Friday, November 2, 2012

After the Storm

I grew up in NY and feel a special sadness over Hurricane Sandy. If you would like to help the victims, here's how to do it (taken from George Takei's Facebook page):

We are not out of the woods yet, friends. Sandy has rocked the northeast to the core, leaving houses like this one from Jersey City (tragically overlooking the beautiful skyline of the Big Apple in the distance) in utter ruin. Many of our friends, family, and loved ones have been affected by the storms. Families are returning to their homes, and to lives that will never be the same, and they need...
our help.

Those wishing to donate to the relief effort can text the phrase "REDCROSS" to 90999 to make a $10 contribution for every message sent. In addition, iTunes users will also find a donate button located on the main page for the iTunes store set up specifically for Sandy relief. People can also make contributions by calling 1-800-733-2767.

Please take a moment to SHARE this message to let everyone know how they can lend a hand. Any support is greatly appreciated. Thanks, as always, friends. - George

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cafe Ginger

We stopped into Cafe Ginger for lunch on a Saturday. We knew that we would be joining friends for a large dinner, so we decided to order a couple of sushi rolls and miso soup. Opting for sushi instead of Chinese may have been a mistake, because Cafe Ginger has more of a classic Chinese vibe. The restaurant is decorated mostly in shades of red and gold, with carved Buddhas and attentive male servers. It has a classy, upscale, almost retro feel.

The miso soup was free but was actually quite tasty. It's probably difficult to mess up miso, and this was savory and satisfying. The rolls were another story.

We ordered the Orange Dragon and the Red Dragon rolls (even the names sound Chinese to me...). The Orange Dragon is spicy tuna rolled in salmon and avocado; the Red Dragon is spicy salmon rolled in tuna and avocado.

Unfortunately, these pretty rolls were extremely boring. The fish tasted fine but there was just nothing special going on there. Part of it is probably our fault; we chose the only rolls without shellfish, since my husband is allergic, and they weren't exactly brimming with exciting ingredients. But part of it is also because this is, at its heart, a Chinese restaurant. The menu is mostly Chinese food, and people I know who have tried the Chinese food here say that it's very good.

I do plan on going back to Cafe Ginger. I like the decor and the service, and I would probably like the food there too -- if I ordered the right thing.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bring Sonny Back Home!

A very good friend is missing her dog. If you're in Houston and you're reading this, please Like his page and take a second to look at the pictures there. And tell your friends!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Special Out of Town Edition: California Dreaming

The hubs and I just got back from a VERY belated honeymoon in California. We saw just about everything -- we flew into San Francisco, stayed a few nights, and then drove south on Highway 1, ending up in Los Angeles. I came away with a new appreciation for red wine, a fascination with Old Hollywood, and a list of definite "dos" (and one complete "don't) for anyone travelling to California.

Places I Loved:

Perbacco (San Francisco): wonderful Italian food in a loud, slightly crowded but very stylish atmosphere. This place taught me the difference between really well-made gnocchi and the stuff I've been eating from the grocery store. Plus their "Ugly But Good" cookies are NOT to be missed.

La Bellasera (Paso Robles): This is a hotel and not a restaurant, but it's a must-do if you're in Paso. A lovely little place, very close to wineries and good food, with incredibly spacious and clean rooms at an stunningly low price.

burger. (Santa Cruz): An amazingly funky little place. Delicious, fresh burgers with fun California names ("The Dude") and a nice bar. This is a great place to stop for lunch on your way down Highway 1.

Dearly Departed Tours (Hollywood): Again, this isn't a place to eat, but it's a lot of fun. We took plenty of tours on our vacation (Hearst Castle, Hollywood Homes, Alcatraz) and this was by far our favorite. It's not for children (or the faint of heart), but it's great for anyone who loves Old Hollywood or true crime stories.

Skooby's (L.A.): Confession time -- I LOVE hot dogs. The ones at Skooby's are perfect, topped with a variety of fun and non-traditional toppings and served in warm buns on the side of Hollywood Boulevard. The lemonade is amazing too.

Place I HATED:

Whale Watcher Cafe (Big Sur): Avoid this place at all costs. It's located in the middle of nowhere, which is the only reason why we stopped -- I was starving. Flies everywhere, only one server, and they still had the nerve to charge almost $20 for a tuna sandwich. We actually walked out without ordering. Turns out, I would rather wait an hour and eat a burger at the Hearst Castle food court than eat at the Fly Watcher.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Help an Injured Fuzzy-Head

We here at TGWAH love animals, and hate people who hurt them. That's why we're asking for help raising money for a severely injured pitbull.

Elly May was rescued off the streets of Houston this week with some pretty horrific injuries. Her vet believes that she was either raped, or a firecracker was placed inside of her and exploded. Needless to say, her vet bills and medication are going to be expensive, and she will be in foster care for a while. A "Chip In" has been established to raise money for these expenses. PLEASE give if you can, and please spread the word!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Nelore Steakhouse

My in-laws were in town recently for the Metro Houston cooking show, and we decided to check out Nelore. None of us had ever been to a churrascaria before, but I liked the concept. Waiters come around the dining room with various cuts of grilled meats on skewers. Patrons can choose which types of meat to sample, and when. Side dishes and salads are located on an all-you-can-eat buffet. When you're full, or just need a break, you turn a card over on your table to signal the waitstaff to stop; otherwise, they'll continue to offer you meat for as long as you sit there.

Nelore boasts a HUGE selection of both meats and sides. I'm proud to say that I tried almost everything: chicken sausage, leg of lamb, sirloin, filet, and even a parmigiana coated pork chop. I didn't do too shabby at the salad bar either.

Everything was tasty. All of the meat was slightly dry, with a robust charbroiled flavor. I also noticed that the cuts of meat were a little more marbled than what I usually buy; my steak was flanked in a large piece of white fat that infused it with a lot of flavor. It wasn't what I was used to, but that doesn't mean it wasn't good.
However, nothing was fantastic. Only two items really stand out from everything I tried: the parmigiana-crusted pork (because it was so different) and the mango cream dessert (both because it was unique and it was delicious). Service was predictably wonderful. None of the waiters seemed to really abide by the card system -- they approached you regardless of whether you were trying to signal them not to -- but that's OK; more than once we found that we weren't really as full as we thought we were, once we were offered something new.
The real disappointment was the bill. Nelore charges nearly $40 per person for dinner, before drinks and dessert. We didn't know that -- prices aren't listed on the website -- and it was a little bit of a sticker shock. Even though we sampled a lot of food, there is no way that we ate enough to justify that price. If you're going to pay that kind of money for a steak dinner, there may be better options.

Monday, September 10, 2012


We were in The Woodlands for a concert last weekend, and my husband had a hankering for sushi. Kita was close to our hotel, so we stopped in for an early lunch.

We ordered a pretty typical sushi lunch: two rolls, some sashimi, sake, and a seaweed salad. The Nemo Roll is pictured below.


This roll is comprised of spicy tuna, rice, salmon and a spicy mayo. For all those "spicies", it really didn't have a lot of heat to it. It was pretty and it was tasty, but it left me longing for something more.

I felt the same way about our yellowtail sashimi. There was nothing wrong with it, per say, but it could have been better. It could have been colder, or more thinly sliced, or fresher ... or something. The spicy tuna hand roll and the salad were both completely fine, but all in all, nothing to write home about.

On paper, Kita isn't a bad place. Our server was very sweet. The space is large and well-decorated, and located in the beautiful water-way district. The food is decent, standard Japanese fare at expected prices. But the restaurant fails to leave the diner with any lasting impression, and maybe that's why it was empty.