Posted by: Travis | April 8, 2009

Random foodie musings and weekend plans

Drinking my coffee this morning (for some reason i’ve been drinking a small cup of coffee almost every morning the past few weeks) i was doing a quick 10 minute run through of my RSS feed (check out iGoogle, it’s pretty sweet) before getting started with work just to make sure the world wasn’t about to end because of some development that happened as i was sleeping last night. As usual, i checked out the food and wine section of the New York Times and ran across this article about one of Houston’s best new restaurants, Feast. That a restaurant in Houston, which in my opinion has one of the country’s most under appreciated food scenes (i may be a little biased), is getting featured in The Times makes me really happy. There is, however, just a little hint of disappointment coming from this blogger. Allow me to explain.

Feast specializes in doing rural British cuisine heavy on the offal cuts. Heavily enfluenced by British Chef Fergus Henderson‘s famous London restaurant, St. John (one of the chefs at Feast worked at St. John), Feast does a cuisine that no one else in the United States is doing. That they are doing something so unique, and doing so in Houston, is pretty cool. I was able to work in a dinner at Feast when i visited Houston last September with my folks. My Dad and i are both pretty adventurous eaters, so we went in ready to order the weirdest thing on the menu. Brains, testicles, hearts, trotters, livers, ears, tails, whatever, bring it on, we were ready. However, after arriving late (traffic from NASA was crazy), a quick look over the menu left me puzzled. About 1/2 of the stuff on the menu wasn’t really that adventurous at all. We ordered the craziest thing on the menu (pork cheeks, ended up being my favorite dish), and then a bunch of dishes that were interesting, but not at all what i was expecting. I really dug the place, the hardwood floors and dark stained furniture. I loved that they unapologetically served the wine in tumblers. I loved what they were going for with their food and that they took a huge chance by doing it in Houston. But i couldn’t escape the feeling as we were leaving that we caught them on an off night. With so much praise from people who’s opinions i greatly respect, it sounds like i’m going to have to make a return visit next time i’m in Houston.

Add it to the growing list of new places i need to go (Textile, Bedford, Little Big’s, Rainbow Lodge (not new restaurant, but new chef), Voice, etc.) along with the staples that always deserve a visit (El Rey, Ninfa’s, Central Market, etc.). There’s a chance that next trip might be around 4th of July, but it all depends on how our house hunting goes and what our financial situation is like in a month or two. With airfare being as cheap as it is right now, it’s pretty hard to say no.

This weekend should be pretty awesome. Friday is Rachel’s birthday. She wanted to get BBQ and then go play putt-putt, so we’ll be hitting our favorite BBQ joint, Uncle Frank’s, and then heading over to Malibu for a little Mini-Masters Tournament.

Saturday we’ll be heading up to San Francisco for the whole day. We really don’t get up to the City as much as we’d like (though we’ve been 3 of the last 4 weekends), so when we do make the trip up, we have to make sure and get as much bang for our buck by planning. With my list of restaurants in San Francisco to visit topping out at more than 300, i try and make sure to hit at least 1 or 2 places every time we make the trip up. Be it a banh mi place in the Tenderloin, a taqueria in the Mission, a new gastropub in the Marina, an upscale neighborhood place in Pac Heights, or a curry house in Outer Sunset, there’s always a place on the list that is near where we’re going and in the right place on the price scale for what we’re looking for. Though hitting every place on the list before we move back to Texas is totally unrealistic, i don’t find hitting the asterisked places to be too much of a challenge.

This Saturday we’ll be going up for ‘Travis and Rachel’s tour of heart attack inducing restaurants’ tour split up by trips to restaurant supply stores and antique shops. We’ll start with breakfast at Dynamo Doughnuts. They have weird flavors like apple maple bacon (with bacon chunks on top!), lemon thyme, orange ginger, spiced chocolate, vanilla bean, dulce de leche, salted caramel, star annise, and apple filled (with like a pie filling, not jelly). For lunch we’ll be hitting Underdog, a new place that does local/sustainable/organic encased meats that are supposed to be really good and creating quite a buzz with the SF Chowhounds. It sounds kind of like my beloved Hot Doug’s in Chicago. If we can make it to dinner, it will be at Phat Philly, a new Philly Cheesesteak place in the Mission. They use amorosa bread shipped in from Philly, Niman Ranch beef, and seem to cover everything in a cheddar beer sauce made with Newcastle. Check out the pictures. Good God, i might just have a heart attack just looking at them!

We’ll be working off our food with trips to a number of San Francisco restaurant supply stores that are open to the public. No, we aren’t opening a restaurant, we’re just going for fun and to see if these places are worth coming back to. Supposedly they have stuff at lower prices than places like Williams-Sonoma and Sur la Table, as well as a ton of stuff can’t find anywhere else (5 foot whisk, industrial sized electric mixer, etc.). I’m pretty excited about checking out Economy Restaurant Supply, Forest Restaurant Supply, K Doving Food Equipment, and Kamei Restaurant Supply. Hopefully i’ll have some cool stuff to report back on.

If we hit all of the restaurant supply places and still have some time to kill, we’ll be checking out some antique shops. Hopefully, we’ll be moving into a new (to us) house sometime in the next few months, and we’ve pretty much decided that our days of shopping for furniture at Ikea are over. The odd couch or arm chair here or there will probably still be happening, but for most of our stuff, we’ll be looking elsewhere. We aren’t looking for specific stuff right now, but just trying to get a feel for the ‘antique scene’ in the area and what places are good or bad so that when the time comes that we are looking to buy some stuff, we know where to look.

Sunday the plan is to go to church for Easter, make some lunch, and then hopefully head down to the beach for some surfing if the weather is nice and there are waves.

It’s a recovery week this week for my bike training, so my rides are supposed to be kept short and low intensity, hence no plans for a long ride this weekend. I’m not sure i’d call these ambitious plans rest, but i’m only 24 and don’t do the rest thing very well.

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