Chewing and Reviewing: Eleven XI has a new summer menu and the folks of Chewing and Reviewing were the first diners to taste the offerings. They tried the Texas Turducken, quail stuffed with braised pork shank, pickled jalapeno and bacon, sitting on top of creamed corn. The couple capped it all off with an Americano and a rice pudding fried pie.
The Monster Lifestyle: Both Americas locations (West Gray and The Woodlands) have revamped the menus and the Food Monsters got to taste some of the new dishes. One of the standout additions includes the paellas. Each paella could feed nearly three people as they have 20 ounces of rice, and rather than a bottom crust (socarrat), each features a crunchy topping made from Rice Krispies sauteed with saffron, smoked paprika, crispy onions and tempura mushrooms.
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Gastronaut: Katharine Shilcutt checked out the recently opened Montrose bakery, Common Bond. While it has received much hype for its baked goods, she notes that it's also an excellent spot for breakfast, brunch and lunch. Unfortunately menu items change frequently, so while she enjoyed the soft-shell crab "po-boy," after just one week, it was replaced with a fried oyster po-boy. Shilcutt notes that the bread for each sandwich takes it to a whole new level thanks to it being baked at the bakery. Despite enjoying the sandwiches and gazpacho, she was disappointed in the chocolate croissant and bostock, writing that each was tough to cut through even with a knife and fork.
Adventures in a New(ish) City: Looking for another place to brunch? How about Empire Cafe? Kim checked out this Montrose hotspot with her mom and a friend. She started off the meal with a Ruby Kiss, a raspberry liquor and Champagne morning cocktail, then ordered the Verdi, a plate of two eggs any style resting on sauteed spinach, served with a side of cheddar hash brown potatoes, a cup of fruit and whole wheat toast. The combination of sunny-side up eggs with sauteed spinach was "absolute harmony" to Kim.
365 Things to Do in Houston: This week, 365 Things to Do in Houston profiled chef Chris Shepherd and asked him to list the top five things he likes to do in Houston. The Underbelly chef explains how he loves to walk around Montrose visiting bars, shops and restaurants, such as Anvil, El Real and Camerata. He also loves tailgating in the Blue Lot at Reliant Stadium, and noshing on Chinese barbecue and dim sum in Chinatown.
Hank on Food: Happy Fatz in the Heights serves both gourmet hot dogs and desserts, but Hank decided to venture out to this neighborhood restaurant on White Oak for the dogs. He started with the popular breakfast/brunch hot dog, The Clucker, which is topped with hash browns, bacon, grilled onion, an over-easy fried egg plus "Clucker" sauce, in which Hank describes as being similar to Sriracha mayonnaise. He rounded out the meal with a miniature key lime cheesecake, which had an excellent balance of sourness, creaminess and sweetness; he also enjoyed the crunch from the graham cracker crust.