June 9 Smoke

So unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), our half marathon was postponed for an hour due to heavy rains and lightning.  By the time the race started, though the lightning had died down, it was still pouring so much that we decided to call it quits and go back to our hotel room.  There were still people that ran the race, but we just cheered them on from our hotel room in our nice comfy bed.

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I was disappointed. One, we couldn’t run the event that I had been looking forward to for a while; and two, we SO could’ve been sleeping in!!  Well, after packing up all our stuff to head back to town, we ventured to Smoke to meet up an old friend of Chad’s.  The last time I was at Smoke was in October when Sharmin got married.  We had our bridesmaids brunch there before all the crazy wedding festivities started.  When I was there, I definitely had orderer’s remorse.  I tried to be healthy since I was getting married the next month so I had the yogurt parfait while everyone else had super good food.  I wasn’t about to make that mistake again.

I ordered the smoked brisket with cornmeal hash and Chad got the smoked salmon and collard green eggs florentine.  I’m not sure what the concept is here.  I think they bbq their own meat and grow their own food or something.  Anyway, when my entree came out, I had the dreaded egg yolk thingy on top.  You guys know I hate that stuff.  Egg yolk should not be eaten like that!!

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I had to have Chad carefully take the egg off.  He was such a sweet heart.  I cut the egg white all around it off and placed it back on my dish so that I could eat it.  🙂  Whoever thought up this combination was a genius!!  Even our friend took a bite and said it was really good.  The sliced beef with the cornmeal hash is so good together.  I wish I could figure out how to make this at home, but then again, that would mean having to smoke a brisket and I don’t want to engulf myself with flames like Lee did.  hehe.

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Here is Chad’s smoke salmon.  It was good too.  I think the dishes here really add to the presentation of the entrees.  I don’t know if it’s on purpose but the blue trees really gave the dish a nice look.  I only took a small bite of Chad’s so I can’t really comment on it.  It’s really hard to get past the sauce on top and then he cracked his eggs so the yolk was everywhere.  He did finish it though so that probably means that it was good, right??

After our weekend of eating in Dallas, we came back to Houston and ran 12 miles at Memorial Park.  Memorial Park has a ~3 mile running loop made of crushed rock.  I will never do that again.  The next time we run that kind of distance, someone needs to hold a gun to my head for me to run 4 loops around Memorial Park…never again…

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June 8 Ellen’s Southern Kitchen

On Saturday, we drove into downtown Dallas to have brunch with Sharmin and Nam.  They are some very close friends of ours.  Sharmin has been one of my closest friends for a long time.  It’s quite funny because when we first met, I actually remembered thinking, “geez, she’s really snobby.  I could never be friends with this girl,” and yet somehow, many years later, we have become the best of friends.  Sharmin is part of the reason why I’ve gone out to eat so much.  We both share a fond love of good food.  Before Chad and I started dating, there were many lunches with Sharmin all over town.  Now that she lives in Dallas, we always try to eat at different places every time we visit.  For brunch on this trip, we voted for Ellen’s Southern Kitchen.  I was initially trying to find a place with really good bloody marys, but something about this place really appealed to me.  Maybe the words “southern kitchen” had something to do with it.

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Ellen’s definitly had a unique vibe to it.  It kind of felt like something that you’d find in Austin.  A great brunch place that also has a full bar.  haha.  Since breakfast is our most favorite meal and we got up nice and early to make it here by 9am, I ordered the mushroom garlic toast (a recommendation of Sharmin’s) and chad got the chili and eggs.  We were really nervous about the chili and eggs.  Remember, we LOVE the chili and eggs from Bellaire Coffee Shop.  We didn’t want to ruin it by eating them here, but Chad couldn’t help it.

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I wasn’t sure about my mushroom garlic toast.  I definitely think it could’ve been better.  Maybe if there was some salsa to go with it or something, I would’ve liked it more, but Chad’s chili was SO good.  I took a few bites and thought “man, I could keep eating this.”  We couldn’t compare it to Bellaire Coffee Shop because theirs is more like scrambled eggs with chili topping.  Here, it was a big bowl of chili with an egg on top.  Totally opposite things.  Next time we’re there, I’m getting that.

In addition to his chili and eggs, Chad also got the spicy grits.

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You guys know Chad cannot eat food that spicy.  I took one look at the grits and said, “honey, you should probably remove the jalepenos.”  He didn’t believe me and said, they won’t be that spicy and started to mix it all together.  I gave them the stink eye and said, “um, those are grilled jalepenos.  Grilled jalepenos are MUCH spicer than normal.”  Well, he took one spoonful and then proceeded to pick out all the jalepenos.  Poor thing.  hehe. Of course, he tried to redeem himself by saying, “hey, I still have all the seeds in there!”  LOL.

June 7 Asian Mint

So after eating at 60 different restaurants in 60 days, we can finally take a break!!! No more posting all the time.  Actually, I take that back.  Sometimes, I don’t have time to post so then I have to spend like a couple hours updating our blog.  😦 Not fun!

This past weekend, we headed to Dallas for a half marathon on Sunday.  That’s a great strategy to have when you’re eating out as much as we do.  Sign up for races so that you’re forced to workout.  That way, you can continue eating the way that you do without putting on any weight.  In fact, after our run, I actually lost 3 pounds!!

Anyway, our first night in Dallas, we decided to eat at Asian Mint.  I found this place on Yelp when we were trying to find a restaurant that would be halfway between downtown Dallas and Plano.  We were meeting up my good friend Thi and her husband Jimmy.

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Judging from the inside, it looks like a hipster cafe, but everyone who was there were like middle aged folks.  Plus, the name itself implies Asian food, but the majority of the menu was thai food with a handful of chinese dishes.  I don’t know.  We were pretty hungry so we ordered some edamame, a bowl of tom yum soup and chad got the Larb Kai lettuce wraps while I got the red curry chicken. 

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The curry was very good.  I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of bamboo that was in it.  I LOVE bamboo shoots in curry.  I wish more places used it.  The disappointing thing about the curry was that the menu said it also had red and green bell peppers in it but I only saw maybe 3 small slices.  I guess I was ok with it.  Chad’s larb kai (chicken) was a bit too spicy and somewhat on the salty side for him.  That is one thing I’ve noticed.  I know that I have a sensitive tongue when it comes to saltiness, but more often than not, when ethnic food is cooked for a white crowd, the chef tends to add more salt to it.  I’m not sure why… 

Overall, I’m glad we came here.  It was fun to catch up with Thi and Jimmy.  The interesting thing about this place is that though it looks super hipster and modern, it was tucked away in this weird, older shopping center.  It seemed a bit out of place.  I guess that’s how they keep their prices so low. 

May 30 Dogwood

Dogwood.  I wanted to visit this place when they first had their soft opening but we never got around to it.  Every so often, my friend Viet would ask me if we wanted to go but the answer was always no.  Finally, Viet was heading there to watch the NBA game and I figured, yeah, I can make it.  Chad was with his friends so I was solo anyway.

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Where should I even begin?  Viet and his friends got there after work and I had just finished up a run at Memorial Park so I was heading over in my running gear.  (I’m married now, so who cares!) Well, gee whiz, this place was DOUCHY as can be.

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Dogwood is located in Midtown here in Houston.  Midtown is filled with yuppies in their mid-20s.  The bar was filled with young professionals trying to be seen.  I felt so out of place, yet at the same time thinking “wow, I used to be one of these kids.”  LOL.  oyyy…

The great thing about this trip was that it was both mine and Viet’s first time there.  With 3 of his friends there with us, we were able to try a lot of different dishes on the menu.  That’s the cool thing about going someplace to eat with a group of guys.  They eat so much that you can really order a bunch of stuff!

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We ordered some chicken fried steak fingers (in the chinese to-go box) and some buffalo wings.  I also ordered the grilled cheese sandwich with ham and fried green tomatoes.  I don’t know if you would call that a “grilled cheese sandwich.”  It was more like a ham and cheese sandwich.  LOL.   The chicken fried steak fingers were ok.  I think I would’ve liked it better if it was just an ENTIRE chicken fried steak.  The buffalo wings weren’t too bad either.  The grilled cheese sandwich? HOLY MOLY that was probaby the best, most fattening grilled cheese sandwich I have ever had.  I think I’d totally go back there again for that.

Another reason I’d go back?? This is the first bar that I’ve been to that carrys Deep Eddy Vodka.

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Deep Eddy hasn’t been around for that long but they have iced tea flavored vodka.  Yup, you read that right.  Look at that photo.  Doesn’t that look like iced tea to you? Yeah.  It does, but it isn’t!  It’s Deep Eddy iced tea vodka with sprite baby.  The thing tastes like iced tea with lemon.  It was so good.  Don’t take my word for it.  Go there and try that combo yourself.  Iced Tea Vodka with sprite.  Do it.  Just ignore all the douchebags around you.  🙂

May 29 Elevation Burger

Even though it wasn’t National Hamburger Day, we decided to try Elevation Burger anyway.  We were in the area and had heard so much about it.  What made it even more appealing was that we could eat in their little patio with our dogs – always a plus!  Elevation Burger is relatively new to town.  They bought the old Mai Thai’s on Kirby and renovated it into a nice drive through with an outdoor patio seating area.  The concept here is 100% organic, grass fed, free range beef and fries that are cooked in olive oil.  That would explain the high prices!

One of the things that we were told about Elevation Burger is that their fries rival McDonald’s.  I don’t know about that… I mean, McDonald’s fries are like the shiznits.  You tell me.  From first glance, do they look like McDonald’s fries??

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Not really.  They weren’t even that crunchy either.  To be fair though, I’m not a fan of fresh cut fries.  They just don’t come out the same way.  Not as crunchy and not as flavorful.  Maybe I just like the greasy flavor. Who knows. Anyway, I got the regular cheeseburger and Chad got a veggie patty.  (I’ve said it before. He eats bad for lunch and then goes vegan for dinner.)

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Check it out.  That patty actually looks really good!  hehe.  Overall, Elevation Burger was pretty good.  Aside from the fries, the only thing I didn’t like was the cheese on my burger.  It tasted like that weird cheese you get from school on your burger – the kind that’s kinda plasticy.

Anyway, I think the concept is good but I don’t know if this place will be one of those places that sprout up all over town.  There are so many good burger places around here.  I do like that they allowed our dogs on the patio.  I think that would be it’s key appeal.

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