April 19, 2021

Fried Chicken - Houston

Fried Chicken Houston – May 2021 – Houston Foodie Friends Recommendations

#1 Chicken – 4621 Almeda
Al Aseel Grill & Café – 8619 Richmond
Alice Blue – 250 W. 19th Street
Barbecue Inn – 116 W Crosstimbers
BB.Q Chicken Katy – 1519 S. Mason Road
Bonchon Korean Chicken
Breakfast Klub – 3711 Travis
Buffalo Grill – 4080 Bissonnet
Chicken Plus – 6210 N Wayside Drive
Choong Man Chicken – 1927 Gessner
Cleburne Cafeteria – 3606 Bissonnet
Dak & Bop 18th – 1805 W 18th Street
Frenchy’s Chicken – Multiple Locations
Goode Company Armadillo Headquarters -
Grace’s – 3111 Kirby
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken – 1815 Washington Avenue
Himalaya Restaurant – 6652 Southwest Freeway
Hotsome Chicken – 10020 Long Point Road
Jollibee – Multiple Locations
Jupiter Pizza and Waffle (Sugarland) – 16135 City Walk
Krisp Korean Fried Chicken = 9486 Long Point Road
La Lucha – 1801 N. Shepherd Drive
Loch Bar Seafood – 4444 Westheimer
Lucille’s Fried Chicken – 5512 La Branch
Max’s Wine Dive – Multiple Locations
Mico’s Hot Chicken – 1603 N. Durham
Soho Korean Fried Chicken – 9393 Bellaire Boulevard 
State Fare (Sugarland) – 15930 City Walk
Toreore – H-Mart – 1302 Blalock

Fried Chicken Houston - May 2021 - Chowdown in Chinatown Recommendations

BB.Q Chicken - 1519 S. Mason Road and 8383 Westheimer 
Choong Man Chicken - 1927 Gessner Road
Dak & Bop - 1805 W. 18th Street
Dream Wings
Fire Wings - 8401 Westheimer
Hoodadak - 
Hotsome Chicken - 10002 Long Point Road
House of Bowls
KRISP - 9486 Long Point Road
Seoulside Wings - 10090 Long Point Road
Soho - 9393 Bellaire Boulevard
Sticky's Chicken - 

Jay's Current Favorite - Cookshack - 4015 Washington Avenue

January 1, 2021

Tex Mex - The Greatest Combo Plate in Texas - El Ranchero in La Porte

Is it possible? I'm tempted to call this the greatest Tex Mex combo plate in Texas. But there are too many restaurants vying for that title. So, if I call it the 2nd greatest combo plate in Texas, I'm probably safe. But seriously, it was perfect. Big scoop of delicious guacamole. 

Perfectly realized Mexican rice (with just the right hint of cumin). Excellent frijoles refritos (made with manteca). A mild and perfectly seasoned chili gravy covering cheesy enchiladas. 

And, as you'll see from the photos, they make their own leche quemada, and it is chock full of pecans. 

Highly recommended. It's worth the road trip. You can have fun visiting all of the antique shops on Main Street and then having your terrific Tex Mex lunch.

2nd Hand Stores - My Favorite 2nd Hand Stores in Houston

The Google Map (Click on any of these in the sidebar to get full address)

Favorite 2nd Hand Stores in Houston

Screenshot of the map:

Ramen - Houston (Japanese Style Ramen and a Few Others)

Several food groups write about and recommend places for great Ramen in Houston. 

On Facebook, there is the Ramen In Common group and also the Chow Down in Chinatown group. If you are on Facebook, be sure to ask to join both groups.

Here are recommendations from the groups:

Ichiro Sapporo Ramen (recommended by food explorer, Michael Shum)
Jinya Ramen Bar (now in Mid Town and other locations)
Kata Robata
Ninja Ramen
Rakka Ramen
Ramen Bar Ichi
Ramen Okidoki
Ramen Tatsu-Ya
Samurai Noodle
Shin Jin (in Cypress Fairbanks)
Shokku Ramen (soon to open in the Woodland Heights on Studewood)
Tamashi Ramen
3 Little Pigs for shoyu ramen (Katy)
Tiger Den

Hot Pot in Houston - Chinese and Vietnamese and Korean Hot Pot Restaurant Recommendations

A. Chiba Hot Pot

12426 FM 1960 W

B. Chongqing Chicken Pot

9393 Bellaire Blvd.

C. Happy Lamb 

5901 Westheimer and 8848 Bellaire Blvd.

D. Hot Pot City (one of my all time favorites!)

8300 W Sam Houston Pkwy.

E. Karp Asian Bistro 

1223 Grand West Blvd (Katy)

F. Malubian Hot Pot

9102 Bellaire Blvd.

G. Niu Jiao Jian Hot Pot

9715 Bellaire Blvd.

H. One Hot Pot and Grill

12148 Bellaire Blvd.

I. Shabu House

9889 Bellaire Blvd.

J. Shabu Squared

5840 W Sam Houston Pkwy.

K. Shabu Zone Hot Pot Restaurant

11201 Bellaire Blvd.

L. Sinh Sinh

9788 Bellaire Blvd.

M. Tan Tan

6816 Ranchester

N. Tasty Point

9110 Bellaire Blvd.

O. Tasty Pot Hot Pot (Taiwanese)

9328 Bellaire Blvd.

P. XiaoLongKan Chinese Hot Pot

9600 Bellaire Blvd.

MDK Noodles - My Yung Dong Korean Restaurant - A Michael Shum Discovery

This has quickly become one of Michael and my favorite places for lunch. I was able to introduce it to my wife recently. Along with the absolutely wonderful fried dumplings, I can recommend their signature dish, the knife cut noodle soup (long noodles, chicken broth, a few dumplings, and topped with ground pork). She had the bulgogi as an entree, originally tempted to maybe try the bulgogi pancake or the kimchi pancake. You really can't go wrong with anything on the menu here.

The kimchi is so fresh tasting and not overly fermented.

Chicken Fried Steak - Recommendations

A request went out recently for chicken fried steak recommendations in Houston (and the greater Houston area) and here were the responses:

Barbecue Inn (on Crosstimbers)

Barking Pig

Carriage House

Hay Merchant

Hickory Hollow (now only on Fallbrook; though, I've had really tough and gristle laden steaks there at times)

Hughies (in the Heights)

Jay's Cafe (in Needville; a personal favorite of mine)

Jax Bar and Grill (on Shepherd)

Killen's (the new one on Heights Blvd.)

La Lucha (in the Heights)

Lola (in the Heights)Mel's Country Cafe (up in Tomball)

Mia's Table (got a lot of recommendations)

Ouisie's Table

Preslee's Southern Cooking (in the Heights)

Puffabelly's (in Old Town Spring)

Rainbow Lodge (on Sunday nights)

The Branch (in Spring Branch)

For me, one of my favorite places for chicken fried steak is in Moulton, Texas, at Kloesel's Steakhouse. I've never experienced a steak there with the gristle or tough bits that one is prone to find in a steak at other places. It's always been terrific. And, coming with a soup, salad, and side, it is a bargain. Here are some photos.

Northern Pasta - Chinese Dumplings - A Michael Shum Discovery

 Friend Michael Shum writes: "

Dumplings are Northern China’s specialty. A friend from Beijing highly recommends this place that specializes in Northern Cuisine, especially Dumplings.

I wanted to try their Fennel Pork Dumplings, but they ran out. I picked my second choice which is the Mackerel Dumplings. I think this is the first time I’ve tried authentic Northern-style Dumplings. It’s so good that my Northerner friend says she doesn’t even need her Mom to homemade it for her.
The casing or skin is what stands out to me, different than other Dumpling skin I’ve tried before. It’s way smoother and delicate, instead of doughy and chewy. The stuffing has just the right amount of flavors, breaks apart nicely when bitten, and is moist and juicy. I’m quite impressed by the quality of the dumpling. Even after finishing a full order, I think I can still eat another full order.
My friend also told me that skin that is too chewy and doughy is harder to digest and make people feel stuffy; that’s why this type of smooth delicate skin is preferable to the Northerners.
The language barrier might be an issue here. They have a great website northernpasta.com that shows all the menu items under “order online”, but the online ordering service is not available now.
I’m a fan of Bao Shi Yi on Bellaire, and Northern Pasta is a worthy contemporary and counterpart dumpling restaurant. I will definitely visit frequently to try out all the Dumpling options they have and move on to Bao and Breakfast Item. Soy Bean Milk that is unsweetened is also very good, it’s a drink I usually order if the restaurant makes them in-house.
All in all, I’m happy that Houston provides a large selection of authentic Chinese cuisine, in addition to the more assessable Chinese American food. Despite the challenges and difficulties we Houstonians go through, this city is still very awesome to me."

Note from Jay Francis: There is an app that I have downloaded but have yet to try that reads the Chinese characters and posts a translation and a photo of the food dish. It is called Waygo and costs $12 in the Apple App Store.

Hempstead, Texas - A Road Trip "Way Outside the Loop"

 My road trip to Hempstead, Texas, a short drive out west of Houston on 290 and a fun half-day trip. Cause sometimes you just gotta drive somewhere, right?

It was time to pick up some new blue jeans and that meant an excuse to go to the VF Outlet in Hempstead. JanSport, Nautica, Wrangler, Lee, and other brands of clothing under the VF Corporation banner at really incredible prices.

So I decided to explore Hempstead a little today for this and that.

My first stop was to check out a barbecue place that, in the past, had always been sold out by the time I was passing through the area. I was able to confirm that they'd be open at 11 for sure. So on my way over there I see a meat market called Killian's and I pop in to buy some locally produced, smoked sausages, jerky, and bacon.

The next stop was the downtown McDonald's. I'd posted about this before as on several occasions I've had really spectacular coffee there. Leading me to wonder if Hempstead municipal water is perfect for brewing coffee or if McDonald's does some filtering of the water for their location. I still don't know, as the staff at the McD couldn't tell me.

Like Water for Coffee - Hempstead

My next stop was also on Main Street. The Breakfast Paradise interior is like an old 50's small town café. Which it is lol. 

I had a coffee and a couple of pancakes and some locals recommended Erick's Mexican Restaurant when I asked them what their favorite Mexican restaurant was. It was starting to look like I'd be doing some tasting at several places around town and doggie bagging the rest. 

VF Outlet was closed! Closed up tight. No longer open. I'll miss it.

I drove out to take some photos at Frazier's Concrete Heaven, the famous place for statuary of every kind imaginable and a Hempstead landmark. 

But first a stop at the other Hempstead landmark, Dilorio's Fruit and Vegetable Market. Hempstead is famous for its watermelons. Especially one called the Black Diamond. Dilorio's did not disappoint and I picked up bags of fresh produce. 

With some time to kill before lunch at 11, I drove over to Chappell Hill, but everything was closed on Main Street, it being the middle of the week. Chappell Hill Sausage Company was open but I didn't grab any on this trip.

Back to Hempstead, to the main event at First Class Barbecue, to pick up a 1/2 pound of brisket and sample their house special chopped brisket sandwich topped with macaroni and cheese!

And then, another stop at Killian's to pick up a 1/2 pound of their brisket.

And on to lunch at Erick's. I had the cheese enchilada lunch plate with rice and beans and it was classic Tex Mex. 

Across the street from them is a pretty decent resale shop. I didn't find anything today but it's always fun to look. 'Cause you never know...

And then, back to Houston. I had left a around 8 and was back by 2. With a trunk full of 'cue and sausage. Hempstead is a cool little town. A little bit under the radar. There's a Hempstead Fried Chicken place I haven't tried. And there's a Brookshire Brothers Grocery where you can pick up their well respected fried chicken or a bad of their seasoned flour to make your own at home. I also ended up at the Hempstead Walmart, which is where I found my blue jeans!