Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pig Roast at Feast: The Story of Deux Petits Cochons Joined by a Bunch of Houston Chowhounds

Last night I had the pleasure of dining with my Houston Chowhound friends at Feast. There were about thirty of us at four different tables in the private rooms upstairs. We were fortunate to have a cool Houston evening to accompany the festivities and we were able to hang out on the balcony as well.

We gathered to celebrate the birthday of fellow HouCHie JavaPeg. What a celebration we had, sampling, or should I say stuffing ourselves with food from Feast.

Feast: 219 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 77006 713.529.7788



(top to bottom) Pork Back Fat, Chicken Liver with Gherkins, Welsh Rabbit or Rarebit,Sweetbreads with Horseradish and Sweet Potatoes

First Course:

Baked Scallops


Garden Salad (not pictured) and Pork Cheek Salad with Dandelion Greens and Pork Fat Croutons


Roast Pig and Braised Lamb Shanks

Side Dishes:

Brussel Sprouts, Carrots, Kale with Anchovies, Mashed Potatoes and Stuffing


Peach and Date Crumble with Vanilla Custard

Quick Critique -

I like the slightly spicy Welsh Rabbit (no rabbit in it) or Rarebit, loved the Chicken Liver, the sweetbreads were overpowered by the horseradish and so difficult to eat that I saw one go flying across the room and Pork Fat - very different and tasty.

The baked scallops in a cheesy béchamel sauce served on scallop shells were delicious, but could have been a bit warmer (despite the fact that I went back for seconds and thirds.)

The garden salad was fresh and crisp but slightly underdressed.

The pork salad was outrageous, crunchy from the pork and earthy from the greens.

The roast pig was moist and delicious. We had a lot of fun eating through the head, I got to eat one of the ears and some of the check, other were diving in for parts unknown to me as edible in the past (let’s leave it at that.)

The lamb shank was a winner, spiced with mace and juniper and so delicate the meat fell off the bone.

The side dishes were wonderful. We all were raving over the brussel sprouts and the kale with anchovies. The stuffing and mashed potatoes were also good, just not the center of attention at my table. The carrots were pretty and cooked simply.

By the time the dessert of Peach and Date Crumble with Vanilla Custard came around, I could hardly eat another bite. Despite the fact that I was disappointed it was not a chocolate dessert, I loved the warm, fruity and not to sweet taste of the cobbler, the way the flavors blended together, as well as the silky texture of the dessert.

The service was excellent and of course the company, it can not get much better.

Now I am forced to go eat the leftovers, sorry you can not join me in my second feast in two days.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Kooce Foodie Fundraiser Coming Up Thursday, 10/23

Do you want to eat well and donate money to a worthy cause?

Join fellow Houstonians at The Beacon for a benefit for James Koonce and his 4-year old daughter who were both badly burned in the fire at Brennen’s in September.

Date and Time: Thursday, October 23, 4:30 to 7:30

Cost: Suggested donation: $100

Enjoy the cuisine from some of Houston’s top Chefs, all under one roof as they join together to help raise money for the Koonces:

  • Ojan Bagher: 360
  • Jeff Boudreaux: Brasserie Max & Julie
  • Brian Caswell: Reef
  • James Cole:Flemmings
  • Mark Cox: Mark’s
  • Levi Goode: Goode Company Seafood
  • Jeffrey Everts: Olivette - Houstonian
  • Mark Holley: Pesce
  • Jonathan Jones: Beavers
  • David Lunas:Shade
  • Hugo Ortega: Hugo’s
  • Wes Morton: 17 at the Alden
  • Ryan Pera: The Grove
  • Monica Pope: Tafia
  • Chris Shepherd: Catalan

The Beacon is located at 1212 Prairie Street

Free Parking is available on-site at 515 San Jacinto Street

For more information: or email:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Congratulations Voice on Making Esquire's Best New Resturants of 2008 List

I am glad to see that Voice made the list. To see more details go to Cleverley's Blog.

Houston is fortunate to have such innovative chefs like Michael Kramer. When you get a chance head on over to Hotel Icon and make a visit to Voice . If you do not want a full meal, do what I do, stop off at the lounge for some yummy drinks and appetizers or splurge go for the full meal. I do not think you will be disappointed.

For a treat, award winning chef Albert Roux will be cooking a special dinner with Chef Kramer at Voice on Thursday, October 23, for details go to Voice Box. The dinner will take place in Voice's wine cellar with a view of the kitchen.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sawadee Ka (Welcome) to Asia Market: Restaurant and Grocery Store

I had read and heard many good things about Asia Market, a Thai Grocery Store and small restaurant in The Heights. Today I ventured out to see what it is all about. Having been to Southeast Asia a half a dozen times and on many of the trips I visited Thailand, I am quite familiar with authentic Thai cuisine. I am use to eating street food and at low end restaurants, so when I read all the reviews I was expecting something akin to that quality.

I drove to Asia Market all excited because I was expecting a little bit of Bangkok in Houston. What I found was a very friendly Mom and Pop Thai grocery store, a small cooking area in the back and six tables for customers to eat at. It did feel a little bit like a small town store outside of Bangkok, and it had have some of the items that I buy in Thailand, both on the grocery side when I am cooking there and some of the medicine I always bring back.

There was a limited supply of food on the shelves and in the refrigerated cases, but I know that they recently got their power back after Hurricane Ike, so I expect that a stop there in another month would be enable me to better judge what they carry in the fresh and frozen area of the store.

My visit today was to take out food. I was warmly greeted by the man at the register and which is where you order your food. They have a wide variety of dishes, from Thai salads, soup, noodles, rice, curry, and stir fry. Most dishes cost between $5.95 and $7.95. With three pages of items to choose from, I decided to limit myself to two today.

I ordered B2. Tom Yum, hot and sour soup, with shrimp and C4. Kee Mao Noodle, flat rice noodles with pork, basil, garlic and chili sauce. I asked for both medium hot. The dishes were well prepared, but more on the cautious side of medium hot, which means they were not as hot as I expected (the degree of spice, obviously is personal, I would rather err on the side of not enough on my first visit.) The portions were decent but not overly generous. The food was authentic, fresh, and decently prepared but nothing spectacular – it was good enough for what it is suppose to be, that is a good value for the price.

The Tom Yum came with small shrimp and had strong overtones of lemon grass. It had a great aroma and a wonderful taste. I was reminded why I do not order that soup often, it is always more broth than ingredients to eat and I like a more “meaty” soup. My rice noodles, Kee Mao Noodle were perfectly cooked slightly chewy with sliced pieces of pork and I think some egg. I liked this dish better than the soup, which was a personal preference for the noodle dish over the soup and not reflective of the quality of one dish over the other.

They are open Tuesday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

I definitely plan to go back and try different things in the near future. The portions were decent (but not overly generous), the food was authentic, fresh, and well prepared but nothing spectacular – it was good enough for what it is suppose to be, that is a good value for the price. As I mentioned earlier they were very friendly, which is something I have enjoyed on all my visits to Thailand and that made me think about when I was heading back to that part of the world again…

Update 10/09/08: I went back and ordered for take out Laab, Papaya Salad and Stir Fried Greens. I also picked up a Mung Bean dessert. The Thai Papaya Salad and dessert were good, the rest was so-so, the best I can say about the food, is that it was fresh and cheap, $21 for the whole meal and it is enough for at least three meals for me. They are close by and friendly, which means I will keep trying things on their menu, hoping I found the best things there.