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From the monthly archives: March 2017

Houston is a 4 Sport Town (should be 5, hint hint, NHL we want Ice Hockey!).  Of course NFL Football is King via the Texans, with Astros Baseball, Rockets Basketball not far behind.  However, Association Football, Futbol, Football without the NFL/CFL/Rugby/Australian Rulesm in the front, Soccer is also a huge draw and the Houston Dynamo has been building a fan base over the years, starting at Robertson Stadium on the U of H campus in 2005, earning a couple of MLS Cups in the early years, eventually moving into a full sized stadium set up for Soccer in 2012 (BBVA Compass!) and having their own big name star, Brian Ching, who has since become a Houston fixture, helping with the NWSL Houston Dash and now working with the Dynamo in a number of capacities.  Majority Owner Gabriel Brener, partnered with Oscar De La Hoya, Ben Guill and Jake Silverstein have put together a great team that appeals to locals and international transplants alike.

But what are pro sports without good pro food?  I remember as a kid going to the Astros games eating Dome Dogs that had sat on the rotator for who knows how long and rubber cheese nachos with overpriced watered down Cokes.  While that was passable back in the day, given what folks pay for sports tickets, fans expect the same calibre of food.  It is already well known how the Astros have upped the food game on the Beer and Local level at Minute Maid Park in recent years.  The NFL has pushed top quality grub at the new stadiums over the years, and the Texans have obliged.  Toyota Center and the Rockets have great partnerships with Dunkin Donuts and other great food partners.  So it’s no suprise that the Houston Dynamo have also stepped up as well.

I was recently invited to preview the Taste of EaDo (East Downtown) food court opened in what was once a Private/Event Patio on the South Concourse of BBVA Compass Stadium.  Along with partner Levy Richards, the Dynamo made major renovations and put together a menu that includes old favourites, as well as gourmet options based on international flavours that reflect the fan base of Soccer.  “We are focused on making big changes throughout the organization, and these improvements are representative of that.” said Dynamo President Chris Canetti. “The Taste of EaDo is designed to substantially upgrade our offerings while providing an experience that embodies our city and culture. The project is a collaborative effort between the Dynamo and Levy Restaurants and exemplifies the power of a true partnership.”

Chef Nach and the El Grande Jefe

The renovated space debuted at the season opener back on March 4th.  Concepts in the renovated space include: Tecate Social–a four sided bar featuring Gambrinas and ABinBev beers, with a few local craft options thrown in; HTX International Market featuring International Beers, Wines, Ice Cream and Sandwiches; 713 Taqueria featuring Street Style Tacos; Diggity Dawgs–gourmet hot dogs that feature a Mega-sized Colombian hot dog (2 feet long) called El Grande Jefe loaded up with all kinds of toppings; Htown Grill–serving up great burgers and fries made using local, fresh ingredients; and the Pitch Side Pub, featuring German Pretzels, Guiness battered fish & chips, and a wide assortment of International Beers.  

I was fortunate enough to get a chance to try some of the new food items, and I must say this is NOT Dome Dogs and Rubber Cheese nachos.  Nope, these food offerings would stand well on some food trucks or bistros, but are available for Soccer Fans during the current season at BBVA Compass!  And I am going to lead off with 713 Taqueria–whose fresh corn flour tortillas and excellent seasoned meats really hit the spot when it came to their street style tacos.  This recipe was right on the mark for me, and is definitely something I would track to first.  Grade: A+++

HTown Grill gave us two samplings to try:  an Htown Hot Chicken Sandwich which reminded me a little bit of the HTown Hot Chicken from Lee’s Fried Chicken and Donuts, and the Hoss from Hopdoddy in Rice Village.  Crunchy, Spicy and filling, this chicken sandwich is not scared of anything!  Their double cheeseburger is a good burger–better than any fast food, not as good as Killen’s but for a stadium burger, you are getting a superior product that is juicy, meaty, loaded with cheese and pickles (if you like!) and will fill you up while you’re jumping up and down with the Texian Army in the stands.  Grades: A+ and A respectivevly.

Another great item that is featured at their bar is the Dynamojito.  Imagine rum, muddled mint, lime and Orange Juice, garnished with a grilled orange slice.  Hey, gotta have the team colors, right?  This is a refreshing citrus twist on this traditional Latin Cocktail that honors a strong fan base of the team, the team colors and the taste buds of those who would enjoy this concoction!  
Grade: A

I will also say that the Guiness Fish & Chips were nice and crunchy, had a hint of that Guiness Stout essence in there which made them better than the typical fish & chips (though I thought it would be cool if it were served in stained brown paper like in the UK, but no matter!)  Grade: A-

And of course, it was also nice to meet Brian Ching, who was one of the Team Reps at the event.  Just a quick shout out:  my daughter Helena admired Mr. Ching when he was a soccer player and was a little bummed when she found out she’d missed out on a chance to meet him.  But she was also happy to know he considers Houston home and has a few irons in the fire for some upcoming activities in Houston beyond the Dynamo and Dash.

A more modest piece of El Grande Jefe

I want to thank the Houston Dynamo, BBVA Compass Stadium and Levy Restaurants for inviting me to this event.  I am glad to be able to report that Houston Soccer Fans have some really good new food choices when they go hang out with Diesel and cheer on our team.  

Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole!  
Eat Happy, Y’all!!!
吃得开心!!!
Hank

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It’s often said that when pizza is good, it is REALLY GOOD and when pizza is bad, it’s still pretty good.  DaddyO’s Brick Oven Pizza on Dairy Ashford across from Tully Stadium leans more towards the good than the bad, which is great if you have reason to find yourself off of Memorial and Dairy Ashford near I-10, or if you don’t, you have an excuse to head over there.  My experience with this location hit me with a bit of nostalgia for small neighborhood pizza places like you would find in parts of Seattle or Vancouver in the 1970s, and although that may not be their aim, that made it pretty darn good to me!  But first some background from their website:

Sounds like my pal Abe Haje!

DaddyO’s Pizza is conveniently located in the heart of Spring Branch on Gessner near Kempwood, as well as our newest location in the Memorial/Energy Corridor area, located on Dairy Ashford (in front of Stratford High School & Tully Stadium). DaddyO’s … New York style pizza (Gessner location) & Brick Oven style pizza (Dairy Ashford location) is made to order, using the freshest and finest local ingredients. The secret of our recipe is in the homemade sauce and dough, which is made fresh daily…and that’s what makes us authentic! Family owned and operated since 1995, DaddyO’s Pizza prides itself not on welcoming you as one of our customers, but welcoming you as a part of our family. Great meals taste better when they are shared with family. Stop by today and dine-in with us, let us deliver to you, or let us cater your next party or business event!

First impression I had of the place is that is is on the cozy side–not a lot of tables nor parking in the strip center where it is at.  Clearly it’s like the neighborhood pizzeria set up for carryout as a major source of revenue–which is cool, which is cool–however, this guy and his kiddos like fresh, hot pizza and prefer to eat it in.  Which thankfully wasn’t that difficult either!  We came on a Friday night around 7:30 PM.  The house was packed but still the staff was turning over tables and servicing customers as fast as they could.  The Brick oven was fired up and baking pizzas like there was no tomorrow.  Like an old school neighborhood pizza joint, you place your order at the counter and you’re called up for To Go or it’s taken to your table for here.   Their menu boasts a good mix of appetizers, specialty pizzas, calzones, subs, salads and sides.   A big menu for a small pizza joint to be sure.

We visited on two different occasions.  On the first visit we took our pizza for dine in and ordered a large pizza with Italian Sausage and Canadian Bacon, along with Garlic Cheese Bread as an appetizer.  We got a couple of large slices of Italian/French style bread that was about 6ish inches wide like for a hoagie, reminded me of a local bakery back in Baton Rouge, topped with mozzarella cheese, garlic spread, and parsley, and was served with a small cup of Marinara sauce for dipping.  Bam!  There was a good hit of garlic.  Jason and Helena both noted the cheese squeaked when they bit into it, indicating it was the real deal and not that “cheese food product” that some places use to cust costs while cutting qualilty.  The bread was crunchy outside, soft inside, a little oily, but in a good way.  Grade: A

Of course I am not going into a Pizza joint to order a salad or a sub the first time around.  If you are going to call yourself a pizzeria, you need to bring your pizza game.  Hot crust, crunchy outside, soft inside, a little char is okay on the bottom, real cheese, great sauce with a little kick and fresh toppings.  I like pretty much any of the standard pizza toppings, but trying to get the kiddos to agree on some is, at times, frustrating.  I let them each pick a topping–Jason picked Italian sausage and Helena picked Canadian bacon.  A double win for Dad.  The Italian sausage is more the black pepper/fennel variety–not too spicy but full of flavour.  The Canadian bacon is the standard mediallian style that tastes like cured ham but is in fact a leaner cut of meat.  Again, fresh and piping hot from the oven.  Again good squeakage of the cheese.  Crust was crunchy outside, soft inside and the sauce wasn’t very spicy, but had robust tomato flavour and a little heat on the back end.  This pizza went over well with the crew and we were happy.  Grade: A+

 A few things that really worked well for this pizza place is its proximity to home and school; a staff that is efficient; a good hot brick oven that flash bakes the pizza in less than 10 minutes, yet cooks it properly; and quality ingredients as stated.  We came back a couple of weeks later and ordered a large Candian Bacon pizza to go that we ended up eating a slice or two in the car before driving off.  Cheese was still squeaking and quality was still there, and we were happy diners.  When I found out after the fact that this was a second location of a local business that had been around since 1995, I was happy to see a place that has soldiered on locally for so long was branching out a bit more beyond their original scope.  Not all businesses expand at the same rate, and I am always happy to add another good local business into the rotations with my other recurring favourites.  Nice job DaddyO’s!  We will be back to try some of the non-pizza items soon!

DaddyO’s Brick Oven Pizza is located at:

861 Dairy Ashford Rd.
Houston, TX 77079
Phone: 832-844-0444

Hours of Operation
M-Th 10:30 AM to 9 PM
Fri-Sat 10:30 AM to 10 PM
Sun 11 AM to 9 PM

Eat Happy, Y’all!!!
吃得开心!!!
Hank

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Beautiful salad and if you keep the beets separated they won’t bleed on each other.

Seems like it was just winter (usually short period of time here in Texas) and now it is springtime with summer just weeks ahead. The winter took havoc on our back yard killing about 1/4th of our plants. Since my husband loves shopping nurseries we will have plenty of shopping and planting to do to get it back in shape. I’m not a fan of hot summer days here in Texas but I will be glad to start using our outdoor kitchen again since […]

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Tortilla chips and salsa, chili con carne, and fajitas are now typical European bar food. Rare is the English pub that doesn’t serve “nachos.” The influence of Tex-Mex on world cuisine fascinates us here at Texas Eats. So when our correspondent, Julia Walsh, moved to Manchester, England in January 2017, we asked her to chronicle […]

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Pimento Cheese

On March 24, 2017 By

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Pimento Cheese, the most beloved sandwich spread.

What was your sandwich of choice when you were a kid? I could never turn down a bologna sandwich on WHITE bread with mayonnaise or mustard and a handful of potato chips added before putting on the top slice of bread and then it gets a good press down to crunch the chips up. Or, one of my top picks would have to be a pimento cheese sandwich on toast with a side of Fritos and dill pickle slices. I was never a peanut butter and jelly kid. I don’t think I […]

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On Sunday April 2 from 6 to 8 pm, Beerfoot Brewery on the Seawall at R 1/2 and 28th will host the Galveston Eats Movie Premiere—the first public showing of a series of short films about forgotten Galveston foodways–hosted by Robb Walsh. The event is free to the public.

During the celebration, Beerfoot Brewery will offer […]

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Tortilla chips and salsa, chili con carne, and fajitas are now typical European bar food. Rare is the English pub that doesn’t serve “nachos.” The influence of Tex-Mex on world cuisine fascinates us here at Texas Eats. So when our correspondent, Julia Walsh, moved to Manchester, England in January 2017, we asked her to chronicle […]

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Over Mardi Gras weekend, I went to my first press trip and experienced Lake Charles, Louisiana for the first time. In just three days there, I had crawfish three times…. [Continue Reading]

The post Crawfish Cravings Appeased by These 3 Restaurants in Lake Charles, Louisiana appeared first on Girl Eats World.

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Poke, according to some of the pundits out there, is “the trending food” in Houston right now.  Sigh.  While something trending can be a good thing if it gets folks to break out of their old habits and try something new, just because something is trending doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good.  However, if anyone is making good food, it will speak for itself with proof of concept being in the eating and so on.  Thankfully in my Westchase ‘hood, there is a Poke place that’s been open a little over a month called North Shore Poke Co.  that has been building an audience very well due to a great product.  Full disclosure: it is part of a 4 location chain based out of Huntington Beach, California and is producing a dish that originated in Hawaii.  But first a little background:

North Shore Poke Company is a family-run business entirely dedicated to creating mind-blowing good Hawaiian poke that opened in March 2012 in Huntington Beach, CA. Just one block shy of Main Street. It was while serving in the Coast Guard Chef Shawn Gole caught the Poke bug and wondered why even Hawaiian restaurants on the mainland were overlooking this tasty fish offering. Shawn teamed up with his father and pastry chef sister, Melissa Gole-Vasquez to bring a Poke fix to Orange County.  Since then, four other locations have made landfall, with the first in Houston opening in February of 2017!  

But for the uninitiated, let’s talk about what Poke is first.  Per Hawaii Magazine: The word poke (pronounced poh-keh) is Hawaiian, meaning “to slice or cut crosswise into pieces.” The basic poke mixture of cubed raw ahi (tuna), salty seaweed, and crunchy sweet onions.  The poke first eaten by native Hawaiians was a simple mixture of raw fish, Hawaiian salt, seaweed and chopped kukui nuts (called inamona in Hawaiian). Post-colonial contact, that basic recipe got a bit more interesting with the introduction of onions and, sometimes, tomatoes to the mix. Go to most fish markets in Hawaii today and you’ll find a wide selection of poke—from tako (octopus) with ginger and garlic to tofu in shoyu with watercress and tomato. We’ve seen poke recipes with raw crab, cooked shrimp, clams, smoked salmon, pipi kaula (dried and smoked beef), even seared ribeye steak. There are now hundreds of poke recipes in Hawaii for every kind of taste.  So, think of typical sushi ingredients, served more as a salad, in a bowl, on a base of steamed rice or greens such as cucumber.  The Menu at North Shore features what would be considered standard sushi ingredients for mixing in your Poke bowl.

We visited North Short Poke Co. over a couple of different days to try a few different items on their menu.  We found the fish to be fresh, we found the food to be full of flavour and the staff to be friendly.  In the photos on the left, you see two of their Latin Inspired Poke Dishes:  the Waimea style Poke Nachos (Waimea Style Salmon Poke Over Tortilla Chips. Topped with House Hot Sauce & Furikake).  This is a cool yet spicy crunchy sushi nacho treat!  As my daughter Helena is a Fish Taco fan, she went for the Fish Tacos (Waimea style salmon poke, Sunset, or Pipeline Poke. Topped w/ Cabbage on Corn Tortilla).  This Echos the trip to San Diego long ago where I first tried fish tacos, but with a different twist–a sushi style salmon hit with some spice.  Grades: A and A+ respectively.


On one of the other visits, we hit up some different styles of poke bowls in the proper sense.  The photos show clockwise from the top:  A Pipeline Bowl with Avocado added (Mix of Ahi Tuna and Salmon, Sushi Nori seasoning, Pipeline sauce, Avocado, Mangoes over steamed Jasmine rice); Jason’s built it yourself bowl with Salmon, Soy Sauce, Sushi Nori seasoning, with steamed Jasmine rice; and a Waimeia Bowl (Salmon, Waimeia spicy mayo sauce, Nori Seasoning, Macadamia nuts, onions).  The main commonality we found was good, cool fresh sushi grade fish, great seasoning and fresh steamed rice.  The Waimea sauce is creamy yet spicy, full of umami.  The Spicy soy in the Pipeline is like a robust brewed vineagar with a little heat.  Everyone enjoyed what they ordered that is for sure!  Grades: A+, A and A+ respectively.  



I’ll be checking out a number of other new and established Houston area Poke joints over the next several weeks.  North Shore being in my local neighborhood and having a great product has already set a good precedent.  As my pal Jack Long has said “It is good to live in Houston if you love to eat a diverse batch of food!”


North Shore Poke Co. is located in Westchase at:

11195 Westheimer Rd 
Near Westhimer/Wilcrest
Houston, TX  77042
281 888-1946

Open 7 Days a week
11:30 am-9pm

Eat Happy, Y’all!!! 
吃得开心!!!
Ai, Pōmaikaʻi, o oukou a pau!!!
Hank
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