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.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Miami: La Camaronera

Destination : La Camaronera , Miami, FL
1952 W Flagler St
Miami, FL 33135

Must Tries: Fried Lobster, Minuta Sandwich!
Healthy Options: Not a healthy everything is fried!
Price: Minuta Sandwich 3.25, Lobster is market price.
What to Expect: I first learned of this place on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives. This place is a definite “hole in the wall.” There are no tables or seats! You can eat on counters which over see the fryers.

My Experience: Having lunch at La Camaronera was my goal when leaving Houston for a trip to Miami. With my camera phone and appetite in hand I made my way to Flagler street. The restaurant is in a small shopping center and parking is tight.

The menu is takes some thinking but if you speak Spanish the servers will be more than willing to help you out.

The fried shrimp was hot and crispy. The food comes straight to you seconds after being prepared.

I have enjoyed shrimp, chicken and even beef with rice, but when I saw Arroz con Pescado on the menu, I had to try it out. The rice was more of a Caribbean rice, very soft with not much flavor.

The fried lobster was definitely a highlight! You get to choose your lobster from the market and they will chop it up and prepare it for you. The fried lobster is actually marinated in a tomato based (cocktail sauce like) marinade and then battered and fried. The lobster was crunchy on the outside and moist and juicy on the inside with a hint of cocktail sauce flavor. This lobster had great flavor which went well with the homemade hot sauce. 

This was the dish I came here for, the legendary “Pan con Minuta.” This simple and inexpensive sandwich consists of a yellow fin snapper battered in an egg and flour mix and deep fried (with the tail on) and topped with diced onions and ketchup. 

The sandwich was served hot and on fresh Cuban bun. The fish was crispy but moist and tender through the bite.

When in Miami La Camaronera is a must try.

Miami: Calle Ocho Versailles Restaurant

Destination: Versailles Restaurant, Miami, FL
3555 SW 8th St
Miami, FL 33135

Must Tries: The Café Cubano!
Healthy Options: Not a healthy designation the coffee is packed with sugar!
Price: 2 Coffee’s $1.30
What to Expect: Versailles is a legendry restaurant located in Miami’s Cuban neighborhood known as Calle Ocho! This restaurant serves up great Cuban dishes. This trip I decided to drop in and enjoy a Café Cubano from Versailles street side window.

My Experience: Choosing not to eat at Versailles this visit, I had to stop in for a Café Cubano. A Café Cubano is a Cuban Espresso, the difference is that sugar is added to the container where the espresso drips into, which allows the espresso and sugar to blend as it brews.

The Café Cubano is usually very strong and served in small cups.

A crowd of locals stood, drank their cafe and talked as cars drove by Calle Ocho, just another day in Little Havana.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

NYC Trip Serendipity 3

Destination: Serendipity 3, NY
Upper East Side
225 E 60th St

Must Tries: The Famous Frozen Hot Chocolate!
Healthy Options: The restaurant serves lunch and dinner dishes. To be honest, I have only been here twice, and it was for dessert both times!
Price: Frozen Hot Chocolate $8.95, Forbidden Brownie Sundae $15
What to Expect: Large portions! This place serves some of the best desserts I have ever had. Usually a line so be prepared. The menu is a large piece of paper that has some sort of organization which is hard to understand at first.

My Experience: I first learned of Serendipity 3 from the Movie “Serendipity”, starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. The building looks to be an old living residence. It is decorated with random artifacts and nick-knacks. To put it in Texas terms, it was very Austin-ish! Once you fight the crowds and wiggle your way to a seat your faced with the biggest decision of the night, which dessert do you want?

The Frozen Hot Chocolate is served in a huge goblet and topped off with whipped cream. The Frozen Hot Chocolate itself has a consistency similar to a Wendy's frosty. It's got a great chocolate taste and can feed more than one person. The whipped cream is the perfect topping. I really like Serendipity 3's whipped cream because it’s not sweet as my taste buds would expect after a life time of consuming grocery store whipped cream. This lite, fluffy, and almost quiet whipped cream balances perfectly with the sweet frozen lava below.

The table favorite was the FORBIDDEN BROWNIE SUNDAE. The sundae consisted of a warm brownie, vanilla ice cream topped off with warm chocolate syrup and the fluffy whipped cream. It might of been the blending of all the sweet and not so sweet flavors that made this dessert a must order. 

This is definitely a splurge place. The desserts were great and I have yet to find a place that has the Frozen Hot Chocolate or the fluffy hypnotizing whip cream I found at Serendipity 3.