Saturday, July 17, 2010

Up in the Air

Lark Creek SteakNo respite from air travel this month. I was back in the USA right after the Fouth of July weekend. San Francisco was lovely, with no rains for a change and very pleasant evenings. However, Houston was hot and humid as hell. But it was good to be back in Texas after so long!

Lark Creek SteakI did more steakhouses during this trip than I have in the recent past. I was back at Lark Creek Steak, this time at the Chef's counter watching John Ledbetter busy at work at the huge wood-fired grill. Cooking steaks is pretty basic but what seperates the best from the run-of-the-mill are the quality of ingredients and precision timing. This time I tried the 10 oz. New York Strip as a part of their Traditional Steakhouse Menu, which begins with a green salad and ends with vanilla ice-cream profiteroles.

Lark Creek SteakThe Little Gem Wedge salad was excellent! A wedge of Romaine, bacon, chopped egg, buttermilk-blue cheese dressing made for a heavenly beginning. The steak came with a side of whipped potatoes and crispy onion. Absolutely perfect.

The profiteroles rounded off another perfect dinner. It was evening and the restaurant was full. It was amazing to see the chef grilling about a dozen different steaks on the huge grill without burning anything! A professional kitchen is like an opera. Everything looks casual at the first glance, but then you can see the choreography and professionalism beneath the calm exterior. I have also never seen so much meat all at one time!

Americas in HoustonAt Houston, I walked down from my hotel to Americas, one of my favorite eating places here. Churrasco steaks with chimuchurri sauce like I remember from before. I hadn't forgoten the Tres Leches Cake and ordered it again. Excellent and just as I remembered it. Left me feeling very full indeed!

On another evening, I dined at Romano's Macaroni Grill near the Galleria area. The crab-stuffed mushrooms were filled with lump crabmeat, shrimp and Italian seasonings, then baked until golden. I followed with a seafood Linguine with seared sea scallops, jumbo shrimp and sweet clams sauteed with olive oil, oven roasted tomatoes and fresh arugula.

Macaroni Grill in HoustonBefore leaving, I hosted a team dinner at Truluck's a Seafood and Steakhouse on Westheimer. This time I did not have my camera, but the plates full of crab claws, oysters, crab cakes, shrimp and other delights of the deep were a sight to behold.

The steak did not disappoint either. The Steak au Poivre, 5 oz. of pepper-crusted filet of beef served with parmesan mashed potatoes and brandy-peppercorn cream sauce was perfectly cooked and its size just right after that large starter plate of seafood.

I ended the meal with a tasting of their popular carrot-cake: the largest one I have ever seen served as a single serving!

Waterfront in San FranciscoI flew Continental between Houston and San Francisco and realized they were probably the best in service quality among airlines within the USA. No charges for checked-in luggage and free food (something we take for granted in Asia, but not standard practice any longer within the USA). My iPad has turned into a handy companion for all the hours spent in the air and in airport lounges.

KrisFlyer Lounge at SingaporeSingapore Airlines continues to have the best service and in-flight food, but their business class cabins are beginning to look a little old and in need of refurbishment. But they are still the best! The KrisFlyer lounges in Hong Kong and Singapore serve some of the best food I have seen offered free by airlines. Steaming delicate dim-sums at Hong-Kong, Chicken redang curry, sushi, gourmet teas and Haagen Daaz ice-creams - they are all here and free.

First SquirrelFinally, here a cute little fellow I photographed when strolling by the White House when I was in Washington DC last month. Didn't as much as pause in his eating as I stepped closer to take his picture.


Aathira Nair said...

cute lil fellow :) And he is at the white house, can't be bothered by the paparazzi !

Anonymous said...

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Sadhana said...

I like to follow your blog..i am regular visitor for your blog.

Keep updating it



I was in Sayaji , pune the other day. Enjoyed food there

Shantanu said...

@Aathira: Good to see you back here!

Shantanu said...

@Sadhana: Thanks for your comments. Appreciate it.

@Harekrishnaji: Haven't been there in a while. I guess I have been spending too little time in Pune lately.

Chef Gulzar said...


Good to see you back here!Thanks for your comments. Appreciate it.Keep updating it...thanks!

James Parker….
Chef Gulzar

Shantanu said...

@Chef Gulzar: Thanks.