Monthly Archives: August 2009

Star ‘zza

Star Pizza - Starburst and Marilyn

(Marilyn’s on the L, Starburst on the R)

I have recently rekindled my love for pizza.  I love it so much, I have it once a week in some form or another and since I hastily rejected the Star last week because I’d eaten it recently we had it the next week, forcing me to abstain from pizza for nearly 8 (!!) days.  I’m sooo a trooper.

Rating: 8.5/10

Total bill: <$15 (1/3 large thin crust pizza, garlic bread, and a coke)

After much deliberation the 3 of us split a Large, thin, whole wheat crust 1/2 Marilyn’s (Canadian Bacon, Pepperoni, Onions) and 1/2 Starburst (Ground Beef, Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, Onions, Mushrooms, Green Pepper).

The Marilyn’s is hands down the best pizza at Star.  I usually like to order new things off the menu at places I frequent, but I can’t bring myself to change my order. The 3 of us literally fought over who got to take the one slice of it left home (I won!).  Furthermore, I know that Star is famous for the “deep dish” pizza, but the thin crust is money. I prefer my pizza to be thin and crisp, with minimal sauce – this is perfect.  It’s not soggy, and it’s not burned. Finally, go for whole wheat crust.  I find it to have a better flavor than the white, and it’s healthier! Or is it?  I don’t really know, but it makes me feel better about scarfing down

As for the Starburst… well, it was pretttttty good, but it just doesn’t compare to the Marilyn’s.  It is also OVERFLOWING with mushrooms and green peppers.  I am not exaggerating (the picture just doesn’t do it justice) . So, if you don’t like veggie pizzas, don’t go for the Starburst.

Another gem that was ordered at Star was the cheese bread:

sdaf 001

I mean…. how could you possibly NOT like this?! It’s garlic bread with cheese on it that’s broiled to have the little brown cheese spots on it.  It’s crunchy and garlicky, and probably has 5000 calories a slice, but it was scrumdiddlyumptious.

Dear Star Pizza,

Thank you for opening a location less than 2 minutes away from my apartment.  I shall be a loyal customer for life because of your reasonable prices and delicious Marilyn’s pizza.

Love,

Kelsey

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Sushi Edition: Blue Fish II and Kubo’s

Oh you know, just eating some sushi.

Oh you know, just eating some sushi.

One of my favorite things (among several others) about when Emily comes into town is that I get to eat sushi. Since her trip in town was extra long, we got to eat sushi TWICE. Jackpot.

I’ll keep the Blue Fish part short, as I was not impressed. Emily and I went to the Blue Fish House II in Sugarland (sorry, no pictures!) and ordered a veritable smorgasbord of sushi for sampling and a couple glasses of wine.

Rating: 5/10

Total Bill: <$15 (splitting everything below in half and a glass of white wine)

We chose:

  • Green salad (with Ginger Dressing) $3 (both of us ordered this)

The dressing was nice, but not my favorite ginger dressing (Benihana’s!)

  • Cutie hama roll – yellowtail, avocado, onion, flying fish roe, sprout, with mayonnaise ($6)

Although this was Emily’s choice, I liked it better than mine. It had an okay taste, and I enjoyed the onion.

  • Jade roll (6pcs.) – eel (but I subbed in red snapper), flying fish roe, seaweed salad, cucumber, special sauce ($7)

Def expected this to be the pièce de résistance of the meal, but I was totally disappointed.  Em liked it, but still wasn’t wowed.

  • Alaska roll – fresh salmon, avocado ($4)

Pretty solid, but I hate to say my favorite roll of the night was not a specialty roll.  Specialty rolls are what make a sushi place memorable.  Well, that and freshness.

For sushi in the Sugarland area, you can’t beat Japainero’s, located in Town Square. Excellent signature rolls!!

——————————————

Onto Kubo’s in Rice Village.  I’ve read before it should be a staple in the Houston sushionista’s diet, so I gave it a go. Ironically, I did not end up ordering sushi but did end up sampling some of Emily’s – I was impressed.

Rating: 8.5/10

Total bill: >$15 (Edamame, Tonkotso Ramen and Iced Tea)

  • Edamame ($4)

Typical and yummy.  I love this appetizer.

  • Tonkotsu Ramen – Pork Based Traditional Egg Noodle Soup with Braised Pork, Boiled Egg and Spinach ($8.50)

While it is not a substitute for Phở by any means, this ramen is also nothing like ramen noodles you buy for 15 cents at HEB.

Tonkotsu Ramen

Tonkotsu Ramen

Clearly, I don’t like the pickled pink things (yes, I am legit) or the boiled egg, the broth was so good – light yet savory. I often save the soup for being sick or cold weather, but I had always wanted to try Ramen at a Japanese place and I was very satisfied. A+!

As for the sushi,  Emily chose to have:

  • Tiger Eye roll (5 pc.): (this might not be 100% accurate, but) Salmon, cream cheese, fresh jalapeno, and masago ($7.50)

Emily was literally obsessed with the Tiger Eye roll.  It’s that bit of fresh jalapeno that does it for me personally.

  • Spicy tuna (8 pc.): spicy tuna on the inside, rice and masago on the outside ($6.50)

Spicy tuna delivered quite nicely, as the spice wasn’t a completely wasabi saturated taste. Verrrry nice.

Spicy Tuna, Tiger Eye, and soy sauce: Oh My! (i'm dumb)

Spicy Tuna, Tiger Eye(top), and soy sauce: Oh My!

That caption is kinda dumb.  Anyways, its 4:45 am and I can’t sleep. I’ll see you again soon, Kubo’s.

Side note: I want some Pho soon. Real soon.

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Taco Milagro

Nachos were definitely best in show at Taco Milagro

Nachos were definitely best in show at Taco Milagro

Rating: 4/10

Total bill : <$12 (3 tacos, tortilla soup and a frozen marg)

Well.  I ate here. I must say the choice was hastily made as Aubrey chose Star Pizza that night, but I had had it the previous evening. In retrospect, I wish we’d eaten here instead.

After a few texts and some suggestions, we decided to go to Taco Milagro at Kirby and Westheimer… looking chic I must say (from the oustide)

The inside looks a bit like I’m at spring break in Padre, which turned me on to the happy hour.  3.50 Margs. I’ll take it!

There was also a quite intriguing salsa bar (that I’ve read rave reviews on) that left me and the rest of the crew a bit confounded.

Let me explain:

Mango salsa = sweet and sour sauce

Salsa Negra = BBQ sauce

Other salsas = rather soupy

Now, I’m not sure if this is how these salsas are supposed to taste, but I typically let my mouth/stomach speak for me in these situations, authentic or not and neither of them liked it.

I ordered the Crispy Chicken Tacos.  I clearly did not look at the menu description as I expected them to be crispy chicken in flour tortillas.  No, shredded chicken in crispy tacos.  Disappointment ensues. The tortilla soup it came with was decent, and the tacos were okay too.  I mean, how can you mess up a taco? (I think I’ve said this before)

The only person who actually thumbsed up their meal was Whitney, who got nachos. I tried one and it was pretty good, see picture above.

Verdict = Bleh. Everyone agrees. The end.

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Paulie’s (save room for cookies!)

COOKIES!

COOKIES!

Rating: 7/10

Total bill: < $20 (Small portion Conchiglie & Broccoli, Bellini, and a raspberry shortbread cookie)

You definitely do not miss out on value when dining at Paulie’s on Westheimer.  It is clear that the food is fresh, fast and made with high quality ingredients.  Paulie’s is the perfect place for those on a tight budget to dine for a few reasons:

1) Counter service (read: no huge tips!) and a chic and comfortable ambiance. Check the snooty at the door.

2) Sizable portions, literally.  One can order each menu item in either the “regular” or “small” portion size – music to the ears of those who hate eating leftovers. Still, the small portions are more than enough.

3) Variety.  Paulie’s offers Daily Specials, pastas both light and hearty, Italian classics, salads, and an impressive sandwich lineup.  With a selection like this, it is easy to find something to satisfy the pickiest eater’s palette.

4) Oh, the cookies! From $1.50 to 2.50 a pop, Paulie’s cookies are to die for.  If the descriptive terms “buttery” and “crumble in your mouth” don’t capture your attention, who knows what will. Try the raspberry shortbread, trust me.

Who says you have to bust out the Benjamins for tasty Italian food? At Paulie’s, you can easily get a satisfying meal for under $20, including a glass of wine (or bellini!) and a dessert.  They even throw the delicious, garlic Panini pressed bread in for free!  Just save room for a cookie, for the love of God.

What I ordered:

Conchiglie & Broccoli (small): very very simple, but good.  You can tell it’s fresh fo sho.

Bellini: $5.  Some people said it was strong.  I said it was perfectly fresh and delicious and served in a stemless wine glass. Classy!

Raspberry and Shortbread cookie. 10/10. Read above for more details.

Penne & Shrimp Genovese (and garlic bread)

Penne & Shrimp Genovese (and garlic bread)

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Parm

Chicken Parm

Conchiglie & Broccoli

Conchiglie & Broccoli

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Uptown Sushi

Rating: 7/10 – a little meat markety for me, but still fresh sushi!

Total bill: <$20 (One roll, one sushi bite, and water)

I love sushi.  Unfortunately, I don’t get to eat it too much because most of the people I dine out with don’t like Sushi. Or even Asian.  Eventhough its my favorite genre of food. *Insert more complaints*

So, anyway I went out with Coree and I decided after doing comprehensive research on the best sushi in Houston, I came to Uptown Sushi, located in Uptown Park (Galleria Area)

I walked in at 7pm, and this is what my first impression was:

“Oh no, I am not going to be able to afford this dinner”

Some aesthetic observations:

1. It’s dark in there.  Unnaturally dark. And cold.  It was a strange feeling when I walked from the bright Houston heat into a candle lit meat freezer.

2. You might be paying for the atmosphere.  I knew it would be a little trendier of a place, but gave it the go ahead anyways, secretly hoping to meet a rich lawyer or something there. Oh me. Anyways, along with the dark and the cold, you can smell the snooty. No one was rude or curt with us, but we’re both 20 something women, so I’m not that surprised.

We settled at the sushi bar (no tables were available for 15-20 minutes) and the waitress promptly took our drink orders and unwrapped Coree’s chopsticks for her. I’d already unwrapped mine. Me classy.

My order:

Red Roll ($10): Avocado, cucumber, fresh jalapeno, sprouts and shrimp on the inside with thin slices of tuna and their spicy red pepper paste on the outside.

Well, it’s definately red.  When I envisioned “red pepper paste” i saw the typical Japanese spicy mayo, so I got pretty excited about it.  This red pepper paste looks like cubed red jell-o.  Still good, though. The roll had 8 pieces and was definately fresh. You can taste all the elements of the roll in each bite, but it was still pretty tiny. Overall, good.  I’ll go with a different one next time…

Sea Salt Snapper ____ ($4):I left that little blank because Uptown sushi has a title for menu items off this list.  What they are are little one bite pieces of sushi that are chef created and aren’t supposed to be enjoyed with soy sauce.  I was intrigued by them, so I had one. Delicioso (because I can’t say delicous in Japanese)! I couldn’t find what exactly what was on it on the website, but from my memory, it’s a piece of fresh Snapper, topped with garlic, sea salt, and what appeared to be caviar. I don’t know though, but it was definately black fish eggs.

P.S. – I know I didn’t take pictures, but since no one reads this…. who cares. Also, I felt like a hilbilly taking pictures of my food in such a classy joint.

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