What a week. I spent a lot of time this week traveling for work. I flew up to Miami last Wednesday and drove to Ft Lauderdale. On the way I popped into McDonalds for my almost-annual pilgrimage to the House of Mac. Once I was done in Ft Lauderdale, I hopped a flight on Continental to Houston and got the crappiest seat in the house: a middle seat in the last row, right by the bathrooms. Bleah.
I was looking for some Texas Barbecue for dinner, but Mother Nature had other plans. I was waiting on a friend to drive up from Austin, and it took her over four hours to make it up because of the tail end of the ice storm. Poor thing should have just turned around when she saw a car go off a bridge and go end-over-end into the middle of a field.
I asked at the front desk if there was a good barbecue pit around the hotel (Holiday Inn on JFK Blvd. Harsh old-school hotel. And I mean that. Old.) and the girl at the front desk said she wasn't from around Houston, and pointed me to the Saltgrass Steakhouse. A chain restaurant. While I was waiting, I checked them out online and seemed to be sort of what I was looking for. Then I waited. And waited some more. When I was done that, I waited a bit longer. I was sure she drove off the road somewhere and was sitting in a ditch, but she made it through at about 10:00. I wasn't sure if the place was still open, so instead we had dinner at a place called "Good Eats" that was attached to the hotel. Talk about your false advertising. Since they didn't have barbecue on the menu, I went with the next best regional dish they did have: Chicken Fried Steak aka heart attack on a plate. A cube steak, breaded and fried and then smothered in cream gravy. It was massive. I cut it about in half and aimed for finishing just that much. I did, but I paid dearly for it later on that night. If nothing else, it's cured my craving for a chicken fried steak for a few more years.
On Friday morning I ran into Zac (almost, not literally) on his bike in morning traffic. He said that he and Steph were going to Bed (which has just recently re-opened) for dinner and why didn't I come along? Sure thing, I've been meaning to try it out since they re-opened. We met up at 6:30 and ordered some appies and a bottle of wine. I got the roasted caprese salad, Steph got the goat's cheese crostini and Zac had their brie wheel. Yummo.
For dinner, I ordered the pork tenderloin roulade, as did Zac. It came with some veggies and mushroom risotto. Steph had the stuffed chicken breast, which looked pretty good. Everything was really good, except the risotto which was "just" good :)
Finally for dessert we had a menage a trois... Got your attention, didn't I? Like the stuffed chicken breast who's filling changes day-to-day, the menage a trois is a three-layered dessert that changes fairly frequently, too. Friday night was a macadamia nut brownie base, with a peanut butter cream middle layer, and none of us could remember what the third layer was when it was described to us because we were already "you had me at peanut butter cream!" I think it was some sort of creme fraiche or cheesecake, as it had that little tang to it. We contemplated ordering something else to share as well, but Zac said he was only going to have a taste. Once it showed up he changed his mind and we devoured it like a pack of jackals! It was soooooo good!
I asked Steph how she knew about the dessert before we even sat down, and it turns out that their roommate Vanessa is the chef at Bed now. How cool is that? I guess she was a responsible chef and did lots of tasting while she was making it and tipped Steph off that it was ZOMGAWESOME. She was right. I was wondering who was going to be running the kitchen there, as the chef who was there before Hurricane Ivan was Sheila of Pulled Pork fame and she's gone back to Vancouver to open a restaurant in White Rock with Batty.
Just to completely mess with my stomach and my palate, I'm back in Houston again today and once I was done the work I came here to do I headed off to get some lunch: Whataburger. Whataburger is a Texas thing. They may have some other locations, but I've only ever seen them in Texas. I ordered a bacon & cheese Whataburger "all the way". Only in Texas do they have diet Dr Pepper on tap, along with a jug of sweet tea and a jig of unsweetened tea. Mmmmmmm gutbomb!
I had dinner at the hotel restaurant tonight and it was better than the last hotel restaurant I ate at, but we'll see how the night goes. I went for the barbecue baby back ribs and they were actually pretty good. I prepared a zantac and glass of water for later though, just in case. The room & bed in this hotel are miles above the last one, but the wired Ethernet in the room is $9.95 a day. Lame. When I stayed in Houston at the end of December on my way back from Vancouver, I stayed at a Marriott Courtyard, and they had free wi-fi throughout the hotel. How much of a nerd does it make me that I actually go out of my way to stay in hotels that has free Internet access over other amenities? :)