By the time we got to Boheme, I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to eat another bite. We'd already "crawled" from Cuchara to Gratifi, so eating another plate of food at Boheme seemed like too much of a good thing. And then I saw the spread.
Heaping piles of Bangkok Fries topped with charbroiled pork, hoisin sauce, sriracha, cilantro and crushed peanuts set my heart all a-flutter with excitement. Smoked jalapeño hummus drizzled with olive oil and triangles of garlic naan called to me from a buffet table. A few large rectangles of "Grazing Pastures" pizza topped with pesto, mozzarella, goat cheese, roasted tomatoes and barbacoa were so fresh that there was still steam coming off of them.
And then the chef stepped up to address our group and promised more pizzas, these ones with truffle oil and crab and bacon.
"Okay," I said to my stomach. "We're gonna do this. Get ready."
The national restaurant hopping organization, Dishcrawl, held its first Houston crawl last week on Fairview Street in Montrose. The meal locations were kept a secret until a few days before the crawl, when diners were told to meet up at Cuchara.
Cuchara was celebrating National Tequila Day on Wednesday. The "Mexico City Bistro" was celebrating with reduced-price tequila flights and margaritas, which we found paired nicely with the trio of appetizers Cuchara served. I found only one of the items on our tasting menu on Cuchara's usual menu, so it seems they created the other two items just for our group.
We had picaditas, thick corn cakes with refried beans, Mexican cream and fresh cheese; taquitos with a spicy green salsa; and some sort of puff pastry stuffed with shredded pork, which we all agreed was the weak link. The taquito with just a sprinkling of queso fresco and that zippy green salsa was my favorite, and I'd gladly return to Cuchara for a full serving of those, should they find themselves on the menu.
Next, still somewhat hungry, we sauntered over to Gratifi, where they were offering special cocktails just for the Dishcrawlers. The Hibiscus Champagne Cocktail made use of hibiscus tea and was particularly delicious and refreshing. A few people had downed two cocktails by the time our plates arrived carrying sweet potato tots and miniature versions (sliders, if you will) of two of Gratifi's most popular burgers: "The Heights," a patty of black beans and salsa with pepper jack and caramelized onions and the "El Gaucho," an Angus patty with roasted red peppers, arugula and chimichurri sauce. I am newly obsessed with this "El Gaucho" burger and am now desperately on the hunt for a dog to join me on the patio and share this fantastic burger with me. Gratifi was, after all, the first restaurant in Houston with a Paws on Patio permit. They also have dog food on the menu for your canine friends. I digress.
Gratifi owner Kevin Strickland sweetened what was already a great meal when he served cupcakes made using Lone Pint beer and topped with cream cheese frosting. A few folks at my table might have eaten two. Or three.
Now feeling pretty full, we walked across the street to Boheme Cafe and Wine Bar, home of some of the best jacked-up fries in Houston.
As promised, after the "Grazing Pastures" pizza, we were treated to "Crab Verde" pizzas with pesto and lump crab meat; a mushroom pizza with giant oyster mushrooms (possibly the "Triple Mushroom & Black Salt," though I'm not certain); and finally the "Three Little Pigs" pizza with smoked pork belly, thick bacon, pancetta and truffle oil. As I ate this, I felt my arteries clogging, but I didn't care. I will die eating bacon and pork belly if I must.
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By the time our group cleared the buffet table at Boheme, I didn't know how I'd be able to eat anything for dessert. The Sweet Ride! ice cream truck had parked right outside the bar, and its owner, Kim, was serving up cabernet sorbet. I just couldn't refuse. It was smooth and not at all grainy, with just a hint of wine. A perfectly light, refreshing end to a night of overindulgence. A night, I might add, that I'd gladly repeat.
The next tour, also of Montrose (though a different neighborhood), takes place on August 20 and tickets are $45. I'm signing up now!