Thursday, April 15, 2010

Do Busier Bees Make Better Honey?

To say that life has been busy is like saying gravy tastes good, an understatement so comical that it was even difficult to type. With the school year hitting its home stretch, plus holidays, baseball games, weekend jaunts, out-of-town visitors, wedding planning, TAKS prep, food festivals, and more, I’ve had little time to engage in the one activity that simultaneously stimulates and calms me: Writing.

Well that’s only partially true. I have been writing twice-weekly posts for Eating Our Words, the Houston Press’s hodge-podge food blog. Regular food writing has proven to be fun. Since I only post twice a week, it hasn’t completely overwhelmed me -- but it has encouraged me to do/see/taste more and to hone my writing skillz. And because a few of you have complained that it’s harder to find my posts now, here are links to a few of my favorites. Just in case you’re interested.

Street Vendor Blues
A look at why Houston’s so slow to adopt the food truck movement

Brennan’s Houston
A first taste of the venerable restaurant after its grand reopening

Road Food Rules
A glance at a recent trip to New Orleans for the Road Food Festival

Beloved Brenham
Great places to eat in Brenham, a TX town that’s close to my heart

Celestial Sandwiches
My 25 favorite sammiches in Houston

Battle Falafel
A head-to-head taste test of two respected falafel places in town

Sunday, April 11, 2010

NOLA by Committee

There are a lot of *awesome* reasons to go to New Orleans with a group of friends, but one of the biggest upsides is that with a lot of people, comes a lot of food. Two weekends ago, six of us shared, sampled, and savored our way through menus around town, barely stopping to give thanks for the amazing weather. Here are some sneak peeks of our favorite meals.

Stanley offers a fabulous brunch menu in a gorgeous space filled with natural light, right on a serene corner of Jackson Square. And while the phrase “comfort food with a twist” has become quite the cliché, dishes like Bananas Foster French Toast and Softshell Crab Eggs Benedict certainly have not. We loved how Stanley put its own New Orleans stamp on every menu item.

The six of us gobbled our way through the po’ boys around town, and I can now say with certainty that the fried shrimp po’ boy at Johnny’s is my all-time favorite. This thing is simply outstanding, a prize winner among golden standards: pillowy bread with the lightest of crunch topped with just-golden shrimp, fresh veggies, and a simple, prolonged dash of Crystal hot sauce.

Cochon Butcher is the fabulous meat market and casual restaurant from the folks at Cochon. Sitting pretty on a quiet street in the Warehouse District, Butcher provided the ideal Sunday lunch spot. We arrived early, shortly after they opened, and had the place to ourselves -- but by the time we left, the place was jam-packed with hungry diners. Among the highlights were things like lamb sausage and foie gras butter, but my two faves were the heavenly “boudinwich” and a gorgeous bowl of shrimp-n-grits.