Pierogies & Hoagies

16 10 2010

Lucas and I are moving to Pittsburgh around the first of November.  Which means Cooking in Houston is officially retiring.

I finally figured out how to transfer all of these posts to the a new blog:  www.thepittsburghdiaries.wordpress.com.

If you’re interested in hearing my anecdotes from Pittsburgh – where I will try pierogies, curse the snow and likely get my ass kicked by a Steelers fan – click on the link to the new site and subscribe so you can receive updates via e-mail (in the right column).

Aside from dreadful cravings for Tex-Mex, I will miss all of you so much.  And to my dysfunctional, yet incredible family (I love you all!), and my amazing friends who are like family (K&F, J&C, L), I can barely stand to say goodbye.

Wish us well!


Iron Fist

13 08 2010

Last night I had a nightmare.   In color.  Who really only dreams in black and white?

Anyway, my nightmare was actually a mini-series of nightmares.

It started with me in a lake, swimming alongside my oldest sister.  Huge waves, obviously unnatural for a lake, kept coming at us, slamming into our faces.  Because I’ve spent time in the ocean I could sense a pattern and prepare for the next wave, but my sister couldn’t.  She kept getting hit over and over again until we finally made our way to a safe area.

Next scene.

Still in the lake, which I now recognized from my grandparent’s house in Kansas.  I was floating in a red raft near the dock with my parents and my other sister.  We looked over to our left and saw an alligator swimming towards us.  We were all freaking out, but Katie decided she could divert the alligator’s attention.  She swam right towards it, darting in another direction at the last second.  As the alligator chased after her my parents and I swam towards the dock and pulled ourselves to safety.  Somehow I knew Katie was okay.

Next scene.

Walking up a set of green, grassy stairs I saw a snake.  It reached out to bite my ankle, but I fell backwards screaming.

Next scene.

I caught a man peering around a pink shower curtain, hoping to catch a look at a blonde woman showering.  When I confronted him he pushed me to the ground and told me than neither one of us could leave.  I freaked out and when he came after me again I grabbed an iron and used it to hit him in the head repeatedly.

The end.

Red Pier

7 08 2010

A few weeks ago I noticed a new restaurant opening up next to Les Givral’s on Milam.  The sign outstide said “Red Pier Asian Bistro”.  I kept waiting and waiting for reviews to pop up on Yelp so I could learn more about the place, but there still aren’t any.  Yelpers be slackin’.

Last night we were looking for a cheap dinner before going out with friends.  We decided to grab some banh mi from Les Givral’s, but then we remembered Red Pier.  We’d take a quick peek inside and see if it was worth trying.

When I pushed the door open I was instantly dazzled.  The long wall on the left is a fun piece of art.  White ropes hang at different angles, but the effect is not at all like Sushi Raku.  Less burlesque and more zen, complete with a rock garden along the bottom.

But it was the  incredible smells from the open-kitchen that enticed us to stay.  There would be no banh mi in our lives that night. Read the rest of this entry »

Summer Rolls

1 08 2010

A few weeks ago as I was walking through the Asian market I saw spring roll wrappers.   Not anything out of the ordinary, but they were a surprising reminder that even with all of my dabbling into Asian cooking I’ve never made spring rolls.  Which is really a pity.  I threw a package into my cart and when I got home placed them on a shelf in the pantry where they were out of sight, out of mind.  Until today.

I have been incredibly lazy this weekend so when Lucas decided to make Thai Grilled Chicken Thighs with Peanut Sauce for dinner I was determined to make myself useful.  Side dishes it was!  In my opinion lighting the grill without throwing corn on it is a waste of good charcoal.  Perhaps grilled corn isn’t your typical Thai side dish, but it was on sale 5 for $1.00 at Randalls.  Yes, it was added to the menu.

But what else?  I wasn’t in the mood for rice and my feeble attempts at searching online left me drooling …not in hunger, but boredom.   Right when I was about to give up I saw a recipe for fried spring rolls.  The gears started turning and I remembered the spring roll wrappers and thin rice vermicelli I bought weeks ago.  I definitely wasn’t going to fry anything, but some nice, light summer rolls sounded like the perfect way to round out dinner. Read the rest of this entry »

Stuck in an Alice In Chains Song

29 07 2010

I have a confession to make.  I made it to Day 21 of my Month of Yoga before injuring myself.  Twice.

Injury #1 was a painful reminder that I’m not so young anymore.  I woke up on a Monday morning, limping due to some serious discomfort (read: pain) in my right hip.  It was popping, grinding in the socket.  Hmm.  That’s not normal.

As much as I wanted to push through the pain I knew better than to exacerbate whatever damage had already been done.  So I took the week off.

Right when it was time to hit the mat again my 2nd injury put an end to that idea.

Oh, yes.  The injury that proves how stupid, out of shape and overweight I must actually be.  While climbing a fence (don’t ask) I totally killed my right hand.  My writing hand.  My eating hand.  My everything except wiping my ass hand.

I did not fall off the fence.  Nope.  I was like mother fucking Spider Man.  In control and super-stealthy.  I felt no pain at the time.  Had no clue I injured myself until the next morning, when I awoke to a throbbing, swollen, purple hand.  It was bad enough to warrant a trip to the ER.  X-rays showed no sign of a break and a “Hand Contusion” was the official diagnosis.  Yes, you bastards, I went to the ER for a bruise.

It was nasty enough that they gave me Darvocet, which I took until I realized the medicine was pushing me into a horribly depressed state.  Fucking awesome.  48 hours later and I’m still clawing my way out of that hole.

Layne Staley has been bugging me through this whole experience, singing non-stop in my head.  If he wasn’t already dead I’d kill him.

“I’d like to fly but my wings have been so denied.”


11 07 2010

On Friday night we went to dinner at Danton’s Gulf Coast Seafood Kitchen.  Thanks to an awesome deal through My Table Entree we purchased a $30 certificate for only $15 plus we got a free $30 certificate to use another time.  Danton’s has some pretty high-end seafood dishes, but they also have reasonably priced Po’ Boys and Sandwiches which is what we were going for.

We walked into Danton’s and saw that the restaurant is split into two dining areas – the main dining room and the bar.  We peeked into both rooms and realized that in addition to offering a more relaxed setting the bar had a great view of the bridge at Montrose/59.

While waiting for our drinks we looked over the menu and decided that we would start with an order of Boudin and a cup of Seafood Gumbo.  Read the rest of this entry »

I Love Ramen!

3 07 2010

When I woke up this morning my first conscious thought was about Ramen.  Weird, I know, yet Ramen happens to be one of my favorite things to eat.  It’s quick, super inexpensive and – when done right – delicious.  It might not be the normal thing to think about in the bedroom, but you’ve probably thought of stranger things.  Don’t deny it.

I should probably clarify that when I refer to Ramen I mean the instant noodle packs, not the Japanese style which interestingly enough originated in China.  Someday I’ll travel to Japan for real Ramen and visit the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum, but in the meantime I’m content eating Maruchan Ramen.

Did you know that instant noodles were invented in 1958 by an awesome guy named Momofuku Ando?  He’s one of my heroes, and apparently the Japanese agree since a poll in 2000 named instant noodles the greatest invention of the 20th century.  Yeah, yeah, instant noodles are not health food.  They are high in carbohydrates, fat and sodium.  All of the good stuff like fiber and vitamins are basically non-existent.  But I ate them for an entire summer and lived to tell the tale.

My Ramen cravings always strike when there is no Ramen in the house <– insert sad face here.  So after my morning shower Read the rest of this entry »