Friday, March 27, 2020

This and That on the Global Effort to Stop a Pandemic

An Alton Brown Tutorial - How to Wash Your Hands

J. Kenji-Lopez of Serious Eats  -- Food Safety and Coronavirus

Texan's quarterback Deshaun Watson has been giving large donations to help over-worked health care workers and hospitality industry workers without income.  You can help fill that last need, too.     Follow the link to in the last paragraph.

And remember to patronize restaurants with your take-out and delivery orders, and tip generously..

And Carol of Carol's Lunchbox, Farmington CT, with a Beatle's classic, a catchy way to remember the new mantra.

I'm in the high risk categories because of age and a recent bout with cancer.  I'm staying safe and hope you are too.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Catfish Station

7903 Beechnut

The Frenchy's Fried Chicken at this location has closed and been rather quickly replaced by this new outpost of another home-grown mini-chain.  According to their website they started out of a trailer in Third Ward only a little over a dozen years ago and the website now lists six brick and mortar locations  It falls a little more into the fast-casual category rather than fast food as the food is prepared to order.

I tried the 2-piece catfish plus 2 shrimp snack basket which came with one hush puppy and some very good battered fries.  The coating on the fish is similar to Capt. Benny's, a mix of corn meal and corn flour, I think, but a little bit thicker.  The hush puppy was sweet - they're described on the menu as sweet corn hush puppies but I didn't find any kernels of corn in mine.

The chicken and sausage gumbo was very good with a good rich, medium thick roux and lots of Cajun sausage; the chicken pieces were mostly shredded in my first sample but I got chunks the second time I tried this.  There was a chunk of tomato and the menu indicated there also should have been okra although I didn't find any pieces in my samples. Pictures posted online from in-house diners with this dish look a little better than my take-home sample - the rice settles down to the bottom in transit.  It has a mild amount of heat but there are bottles of Cajun Chef on the tables.

There are grilled dishes, chicken tenders, seafood tacos and po-boys plus one pasta dish.  House specialties include shrimp and grits, Cajun sausage with red beans and rice and more.  A link of boudain comes with a very tangy remoulade sauce and crackers.

The crawfish pie comes as an empanada stuffed with mostly shredded or minced pieces of crawfish and is served with a home-made etouffee sauce which is an onion gravy.

Besides the desserts listed on the website the in-house menu board offers Stonie Clark's Tea Cakes, an Austin specialty.

Dining-in accommodations are not plush but they're clean and the staff has been very friendly.

Catfish Station

7/30/17 - Per the Chronicle, four more Frenchy's are converting to Catfish Stations.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Flying Idlis

9411 Richmond

This business started out as delivery only, I think.  Hence the slogan 'You Order, We Fly' and the name I suppose. They've built up such a following they've moved into a big strip center on Richmond across from Blue Nile Ethiopian restaurant, sharing the center with Mi Pueblito and Dodo's, two stalwart Colombian restaurants, long-time Cuban venue La Vina, and a new West African spot, Mea's African Cuisine and Lounge which features Nigerian and Ivorian dishes.

The menu centers on idlis and dosas but has begun to expand beyond that.  I started with the Magic Idlis and some Chai.  The basic rice and split black lentil steamed dough is dressed with butter, salt, onion, gunpowder and coriander (cilantro), served on a section of banana leaf and accompanied by a peanut chutney and sambar.  I was delighted.  I love finding little places like this and the fact that portions are modest only adds to its appeal for me.

I went back a few days later for the Magic Masala Dosa which challenges my long-time fave at Shri Balaji Bhavan as best Masala Dosa in town. Most of the dishes listed on the menu as 'coming soon' are now available so the menu offers close to a dozen varieties of idlis and dosas.

Just the mention or sight of the word thali and I start salivating.  It's perhaps my favorite way to partake of Indian food so I had to check out the weekday lunch thali.  Clockwise from the top this was lentils and spinach, eggplant, sambar, yogurt (curd/dahi), a buttermilk curry with vegetables, a small gulab jamon and wheat chapati, plus a more than adequate portion of rice.  The server (owner?) said the buttermilk curry included a  little bit of sambar as I understand and various vegetables.  I could only identify a small portion of onion.  Everything was very tasty; I loved especially the first two dishes and the buttermilk curry.

The staff lacks a little bit of polish (they've only been open a few weeks) but more than make up for it with eagerness to please.  A wall poster indicates on weekends the thali is a special Andhra thali.  The place has been sparsely populated when I've been in on weekdays but I stopped by on a Sunday to try the special thali and discovered there'd be a wait for a seat.  I've never developed much appreciation for standing in line so I'll try again another time.

This stretch of Richmond has always been interesting for the variety of cuisines offered.  The strip center across the street where Blue Nile is located is getting a sprucing up and a couple of Colombian restaurants in there have changed hands; one specializes now in Colombian empanadas and the other is a second location of Paisa's Twin.  I can't remember what each of those were before, though.

Flying Idlis

Masala Munchies

6692 Southwest Freeway @ Hillcroft

I've seen this place many times before, right next door to London Sizzler, but never been in.  The little storefront offers a dizzying array of snacks from the subcontinent.

I'm not much interested in the 'Betcha can't eat just one' food group (thanks anyway, Bert) and I wouldn't know where to start with the variety offered here.  I prefer the more substantial snacks that offer both some nutrition and taste as well as filling the stomach.  I got, top row, a couple of their vegetable samosas (about 2 oz.), curried potatoes, peas and carrots with a coriander/chile chutney; second row: kachoris, minced green peas with garlic and spices and a tamarind chutney; and, third row: Katta Dhokla and a couple Khandvi.  That's actually 2 pieces of dhokla.  Katta means it was made with yogurt, I think.  This was the moistest, heaviest and best dhokla I think I've ever had, despite the tired looking cilantro.  A little dash of red chilli powder certainly didn't hurt.

I went back two days later for more dhokla and to stare at the shelves full of snacks until my head started to hurt.  People were walking out with large bags full of the treats and I'm sure I would too if I started trying to make choices.

Masala Munchies