1834 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77098
If you’re looking for some casual, quick, simple and delicious Italian fare, then you’ll find it at Paulie’s. Carrie H and I went here for lunch on a weekday afternoon. We hit it right at noon and the place was busy but not overly crowded. You order at the counter at Paulie’s and wait for your food, which didn’t take long. There aren’t any waitstaff, which makes the experience different than a sit down restaurant, a little less expensive, and faster. But we didn’t ever feel rushed, no one hovering around our table snatching up plates as we finished.
The parking lot is small and it was full when we got there, so we had to park down the street and walk a little bit. Not a huge deal. Parking in this area of Houston isn’t in abundance, I would’ve been surprised to park in the lot.
We stuck with typical lunch fare today. We shared a small Italian family salad and an Italian hoagie. It was a good amount of food to split between the two of us. The thing we both found ourselves raving about was the salami which was thankfully in the salad and on the hoagie! I could’ve just eaten pieces of that for lunch and been perfectly happy. The hoagie bread was wonderfully chewy and had good flavor on its own. All the ingredients on the sandwich stood out but also complimented each other. The Italian potato salad that came along side the hoagie was surprisingly tasty. Make sure to try it.
The salad was full of goodness. Again, the salami! Everything was cut big and chunky, making it easy to stab a nice slice of mushroom, a chunk of mozzarella, salami and a little lettuce on your fork to make the perfect bite. We stuck with the classic vinaigrette, but looking back I would’ve like to have tried the black olive or the gorgonzola.
Overall everything was great. The ingredients were fresh and it all tasted so simple and clean. I look forward to going back in the evening and trying one of the delicious sounding dinner entrees, or going back on a cold rainy day and treating myself to a warm pizza or panini and a bowl of soup. I can’t wait for it to be cold enough in Houston to enjoy soup!
242 W 19th St, Houston, Texas 77008
Boomtown coffee house is a hidden gem in the middle of the shopping district on 19th street. Or else not so hidden judging from the several dozen people that cycled through when we were there. But it was hidden from me until a few weeks ago and that’s all that really matters. How can I tell you about it if I don’t know it’s there?! Well, we all know now and you can give me a big thank you after you go.
As you walk in you’ll see comfy couches and chairs and artwork from local artists on the walls. It’s trendy without being too much. Walk to the counter and you’re greeted by the owner of the place who will also make your coffee. I always order the vanilla cappuccino and you can tell from the foam art on top that this coffee is hand crafted with care. So it’s pretty as well as delicious. My husband ordered a triple espresso and he said it was over extracted but he used to work in the coffee business so he would know. Plus as we’ve discussed before… snob.
The deliciousness of the coffee aside, I come for the muffin of the day. I’ve had strawberry blueberry and blackberry lemon with a walnut streusel. But my favorite so far is the Morning Glory. It was dense and moist filled with several different kinds of nuts, carrots, coconut and raisins. Seriously divine. The husband had egg and bacon on the flakiest croissant I’ve had in ages if you need a little protein to start your day. They have a few lunch options and a selection of teas if coffee isn’t your thing although if it isn’t we should talk.
Relaxing atmosphere, delicious coffee and superb treats. Next time you’re in the neighborhood stop in and if you’re not in the neighborhood stop in anyway.
Getting up at 3:30 am, barely catching a plane, eating an overly priced yogurt parfait and landing close to what I perceived to be lunch time but gaining two hours after changing time zones demands a good breakfast. And I got one. At Plow.
1299 18th Street
San Francisco, California 94107
415.821.p l o w (7569)
Not being a San Franciscan and never having eaten at Plow before, I can’t speak to a typical morning here. We were there on a Friday. Close to 10am, I think. We waited about half an hour for a table for 4. The space is small. Most of the tables accommodate 2 to 4, and I’m fairly confident that none can seat more than 6. Our wait in the chilly July morning air was well worth it. We enjoyed a nice hot cup of coffee while we waited outside on the corner of Texas and 18th Street in Potrero Hill, a charming neighborhood where the steep streets make for a great view of the city below.
I loved the inside of this place. The wooden tables are beautiful. The accents are simple and minimal and clean. It’s bright with big windows. The kitchen is semi open, flanked by a bar which seats six on metal bar stools. You’re close to the table next to you, but not uncomfortably close.
Our waitress was friendly and attentive. She gave advice when we asked for it. She asked us if we wanted avocado on our fried egg sandwich, which we didn’t even know was an option. And it was amazing. She definitely made our experience better.
We had lots of time to peruse the menu during our time outside, but still had to discuss our game plan when we were seated. On this particular morning I was dining with a great group of sharers. Sharers are people who enjoy ordering as a group and passing plates around, getting a couple bites of everything, where nothing it owned by anyone at the table. No one can order the same thing when you’re eating with sharers because then there is less variety on the table. The goal of sharers is to try as many things as possible. I love sharers. They’re the best people to eat out with.
The menu at Plow changes. Today I went to their website and noticed that one of the yummiest things we ate back in July was no longer on the menu. I kind of love places like this. Some items are staples and are always available, others are put on the menu when they have a certain ingredient or when the season calls for it. Right now there’s a peach and blackberry galette I’d like to get my hands on. We were lucky enough to start our breakfast with a malasada.
I’d never had one of these before. Malasadas are Portuguese donuts, without a hole, and are sometimes filled. Ours was filled with delicious pastry cream. I might have to replace coffee and donuts with coffee and malasadas at our house. How we managed to split this four ways without someone getting stabbed in the hand with a fork is beyond me.
Now to our meal. We ordered mainly breakfast items, but couldn’t resist the stone fruit salad with farmers cheese. We could have probably eaten two of those without much trouble. We also had The Plow (house made pork sausage patties, lemon ricotta pancakes, scrambled eggs and crispy potatoes), and the fried egg sandwich to which we added bacon and avocado. We did not need lunch.
I would eat here again in a heartbeat and I’d recommend it to anyone who happens to find themselves in San Francisco for the day or a week. There are probably a million other places in this city where you can get a decent breakfast, but I won’t bother finding them. I’ll just eat here.
Can you believe it? Another Lipstick & Grits post in less than a week?! It is a miracle. Starting a blog (and restarting one that has been on hiatus) takes some work. Bear with us as we make decisions about our blog and change some things about Lipstick & Grits in the coming weeks and months.
1103 S Shepherd Houston, Texas 77019 (713) 521-2239
Last night my sweet husband and I celebrated my 30th birthday at Backstreet Cafe. I didn’t know this at the time, but this year also marks Backstreet’s 30th year in business. A fun coincidence, right? I’m not a native Houstonian and I don’t claim to have a perfect knowledge of the restaurant scene here, but it seems that if you’ve lived here for any amount of time you know about Backstreet and its reputation for being an all around wonderful restaurant. Thanks to my sister who introduced me to this place a few years ago. I’d been here for lunch and brunch before, but never dinner, so I was excited about the meal and I wasn’t disappointed.
We didn’t make reservations but didn’t have any trouble getting a table for two at 7:30 on a Monday night. Play it safe and make reservations if you’re planning to go on a weekend. They have a parking lot, but it was blocked off for valet so we valeted the car. I’m not sure about the parking situation during the day.
It’s July in Houston, which means that it is typically quite hot and uncomfortably humid. But there was a nice breeze last night and since they have a lovely patio we sat outside. It was a little on the warm side for Ben in his pants and dress shirt (he really took one for the team) but I felt pretty good in a dress, a benefit of being a woman! The inside of the restaurant is on the nicer side of casual and feels warm and comfortable, as you’d expect a 1930′s house converted into a restaurant space would.
Our waiter was fairly attentive and very friendly. By the end of the evening we knew that he had just finished grad school, was getting married in April and would then be moving to Dubai. Our water glasses were always full. The staff here are quite conscientious without being overbearing. We were greeted when we walked in and on the way out.
The wine list is extensive but descriptive, so you can find what you’re looking for. I could have spent a long time perusing, but I decided to ask our waiter for a recommendation. He suggested a rose and it was the perfect choice for the warm weather. They offer many wines by the bottle, the half bottle and by the glass. They also offer a few wines as 3 ounce tastes, which I haven’t seen before at a restaurant, but is a great option if you’re looking to try something but don’t want to buy a full glass.
To start we had the fried green tomatoes with crab remoulade from their special summer tomato menu. The breading was perfectly crispy, the tomato was firm but juicy, and the creamy, cool crab remoulade was a surprisingly delicious pairing with the warm fried tomato. Top it all with a little salad of greens, fresh tomatoes and red onion and you have a wonderful summer appetizer.
The menu is full of delicious sounding and varied dishes. They have a great vegetarian menu as well. I’ve been told that the pecan crusted chicken is terrific. Ben chose the Texas steak and I had the halibut special.
The Texas style steak is a chile glazed flatiron steak topped with what I am pretty sure is an herb chimichurri which really helps to cut the heat. On the side is a stuffed jalapeño and a generous amount of some ridiculously cheesy and delicious mac and cheese, broiled to perfection in a ramekin. The steak was pretty good, but not cooked quite as rare as Ben would have liked. I could have eaten that macaroni all day long.
The halibut is served on top of a bed of wilted spinach and topped with a salsa of fresh tomatoes and peaches. On the side is a light and lovely corn pudding, a lot like a souffle. This was a great meal for the warm weather. Everything was flavorful but not too heavy. It paired well with the rose.
For dessert we had the seasonal cobbler, blackberry and peach, topped with vanilla bean ice cream. My only complaint is that there was not enough ice cream! The fruit was cooked wonderfully, the topping was like pie crust, buttery and just slightly sweet. But again, it needed another scoop of ice cream…in my ice cream loving opinion.
Backstreet Cafe is definitely worth a visit. Go for a casual brunch, a business lunch or a romantic date night. Wear jeans or a dress and heels. And as far as I can tell you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
Cost of an entree $15-30
4 1/2 out of 5 stars
Well hello again! It’s been awhile since we’ve posted but much has been happening. It turns out we are all in the great big city of Houston now. So that’s where we’ll be eating most of our meals. And we’ll share those meals, good and bad, with you right here.
519 Shepherd Dr
Houston, TX 77007
The other night we went to the gastropub BRC. It’s just off Shepherd and Gibson. You can’t miss it. There’s a giant red rooster out front. So BRC, stands for exactly what you think it stands for. But that aside we decided to try it out. We started with a beer. The beer menu is extensive and descriptive as far as I’m concerned. I selected my beer based on the description and found it tasted just like I thought it would. The husband said it was just fine. But he’s the beer drinker in the family and a bit of a snob. So there’s that.
We decided to forgo an appetizer, because they didn’t have the Dr. Pepper quail, and went straight to the heart of the menu. The husband had the fried seafood platter and fries. I didn’t try the oysters but the fried shrimp was crunchy outside and moist inside. And it was served with a spicy mayo dipping sauce that was pretty spectacular. I’d heard good things about the burgers but wasn’t really in the mood for that so I tried the BBQ shredded chicken sandwich. I should have tried the burger. The sandwich was good. I just found that there were too many competing flavors, the overly sweet sauce, the blue cheese slaw and the pickled slab of onion. It proved too much for my palate. The real star here was the fries. Thinly sliced and fried to perfection. And they come served in the cutest little fry basket. It made them taste even better I’m sure. We skipped dessert even though when we went it was national strawberry shortcake day or something like that. The table next to us ordered it and they said it was pretty good.
The inside is quirky and cool. From the lighting to the tables to the wallpaper. It’s relaxed and fun. No need to dress up if you don’t want to. But you won’t be out of place if you do. The old school clip art on the walls in very funny. Once you get it. You’ll have to go and see what I mean. Our server was attentive but not overly so. The only negative for me was the acoustics. We did go on a Friday so it was a bit crowded, but there was a loud party across from us and it did make it hard to hear. They have a lovely patio and when it cools down, I’d go again and enjoy my beer outside.
A perfectly serviceable gastropub. I give it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.
It is vitally important when moving to a new city that you find a good, reliable place for carry out. A place where you go when the family has had a long day and no one wants to fix anything. A place where you can go when dinner is a flop. A place where when you call you can say that you’ll have “The usual” and they know what you want. While I am sure we will try other pizza joints in Houston, but ordering from Star Pizza was a great first choice for us.
Star Pizza has been around since 1976 and has 2 locations in Houston. We ordered and picked up from the Harvard location. Since we didn’t eat there, and since I didn’t go pick it up, I cannot give a rating for “Scene”.
As far as the pizza goes, I was quite pleased. The toppings were yummy, and the crust was terrific with a good chew and great flavor. They offer a Chicago style deep dish and a New York style thin crust for all their pies. The thin wasn’t as thin as I thought it was going to be, it was more like a classic crust. Like a Digiorno crust in thickness, but much better in flavor and texture of course. Deep dish was more full of toppings than cheese like the Chicago style I had at Giordano’s. It had high sides of crust that are great for munching on when you reach the end of your piece.
I can’t say which crust I like better, they are both too different from each other for me to pick a favorite. But I know there are people out there who are loyal to either thin crust or deep dish. The nice thing about Star Pizza is that you can get one (or more) of each and you can please pretty much anybody.
They also offer you a choice of white or wheat crust. (We got white for both). You can choose a specialty pizza, or create your own. Also on the menu is a pretty extensive choice of salads, and traditional pasta dishes like lasagna. I think I’ll have to try the Chelsea salad with gorgonzola, walnuts and sundried tomatoes the next time.
We ordered a small deep dish and a thin crust. For the deep dish we got “Ben’s” because it sounded nice and meaty and because it’s BEN! The Ben has ground beef, Italian sausage, pepperoni and ham.
For the thin we ordered a small “Margarita” because I always like a margarita pizza. It was crazy good. Lots of fresh basil, juicy tomatoes and lots of cheese. I would get this one again for sure.
Two small pizzas was more than enough for the two of us. We had enough for lunch the next day and then a couple pieces left over that someone had as a midnight snack straight from the fridge. So, one small would be fine for a couple…if you can agree on one pizza…
Any Houstonians have other pizza places for me to try? I love getting suggestions from those who are in the know, which I am not as far as Houston goes.
Hoagie’s Deli is a Texas Panhandle born restaurant that started in Pampa, Texas, about an hour and a half northeast of Amarillo. Ben and I had lunch at Hoagie’s this past week. They tout themselves as the “Phillie Steak Place”…I think it’s supposed to be Philly? Maybe there’s a story behind that which I am not aware of…
They have much more on the menu than Philly Cheese Steaks. There are hot sandwiches, cold deli style sandwiches, baked potatoes, paninis, soup and a salad bar.
Ben had the Philly. It was good, but not great. Sometimes the bread of a Philly can get soggy. That was not a problem here. If anything, I’d say it wasn’t juicy enough. Eating a Philly Steak should mean lots of napkins are required as your face has no choice but to get a little messy from the juicy meat and melty cheese. This Philly is pretty clean, and had pretty good flavor.
I had the Grilled Chicken Club. Yummy. It was delicious, and I’d get it again in a heart beat. I have no complaints. The bacon was crispy, the chicken was moist and flavorful. The ciabatta bread had a slightly crunchy exterior and soft, tender interior. The swiss cheese was perfectly melted and gave the sandwich terrific flavor and a great texture to contrast the crunchy lettuce, and crisp bacon.
They keep it simple when it comes to what accompanies your sandwich. Classic Lays Potato Chips and a pickle spear. I think that’s smart.
A lot of other items on the menu look really tasty, and I hope to make it to Hoagie’s again before we move down to Houston!
Another post from Kimberly M! This makes me so hungry.
I have a feeling I will be using the word “fresh” quite a bit in this post. With every bite of this food I tried to come up with new words to describe it, but everything was so fresh (which is probably not a word you expect to see when talking about street food).
Since this was during my summer break from teaching, I was able to go eat lunch with people without having to scarf my food down in 30 minutes. So when my mom suggested that we go have lunch in downtown San Antonio, I jumped at the opportunity to have a lunch where I could savor every bite. La Gloria is located in the Pearl Brewery, which is a historic brewery in San Antonio, and now a very cool and modern place to go when visiting the area. Every Saturday, they hold a farmer’s market at Pearl with local, fresh meats and vegetables.
My mom ordered two tostadas – one with black beans and one with shredded chicken. I ordered the tyaluda, which comes with black beans and I added the shredded chicken. The menu said that the tyaluda was basically the Mexican pizza, in case you’re wondering…because I definitely was. I wouldn’t say that everything we ordered had a ton of flavor, but it was incredibly fresh. The queso fresco, the avocado, the lettuce, the tomato – all so fresh! And they had this amazing green sauce that I eventually started to drizzle over my tyaluda. And when I packed up my to-go box, guess what came with me. Yes. The green sauce.
When visiting the Riverwalk in San Antonio, I’d say that La Gloria is something you may want to puton your list of places to visit.
Along I-35 in West, Texas (not to be confused with West Texas) there is a concentration of Czech bakeries that serve kolaches. The Czech Stop is the most visible from the highway and I highly recommend that you stop there and pick up a variety of their sweet and savory offerings. I don’t care if you’re not hungry, stop anyway. You will thank me.
When The Kolache Cafe opened up in Amarillo a couple years ago I was surprised at how many people up here in The Panhandle had never heard of them. I love kolaches. The slightly sweet yeast dough with either sweet fruit or savory fillings. It is a great change from donuts for a breakfast treat. If you have never had one, I suggest finding a kolache bakery as soon as possible.
Last weekend Ben brought home a strawberry and cream cheese kolache, a sausage kolache, and a jalapeno and cheese sausage kolache from The Kolache Cafe for breakfast. The fruit kolache was delicious. I love the combination of the sticky sweet fruit filling and the smooth tang of the cream cheese. I know many bakeries do this, but using a little smokie as the sausage in a kolache leaves me disappointed every time. The ratio of sausage to dough is just not great enough.
Ben’s kolache was a different story. This jalapeno sausage was substantial, nice and spicy, and quite good. The kolache dough has a great yeast flavor with the perfect amount of sweetness.
The Kolache Cafe also offers lunch, and from the looks of the menu it’s a place I’ll have to try sometime soon.
So some Carolina boys (the ‘Pine State’), took their biscuit tradition to the Northwest. What began as a food stand at Portland Farmers Market has turned into two storefront locations in Portland. I will gladly eat biscuits and gravy wherever I can get them, but this place adds some tasty extras like fried chicken, apple butter or pickles .. (and an adouille corndog!!).
My bff Heather and I went to Portland a few weeks ago, and nearly everyone we asked for travel tips told us about this place. We went early, and thankfully beat the usual “line outside the door” breakfast crowd and had our own table. We split the Reggie, (the man in front of us in line said “you cant go wrong with”..). A biscuit with fried chicken, bacon, cheese and gravy. We also got a plain biscuit with butter, honey, and strawberry jam, as well as some fried green tomatoes. Flaky, fluffy biscuits with the nice crunch of the chicken and bacon combined with creamy creamy gravy left us feeling stuffed but not disgusting. We didn’t need to eat again until 4pm.