Sunday, March 17, 2013

Gratifi, used to be Ziggy's, but is branded a new...

with the same owners, same great patio, service and an eye towards comfort.
I had noticed the name change and of course was curious about what happened to Ziggy's, so I stopped in for dinner. Come to find out, Gratifi did not change hands, same owners as before, but they wanted to offer a more well rounded comfort food type menu, less emphasis on vegan and vegetarian.

It was just about sunset and though a bit chilly, I opted to have my meal outside on their patio, which, by the way is still dog friendly, with water bowls and menus for your happy pups. The low sun offered just the right amount of warmth to keep me comfortable.

I had a salad, stuffed chicken, a glass of wine and for dessert their  almond, orange cake.
The chicken was grilled and stuffed with steamed spinach and mushrooms. The only thing I would change with this dish is to leave off the spicy sweet pecans. It was a bit too sugary for my taste, but other than that, very good and fresh.

moist, with the taste of orange and orange rind. I liked it very much.
Quote of the Day: "Try it, you'll like it." Mikey on the Life Cereal commercial

Grafiti (Used to be Ziggy's)
302 Fairview
Houston, TX 77006

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bananna Buckwheat Muffins with a spot of tea...

Here is a simple gluten free muffin recipe. These Buckwheat muffins are very tasty.

Recipe Ingredients for Buckwheat Banana Muffins
2 eggs beaten
½ cup brown sugar(loose, not packed)
1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 TBS cinnamon
1 TBS ground ginger
1 very ripe banana
1/3 cup coconut milk and a splash if needed
Recipe Directions for Buckwheat muffins
  1. Blend eggs, brown sugar together
  2. Mix buckwheat flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, ginger
  3. Add butter to dry ingredients, fold gently in the egg and sugar mixture just till blended.
  4. Add mashed up banana 
  5. Add coconut milk
  6. Put in muffin tin with paper cups or grease/flour muffin tins
  7. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

This is a very thick batter, but it bakes up surprising springy/almost fluffy.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Cuchara, not Sahara, but spicy...

It's fun to be driving down the street in the general vicinity of your apartment and find a new restaurant. In the back of your mind, you've noticed an old strip center getting a face lift, but no real attention is paid until tables and umbrellas go up on the sidewalk and you see movement through newly cleaned windows.

I walked into Cuchara, knowing that it was Mexican Cuisine, because that's what the sign out front says, but other than that, I knew nothing else. I have to say I felt very comfortable in the open airy space, with earthtone colors of avocados, desert sand and terra cotta pottery. There is a large bar area to the left of the dining area as you walk in the front door, ready made for meeting friends or a more intimate get together.

Ordering is always fun in a new place, because it is all new, so I ordered one of their specials and the chicken tortilla soup. The soup, because I love freshly made, never from a can soups. The special was chicken tightly wrapped in corn tortillas with a side of creme fraiche. Both excellent. I really enjoyed the soup. It was different from a lot of chicken tortilla soups I've had. It was served in a small cast iron enamel pot, with well seasoned chipolte based broth, chunks of avocado, chicken and strips of tortilla chips. For dessert I had Bunuellos. Bunuellos are tortillas shaped into balls with spicy chocolate inside, deep fried and placed on top a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I opted out of the ice cream, but let me tell you, the spicy balls where great by themselves.The minute you put your spoon in them hot chocolate, spiced with cinnamon oozes out. (A side note, I couldn't help but think about the skit from Saturday Night Live with Alec Baldwin and sweaty balls.)

The Cuchara menu is not large, but it does not need to be. The food is quite good, the wait staff stellar and the atmosphere welcoming.

Quote of the day:  Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Web site:
214 Fairview St.
Houston, TX 77006