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  • Article

    Hot Plate

    Hello, Dilly: In the midst of the otherwise regulation Chinese menu at Hunan's Restaurant [3835 Bellaire, (713)666-2000] is a gem of a dish called Chinese Pickle Noodle Soup. Unlikely as it may sound, it's a tummy-warming bargain big enough for two a...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on March 25, 1999
  • Article

    Mom-and-pop, Thai-style

    There's a soft spot in my heart for small family-owned restaurants, the kind with Mom and Dad in the kitchen and the kids working out front. What those places lack in polish they make up for with the love and care put into the food. Downtown Houston'...

    by Dennis Abrams on March 25, 1999
  • Article

    Greenspoint Ho!

    Until recently, one of Houston's secret dining bargains was largely reserved for tourists: the monthly "Dine Around Houston" program sponsored by the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. For a reasonable $35, visitors from Newark or Natche...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on March 25, 1999
  • Article

    As Seen on TV

    March came roaring in for Houston chef Claire Smith, owner of the much-praised Daily Review Cafe in north Montrose [3412 West Lamar, (713) 520-9217]. By the end of the month's first weekend, Smith seemed to be everywhere at once. Her big-time me...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on March 18, 1999
  • Article

    See. Be Seen. Don't Eat. - As a jazz club, Sambuca is so-so. As a restaurant don't ask.

    The Sambuca Jazz Cafe chain opened its Houston outlet last October at one of downtown's nightlife revival epicenters, the arcade of the Rice Lofts. Since then, the restaurant has been crammed with wall-to-wall crowds most every weekend, an overnight ...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on March 18, 1999
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    Drive-thru dee-light: Ah, Houston, foodie heaven, where great eats are served everywhere, even in your car. Best case in point: the grilled swordfish sandwich ($5.75) at the drive-thru window of Beck's Prime, as good as its burgers, at notably lower ...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on March 18, 1999
  • Article

    Brunch of Champions

    Sunday brunch is best approached in one of two ways: an all-you-can-eat buffet or dim sum. The buffet enjoys a major advantage -- it is all you can eat, and every Sunday should include its share of decadence -- but that option also suffers drawbacks....

    by Dennis Abrams on March 18, 1999
  • Article

    The Whole (Foods) Story

    The slick new shopping hub at the corner of Kirby and West Alabama -- it replaced the former River Oaks Lincoln-Mercury dealership -- looks almost ready for prime-time occupancy, but the Whole Foods Market won't be moving in as soon as free-range-chi...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on March 11, 1999
  • Article

    Massa's: The New Generation

    For nearly a hundred years, the Massa family has sold Houstonians seafood. In 1900 Michael Angelo Massa, a Sicilian immigrant, opened an oyster parlor in Galveston; 44 years later, two of his children, Tony and Louis, launched Massa's Oyster House in...

    by Ed Kennard on March 11, 1999
  • Article

    Return of the Hunchback - The decor's still Gothic. Butnow the chef's Peruvian, and the food's Italian.

    Almost 20 years ago, George Jacobson opened a Montrose neighborhood restaurant he dubbed Quasimodo's Sanctuary and Tavern, after the famous denizen of Notre Dame's bell tower. Quasimodo's started as a beer-and-burger joint and sort of grew on folks; ...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on March 11, 1999
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    Sugar and spice and salmon is nice: I'm currently crazy for Leopoldo "Polo" Becerra's chipotle-glazed grilled salmon ($18.95) at the Post Oak Grill [1415 S. Post Oak Lane, (713)993-9966]. Becerra carefully grills a thick plank of rosy salmon; its ...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on March 11, 1999
  • Article

    Battlin' Beignets

    Joachim Jantzen didn't much like his job as night manager of Crescent City Beignets [3260 Westheimer, (713)520-8291], admits his wife, Teda, because he wasn't overly fond of the owner, 32-year-old Tucker Bunch. But Jantzen was working on his master's...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on March 4, 1999
  • Article

    The Cajun Rages

    Report #00001 New Orleans Food Police To: Treebeard's Market Square location 315 Travis (713)752-2601 As a transplanted Cajun, I feel it's my duty to inspect the various Houston restaurants that claim to serve Louisiana-style food...

    by Dennis Abrams on March 4, 1999
  • Article

    Bang-up Bento Boxes - Don Chang pushes the envelopeat Nara Japanese

    I was interested to read recently that American food pundits have pronounced rutabagas and bento boxes as the coming culinary fads. Rutabagas? Yawn. If 1999 is going to be the year of the rutabaga, I want out of the food biz now. But bento boxes -- t...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on March 4, 1999
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    A gauntlet of goodies: Try to ignore the creamy profusion of profiteroles and pistachio cream cakes long enough to reach the splendid peach-plum amaretto tart, all the way at the end of the imposing glass case at the Epicure French Bakery and Tea Roo...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on March 4, 1999
  • Article

    Drive-thru Bliss

    For most of us, fast food is an ugly fact of life; it's the dull, greasy stuff you eat because you're short on time and money. But cheap, quick food can be done well -- and Chacho's is proof. For starters, the restaurant's cheerful: Even on a cl...

    by Ed Kennard on February 25, 1999
  • Article

    It's a Grill! - Once again, Prego is reborn

    Two decades after moving to Houston, I still miss autumn. In particular I long for the crisp smell of smoke on cold air: the tangy haze of leafy bonfires, the blue-gray contrails from fireplaces. The next-best thing to a Yankee fall, I've discovered,...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on February 25, 1999
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    When is a muffuletta not a muffuletta? When it's a hot Paisano ($4) at Mandola's Deli and Sandwich Shop [4105 Leeland, (713)223-5186], served well within striking distance of downtown or the University of Houston main campus. Mandola's goes the garde...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on February 25, 1999
  • Article

    Dish

    Temple of Doom A little swath of pseudorain-forest bit the dust with the closing of Dale Peters's ambitious Amazon 2050 A.D. restaurant and club, which shuttered February 6 after less than eight months in business. Built on the ashes of the forme...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on February 25, 1999
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    Part of the fun at Maxim's [3755 Richmond Ave., (713)877-8899] is guessing which member of the swankienda set the greens are named after. I've figured out Schlumberger Salad and Salad Halbouty on my own, but who, pray tell, inspired the Sassy Souther...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on February 18, 1999
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