I've lived in Houston for 22 years. It took me 16 of those to visit the Rothko Chapel for the first time. I didn't eat at Ninfa's on Navigation until I'd counted myself a Houstonian for nearly a decade. I still haven't eaten at Frenchy's. The list of glaring omissions goes on and on. Before you boot me from the city for civic negligence, or at least refuse to continue allowing me to write about Houston food, let me assure you that 2014 is the year I start fixing this problem. I'm making a list of places. Places I should have been by now. Places even I can't believe I haven't visited. This is the year I get (re)acquainted with my city. Maybe you'll find a few from your own list in these posts. I encourage you to follow suit.
Nicholas L. Hall Pork Snuggies: Not stir fried in a wok ... pop / like a pinch on the neck from Mr. Spock
We used to go to Kraftsmen all the time. Nestled in one of the quaintest versions of a strip mall you could possibly imagine, anchored by a church-cum-library, the brick and ivy building housing the café is one of the nicest spots I can think of to spend a leisurely lunch. My wife and I lived two blocks away at the time, in a four-plex on the edge of the University of St. Thomas campus. We stopped going after we were more or less literally evicted by a bunch of nuns, the pleasant and short walk being part of the appeal.
Eight years and three homes later, and we've been back to that shady hideaway, now home to Eatsie Boys, a few times, but never for a proper meal. I'd been by the old Kraftsmen space with my kids a few times, wanting to give them a rare after school ice-cream treat, but wanting to enjoy the actual ice-cream as well as my kids' company. Vietnamese iced coffee ice-cream paired with Shipley donut ice-cream is a luxury unique to Houston. The kids prefer the Brass Monkey Caramelized Banana. Those visits had been rushed, a sugary blitz crammed in between the end of the school day and the start of homework. We'd never found the time to have a meal.
I never managed to eat at any of the iterations of the Eatsie Boys' food trucks, either. Their heyday fell right at the tail-end of mine, when the birth of an extended family member robbed my wife and I of our ready babysitter and we turned into the sad bunch of hermits that makes a series like this necessary in the first place.
Six months into life with our own new arrival may seem an odd time to be making up ground, but there's a sweet spot with babies that makes getting out of the house surprisingly doable. Ours is not yet old enough to walk or talk, so he's a bit of a captive audience, just along for the ride. As long as we feed and change him with sufficient frequency, he tends to be pretty relaxed. It probably doesn't hurt that he's pretty much constantly being held and fawned over. So it was that we decided to grab lunch at Eatsie Boys the other day. It was an impromptu decision, made in the midst of running other errands while our older kids were at school.More »