Eat This: Duck Confit Sandwich at Local Foods

Categories: On the Menu

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Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Duck Confit Sandwich
Planning some holiday shopping in Rice Village this weekend? Something tells me you won't be alone. To fuel your retail binge as well as restore your faith in humanity after another crazy shopper snatches that last model on the shelf just as you were obviously about to grab it, take a breath and take a break at Local Foods.

It's within walking distance of the main shopping streets but sufficiently set apart from the high-traffic areas so that you don't have to wade through the slow-walking, unwashed masses to get inside.

This is not to say, however, that Local Foods won't be busy, for their solid selection of regionally-sourced dishes have attracted a loyal following, particularly among residents of the neighboring apartment buildings.

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First Taste of Ramen Jin with Ramen in Common

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Photo by Mai Pham
Tonkotsu ramen comes with chasu (pork belly), half egg, green onion, wood ears, priced at $9.

Tucked away in a strip mall on the corner of Westheimer and Wilcrest is Ramen Jin, a cute, trendy ramen shop by owner Brian Chen. Chen had no prior experience making ramen, but he did all the homework, reading cookbooks, going online and experimenting in the kitchen until he found the right formula for his prized tonkotsu ramen, which he makes from scratch every day.

Asked how long it takes to prepare the ramen broth, he hesitates, saying that it's very complicated. "Do you want me to start a the beginning of the process and the washing of the bones? Or just from the time of cooking? If you start with just the cooking, it takes 12 to 13 hours."

In Chinese, "Jin" means "King," which is why Chen, who is part Japanese and Taiwanese, named his place Ramen Jin, i.e., Ramen King. He designed his restaurant himself, drawing pictures of what he wanted his furniture to look like, and employing a craftsman to construct each of the stools, tables, and booths in his restaurant. Details, such as the custom napkin, spoon, and chopstick holder -- custom, hand-carved pieces, were also his design.


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Triniti's New Seasonal Menu a Lovely, Leisurely Taste of Fall

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Photos by Christina Uticone
Tomato soup with pimento kolache and eggplant jam is the opening dish on Triniti's new Vegetarian Tasting Menu.
Every meal at Triniti makes an impact. From a dinner with coworkers, to cocktails with girlfriends, to an anniversary brunch with out-of-town family, each meal exceeds the last in both beauty and flavor. We've never left the table at Triniti without a newcomer commenting on the lovely décor, and welcoming atmosphere. So when Chef Ryan Hildebrand added a seasonal tasting menu to the mix--one featuring fall's best vegetables--the invitation to preview the dishes couldn't be passed up.

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Try These Five Outrageously Awesome Shellfish Dishes in Houston

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Photo by Troy Fields
Beer and lobster never tasted so good.
Lobster, shrimp, crab, oysters...these shellfish are all delicious when simply prepared. But sometimes you just want to soak them in beer-butter or coat them in an ultra-thick spiced batter and deep fry them whole until they are crunchy-as-all-hell. And that, our friends, is what we're looking at today. Check out these five outrageously delicious shellfish eats:

See also:
Try These Five Monster Breakfast Dishes
Try These Five Monster Sandwiches
Try These 5 Absolutely Loaded Pizzas
Try These 5 Absolutely Loaded Fries
Try These 5 Chili-Smothered Dishes
Try These 5 Awesomely Outrageous Burgers in Houston

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Try These Five Monster Breakfast Dishes in Houston

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Photo by Brooke Viggiano
There's no bigger bun in town.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We agree...especially when it involves one of these completely gluttonous, monster-sized morning treats.

From a bacon-iced cinnamon roll to something nicknamed "7 Layers of Heaven", here they are:

Warning: Consuming the following will likely result in food coma.

See also:
Try These Five Monster Sandwiches
Try These 5 Absolutely Loaded Pizzas
Try These 5 Absolutely Loaded Fries
Try These 5 Chili-Smothered Dishes
Try These 5 Awesomely Outrageous Burgers in Houston


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Eat This Fall Must-Have at Beaver's

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Photo by Brooke Viggiano
Trust us when we say you'll want to order this mac'.
Since opening in 2007, Beaver's kitchen has been pumping out some of most outrageous and exciting comfort food in the city. So we can only hope that, by this point, everyone has had the chance to get their mac' on with the quirky ice house's seriously decadent mac n' cheese.

They are currently offering it in six different varieties -- but we have our eyes (or mouths, really) on one that couldn't be more perfect for fall.

And that, friends, is the Pumpkin Mac.

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Paul's Kitchen: From Biscuits to Beef Tartare and Beyond

Categories: On the Menu

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Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Pork Shoulder

In the beginning, there were biscuits. Dense with butter flavor and lightly toasted, both were served with a mild red pepper jelly more sweet than spicy and lighter-than-air unsalted whipped butter. We dug in and wanted to request another serving, but held back, because, well you don't go to Paul's Kitchen just for bread and butter.

Located in the former home of Haven, Paul's Kitchen has the uneviable burden of replacing a beloved neighborhood restaurant and dealing with the shitshow of parking situation created by unwashed masses that flock to Twin Peaks every night.

Despite these handicaps, Paul's Kitchen is off to a very good start. Attentive servers, well-executed dishes with the occasional playful spin, and a terrific wine list bode well for their continued success.


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A Much Overdue First Visit to Tony Mandola's

Categories: On the Menu

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Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Oyster Sampler
As a self-identified "foodie" and food writer, there's little excuse I can offer for never having visited Tony Mandola's during my seven-plus years in Houston. "Mistakes were made," as they say, and it was only a few days ago that my inaugural meal took place. Note, "inaugural," not initial, because plans are already in place for follow-up visits.

The expansive menu offerings at Tony Mandola's make it impossible to appreciate the restaurant's culinary versatility in just a single albeit long dinner. Although Tony Mandola's ostensibly specializes in Gulf Coast seafood, this proclamation is not by any means limiting when it comes to designing ways in which to showcase this type of regional protein.

An entire repast could be made out oysters, to which an entire section of the menu is dedicated. "Plain," freshly shucked gulf oysters emitted a lovely maritime aroma that led us to slurp two down immediately without thought of lemon or horseradish. The addition of these condiments added a nice spicy, citrus twang that cut through the brine. Mandola's baked oysters are not overstuffed and oversalted like those at some other area seafood restaurants (Pappas, can you hear me?); the Rockefeller oysters, for example, maintain a good balance of bivalve, breadcrumbs, and garlic butter that gives rise to a rich but not cloying flavor. Likewise, the Bienville version are lightly dressed in a parmesan sauce and dotted with pepper and bacon such that you never forget you're eating oysters and not some bizarro seafood nacho. A trio sampler, btw, is the best way to try the aforementioned varieties plus the Buccaneer style with crabmeat.

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Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Shrimp Cocktail Vincente
Another standout starter is the shrimp cocktail Vincente, a delightful Mexican riff on traditional dish whose traditionally effete flavors reflect its WASP origins. Mandola's puts the prawns directly in the cocktail sauce, which is spicier and heartier due to the inclusion of pico de gallo and avocado chunks. The concoction could easily be consumed with a spoon, but use the accompanying fried tortilla triangles and you'll enjoy a pleasant salty crunch with each bite.

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Try These 5 Monster Sandwiches in Houston

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Photo by David Hale Smith
This bbq sandwich has everything but the kitchen sink...and then some.
From triple deckers loaded with slaw and delicatessen to a bbq number stacked with everything but the kitchen sink, here are five awesomely massive sandwiches to try in Houston:

See also:
Try These 5 Absolutely Loaded Pizzas
Try These 5 Absolutely Loaded Fries
Try These 5 Chili-Smothered Dishes


More »

The 5 Best Happy Hours Near the Museum District

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Photo by Mai Pham
A frozen aviator is just one of the many $5 cocktails you can get at GPB's happy hour.
If you love happy hour as much as we do, you'll love this new series. We're taking a look at the best happy hours in town, 'hood by 'hood. To narrow it down, we're focusing on the spots with the best deals on not only drinks, but eats, too. From upscale eateries serving bar bites and half-priced wine to dives with cheap beer and burgers, we've got it all. See the complete list at the end of this post

This week, we're taking a look at the bars and restaurants surrounding the Museum District.

Note: For the purposes of this list, the Museum District is defined as the area bounded by Main Street to the west, 59 to the north, Texas 288 to the east, and Holcombe to the south, with a few blocks expanded in each direction.

Honorable Mention: $1 off margaritas and beer at Bodegas Taco Shop.

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