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.
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!
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.
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.
Earlier last week, I got the chance to sit down with the Founder of a new food delivery service called “GrubSquad.” Interestingly enough, founder Ogo Ifelayo and I have been family friends for a long time. I had no idea he was sitting on this gold mine of an idea all along.
We met up at Dunn Bros Coffee shop. Check out my “Good Eats” post on Dunn Bros Coffee (link to follow)
Meet Ogo, founder of GrubSquad, food enthusiast, LSU alum , and all-around good guy.
Check out his interview:
Naturale Chronicles: First off—GrubSquad, that’s a great name!
Ogo: Thanks! It’s better than “OJ Deliveries,” and the other names I came up with before [laughs].
NC: Congrats on the recent launch!
O: Thank you. Yep, we launched the site on April 3rd. We had our launch at Sushi Raku. We had a great time.
NC: Ogo, for those who know nothing about GrubSquad, how would you describe what you all do?
O: Our slogan is “feeding productivity enthusiasts.” We know that life is busy. There are enough things to worry about. Getting something to eat shouldn’t be one of them. We are an online food delivery service that connects customers with the food they want, when they want it. There are great restaurants that don’t typically deliver, we’ve teamed up with them so they can give you “EXACTLY WHAT YOU, DELIVERED.”
NC: How did you come up with the idea?
O: I used to help out a lot of my friends with catering businesses by taking their orders to big events, parties, weddings, graduations, etc. When my brother got married and we were catering food from all over the city, I thought to myself “What if there was a more effective and efficient way to get the food you wanted?” I talked to a few buddies of mine and tossed around the ideas. I suddenly got organized and started writing down my ideas in a journal.
NC: What’s your favorite part about being the GrubSquad founder?
O: Honestly, the deliveries.
NC: Really! You mean to tell me the founder of GrubSquad still makes deliveries?
O: [laughs] Yes! We just started up, so I still make some deliveries. I enjoy serving people. I’ve done it all my life with through church, camps like Camp Quality (a camp for children with cancer), helping out friends, etc. I like meeting people and being able to help maximize their day in a cost effective way.
Ogo’s GrubSquad Mobile
NC: If you could name 3 goals for GrubSquad off the top of your head, what would they be?
O: Grub Squad wants to help customers:
#1. Be more efficient and productive with their lives.
#2. Have access to their favorite restaurants and a variety of healthy options.
#3. Explore new good food in a convenient way.
Sidenote: I wanted to check out the ordering process, so I pulled up the website, typed in my zipcode and Grub Squad pulled up their partnering restaurants in my area. I was delighted to see new places I had never been to and many of them at relatively low cost. Once I selected where I wanted to eat, the specific restaurant menu pulled up and I could click and add to the cart what I wanted. Very easy to use!
NC: Do you have a target audience?
O: GrubSquad is for everyone. Our primary market has been those busy professionals who barely have time for lunch.
NC: Yea, doctors, business people, teachers…
O: Exactly! A lot of times, the lunch break is too short to hop into your car, wrestle through traffic, and find a proper meal. We do the hard work so they can eat and still be productive and keep it moving.
NC: So…I’ve been eyeing that GrubSquad tee. Any chance I could get some GrubSquad gear?
O: Of course! We ordered some new batch of shirts. We’ll put them up for sale on the website sometime in the near future. We’ll hook you up!
Bottom line: GrubSquad gets my NC stamp of approval! All the foodies of Houston will love them for bringing good food to a central location. Ogo was telling me that Houston has a great food culture. I’m discovering that myself, and I think GrubSquad can be the tool we need to try new foods and still stick to our busy schedules. Foodies and “Productivity Enthusiasts” are in good hands with GrubSquad.