Fung’s Kitchen (Chinatown, Houston, TX)

In a recent family trip to Houston, Texas, what better cuisine to feed the family than dim sum? During my time in Houston, Fung’s Kitchen was my favorite place for dim sum. The quality is the best and the offer a wide variety of options. For those who haven’t had dim sum, it is a Chinese family breakfast and lunch option where servers push carts of a variety of steamed trays. Each tray is priced a la carte and each server will stamp your card as you order to keep track.

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Har Gow. Chicken Feet. Xiu Mai. 

 

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Steamed Sticky Rice with Mushroom and Pork. 

 

 

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Steamed Egg Custard Bun. 

 

 

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Xiu Mai Rice Noodle. 

 

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Shrimp Rice Noodle. 

 

The staple dim sum dishes are the rice noodles, xiu mai, har gow, and when you’re ready for it…chicken feet. Chicken feet is considered a dim sum delicacy. Fung’s Kitchen has THE best. It has the perfect balance of flavor, but only order whenever you’re ready for it. There is an off-the-menu item, which I don’t know the Chinese name of but I order directly through the waitress. It’s called “The Rice Noodle with the Crunchy Stuff, Shrimp, and Chives”. They used to offer it every day, but now they no longer offer it on busy days or weekends. It’s my favorite rice noodle dish though so be sure to order it if you’re there on a weekday. Another item that I love at Fung’s Kitchen is more of a dessert option: Egg Custard Steamed Bun. It’s a moist sweet bun filled with ooey gooey goodness.

For those who are new to dim sum, you may be subject to all sorts of new and interested tastes and textures. Once I took my friend here for the first time, she was weary at first but began craving dim sum every Sunday for the next few years we were both in Houston. It’s that good!

 

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Rating: 5/5 spoons
Fung's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Tivoli & Lee (Lee’s Circle, New Orleans, LA)

On Easter morning, “The Chef” and I had brunch reservations at Tivoli & Lee. It’s located right in the center of Lee’s Circle, a very prime location for an up and coming restaurant. Tivoli & Lee’s menu had a variety of interesting dishes that I couldn’t wait to try…

 

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Bottomless Mimosa. Usually, they place it in a different cup as an identifier for “bottomless” and unlimited refills, but this day was so busy they ran out of the bottomless mimosa cups. This is the cup for a single mimosa.

 

 

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Boudin Dip. Duck cracklin. Seasonal jam. Dijon Mustard.

 

 

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House-made Drop Biscuits. Devil Ham spread (highly recommended by our waitress)

 

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Charlie’s Gumbo. Chicken. Oyster. Andouille Sausage.

 

 

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Quail-N-Waffle. 

 

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Oyster Salad. Arugula. Frisee. Celery. Chopped Egg. Spiced Pecans. Blackberries. Candied Mustard Seed Vinaigrette.

 

I understand that Easter brunch is a very busy time, but we had made reservations around 1:30 PM. Our waitress was sweet and made some decent recommendations. I ordered the bottomless mimosa, because who can eat brunch without bottomless mimosas?! Plus, the single mimosa price was $3, but unlimited was $10. It’s worth it! Unfortunately, it was such a busy day that they ran out of the unlimited mimosa cups and there was a ton of confusion when I did not get refills. To start off my meal, I wasn’t too happy with that…

45 painful and “hangry” minutes later, we received our first wave of appetizers: Boudin Dip with Duck Cracklins, Drop biscuits with devil ham spread, and the Gumbo. The boudin dip was interesting. I don’t think I’ve seen that dish anywhere in the city and it had to be my favorite of these 3 dishes. The Drop biscuits were dense and dry, but the Devil Ham spread was pretty good. If only it had a fluffier and more delicious medium to be spread onto. The Gumbo (see pictures) was obviously sitting for quite a while under a heat lamp. There was a layer of soup skin that had formed on top from sitting for so long. I can’t tell if it was the kitchen’s fault or the wait staff’s fault for the delay in food expediting. As for the gumbo itself, I wouldn’t try it again…

30 minutes after our first wave of appetizers, we received the Quail-N-Waffle and Oyster Salad. The Quail was cold and the waffles were soggy from the sauce. Eating any type of poultry dish that comes out cold is always disappointing. The Oyster Salad had to be the highlight of the meal, since you can’t really go wrong with fried oysters and the salad was refreshing, but easily forgotten.

It’s not often that I do poor reviews, but I feel this was worth sharing because the menu at Tivoli & Lee was very attractive but the execution was lacking. At the same time, I don’t know whether or not to blame the wait staff or the kitchen. Although our waitress was nice, she didn’t address the long wait and didn’t update us on our food progress. It was a long and disappointing brunch…Hopefully, Tivoli & Lee can improve on this, because I see potential for a good restaurant, but service issues need to be addressed.

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Rating: 1/5 spoons
Tivoli & Lee on Urbanspoon

Carrollton Market (Uptown, New Orleans, LA)

My fiance and I try to have date nights as often as we can. This is super gag-worthy, but he still tries to surprise me. I never know where we’re going on “date night”. On this particular night, he surprised me to Carrollton Market. Carrollton Market is located on the further end of South Carrollton, among other great restaurants worth mentioning such as Brigtsten’s and Dante’s Kitchen. The restaurant was one of the few things that were actually open in the area. It’s nestled in an almost residential area among a few boutiques that are only open during the daytime. The area is very safe and quiet and has a romantic feel to it…

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“Buttery Biscuit Roll”. At least that’s what I called it. This dinner roll is flaky and buttery like a croissant but in a biscuit.

 

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Brick Wall Farms Baby Lettuces. Shaved Radish. Fennel. White Balsamic Vinaigrette.

 

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Oysters Goodenough. Flash-fried Oysters. Benton’s Bacon. Creamed Leeks. Sauce Bearnaise.

 

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Crispy Veal Sweetbreads. Sauteed Spinach. Roasted Oyster Mushrooms. Caper-Brown Butter.

 

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House-made Creole Cream Cheese Cavatelli. Louisiana Crabmeat. Cherry Tomatoes. Grana Padano.

 

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House-made Potato Gnocchi. Braised Oxtail. Raisins. Pine Nuts.

 

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Buttermilk Panna Cotta. Ponchatoula Strawberry Compote. Pecan Brittle. Local Honey.

 

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Baby Beignets. 

 

The first thing that came out was their bread. The bread is like a biscuit but a dinner roll at the same time. It was so buttery, flaky like a croissant. Loved it! I could eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For our salad we ordered the Brick Wall Farms Baby Lettuce salad which had a light and citrusy White Balsamic Vinaigrette. Next, there were the Crispy Sweetbreads, which were bathing in a browned butter sauce. They were moist with a light crisp on the outside and how can you not like anything bathing in browned butter?

Culinary fact: I went out with some friends recently and asked them if they’d ever tried Sweetbreads. Immediately, they shouted, “No, but I LOVE bread!”. I had to quickly explain that sweetbreads aren’t what you think. Sweetbreads are a type of Offal, a group of edible organs and entrails that aren’t considered muscle/bone and are considered a delicacy in the culinary world.

The Oysters Goodenough (named after the Chef) were like charbroiled oysters, but topped in a Bearnaise Sauce and Benton’s Bacon. They were exceptionally rich and flavorful. My fiance couldn’t stop talking about them. If only we had room for more…

We also ordered the Cream Cheese Cavatelli topped with crabmeat. If you know how I like order, you’d know that if I see crabmeat on the menu, it will end up on my dinner table. The Cavatelli was fresh and perfectly cooked. I loved that although this was a pasta dish, the citrusy and wine notes lightened it up and didn’t make you feel to heavy. Since we had good amount of seafood themed dishes, we ordered the Potato Gnocchi and Oxtail to finish off the dinner. The sauce was deep and savory.

Since we were so full, the waiter suggested that we opt for a lighter dessert: the Panna Cotta. It was topped in local strawberry compote and local honey. So light, refreshing and delicious. It paired so well with the mini beignets that we ordered on the side. I know, so much for a light dessert, but it’s so worth it!

The feel is very romantic and the restaurant is small, but there is room for large groups. Just be sure to set a reservation. I love the menu at Carrollton Market since they offer local items on their menu. There’s a Southern sophisticated flare to each dish. Every dish that we ordered not only melded together so well, but it also complimented the other dishes on the menu. I can’t wait to see what they have to offer again soon.

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Rating: 4.5/5 spoons
Carrollton Market on Urbanspoon

Atomic Burger vs. Mooyah Burger

This past week I have been craving burgers like crazy! I found two burger joints off of Veterans Memorial that are both delicious and similar, but which burger had the best bite??

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The Atomic Burger. Fresh ground beef. Special A.B. sauce. American Cheese. Dressed.

When I have a stressful day at work, I get into my car and drive home thinking “burgerrrr…”. A coworker recommended Atomic Burger as her favorite fast food burger joint so I drove straight to it. The patty was really fresh…even fresher tasting than some local, restaurant burgers. This is a neater-eating burger and doesn’t cause much of a mess. Atomic Burger’s menu is a lot more simplified and sometimes you just don’t want to complicate a burger. Every now and then, I just want my beef patty on burger buns with a side of fries and in that case Atomic Burger has my vote!

Atomic Burger on Urbanspoon

 

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Rating: 3.5/5 spoons



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Mooyah Burger. Double meat. Swiss. Dressed. Fried Onions. Mushrooms.

Mooyah isn’t too far from Atomic Burger and is located right next to World of Beer, where they have probably THE widest selection of beer. Unfortunately, the burger joint itself doesn’t sell beer so I couldn’t enjoy a cold one while I ate my burger, but that’s okay. That’s what the bar next door is for! Anyways, back to my burger, there’s the option for a double patty burger and on this particular day, I definitely needed a double. I have to mention that the service at Mooyah is a little lacking. The cashier at the counter wasn’t helpful or friendly  at all. It wasn’t busy and there was only one person behind me. Regardless, the menu is easy to figure out. Mooyah also offers a variety of toppings. I ordered my classic swiss, fried onions, mushrooms burger. Everything was great, but I will say that the bottom bun is thicker and more pillowy than most burgers. The Mooyah Burger is a lot messier, but probably a result of adding a double patty and a multitude of toppings. I like the variety and options that Mooyah offers.

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Rating: 3/5 spoons

Mooyah Burger & Fries on Urbanspoon
So it comes down to, who has the better burger???

 

In this battle of the burger, Atomic Burger wins! Both burgers are great, but when it comes down to flavor and eatability, Atomic Burger’s patties are clearly fresher tasting and ergonomically pleasing.



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French Quarter Festival 2015

French Quarter Festival has to be one of favorite food festivals of the year. This year, the weather wasn’t as optimal since it rained most of the weekend. Regardless, my cousin and I decided to trek our way through the wet, muggy weather for delicious food. Luckily, it wasn’t crowded and there were no lines…

 

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Jacques-Imo’s Cafe: Slow Roasted Duck Poboy

This was the first thing that caught my eye as we approached the park in front of the St. Louis Cathedral. There’s usually more food tents setup near Woldenburg Park for the rest of the festival, but it was a Sunday and the rain was just unrelenting. I love Jacques-Imo’s Duck Poboys. It’s messy. It’s sloppy. But oh so good! They also have another restaurant called Crabby Jack’s, which falls under he Jacques-Imo’s family, that offers the same poboy in a more casual setting and in an industrial part of town.

Jacques-Imo's Café on UrbanspoonCrabby Jack's on Urbanspoon



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GW Fins: Ponchatoula Strawberry Shortcake.

GW Fins is one of my top 10 seafood restaurants in New Orleans. However, on this Sunday afternoon at the FQF, they only had dessert options. Their desserts are always very classic and exactly what you’re looking for. They’re never “deconstructing” anything or trying to revamp any old classic recipes, which I love and miss. Too many places are “trying something different/new”.

GW Fins on Urbanspoon

 

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Haydel’s Bakery: White Chocolate Kingcake Bread Pudding.

Oh my, what can I say about this except phenomenal! It doesn’t look like much, but it’s so moist and flavorful. My cousin and I shared this small little bowl no larger than the size of my palm. We should have each gotten our own. Good job Haydel! I’ll definitely be back and order a whole tray of this!

Haydel's Bakery on Urbanspoon
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Tujague’s Restaurant: Chicken & Andouille Jambalaya

I’ve never actually been to Tujague’s, but I’ve heard great things. Unfortunately, this jambalaya was just OK. There was just too much “flavor” but not enough depth. I could taste all the wonderful herbs thrown into the mix, but possibly not the right proportion. I’d give this jambalaya 2.5/5 spoons because it was almost there. It just needs some improvement…

Tujague's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

 

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Mrs. Wheat’s Louisiana Foods: Crawfish Pie & Meat Pie

This was probably one of my favorite items at the Food Fest. Anything empanada-like or meat pie like just attracts me and this one in particular has the perfect flaky crust. It’s not too greasy and the filling is so well-seasoned. Other meat pies that you usually find in small convenience stores or gas stations tend to be dry with subpar filling, but this was amazing. Another plus is that I decided to order some to-go and it reheats very well. Where can you actually find it’s brick and mortar? It’s located in the St. Roch area of New Orleans, but the website isn’t working and there aren’t any photos on Yelp and I couldn’t find info on Urbanspoon. I’m speculating the place is very new, but I’ll come back for more and keep you posted!



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