Archive for the ‘Food’ category

Houston Foodie Review – Pete’s Fine Meats & Deli

July 19, 2009

If you’re the type with an eclectic taste and a do-it-yourself attitude when it comes to preparing a fabulous meal, I have just the place for you.

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Pete’s Fine Meats & Deli, located at 5509 Richmond Ave, has a quality collection of every type of meat possible. With an exotic choice list that includes wild game such as wild boar, kangaroo, rattlesnake, and emu, Pete’s has just about everything a meat eater could want.

Serving Houston for over twenty-five years now, Pete’s also has your standard cuts of steak as thick as you desire. They’ve also got turduken, crawfish-stuffed sausages, all kinds of jerky, and much more. Pete’s also has an awesome selection of fine cheeses and homemade jams, as well as just about everything you need for a grill-out Sunday.

2009-07-18 11.49.51From what I saw, the staff at Pete’s Fine Meats & Deli is top-notch. The guys there greeted us as soon as we walked in. The prices weren’t listed on all the items but the staff is more than happy to give us any information we wanted. They gave us help on everything from what to buy to how to cook it all as well. Excellent customer service.

As far as pricing goes, this neighborhood butcher shop in the Galleria is surprisingly not that outlandish. You can expect about $25-28 on the really exotic stuff like the black bear, python, etc. but their steaks are about $5-8 a pound cheaper than most places, cut to your liking.

Now if you can order better than you can cook, the deli at Pete’s is rumored to have some of the best steak tacos & hoagies in town. They also serve some delicious barbecue, buffalo burgers, etc. The menu for their deli can be found here.

My Conclusion: Simply put, they are the end-all be-all when it comes to meat markets  in Houston.

4304258Pete’s Fine Meats & Deli
(713) 782-3470
5509 Richmond Ave
Houston
, TX 77056-6615

Houston Foodie Review: Calliope’s Poboys

July 9, 2009

oysterpoboyHaving eaten in New Orleans-style eateries ever since I moved to Houston from New Jersey, I thought I had a good handle on what constituted Crescent City cuisine. I knew what gumbo was… I’ve had many Po’Boys… But little did I know that I had been missing the key to good NOLA food all along.

You see, ole boy, it’s the intricate details that distinguish good New Orleans-style sandwiches from the rest. And despite the fact that I named the Po’Boy as one of America’s Top 10 Greatest Sandwiches prior to this review, I never really had one that truly captured my taste buds in such a way as it did about two weeks ago.

It was then that DNC Attorney-At-Large and our resident Bourbon Street expert, Eric Junker, wanted to pick me up for lunch in downtown Houston. Eric said he had something specific in mind, as he had been meaning to try out a Po’Boy place by the name of Calliope’s (pron: cal-eye-oh-pees) for quite some time. You see, Junker is a true foodie when it comes to Cajun / Louisiana-style cooking. I would even go so far as to call him a snob in that respect. So I knew he would be highly critical in judging this place afterwards.

We both agreed that we discovered at Calliope’s was nothing short of what is likely to be, without a doubt, the best Po’Boy place in Houston. And not only are their ingredients fresh and high-quality, but the portions at Calliope’s are significantly larger than what you’d typically get at your typical Cajun sandwich place. I think both Eric and I were very impressed with this unassuming little shop in the warehouse district. Personally, I loved the gumbo. The oyster in there was really key.

While we were eating, Eric questioned the owner, Lisa, on just about everything from how long they cook their red beans to who makes their bread. (they do.) She even shared a little of their history with us. It turns out that they’ve had a long time to perfect their unique brand of New Orleans cuisine. Calliope’s journey actually began right in the heart of New Orleans and they’ve taken it to Hattiesburg, Mississippi before the disastrous Hurricane Katrina landed then in our space city of Houston, TX.

Co-owner Lisa Carnley had this to say about Calliope’s on their newly-formed Facebook fan page:

“We are the first in Houston of a 20 year tradition of Po’Boy shops run by our family. Our food is great because the recipes have been tweaked and polished through years of experience.

Our vision is to bring an authentic New Orleans Po’Boy to the city of Houston. It all starts with fresh cooked french bread. New Orleans style french bread has a distinctive look and texture that was particularly difficult to duplicate in Houston. Like any sandwich we are only as good as our contents. Our seafood is fried and battered to perfection. We also feature a very authentic sloppy roast beef po’boy with homemade gravy. We are confident that you won’t find a po’boy in town that can compare to ours.

Calliope’s opened in Houston on 3/24/2009. We hope that you can take the time to stop by our neighborhood, located on the edge of downtown, and check it out.”

n90240906778_780My Final Verdict is that this place is best New Orleans-style eatery in Houston. But I’m probably not the authority you should ask. I’ll leave it to Junker to give our readers his final summation of Calliope’s…

“The red beans and rice are authentic New Orleans. Hands down the best in Houston.” Says Eric. “The key is in the bread. It’s as close to anything at Mother’s or Johnny’s in the French Quarter as you’ll find. The attention to minute details sets them apart.”  – Julius Eric Junker, Attorney specializing in Estate Planning, Probate, and Wealth Management in Richmond, Texas.

Additional Information on Calliope’s:

  • Address: 2130 Jefferson, Houston, TX 77003
  • Phone: (713) 222-8333
  • Hours: Mon-Sat 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
  • Houston Press Review of Calliope’s.
  • Diner Reviews from Yelp.

Houston Restaurant Review: Jonathan’s The Rub

June 5, 2009

OssoBuccoIf you are a the kind of diner that values high-end comfort food and restaurants with a “New York feel”, I would highly recommend checking out Jonathan’s The Rub, located in Houston’s Hedwig Village off I-10 and Campbell on the west side of town.

Jonathan’s The Rub is the creation of restaurateur Jonathan Levine, who has been a private chef and caterer in and around the Memorial area for many years after moving to Houston from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Going off the recommendation of many of his clients, Jonathan finally decided to open The Rub about two years ago. The customer list has grown considerably since then but it’s excellent that the ambience and cuisine remain the same.

In a recent interview with the Houston Press, Jonathan shed some insight on how “The Rub” came into existence: “Because of the catering, I found out what everybody around here likes, and since I can cook anything, I created a menu of the favorite foods that my customers like,” he says. “All of my food is familiar food. My customers don’t want to look at the menu and have to ask what’s this and what’s that, and they certainly don’t want to look at their plate and try to figure out what’s what…One example is a dish we recently added to our menu. It’s a blue cheese broccoli casserole. Nothing complicated, but people are really going nuts over it. All of my beef is Angus beef, and I marinate my steaks in olive oil and then use a special spice rub. We have a BYOB policy, and everybody has a good time.”

Walking into the Rub on any given night, you’ll hear the sounds of the city, like Tony Bennett to Luciano Pavarotti, as you get seated and comfortable with friends and/or family. The management and wait staff, which include Jonathan’s own daughter Jessica, are all very welcoming. This is not a surprising fact given that they are used to serving a plethora of regulars, most of which they consider as almost an extended family. Diners from Hedwig Village and surrounding areas fill this spot nightly. In fact, on one of my own visits last week, I was marveling the fact when I noticed our waitress, Jessica, checking on other tables besides ours while calling every patron by name. They all knew hers as well and it just made me feel so very at home while feeling like I was on a getaway back east.

Apart from the excellent food, which I’ll get to in a little bit, a lot of the appeal of dining at Jonathan’s The Rub is due truly to the ambience. I mentioned New York before and Jonathan’s definitely has that “it” that goes along with the city. And just to let you guys know, I was born and raised around New York for more years than I’ve been in Texas so I know what I’m talking about.  Jonathan’s is small, yet intimate, with décor and a patio reminiscent of the Italian side of famed Canal Street. It’s not unlike sitting at any other spot in New York except without the hustle and bustle surrounding you. One can tell by the sights, sounds, and smells that Jonathan’s The Rub is the heart of its quaint little neighborhood. This ambience makes the diner feel like the star of the show and the beauty of it all is that Jonathan’s allows its’ customers to bring their own wine, etc. which is a treat considering that they only charge a very small corking fee.

While the ambience is truly worthwhile, what really sets Jonathan’s The Rub aside from other restaurants in Houston is Jonathan Levine’s own brand of hybrid Northeastern/Southern cuisine. The Rub features an open kitchen with Jonathan Levine cooking personally, nightly.  It’s an exciting feeling to smell the aroma of the kitchen see Jonathan back there as customers walk in, if for no other reason other than the anticipation of an excellent dining experience.

I haven’t had the chance to review the entire menu just yet but what I can tell you is that the restaurant focuses on using only the highest grade ingredients, from the meat to the produce, everything is produced local and is always fresh. Don’t let me fool you. I call it comfort food because of the considerable portions and the ambience but everything I have ever ordered there is truly high-end. From everything I’ve had, I would recommend the Baby Lamp Chops (full rack), Smoked Chops, or the Chilean Sea Bass. If you want New York Italian, try the Osso Bucco or Seafood fra Diavolo. And if you want to catch the restaurant at lunch, they have excellent 9oz. burgers as well as sweet potato fries. And last thing I’ll say is that they have the best gumbo in Houston. Truly – I challenge you to find a better one.

My Final Verdict: Jonathan’s The Rub is impressive all around. From the staff to the ambience to the excellent dishes, Jonathan’s is simplistic enough to be a comfortable casual dining experience for me, whether alone or with friends. It also has enough flair and New York appeal for me to bring a date there. In fact, it’s perfect for those occasions because you can bring your own bottle of vino and Jonathan’s daughter Jessica will remember you by name and make your guest feel at home as well. Jonathan’s The Rub has all its bases covered. 10/10!

 

Jonathan’s The Rub
9061 Gaylord St 
Houston TX 77024
713.465.8200

Hours: Lunch 11-2:20 Monday thru Friday Dinner starts at 5:30 and we stay open in response to demand. Sunday is our day of rest.

Health Considerations: Low Carb, Low Fat, Sugar Free, MSG Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Lactose Free Dairy, Vegetarian

Chef’s Suggestions

  • Appetizer: Chesapeake Crab Cakes or Meatballs
  • Soup: Chicken and Sausage gumbo
  • Salad: House with our homemade House Dressing
  • Entree: I cook everything with LOVE. – Chilean sea Bass!!!
  • Sides: Blue Cheese Broccoli, Mac n 5 Cheeses
  • Dessert: Italian Lemon Cream Cake

Message from Jonathon’s The Rub
Chef John Levine
Seafoods, Steak & Chops
Full Service Catering

Jonathon’s The Rub is a small, upscale restaurant and caterer in Hedwig Village that has developed its own meat rubs and offers foods from an open kitchen to regulars and first-timers. Chef Jon Levine changes the menu slightly every day, featuring seafood, Italian specialties and steaks and chops. Dine in our small and intimate dining room, reminiscent of New York City, with an open kitchen where the owner Chef Jonathan and Chef Julio prepare your meal right in front of you. Our customer favorites include our Chilean Sea Bass to our incredible nine oz burger. Try our Seafood Fra Diavolo, teeming with tender lobster, fresh mussels, scallops and shrimp and a portion generous enough to enjoy the next day. We offer fine full service catering throughout the Houston area. The Rub is BYOB, so bring a bottle of your favorite wine or beer. Jonathon’s The Rub is open Monday through Saturday.

America’s Top 10 Greatest Sandwiches

May 14, 2009
  1. Grilled Lobster and Cheese (Hartford, CT) – A heaping portion of fresh water lobster tossed in buttery havarti and pressed in between grilled toast, this sandwich is a northeastern tradition. Visit Abbott’s in Noank, CT!
    lobstercheese
  2. Po’Boy (New Orleans, LA) – Originally concocted as a quickly-made sandwich to feed the poor boys of the city, the Po’Boy has become an institution for the jazziest city in the south. Made on Louisiana-style baguette bread and layered with southern favorites like fried calamari, shrimp, oysters, and catfish, this sandwich has become a favorite of poor and rich boys alike. Visit Domilise’s Po-Boys in NOLA.
  3. Banh Mi (Houston, TX) – Few cultures have as distinctive a style of BBQ pork as the Vietnamese, who serve this affordable sandwich (usually under $3) on baguette bread with shredded carrots, onions, jalapenos, and cilantro. So simple yet oh so good. Best Banh Mi in Houston? Also try Lee’s Sandwiches.
  4. Pulled Pork Sandwich (The Carolinas) – Imagine a pork shoulder rubbed with seasoning and smoked with patience until it’s so tender that it can be pulled apart by hand. Put the meat on a plain white bun and what you have is North and South Carolina’s answer to any sandwich competition. Check out Bluesmoke BBQ.
  5. The Cuban Sandwich (Miami, FL) – Place slow-cooked pork on baguette bread and add garlicky mayonnaise, cilantro, jalapenos, and the true secret, caramelized onions, and you’ll get a feel for eats from a nation famous for its cigars. Try 3guysfromMiami.
  6. Monte Cristo (Los Angeles, CA) – Originating from inside Anaheim’s Disneyland and the Pirates of Caribbean ride, this battered behemoth is one of the guiltiest pleasures I’ve ever tried. Turkey, ham, and Swiss is dipped in batter and grilled like French toast before a sprinkling of powdered sugar, the Monte Cristo is served with strawberry jam – further reminding you that being unhealthy can also be fun!
    MonteCristo
  7. Club Sandwich (Las Vegas, NV) – Few club sandwiches are piled higher than those made in Vegas casinos. These creations are turkey BLT’s on toasted bread can only be held together by toothpicks. You’ll need a mouth the size of Joan River’s to actually succeed in taking a full bite of one of these things!
  8. Philly Cheese Steak (Philadelphia, PA) – The original “Philly” is made of thinly sliced pieces of steak and melted cheese on a hoagie roll. Sold at hot dog stands all across the city, the authentic version comes with cheek whiz or provolone cheese as opposed to the Swiss served elsewhere. Start at the Philly Cheesesteak Company.
  9. Authentic New York  KosherDeli Sub (New York City, NY) – Ordering a sub from a NYC deli is as a cry from your typical $5 foot long as you can get. The thick cuts of meat are not pre-prepared, but go through the meat grinder as you order, creating the freshest and heartiest of deli sandwiches. My favorite – Turkey & roast beef on rye with a nice smear of mustard. Doesn’t get any better than that. Katz’s never closes!
    BestCyclone
  10. Fat Sandwiches (New Brunswick, NJ) – If you’ve never heard of fat sandwiches, and you should have, then you’re in for one hell of a surprise. These Rutgers inspired creations throw everything but the kitchens sink into a hoagie roll. Imagine gyro meat, steak, chicken tenders, French fries, bacon, cheese sticks, jalapenos, and much more on ONE sandwich. Now that’s a sandwich only a fatty could love! Find more at FatDarrell.com.

Favorite Restaurants for Brunch in Houston

April 10, 2009

Happy Good Friday Houston! Easter weekend has arrived and I’ve asked our fellow Houstonians for suggestions so that you can enjoy your holiday brunch this Sunday. Below you will see the best of Easter brunch spots in Houston or any other weekend for that matter.

After all, there is no better idea to close out a weekend than mimosas and good eats with friends on a patio somewhere!

Favorite Restaurants for Brunch in Houston

cadillac_bar

Cadillar Bar – located off I-10 and T.C. Jester, this Mexican restaurant really really shines during their Sunday brunch, between 11am-2pm. They offer a wide selection of breakfast foods, including an omelet station. They also have all your standard Mexican dishes, including fresh fajitas, ribs, and everything else. Best of all is their dessert station, which much contain about 20 different types of cake and freshly scooped ice cream for  anyone who wants to go a little over the top. Oh, and did I mention that they are open air with a small patio?  website

 

 

v-houtx-55107934_id211300_guide_inclusionFountainview Cafe – located on San Felipe and Fountainview, this cafe has some of the best homestyle dishes in town and is a lot like a small time diner. Simply put, it offers you a quiet place to enjoy a hearty meal and relax. They also have outside tables and a plethora of daily specials. Everything is homemade. website

 

 

 

 

 

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Cafe Brasil – this unique cafe off Westheimer and Dunlavy is perfect for those wanting to enjoy brunch on a nice day. Brasil has an eclectic menu with everything from standard breakfast pastries to migas. Their spinach quiche is to die for. Above and beyond that, they offer a wide selection of coffees, herbal teas, beer, and wine. website

 

 

 

 

2393357895_1b03b205cfShade – this new contemporary restaurant in the Heights has a wide variety of carefully crafted dishes including your standard breakfast fare and a variety of soups and salads. They’ve also got an excellent wine list while managing to avoid being pretentious. website