Tuesday, November 30, 2010


bryan iron

I watch a lot of cooking shows and was excited to see one of the contestants had a restaurant in Houston and knew I had to try it out. Chef Bryan Caswell from Next Iron Chef owns Reef and Stella Sola in Houston. I’ve heard fantastic things about Stella Sola and mixed reviews about Reef. We happened to be going down town for a charity event so we popped in Reef for an early dinner.


The restaurant had a nice look to it, very simple and clean. They where hosting a Christmas party in the wine room, but other then us there where 2 tables filled at 6:30pm. I got the feeling the dress code was business casual and that was fine with me. The only thing that bothered me was all the waiters hanging out at the pass. I know what’s where they need to pick up their food for the tables, but when there’s no one there they shouldn’t huddle there.

I really like that they had homemade sea salt rolls and jalapeno jelly at the table. The bread reminded me of a pretzel and the jelly had enough sweet to it to balance out the heat. I also never understand why they give you 3 rolls for 2 people. Yes things look better in odd amounts but come on I want my own roll!


As an appetizer we ordered the Crunchy Calamari, Charred Green Tomatoes, Cilantro Aioli, Pickled Pepper Condiment $9. The sauces where awesome I just wish we had more calamari for the amount of aioli we had.


As my entrée I ordered the Crispy Skin Snapper, Sweet and Sour Chard, Tomato Brown Butter &26. The snapper was bland, cooked well but very bland. I think the chard could have been cooked a hair longer. The thing that had all the flavor was the broth. Wow if only the fish could have taken on some of that flavor.


D ordered the Redfish on the Half-Shell, Fried Mac & Cheese $26. Let’s see what can I say about this dish….ummm well that’s a huge block of fried mac and cheese. His whole plate was bland and the fish stuck to the skin so bad it looked like he butchered the thing. The sauce on the fish was really good that was about it.


Overall maybe we had a bad night there, but I wouldn’t go back. I’ll be trying his other restaurant and pray it’s better.

Friday, November 12, 2010

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant (Town and Country Location)

It’s been a long time since we’ve eaten at McCormick and Schmick’s. They recently opened up a new location in Town and Country which is a lot closer to us then their other locations. D found a gift card on www.plasticjungle.com at a pretty good discount so we gave them a try. First off let me say that going out on a Friday night is risky due to the amount of people out. We had reservations at 6pm and still had issues with parking. I think if you plan ahead you could get a better parking spot then we did.


We started off our meal with a Fried Calamari $12.90 “Full Bowl” Roasted Tomato Sauce, Lemon Tabasco Aioli. I think it was a little overpriced, but the Tabasco Aioli was really nice.  (I’m sorry I forgot to take a picture)


They have specials on select bottles of wine at half price so of course we had to get a bottle.


As the main course I selected a Jalapeno Cornbread Stuffed Fish with Green Beans. I can’t find it on their menu anymore which is probably a good thing. It lacked flavor and the cornbread was dry. The only good thing was the fish wasn’t overcooked. The green beans where under done and had to cut.



The winner of the night was D’s choice which was a Chilean Sea Bass $32.90 with a Miso Broth, Udon Noodles and Stir Fry Vegetables. The price was a little much, but the flavor was AMAZING! Normally we each order something different and split them, but he had a hard time handing over his dish.


We finished up the evening with a seasonal Chocolate Crème Brulee $6.95. This was fantastic and I would order it again.  We also split a Pumpkin Cheesecake $7.95. The cheesecake was ehh ok but not worth ordering again. It seemed really heavy and the flavor was off. I did like the ginger snap crust that they used.


Overall the service was really good and I would recommend anyone who goes to try the bass you won’t by sorry.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Frank’s Chop House


I’ve always heard good things in regards to Frank’s Chop House so we decided to try it out after getting a discount via an online program. The feel walking in was business casual of course we where there for an early dinner and I’m sure it could be dressier later in the evening. They have different specials listed online so be sure to check their site before making a reservation. You could miss out on deals like half price wines on Sundays.

We started out with a bowl of the soup of the day $7 (French Onion) recommended by our waiter. I thought it was fantastic and could have eaten another bowl by myself.


Also starting us off was a Caesar Salad $7. It didn’t wow me, but it won’t disappoint if you are a fan of caesar salads.


The one thing we had to try was their pork chops. They are known for them and I had very high hopes. The 16 ounce Maple Brined Double-Bone Pork Chop $23 served with Sweet Corn Mashed Potatoes and Spinach is OMG out of this world good!! If no one was looking I would have licked the plate! I’m always scared of pork chops because they are easily overcooked. This chef knows what he’s doing. He was also pleased to hear that I raved about him to the waiter. (If you ever like your service or food make sure you tell people otherwise they’ll never know. )


D ordered the 16 ounce Ribeye Steak $37 with Potato Gratin, Roasted Garlic and Broccoli. (Sorry for the blurred picture he’s not as patient taking pictures as I am.) The Potato Gratin was fantastic, not too greasy and nice and creamy.


I think our waiter really enjoyed talking to us and getting all the feedback that they sent over a slice of house made cheesecake. I didn’t think I could eat anymore at this point so we each took a bite and took the rest home. The cheesecake was just as good as our meal.


Overall I would love to go back for another Pork Chop I have to say it’s the best I’ve ever had!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ruby Tequela's

We tried out a new place with some friends that had been here before. Ruby Tequela's has several locations in Houston, Lubbock and Amarillo. Walking into the restaurant had a very open feel and lots of seating. The waitstaff is nice and there's plenty of them around so they don't have a lot of tables to work. We started off with a margarita. CARLOS SANTARITA - Sauza Tres Generaciones Plata, Patron Citrónge and Blue Curacao. They where tasty but not as strong as a regular one would be.

Since there was a group of us we where told the appetizer sampler was plenty of food. RUBY’S SAMPLER PLATTER $14.95 2 beef flautas, 2 chicken flautas, 2 chicken empanadas, taco meat nachos, cheese quesadillas and grilled fajita steak. Served with guacamole, sour cream, queso and creamy jalapeño dip. The creamy jalapeno dip is REALLY good! If anything you need to ask for this with your chips and salsa they don't charge extra for it, but you have to ask or they won't bring it.

The platter was plenty of food, but since D and I had never been there we also ordered the SUNSET FAJITA BURRITO $11.95 Grilled beef, chicken or combination fajita wrapped in a flour tortilla smothered in our queso inferno. Served with guacamole and sour cream. This was a disappointment and I wouldn't order it again. The burrito looks huge but there's maybe a 1/4 cup of tiny chopped fajita meat inside and nothing else.

Overall I would go back, but I'll stay away from the burrito. There's a coupon on their website so be sure to print that before you go.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Palma de Cera

We purchased a discounted gift certificate ($15 gift card for $7) from idine deals and chose the restaurant Palma de Cera. They specialize in Latin Cuisine yet offer a wide variety of food. The portions where large and their food is very tender and flavorful.

D ordered the Steak al Chimichurri $15.99 (Grilled steak with chimichurri seasoning. Served with rice, sweet plantains and salad.) Hands down one of the best chimichurri sauces I've ever had. The meat was so tender you could cut it with a fork.

I went with something different off their traditional Latin American dishes. The Sobrebarriga a la Criolla $13.99 (Strings of meat served with creole sauce, yucca, potatoes, rice, salad and sweet bananas.) It reminded me of a pot roast, the meat was very tender and the sauce was really good, I just wish the potatoes where cut in a little smaller sizes. Overall I would order this again.

If you go to their website you can print a coupon for 15% off your meal. Since we had a gift card the only issue we had was the restaurant said we couldn't use it unless we spent at least $25, which was listed no where on the restrictions or posted anywhere. We ended up ordering banana foster $4.95 for dessert since we where $3 short. I wouldn't order that again, online reviews say their flan is really good so if we go back I'll try that instead.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Tonight we went to dinner at Laurenzo's on Washington. Apparently it used to be Laurenzo's Sports Bar, but now they have converted it into a casual yet business atmosphere. I wore a sundress and D had a polo shirt and shorts on. The feel is a little more upscale yet it's totally comfortable dressing more casual so either way of dress will work. The reason we chose this place is because D found a deal online where they offered a $60 gift card for the price of $30. We love a good deal so no complaints on having a meal half off.

We started off ordering drinks. Many people online recommend the Lemon Drop Martini $10 and say it's one of the best in town so I had to try that. D ordered a Mojito $8. Both drinks where really good and you can tell they used more liquor in them then other places.

We also ordered an appetizer of Spicy White Chile Con Queso with beef $9.75. I wouldn't say it's spicy, but at least it wasn't watered down. The beef I don't think was worth the extra $1 they charged for it. The cheese portion was a really large size.

They are known for their Prime Rib (All Natural 12 ounce slice of Prime Rib with Au Jus) so D ordered a medium cut which came with your choice of side. The meat was really tender and the Au Jus was amazing.

I went with another popular choice which was a Jalapeno Filet Cheese steak Sandwich (Grilled Tenderloin Medallions with Caramelized Onions, Gruyere Cheese, Russian Dressing and Pickled Jalapenos)with a choice of side. As many reviews said it is a messy sandwich, but the flavors where really good. They also used fresh jalapenos instead of jarred which was a nice choice. My only comment is I wish it had more meat on the sandwich.

We also had enough of the gift card to get dessert so we picked the New York Cheesecake (Blueberry Compote and Fresh Whipped Cream). I love that they went the extra mile to make fresh whipped cream there's a huge taste difference between the two. The serving size was huge (I'm sorry no picture because we got it to go then I forgot to take one when we got home). The cheesecake had a little too much orange flavor in it and when you add the blueberry compote (which also had orange flavor) it was a little much. Otherwise texture was great and I liked the blueberry compote.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Catfish Mike's - CLOSED

Catfish Mike's is a new little gem that opened in Katy. I had a coupon for buy one entree get one free so we gave it a try at lunch. To give it all a try we both ordered the Catfish and Shrimp Basket for $10.95 which had 2 catfish fillets and 6 shrimp. The first thing I noticed was how big the shrimp and catfish where. Both where cooked to perfection and had flavor. I can't tell you how many times I've had catfish at places and it just taste like a fried mess. This coating had a little spice and just enough to still enjoy the flavor of the catfish itself. I highly recommend this place to anyone. Their menu can be found on their site and if you sign up for their email loop they will send coupons. Don't expect a huge selection they only carry the basic seafoods and it's almost all fried.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Destin, FL - Day 8

Today we got up and made breakfast for the last time before packing up the truck for our long 9 hour drive back home. Despite all the issues we had with the condo we actually had a really good time. I wish the water would have been a little clearer, but who can predict Mother Nature?

We knew we where back in Texas once we crossed over the state line and the outside temp changed to 100!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Destin, FL - Day 7

Another large mass of green algae this morning. :(

By lunch time D was able to take the rest of the day off so we tried to enjoy our last day out in the sun. That didn't last too long as we where chased in by some angry looking dark clouds, thunder and lightening.

We headed back to sit on the patio since it didn't really rain just a couple of drops.

After enjoying the rest of the afternoon we headed in for a quick shower then walked down to Pompano Joe's for one last meal out on the town.

I started out with an Emerald Coast Margarita, which was ok, but not worth $6.50. This wouldn't be such a complaint if we had our friendly waitress Kim we had the first night. Tonight's chick could care less we where there. She ignored us then got an attitude having to take our order.

We used our free appetizer for Crab Claws (sautéed in garlic oil). They where small, yet really good and as a bonus we didn't have to crack any shells!

As an entree I ordered the Amberjack sandwich. The fish was cooked well, but everything had no flavor. Even the coleslaw. I soaked up the garlic juice leftover from the crab claws and it tasted much better.

D ordered the Island Cheeseburger (Certified Angus Beef Grilled & served on a toasted bun with cheddar,lettuce, tomato & onion). One of the better burgers we had. (The folks at Cheeseburger in Paradise need to taste these to see what a real burger is supposed to taste like!)

So it comes time to pay the bill and I hand the coupon and credit card to our super annoyed waitress she sets down the paper and rings up the bill. When she comes back I tell her "I hope you took off the appetizer since the coupon is for a free one". Her response was an eye roll and a rude "I'm sorry, but we normally don't serve food at the bar". Uh well now, not my fault we sat down and even made sure it was ok seeing as how there where other people eating at the bar and we ate there on our first night. Another 5 minutes so comes back with it corrected and throws it down. My response.....$2 tip on a $30 something tab. If I wasn't so annoyed and ready to leave I would have left her a comment on the receipt!

After dinner we walked back to the condo and relaxed by taking M on a long walk. Poor baby has been stuck in the condo so she was super excited to play in the ocean and try biting the surf. We where even able to get her to sit still long enough to get some new family photos, so it was a good day.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Destin, FL - Day 6

Today started out a little like the days past with green in the water. About 9am the water started clearing up.

The puppy and I decided to go lay out while the hubby was inside working.

Every couple hours a helicopter would fly over. I assume this was in effort to keep an eye out for oil. Sometimes it looked like this one other times it was a army one with camo all over it and other times it was a coast guard one.

When the hubby got off work the water was super choppy and it looked like it was gonna try and rain. We tried to go out in the water and float on our floats but after 15 minutes of feeling like we where getting beat up by the waves we gave up and went in to shower and head out to dinner. Tonight we picked The Back Porch. We got a free appetizer coupon the other day when I signed up for Pompano Joe's email loop. The Back Porch is one of 5 sister restaurants of Pompano Joe's.

There was a 10 minute wait so we headed to the bar. I tried the Pina Colada. It was ok, but I don't think worth the $6.50 price I paid.

Next thing we knew our name was called so we headed to our table upstairs. Most all of the tables are along the back side of the restaurant so you have a good view of the ocean. We started out with the Smoked Tuna Dip. uhhh yeah it's totally not what you think, in fact it was a little nasty. I like tuna salad, but this was just plain funky. The waitress saw me taking pictures of everything and when she asked how we liked it, both my hubby and I said "uh not at all". She quickly offered to take it back and asked if we would like something else instead. Hubby had a hankering for onion rings so we settled on that.

The basket of onion rings was huge. We had so much we took home half of the basket.

For the entree I ordered the Grouper Florentine (grouper loaded with their popular crab meat and spinach stuffing, baked golden brown). We both liked this one even though we had to sprinkle a little extra seasoning on it.

He ordered the Lobster Stuffed Mahi-Mahi (Mahi-Mahi wrapped around lobster stuffing, broiled and topped with their signature lobster cream sauce). The whole fish....I'm talking sauce and all had no flavor it tasted like nothing.

We gave this place one last chance by taking home a slice of key lime pie they had on special. This was another disappointment.

My overall reaction to this place? Don't waste your time or money here. Stick to Pompano Joe's where the food is much better.

We headed back to the condo to walk the puppy on the beach and enjoy the sunset.