Thursday, September 02, 2010

Hot As Hell in Houston

Canyon Cafe HoustonIn four hours I was transported from pleasantly cool San Francisco to the sweltering heat of Houston, Texas. I had my iPad with me and the four hours of travel time went by quickly in watching Mad Men, playing games and reading e-books. It was a weekend and I was looking forward to a much needed breather in the middle of two very hectic weeks. During the three days here, I had a chance to try some new eating places and re-visit an old favorite.

Canyon Cafe Houston
Canyon Cafe advertises Southwestern cuisine. It has an interesting ambiance with flaming torches, bamboo and wood interiors. Southwestern cuisine turns out to be Mexican with a contemporary twist. They put a bowl of chips and salsa that was quite nice. The Grand Canyan Margarita was a mix of juices: cranberries, limes, oranges along with prickly cactus juice, tequila and triple sec.

Chips and Salsa at Canyon CafeI ordered a starter of chicken skewers basted in a smoky BBQ sauce served on a bad of fruit salsa and tossed salad greens. The fajitas that followed were very tender: sizzling meat on rice, black fried beans, tortillas, chunky tomatoes, sour cream and guacamole. My waitress, Anna, was cute and efficient and the the home-made ice-cream she recommended was good too!

Fajitas at Canyon Cafe
Fajitas at Canyon Cafe
Ice creams at Canyon CafeAn old friend took me to a Persian restaurant for lunch. Kasra on Westheimer is named after Taq-e-Kasra, a monument and the only remnant of the glittering Persian palaces of King Khosrow I.

We cooled off with glasses of Doogh, a yogurt drink similar to Indian chaach as we waited for our starters and bread. The taftoon bread is completely awesome; along with it we had ordered Hummus and Mast Khair - made of yogurt, diced cucumber and crushed mint.

Doogh at Kasra
Tooftan bread, hummus and other delights at Kasra
Kubideh at Kasra
Persian tea at KasraMy entree was the Kubideh, Persian classic skewers of charbroiled, premium ground beef blended with grated onion and Persian spices. The Kubideh was served on a bed of dill rice and lots of butter. The dill rice went so very well with the flavors of the spices and meat.

We ended with a glass of Persian tea. That was fun!

One day, I was visited Anvil Bar & Refuge on Westheimer in Montrose. Montrose is quite an arty little place, quite unlike the plain, unremarkable neighbourhoods of Houston! Anvil probably has the best cocktails in this city and a lot of character! I ordered the Spindletop, made of Blackstrap and Jamaican Rum, Falurnum and Islay Scotch, Allspice and Angustura bitters. What more approriate in oil country than a cocktail that boasts of 'looking like oil and tasting as bold'. We also nibbled through some pizzas topped with pepperoni, chorizo, gouda, parmigiano and mozarella.

Anvil Bar in Houston
Anvil Bar in HoustonFinally, I was back with a colleague to a steakhouse I love: Sullivans. This place never disappoints. An excellent starter of pepper-crusted tuna tartare was followed by a wedge of Romaine with blue cheese and the most delectible 8oz ribeye with peppercorn sauce done absolutely right. Our pretty waitress was as efficient and friendly as the best of them!

Sullivans in Houston
Tuna Tartare in Sullivans
Lettuce Wedge in Sullivans
Ribeye in peppercorn sauce at Sullivans
PS: You can read some of my earlier posts from Houston here, here, and here.

Anvil pictures courtesy: Katherine Shilkutt


kyh said...

delectable dishes! hoow do you find the persian flatbread compared to the indian naan or rotis?

Lakshmi said...

another appetizing post..just wondering abt the no of days in a month you travel ..

Shantanu said...

@kyh: Well made Persian bread can be excellent. Naan is very similar but has subtle differences.

@Lakshmi: Have been travelling almost two weeks in every month on an average this year. :)

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Doreen - Banquette said...

Looks great! Makes me hungry just looking at it.