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  • Article

    Just What the Doctor Ordered

    It's that time of year. Your sinuses are stopped up, your taste buds dulled by Robitussin. What you need is soup -- specifically a fire-breathing potage that'll clear your head. Gumbo isn't quite strong enough, even if you lace it with Tabasco. ...

    by Gardner Landry on February 11, 1999
  • Article

    Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant - The Pedrique family missed their hometown. So they recreated it.

    Entering Cafe Caracas from the commercial clamor of Westheimer is like stepping into a 19th-century bandbox. Imagine a turn-of-the-century sidewalk cafe turned outside in: The strip center storefront's interior is cleverly made over with architectura...

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

    Class of '98 - A reluctant retrospective

    I hate all the year-in-review columns that crop up every January, reminiscing on everything from music videos to auto manufacturing and straining to impose meaning and order within the arbitrary confines of the Julian calendar. These retrospectives a...

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

    Zen and the Art of Sandwich-Making - Paulie's offers inner peace through panini

    Paulie's serene little Montrose deli has saved me from the fast-food circles of hell more times than I can count. Faster than you can say "Mickey D's," I've dashed in during errand-running marathons or in the throes of a 30-minute lunch and whizzed o...

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

    Hot Plate

    I've often wondered whether Cajuns engineer culinary oddities just to see if Texans will eat them, and I looked seriously askance at the filet mignon-on-a-stick, $10.95, at Bourbon St. Bistreaux [5555 Morningside, (713)522-9133]. Surprise: This steak...

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

    Sweet Music - Staccato's is new (very new) and good (very good)

    It must be a restaurateur's worst nightmare: Into the jangled, nervous flurry of a long-delayed opening weekend walks ... a reviewer. The kitchen's incomplete, the staff is new, the menu's a quick photocopy; a proprietor needs a critic at this moment...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on January 28, 1999
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    Mmm-mmm, chili pie: It's a puzzlement to Yankees and a sentimental icon for Texans. When your inner child cries out for a little Southern comfort, feed it at the Fox Diner [905 Taft, (713) 523-5369] on real chili pie made with Fritos ($9). Chef Tom ...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on January 28, 1999
  • Article

    Dish

    Tortilla Twin? Strike one against fledgling restaurateur Gildardo Leon: He opened his new Tex-Mex restaurant, El Jarrito [870 S. Mason Road, (281)392-7277], in the same strip mall spot where Monterrey's Tex-Mex Cafe already bit the dust. Strike t...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on January 28, 1999
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    Stop by the Sabroso Grill [5510 Morningside, (713)942-9900] for an only-on-Sundays treat of paella de mariscos ($12.95). Chef Arturo Boado has streamlined this Spanish classic and serves it on platters as big as your head. Saffron rice cooked al dent...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on January 21, 1999
  • Article

    Dish

    What's New on the Web Eureka! So, presumably, thought cybermeals co-founder Tim Glass as he watched Sandra Bullock's character in The Net surf her way to a pizzeria web site to order a meal. Captivated by the idea of moving food orders from keybo...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on January 21, 1999
  • Article

    Cali Sandwiches - Big hugs, tasty poor boys and durian -- if you dare

    "Was everything all right?" David Ngo inquired anxiously on my first visit to Cali Sandwich. "Be honest, now." He dropped his voice to a whisper and leaned over the cash register. "I know my father talked you into that sugar cane drink. If you didn't...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on January 21, 1999
  • Article

    Dish

    Please Send Money An enterprising con artist from Madison, Wisconsin, recently attempted to rip off Houston restaurants with a variation on the old "victim of spilled coffee" scam. The trickster mailed out a very polite letter explaining tha...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on January 14, 1999
  • Article

    Wow on the Waterfront - A fish tank three and a half stories tall! And even more amazing: Good food.

    You've gotta hand it to restaurateur/developer extraordinaire Tilman Fertitta: He's not one to be slowed by mere acts of God. Less than four months after the force-three tidal surge of Tropical Storm Frances pounded across his Kemah Waterfront, Ferti...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on January 14, 1999
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    Humble hoecakes get the Hollywood treatment at benjy's in the Village (2424 Dunstan, 522-7602). Executive chef James Nakayama adapts a technique he first saw at Robert Redford's Sundance restaurant to make roasted corn cakes fluffy and light without ...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on January 14, 1999
  • Article

    Dish

    Let Them Eat Bread In the ten months since the Arizona-based Scottsdale's restaurant opened in the old Pico's space just off Kirby (4527 Lomitas, 526-5260), owner/manager Perry Thomson received mixed reviews of his grilled-meat-dominated menu and...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on January 7, 1999
  • Article

    Island Comfort - Reggae Hut starts good and gets butter. (Er, better.)

    It was miserably cold when I first found the Reggae Hut -- one of those nasty, damp days peculiar to the Gulf Coast in December. Rain squalled from the lowering blue-gray sky, prematurely dark at four in the afternoon. We sat for a moment in the...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on January 7, 1999
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    "Albaloo polo" sounds like one of Aladdin's incantations, but at Kolbeh Persian Restaurant (5700 Hillcroft, 785-1358) the command will summon a magical rice dish instead of a bottled genie. Toothsome white basmati rice is topped with gemlike "sour" b...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on January 7, 1999
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    It would be cruel to claim that the guava empanadas ($1.25) at Cafe Miami (6114 Bissonnet, 772-3042) are one of the gooiest, most glorious desserts in town without explaining how to locate them: on the English-language side of the menu, look under...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on December 31, 1998
  • Article

    Dish

    Sure to Peas I'm told that black-eyed peas were imported into the South aboard African slave ships, originally intended for consumption by livestock; hence the nickname "cow peas." Perhaps the same Reconstruction desperation that reduced Scarlett...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on December 31, 1998
  • Article

    Urbana Renewal - The chef has changed, but the party rolls on

    Rarely have I had so much fun at a restaurant officially designated as a "scene." Unlike its sometimes tragically hip cousins downtown, Urbana is a rollicking, often raucous feasting place for the Montrose tribes. Concrete floors, submarine-blue glas...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on December 31, 1998
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