Category Archives: Good Eats

New food and restaurants I try in Houston.

DC Chilling: Dating Myself Part 1

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I have been in DC for about two weeks now and I’ve finally broken out of the watch-Netflix-in-my-room-all-day mode. I’m not much of a homebody, so that lifestyle got very old quickly. I decided I would make a conscious effort to see the city and all it has to offer. Thankfully, this is my third (and also my longest) time in DC so I could skip the typical tourist attractions. Thankfully, I bought the 7-day Unlimited Metro pass so I don’t have to worry about loading my card with train fare all week. My adventurous spirit often leads me down long rides on the metro to unfamiliar territory. I am mostly always by myself. On the 7:30 train to work by myself, venturing through neighborhoods looking for farmers markets by myself, trekking over to the Intro to Pole fitness class by myself, going to the Made in Hong Kong Film Festival by myself.

I am so accustomed to hopping on a train and not checking my plans for the day with anyone that it throws me off a little when I have to coordinate to meet up with people. I will say that it has been nice to occasionally meet up with friends for lunch or to hear a new band, but it’s also nice to just take myself out on cool dates. That’s how I see my adventures— like me taking myself out on the types of adventures I’d enjoy. I believe spending time with yourself teaches you your preferences and tastes. So far, I’d discovered a few things about myself:

1. My favorite spot in the movie theater is smack dab in the middle.

This weekend, I went to the Made In Hong Kong Film Festival and saw a great drama/comedy called “Aberdeen.” When I first got there, I was the only Black woman in the room. As the lights dimmed, everything around me faded away and I focused my eyes on the English subtitles. I laughed and gasped without shame, as did the movie-watchers on either side of me. And as the credits rolled, I clapped in appreciation. Yes, I’m that girl. I go to movies by myself, sit in the middle of the theater, and if the movie is really good, I clap.

2. I like enjoy a good Ethnic rice bowl.

Rice is the answer to world peace. It can bring together so many cultures . I’m a big fan of Chipotle’s rice bowls and I’m always looking to try out cultural equivalents. In DC, I have tried rice  Tom Yum District (Thai), Roti Mediterranean Grill (Mediterranean), TaKorean (Korean)My favorite, hands down, was the TaKorean rice bowl. I tried it at the Union Market and I fell in love instantly. I was feeling especially carnivorous that day so I ordered my bowl (on the left below) with steak, pork, and chicken, cilantro, sriracha (first time trying this and I loved it), and lime cream. My friend/classmate, who I randomly bumped into at the market, ordered one steak, chicken, and a pork taco. It was hilarious watching people drooling and straning their heads to see what we were eating. You can see why:

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 3. If I go to a restaurant and breakfast is still available, I will order breakfast food (regardless of the time of day)

Pancakes, waffles, french toast, eggs…all day, everyday. That is my idea of a meal. My friend recommended I check out Busboys & Poets, which is a cool hangout spot/restaurant/poetry slam location. The service was good and so was the food. I had a classic french toast with eggs and fruit. I also ordered pomegranate lemonade! (Fun fact: I always get good vibes about a restaurant that serves pomegranate lemonade. It shows they’re open-minded and accommodating.)

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Brunch at Busboys & Poets

4. Bikeshare only makes me miss my Schwinn bike

I’m quite envious of DC bikers. One, because I’m nowhere near brave enough to ride on the road in DC traffic. Second, because I left my beautiful Schwinn bike at home and I’m forced to rely on things like Capital Bikeshare to get the feeling of the wind running through my hair. Don’t get me wrong, the Bikeshare is an ingenious idea and it definitely is a great way to see the city. I just don’t like how clunky the bike feels between my legs and underneath me. The membership fee options are not terrible, if you do it right. I like that you can drop off your bike at one of designated bike rack that is closest to you. Also all trips under 30 minutes are free. It makes biking a very convenient option. I like that DC is training people to get into the biking mentality. If you’re interested in biking through the city, check out the Capital BikeShare website here.

5. Lesser known musicians rock my world

I’m the type of girl who enjoys cover bands and thinks YouTube artists are some of the best musicians because they have a type of drive, raw talent, and desperation that makes a beautiful sound. On Saturday night, I heard a new band called Marlee in the Mixx. Their sound is Neo-Soul/Go-Go groove plus a lot of other stuff too. As I was listening, all I wanted to do is tilt my head back, sway, and raise my drink in the air. But being the musical creep that I am, all I could do was bob my head with wide eyes and sip on my water in appreciation. The lead female singer (Marlee) has a crazy mane of curly hair and she sings and raps. The extremely talented 9-member crew jammed together on the crowded platform. They seemed to be enjoying making the music as much as we enjoyed hearing it. The show was great and the atmosphere was grown and chill.

Click the picture to check out music from Marlee in the Mixx
Click the picture to check out music from Marlee in the Mixx

 In addition to the ones above, this week I also took myself out on a date to Trader Joe’s and to Pole Pressure. My stomach is thanking me for introducing it to Cocoa & Cookie Butter and my neck is cursing me for trying that one move at the end of the pole class. I had a good time. Would I go out with me again? I sure would! I can’t wait to see what I come up with next.

Pinterest Inspired: (Skinny) Spinach and Asparagus Dip

I bought too much spinach and asparagus at the farmers’ market, so I decided to make a spinach & asparagus dip. 


2 cups of spinach

10 stalks of asparagus

2 cups of plain greek yogurt

1/2 tsp of onion salt

1/2 tsp of garlic salt

2 tbsp of parmesan cheese



This was a relatively easy recipe. I’m not a great cook and I was able to make this for my dinner guests. It tasted pretty good. I’d recommend it.

Here’s the recipe: Skinny Spinach and Asparagus Dip

My Favorite Thing: Chocolate Chip Cookies

The chocolate chip cookie is the world’s most beloved and popular cookie.  It is mystifyingly delicious and emotionally comforting for all who encounter it. A woman named Mrs. Wakefield invented the chocolate chip cookie by mistake in 1930. Mrs. Wakefield, attempting to make her favorite Butter Drop Do cookies realized (mid-recipe) that she had run out of bakers chocolate. She decided, instead, to chop up a chocolate bar into little pieces and sprinkle then into the dough. So when they baked, the chocolate chips melted and the chocolate chip cookie was born. As you can see, the story of the chocolate chip cookie, is one of innovation at the risk of making a mistake. For that reason, the chocolate chip cookie is my favorite thing in the entire world.

The chocolate chip cookie reminds me of myself. No, it is not because I am also brown, small, and loved by all. It is because the chocolate chip cookie and I have many shared qualities. Like me, chocolate chip cookie is unique, inclusive, and adaptable.

No two chocolate chip cookies are alike. That is the beauty of baking a chocolate chip cookie. I will never be able to exactly replicate the distinct soft middle of an Otis Spunkmeyer cookie or the petite oval of a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie from Wegmans. But the chocolate chip cookie is aware that I am my own unique baker and it respects my individual style and approach to baking. The dough is pliable in my hands and accepting of whatever form I choose to give it.

That leads me to my next point: chocolate chip cookies are inclusive. Have ever thought about all the possibilities of chocolate chips that are out there? There are semi-sweet chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, caramel swirl chocolate chips. I think you catch my drift. The chocolate chip cookie is the picture of dessert diversity. It is inclusive of all flavors and has yet to reject any topping combination. The other day, I saw a recipe for a bacon chocolate chip cookie. Clearly, flavor discrimination is not an issue for the chocolate chip cookie. It is accepting of all.

And finally, chocolate chip cookies are adaptable. May times when I have found myself attempting to create a cookie from scratch, I have realized that I am missing an ingredient or two. I have been able to substitute ingredients and still end up with a delicious cookie. The chocolate chip cookie has taught me to be as adaptable in my own life. I have learned to utilize and maximize what I already have. I have learned to improvise and think quickly on my feet.  And I have learned to make a masterpiece out of a mess.

Some would say that the chocolate chip cookie is simply overexposed and is just like any other cookie. I’d counter that by saying that the chocolate chip cookie is a metaphor for how we should be in our lives:  we should unique, inclusive, and always adaptable. Just like the chocolate chip cookie.

#31WriteNow: Friendship and Fish Tacos

Today was a day of celebration for my friend-classmate, Julia, and her family so we decided to have a friendship dinner.

Step 1: Rub the spices onto the fish
Step 2: Slice up tomatoes and veggies
Step 3: Pan-fried the fish (medium heat)


Step 4: While the fish is still moist, mashed it with a fork and lower (or turn off) the heat


Step 5: Put the fish on a tortilla, add cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and any other toppings
Step 6: Sit down and enjoy with friends

Dinner was full of great food and great company. I hope we can make these kind of hangouts a repeating thing. These ladies are so much fun and we always end of talking and laughing long after the food is gone. I’m glad to have them in my grad program.

Jennifer, Julia, and I (left to right)

I don’t know Julia’s recipe for the fish tacos but I will definitely ask her for it so I can share the wealth. I love fish tacos, so I would definitely put it to good use.


Good Eats: Benjys and My Partner in Crime










I’m glad Jenn and I got to catch up. This chick is my partner in crime. We go back to sophomore year in college when we first became resident assistants. We had so many crazy moments in that job and made some great memories. We always joke that she will be my Vietnamese bridesmaid and I will be her Nigerian bridesmaid. We’ll see who makes it to the alter first lol.

The restaurant, Benjys on Washington, was a great choice for a dinner with friends. It has a laid back atmosphere, with light upbeat music in the background. It has dimmed lighting, which gave the room an intimate vibe, even though there were people all around. There’s also a rooftop dinning option, which I enjoyed the last time I went to Benjys. The meals were moderately priced. All the plates in the picture above were below $20, I believe. With its complementary birthday dessert and complementary valet, I definitely recommend this place!

Good Eats: EMPIRE in Syracuse, NY



My friend, Gabby, from Undergrad at UT was kind enough to let me stay with her while I check out Syracuse. We went to a brewery restaurant called EMPIRE.

Looking at the menu, I saw a few items that made me wrinkle my nose and arch a brow. I settled with the unique San Francisco burger. I’ve been meaning to try a black bean burger and I really liked this one. I had to trade out the poached eggs because I don’t do that  preferred scrambled eggs. It actually was pretty good! I was full after one half of the burger. Goodeats Empire

Gabby chose the catfish burrito, which sounded like a terrible idea but ended up tasting fine, according to her.

Goodeats Empire2


Overall, I’d give EMPIRE my stamp of approval because of the interesting meal options. They were vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. There was a live band and a nice light vibe.

Good [Ethnic] Food: Nigerian & Indian

While in New York, I was impressed with the diversity of the people around me. There are some amazing culturally authentic pockets tucked away. My adventure buddy, Bukky, had the idea to meet up with some of her family and try out a Nigerian restaurant called the Buka Lounge.  I usually only eat Nigerian food at my house and at Nigerian parties, and I have never been to a Nigerian restaurant. I had been to scared to try Houston’s Fingerlicking restaurant (I have no idea why because I’ve heard mostly good things.)

I ordered: Goat meat pepper soup and a side of akara.

I love my mother’s goat meat pepper soup because it’s the right amount of spice; just enough, not too little. I was pleasantly surprised to find this pepper soup was very similar to my mom’s cooking, only a tad spicier. I had to keep my glass of water near by, but the burning around my lips let me know I was eating authentic Nigerian cuisine.

The akara and the sauce (it wasn’t quite stew) were delicious together.

Here are some other meals at the table:

Great dinner, great company.

————-INDIAN FOOD————

On another day, we tried Indian food. I already love Indian food, so I ordered Tiki Masala with Jasmine rice and a side of Naan bread. Delicious!

Good Eats: In the Big Apple

My first meal off the airplane was a bbq brisket sandwich in North Carolina. Good stuff. Fried pickles and hush puppoes on the side. Yummm!Detailes about the restaurants to follow.

Top left: The OZ Cross sub

Large enough for two meals! The Deli had many subs that crazy names paying homage to celebrities, bands, or other famous people.

I also tried a couple new things while I was here:

#1.Oreo Donut- Dunkin Donuts 

The donut was gooood…for the first 3 bites. After that, I was done. The

#2. Sweet Apple- Arizona

I love Arizona juice! My favorite flavor is Kiwi Strawberry, and Fruit Punch is close second. I saw Sweet Apple and decided to try it out. Big mistake. I had to force myself to swallow the weird pseudo-apple juice. I will stick to my kiwi strawberry. It ain’t ever lied to me.

See, Mommy, I’m nowhere near starving!

Eating Good in the Neighborhood

I have been sampling all types of cuisine this summer. Strangely enough, as a Houstonian I have had limited exposure to Mexican food. In the month of June, my Mexican food consumption was at an all time high.

Honestly, I can’t remember the names of the restaurants or even the names of the meals. All I remember is that each of them was delicious.




Yes to Mexican food, all the way!

Perhaps I enjoyed myself a little too much this month. My waist beads were fitting a little more snuggly heheh. It’s all good though. I do it for the love of good food.

Good Eats: The Grotto

My friend Soluto had a birthday dinner at The Grotto around the Galleria. He told us to dress to impress, so I paired my classy red dress with some pearls (as seen here).

While we waited for everyone to arrived, we were served an assortment of breads and breadsticks. I’m a big lasagna fan, so I ordered the “Lasagne Al Forne.” I wasn’t too please with the $17 price tag, or the small portion (at least compared to the other dishes that came to the table. I was, however, impressed with the taste! Maybe it was the good company and good conversation, or maybe it was just good lasagna, but I enjoyed my meal. I was surprised to find I was full after the square of lasagna. Perhaps it was all the bread.

At the end of the dinner, before they brought an unsplit check for 25 people (O_o), they brought out a complimentary birthday cheesecake with sparklers. They also sang “Happy Birthday” for him.

Bottom Line: The Grotto has a good ambience (lighting, music, and decor). We had a semi-closed off side room that we shared with one other party. I attach good memories with The Grotto because it was like a mini reunion for my friends and I. The high price plus the small portion size is not ideal for most people. I thought The Grotto’s food was decent (I’ve had better lasagne) but I wanted to give them another chance. I browsed their website and found that they have Happy Hour specials.

Here’s a screenshot of their Happy Hour menu:

I’d recommend The Grotto if you have a full wallet and like a variety of pasta and Italian dishes.

Perks: Free bread, free birthday cake

Drawbacks: price