Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sweet Finds: Pacuigo Italian Gelato Caffe

Info: Pacuigo Italian Gelato Caffe
5172 Buffalo Speedway
Houston, TX 7700

Must Tries: Gelato, Affogato al Cioccolata!
Healthy Options: Several low cal gelatos, nutritional handouts available at counter.
Price: Small gelato $3.50, Affogato al Caffe around $6.
What to Expect: Paciugo serves up some of the tastiest gelato in town. This Gelato Shoppe is located in a shopping center across from the Buffalo Speedway HEB.

My Experience: I had previously enjoyed the gelato at Paciugo, they have an array of favors to choose from. Some of my past favorites have been Panna Cota (wedding cake), Hazelnut, Tiramisu, and Mint Chocolate. I suggest you try them all! Samples are given at the counter, just ask!

During this winter season gelato is not usually on my mind, but I heard of a warm creamy concoction that Pacuigo was serving up. Pacuigo calls it, "Affogato al Cioccolata."

Affogato al Cioccolata, is made up of Italian style hot chocolate poured over two scoops of gelato (your flavor of choice) and topped with whipped cream.

The hot chocolate slowly melts the gelato and they both mesh to create a warm cup of creamy winter delight. Considered yourself warned, this is not your normal hot chocolate.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Info: Pho Saigon Noodle House
2808 Milam St
Houston, TX 77006

Must Tries: Spring rolls, Pho, Pho Ga!
Healthy Options: Choose from chicken or lean beef soup dishes.
Price: Under $6 for a large bowl.

What to Expect: So what is Pho? Pho is a Vietnamese soup made from boiling beef bones and spices. The investment of time and patience renders a clear beef broth which is served with rice noodles and thin cuts of meat. The broth itself is the star, with every spoon you have a stream of flavors such as cinnamon, ginger, clove, etc, all blending together to form the ultimate cold day cure all.

My Experience: I have been waiting for the weather to cool off that way I can declare PHO WEATHER! Many people claim that Pho has healing powers! Once you have a bowl of this rich flavor filled broth you will understand.

The spring rolls are a perfect way to start off at Pho Saigon. The peanut sauce is not too sweet and complements the shrimp rolls. 

Pho is served with basil, bean sprouts, sliced jalapeƱo peppers, and lime. 

The colorful presentation of the Pho is only the beginning. The broth had a rich flavor of beef which was accented with the fresh basil and lime juice.

Pho Saigon sells fresh rolls which I assume come from the French Bakery next door. The bread is a perfect addition to an already great dish. 

This dish was so goods I had to take my tie off.
All I can say with a smile is, "es bueno!"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dim Sum: Fung's Kitchen, Houston, Tx

Fung’s Kitchen
7320 SW Freeway (59)
Ste 115
Houston, TX 77074

Must Tries: Dim Sum!
Healthy Options: Several steamed vegetable and chicken dishes.
Price: Dim Sum prices vary from the amount of plates you choose.
What to Expect: Fung’s is very busy during Sunday Dim Sum. The building itself is huge and has many large round tables. As you walk take a minute to notice the wall of famous visitors which includes Former President George H. Bush, a crowd of current and former Houston Rocket players and overseas royalty.

My Experience: I have been waiting to try the weekend brunch experience known as DIM SUM! For those of you that have never had Dim Sum, it is similar to the Spanish concept of Tapas. You are served small plates of food which allow you to choose a variety of flavors and textures. It makes for a fun and flavorful eating experience. At Fung's Kitchen the wait staff pushes carts around the room which have small signs on the front signifying the Dim Sum items each hot cart carries. I suggest you come hungry and be adventurous! You never know what great flavors the next cart might bring!

As I approached the doors of Fung's Kitchen I told myself I would try everything I could! It was this type of mentality that allowed me to truly enjoy Dim Sum.

Carts filled with appetizers, sides, main dishes and dessert are pushed throughout the main ballroom. Servers might not speak much English, its best to read the cart signs and point at what attracts your attention. 

I was told Dim Sum began with a staple of 3-4 dishes. Here at Fung's the menu has grown to incorporate other dishes which are not solely Chinese. Most orders come in sets of 4. The website has a menu of all Dim Sum Items.

The steamed pork dumplings had great flavor and were very hearty. 

The shrimp dumplings were soft and a bit chewy.

One of my favorites was a steamed bun stuffed with bbq pork. The steamed bun was light and fluffy, the bbq pork was warm and had the distinct sweet Chinese barbeque taste.  

I indulged in an array of dishes ranging from shark fin dumplings, chicken feet, a rice patty, steamed custard buns, but the most intriguing was this noodle stuffed with shrimp dish. 

The egg custard tarts were lukewarm and had a strong egg taste. This was not one of my favorite selections.

I really enjoyed my first Dim Sum experience at Fung's Kitchen. As much as I ate, I know there are some dishes out there that I did not try, I look forward to my future Dim Sum adventures.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Froberg's Farm, Alvin, TX

Destination : Froberg's Farm
11875 County Road 190
Alvin, TX 77511-1333
(281) 585-3531

Must Tries: Fresh produce, roasted peanuts, pies, fried pies!
Healthy Options: Plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits and sugar free pies available!
Price: Fried pie turnovers $1.75, Roasted Peanuts $2.00.
What to Expect: With the fall weather upon us driving out to Froberg’s Farm near Alvin, TX is a perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Shop for fresh produce which is literally twenty feet from the vine! When asking the locals for a great place to get an afternoon snack all hands pointed to Froberg’s fried pies.

My Experience: I found myself in need of a getaway this weekend, so I headed 288 South to the county. I enjoy these unplanned escapes because they usually lead to some new discoveries. As you walk into Froberg's you are greeted with wooden counters stacked with fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts. While the selection was good, I usually save my produce shopping for Canino's Market off airline. I made my way to the back wall of this produce barn and found the snack bar. 

 I usually shell a bag of peanuts for 9 innings at my Astro's game appearances. So at half the price and heated!! I could not turn down a bag.

So what's the real big difference from Hot Roasted to Roasted?
Well for the first five minutes the top peanuts were warm, after that it was all the same. The plain non-salted peanuts were still worth the $2 tag.

Also on the back wall I discovered the "PIE CATALOG". The fried pies are wrapped in a wax paper sleeve and sorted by the various flavors similar to a library card system. 

The pies are kept under a heat lamp to ensure the filling is still warm and gooey.

The flavors seemed to be arranged in no particular order. Most patrons had their favorites and several customers scooped up the last of some flavors before I could read the whole catalog! 

I decided the Apple-Raisin pie would be my snack of choice.

The Pie itself was constructed much like an "empanada".
A crispy dough filled with a warm and soft fruit filling.

The Apple-Raisin was a good choice. The filling was very similar to a bread pudding texture, warm and sweet with the familiar flavor of homemade apple pie filling mixed with warm raisins.

The encore selection was a great Peach-Cream pie. Much smoother in texture the Peach-Cream pie was filled with the delicious and very rich combination of peach and cream.

Looking to get out and breathe some fresh air?
Froberg's farm is a good choice, es bueno!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Houston Of Bowls Houston, TX

House of Bowls
6650 Corporate Dr
Houston, TX 77036

Must Tries: European Fried Rice, Salt & Pepper Wings, Mi Xao Don!!!
Healthy Options: Several steamed vegetable and chicken dishes.
Price: Great deal! Most dishes are under $10 bucks. Credit cards accepted.
What to Expect: House of Bowls is a great little place located in a shopping center right off of Bellaire in the heart of Houston’s Chinatown. The server’s don’t speak much English but the menu is self explanatory and I have yet to get a bad dish. Quick note: No free refills! I learned the hard way.

My Experience: I had to try House of Bowls after reading Houston Wok's review, ( This place did not disappoint! I recommend you do your research before going.

On my third trip to House of Bowls I finally ordered the Chicken Porridge. The porridge had a gelatin consistency and I was expecting more flavor. This would be a good "cold day" dish.

Every now and then you hear of an unusual dish that you must try, well at House of Bowls, the European Fried Rice was this dish for me! The rice is typical fried rice with ham, the twist comes when ketchup is added and it's topped off with a fried egg. This dish had a comforting fried rice flavor which blended perfectly with the sweetness from the ketchup making a solid choice.

The Tri-Shredded Meat Chow Mein was a combination of shrimp, chicken and beef. I have found that the clear gravy used on this dish is not as tasty as the brown gravy on the dish below.   

Based on Houston Wok's review I had to order the Mi Xao Don. This was a great dish which consisted of beef, vegetables and crispy noodles topped off with brown gravy. This dish had it all, great flavor, crunch from the noodles, heartiness from the beef and flavorful creamy gravy. 

I recommend you try House of Bowls and come hungry the portions are huge! 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Reggae Hut

Reggae Hut
4814 Almeda Rd
Houston, TX 77004-5669

Must Tries: Jerk chicken, Brown Stewed chicken.
Healthy Options: The Jerk chicken is grilled, great vegetable medley sides.
Price: Under $12 bucks.
What to Expect: Reggae Hut is a small hole in the wall that serves up great Jamaican food. The staff is very nice and easy to talk to. The dishes revolve around chicken, vegetables and unique spices so don’t be afraid to try it, you won’t regret it!

My Experience: I choose to visit Reggae Hut in celebrating my birthday. I had been interested in trying Jerk Chicken for some time now, after 28 years I finally did.

We began our lunch with meat patties. They were very similar to "Empanadas". The dough was flaky and had a unique bright yellow/orange color to it. The meat inside was flavorful and moist. 

The Jerk chicken was tender and flavorful with the right balance of spice. The 1/2 chicken was well seasoned; the chicken was spicy, sweet and delicious. My dish was served with a cabbage based vegetable medley and rice & beans as sides. The rice and beans were a little bland so I combined my extra Jerk spice into it.

We also ordered the Brown Stewed chicken which was very tender and had a great comforting flavor. No fork needed! The chicken fell right off the bone and was stewed with corn, potatoes, and vegetables. This is a perfect rainy day dish.

The combination of the great Jamaican food, Reggae music and an afternoon rain shower took me to the islands without leaving the loop.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

NYC: Carnegie Deli

Destination : CARNEGIE DELI
854 Seventh Avenue, at 55th Street
10019 NYC

Must Tries: The Woody Allen (pastrami and corned beef sandwich)
Healthy Options: Healthy dishes are available but here the Corned beef is the attraction!
Price: Woody Allen-$17.95, easily serves two people. CASH ONLY
What to Expect: Huge deli sandwiches, crammed tables and a line to get in the door, this is a NYC must visit.

My Experience: A trip to New York City is not complete without a hot corned beef and pastrami sandwich. My previous visit to NYC led me to Katz's deli, this time I wanted to try the Famous Carnegie Deli. The walls of this Manhattan establishment are covered with pictures of celebrities, past Presidents and sports Hall of Famers all who have flocked to enjoy the sandwiches this deli has been serving up. The service was quick, the seating was crammed and I quickly knew I was in NYC. 

The sandwiches were huge and served with pickles
(Which were crunchy, sour and served chilled.)

The corn beef and pastrami was moist and flavorful. Actually eating the sandwich takes some creative deconstructing of the Mega-Sandwich. 

Carnegie is within walking distance of Times Square, you should check it out!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Greek Festival Houston, TX

Info: Houston Greek Festival

Must Tries: The beef Souvlaki, gyros, Never on Sundae!
Healthy Options: Plenty of grilled foods and diet drinks.
Price: $5 gets you into the festival grounds.
What to Expect: The Greek festival is a yearly event in Houston which celebrates a great culture and its food. Lines are usually long but well worth the wait. The festival also showcases Greek dancing, music and a gift shop.
My Experience: The 2009 Greek festival was my second visit to the annual Houston event. Due to the in-climate weather I was forced to make the best of the festival within a two hour window. The good news was the bad weather kept most people at home, so the lines were not long at all.

Food tents and covered seating areas are scattered throughout the festival grounds.

Gyros were 1/2 price during the last two hours of this year's festival.

The meat for the Gyros was being cooked and sliced on site.

The Gyro is served on a pita bread and topped with tomato, onions and a special Greek sauce. 

The most popular booth is the Beef Kabob booth known as Souvlaki.

The beef tenderloin is seasoned and marinated, then skewered with onions.

As I waited in line the beef smelled amazing. I was a little disappointed when I actually got to taste the meat. It was fresh and very tender but lacked flavor. The beef had a distinct Greek seasoning which gave it a olive taste. 

A year ago I was introduced to "Never on Sundae".

"Never on Sundae", is vanilla ice cream topped with baklava. Baklava is a rich dessert made of thin layers of flaky pastry filled with nuts and honey. The booth also has chocolate syrup and sprinkles to add to your sweet indulgence. Initially this dessert is too sweet. But after the ice cream softens up and the baklava is worked into the ice cream you will find this is a great dessert indeed. 

Wine can also be purchased on the grounds by the glass or bottle.  Because of the weather, this year’s Greek festival was short on visitors and food selection but not short on good food.