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  • Article

    Feel the Earth Move - The Dessert Gallery

    If you are aroused by just the thought of chocolate, then the Big "O" ($5.25) at The Dessert Gallery (3200 Kirby, 713-522-9999) was created especially for you. The "O" stands for Oreos, which not only adorn the top of a three-inch-tall hunk of cake b...

    by Paul Galvani on May 8, 2003
  • Article

    Barbecue in Black and White - Carving the racism out of Texas barbecue mythology

    Cowgirls are taking turns climbing onto the stage and turning around to display their denim-clad derrieres to the audience. It's the Miss Blue Jeans Contest at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo barbecue cook-off. When a woman wiggles provocatively...

    by Robb Walsh on May 1, 2003
  • Article

    Bigger and Battered - Where does Baytown Seafood get those enormous shrimp?

    The pile of fried shrimp looks like a mountain of corn flakes. I pick one up and admire how the golden batter has formed a crunchy, irregular crust. The fried jumbo shrimp at Baytown Seafood are the biggest I've ever seen in a restaurant. The shrimp ...

    by Robb Walsh on May 1, 2003
  • Article

    Pei Wei Asian Diner - Trailblazing

    For quick, comforting Asian pasta with panache, make a beeline to Pei Wei Asian Diner (5110 Buffalo Speedway, 713-661-0900) for "blazing noodles" ($6.45). Wide pappardelle-style noodles hit the hot wok with sizzle, and the char marks prove it. Laced ...

    by Robin Barr Sussman on May 1, 2003
  • Article

    Wednesday Brunch - Golden Palace is Houston's top weekday dim sum destination

    Steam rises from the translucent shrimp dumpling (No. 55). The seductive morsel reclines enticingly on my plate, plump, juicy and too hot to eat. We have already devoured most of the marshmallow-shaped xiu mai dumplings (No. 2), which are filled with...

    by Robb Walsh on April 24, 2003
  • Article

    Food in the Nude - Artista

    The soft-shell crawfish in the taquito appetizer ($8) at Artista (800 Bagby, 713-226-7827) looks like the centerfold spread of an erotic shellfish magazine. Every scrap of exoskeleton has been carefully removed, and the nude remainder of rosy flesh l...

    by Carol Rust on April 24, 2003
  • Article

    Wall of Flavor - Phil Spector has got nothing on the Little Karachi neighborhood's La Sani Restaurant

    There is no polite way to suck a goat bone. And the goat korma masala at La Sani is served in the authentic fashion, bones and all. So at some point you have to pick one up with your fingers and have at it. I'm not embarrassed in the least. After all...

    by Robb Walsh on April 17, 2003
  • Article

    Frodo Fare - The Rivendell Bar & Grille

    At The Rivendell Bar & Grille (920 Studemont, 713-564-3700), there is a magnificent mural of that mystical land of the same name from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. There is also a dish called shrimp gambary ($10), which may well have mystic...

    by Paul Galvani on April 17, 2003
  • Article

    Wet Noodle - Spaghetti marinara is pretty hard to mess up, but they've found a way at Palazzo's Italian Caf

    Where are sliced tomatoes, mozzarella, garlic and basil on the "margherita" side and diced tomatoes, garlic, red onion, lemon and basil on the "cristini" side of our 12-inch pizza. I go back and forth eating a slice from one side and then the other, ...

    by Robb Walsh on April 10, 2003
  • Article

    Grape Escape - Paul Roberts departs for purpler pastures

    There are only 56 master sommeliers in the United States. At 30 years of age, Paul Roberts is one of the youngest. Unfortunately for Houston, Roberts is leaving his post as wine director for Cafe Annie (1728 Post Oak Boulevard, 713-840-1111) and taki...

    by Robb Walsh on April 10, 2003
  • Article

    Don't Go Changin' - 1415 Bar & Grille

    While the restaurant may have changed its name from Sonoma to 1415 Bar & Grille (so named for its address, 1415 California, 713-977-7911), one dish did not undergo a makeover: the braised crackling pork shank ($16). Slow-braising ensures that the mea...

    by Paul Galvani on April 10, 2003
  • Article

    Bibim Bap's Rap

    Four rolled-up balls of cold shredded vegetables sit in the bottom of the bowl under a fried egg. Rumor has it there's some beef in there somewhere, but I don't see any. I don't see the advertised rice, either. So I call our Korean-American waitress ...

    by Robb Walsh on April 3, 2003
  • Article

    Adis, Los Tonyos - Tony Vallone sells his Tex-Mex concept to Serrano's

    Finally, one of the worst-kept secrets in the local restaurant world is official: Tony Vallone has sold Los Tonyos Cantina. The new restaurant, already risen from the ashes of Los Tonyos in a whirlwind four-day makeover, will be the Austin concept Se...

    by Marene Gustin on April 3, 2003
  • Article

    Empanada Intifada - Caf Red Onion

    A trio of fried half-moon pastries at Caf Red Onion (3910 Kirby, 713-807-1122) is waging a holy war on the archaic assumption that any self-respecting pie must be served for dessert. With innovative fillings and three different sauces, the worst par...

    by Carol Rust on April 3, 2003
  • Article

    Chuck E.-nese Cuisine - Taiko

    The head sushi chef leans over his work station to hear my whispered request. "This young lady over here wants to try sushi for the first time," I explain. "What do you recommend?" "Get the oyster tempura roll," he says, pointing to a sign on the wa...

    by Robb Walsh on March 27, 2003
  • Article

    In the Garden - Meet Camille Waters, an urban guerrilla armed with lettuce

    Camille Waters is the premier urban gardener of Houston, an earth mother who makes enough money from the lettuce she grows to vacation in Mexico every summer -- when it's too hot to grow lettuce here anyhow. "Camille has shown that an urban gardener...

    by Marene Gustin on March 27, 2003
  • Article

    Paella for One - Las Alamedas

    The Spanish dish paella takes its name from the paellera, the shallow, two-handled, iron pan in which it is both cooked and served. The Romans brought this utensil to Spain, while the Arabs brought the rice to go in it -- it's an early example of fus...

    by Paul Galvani on March 27, 2003
  • Article

    Dinner and Darts - The Rivendell Bar & Grille

    When we first enter The Rivendell Bar & Grille, we walk by two women who are talking intently on a big sofa by the front door. One has her legs curled up comfortably underneath her, and they're both working on pints of beer. In the back, near a pool ...

    by Robb Walsh on March 20, 2003
  • Article

    Curry in a Hurry - Stone Mill Bakers

    What makes Stone Mill Bakers' (2518 Kirby Drive, 713-524-6600) signature curried chicken salad sandwich ($6.95) different? Everything. Start with what Stone Mill does best: bread. The freshly baked wheat slices are dense but moist, loaded with plump ...

    by Robin Barr Sussman on March 20, 2003
  • Article

    Katy Pie - Pizza Bella

    Roma tomatoes sliced thin lengthwise, a smattering of fresh basil leaves and a little garlic over olive oil -- these are the only toppings on the margherita pie at Pizza Bella. I'm even more impressed with the crust: Light and airy with a few yeast b...

    by Robb Walsh on March 13, 2003
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