Japanese Cuisine Part 2

March 4, 2018 § 1 Comment

When I first moved to Houston, I had a difficult time finding quality Japanese food.  I would go to different places that had fantastic ratings or recommendations, only to be disappointed.  Some of these places even had a line with a long wait time.  I couldn’t understand why. Granted the price was low, but I still expect decent quality with places that have a line.

Coming from the Northeast, I found it was easier to find fair prices with decent quality.  If I wanted cheap sushi, and quality was not a huge factor, I could go to all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants. Generally though, I prefer the mid range, a fair price for decent quality sushi. That has not been easy to find in Houston. I’ve mostly found inexpensive with poor quality, mid range price with poor quality, pricey with great quality and extremely expensive with fantastic quality.

The first place that I came across with good quality sushi was Kata Robata.  It is not inexpensive, but it did not break the bank either.

The food is just so good here.

Texas hamachi roll: the jalepenos aren’t too spicy a good kick.

Kakuni pork belly with egg: this dish is absolutely amazing. It blows my mind every time. The pork belly is tender and flavorful.  The spinach tastes like its been cooked with delightful butter. And the egg, a delicious ooey gooey egg, heaven in every bite.

Braised octopus nigiri: It’s good.

Fois Gras nigiri: delicious. Nicely seared placed on top of the rice. Can’t go wrong.

Toro and ikura roll: nice combination of flavors with the toro, shiso and slight salty splash from the salmon roe.

Rising sun roll: delicious with a slight touch of truffle. Dreamy..

Fois gras and duck chawanmushi: Delicious steamed egg topped with flavorful fois gras. So yummy.

Yuzu marinated salmon sashimi: nice bright flavors with the yuzu. Small slices of kumquat to test your tastebuds.

Oyster mushroom skewer: I love mushrooms and this is a simple delicious way to eat it.

Chirashi: a large variety of fish. Totally worth it.  In my heart nothing can beat the chirashi from my favorite restaurant in New Jersey. But this one is pretty good.

Chicken skewers 3 ways: chicken skewers with 3 different sauces.  You will find one that you’ll like.

If I could, I would come here all the time.  I want to try everything on the menu. And then continue to eat their food over and over again.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.  I certainly enjoyed eating Kata Robata’s food.

Heather

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Japanese Cuisine in Houston Part 1

February 28, 2018 § Leave a comment

Hello Everyone!

Japanese food has grown so much in popularity. There are restaurants everywhere from all-you-can-eat to high-end omakase.

Houston has a lot to choose from.  Some are good, and some not so much. Here’s the first of a mini series starring the few that I really enjoy.

This first one was introduced to me by someone who’s spent half his life in Japan. He tells me that it is as close to authentic as you can get in Houston, especially the skewers.

Izakaya Wa

 

 

Tako Wasabi: It’s raw octopus tentacles marinated with wasabi. Spicy with a wasabi kick. If you eat it too quickly your eyes may water. I absolutely love it and get it every time.

Oysters: They are so good.  They were on their specials menu. Wanted a second order but ended up forgetting until after dessert was ordered.

Five spice roll: Delightful with some sriracha on top.

Wa Fu Futomaki: So good, would definitely order again.

Yakitori Negima: Light, flavorful, simply delicious.

Eringi: Grilled king oyster mushroom.  I already love king oyster mushrooms and it doesn’t disappoint.

Tontoro: Grilled pork belly, makes me salivate just thinking about it.

Beef udon: One of the best udon noodle soups that I have tasted. The best part about it is, most definitely, the noodles.  Fantastic springy texture.

Last but never the least, their Matcha parfait: Also a part of their specials menu. You need to drive your spoon all the way to the bottom to reach the cornflakes. This way you can get all the flavors in one delicious crispy, yet soft and creamy bite.

If you’re ever in Houston and want to try a casual yet delicious Japanese restaurant with a lot of variety, head here!

Hope you enjoy!

Heather

 

Trying Blue Apron

February 22, 2018 § Leave a comment

Delivery meal kits are getting more and more popular with an increasing number options to order from. I decided to try out Blue Apron. I received 3 meals and posted my favorite.

It is very nice to have all the ingredients delivered to you and also in perfect portions.  I hate wasting food and with this, I don’t waste any.

Blue Apron Chili

I thought it was easy to make and delicious.  I found all their recipes to be easy but the other two recipes didn’t “wow” me.  They were good and I enjoyed them but nothing, I felt like, I couldn’t figure out how to do on my own.

This chili recipe, I would make again.  And I have, with continued great results.

I generally skip the extra side of potatoes in this recipe.  Beans have protein but are also heavy on the carbohydrates so it doesn’t make sense to me to add an extra side of potatoes, even if they are tasty.

Price: it is worth it for those who don’t have time and want something easy and mostly prepped.  For me, the cost is similar to eating out.  I prefer to cook at home and have leftovers for lunch which costs less than the Blue Apron meals.

Portion: I believe they are perfect serving portions, for me at least.  I’m satisfied by the end of the meal and don’t feel hungry but am not stuffed. I clean plate, with no leftovers.  Although the portions are nice and it is considered a home cooked meal, don’t be fooled. These meals are not considered “low cal”.  Some of the other companies offer healthier options. For me, it doesn’t bother me too much as I am not trying to lose weight and am happy with the recipes.

Overall, I enjoyed it. I may try them again. I may also try other companies.  It is nice to get some variation in flavor profile. A nice surprise for my tastebuds, to cook something that is different than what I normally make.

Have you tried Blue Apron or another meal delivery kit? Which ones do you like or believe I should try?

Have a good one!

Heather

Calm Cooking with Dumplings

February 18, 2018 § 2 Comments

Hi there,

Do you ever feel the need to do something and nothing at the same time? You want to rest but don’t want to feel like a bum? There are times that I want to relax but still want to be productive. It’s during these moments that I will spend the day making something that is more time consuming. Something that I don’t need to rush. For me making dumplings is calming. I prepare the ingredients, sit in front of my T.V. and start wrapping. A mindless activity that utilizes my hands.

Maybe it is the consistent repetitive motion that I enjoy, but I believe it is important for everyone to have a calming outlet. A time to themselves. A time to re-center.

The best part of this, is that I can cook the dumplings after and take a good satisfying bite. A bite that calms my hanger.  A proud bite that tells me I did something easy yet productive.

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Between work, salsa dancing and trying to make and maintain friendships, it has been difficult to find “me” time. I’m sure I’m not the only one who needs a calming outlet.

How do you release your stress productively?
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Breathe in…Breathe out…Wrap some dumplings…

Come back soon!

Heather

Bite

Delightful Desserts

February 14, 2018 § 5 Comments

Who doesn’t like dessert? Well, I’m sure some people don’t. But I enjoy them. Valentine’s Day is here and I think everyone’s sweet tooth is going to get an exercise, if it hasn’t already.

When it comes to food, I like to try as many dishes as possible, that includes appetizers, main courses and desserts. Sharing is caring. The more people you eat with, the more you can taste. I’ve actually learned that the best number of people to eat with is 4-5. A large enough group to taste a lot of food but not so large that you can’t share or get to taste only a small bite.

I’ve shared each one of these desserts with at least one other person. It helps to share so you don’t overeat. Or at least overeat even more than you already have….

Some of the desserts pictured are from Houston and some are from Dallas.

Ginger & Fork: Ginger Parfait- light, smooth with a nice gingery kick.

Uchi: Fried Milk- delicious! I love fried milk and have never seen it in the States. This was great and the ice cream and chocolate and toasted crisp meringue.

La Table: Opera cake- so delicate with layers of chocolate and coffee and cream. Delightful,

Milk & Cream: A soft fluffy glazed donut with sweet lavender ice cream inside and fruity pebbles. A wonderful and dreamy dessert. A must share if you’ve already had a big meal.

Paciugo: Creamy gelato- I ordered the pistachio and another flavor that I cannot recall.  I enjoyed the pistachio very much.

Niwa: Panna cotta: creamy vanilla flavor with fruity coulis and matcha.

Bistro 31: Pear and mascarpone tart with amazing blueberry compote and ice cream. Yummm.

Whiskey Cake: Whiskey Cake with homemade whipped cream. Crunchy sweet pecans adding extra texture to this delicious dessert.

I hope you have a sweet day!

Heather

Sweet challenge 🙂

Dancing Prancing Dance Shoes

February 11, 2018 § Leave a comment

 

Dancing is something I’ve always enjoyed.  I’ve never gotten too good at it. Or stayed consistent even when I was young.

I remember my first ballet class. It was with my cousin, who at the time, was my partner in crime. We were attached at the hip. Class was fun because I could talk with her while all the other girls would talk to each other.  They all, somehow, already knew each other.  My cousin decided not to continue with ballet, but since dancing was something I liked doing, I continued taking the next semester of classes.  I only lasted a month or two.  I felt alone without my companion. I was shy and unable to make new friends with the other little girls.  No one made the effort to break out of their friend circles to chat with me. At the same time, I couldn’t build up the courage to speak with anyone. And so, I quit.  At times, I wish I didn’t but I understand why I chose to stop.

I didn’t end dancing there though.  In high school, I learned how to speak up and became more sociable.  I opened up and out of my shell. I joined dance groups and performed. By the time I got to college, I auditioned for a hip hop dance team and made it! I lived off of dancing. Three times a week we would start practice at 9pm and there were nights I didn’t get back to my apartment or dorm until 1-2am. There were times when I would dance so much and so hard that I couldn’t even walk for a few days due to exacerbation of a hip injury.  I absolutely loved it.  The high that came from dancing was euphoric.  Performing was an entirely different level of adrenaline. Some of the best times in college were from dancing and performing. I wouldn’t give up that time for anything.

These dance shoes are clearly not for hip hop, so when did this style of dance come in?

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These are my salsa shoes.  A cousin of mine (not the same as the one I mentioned before) took me to a salsa club one night and I took the lesson then danced all night.  Afterwards, I decided that when I got my first full time job, I would start taking lessons.  And I did just that.  I took lessons and become obsessed with dancing salsa.  I would go out on the weekends and social dance. I would take two to three classes up to four times a week.  I’ve gone through quite a few dance shoes since then.

Over all of these years, my personality has evolved, my dancing has evolved, even my dance goals have evolved, but one thing that hasn’t changed is my passion for it.

I talk about eating all the time and how much I love it. I also love dancing. I use my physical activity to enable me to eat more food. I tend to eat well most days, so I don’t feel guilty when I go out and splurge a little. Quality of life is important. I want to enjoy the good and the bad. I want to eat good food and sometimes those foods aren’t the healthiest, but I don’t feel guilty eating it.  I don’t feel guilty because I live a fairly active lifestyle. I don’t feel guilty because I have a healthy relationship with food.  I don’t feel guilty because I shouldn’t feel guilty about sometimes eating something I enjoy that may be unhealthy.

I want to promote health overall.  Health of the body and health of the mind.

Enjoy life, eat good food, dance good dances, live a good and healthy life. These are my goals.

Thank you for reading such a wordy post.

Heather

 

Korean Food in Houston

February 8, 2018 § Leave a comment

Ohn Korean Eatery

I have been exploring Houston’s food scene and have plenty of food to share. To start, Houston’s Korean food, in my opinion, is eh. No comparison to the Korean food offered in Dallas. That being said, Ohn Korean Eatery, is fantastic.

Go with friends and share the deliciousness.

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