Getting Some Ink

Not that kind of ink.

If you’re here in Houston, make sure to pick up a copy of the latest Houston Press on newstands today.  Flip over to the dining section and there I be!  In ink!  With my real name and everything!

If you’re not local, here’s a link to the article:  The Tastes of Textile.  (And if you’re intent on leaving a comment on the article, you can do so here.)

This is my first “real” restaurant review, in that someone paid me to do this and then actually used valuable ink and paper to publish it.  I’m still a bit stunned by that.  Moreover, I’m still happily befuddled about being allowed to review such a high-profile restaurant and I know that — undoubtedly — people will question why a bottom-rung, low-man-on-the-totem-pole food writer like me was chosen to review Textile.  I can’t answer that.  But I can say that I’m extremely appreciative for the opportunity.  Working with the folks over at the Houston Press — both on this review and on the food blog (Eating Our Words) has been one of the best experiences of my life so far.

Okay, that was me being sappy.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Now go read the review!

EDIT:  There’s been some feedback on the review this morning, from two different sources.  Plinio Sandalio, the pastry chef at Textile, wrote a short blog about the review.  And H Town Chow Down, one of my favorite local food blogs, has a write-up concentrating on one of the aspects of Textile that bothered me the most.

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Just Another Manic Linkday

Congratulations!  You made it through yet another soul-killing Monday with at least a few shreds of your dignity and sanity still intact.  You deserve some links.

First, my own links from the Houston Press:

  • Depart From Me!  I Never Knew You, Eaters of Bacon:  An article about Joel Osteen’s decision to preach his personal diet to his congregation at Lakewood Church, in which I am accused of being “condescending,” “ignorant,” “offensive,” disrespectful, hateful, controversial and perhaps anti-Semitic.  We all know that only the first six of those are true.  27 comments and counting!
  • Taking Stock of Galveston’s Restaurants:  Surveying the restaurant situation on the island five months after Hurricane Ike.  Bonus: pretty pictures!
  • Spring Is Here at MAX’s Wine Dive:  Serious food porn lies ahead.
  • Monica Pope Is Plum Crazy:  Free cooking classes, taught by the cuisine queen of Houston using fresh, local ingredients?  Sign me up.
  • Avery Cask-Conditioned Ale at the Petrol Station:  It gets oddly and worryingly poetic towards the end.  I feel like the IPA is going to take out a restraining order against me any day now.
  • Bawitda-Brew:  They’re making Kid Rock brand beer.  You can kill yourself out of a desperate lack of hope for future generations now.

And now links from around town:

Okay, don’t fill up on just links.  You’re going to spoil your dinner.  G’night, y’all!

What’s the Story, Linking Glory?

Wrapping up the week with a few links to what’s been going on around Houston this week:

Missed anything?  Let me know in the comments section below.

Could’ve Said Something Nice About My Profiterole

Let’s take a a quick look this morning at what the Houston food world has been up to lately:

As for me, I’ve been busily writing away:

And if you’ve made it this far, a little treat for you:

“I feel like a prize asshole, no one even mentions my casserole.”  *sigh*  We’ve all been there, Jermaine.

House of Pies and Pies and Pies

Not long ago, I wrote a piece for Eating Our Words about National Pie Day (what, you missed National Pie Day?).  And as a precursor to both the piece and Pie Day itself, I met a group of friends at the House of Pies on Kirby to do a little “research” and “preparation” (I’m nothing if not dedicated).

House of Pies (or House of Guys, if you’re fabulous) has about 30 different pies on their menu at any given time, in addition to regular diner food and the best tater tots — although House of Pies calls them “cottage fries” — in town.  Their house speciality is the curiously-named Bayou Goo pie.

Bayou Goo at House of Pies

According to their description, the Bayou Goo is “pecan crust with a layer of sweet cream cheese, then a layer of vanilla custard swirled with chocolate chunks and topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.”   Meh.  Frankly, I expected more “goo.”  You know, some caramel or something, at least.  But I gave it a whirl.

I was just as uninspired after a few bites as I was after reading the description.  The miasma of contradictory flavors and textures left me disappointed.  I guess there’s a lot to be said for clever naming and rhymes.  Onto other pies, then…

The Texas pecan fudge pie was heavenly and heavily rich.  The slice alone felt as if someone had plated a brick, but Lord was it good.  The French blackbottom (“a layer of chocolate , then a layer of French vanilla rum custard with lots of whipped cream and chocolate shavings”) and the apple were also good, but the sleeper hit of the night was the unobtrusive strawberry-rhubarb.

Served warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, the strawberry-rhubarb pie was everything I think of when I think pie: flaky, fruity, mildy sweet and just slightly gooey. It utterly melted in my mouth. The sweetness of the strawberries was — as expected — perfectly offset by the tart rhubarb.

While I’m certain to try different pies during subsequent trips House of Pies, I’m afraid I’ve found my favorite and will find it hard to stray.  I’m loyal like that.  I guess I’ll just have to order two slices at a time — a strawberry-rhubarb and a ____________.  Oh, the terrible things I have to endure for the love of food.

Been Gone Too Long

I haven’t had time to update she eats. as often as I’d like lately, owing to work (curses!!!) and actual paid writing (although if any of you want to start paying me to blog here, I’m cool with that, too). So just to briefly round things up, this is what I’ve been up to:

Writing articles for the Houston Press, such as “Praise the Lord and Pass the Mimosas” — an account of the inaugural Gospel Brunch at the new House of Blues here in Houston — and “The Grocery Store Corridor” — which is exactly what it sounds like. And although I haven’t quite figured out the settings on my new camera well enough yet to shoot moving things in the dark (i.e., concerts), here are some of the shots I was able to salvage from Gospel Brunch itself:

Concert Hall
The concert hall stage.

Umbrellas
Bringing diners/patrons up at the end of the show.

Testify
Sylvia St. James, emcee .

Bronze Peacock Room
The Bronze Peacock Room in the members-only Foundation Room, marking my second time to weasel my way up there and get free booze.

Buffet

The only picture I could get of the buffet; hungry socialites are like stampeding, enraged water buffalo, I tell ya.

I went to Gospel Brunch with my friend Eric Wilson, the music editor at Houstonist, which I’ve also been writing for as time allows. That said, none of my pieces are pertinent to food in the least (midget wrestling, anyone?). For one that is, check out this article by Jason Bargas on the closing of none other than that bastion of shitty service, The Daily Grind. As I’m sure you can guess, I was heart-broken.

I’ve also been eating this week. A lot. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I finally made it over to Cafe Pita + (read Jenny’s great review with pictures here). It was every bit as wonderful as I’d hoped. On Tuesday, I ate with Jenny, Katie, Hala, and nearly all of the Schipul girls (and poor Lance, who was the only guy at the table). Despite the high concentration of giggliness and silliness at the table, the waitstaff were very patient with us. And the food was amazing. I had the plejskavice, which is a lamb and beef patty stuffed with melted cheese and mushrooms, all on top of this beautiful, fluffy bread with pureed red pepper sauce. I was in heaven. The next day, I dragged Jeff out there and had the cevap, the sausage link version of the plejskavice (sans cheese) and had a fried cheese appetizer in its place. Jeff had the burek, which is essentially spanakopita on steroids and is about as large as a clown shoe.

On Friday, I grabbed lunch at my favorite pho place, Pho Huy, with some coworkers and found out that I should really stop speaking Vietnamese in restaurants when all I really know is “restaurant Vietnamese.” Or, as a friend suggested, at least learn how to say, “I’m going to order in Vietnamese for everyone, but that’s really all I know how to say.” In Vietnamese. I think it would solve a lot of problems. Friday night found me at Goode Co. Seafood with Groovehouse, as we sat at the bar and devoured the best campechana in Houston (seriously. I don’t say this lightly.). We watched enraptured for hours as a little old man behind the counter shucked oyster after oyster, placing them temptingly on platters of crushed ice and lemons. Next time…

There’s been more eating, of course. And even more pictures. And news, news, news. But for tonight, I’ve got to finish writing articles and paying invoices (two entirely separate work functions, mind you). So I’ll leave you with this photo from the market where I picked up some excellent, cheap produce this morning:

Favor de no mayugarlos
Produce stands behind Canino’s on Airline.

Good night, all!

Hitch Link Cop, On Ones and Nine Millis

A short but informative link roundup from the past few days…enjoy!

First, my own links, cause I’m big pimpin’:

  • Tweating Out:  A post at the Houston Press on the newest Twitter trend…food meetups with [almost] total strangers!
  • Green Eggs at Baby Barnaby’s:  Another Press post about my adventures at the notorious Montrose breakfast spot with my Meemo.
  • Baba Ghanoush at Cafe Rita:  Because my eternal quest for the world’s best baba ghanoush has ended.

Now for other, more entertaining links:

  • New @ Rainbow Lodge:  Jenny’s review of the new items offered up by Randy Rucker at Rainbow Lodge.  Notable primarily for the lush photography as much as for the ninth comment (a must read, as is Jenny’s response).
  • The Year in Burgers:  Alison Cook’s roundup of her favorite burgers of 2008, also notable for its insane comments section (which at last count had spiraled to 125 comments, primarily from people who need to attend the Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too)
  • Give Me Some Hot Wings, Hold the Buttocks:  Jeff’s take on the amusing “employee handbook” at no one’s favorite wing place, Hooters.
  • Handicapping the Best of Houston Picks:  Misha doing what he does best…deconstructing and carefully evaluating what others tend to take as gospel.
  • Wine Cork Trivet in Progress:  The endlessly creative Mellowynk recycles her old wine corks in a unique way that I would never have thought of.
  • Robb’s Oyster Book:  Robb Walsh’s new book — Sex, Death and Oysters — has finally hit the shelves.  He’ll be cruising bookstores and signing selected copies of the book incognito, so be on the lookout for a man with a fountain pen, smelling of oysters (and hopefully not sex or death).

That’s it, folks.  I’m off for a mug of jasmine green tea and a comfy couch.  See you on the other side!