbread were slightly lacking in salt and sugar.  So overall, I was kinda meh about this set.
Fried Oysters & Shrimp jambalaya
I enjoyed this dish much more.  The oysters were plump and juicy.  The cornmeal based batter wasn't too heavy or overwhelming.  The shrimps were also similarly moist and lightly battered.  I enjoyed dipping them in the standard ketchup, cocktail sauce, and tartar sauce trio.  The jambalaya was a different style than I've had before.  It was drier and didn't pack that big of a punch.  The fries were really nothing special.


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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Good Taste

Good Taste (Old Town - Chinatown location)
18 NW 4th Ave
Portland, OR 97209
Yelp

After a few miles hiking through the evergreen forests of Portland, we definitely worked up a appetite for something comforting.  The noodles at Good Taste really hit the spot.  The place is your typical fobby Chinese joint.  Their mastery of cleanliness is only slightly outshined by their mastery of the English language.  Though, one could argue the opposite depending on which server you get.  Just kidding.  There was no hair in my food or bugs in my water.  Ok, I'm really just kidding now.  Good Taste is known for their rice and egg noodle dishes.  Their portions are generous.  Their prices are right.  It's not crowded.  The MSG is not terribly obvious.  What is there to hate about this place?

Chinese Brocolli oyster sauce
I love extra side dishes to my main course.  Pretty standard fare.


Steamed Chicken, Roasted Duck over Rice
Zhu Zhu Hamster went for the rice.  I think she rather liked the ginger scallion sauce.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Pip's Original Doughnut

Pip's Original Doughnuts
4759 NE Fremont St., Ste C
Portland, OR 97213

When traveling, I grapple with this horrible first world problem.  There's just not enough meals and time in a day to eat everything I want to eat.  With some thoughtful planning, we were able to squeeze in a visit to Pip's for some fresh-from-the-fryer mini doughnuts.  Like everything else Portland, the shop is a charming little place with hipsters taking your orders using iPads and Square.  Actual inked signatures and paper receipts are becoming a thing of the past.  So Zhu Zhu Hamster and Little Pet finally rolled out of bed to meet us here before our hike.


While the doughnuts are the main attraction here, the chai is not to be missed.  I don't usually like chai.  All those spices in a hot beverage is not something I'm used to, but I quite enjoyed the offerings here.  You have the option of whole, skim, soy, hemp, or almond milk.


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