Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy, happy, Poscol!!!.......Kiss, Kiss....

...with a great big HOUR after happy. Ya gotta check this out!!!!

I love Vinoteca Poscol, it is friendly, accommdating, everything a great neighborhood restaurant should be. I know the word has gotten out about Poscol that extends past the confines of lower Westheimer, but that hasn't spoiled the cozy joie de vivre of the the place. A big ol' kiss to you, Poscol.

The happy hour is from 5-7 and yes, it made me happy, because you get a 3 oz glass of wine of their choosing for $2 and some tasty toasty appitizers for $1.

I believe the Italians call them cicchetti. I had six different ones.

Each one had it's own flare for the dramatic. There was egg salad with chopped asparagus, shrimp salad with chopped celery and red pepper, pork shoulder (coppa) on a top of Roviola Bosina cheese (it taste like rich creamy butter), the blueberry-eggplant-roasted pinons tapenade fresh and tasty as tapenade can be, and a real change of pace carrot and parsnip with a hint of ginger and cloves. And folks this is just their happy hour, their main dishes are excellent as well. One of my favorites is their Chicken Cacciatore and they have wonderful salads, daily specials and other nibblies.

Poscol is in a strip center almost at the corner of Mandel and Westheimer.
Vinoteca Poscol
1609 Wesheimer
Houston, TX 77006

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I'll see you at the Turkey and Dressing place...

...which is Cleburnes, of course. The best Turkey and (cornbread) Dressing in Houston, bar none, year round!!!! And the cranberry sauce is made on the premises with whole cranberries.
Look at that Turkey and Dressing. Yes!!!!
Grab a tray and take a walk down the line with me.

They do have other things, which are very good and well prepared, but I got the Turkey and Dressing call and just had to have it!!

I got a call from friend Barb, all she said was Turkey and Dressing at 1. I'll be there, I said. Then I remembered I had said no car today, so I allowed a little more time and road my bike. That made eating the Turkey and Dressing even more enjoyable, knowing I would be burning off five or six of the 10,000 calories I was about to imbibe, so I threw some chocolate cream pie on my tray for good measure. It was hard to pick from the homemade pies, puddings and cakes that Cleburnes make, but I managed,  Oh my!!!
These cakes are made fresh with whole ingredients and could easier feed a village.

They have lovely salads, too. One of my favorites is the Greek Salad. Ooppaaa!!!

Cleburne's Cafeteria
Established in 1941
3606 Bissonnet
Houston, TX 77005
Some facts, Cleburne's was written up in the New York Times food section. They said some dandy things about this cafeteria. All the painting on the wall were painted by the original owner Nick Miekelis. They are closed Saturdays, but open the other six days of the week.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Free Stern and House Fried Rice to gooooo.....

....if you please.

It wasn't Saturday, but there David and I were at Bamboo House, having a Tasty Lunch. We usually go on a Saturday, but I was craving Chinese food, so it was Thursday, instead of Saturday.  David ordered his usual chicken egg rolls to eat in the restaurant and the house friend rice to take home for microwaving later for dinner. David finds these egg rolls quite satisfactory.

Just a side note, David is an excellent shopper, he really likes the writings of Christopher Hitchens and he thinks the movie "Eyes Wide Shut" by one of his idols, Stanley Kubrick is brilliant. Oh, and he is is fond of Howard Stern.

So,  I had the Spicy Chicken, prepared not so spicy per my request, but still with plenty of flavor, served with brown rice, got to get my whole grains in when I can. I like the Bamboo House, it is quiet, with classical music playing over the PA. The decor is modern, warm earth tones, with tables and booth seating. The food is freshly prepared with quality ingredients.
Bamboo House
540 Waugh Drive
Houston, TX 77019

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Nice buns, Hubcap!!!!.....

Yesterday, I tried a new place, the Hubcap Grill, the one in the Heights, there may be one downtown. They have burgers, fries and beer, with sodas and bottled water thrown in for good measure. The day was perfect for trying out this burger place. Blue skies, low humidity, mild temperature and plenty of sunshine.

This is some good burger. Lean ground beef on a bun that is real. The bun is important, because if it is too soft, the burger gets sloppy and it's had to pick it up, if it is too hard, well it falls a part and you can't pick up your burger, I think you see where I'm going with this. Great bun!!

There are specialty burgers and fries to choose from.  I opted for a chili onion burger and regular fries. A good choice, indeed. The chili had good flavor that didn't overpower the burger. The fries were skin on fresh.

The patio area is huge and I'm sure quite the party place.

You step up to the window and place your order. It is all very friendly. They call out your number on the PA system, loud and clear.

The jukebox has good speakers with a great selection of blues and rock n' roll. A $1 will get you four tunes. 

And beers, lots of beers. I had a St. Arnold Amber, just keeping it local.

This is worth the trip to 1133 W. 19th street.
Hubcap Grill
1133 W. 19th Street
Houston, TX 77008

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Quinoa O-Rings and Chicken Tenders, oh my.....

This is for all my gluten-free friends, who want some fried food in their lives. The Quinoa batter (is actually deconstructed batter, the anti-batter so to speak) is the same for both the onion rings and the chicken.
Here goes:
Quninoa Onion Rings and Chicken Tenders
1 egg
1 cup chicken broth
1.5 cups Quinoa Flour (Maybe two cups)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon grey salt (any salt will be okay)
1/2 red pepper (more if you want a little more of a kick)
1 med. onion (sliced in 1/4" slices)
1lb Buddy's Chicken Breast Tenders
1.5 cups Canola Oil (or until it covers the bottom of your skillet with about 1/8" of oil)
1 Med. Sized Brown Paper Bag
Canola oil

The biggest decision that you will need to make is which thing you want to cook first, the O-rings or the Chicken tenders.
In a swallow bowl, put the egg and the chicken broth, beat until blended.

In the brown bag put the Quinoa Flour, Ginger, Red Pepper, Salt, grab the top of the bag, make sure it is securely closed and shake the ingredients together.

Heat your oil in at least a 10" skillet on high.
Take the onions, put a hand full in the egg mixture, cover them with the egg, then put them in the bag. (If you want a thicker coating, repeat the egg and the flour sequence) Pull the onions out of the bag and put them in the hot oil. Make sure there is room around each onion ring. When the onions are brown on the bottom side, flip them over.
O-Rings Cooking

When brown on both sides take them out, place them on a plate with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
When you are finished with the onions, do the same steps with the chicken tenders. In regard to the chicken tenders, I don't feel they need a double dipping.
Chicken Tenders cooking

I have to tell you, that these are the best O-Rings, they are crispy on the outside with tender onions on the inside.
The chicken tenders are perfect for dipping in any kind of sauce that you choose and tender, tasty, too.
O-Rings on the Left, Chicken Tenders on the Right.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Playing in the dirt is clean fun....

All the plants on the shelves and on the lower part of the cart are on sale for $1. The two smaller vegetable plants are on sell 2 for $1 (tomato and red bell pepper)

....with inexpensive, on sale right now, plants from the Houston Garden Center 18th and 610 Loop. I went with my friend Barb and had a BLAST!!!! I spent a total of $4.57 and had two hours of gardening bliss. It was a great way to spend the afternoon.
A butterfly leaving the scene.

A big bee having some nectar and spreading the pollen.

 I also saw beautiful butterflies and honey bees flitting around the citrus trees. Oh and citrus trees are on sell as well for $17 a piece.
Just being around all the color and live plants gave me a big burst of energy. I couldn't wait to get home and put the Impatients, Marigolds and Red Bell Pepper in my garden. It took a little bit of time, because I had to dig up a few roots and add some more soil, but it was time well spent and oh, so much fun. I am still digging dirt out from under my finger nails, which I love, because it reminds me of my garden!!!!
Red Bell Pepper plant. I transplanted it to a bigger pot. I'm not sure where it needs to go in my garden.

Marigolds. Love this color. It mixes well with the pinks, purples and magentas of the other flowers.

Impatients, oh how I enjoy watching you grow.

This was a bunch of fun and made such a positive impact on my day. Who knew that playing in the dirt could be such clean fun!!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The brain on Valentine's Day....

No this probably isn't what you expected, no sugary treats, no sappy poems, no sweetheart in the wings (dagnabbit), just me and my brain having a special day. The car and TV were off limits.
NO TV!!!!!!
NO CAR!!!!!

If I wanted to get somewhere I either had to walk or ride my bike. Ride my bike I did, right downtown to the Sundance Cinema!!! Spinning wheels, sprockets and all. My hair went wild from the bike's forward motion, the sun warmed my back, there was some burning in my legs, so I did coast from time to time.

I treated my brain to some food that is healthy for it. Sushi. I stopped at the Bluefish Japanese Restaurant before seeing a movie. I had some Salmon (Saki)  and cooked Scallops. Yes, it was fresh.

Scallops and Saki (raw Salmon)

After lunch I walked a few steps over to the Sundance Cinema. It is so nice to have a movie theater downtown again. I just love it.

Since it was Valentine's Day, I thought I would see "The Vow." A romance to be sure, predictable, guaranteed to pull on the old heart strings, cause a few tears, but I knew that "The Vow" was   in every theater in town, why not go see something less ordinary. As I was walking with ticket in hand to "The Vow" I saw the poster for "Pina" and remembered hearing really good things about it. I know for a fact that "Pina" was only showing at Sundance and would be gone on Thursday, so I traded my ticket in for "Pina" and a pair of 3D glasses.

It was a good call. "Pina" is an absolutely wonderful film, directed by Wim Wenders. At first, I thought good grief, I can't make head nor tails of this film, then the story unfolded, the story of the choreographer Pina Bausch her passion for the voice that dance gives dancers, the stories it unleashes, the power of her choreography. It was good for my brain. My brain was happy. By the end of the film, I knew exactly what the film was about and was glad that I had switched my ticket. This movie was a perfect Valentine Day selection. Lots of love in that dance company for their leader and choreographer Pina Bausch. It is so worth seeing.

Here is a link to "Pina" trailer.