Sunday, August 31, 2008

Last Sunday, a Trip to Eat in Beijing Without Leaving Houston

Last Sunday about a dozen of us Chow Hounds met at:

Peking Cuisine Restaurant

8332 Southwest Freeway (intersection of South Gessner)
Houston, TX 77074
(713) 988-5838

to celebrate the final day of the 2008 Olympics.

neverfull’s Mom had preordered three Peking Ducks, we also chose dishes off the Chinese menu, which consisted of dinner for six. on top of the three ducks. In the end, we had very little left over except for the soup.

The restaurant set us up in a private room with a big table and a lazy susan in the middle where the food was placed.

The duck with outstanding. Peking Duck is one of my favorite dishes and I rarely get to eat it because it is best with a large group and very few of my friends eat duck.

The meat was succulent and the skin crispy, it was accompanied by flat pancakes (in the tortilla container), sheered scallions and hosin sauce.

How do you prepare it to eat? One takes a pan cake, spreads some sweet hosin sauce on it, adds the scallions and the duck meat with the skin, rolls it up, and takes a bite. If it is prepared well, as this was, the sensation is crunchy, soft, and smooth all in one bite.

I enjoyed all the other dishes, although some were better than others. I will attempt to list them but I suspect that neverfull will be able to give a more detailed description and names.

The meal ended with the traditional duck soup, made from the carcasses of the ducks we just ate, ours had some tofu and bones floating in it. I forgot to take a picture!

On the left was a cold sliced vegetables dish, that is both sweet and sour. I know most of us did not really care for the middle dish which I believe was a fish dish and I completely forgot what the dish on the right was. I need to start writing down what I am eating and my impressions, as my memory is not as good as I would like it to be.

From top left to bottom right, gluttonous noodles, which I loved the texture of and the taste. The next two were to uninteresting for my palate, tofu with thousand year old eggs and a sliced fatty pork dish. I have had the pork at Sichuan Cuisine there it has a real punch with a spicy sauce.

The stir fired green beans came with a pleasant sauce and fit in well with the rest of the dishes.

Number 28, the Chinese eggplant (I know what this because I choose it off the Chinese menu, randomly.) It was juicy and not to greasy, as eggplant can be sometimes at a Chinese restaurant.

Front and center is a shrimp dish that we all enjoyed.

I really liked this crispy fish dish the fish was lightly battered and then mixed with scallions and a spicy sauce (see all the Sichuan peppers?)

In the bowl is Ma Po Tofu, a Sichuan dish, which was alright, but I like the dish better at Sichuan Cusine.

The dumplings, had a nice texture that complemented the other foods.

I highly recommend a trip to Perking Cuisine, for a delicious and inexpensive meal, everything you saw cost us $13.00 a piece. Just do not forget to order your duck a few days in advance. The English menu is quite extensive and I am sure you will have no trouble finding other things to eat besides duck.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gustav – An Opportunity for a Barbecue with Your Neighbors?

Watching television it sounds like Gustav may be coming towards Texas and that means towards Houston. The reports talk about how much damage it may invoke, from raising gas prices to the total evacuation of Houston.

While I certainly think it is important to keep the public aware of what is happening and the fact that danger is a possibility – the frenzy that the reports are creating is a more interesting story to me.

One of the women I work with was near hysteria talking about what we are going to do when the storm hits. I told her that they do not know yet if the storm is going to hit and the last I saw of it, it was over Haiti. She seemed slightly relieved. Perhaps I am to cavalier, having been out of town when Allison hit Houston and not suffering much damage from Rita, in thinking that the panic is premature. I guess we will just see.

Meanwhile I suggest that you just stock up on food that can be eaten without cooking and does not need refrigeration, get water, batteries for your flashlights, and have some cash on hand.

Me – I am planning a big barbecue if the storm hits, it will be time to cook all the meat in the freezer and use up whatever is in the refrigerator if we lose power. So think about whether you want to join in.

Coming soon: review of Peking Duck and other food at Peking Cuisine last Sunday. Located at:

8332 Southwest Fwy
Houston, TX 77074
Phone: (713) 988-5838

We had a feast worthy of the celebration of the last day of the Olympics.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Old World Service at La Colombe d'Or and Decent Food

This is the last of my Houston Restaurant Week reviews. At first glance La Colombe d'Or is everything I think of when I think of fine dining; charming, elegant, and outstanding service. Unfortunately I found the food uninspired.

Before I get started I have to say that lately I am eating way too much food at a meal and my waist line is worse because of it. This totally freaks me out and makes eating out less of a pleasure. I am going to stop eating out for a while, at least until I can get some equilibrium back!

When I eat out dinner, normally I like to order an appetizer or two and or combine it with a salad and a glass of wine and I am happy. Perhaps even share a main course. These multi course dinners are more food than I like to eat at a meal.

I wanted to try La Colombe d'Or , because it is a pretty restaurant, in an old historic house in Montrose.

The dining room is elegant looking and the place oozes charm. Parking was not a problem and I was able to park right around the corner. As I walked in the door, I was warmly greeted. We had 7:30 reservations and M. my dining companion was already seated when I came in at 7:20. Water had been poured for both of us and my menu was waiting at the table. The dining room was pretty empty. The look of the place reminds me of places I would dine with my grandparents when I was growing up.

We started with an amuse bouche, which was a scallop on a piece of toast. It was very fishy tasting and had to much lemon juice, perhaps to mask the fishy taste? I think it may have been a frozen scallop to start.

We each had ordered a house wine, wines by the glass were few and far between and all we were told about the ones we ordered was that one was a Merlot and the other a Cabernet Sauviogon . They also had a Pinot Grigio and a Chardonnay and maybe another unbranded selection or two. The mediocre wines were $10.50 a glass.

Just like Gravitas, they took our whole order at once. (Which if you recall was amongst my many complaint about my experience there.) But the service was never rushed like at Gravitas. Next came the appetizer course, M. had ordered the onion soup and I the escargots. M.'s onion soup was delicious, with a nice strong broth and lots of gooey gruyere cheese melted on top. My escargots came on a platter swimming in a garlic butter sauce, very traditional but not anything extraordinary. By the way the bread was fantastic, nice and crusty, which was perfect for sopping up the buttery garlic sauce that accompanied my escargots.

For the main course M. had the Pasta Portofino, which was lobster, crabmeat, and crawfish in a cream sauce on a bed of homemade linguini. The seafood was cooked perfectly and the sauce rich and creamy but not overpowering. I found the pasta a bit too al dente, but M. thought it was perfect.

For my main, I had the redfish cooked with herbs (trying to watch my waistline.) It was just a bit on the side of overcooked, but tasty none the less.

It was the vegetables that accompanied both dishes that were really good to me. It consisted of a baby carrot, asparagus, broccoli, fennel, tomato, and potato. Each one was perfectly cooked, appropriately crunchy and topped with some fresh herbs. The presentation of both dishes was wonderful as well. At least at this dinner we both took home doggy bags.

For dessert we both opted for the chocolate mousse with a coulis of berries. This consisted of a generous portion of white and dark chocolate mouse in an oval shape , surround by a fresh strawberry, blueberries, a raspberry and some blackberries. I thoroughly enjoyed the dessert, it had just the right balance of creaminess and was sweetness.

This was not a knock your socks off dinner and at their regular prices I would not hurry back. I enjoy more eclectic and innovative food then this. But the service was outstanding, the surroundings elegant and except for the amuse bouche and the slightly overcooked redfish, all was quite tasty, well prepared, and beautifully presented. If you enjoy predictable food, in an elegant surrounding and cherish the days of excellent service, you will not be disappointed at La Colombe d'Or.

By the way, since M. was parked in the back and they offered to walk her to her car.

I want to reiterate, I appreciate this old world charm that seems to be so rare these days. I just wish I found the food more compelling, and wines by the glass more interesting, as I want to frequent a restaurant that understands that fine dining is a total experience, not just about showcasing the food.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Breaking News: Houston Restaurant Week Extended until August 24th

Apparently some of the restaurants have decided to extend Restaurant Week another week. Did you miss going to one of these restaurants this week?

Updated 8/18 at 7:30 p.m.:

  • Arcodoro
  • Bistro Lancaster
  • Brenner's on the Bayou
  • Brenner's Steak House
  • Cafe Annie
  • Carmelo's
  • Cullen's Upscale American Grille
  • Daily Review Cafe
  • Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House
  • Downtown Aquarium
  • Gigi's Asian Bistro
  • Jimmy Wilson's Seafood & Chop House
  • La Colombe d'Or
  • Max's Wine Dive
  • Monarch-Hotel ZaZA
  • Open City
  • Perry's Steakhouse & Grille
  • Pesce
  • Quattro-Four Seasons Hotel
  • SoVino Bistro & Wine Bar
  • Strip House
  • Sullivan's Steak House
  • The Capital Grille
  • The Oceanaire Seafood Room

I hear there may be more added to the list. So go out and support End Hunger and try a new restaurant or visit an old favorite. To see the most up-to-date list and check out the menus click here.

Hearing Voice Loud and Clear - Houston Restaurant Week 2008

The purpose of Houston Restaurant Week is twofold, raising money for End Hunger a Houston based charity and giving some of Houston’s premier restaurants a chance to showcase themselves or parts of their menu to the Houston public. The cost was $35 (that is before any cocktails, wine, coffee, drinks, tax and gratuity.)

Before the week began, when I read through the menus I could see that some restaurants understood the marketing opportunities and others did not.

The Houston Chowhounds have been busy discussing our different experiences as the week wears on (and for me before next week’s serious dieting.) i’m neverfull is attempting to capture everyone’s reviews and post them on her blog. But it is a daunting task eating out and keeping up with the blogging.

This past week, I visited Voice, Pesce, and Gravitas. There is a slide show of all the pictures in a separate post, just click here.

Bottom Line - Voice was my Favorite

The service, food and ambiance at Voice was my favorite. Please keep in mind that they new who we were and put their best foot forward. I also enjoyed Pesce, where the food was fresh, well prepared, and the service was very good. Gravitas was my least favorite of the three, we were rushed through our meal, the presentation was mediocre and my first two courses ranged from to salty to served tepid (although my dining companions were more pleased than I was.)


On Wednesday about a dozen of us Houston Chowhounds went to Voice , they knew who we were so we did get to see the best the kitchen has to offer. Other Chowhounds were there during other times and reported on their experiences, to Voice’s credit the quality and opinions on the food itself were consistent.

We had the pleasure of dining in the downstairs Wine Vault that had the cozy feeling of a wine cellar without the chill. As you entered through the metal doors, one felt they were in for a truly spectacular experience. The dining room was equally inviting on the main floor, just not as cozy as a private room. Our only windows were into the kitchen, of which the closest station was the dessert station. Sweet!

We had all heard wonderful things about the truffle fries and ordered those off the menu to drink with our aperitifs. They were cooked just right and very tasty.

We started off our meal with an amuse bouche (no it was not part of the menu) of crab meat in a foamy sauce (darn I wish I would right down the details as I go along.) It was tasty.

Of course they had bread, which turned out to be worth mentioning as it was wonderful little brioche and ciabatta rolls. The paired was paired with a trio of spreads, garlic, butter, and olive tapenade. They all were good but the garlic spread was very yummy.

For my first course, I ordered the Mushroom Soup “Cappuccino” with Truffle Foam and Porcini Powder. I liked it but the more I had of it the less I enjoyed it. It was too strong for me as it wore on. I found it strange that I was not wowed as the other reports from Chowhounds had indicated but later I found out that we had received a larger portion then they had. My conclusion is that it would have been perfect as an espresso size portion. Sometimes more is not better.

I also tasted the other two appetizers. I loved the Summer Corn Risotto with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, Parmesan, and Chives. It was creamy like risotto should be and the rice just the right al dente. The cheese taste was there but the fresh vegetable taste pleasantly assaulted my taste buds first and foremost. This dish was not the first time I wanted to lick the plate that evening. The Blue Cheese Salad had just the right amount of dressing and was a nice balance of flavors and textures, with crispy lettuce, funky (like it should be) and soft blue cheese, sweet and crunchy apples, nutty hazelnuts, and not-to-sweet honey-sage vinaigrette. It was well executed, refreshing and a nice prelude to the main course.

Next were the main courses. Since I was eating off of everyone’s plate anyway we ordered what we wanted with an eye to keeping the balance of dishes.

I ordered the Pork Loin Sous Vide, because I had never had a dish cooked sous vide before. Sous-vide (pronounced /su ˈvid/), which is French for "under vacuum” (information is from To cook sous-vide, the meat with the seasoning is put in a vacuum sealed pouch then cooked in a low temperature water bath for an extended period of time so that the meat maintains a better texture and flavor. If that is the case, Voice did not fully succeed with this dish. We found out later that they braised the meat afterwards, maybe that was part of the problem? I found the meat on the dry side and without much flavor.

Now let me tell you about the Slow Braised Beef Short Ribs with Yukon Potato Puree, Celery-Apple Salad, and Braising Jus. It was one heavenly bite after another; the beef was succulent, flavorful and fell of the bone. The dish was beautifully executed. If it is on the menu do not hesitate, order it. The third main course I tasted was the Gulf Red Snapper with Hearts of Palm, Melted Leeks, and Tarragon Butter was also delicious. It sat on a pool of wonderfully cooked peas. It just melted in my mouth and the peas where excellent.

By the way for those of us who did the wine pairing, each dish was paired with a yummy wine. I didn’t taste a bad one in the bunch; check the photos in the separate post for the wines we drank.

Then there was the dessert….heaven.

Do you recall in the beginning I mentioned we could see the kitchen and what was closest to the window was the dessert station? So I knew how each one was put together.

Of course we did the same thing as always, sharing desserts. I ordered the Vanilla Crème Brûlée with Fresh Berries. It was delicious and a perfect example of how crème brûlée should taste. The other two desserts were chocolate and more interesting. We also ate a warm chocolate cake with
vanilla ice cream that had been rolled in somethi
ng crunchy. Then there was the dessert that I would hold all other desserts against this week. It was the Chocolate Cream Pie with 5-Spice Ice Cream, and Orange Tuile. It just was perfect, the chocolate dark and rich, the marshmallow like cream, thick and the 5-spice ice cream cold, creamy and tasty.

Voice bottom line: Perhaps this should have been my last restaurant of the week? The bar was set high – I had expected much from this kitchen and they delivered. The majority of things I tasted were outstanding, well seasoned and presented, and perfectly cooked with only the sous-vide disappointing me. I look forward to dining at Voice again. Kudos to Chef Kramer and his staff, for at Voice there is fresh, imaginative, and well prepared food being served in an elegant atmosphere with the graciousness one expects when they dine out. I hope Voice can continue to hit the ball out the park, because if they can, I and other people will be spending a lot more time downtown.


I ventured out to Pesce alone. When I called to make reservations at the last minute, I was told they had no seats available, when I said I wanted to sit at the bar, they said I could come at either 5:30 (when they open) or 9, I choose 5:30.

It is interesting to come to a restaurant and watch it ramp up. There is an eerie sound when you come in as you hear the soft hum of the beginning preparations for the evening.

I sat at the semi-circular bar that hugged a prep area and had great views into the main kitchen. I was able to chit chat with the chef /waiter in that area and talk with the “salad girl” as she prepped for that evening’s meals. I was the first to arrive and got introduced to the chef Mark Holley who greeted me with a warm smile that I saw him flash all evening. In fact my entire visit I felt welcomed and was greeted warmly by majority of the staff and even called by my name by the lovely hostess, when she came over towards the end of my meal to make sure I was pleased. This is a place for a woman to dine alone graciously.

I started with an tasty amuse bouche of crabmeat on a small tortilla chip. The bread came from Kraftsman Bakery and I had one of my favorite breads, the Olive Bread, it was accompanied by a tuna mouse spread.

For my first dish I had Pesce’s signature dish (which was smaller than the regular size) called a Seafood Martini with crab meat, lobster and shrimp on top of a salad made of napa cabbage, avocado, and hearts of palm in light Kim Chee dressing. Since I was at the bar where they prep, I got to see how it was made (which I enjoyed watching.) The seafood had a wonderful briny taste, the kim chee was not overpowering, it fact almost too understated for me, as I think the dish would have been improved by the addition of a little more lemon juice, or at least some lemon on the side.

For my main course I had Potato Crusted Red Fish. I told the bar chef that I did not care for bell peppers and they left the garnish of jicama, cilantro and micro green salad off and just had the Jack Daniels sweet corn salsa. The fish was perfectly cooked and a decent portion, the potato crust brown and crunchy, but the dish lacked something. I finally got the chef’s attention and he made me a garnish of jicama and watercress without the bell peppers and that is exactly what the dish was missing. It needed the acidity from the garnish. Again, I would have liked to add more lemon juice.

Unfortunately, dessert missed. I ordered the crème brûlée and it was too sweet. What was peculiar is that it looked just like the one at Voice and it took me a while to figure out why the one at Vice worked and theirs did not. The crème brûlée did not have enough custard for the size of the dish, which meant when I took a bite the ratio of the caramelized crust to the custard was greater and it overpowered the rest of dish. I found out they had used a different dish for Houston Restaurant Week.

Pesce bottom line: the service was great and they know how to make a gal dining alone feel wanted, I dined there for over two hours and was not ever rushed. As the evening wore on the rest of the restaurant filled up and the speed that the staff worked also ramped up. I sort of liked it when it was quiet. I found the food was fresh, well prepared and nicely presented. I almost blew the Red Fish by messing with their garnish, but they should have known that it would not work with out the additional flavors, again the fish was cooked perfectly. They blew the crème brûlée by using a different size dish. I would defiantly go back, most likely ordered the Seafood Martini and a glass of their over priced wine and that would be plenty for dinner for me.

I have eaten at Gravitas before, but never on a Saturday night. I got to the restaurant at exactly 7:30, the time of my reservation and the four other Chowhounds I was dining with where already seated and the waiter was taking their drink orders. I was a bit put off on how everything was being rushed already. I was not late.

Gravitas, unlike the other restaurants did not have any printed menus for HRW but the waiter reviewed the mnu and took our order for the three courses at once. Again I felt very rushed. We asked for the Sommelier, who was quite knowledgeable and she spent time with us describing a few wines before we settled on our choice, a lovely Pinot Noir.

The appetizers came out and of course Kraftsman Bread (ownered by the same people) which was accompanied by an oil dip.

I ordered the shaved calamari and cucumber salad with lime aioli. The calamari was batter fried which I did not expect from the name and I was slightly disappointed until I tasted it, it was perfectly cooked, crispy and not oily. But then I took my second bite and discovered someone had salted the dish unevenly, leaving me with a mouthful of very salty calamari. It sat on a bed of cucumber salad with lime aioli, which tasted much like a Greek yogurt dip, rather than aioli.

But here comes one of my pet peeves - even thought I was still eating they removed everyone else’s plate and tried to remove my plate before I was done. Our waiter appeared overextended as I saw he running all over the dining room and the noise level made it impossible to hold a conversation. The other appetizer was spicy tomato gazpacho with a bloody mary sorbet sitting on top of avocado slices. It was delicious. Both appetizers had a nice presentation.

And then my other pet peeve is being rushed. Because no sooner had they whisked away my appetizer plate then dinner arrived. I complained to our waiter about feeling rushed and he said he had not even put our order in to the kitchen, which made no sense, since it had arrived already. Then I tasted my slow roasted pork shoulder with an Asian and watercress salad, citrus dressing and the top was cold and the middle lukewarm. I tried to get the waiter’s attention to tell him but he couldn’t hear me.

At least ten minutes had gone by before I got someone’s attention then the waiter came over, he then took the dish back to the kitchen. While I was waiting, I tasted at the oven baked trout sitting on a bed of corn risotto and black kale with brown butter herb sauce. It was a large portion but the presentation was certainly boring. The trout was cooked well, the risotto was very traditional tasting which I would have enjoyed better as a separate course and the kale was cooked perfectly.

Then my dish came back and it was dried out. They had reheated it. I was applauded and who could I complain to, as there was no one in sight or earshot?

By the time I got the Sommelier’s attention everyone was done eating, she brought me a glass of the other Pinot that we had been where thinking of having, as a consolation for the overcooked meal. Which was nice, but they still brought out the dessert while I was drinking it, without even asking about coffee.

My complaints about how rushed everything had been apparently fell on deaf ears.

The two desserts were a marshmallow and chocolate tart with bourbon ice cream and a caramelized pineapple 'pain perdu' with maple syrup ice cream. I had the chocolate dessert, which was yummy, but I could only finish half. The pain perdu or bread pudding, tasted like brioche French toast, which is the way it should taste, just not my preference for dessert.

Gravitas bottom line: I would not recommend Gravitas for dinner on the weekend, not at all. It is too noisy, the service is rushed and they do not care whether a customer is happy or not, perhaps because they are understaffed and do not have the time? Who knows? The delicious glass of wine was a nice gesture, when things went wrong, but I had to complain about it first, and it did not make up for what was the least gracious of the meals I had eaten all week or the fact that we were rushed all evening and my main course was lukewarm and then dried out.

In a city where we have many choices, Houston Restaurant Week gave our restaurants a chance to shine, some did and some did not. That is to bad.

I also apologize for any typos or grammatical mistakes – I am lacking a proofreader and anyone who wants the job just let me know.

Hearing Voice Loud and Clear HRW Pictures

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Let the Good Times Roll - Houston Restaurant Week Has Begun

Despite the reasonable cost of these dinners at $35, with $5 going to charity, I still have to work, two of the nights are "school nights" and stick to some sort of a budget. Of course I’ll need to drink some wine and then there is tax and tip, it will add up quickly.

Therefore I limited myself to three restaurants this week; Voice at Hotel Icon downtown, tomorrow night, Gravitas near my house Saturday night, and Le Mistral on Eldridge Pkwy in west Houston, near where I lived when I first moved to Houston, on Sunday night. Originally I was going to Arcodoro on Saturday night, but I am reading mixed reviews so I changed my mind.

I will try to write the reviews as quickly as possible. The advertised menu for tomorrow is:

Amuse Bouche (special little treat from Chef Kramer)

Mushroom Soup "Cappuccino"

Truffle Foam, Porcini Powder
Blue Cheese Salad
Granny Smith Apples, Sanded Hazelnuts,
Honey-Sage Vinaigrette

Gulf Red Snapper

Hearts of Palm, Melted Leeks, Tarragon Butter
Slow Braised Beef Short Ribs
Yukon Potato Purée, Celery-Apple Salad, Braising Jus

Chocolate Cream Pie, 5-Spice Ice Cream, Orange Tuile

Vanilla Crème Brûlée with Fresh Berries

I am going with about 15 other people and we have a special private room in the basement with a window where we can look into the kitchen. Perhaps neverfull who organized this dinner will even get us an invitation to tour the kitchen. I have also heard a rumor that there may be some other dishes available to us (with a supplemental charge) and there is a wine pairing if we are interested.

So far the reviews of the some of the other restaurants have been fair to mediocre, but Voice has not only a history of sparking some strong comments, and has developed a reputation for innovative and interesting food, but has gotten a decent review from some of my fellow Houston Chowhounds neverfull has some of the reviews posted on her blog at

Go ahead, take a chance, click the link to restaurant week and make a reservation at one of the restaurants on the list, the price is right and you will get the opportunity to eat at some of the better restaurants in town as well as make your own decision about the quality of the food.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Farewell Ming’s

Ming’s Cafe on Montrose near Westheimer has been a neighborhood institution for a long time. I liked the building, it had a somewhat nostalgic feel to it and finally ventured in a year or so ago. The food was typical Cantonese food, it was just okay. But you did not just go to Ming's for the food, it was convenient and had a funky atmosphere.

It appears they have closed up for good and while they may not have been amongst the best Chinese restaurants in town, their food was reliable, convenient to get to and reasonably priced.

If you miss their cooking, just hop in the car and visit them in Austin.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Not to Greasy, Dinner Style Taste – Burgers at Christian's Totem

Monday I was in the mood to eat out a burger - the kind I got when I was a kid growing up in New Jersey, fresh tasting, slightly oozing and with some good fries or onion rings. As a grown up, I also wanted a nice malty beer.
A quick shout out to my friends at the Houston Chowhounds came up with a few suggestions and two people who were willing to join me. We choose Christian's Totem, a place on Washington just north of I-10.

It fit the bill perfectly for me. The place is a bar with a restaurant. It reminds me of New Jersey, which was exactly what I wanted. Now if the food was decent I would be a happy camper.

I was joined by V and JavaPeg. JavaPeg and I split a half pound cheeseburger cooked medium rare and a side of onion rings ; V. had the burger platter with fries. The burgers came in plastic baskets and we added salt to the fries and onion rings . I appreciate having control over how much salt is added to my food.
I enjoyed the burger as it was juicy but not to runny. The onion rings were good as well for what they were. I thought the fries tasted stale and undercooked. They had a decent selection of beer on tap, looked like about a dozen. I had a Shiner Bohemian Black Lager on tap, which was nice and malty and not to bitter. The whole bill came to about $12.00 plus tip for the two of us. The only other hamburger place I have been to in Houston is Langkford Grocery a few years ago, it was good, but the burgers were too messy for me.

As I was paying the bill, two guys came in and order the works, half pound cheese burgers, fries and then two Bud Lights in bottles I just don’t get it. I don’t get buying a bottled beer when there is such a good variety on tap and I don’t get going light at all, just drink water is what I always say…..
I am still on a hamburger kick. On Wednesday night. I bought freshly ground 85% lean chuck at Whole Foods. I hand patted down the meat into a rectangle and then I sprinkled finely chopped onions, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper on half of it, folded it over and cut it into small squares (White Castle size sliders) and pan fried them. I added some spinach sauteed with garlic and Kettle Chipolte Chili Barbecue chips as sides and drank a Brewhouse Brown Ale from Real Ale Brewing Company (Christian's sells on tap.) My burgers were juicy and tasty (I put Dijon mustard on them), the spinach added more iron than the lettuce at Christian's, the chips and the beer were a nice touch - but it was not the same experience or atmosphere. Sometimes you just want the deep fried onion rings and the feel of a divey bar to go along with your burger and Christian's Totem fit the bill.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you , that when I was paying the check, the woman behind the register commented how nice it is to go out with your girlfriends. She was right, because it is nice going out with my fellow Chowhounds and the camaraderie we are developing by talking via email and eating together has been a wonderful experience.