Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Marriott Residence Inn


We recently had a major renovation done at our house. I say renovation, but it’s more like replacing the plumbing for half of my house because of an installation problem when they built our house 3 years ago. Anyway we had to move out of our house for 3 weeks and when looking for a hotel we tried to find one that felt a little more like a home then a cheesy hotel room. We found a Marriott Residence Inn near by.

Here’s a tour of the room. I have to say it was really laid out nicely.


Breakfast was always a nice surprise. They had the staples of make your own Texas shaped waffles, yogurt, yogurt parfaits, oatmeal with topping bar, choices of breads and bagels, cereal, fresh cut fruit, whole fruit, eggs, chocolate muffins and blueberry muffins. Then every morning they try to change it up by offering a specialty item such as breakfast burritos, eggs Florentine, egg sandwiches and more.  For drinks there’s, orange juice, cranberry juice, apple juice, milk and water. Overall I really enjoyed the variety and how they change up the specialty dishes everyday.

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Monday thru Thursday from 5:30pm to 7:30pm they offer what they call a evening social which includes complimentary beer, wine and appetizers which has a different theme everyday. This is a nice added bonus if you’re on a budget and in need of a cheap dinner option. I was surprised at how many options they have, usually always a cheese platter, and at least 3 different options. Here’s a sample of what they had one day:

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Overall I really liked this hotel and can’t wait to stay at another location. Be sure you check their site and sign up for their rewards card. 


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Eddie V’s

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Eddie V’s was recommend to us by several people so I knew this was a place I had to try. We tried to go Thursday night at 6:30pm but without a reservation they where booked solid until 8:30pm. We decided to head somewhere else and come back today making an early reservation at 5:30pm. This restaurant originally started out in Austin, Texas then quickly spread and now has 2 sister restaurants as well. Each location features a few tweaks to the menu making it fit the region with fresh seafood and flavor. 

My first impression of walking in felt like I was in a New York night club. I love the decor my only complaint was it was a little too dark. The waiters do have flashlights to highlight things on the menu as well as show the bottle of wine when it arrives at your table. Loved the bread they serve you as you wait, but why oh why can’t they cut the slices all the way through?? I also hate that the butter is hard as a rock.

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We started out with Chef Bill’s Sashimi Tasting (Pristine and Impeccably Fresh, Prepared to Your Order Served with traditional Garnishes of Soy, Ginger and Wasabi $Market - $21.90) I didn’t really think it was worth it, but the fish was super fresh. Our waiter Chuck informed us that they get fresh fish in daily unlike other restaurants that get 1 or 2 shipments in a week. The highlight was the house made pickled cucumber and the house made ginger. I’m not a ginger person, but I’m glad I tried this because it was really really good.

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We also decided to  try the Maine Lobster and Shrimp Bisque (Fresh Maine Lobster, Cream and Cognac) $7.90 This bisque might not appeal to everyone as most places have a thicker cream base. Eddie V’s sticks with the traditional thinner bisque which highlights the natural flavors with the Cognac. I thought is was delicious except the guy with the pepper grinder got carried away and added too much.

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My hubby and I are huge fans of sea base, so I was excited to see they had 2 different options of the fish. I picked the Chilean Sea Bass (Roasted Crisp Lemon-White Wine Broth with Garlic and Scallions) $ Market - $33.90. All I can say is WOW. The chef here knows how to cook fish. The portions are 8 ounces of fish and very flaky. The sauce you don’t really taste with the fish. Usually you’ll see heavy cream sauces paired with fish so they can A mask the taste of the fish or B coat the fish so you can taste it. The best way to taste this sauce is soaking the bread in it, so yummy!

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D picked the Chilean Sea Bass (Steamed “Hong Kong” Style Light Soy-Sherry Broth and Sesame Spinach) $ Market - $33.90. Usually this bass is steamed which makes it a “Hong Kong” style and not flaky. We opted to have the bass cooked the same as mine which is pan seared and finished in the oven. One of our favorite version of sea bass is at McCormick and Schmick’s Chilean Sea Bass Miso Broth, Udon Noodles, Stir Fry Vegetables. We both have to say that this dish just bumped up the list above McCormick’s! I love how the Asian flavors really marry so well with this fish.

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We where really wanting to try the Truffled Macaroni and Cheese $7.90, but after all the food we had we didn’t want to over stuff ourselves. Chuck suggested we at least order a half portion which isn’t  listed on the menu (This is a good tip to ask if they offer half portions if you want to try a couple of items and even better when it’s half the price!). I honestly could eat a huge bowl of this macaroni! It really brought us back to Italy with the truffle oil used in the dish. There’s a huge difference in flavor when people use “truffled infused olive oil” and “truffled olive oil”.

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We where going to pass on dessert, but couldn’t resist the featured dessert of the evening which was Bananas Foster Cake Flambé Table Side, Home Made Butter Pecan Ice Cream and Whipped Cream $7.90. Another dish that blew me away. I loved the ice cream and I loved the way they incorporated a flambé into  a cake, making it more different and appealing then a typical banana flambé.

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Over all I would definitely be coming back here. The prices may seem a little high for some people, but the freshness of the fish and attention to detail won’t be a disappointment. Don’t forget to ask about half portions of their side dishes and be sure to check out their site for promotions going on and also sign up for their rewards card.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Las Alamedas

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Las Alamedas used to be a well known restaurant in Houston and I haven’t been there in a really really long time. They moved their location to Katy this past year and we thought we would see if it was as good as their reputation leads to. At first glance their menu seems to be a little more upscale and higher priced then most Mexican restaurants. They do have a happy hour so if you want to test the waters that would be a good time to try them.

We happened to go at lunch time since the prices are a little cheaper then dinner. They have a really nice patio outside, but the weather was a little warmer then we would have liked to sit out there. The initial impression that I got walking in seemed to be a very upscale establishment and the waiters have an almost attitude that you should be so lucky to have them serve you your meal.

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Upon sitting down we where each given our own cup of salsa. I have to say it was tasty and served warm.

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We wanted to try their margaritas so we got one frozen and one on the rocks. Shockingly they tasted the same. Sometimes you get a more watered down version when they are frozen.

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Since they didn’t offer a fajita platter for 2 we got one plate of chicken and one of beef. The Fajitas de Pollo $15 (Marinated chicken fajitas, with onions and poblano slices. Guacamole, pico de gallo, charro beans, sour cream and flour or corn tortillas) was really good and very tender.

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The Fajita Prime Sliced $16 (Mesquite grilled, sliced with onions and poblano peppers, served with guacamole, pico de gallo, charro beans and fresh hot flour tortillas) was also very good and tender. 

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Overall I would go back the quality is really good even though the prices seem high.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

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

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The last time we where here was back in November (Click HERE for details). We originally wanted to eat at Eddie V’s, but at 6:30pm they where booked solid until 8:30pm so we headed next door for McCormick's. McCormick & Schmick’s is never a let down when we go.

We started out with the Spicy Tuna Roll $8.50. Yummy!! This is one of our favorite rolls, and I have to say one of the freshest and cleanest taste we have had.

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We also split a bowl of Crab Bisque $7.90. They pour the bisque table side in a bowl of rice swirled with a balsamic reduction. I really enjoyed the reduction that gave the bisque a distinctive taste much like the traditional bisque which use Cognac. 

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D ordered the Chilean Sea Bass $32.90 with a Miso Broth, Udon Noodles and Stir Fry Vegetables which is his new favorite. Of course it was just as good as last time.

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I went with the Atlantic Salmon Stuffed with Blue Crab, Bay Shrimp, Brie Cheese $25.90. We both agreed it was a fantastic dish. I was worried the brie would be over powering, but they had a really nice balance that showcased the salmon and crab. This has to be one of the freshest tasting salmon I’ve had in a long time. I didn’t enjoy the green beans and I did let the manager know, but he informed me that the chef likes to cook them al dente, but they where not cooked like that they where WAY under cooked.

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For dessert we chose a Classic Vanilla Bean Crème Brulée $6.25. Not one the best we ever had, but delivered on being a basic Brulée.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Taqueria Arandas (I-10 and Mason location)

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We’ve passed by Taqueria Arandas 100 times and have always wanted to try this place out.

Outside looks ok the inside is another story. Not the cleanest place we have been too.

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The salsa tasted like something that could be home made, but bland non the less.

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We ordered a margarita and it didn’t taste like anything except lime juice frozen.

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As with most Mexican restaurants we always judge them by the salsa, margarita and fajitas. The first 2 where a miss so we had hopes the fajitas where better. Fajitas for 2 $20.99 (Sizzling chicken or beef fajitas served with onions, rice, bell pepper, charro beans, guacamole, grilled jalapeño, pico de gallo and tortillas) we paid extra for the sour cream and cheese, but it was nice to have the option of white or yellow cheese haha. The chicken was good and tender, but the beef had a really funky flavor and was chewy.

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Would I go back? Umm no, it’s dirty inside, the salsa was ehh, the margarita was like a juice box and the fajitas weren’t good. The only thing that was good was the waitress was really nice and I saw her use the hand sanitizer a lot, which makes me wonder…..

Friday, February 11, 2011

Babin’s Seafood House

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Babin’s is part of the chain restaurants Landry’s owns. If you have been to a Pappa’s restaurant then you’ll enjoy this place. They have a New Orleans feel as you walk in which makes you feel like you’re walking in Pat O’Briens.

We kicked off our meal with a hurricane. The bar menu has happy hour prices and some tasty looking items on their menu, but they don’t carry over to the main dining room. Also if they ask if you want a hurricane on the rocks or frozen, the frozen is the one 1/2 off for happy hour. We learned that after paying $8 for a regular hurricane.

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The great thing about this restaurant is the waiter will give you a little booklet stand which shows all of the fresh fish they have on hand for the day and as you flip through the booklet you can read about the fish as well.

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There’s also a board that gives you the fresh of the day and daily special. I really appreciated that which took the guess work on prices.

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While you wait they bring you fresh bread and butter to snack on.

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We couldn’t decide between the gumbo and bisque, so we went with a small bowl of the Crab Bisque $5.99 the waiter recommended. OMG was this the most creamiest and yummy cup of soup ever. I could have eaten a huge bowl of this.

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We also started off with  an order of crab cakes as well. For $11.99 I don’t think it was really worth it for 3. The sauce is really good and the crab cakes are meaty, but still over priced.

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I ordered the Babin’s Mixed Grill (Our featured fish – Tilapia that day – topped with lemon butter and crawfish, blackened oysters, stuffed shrimp, broiled shrimp, scallops and a crab cake. Served with a broiled fresh veggie skewer and dirty rice. Choice of Tossed, Caesar or Greek salad.) $22.99. First off wow this is a lot of food. My salad choice was Caesar, which didn’t taste like anything. The blackened tilapia on the other hand was delicious. The oysters where hit and miss there where 4 on my plate, 2 where gritty and dirty tasting the other 2 where excellent. My only complaint with the dish is I wished the veggies where cooked more, they where basically raw with a 2 second char mark on them.

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D ordered the Golden Tile fish from the Fish Market list on the chalkboard $21.99 served with 2 sides (he chose Caesar salad and Stuffed Potato) the topped the fish with Jumbo Lump Crab with capers and lemon butter sauce $5.99. Totally loved the Golden Tile fish! The Sauce really worked well with the choice of fish and you couldn’t have asked for anything better! We each got our fish blackened which gave it more spice, but didn’t overpower the dish.

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I can’t wait to visit this place again. If you go be sure to take advantage of their happy hour discounts to try some of their dishes while having a cocktail. You won’t be disappointed here!

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