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  • 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
  • Article

    Give Pita a Chance - Falafel can be awful. But not at Mama's Po-Boy.

    A friend from Chicago recently complained that he couldn't find a decent falafel sandwich here, nothing like the ones they make in the Windy City. Surprised, and a little huffy on Houston's behalf, I rattled off a dozen places that serve falafel with...

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

    Wot More Could You Ask? - At Awash, eating with your hands is a civilized pleasure

    Before eating at the wonderful Ethiopian restaurant Awash [1520 Westheimer, (713)520-9387], there are three things you really need to know: 1) You'll be eating communally, sharing food with all the members of your party; 2) You'll be eating with your...

    by Dennis Abrams on April 22, 1999
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    Sweets sell by the seashore: Of all the wondrous pies prepared at Maddie's Gourmet Bakery [3204 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston, (409)763-1483], my favorite is baker Jose Garcia's luscious key lime. A sweet, cinnamon-spiced graham cracker crumb crust cr...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on April 22, 1999
  • Article

    Stoli Moments - For Russians, eating out means more than just food

    Some time ago, an emigre from the post-Soviet nation of Kazakhstan described for me the Russian tradition of dining out: "When a Russian goes out to dinner, he goes to spend the whole evening in a big celebration with family and friends. There has to...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on April 22, 1999
  • Article

    Molzan in Motion

    Some observers of the downtown cafe melee were surprised -- but perhaps as many more were not -- by the abrupt disappearance of Kirk Graham and Leticia Guzman Graham from the management team of seven-month-old Staccato's [711 Main Street, (713)227-91...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on April 22, 1999
  • Article

    Hot Plate - By Margaret L. Briggs

    Crunchy creole classic: Never mind the ups and downs of the Creuzot family's empire; after 30 years the original and only remaining Frenchy's location [3919 Scott, (713)748-2233], midway between U of H and TSU, is still dishing out legendary fried ch...

    on April 15, 1999
  • Article

    Italian 101

    For too many people, I'm afraid, the phrase "Italian food" immediately conjures images of hearty, garlicky, long-simmered tomato sauces. But those standbys represent only part of the cuisine, and if they're all you know, you're missing the Italian re...

    by Dennis Abrams on April 15, 1999
  • Article

    The Hard Way

    Urban legend has it that Iyad "Eddie" Khalil, the owner of El Mirage restaurant [9350 Westheimer, (713)532-4900] won his start-up stake from the tight fist of the gambling industry, much like the Galvans of Jenita's Taco House. The often-repeate...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on April 15, 1999
  • Article

    Jackpot at Jenita's - The taqueria's owners got lucky and so do the customers

    Some aspiring restaurateurs turn to bankers or investors for seed money; others bet their family's life savings to open a small cafe. But John and Leticia Galvan, proud proprietors of Jenita's Taco House way out FM 1960 at Steubner Airline, have the ...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on April 15, 1999
  • Article

    Taking the Heat

    Crapitto's Luck: Last April John Crapitto hit the jackpot when his restaurant, the abysmally named Crapitto's [2400 Mid Lane, (713)961-1161], was mentioned on the Jay Leno show. This February, though, it looked as if Crapitto's luck might be taking a...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on April 8, 1999
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    Lickety-split ribs: Backyard cookout purists may sniff at barbecue-in-a-box, but it's hard to fault the Honey Jalapeno Ribs served from spotless glass cases at Yapa Kitchen Fresh Takeaway [3173 West Holcombe, (713)664-9272]. Yapa slow-roasts thick sl...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on April 8, 1999
  • Article

    Plain Is Beautiful - JacQuisine isn't exciting, creative or hip. But it is good.

    Eating out has become strenuous. The chef of the moment unveils the exotic new ingredient of the week, working it into the fusion cuisine of his choice (Pan Asian, New Southwestern, Kosher Indian...). The menu needs a glossary. The waiter spends ten ...

    by Dennis Abrams on April 8, 1999
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