j

Jaymes's Profile

Title Last Reply

Pastured, local bacon/smoked sausage in Houston area?

Aren't the guys at Revival Market smoking/curing meats from their own farm?

Oct 17, 2014
Jaymes in Houston
1

New to Katy area... suggestions, please!

So, MKAbel, I'm sure I'm not the only one that is curious if you've been out & about in Katy...what you've tried, what you liked, what not so much.

Please check back in when you get a chance.

Oct 15, 2014
Jaymes in Houston

Is vegetarian-friendly barbecue an oxymoron?

Thanks, Bruce, for taking the time to write such a detailed and informative post. I don't get into town from the hinterlands all that often and so have not made it to Killen's. After this, I'd say it's pretty clear that I need to.

Is it like the central Texas meat markets (sells out early, etc) or more "restauranty"? Okay to go for dinner? I do drive in from Katy occasionally to meet my son for dinner. He actually worked at a small BBQ shack in south Austin when he was in high school and loves the stuff. Would dinner at Killen's be a good option for us?

Oct 03, 2014
Jaymes in Texas

New to Katy area... suggestions, please!

One more really interesting restaurant in Katy that we like a lot is Palma de Cera. They say they offer "Latin & South American" cuisine but, as the Palma de Cera (wax palm) is the national tree of Colombia, much of the focus is on Colombian food, which has been a favorite of ours since we lived in Panama.

Not sure how familiar you are with Colombian food but, for a quick lesson, you can order the "Bandeja Paisa," a combination plate featuring many of Colombia's "tipico" dishes. You get a lot for your money - sausage, beef, pork belly, beans, rice, plantains, avocado, eggs, and an arepa. The full plate at dinner definitely is enough for two. Or, you can order a half-plate, or the lunch portion. At dinner, it's $12.99 but, as I say, easily enough for two. The lunch plate is $8.95.

Also, they have those wonderful "batidos" (smoothies) so popular in Latin America. They make them with your choice of a wide range of fruits: banana, mango, guava, pineapple, strawberry, blueberry, etc. My favorite is the raspberry or blackberry. When my granddaughter was small and in pre-school at Spanish Schoolhouse just down Mason from there, I used to pick her up every day at noon and we'd go to Palma de Cera for one of those sublime smoothies.

And I'd pick up an order of Bandeja Paisa to take home for dinner.

http://www.palmadecerarestaurant.com/

Oct 02, 2014
Jaymes in Houston

Why Does Ketchup on a Hot Dog Piss People Off?

So you can't have ketchup on your dog because it's sweet?

I'll bet every one of you sucks down Coke or Pepsi or some other nauseatingly-sweet drink with every blessed thing you eat.

Speaking of a palate-killer.

But that's okay, right?

And makes it just fine to criticize the ketchup-on-their-hotdogs crowd.

Oct 01, 2014
Jaymes in Features
1

We Do Not Like and Do Not Get Niko Niko's

Oh, I pick up moussaka, etc., from Niko Niko's all the time. I was wondering about the ladies at the Greek Festival. Do you know if they're set up to do that sort of thing?

Sep 30, 2014
Jaymes in Houston

We Do Not Like and Do Not Get Niko Niko's

Do you know if one can pick up a pan of moussaka to go?

Sep 30, 2014
Jaymes in Houston

New to Katy area... suggestions, please!

New addition -

I used to go often to Taqueria Arandas when we first moved out here, especially for Mexican breakfasts. It was located on the I-10 access road. It was very popular with Mexican families. It moved into a better location in the Fiesta parking lot and a new Mexican restaurant, El Patron, took its place. Now I see El Patron is also moving along and Dimassi's is going to be expanding into Katy.

Might be a nice option, but I note the other locations get decidedly mixed reviews:http://www.dimassi.com

Sep 30, 2014
Jaymes in Houston

New to Katy area... suggestions, please!

A few more suggestions...

Tokyo Steakhouse & Sushi - http://tokyosteaksushikaty.com/locati... We've been to quite a few of these hibachi-type restaurants but find this one to be the best. Don't think it's part of any chain (although I could be wrong) and it's very good. It's in the Villagio - a small shopping center at the corner of Westheimer and Peek.http://villagiotowncenter.com/

Also in the Villagio is Sweet & Salty, a great little bakery owned by a lovely lady from Argentina. http://www.sweetandsalty.com/ Not the place for you to go for a weeknight dinner, but wonderful for breakfast, or for a light lunch or coffee and pastries.

There are several good restaurants in the Villagio but another one that we particularly like is the Babaloo International Café & Tapas Bar. http://www.babaloocafe.net/ Definitely caters to Katy's considerable Latin expat community and, on Friday and Sat night, there's music and dancing. As we say here in "Katy-zuela," Bailamos.

Katy continues to surprise folks that are expecting nothing but soulless chains. We're even blessed with two artisanal chocolatiers: Schakolad http://www.schakolad.com/Chocolate/Ka...

And Araya: http://www.arayachocolate.com/

We also have several very good Indian restaurants. One that gets a lot of favorable reviews is Udipi. I've never been there because it's vegetarian and I often am with my daughter and her family when we're eating out. The last place my son-in-law wants to go is to a vegetarian restaurant.

We have, however, had very good luck with Tandoori Garden, and with Mantra.

Sep 30, 2014
Jaymes in Houston

New to Katy area... suggestions, please!

Think I might pick up some 'to go' this afternoon on my way home from work.

Sep 30, 2014
Jaymes in Houston

New to Katy area... suggestions, please!

Thanks for the Chang's recommendation re chicken wings app. I've been in there a couple of times but it couldn't pull me away from Hong Kong's Cafe. I'm definitely going back to try that appetizer, though. If it's good enough to compel anyone to endure the Katy Freeway that doesn't have to, it must be good indeed.

Sep 30, 2014
Jaymes in Houston

New to Katy area... suggestions, please!

Totally agree with your assessment of the various styles of US Southwestern/Mexican food, having lived in Southern California, Arizona, all over New Mexico and now Texas for many years, and having traveled extensively throughout Mexico. I was trying for a quick overview of the majority of "Mexican" restaurants in Katy.

Will say that another thing I noticed about the Mexican food in California was that it seemed to me that their incessant need to make everything trendy and "healthy" also affected the Mexican food. My son was in high school when we lived there and worked at a popular Mexican restaurant. Bean sprouts in your tacos, anyone? It's actually my least favorite. I did really like the Sonoran food of Northern Mexico and Southern Arizona when we lived in Tucson, but New Mexico remains my favorite version. It's kinda what I grew up on, so that probably has a great deal to do with it.

PS txpickyeater, we truly should get together sometime. We're clearly muy simpatica. And I did notice "Alamedas." Made me smile.

Sep 29, 2014
Jaymes in Houston

New to Katy area... suggestions, please!

A few miscellaneous thoughts:

Orleans Kitchen is really, really good New Orleans-style food. Po' boys, shrimp, gumbo, hushpuppies, etc. I love this place. But, especially on Sundays when they give 10% off for anyone that brings in a church bulletin, there are lots of families. I'd definitely recommend this restaurant, but you probably would be wise to avoid it on Sundays.

Pho Saigon - this is the Katy location of one of Houston's best Vietnamese noodle houses, and it's very good. Always lots of Asians in there, a great sign. Katy has at least five or six Vietnamese places and I've tried them all, but, in my view, this one beats the rest hands down. The pho is good, as you might expect, but also try the plate with "Steamed rice with charbroiled sliced pork and fried egg roll." I think it's #53 on the menu. Boy, is it tasty!

For Thai, I like Thai Cottage. Not the best Thai I've ever had, but quite serviceable. I really love Thai food and this is a nice restaurant with good food and excellent service.

Chinese - again, several Chinese restaurants, but we like Hong Kong's Café best. Pretty standard fare, and the food is definitely "Westernized," but it's the best around, we think. And they deliver.

Middle-Eastern - Ephesus on Mason is really good but, they're in one of those strip malls where everybody shares a common attic, and there's a bar close by, so the restaurant always smells of cigarette smoke. If that doesn't bother you, fine. If it does (and it does bother us), they deliver, or you can pick up shawarma, hummus, etc., to go. And Cedar's, also on Mason, is a great little market/café. They sell Middle Eastern foodstuffs as well, and that's where I buy my feta - a terrific brand from Bulgaria - ZerGut - and it's wonderful. Much better than anything I've bought at the local supermarkets. Also good for Mediterranean is Red Oak Grill, mentioned by txpickyeater.

French - upscale "Continental" cuisine - La Balance. Odd name, but excellent, although a little pricy. I had one of the best crab cakes there that I've ever had. Also the foie gras, served with house-made marmalade. And the Coquille St. Jacques. This is definitely not a place for kids, and I've never seen any in there.

Texas-style roadhouse - "Texas Traditions" - an old-school burger, chicken-fried-steak place in old Katy. Love the burgers here. This is the sort of restaurant most Yankees think of when they think of Texas - with the kind of small-town big-haired waitresses that call you "Sweetie" and make you wonder about their lives. "http://texastraditionkaty.com/menu/

Sep 29, 2014
Jaymes in Houston

New to Katy area... suggestions, please!

Italian - Katy is blessed with a plethora of Italian restaurants, everything from really small "Mamma e Papa" eateries to fine dining. I'll just mention a few of them.

Our very favorite family "go to" Italian restaurant is Hasta La Pasta. In my view, it's unfortunately named, as that makes it sound like a fast-food Italian deli, but it's not. It's a lovely full-service Italian restaurant, with a great atmosphere, professional and friendly waitstaff, and excellent food. We've tried many of the other Italian restaurants in town but keep going back here. It's also got a small, but quite nice, little bar with an equally small, but quite nice, and very dedicated group of "regulars" that stop by for drinks every evening. Hard for me to imagine anyone not liking this place. There are families with children, but not so many that it's a drawback. Another place I think you'll like.

Antonia's in Katy Mills Mall. One of my favorite restaurants in all of Houston, this is upscale Northern Italian. In particular cannot get through a summer week without stopping by Antonia's at least once for the Ensalada Caprese. The owner/chef, Roberto, is usually in the kitchen, and I think that always makes a difference in the quality of the service and food. In particular, we like the fresh seafood specials, and the Osso Bucco, when they have it. You do occasionally see kids in here, but not often, and they're well-behaved. I think this might be a good candidate for a restaurant where you might want to be weeknight regulars.

Rosa's Pizza - this is a tiny, family-run place. It's really rather special. Everything is made-to-order, and you can chat up the family while they're cooking. It's not got much (okay, any) ambience - more like a lunch counter with a few tables, but there's just something really charming and personal about it. http://www.rosaspizzeriatx.com/

Da Vinci - this is an exquisite jewel box of a restaurant. It's tiny, but one of the prettiest rooms I think I've ever been in. Definitely not a place for kids, and I've rarely seen any in there. They bill themselves as "upscale Italian," but the owner is a Monegasque, and he says he'll make any Mediterranean/Riviera specialty you'd like, with enough notice.

Sep 29, 2014
Jaymes in Houston

New to Katy area... suggestions, please!

Ah ha! Okay. Think I've got it.

First, a quick and basic primer on "Mexican food." We'll start with those nachos. The true Texas-style nachos are hot and individually made, like this: http://www.homesicktexan.com/2008/01/... And, they are a thing of beauty; a perfect bite. I do travel with a bunch of little kids and those kids can go through two dozen nachos in a sitting. Txpickyeater mentioned Tony's on Mason. That's our favorite TexMex place in Katy and we always start with the "Nachos Sabrosos." And so should you.

There are many TexMex places in Katy and most of them are pretty good, so that's a matter of finding your own style. In addition to Tony's, we like La Finca, Las Mananitas, El Jarrito, & Lupe Tortilla the best. These places are all similar - casual, typical "TexMex" ambiance. Noisy, boisterous, families, etc.

Las Alamadas, also mentioned by txpickyeater, is a bit different. It's more upscale, more expensive, more beautiful, and they say that they don't serve TexMex food. They serve Mexico City/Interior Mexico cuisine. In fact, I haven't had particularly good luck with typical TexMex food, like enchiladas, chile con queso, etc. there. But the ceviche is wonderful, as is the queso flameado. You do see kids there, but it's not really a "kid" kind of place. We go there often on Sundays and for special occasions, when the kids are dressed up. They have a lovely patio there overlooking the plaza and we sit out there and sip sangria and put away plates of ceviche. I think you'd like this place a lot.

And then there are the typical authentic Mexican joints - small taquerias, and Mexican markets with lunch counters. These places cater to a completely different clientele. These are the places where the Mexican workers go, and speaking Spanish is a definite plus here. Some of these places that I really like are Tacos La Bala, Taqueria Arandas, Tacos & Tortas Adrian.

If you want to get a quick introduction into this sort of authentic Mexican food, stop by the lunch counter at Las Tarascas on Mason. It's terrific, and there are photos of all of the dishes on offer, so you can point at stuff. It's in a Mexican market so, after you eat, you can go buy exactly what you need to start cooking Mexican at home.

And this should get you started on Mexican.

Sep 29, 2014
Jaymes in Houston

We Do Not Like and Do Not Get Niko Niko's

Went there the first week I was in Houston. Thought it was okay. Kept looking.

But only went that once. Maybe I should try it again. Thanks for reminding me!

You know, seaports usually have at least one or two good, basic, nothing-fancy, Greek restaurants. I remember years ago, back in the early 70's, when I lived in Galveston, went to the Golden Greek often. It wasn't the sort of seaport dive I'm talking about; in fact, it was pretty fancy. But the food was quite good. And there were also a couple of divey bars closer to the docks that had great Greek food. Although the area and clientele were both pretty rough, so I only went for lunch by myself a time or two.

Sep 28, 2014
Jaymes in Houston

We Do Not Like and Do Not Get Niko Niko's

I really really love Greek food. Have often stopped at Niko Niko's for take-home moussaka, dolmades, zatziki, pastitsio, spanakopita, etc. And I like it fine and keep returning.

But I always have the feeling that there must be better Greek food somewhere in Houston. I just haven't lived here long enough to find it.

Are there any terrific, full-service, sit-down, traditional Greek restaurants in Houston? I'll happily drive across town if there is one.

Maybe I should call the Greek Embassy and ask.

Um, is there a Greek Embassy?

If so, I wonder where they're eating.

Besides at home, that is.

If not, I guess I'll just have to go on closing my eyes and dreaming I'm back in the Plaka...

But wouldn't it be nice to open your eyes and look around and look down at your plate and be perfectly happy you are where you are?

Sep 27, 2014
Jaymes in Houston

Best Korean restaurant in Houston

Well, you're right that taking home the ready-to-grill stuff is "pretty good" and much cheaper.

But, for me anyway (although admittedly I don't know about you), that means I miss out on the "banchan" https://www.google.com/search?q=banch...

And the banchan is at least half of the fun of Korean cuisine.

As I say, I don't know about you. You might be buying the banchan sides or making them yourself and I know I could do that, too, but, at restaurants, it always seems like they serve me something new. It's just a delightful journey of discovery and not one I'd happily give up.

If I want to make bulgogi at home, which I often do, I use my own recipe that I've been using for several decades and I think it's terrific.

So I definitely don't need to buy any "pretty good" stuff anyway.

Sep 27, 2014
Jaymes in Houston

New to Katy area... suggestions, please!

Pretty sure I can give you a lot of good suggestions, but it would certainly help if you let me know a little bit about you; like, family with kids? No kids? Upscale? Or on a tight budget? Familiar with Mex vs Tex/Mex vs the rest of Latin America? Or is this your first foray into Southwestern cuisine (as an indicator, I'd ask if you know about Texas-style nachos - hot and individually-prepared - vs a plate of cold chips piled high with glops of assorted goo)? How about "ethnic" (for want of a better word) eateries? Adventuresome, or not so much?

Katy has a rather stunning plethora of family-owned independent restaurants, but not every thing is to everyone's taste.

So a little direction would be helpful.

Sep 26, 2014
Jaymes in Houston

Arlington, TX (or south DFW/mid-cities) Asian market recommendations?

You would undoubtedly get a better response if you asked your question on the Dallas board.
http://chowhound.chow.com/boards/66

Sep 25, 2014
Jaymes in Texas

Best Korean restaurant in Houston

Well, bulgogi (assorted spellings) for a start, of course. I know it's spectacularly unimaginative and every Westerner's favorite, but I can't help myself. I love the stuff. Despite my best intentions, I can't seem to be able to get out of there without ordering some. Finally figured out that, if I order some "to go," I am able to get something else to eat while there.

Also love the bibimpap and japchae.

Pretty predictable stuff for a Westerner. So am eager to hear what mogster and his/her group have to say.

Sep 25, 2014
Jaymes in Houston

Is vegetarian-friendly barbecue an oxymoron?

Right. At home, when we're entertaining vegetarians, and we're smoking meats for the rest of us, we always split and grill some squash - especially zucchini - and make veggie kabobs with peppers, onions, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, etc.

And, if your veggie friends eat fish, which a great many do, smoked fish fillets are heavenly. We particularly love grilled salmon.

At many BBQ joints, while there are not a lot of veggie options (because, from their point of view, you wouldn't be at a BBQ place if you don't want the main thing they serve), friends get things like corn pudding, biscuits, potato salad, coleslaw, and the desserts. Many BBQ joints don't offer tossed salads but you often can make yourself one over at the "condiments" section.

Sep 24, 2014
Jaymes in Texas

Best Korean restaurant in Houston

Have to say I'm kinda excited about this. Am hopeful you'll like it, and suggest some other dishes for me to try. I admit I always tend to get my "usuals."

I'll be watching for your report!

Sep 24, 2014
Jaymes in Houston

Polonia has moved!

I really love that place. Haven't been to the new location and admit to being a little apprehensive that it might not be so atmospheric as the original. But I'm sure the food is just as good.

Sep 22, 2014
Jaymes in Houston

Best Korean restaurant in Houston

I like Bon Ga. Never felt a need to go anywhere else. Liked it then. Like it now. So I'd advise you to try it and if you don't like it come back here and let us know.

Sep 22, 2014
Jaymes in Houston
1

Polonia has moved!

I have, several times. In fact, they're one of my standard take-out items to bring home. They reheat just great and even hold well in the freezer, handy for dinner on nights when I don't want to cook.

Sep 21, 2014
Jaymes in Houston
1

Why oh why did you not use my host(ess) gift at your dinner party?

Actually, I long ago tired of the totally unimaginative gift of wine, and started bringing other sorts of hostess gifts. Beautiful/humorous/interesting/artsy paper cocktail napkins are a favorite, and I buy them and tuck them away for gift-giving every single time I see some that I really like.

But, I wrap them in some sort of ribbon - I like raffia best - at least two packages at a time, and make it very clear that they are a gift, to be put away until the hostess might want to use them.

I see absolutely nothing wrong with bringing people a few packages of nice cocktail napkins as a hostess gift. And, of course, as others have said, I certainly don't think that the hostess is under any obligation whatsoever to use them, or any other hostess gift for that matter, at any time other than when the hostess so wishes.

Sep 11, 2014
Jaymes in Not About Food

Help with kid-friendly dining for the weekend!

You really need to go to City Market as you pass through Luling on your drive between Houston and San Antonio. Can't recommend it strongly enough.

I believe you said somewhere that you are from NJ. City Market is not just another restaurant - it's a typical old-fashioned Texas smoked-meat market and it's an experience that your 11-year-old Jersey boy will never forget.

Aug 30, 2014
Jaymes in Texas
1

Veggo - Sad news

While searching for something, I came across this thread:

"Sad to report the passing of Veggo"

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/977025

Never met him, but sure did a lot of chatting with him. He could always be counted upon for a lively and informative exchange. Particularly loved this one, where he informed us all that he had testicles! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/916217

I'm really going to miss seeing him around the boards. Had thought he'd be a great fellow to meet for a meal someday. Now too late. Let that be a lesson.

Aug 08, 2014
Jaymes in Houston

Chow blog

Really great article. But, I do wonder about the mention of "Killen's Barbecue" as being possibly the best in the state.

I can't recall reading about it anywhere here. Have I overlooked it? Have some of y'all eaten there? What did you think? Did you post a review?

Is it worth a trip into town from the outlying provinces (keeping in mind that I have no interest in "brontosaurus-sized ribs," but a very big interest in brisket and sausage)?

Aug 01, 2014
Jaymes in Houston