Welcome back to Eating Our Words' weekly roundup, where we use meat loaf as the bread in our sandwiches. Hey, if we're not supposed to do that, they never should have started calling it a "loaf". This week got off to an irritable start with J.C. Reid posing the question: how often does your restaurant bill get inflated? If you're in Italy, the answer seems to be "every time", as bill-inflating is a grand Italian tradition on par with brewing fine wine and rigging cars to explode. Never one to break tradition, Mike Giglio once again spent $13 someplace over the weekend; this time at Pavani Indian Cuisine, which he even forgives for the cardinal sin of being well outside the loop. Those are the suburbs, man! What if a mob of McDonald's employees bum-rushes us and starts force-feeding us mediocre fast food? We never go to the suburbs without riot gear and a shotgun for exactly that reason.
As part of Robb Walsh's ongoing column "Sweet Jesus, Robb, Are You Serious?" he threw together some lobster grits. (Didn't the guitar player from Pavement used to be in Lobster Grits?) Robb offered up another intriguing hybrid, this time with open-faced sandwiches of the French-Vietnamese style. Sarah Rufka investigated the late-night goings-on at BB's Cajun Café, and Robb hunted, stalked, and killed a massive burrito at Cherry Top Bakery.
Falafel Frenzy decided they weren't quite so frenzied and changed their name to Falafel Factory, which doesn't quite beat Smoothie Factory as the least authentic use of the word "factory". Seriously, when was the last time you heard of someone welding together a strawberry-banana smoothie? Robb is still herb-bin diving, but if that's a little too much greenery for you, he also offered up a list of Houston's top ten ice cream experiences. Oh man. It really is like Pavlov's dog with us; now we want nothing more than to stage an ice cream shop crawl. Bring your insulin!
Next up, as we promised: the ten most underrated restaurants in Houston. We noted, with some dismay but no surprise, that way more people turned out to shit all over the overrated restaurants than showed up to defend the little-known favorites. Not exactly shocking; this is the internet, after all. But where is the love, people? Where, I ask you? Oh, there it is. Wow, that's not much.
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After a crowded but delicious lunch at Tiny Boxwood's Café and a ludicrously huge bowl of salsa at Tacos La Bala #2, E. Ting sat down for an N. Teresting chat with Chef Sara Brook of Dessert Gallery Bakery and Café. Robb, busy bee that he is, brandished his tongs and dueled with some live crabs, lingered over some budget-conscious tapas at Rioja, and discovered a hookah bar called Shisha Express which also sells gelato and espresso. One assumes there isn't a Shisha Express on every college campus in the state only due to some glaring oversight which will undoubtedly be corrected soon.
Nikki Metzgar returned this week with a garrot caked with blood and the recipe for Khun Kay Thai Summer Wrap; we find it's best if we don't ask Nikki a lot of questions. Katharine Shilcutt's popular segment Food Fight pitted the egg rolls of Kam's Fine Chinese Cuisine against Dragon Bowl Asian Bistro's, and the resulting battle featured plenty of slow-mo explosions, people firing guns with two hands, and lots of doves flying at the camera. J.C. followed up Robb's glowing 2004 review of Al's Quick Stop with his own, and is still wandering around Montrose looking for his socks, due to their having been knocked off by Al's gyros.
Sarah discussed why bartenders fear Madonna with The Grove's Rawad Semaan, and to wrap things up, Robb supplied us with a recipe for 2 gallons of home-made barbecue sauce, so the next time you've got a pick-up truck full of chipped beef lying around, you're covered.
Didn't the drummer from Does It Offend You, Yeah? used to play for Pick-Up Truck Full of Chipped Beef?