October 23, 2021

Wanna Bao - on Bagby near Specs - Terrific Chinese Food in Midtown

 Just going by the name, I would probably have never gone here. Fortunately, friends Jenny and Jerry, knew how good it was and invited me to join them for lunch. The food here KILLS. 

I let them order, of course. And then, I asked for a copy of the receipt so that I could show you what to order when you go. At the minimum, soup dumplings. And crispy bottom bao.

Here follow, photos of a few of the dishes we inhaled on this visit.

October 12, 2021

Vida Mariscos Seafood - Way Outside the Loop in Katy

When Will first told me about this favorite of his, I knew I had to make the "road trip" out to Katy to try it. I's just off I-10 at the 99 Loop. 

Amazing. It's like being on the beach in Veracruz. An open air, seafood place, and just rocking with happy clientele. The drinks and entrees blew me away, not to sound like a PR guy for the place. On this day, the ceviche (Will says that they have more different kinds than any other place he's come across here) was terrific, and I'm a person who shies away from uncooked fish. He had a Michelada with shrimp and Serena had this cocktail with blackberries and stuff (check out the photo). 

We had grilled octopus (and I highly recommend it); Serena and I had fish soups, can't remember what Will had...but, I took a bunch of photos of the big parilladas being served elsewhere and also the made to order guacamole.

Highly recommended.

Iran - An Iranian Bakery and Grocery Store in Houston

When I posted about the fabulous garlic yogurt at the Iranian/Afghani bakery, Alvand, some Iranian friends let me know about a variation in Iran using a wild shallot to flavor the yogurt. And that is how I learned about Mast Moosir, or, Mast-O-Musir. And so, I went to a favorite store, Pas 2 Super Market on Wilcrest at Briar Forest to pick up some dried shallots.

While there, the bread making was in full operation. A rotating oven. A very very wet dough being formed on a metal peel, and then stretched to double its length when loaded into the oven, baked, sprinkled with sesame seeds and packaged. 

Pas 2, like Alvand, is a Houston treasure! I first learned of it from friend, Paul Galvani, who is mentioned elsewhere in this blog of mine.

A now, to finish this post, here is a link to 11 Persian words that will blow any of your Iranian friends away if you use them lol.

October 9, 2021

Iraq- An Iraqi Bakery in Houston (On Westheimer Near Fondren)

 After dining at the spectacular Sasaki Japanese Restaurant on Westheimer near Fondren, we decided to walk the short distance to the next little strip center to check out the Dijlah Grocery and Grill and its Dijlah Bakery. We were enthralled, watching them make and bake delicious breads, which we were to see being used as the base for a falafel sandwich with all the fixings, a meal for two, at the Dijlal Bakery next door. So, the grill had the ovens and the store with Middle Eastern goods and the bakery had sandwiches, lamb, lamaçun, etc. And the cool thing was that there wasn't a menu. The customers knew what to ask for. For us, we'd just chat with the staff or observe what others were eating when we come back to sample the food. On this day, I picked up some of the bread, some Turkish Delight and some other groceries. We'll be back soon!

October 4, 2021

Mexico - Regional Dishes - A Greg Buchold Adventure

Aguascalientes (Tablelands)
48 Green enchiladas
212 Pickled chiles and vegetables

Zacatecas (Tablelands)
138 Cabrito chile ancho

Queretero (Tablelands)
154 Seasoned veal

Guanajuato (Tablelands)
242 Caramel crepes

80 Vegetable soup with radish sauce
89 Mole de olla
114 Turkey mole poblano
118 Oregano chicken
131 Rags of mestiza eggs
136 Pork loin with tomato sauce and green pepper
148 Tinga poblana
150 Pork stuffed with chiles, chipotles, and prunes
214 Chile en nogada
216 Chiles rellenos de queso
216 Chiles anchos rellenos
236 Torrejas (fried bread)
237 Candied sweet potatoes
238 Orange polvorones
246 Royal eggs
246 Prune nougat

48 Enchiladas rojas
53 Champurado
55 Agua de horchata
84 Lentils with fruit
90 Arroz negro
96 Mole crepes
112 Chicken mountain herbs
117 Chicken mole pipian
123 Manchamanteles
124 eggs Oaxaquenos
126 Festive Chicken
131 Tomatillo eggs
132 Picadillo
134 Pork leg adobo
137 Albondigas
141 Beef stew
144 Yellow amarillo mole
144 Mole colaradito
174 Crab and cactus paddle cocktail
178 Dried shrimp potatoes
200 Salsa endablada
210 zucchini and corn
210 zucchini and cauliflower fried in batter
230 Mamey or peach cake
236 Almond cake
236 Egg bread

Morelos (Central)
91 Green rice with poblano strips
206 chayote salad
210 potato patties

Tlaxcala (Central)
79 Squash blossom soup
87 Tamale pie
123 eggs and poblanos in cazuelitas

Hidalgo (Central)
79 Pecan soup with chipotle
142 Barbacoa
240 Almond gelatin

Estado de Mexico (Central)
41 Enfrijoladas
44 tostadas ceviche
86 black bean soup
128 eggs with chorizo
208 chard potatoes chorizo
210 mushrooms epazote

Districto Federal/CDMX (Central)
51 Chicken tamales verde
74 cilantro soup
75 huitlacoche soup
80 oyster chipotle soup
83 Tlalpeno soup
84 chard soup
87 chile poblano almond soup
91 Aztec casserole
93 chorizo fideos
95 zucchini pudding
96 huitlacoche crepes poblano
114 chicken peanut sauce
122 pistachio mole
124 chicken parsley sauce
139 steak and onions
146 pot roast with bacon
149 ground meat casserole
150 ropa vieja
174 lobster salad with guava
186 dried cod Mexican style
203 ancho chile salad with cheese
204 Rosaura salad
205 cactus and jicama salad
207 escabeche vegetables
214 chile strips in cream
216 chile rellenos picadillo
240 coffee gelatin
244 tequila mousse

Guerero (Western)
40 masa sopes
50 tamales in banana leaves
54 fruit punch
55 agua jamaica
56 jicama with pineapple
70 chilatole soup
76 zucchini soup
88 posole
93 rice costeno
109 butterfly quail
119 duck breasts plum sauce
124 chicken chipotle
142 filet adobado
168 marinated fish strips
170 fish filets baked in foil, tomatoes, cilantro, red onions
172 red snapper parsley cream
173 grilled red snapper
175 cold red snapper
180 garlic shrimp
181 shrimp escabeche
182 fish almondrado
198 chile costena
201 guajillo chile sauce
205 spinach salad with jamaica dressing
208 new potatoes with garlic
213 chiles rellenos stuffed with tuna
229 tres leches
243 meringue with mango and soft custard
249 ice cream cake with caramel sauce

October 2, 2021

Exploring Chinatown- A Michael Shum Adventure

“ We decided to have some fun and make it an adventure in Chinatown.

First stop, beverages! We picked up the Soy Bean Milk at Bao Shi Yi  Bun House 包十一i. The menu and its presentation have been reworked. The place is quite lively in the morning I was so happy to see a big Hispanic family enjoying their meal here, eating traditional Chinese breakfast items. I’m calling the Soy Bean Milk here the best I had in Houston. The texture is thick and silky smooth, aromatic, and tasty. We got the no sugar hot option, it’s perfectly sweet already on its own. 

Next stop we got a hot Sea Salt Coffee at 85C Bakery Cafe and picked up Hokkaido Chiffon Cup for dessert later. With 2 types of hot beverages to fuel our morning, we continue on our adventure.

Tous Les Jours is close by, located inside of Hmart Supermarket. This Korean Bakery has some of the best French bread and pastries in Houston, beating some bakeries that specialize in French baked goods. We get a couple of pastries that we can eat right away. The Pain Aux Raisins is the best in Houston. There I go again, boldly making that statement. Very few places make this pastry, Magnol has it on some occasions, but this little Korean bakery with imported ingredients and recipe from their Korean headquarter is better in our opinion. They ran out of Plain Croissant, so I got a Cocoa Hazelnut Croissant instead. Again, I’m gonna call it the best Cocoa Hazelnut Croissant in Houston, because the sweetness is perfect, the Croissant retains its form, and the filling is not overstuffed. I highly recommend Tous Les Jours for French Pastries.

Of course, we have to go to our favorite Chinese bakery in Dun Huang Plaza. King Bakery specializes in Cantonese or Hong Kong-style Pastries. We prefer the Egg Tarts here because the Custard is less runny and less sweet, resembles more of that we find in Asia. The Pineapple Buns, Boh Loh Baau, or Chinese Concha as I call it, are a must here, and also best in town. The reason it’s called Pineapple Buns is the top layer of checkered Sugar Cookie Crust that looks like the epicarp of a Pineapple. They come in 3 versions, plain with no fillings, Milk Powder, and Milk Custard Fillings. If people buy the plain version, they usually split the bun and stuff a thick pad of Butter in the middle, perfect with a cup of hot Yin Yeung, a Cantonese drink composed of a mixture of coffee and milk tea. We get the Pineapple Buns with Milk Powder and Custard fillings, and a Cantonese Pig in a Blanket Bun.

The final stop before picking up father-in-law is to procure our lunch. At the request of the old man, we got Vietnamese Sandwiches, Banh Mi, at yet another of our favorite places, Nguyen Ngo French Cafe. Father-in-law likes the giant Croissant instead of Baguette because it’s easier to chew for him. He got his with Pate and Jambo. Vanessa likes the Baguette, and hers is with Pate and Saucisson. I went with my usual House Special, Dac Biet, with Pate, Shredded Chicken, and Jambon. The secret ingredient here is their Butter and Mayo spread. Any sandwiches are simply elevated with their proprietary blend of Butter and Mayo. 

As many friends have stated, there are so many choices in Houston Chinatown that seems overwhelming at times. I’m sharing our morning adventure here to use a loose guide on what you might like. I don’t know if there’s a motto for Houstonians who love to stay in this city, but I will say, 

“Keep Houston Diverse!”