Mysterious Demolition at Ciro’s Italian Grill

I was checking Swamplot over my morning coffee today, as I do every morning, when I saw something that caught my eye:

Daily Demolition Report: Ciro’s Down

Ciro’s is being torn down today?  Wait…what?  I was flummoxed, and let me tell you why…

This incarnation of Ciro’s replaced one that was previously located on the north side of I-10, which was also demolished (to make way for the widening of the Katy Freeway).  Ciro’s has always been a very popular restaurant for the families in Memorial and the Villages, and it still is to this day.  Even if I don’t particularly care for most of their food, there’s no escaping its longstanding popularity.

This new Ciro’s was only built a few short years ago, along with a brand-new Guadalajara’s and a Denis’ Seafood.  This little “restaurant row” is owned/operated/serviced by Metro National, a large real estate development and management company that also runs Memorial City Mall, the Memorial Hermann hospital campus next door, and virtually every other piece of property in the area.  Their restaurant row is hugely popular both during lunch, when they have shuttle service that takes people to and from the restaurants, the mall, the hospital campus and the office buildings, and at dinner.

Lastly, the Ciro’s is attached (rather strangely, I always thought) to a Darque Tan in a unique configuration.  If one were torn down, the other would have to go, too.  But Darque Tan isn’t listed on the demolition permit list that Swamplot gets from the city each day.  Very curious.

Being the Nosy Parker that I am, I called Ciro’s this morning to hear their side of the story.  After all, their website is still operational and nothing is listed in their news section about a closure.  The gentleman who answered the phone stated they were most definitely open for business.  When I asked him about the scheduled demolition, he became very flustered and said that it was the first he’d heard of it.  He got off the phone rather quickly after that.  Not satisfied, I had a coworker call back and ask them again.  This time, a woman answered and gave a definitive, “Yes, we are open for business today.  There is no demolition scheduled.”

I emailed the webmaster at Swamplot, just to give him a heads up.  He forwarded me a copy of the city’s demolition permit report and there it was, in bold, black letters:

It remains to be seen whether or not Ciro’s will actually fall today.  And I simply don’t have the time to research this little oddity any further than this.  My money is on the city making some sort of awful typo in the permit department.  But it would certainly make for an interesting lunch service if the wrecking balls and Caterpillars rolled up as people were getting their antipasto.


Tuesday Trivia: Part Zeus

I’ve been listening to a lot of Philip Glass* lately, which has left me in sort of a weird, meditative mood.  So I’m working my way through some spreadsheets this afternoon, musing contentedly on Tuesday Trivia, and thinking to myself: There ought to be some sort of rhyme or reason or overarching theme each week.  We can’t just be themeless all the time.

Not that there’s anything wrong with being freeform and fancy-free, but — and if you’ll listen to some Philip Glass, dammit (and, yes, that’s some Candyman you’ll here in there, you bright frightening little thing you) — you’ll see where I got this idea of consistency and repeating themes and undulating waves and peaceful repetition and repeating themes and…  Sorry.


Today’s Tuesday Trivia has a theme.  And that theme is Food in Mythology.  I hope you’ll enjoy it.

  1. According to Greek legend, eating or even smelling too much of this herb will cause scorpions to breed inside your brain.
  2. The dark red color of these berries was once said to be the result of two star-crossed lovers — not Romeo and Juliet — taking their lives underneath a tree, where their comingled blood forever changed the color of the tree’s berries.
  3. Christian mythology holds than as Satan left the Garden of Eden, this plant grew from his left footprint while an onion grew from his right.
  4. This fruit was of great importance in Norse mythology, denoting fertility and being found in Viking Age burial sites and graves throughout Northern Europe.
  5. This highly-controversial symbol is commonly found on Chinese food packaging, indicating that the food is vegetarian and therefore edible for Buddhists.
  6. BONUS:  According to Incan mythology, the goddess Kuka Mama was a promiscuous woman who was cut into pieces by her many lovers, and out of her ravaged body grew this tree and its food of the gods.

That’s it, folks.  Good luck and I’ll see you back here on Thursday!

*There will be no arguments about Philip Glass needing to stick with commercial music or movie scores, no arguments about his much-maligned cello concertos, no arguments along the lines of “well, people thought Stravinsky was a godless heathen of a butcher when he first premiered The Rite of Spring…” and drawing comparions between Stravinsky and Glass (and certainly no arguments comparing Glass to Jonathan Bepler because, COME ON, Bepler is most likely crazier than a shit-house rat), no arguments about whether or not Philip Glass should even be considered a “classical” composer…because?  I don’t care.  This is a food blog.  Oy.  Vey.

English Food

…is damn fine stuff, people.  I’m especially fond of the butchers and cheese shops on every corner, the freshly-baked bread and sweet cream butter in Cheshire, the unabashedly hearty portions and the way that tucking into a steak and mushroom pie feels like pulling on a warm, comfortable sweater.

With this inescapably hot weather, I find myself turning every day to sanguine thoughts of cold, rainy England, trekking through the quiet, early morning streets for a cup of strong coffee and the Manchester Evening News or venturing out at night for a pint of bitter and a pasty in front of a roaring fire.

I can’t wait for autumn to come.

1. Barm Cakes, 2. Coffee and Tea, 3. Meat!, 4. Lunch!, 5. Fruit Stand, 6. Chips at the De Trafford, 7. Lambing Season, 8. Mmm…English butter, 9. Albion

Click on the links above for larger versions of each photo.

Monday, Monday

…can’t trust that day:

Pink Chairs and Flatscreens: How the City Spends Your Money

Moving along to happier topics, I’ll be crusing down to the Red Lion Pub tonight for $5 plates of mini-cheeseburgers with my Houstonist cronies.  It’s been a bizzy day around here (hey, has Hugo Chavez forcibly taken control of any of your operations in Venezuela lately?) and I need to get out for a little bit.

Nothing food-related to report from this weekend, except for one delicious coconut cake with homemade coconut ice cream, courtesy of my mother, and a blindingly delicious dim sum brunch at Fung’s Kitchen (which I shall write about later this week) on Sunday.  The rest of the weekend was spent in full bathroom-remodel mode and/or sick in bed.  Huzzah.

See you all tomorrow for Tuesday Trivia!

Washington Avenue: A Long Day’s Journey Into Tacos

AIEEEEE!  It’s finally posted!  Go to Houstonist and check out my latest Urbanist article (with lots of photos), which took far too long to write than it should have.  Topics covered include:

  • the new Benjy’s (not to replace or be confused with the old Benjy’s)
  • El Rey Taqueria
  • The Daily Grind
  • Max’s Wine Dive
  • Pearl Bar
  • Guadalajara Bakery
  • …and more

And here’s a link for your browsing pleasure:  Urbanist: Washington Avenue.

/self-promoting off

Sushi: Not For You

You’ll notice that I’ve removed the Houstonist link below to the “almost all-night sushi” place.  I’ve also removed mention of its name.  If you go to Houstonist, the article is still there because I will not (and also cannot) take it down.  But, seriously, don’t even bother reading it.

And that’s pretty much all I have to say about this.