It’s time to go back to Uchi

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I requested that we go to Uchi for my birthday this year because I had read how awesome it was and had it on my “must try” list. I have been thinking about our meal since then and am getting the itch to go back.

We did a six course tasting menu, but we ordered some other courses that I had read about so we ended up doing nine courses and were very full at the end of the evening. The courses came out pretty quickly and our waiter didn’t tell us much about what was coming next, which made it more interesting. The waiter we had was also excellent – which confirmed what I read about Uchi having a very knowledgeable and helpful waitstaff.

Here’s the courses we had in the order they came out:

Edamame – grilled soybeans with sea salt and olive oil

Hamachi – six pieces of delicious yellow tail sashimi

Hama chili – yellow tail with tai chili and ponzu sauce

Maguro sashimi and goat cheese – tuna with pumpkin seed oil, fuji apples and goat cheese. Loved.

Walu Walu – an oak grilled escolar with candied citrus, yuzupon and myoga. This was one of my favorites.

Zero Sen – sushi roll with yellow tail, avocado, shallot, cilantro, tobiko and yuzu.

Hamachi nabe – yellow tail with fried rice and soy broth – This was my husband’s favorite.

Ham and eggs – a sushi roll with pork belly, yolk custard and espelette. This wasn’t on the tasting menu; we ordered it because I had read about it. It was AMAZING. One of our favorites.

Fried milk – chocolate milk, toasted milk and iced milk sherbet. Delicious.

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Go to El Real and have Queso Flameado

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I have been a fan of Chef Bryan Caswell ever since he appeared on “The Next Iron Chef.” I am so lucky that I live in Houston and can visit his restaurants often. REEF, Little Bigs and El Real are some of the best restaurants in this great city. The first time I went to El Real I ordered Queso Flameado with chorizo and puffy tacos – two of the best things on the menu, in my opinion. I have never gone to El Real and not ordered Queso Flameado. It’s that good. It’s also why El Real is my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant in Houston. If you haven’t been, go now. Seriously. Go. Right now.

Harry’s Restaurant and Cafe: Home to the Feta Fries

My husband and I have eaten breakfast on the weekends at Harry’s ever since we stumbled upon it soon after we moved to Houston. From the outside, it looks like any other breakfast place, but the creative and delicious items on the menu set it apart. Harry’s is known for its Feta Fries, hot French fries, sprinkled with herbs and feta. They are served with what I consider the best honey mustard sauce I’ve ever had. Some of our other favorite dishes are their breakfast tacos, a croissant breakfast sandwich with fried egg, grilled tomatoes, ham and cheese. They also have fantastic biscuits, which are perfection with butter and honey.

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Dim Sum: Trying it for the first time

I’m always up for trying out new restaurants and new food experiences. I recently tried Dim Sum for the first time with my co-worker John. We went to E-Tao in the Houston Galleria and tried a variety of dishes. We started with a Dim Sum Platter (pictured), which included Har Gow, Sui Mai, Steamed Dumplings and Shanghai Pork Dumplings and sticky rice with peanut sauce on the side. We also tried Barbeque Pork Buns, which I had read about in Marcus Samuelsson’s “Yes, Chef” memoir and had been wanting to try after he described eating them for the first time. For main courses, I had the Tofu Pad Thai, and John ordered Ginger Pig Feet. The Pad Thai was excellent, but the pigs feet were … interesting. We were told after we were finished eating that we were the first customers to order the pigs feet in 30 years. I thought that was hilarious, but it also made me wonder why they kept it on the menu and how it came to the table so quickly …

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Underbelly: The Story of Houston Food

Most Fridays, my co-workers and I enjoy trying different Houston restaurants. I had read about Underbelly in Bon Appetit’s top 50 new restaurants in the U.S. and wanted to check it out. The restaurant is described as “the story of Houston food” and has intriguing dishes on the menu. Some of the dishes we tried were the Butter Biscuits and Chicken Gravy (pictured) and Korean Braised Goat and Dumplings. We also tried a fried strawberry pie and a what I believe was a beet flan with a honey brittle. The food was excellent and I will definitely be going back. One of the things that makes the dining experience so wonderful is the design of the restaurant. As soon as I walked in, I thought “I want my kitchen to look like this someday.” Guests sit at handcrafted tables and chairs and have a view of the open kitchen. Canned goods, wine glasses and kitchen items are displayed on beautiful wooden shelves throughout the main dining room.