Sunday, July 5, 2009

Xiong's Cafe (X-Cafe) Chinatown

Resturant Info:
Xiong's Cafe
9888 Bellaire Blvd. #150

Houston, Texas 77036

Must Tries: Green onion pie, Beef Soup w/thin noodles, Lamb Soup, Cilantro-Pork Dumplings.
Health Options: Beef soup is a solid choice.
Price: ($) Dishes Under 10 bucks.
What to Expect: Really good simple food. Not much English spoken.

My Experience: I love the simplisity of this place. Wooden tables, plastic forks, water and hot sauce. There is a wall window from which you can order Bubble Tea from the place next door.

A friend of mine said this place reminded her of her travels through China. While I have never been to China, I know this place has some of the best dumplings in town.
The apperance and taste of the Green Onion pie reminded me of a freshly made Flour torilla. The green onion flavor was definitley present but not over powering.
The lamb (Carnero) soup was really good. The broth had all the flavor of the lamb and spices. The girl behind the counter didn't speak much English but when she said Thin Noodles when I asked for her suggestion, I went with it. I soon saw a older man struggling to manuver the thick noodles with his chop sticks. She had definitley done me a favor and saved me the embarrrassment.

The Cilantro-Pork Dumplings are some of the best I have had.
You can get them steamed (as below) or pan fried.
Every time I REPEAT at a resturant I try something new. This was X CAfe's version of Lo Mein. I found the combination of ground pork and cucumbers to be unique but the boiled flavorless thin noodles did little for me.

Since I can’t correctly pronounce the name to this place I like to call it the X-Café. This place has great dumplings and soup! If you’re looking to experience Chinatown this is the place to eat. The dumplings are also sold frozen to take home.

#2: Juice Box Chinatown

Resturant Info:
Juice Box
9889 Bellaire Blvd#109

Houston, TX 77036

Must Tries: Mixed fruit bowl! It has fresh Mango, Pinapple, Strawberries, Melon, Watermelon topped off with Strawberry ice cream.
Healthy Options: Ask for the Fruit Bowl with Condensed Milk on the side.
Price: ($) A bowl is $5 bucks. Cash only!
What to Expect: Local Chinatown hot spot. On the weekends expect a crowd.

My Experience: My personal favorite at Juice Box is the mixed fruit bowl. I am amazed by the simple concept that makes Juice Box such a gem! Fruit, shaved ice and condenced milk make up the only three ingredients used! The Mixed Fruit Bowl has Mango, Pinapple, Melon, Watermelon, Strawberries over ice for $5 bucks!
They also have a wall of smoothie combinations. I have been intrigued by a list of Red Bell Pepper and Avacado based smoothies!

Review #1: Rudy & Paco's, Galveston, Texas

Rudy & Paco's Resturant and Bar
2028 Postofffice St (Postoffice at 21st St)
Galveston, TX 77550
(409) 762-3696

MUST TRIES: Cerviche, Empanadas, Roasted Poblano Soup, El Simpatico, and Bread Pudding.
HEALTHY OPTIONS: Grilled fish and shrimp dishes, steamed vegetable sides.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Good food, good wine selection and a "Welcome Home Atmosphere!"

SUMMARY: Our adventure together beings in Galveston, Texas, at Rudy & Paco’s Restaurant and Bar. On the corner of Post office and 21st street this place is one of my Galveston favorites. Owner Paco Vargas has a personality fit for the food network, his loud “Welcome Home, Baby,” is an invitation to comforting empanadas, generous steaks and warm bread pudding.

On this visit I had to start off with the Cerviche. I discovered it a while back and it has been a must order. The Seafood Cerviche has fresh seafood topped with a tangy lime juice.

Rudy and Paco's has a large selection of wines and liquors. If you become a regular you can put your name on a waiting list to have your own personal wine locker on site.
I suggest you try the House Special THE SIMPATICO. The dish consists of a fresh Gulf Red Snapper which is Plantain Encrusted, pan sautéed and served with a raspberry chipotle sauce and fresh crab meat. It's worth every penny! The plantain crust was crunchy and lite. The raspberry chipotle sauce blended well with the saltyness from the plantains.

Hurricane Ike might of shut down Rudy & Paco's for a while but Welcome Back! When your in Galveston this place is a must try. Shorts are allowed during lunch hours only.