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  • Article

    Fast Start - Carl Lewis's new "world-beat grille" is aiming for a place in the record books

    Let's get this part over with right off the bat: Yes, Carl Lewis, the Olympic track and field star, is one of the owners of Cafe Noir. (And, from what I've heard, a fairly hands-on owner at that.) That said, let me add that the idea of celebrity rest...

    by Dennis Abrams on June 3, 1999
  • Article

    Near New Orleans - Food to comfort a homesick Cajun

    Report No. 00002 New Orleans Food Police To: Bourbon St. Bistreaux There are some days when a cop's job is easier than others. It's a pleasure to find a "Louisiana-style" restaurant that doesn't egregiously break the laws of New Orleans cui...

    by Dennis Abrams on May 27, 1999
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    Must all fish be fried? The weighty brown batters and burbling vats of oil that once dominated the deep-fried seafood scene in Galveston are gradually giving way to a New Age wave of heart-healthier preps, such as the seared tuna appetizer, $6.95 at ...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on May 27, 1999
  • Article

    Dish

    Cocktail Chatter Ah, summertime! The season for sleeveless dresses and seersucker suits, icy fruited drinks served in tall, sweating glasses and perhaps a light bite or two to tempt the heat-jaded appetite. Slip into something cool and refreshing...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on May 27, 1999
  • Article

    Lido's Lessons - 1) Don't judge a restaurant by its building 2) Tofu isn't all bad

    I've never seen an uglier building than the one that houses Lido Vietnamese restaurant. The glowering red brick facade of the Main Elgin Center towers threateningly two stories over the scabby potholed parking lot, where incoming customers are greete...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on May 27, 1999
  • Article

    94 Percent Dogma-Free - At Ziggy's, health food includes burgers and fries

    On my lifetime list of No-Place-But-Houston cafe concepts, Ziggy's Healthy Grill leads with a bullet. Ziggy's may cater to vegetarians and health food fans, but it also cooks up the most comprehensive menu of exotic meats I've seen anywhere. That's r...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on May 20, 1999
  • Article

    Food Fit for Drinking - Houston Brewery revamps its menu

    Angry rumblings reached our ears recently, rumors of drastic changes made at the Houston Brewery [6224 Richmond, (713)953-0101]. "They've ditched their whole menu and fired all the kitchen staff," one irate customer told us. "Now all they're servi...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on May 20, 1999
  • Article

    King of the Drive-Thrus

    If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, well, then, it must be a duck. This rule, however, does not apply to El Rey, a terrific Cuban/Mexican restaurant masquerading as a fast-food joint. Sure, you eat with plastic utensils, and the food comes...

    by Dennis Abrams on May 20, 1999
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    Crawfish cuties: The latest tale of creative cuisine fusion comes from D'Amico's Italian Market Cafe [5510 Morningside, (713)526-3400] in the form of crawfish ravioli ($10.95). Six sizable ravioli pillows are plumply stuffed with a piquant blend of g...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on May 20, 1999
  • Article

    When Nature Calls

    Most people, when they find out that I'm a chef, respond, "Oh, how exciting" or "That must be interesting." I usually just let my silence stand for a yes. I never know whether they have time to hear just how exciting or interesting the restaurant bus...

    by Monica Pope on May 13, 1999
  • Article

    Promising Patios - Restaurants heed the call of the great outdoors

    Spring has fully sprung now, triggering the annual lemminglike surge of Houstonians determined to defy the elements and dine alfresco. Several area restaurants have answered nature's call with new or refurbished patios; here's a rundown of where to e...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on May 13, 1999
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    Scripture and a steak: Our blessings on the tasty T-bone grilled for breakfast, lunch or dinner at Heaven-N-A-Blanket [8903 Cullen, (713)733-4848]. The Reverend Ray Swanson buys whole beef loins and slices them up then marinates the steaks overnight ...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on May 13, 1999
  • Article

    Beating the Rep - Forget everything you thought you knew about Jalapenos

    I was surprised to discover that Jalapenos restaurant, in business at the you-can't-miss-it intersection of Kirby and Westheimer for more than a decade, has been almost completely overlooked by my inside-the-Loop dining pals. Strange myths and miscon...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on May 13, 1999
  • Article

    Beignet Blahs - Good ideas. Bad execution.

    Sometimes a restaurant just makes you sad. Cafe Beignet is just such a place. I walked in with high expectations. It's a nice space: tile floors, comfortable wood chairs and tables, open-beam ceilings and a large bar dividing the room in two, the...

    by Dennis Abrams on May 13, 1999
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    Pocket-size pies: From the "other" empanada bakery, Marines Empanadas Delicias [3227 Hillcroft, (713)789-2950], I'm particularly partial to the Apple Supreme pie ($2.15). Partly it's the precise dice of the tart Granny Smith apples that fill the gold...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on May 6, 1999
  • Article

    Game Over

    Friends told me I'd love Dave & Buster's. It's like Chuck E. Cheese for grown-ups, they said, a restaurant with Skee-Ball. Others darkly warned that I'd love it so much that I'd need deprogramming. Unfortunately, both camps were wrong. D&B descr...

    by Dennis Abrams on May 6, 1999
  • Article

    Capital Improvement - The Travis Cafe feels like Austin -- if Austin had good food

    The scene from the iron-roofed sidewalk tables of the Travis Cafe is bona fide urban Houston. On the south side of the cafe, scaffolding cocoons yet another turn-of-the-century building morphing into condos. The next doorway to the north opens into t...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on May 6, 1999
  • Article

    Smoot Operator - Smoot Hull exits the Empire and moves -- where else? -- downtown

    It's funny how little it takes to fan a spark of restaurant gossip into a full-blown rumor fest. The latest contretemps started with the removal of the international gallery of Rubenesque beauties from the walls of the Empire Cafe last month. "Y...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on May 6, 1999
  • Article

    No Parking - Market Square suffers from its own success

    The dizzying tide of diners and dancers crowding downtown's sidewalks most every night of the week might embody a developer's wildest dream, but the crush of cars is turning into a nightmare for customers and smaller businesses alike. The problem is ...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on April 29, 1999
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    B'stilla my heart: It throbs with love for the sultry Moroccan ancestor of chicken pot pie called b'stilla ($6.95), served up at Mi Luna Tapas Restaurant & Bar [2441 University Boulevard, (713)520-5025]. Layers upon layers of crisp phyllo pastry form...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on April 29, 1999
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