Hello Houston!

This past weekend I took a highly needed complete break from all academia to travel back home to Houston for the weekend.  I flew back for a friend’s wedding, which was absolutely beautiful, and I got to hang out with my parents for a few days.  Really, I feel like I was eating 95% of the weekend (with 3% talking, 1% dancing, and 1% forcing myself not to compulsively check my e-mail).  So let’s take a break from some recipes today to relive my glorious, food filled weekend.
My flight to Houston was early in the morning, so I was awake at 5:30- a foreign time of day for me.  Apparently, the world still exists at this hour?  I had heard rumors but never saw it myself.  Due to my early wake up, I was hungry as soon as I landed in Houston, so after a traffic standstill on the freeway (Ah, Houston, you never change) my mom and I headed out to a early bird’s lunch as soon as restaurants started opening at 11:00 A.M.    Our destination that day was BB’s Café where we chowed down on some delicious Cajun Po Boys.
My choice of poison was the Surf and Turf Po Boy- half fried shrimp, half roast beef with debris gravy.  Yummm. . I highly recommend this sandwich:  the bread was soft, the shrimp was crispy, and the roast beef was tender.   Mom chose the half and half with fried shrimp and fried oysters, and we split some Tex Cajun fries- shoestring fries topped with debris gravy and queso.  All were excellent choices.
After lunch, we headed out to the new Trader Joe’s in Houston.  After much hype, I was pumped.  And then I was a little disappointed.  The location was cool since it is in an old theater, but it was fairly small.  I still saw some great items but didn’t buy much.  I did come home with some cheap saffron I am itching to cook with.
After all that leisure and play, mom and I buckled down for some serious shopping.  We went hunting for a wedding gift and some shoes to wear to the wedding.  Success on both ends.  I actually found a cute pair of heels that don’t leave blisters or hurt my feet too bad.
After Mom was accosted at a Whataburger by being offered a free senior soft drink, we met Dad in Houston for dinner at Kenny & Ziggy’s.  Oh lord was this a great choice.  Kenny & Ziggy’s is basically a New York Jewish deli in Houston, and they give Texas size portions a new meaning.  We started with an “appetizer” of potato pancakes that were the size of our head served with apple sauce and sour cream.  Yummy.  I then ordered a pastrami on rye, Dad ordered corned beef on rye, and Mom ordered the Monte Cristo.  The pastrami was sooooooo delicious that I want to fill up this page with ooo’s.  I don’t know if I will ever be able to eat any other pastrami now.  Dad’s corned beef was also divine, and Mom’s Monte Cristo  was the size of a small infant.  All the food was good, and you might think that I after eating all that I wouldn’t be able to eat any more.  Obviously, you don’t know me very well.  As always, I rallied for dessert. The world’s largest Éclair- the size of my arm.  No regrets.  Although we couldn’t finish the eclair at the restaurant, Mom and I quickly finished the job later that night as a midnight snack.

The next day I began my beauty regiment for the wedding but also had some time to stop by our local Asian grocery store where we picked up some goodies from the bakery and deli for lunch.  We picked up red bean paste sesame balls, sugar cane friend shrimp, a peanut pineapple roll, and a sweet black bean roll.  I had no idea there were so many variations of Asian pastries, and all were very good (albeit very unique).  That night I went to the wedding and had a blast.  The dress, flowers, and décor were all perfectly beautiful, and the bride had the biggest smile on her face all night.  I danced and ate the most delicious butternut squash bisque.  I had no idea I liked butternut squash, but now I am hooked.

I slept like a rock that night and then woke up for one final meal in Houston at Dim Sum with my Aunt Lena.  Dim Sum is one of my favorite things to do for lunch.  You sit and chat as people drive carts of food all around you.  Point, pick, instant gratification.  I love so many things but can never remember the names.  Today my Aunt taught me the names of some of my favorites: Shumai, Har Gow, and Char Sui Bao.  My flight out of Houston was late that evening, so I took some extra Dim Sum to eat on the plane.  Thank goodness I did because I am now sitting at the airport at 10 P.M. waiting for my delayed flight.  I am ready to get into my warm bed but already missing Houston.

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