Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Number 62

101 List
Number 62: Go to 5 new restaurants.

I remember when I was writing the list of 101 things I wanted to do, I complained that Rakesh and I go to the same restaurants over and over again. We're very much people that enjoy good food but we were limiting ourselves to the same things over and over again. It was so bad that it came to a point when our favorite places to eat out were no longer desirable. Not because of the food but simply because of the sheer frequency in which we frequented the locales. So in an effort to force myself outside my comfort zone I added this task of trying 5 new places to my list.

Well, it turned out good food can be found just about everywhere you look in Houston. (Emphasis on JUST ABOUT lol) Below are just a few of the restaurants in the Houston Metropolitan area that we have tried and added to our list of favorites with a brief review of each, because lets face it, I'm a total foodie and I love to share good food with friends! :D

If you're ever in the area, you should check these places out!

1. Pho Saigon in Midtown - Really inexpensive. UH-MAZ-ING Vietnamese noodle soup. Recently some friends and I did our own little "Tour de Pho" through the Midtown restaurants. Pho Saigon was a clear victor in the end.

2. Thai Jasmine in Almeda area - If you ever came across the place by any chance of your own, you would never imagine that the food you got inside would be so good. If your looking for cheap and filling food in the Almeda area this place is a must! (If you're weary of Thai because of the spice factor the Mom and Pop owners will make you your own mild dish!)

3. T-Bone Tom's in Kemah - Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, this place is a new favorite of mine for barbecue. An absolute MUST if you eat here- Armadillo eggs. Fried jalapeno peppers stuffed with chopped beef - an absolute drool-worthy appetizer.

4. Palazzo's in Houston - Now this one was not a favorite of Rakesh's, but keep in mind my guy is total nut for spicy filling and cheap. Palazzo's is not exactly those things. Palazzo's is an Italian food cafe. My suggestions: the insalata fresca (field greens, apples, strawberries, grapes and candied pecans with feta and Parmesan dressing) and the Pasta Palazzo (chicken, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke, capers in a lemon Chardonnay sauce over bow tie pasta). Light and delicious but a bit on the pricey side for pasta. It's a nice treat for me every now and again.

5. Mai's Vietnamese Restaurant in Midtown- One of the more established restaurants in the area and newly rebuilt after a recent fire, Mai's is comparable in price to the other Vietnamese places in Midtown with a much nicer atmosphere. The Pho is good (though I think Pho Saigon is better) and the rice dishes are highly recommended by me. Though if you're looking for some spice, you wont really find it here.

6. King's Barbecue in La Porte - This place is yet another one of those that you'd never think from how it looked on the outside that the food would be amazing. But places like this are why you have the saying "Don't judge a book by its cover." Want cheap and REALLY REALLY good barbecue. This place has BBQ down to an art. The sauce the beans the potato salad are all homemade and oh so good. The brisket is never overcooked or dry. Did I mention they were cheap? I don't know about you but BBQ and cheap have never been two words that go together. Here at King's they seem to make it work.

7. Smashburger in Houston - This is a chain place that I had never tried before but was taken to by a friend. But after devouring the burger like I never had before eaten a burger, I took Rakesh there. It's definitely one of his favorites. The burgers are just like Mom makes and you can get a little variety with their specialty burgers. A few suggestions to any of their main dish choices if you've never had it before: their shakes and the smash fries.

8. Thai Gourmet in Little India (Richmond/Hillcroft/59 S area) - If you want spicy and I mean put-yourself-to-a-test-kinda spicy - this is the place to go. (They also have mild food so don't be afraid.) I've taken several people to this place who, like Rakesh and I, are in love with spicy food and I've yet to find someone who doesn't absolutely love it! Thai food. Amazing. Enough said.

9. Les Girval's in Midtown - If you like good food and you are on a strict budget, this is a place for you. Picture sandwiches the size of a Subway 6 inch sandwich that's filling but not heavy in addition to being flavorful. Sound good so far? Now picture walking up to the register and it only costing 3$! Yep. I had to buy two sandwiches just to get to the 5$ minimum to use my credit card. So take cash with you if you don't plan on buying a midnight snack for later. Another tip: everyone in the area knows how good this place is, so get there earlier (like around 11am) for lunch during the work week.

Number 60

Number 60: Go to a new beach.

So two weeks back (weekend of Fathers Day) Rakesh and I trekked on over to Corpus Christi for a cheap weekend getaway. If you've never been, Corpus is really nice. Its got a few museums that are decently priced and amazing seafood restaurants. But its highlight - the beaches. You can buy a beach permit from the local Stripes locations and it lasts an entire calendar year. So ours is good for the rest of 2011 if we ever want to go back. (Stripes is a local chain of gas stations in case you were wondering, like me, who's from Houston and had never heard of them.) The permits good for the Corpus Christi beach and the Port Aransas beaches.

We checked out those beaches and also made a trip down toward the middle of Padre Island to check out Malaquite beach, where S Padre Island Drive dead ends on the island. To say we were impressed with Malaquite would be an understatement, it was awesome. The beach wasn't as crowded as in Port Aransas. It had showers you could rinse off in and concession stands if for whatever reason you didn't bring food with you. All in a large outdoor but covered area up away from the sand. If we ever go back, I think that'll be the beach we go to. Was lots of fun. :)

Rakesh touring the USS LEXINGTON- posing next to a missle. :)

Number 34

I am updating this bloggity blogspot for a recent accomplishment of Number 34: Take a cooking class.

Roush (an ex-coworker of mine) and I went to Central Market and took a cooking class. We made shrimp, lamb, chicken, and eggplant. It was fun. The course was really easy to follow along with. I cant wait to take another one. I'd like to share the experience with Rakesh. I think he'd enjoy it. :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

2011 Has Not Let Up

Well, the year's half over and I've hit every bump in the road I can imagine. Looking back at my February post, I'd say its safe to say that I had no idea what was in store for me.

I've lost 6 family members/friends since the beginning of the year, my car and now my job. (Official as of last Wednesday) As with everything else this year, it was unexpected and bad timing. So much for buying a house! Needless to say, I've started the leg work of finding another position. I have an interview lined up for next week already and I'm trying to focus my now ridiculous amount of spare time on studying for the CPA exam.

I'm trying really hard to stay positive but I'm undeniably stressed. I have a strong family unit though, which I'm thankful for all of their support. And my faith in God and trusting in His will and plan is helping me through.

I've considered filling my time with some of the things on my 101 list. Time's still ticking and I haven't crossed off even half of my list. Maybe this is my opportunity to unwind?