Gone But Not Forgotten

I have two things working against me when it comes to experiencing those massive, sensory-explosion-filled waves of nostalgia that so many other people seem to have all the time: (1) I’m only 27 (not too much nostalgia-provoking experience at this age) and (2) I have the world’s worst memory, both with regard to short-term and long-term.  Seriously; ask anyone.  I’m one lame brain cell away from being that guy in Memento.  And I’ll most definitely never be able to write a lengthy, detailed memoir like Toast or Tender at the Bone, much to the great relief of my family I’m sure.

The good thing is that even though I’m pretty much incapable of remembering things on my own, I’m able to remember large chunks of things if I’m somehow reminded of them.  I ran across three things this week that allowed me to indulge in a little bit of restaurant-related nostalgia, for which I’m grateful and happy, and wanted to share them with y’all:

As for my own memories, I still miss Showbiz Pizza (NOT Chuck E. Cheese, thankyouverymuch), a place that I’m pretty sure was called Houlihan’s which used to hand out really cool boxes of crayons, a restaurant over here in Memorial called Thai Flower (or, again, something along those lines) where I first tried Thai food and the original Sam’s Deli Diner before it moved across the freeway and cleaned itself up (no more vagrants occupying the tables at all hours of the day or broken arcade machines lining the walls…).  I also miss the old Continental Finer Foods, a great old grocery store with an enclosed produce section haplessly made up to look like a Parisian street or some such nonsense.

What do you miss?

9 thoughts on “Gone But Not Forgotten”

  1. There was a Houlihan’s over in the Saks Center, or what is now the Sak’s Center I think it was under the theater???? College days, too many L.I.T.’s. I have only been here since 1985, but, I have fond memories of Strawberry Patch and the Confederate House and scads of diners that are no longer. Um, The Stables on Westheimer, Pig Stand, Main St. PoBoy….I can think my way into a loooooong list.

  2. JCI is spectacular (i just banged the link and read the post), #1 w/ tots chili/cheese onions on everything and a diet coke.

    Monument Inn is still open, not sure if it is a new iteration of an old classic, tho.

  3. I miss the Yucatan Liquor Stand, T’Beaux’s out on the Northwest side, Pig Stand and Guggenheim’s deli that used to be located across the street from Kenny & Ziggy’s.

    Since most of my (mis-spent) youth was spent growing up in Midland instead of Houston, most of my restaurant memories are from there

    Oh, and let us not forget Two Pesos. I miss the heck out of Two Pesos. Much better than Taco Cabana.

  4. Across the Street on Hillcroft. Not because the food was that good, but because each table had a telephone from which you called your order into the kitchen.

    Love JCI, of course. Especially the original on McKinney. There was just something great about sitting in a wooden school desk and eating a cheese coney all the way… for $0.55. And that dates me.

    Two Pesos was FAR better than Taco Cabana will ever be.

    The Mexicatessen on Crosstimbers.

    Farrell’s on the first floor of the Galleria. Drum, Siren, birthday embarrassment, big lollipops, and all.

  5. The Magic Pan in the Galleria was fun…and was where a certain 2-year-old was reading the menu and asked me “Mom, what’s chocolate mouse?!” (chocolate mousse). And I have witnesses!

    I still miss Albrittons and cried when they closed.

    Piccadilly cafeteria in Memorial City was good.

    Hebert’s downtown (think it was on San Jacinto) was a fantastic old house turned into a really good restaurant.

    Old JCI downtown, old Antone’s on San Felipe (remember the ginormous pickle barrels?)

    I also miss Gugenheims on Post Oak….their sandwiches were amazing!!

    Texas Tumbleweed! Great chicken fried steaks!!

    A weird little restaurant in Kingwood called Daddy-Did-It – they had amazing fried catfish and frog legs!

    Oh, Strawberry Patch – those delicious eensy muffins they used to bring around to everyone.

  6. Santos on Westheimer. I think it was where Sullivan’s is now.

    Ah – a recent one. Felix. Cheese and Red Grease. “Hair of the dog that bit me, Lloyd; Hair of the dog that bit me…”

    Big Franks on Kirby.

    Yes, I remember the You-Can-Scam-Liquor-Stand. And Waaaaves.

    Side story… friend was a Class A Drunk in NYC. She’s at a bar one night. Bar that has Jaegermaester on tap. Goes up to the bartender, eyes rolled in opposite directions, slurrs. “I’ll have a pitcher of Jaegermeister”. Bartender says: “we don’t server that by the pitcher”. Now, my friend is a Sharp Girl. Always has been. She glares at the bartender out of one eye and says “so why the f**k does it come from a tap?!?!” True story.

  7. I didn’t grow up in Houston, so I have no memories of any long-gone Houston places. North-central Illinois, however, and I’ve got that covered. The only food-related memory from my childhood that I have (other than all the really bad meals my mom made) was sitting in Burger King with my grandparents after coming back from my great-aunt’s wake at the convent. (Yes, I had a great-aunt who was a nun.) I was five at the time, and it was the middle of winter. I could walk into that stupid restaurant and tell you exactly where I sat and what I had to eat (cheeseburger Kid’s meal, orange soda). The toy, not so much.

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