Saturday, June 23, 2012

May Day, May Day!!! Flying Saucer Pie Company....

...on high alert. Incoming, Coconut Cream Pies, prepare your taste buds for the sweetest invasion of your life. Take me to your leader!

This is not a fancy place, strictly grab and go. While I was trying to decide on which pie to buy, a man walked in. I asked him if this was his first time at Flying Saucer Pie Co. He said, "No." That he had been coming to Flying Saucer since it had opened for business in 1967.

He went on to explain that he lives in Conroe and when he does manage to get to Houston, he stops in Flying Saucer Pie to stock-up on pies for himself, family members and people that work for him. The guy made it clear that he isn't too fond of Houston, but Flying Saucer Pie makes the trip worth the effort. I asked him if he had a favorite. He said they are all good. However, his eyes got brighter when he started to describe the Strawberry Pie. "Big red juicy strawberries, topped with whipped cream."  Mmmmm.

I had been invited to dinner, needed to take dessert, wanted it to be good, because I knew that the meal would be other worldly tip-top stellar, and it was. The hard part was to decide which pie to buy. They all sounded delicious, but my pie meter landed on Coconut Cream, one of my favorites. The Strawberry Pie did sound good, though. The man suggested that I buy two pies.

With pie in hand I went to dinner. I was greeted at the door with a happy look that zeroed in on the pie box.

Yumm! was the initial reaction. I was the only one at dinner who had never had pie from Flying Saucer. Let me tell you, I was extremely pleased with my dessert choice.

It was delightful. The filling was light, melt-in-your-mouth good, topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut and the crust, flaky and crisp, savory, a nice pairing with the sweetness of the filling. The pie was a nice cap to a very scrumptous meal.

I guess at the Holidays there is a line around the block for pies. I can see why. I want to exhaust their menu and then start all over again.

Quote of the day: "Don't get fancy. Have you cooked an apple pie? You don't know what you did wrong? Do this: Take two or three apples. Put them on a table. Study them." Paul Prudhomme

Certainly Flying Saucer Pie has studied the apple and has come away from the lesson, "A+" students! 

Flying Saucer Pie Company
436 Crosstimbers Road
Houston, TX 77018

Thursday, June 21, 2012

An Interview with Nabi chef/owner Ji Kang.....

...a gracious man, a talented chef. I hope that you enjoy the interview and after watching it, make your way over to lower Westheimer and give Nabi a try. You will not be disappointed.

click on the link!!!

This is Chef Ji Kang and filmmaker Yunuen Perez-Vertti.
Nabi Neighborhood Restaurant
1517 Westheimer
Houston, TX 77006

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Turrell's Skyspace at Rice, unbelievably wonderful... the daytime, what will it be like at dusk or twilight. That requires another visit and excitedly so.

As I walked toward this art installation, I wanted to look at it, take it all in, admire the simple genius of it, the other part of me wanted to run toward it and be absorbed by it. I compromised, walking at quicken pace without taking my eyes of it for a second, I arrived just at the perfect time and with all my tactical senses on alert. I entered the chamber on ground floor, feeling embraced, at home. I then climbed the stairs to the second floor, sat down, immediately stilling my mind, feeling the smooth concrete surface with my hands, relaxing. The experience is calming and invigorating all at the same time. The clean lines take away the clutter. The breeze easily flows through, shaded, the temperature is about 10 degrees cooler. Nice for getting out of the Houston heat.  I think being there during a rain storm would be a thrill. Mmmmm. The possibilities just keep coming.

Skyspace is open to the public and is situated on the Rice University campus between the Shepherd School of Music and the Jones School of Business. A grass bern surrounds the structure. It certainly grabs the interests of kids. I wonder if they understand that they are running up a piece of art.  Does it matter? Experiencing it is what matters at any age and at any point in the day. Maybe the next time I am there, I will get the gumption to run up the hill, barefoot.

Beside being delightful place to sit, this space is a companion to the Shepherd School of Music, designed for small concerts. Wouldn't it be a blast to experience music rising through to the opened sky? That would be the icing on the cake, the sour cream, chives and bacon on the baked potato, the strawberries on top of cheesecake. (Okay, I had to get some food references in there somewhere.)

The roof reflects the green from the bern. At night lights shoot up from around the inside of the structure. I don't know if they change color, but I will be finding that out soon.

This isn't the first experience I've had with James Turrell's art. He has another installation at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, called "The Light Inside." This installation is in the Wilson Tunnel between the two main MFA galleries. Again an art installation that is interactive, one that disorients me a bit, but changes my perceptions of space and how it can change with colored light. I purposely choose to cross from one building to the next using the tunnel. The experience of it never gets old and I feel or observe something different every time I go through it; much like "Skyspace" will do, I'm sure of it.

Rice University
6100 Main Street,
Houston, TX 77005
Quote of the day: 
"Light is not so much something that reveals, as it is itself the revelation."
James Turrell  

Saturday, June 16, 2012

BRC gave me plenty to chew on.....

...and it was most satisfying. This southern comfort food restaurant on steroids (metaphorically speaking) was a surprise for a lot of reasons, one of them has to do with its name. It took me a few drive-bys, seeing the giant red rooster at the the corner of Blossom and Shepherd to make the connection between the rooster and the initials, BRC, on top of the building.

Hello, BRC. I think it is bold, fun and definitely a conversation starter, because I have to tell you, that people who have never been there, know exactly what you're talking about when you ask "Have you seen that giant red rooster on the corner of Blossom and Shepherd?" There is always, always a grin and then they reply, "You mean BRC?"

As I entered the BRC I wasn't sure what to expect. Would it be cheesy with only burgers on the menu, sawdust on the floor? I got my first clue as to the quality of the place by the patio just to the right of the front door. It is contemporary, well shaded, with nice greenery. The inside is as nicely appointed  in neutral tones with that splash of BRC red on the walls and bar stools. There are framed pictures of what else on the walls? Hens and roosters, of course.

I started my meal with a beer from Buffalo Brewery. It's a local brewery and the beer is very good.

BRC offers a wide variety of handcraft brews along with ciders and wines. They also have a unique selection of appetizers.  I tried the fried oyster, bacon and deviled egg appetizer. It sounds a bit funky, but Holy Toledo, Batman, it was really good. The oysters and bacon are piping hot, the eggs are chilled. The egg mixture adds a saucy taste to the oysters. I liked it.

My friend Barb met me there for lunch. This gave me an opportunity to get a couple of different dishes on the the table. I ordered the Spice Roast and Grill Finished Brisket Slab (It is a slab for sure, a thick slab). The meat was fork splitting tender, rich, yummy.

It comes with mashed potatoes that tastes like a baked potato loaded to the max with green onions, bacon, sour cream and cheese. There is mushroom-onion gravy that I requested on the side, because I'm a gravy snob. So few places know how to make a good gravy, my mom has set the gold standard for that, but BRC's gravy was quite good. There is nothing worse than having gravy poured all over your food and then the gravy taste like paste; ruining the good food underneath.

Barb ordered the Chicken Pot Pie which comes with a fresh green salad. The pot pie is huge. I tasted it. Liked it very much. It is cooked with pulled chicken, peas, pearl onions, celery, carrots and parsnips.

And to round out the whole experience, I ordered cake balls. They are made by Petite Sweets an affiliate restaurant of BRC, that and Liberty Kitchen, too. The cake balls are made from scratch and pack a hefty punch of flavor. Below is Red Velvet, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Italian Cream.

 The people at the table over ordered the Bread Pudding. It looked scrumptous, too.

There are lighter things on the menu, like this grilled chicken salad with greens and roasted beets. I decided to go for a heartier meal.

The food is quality. The wait staff is friendly and informative. It was a great experience all the way around. The BRC has me wanting more. It certainly put the cock-a-doodle in my doo. I will dine there again and maybe try out their happy hour, too.

BRC Gastropub
519 Shepherd
Houston, TX 77007

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Need a Sugar Fix......

...let me introduce you to Sugar Fix! A vegan bake-to-order sweet treat kind of business. There isn't a store front, but there is a phone number for orders. Also, owner-baker Amber Aldredge sets up shop at events, like the one this morning, at Boheme Cafe and Wine Bar.
Oatmeal Cranberry Walnut Cookies

I was immediately drawn to Amber's Oatmeal Cranberry Walnut Cookies. I have a deep appreciation for oatmeal, because I tell myself, that even though the oatmeal is in cookie form, that I have to be getting something heart healthy out of the deal!!! I was very pleased that I tried them.  They were moist without a heaviness, flavorful and I'm going to throw in healthy.  Other treats on the ready to sample were: ginger bread muffins, banana nut muffins, brownies, cupcakes. A tasty bunch of treats as I've ever had. Look for Amber or give her a call, order these delightful treats.
Look at the size of those brownies.

ginger bread and banana nut muffins


I brought the cookies home and set up for tea. They complimented the tea perfectly, of course.

There is one more thing I would like to mention. Amber told me that she was let go from a job. She has always loved to bake, so she decided to give it a go and the good news is, she is making a sustainable living from her baking. I can taste why, too, yummmy!!!

The stories out there are great. Talking to people who care about what they do, because it is a genuine interest seems to be a good way of finding a better way to live. Adding a positive attitude only enhances the chances for that success.  There are inspirations all over the place. Amber is one of them. Yeah Amber!!!!

Quote for the day: "Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls."

Joseph Campbell

Sugar Fix
"When you're craving something sweet..."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Following The Path of Tea....

....led me to a phenomenal place; the only fully organic tea shop in Houston,  owned by Thia and Chris McKann. They are lovely people and very knowledgeable about tea, as well as all, who work there.
This is a small pot of tea.

It is one of my favorite places to sit and contemplate what's what. I do this with friends or alone. It is a comfortable environment either way. The natural light that pours into the shop provides a warm tone, making it easy on the eyes and some how allowing tension to leave the body.  Gentle instrumental music plays in concert with the small rock waterfall, that is soothing. There is no hurry. I always get the feeling that I am welcomed to sit and drink my tea for as long as I please. I like that.

Unique to most places I've been, The Path of Tea offers a sniffing bar. All 138 teas are numbered with a corresponding sheet with description and pricing.  The sniffing bar offers the opportunity to get a good whiff of the tea before having it made. And as I found out by perusing the sniffing bar there are different types of tea: white, green, oolong, black, pu-erh and rooibos. Of course, as I found out, rooibos isn't really a tea, because it does not come from the camellia sinensis plant. According to Thia McKann, Certified Tea Master, each one of these teas offers health benefits, rooibos included. Thia has provided wonderful information about that on The Path of Tea Web site.

There are two sizes of tea pots. Large and small. I usually get the small. It is plenty for me. You can also get tea to go and of course buy it in bulk so you can enjoy it at home. Each tea has a specific steeping time and some require different water temperature. Not all tea is made with the hottest of boiling water. The staff knows all of this, which makes for a perfect pot of tea every time.

There is a wall toward the back of the shop that is lined with tea cups. It's up to you to choose your cup. I don't know why I like that so much, but I do. There is a nice selection.

This is the small pot of tea.

Oh, and there are wonderful treats to accompany your tea; cupcakes, bon-bons, cookies, lemon bars all infused with green tea. They are all very tasty. Below is just a sampling of what is offered.
 If you are looking for a gift, healthy, tasty, beautiful and fun, this would be a good place for that. There is a wide variety of teapots, tea cups, tea accessories and of course tea.

Quote of the day: "Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary."  ~Chinese Proverb

The Path of Tea
2340 W Alabama St
Houston, TX 77098