Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ice Cream Girl

OK, so I don't usually post about store-bought foods. However, when I opened up this container of ice cream, I was greeted by a girl with a pearl earring and had to share.

Girl with Pearl Earring

Friday, May 15, 2009

Nippon Japanese Restaurant

One night I was craving some good Japanese and food and headed over to one of my favorite Japanese restaurants in Houston, Nippon. Bear in mind that I said Japanese, not sushi. Though sushi is Japanese, Japanese isn't necessarily sushi. I know too many people who mistake the two.

I love this place not only for its sushi, but also for its down-home Japanese cooking. This time around, I just got a few appetizer items to satisfy my craving.

Here are chunks of fresh chicken batter-fried. There's a bit of salt in the batter. With lemon squeezed on top, it's a deliciously simple appetizer.

This is one of my favorite dishes, ankimo, or steamed monkfish liver. Despite the monkfish being one of the uglier creatures in the sea, its liver sure is delicious when steamed and served in a mixture of ponzu and a spicy chili sauce topped with finely chopped green onions. It tastes like a milder pâté with a firmer texture. If you're a fan of pâté, definitely try this out.

This was Nippon's fresh aji, or Spanish mackerel. The small fish is filleted and its meat serve sashimi style with chopped green onions and sesame seeds on top of its bones.

One I was done with the aji meat, the bones were taken to the back where they were battered and deep fried. The frying makes the bones brittle and edible. In all honesty, I'm not exactly sure how much of this I'm supposed to it. I typically eat everything except the thickest part of the head, since its center is still very bony. But the rest of the bones are like crispy fish-flavored chips. Some might be turned off by that but I'm not sure why. There are vinegar flavored chips, which are nearly as yummy as this.

And the last thing I ate here this time was an order of amaebi, or sweet shrimp. It's two fresh shrimps, whose raw tails are served sushi-style. The heads are then battered and deep-fried. So like the aji bones, the shrimp heads become brittle, crispy shrimp-flavored chips.

Nippon rarely disappoints my cravings for Japanese cooking. Usually I come here for their more common Japanese dishes such as ramen or katsu don. But this night I just had a hunkering for little chunks of food.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Detour through Waco

While traveling from Houston to Dallas, we took a detour through Waco to visit our old collegiate stomping grounds. Though I'll never win an award from Baylor for school spirit, Waco will always have the sentimental value of a time when my only worries were finishing homework while earning $100/week for gas and food. I miss the city where 15 minutes of driving was long and rush hour meant 7 cars at the stop light instead of 2.

During this visit, we made 3 stops.

Common Grounds
The first was to my wife's favorite coffee shop, the Common Grounds (1123 S 8th St). She loves this place not just because of the witty name, but also because they make an awesome iced mocha, which comes topped with fresh whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. There's no picture of this amazing drink because she had no patience for my photoshenanigans.

Egg Burger
Our second stop was to our favorite Wacoan burger joint, Kitok Restaurant (815 N 18th St). We shared one of my favorite burgers of theirs...the egg burger with oriental fries. The burger alone is already a force to be reckoned with. But by throwing a fried egg into the mix, the kind Korean ladies of Kitok have made my heart flutter. Too bad the fluttering is both figurative and literal. Though unconfirmed, I'm pretty sure the oriental fries are a battered heap of sliced onions, grated sweet potatoes and sprigs of parsley.

Doggy Sandbox
And for our final stop, we visited our old apartment complex. This part of the trip was more for our dogs. We basically raised them as pups in this particular apartment complex, which used to be a horse farm. So the entire complex is fenced with a huge grassy area in the center perfect for pups to run around without a leash...whether the apartment condoned such freedoms was a different story. In the center of this grassy park is a sand volleyball court. Our dogs used to wear themselves out running circles in this sand court. Despite being old now and suffering from some arthritis, our dogs ran through the court as if they were pups again. Of course this time the running ended much sooner than before. I was only able to capture Sammy because Junior is took spastic for a good shot.

Sure, going from Houston to Dallas via Waco took an extra 3 hours of driving, but this sand-covered nose was worth it.