Finally Visiting Cuchara

An evening of highs and lows.

As soon as the egg is cooked, place it on a plate, season with salt and cracked black pepper, and enjoy. The creaminess of the runny egg yolk with the warm, soft avocado is simply a wonderful combination, and it's healthy, too. In fact, people who eat avocados are actually slimmer than those who don't.

A study published by Nutrition Journal earlier this year says avocados help individuals maintain a lower body weight, BMI and waist circumference. Avocados are full of healthy fats and several nutrients, like fiber and vitamin E. Those who eat them on a regular basis actually weigh on average 7.5 pounds less than those who don't.

So grab a couple of avocados from the grocery store, crack some eggs into them and start your day off right with a nutritious flat-belly breakfast.

Revival Market's Mustard Potato Salad
Courtesy of Geralyn Graham
Revival Market's Mustard Potato Salad
It's a richer shake than you would expect it to be.
Molly Dunn
It's a richer shake than you would expect it to be.

Top Five

Top 5 Potato Salads in Houston
Try one of these tasty and creative twists on potato salad.

Joanna O'Leary

One of the first words I learned in German (and one I will probably never forget) was Kartoffelsalat (potato salad). The German people, especially the Bavarians, excel at making Kartoffelsalat, and that style of preparation was what I became accustomed to, especially growing up so near Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch) country. Living in H-town, however, has certainly expanded my potato salad purview, for our city's chefs are doing some pretty creative takes on this dish. Here are five types to try in Houston:

5. Mustard Potato Salad (Revival Market). Soft, slightly sweet red potatoes give this potato salad a comforting texture, while chopped red bell peppers and house-made mustard add spice and crunch. This bit of a twist on tradition proves that small alterations to a standard recipe can lead to substantial improvement.

4. Potato-Tomato Salad (Beaver's). Despite a generous coating of mayonnaise, many potato salads still end up tasting dry. Beaver's avoids this problem by speckling its potato salad with tomatoes, whose juice co-mingles with a liberal dose of chimichurri to create a terrific sweet, acidic dressing.

3. Dill Potato Salad (Baba Yega). Technically a side but never an aside, the potato salad at Baba Yega comes with all sandwiches but easily distracts diners from their reubens and veggie BLTs with its spritely garden flavor, thanks to a hearty handful of dill and chopped celery. As Houston Press blogger Matthew Dresden noted in 2011, the supple texture is more of mashed potatoes, and in combination with the mayonnaise, this makes for a very creamy potato salad.

2. Caribbean Potato Salad (Reggae Hut). Tired of pale, bland potato salad? Reggae Hut's version is a rainbow of red onions, sunny carrots and verdant legumes. Even the potatoes take on a pinkish hue due to the infusion of red wine vinegar and mayonnaise. This cornucopia of colorful ingredients translates into a more complicated but very appetizing collaboration of flavors.

1. La Rusa (Tango & Malbec). You probably did not plan on eating potato salad at Tango & Malbec, but next time you will if someone at your table happens to order the La Rusa, a potato salad with carrots and peas. Supposedly invented in Russia, ensalada rusa is usually served in small-plate or tapa format. Too bad, because you'll want a whole bowl to yourself.

On the Menu

Smashburger Unveils PB&J Shake
Get this not-so-secret menu item to celebrate National Ice Cream Month.

Molly Dunn

We seem to celebrate a lot of silly national food holidays, whether for the day or the entire month, but National Ice Cream Month isn't one you should push to the side. Cool yourself down with a bowl of your favorite ice cream, or head to Smashburger for the Peanut Butter & Jelly Shake.

Smashburger hand-spins Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream with Nutter Butter cookies and strawberry jelly to create its PB&J shake. What was once a secret menu item has now been placed on the regular menu as the featured shake at Smashburger during National Ice Cream Month.

I am a huge fan of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. In fact, I ate one for lunch every single day during grade school, middle school and high school (for the most part); I even default to this classic sandwich today when I can't decide what to eat for lunch. So when I saw that Smashburger was offering the sandwich in milkshake form, I had to check it out.

After being blended with strawberry jelly, the once-white vanilla ice cream turns a pale shade of pink, making you think you're about to taste a plain strawberry milkshake, but you're in for a surprise. As you sip the shake through the straw, you're hit with little chunks of the crushed cookies, leaving you with the sweetest combination of peanut butter and jelly you've ever had.

The shake is like having a peanut butter sandwich with überly sweet strawberry jelly and a glass of creamy whole milk, except everything is blended together — well, minus the bread.

I have to admit I was a little skeptical after the first sip, but once I tasted the sweet Nutter Butter cookie chunks, I couldn't resist taking a few more sips. The only thing that stopped me from consuming the entire shake was the fact that it has more than 800 calories. But even if I'd tried to finish it, I wouldn't have been able to because it's super thick, creamy and surprisingly sweet.

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