This article is an unusual departure from my restaurant reviews and kitchen experiments.
I tend to be hungry a lot of time, even though I think I am eating a healthful diet. I also put on weight easily, but I can also lose steadily if I exercise right. I’ve decided there are certain type of foods my body craves and if I don’t eat the right type of food, no matter what I eat, I will still be hungry.
For example today:
Breakfast: 3/4C steel cut oats, with 1/2C Greek 0% fat yogurt, 1 C strawberries, pineapple and blueberries. 1 C green tea Snack: 1 scrambled egg with diced tomato, carrots and celery, 10 veggie sticks (carrots, cucumber, celery), and 1 can of salmon (130cals)
I was still hungry after that (I have a desk job!) so I had a 180 cal peanut butter and chocolate bar. Still hungry. I tried a package of sea snax seaweed (16 cal). Still hungry. Maybe I am craving fat. I poured myself an 1/8th tsp of extra virgin olive oil that I keep for my lunch salads. Bingo! Within 5 minutes, my hunger pangs went away.
Anecdotally, I notice that when I have serious hunger that my head spins, sugar or simple carbs will fix it, temporarily. If I have this unsettling growl in my stomach, it’s usually protein or fat. I suspect fat because in this case, the protein didn’t do it.
I’m also very active, today is one of those days I have less exercise, so maybe my body is still recovering.
Open Range is the sibling of Big Fish. Next door and owned by the same restaurant group. I love Big Fish; I think I would expect the same from this restaurant. When we arrived, we were the only other party in the room. I’m guessing Monday nights are a bit slow.
I started with the wild mushroom soup. It was thick and full of flavour. The elk “Dianne” was lovely. Deep, meaty flavor balanced by the acidity and sweetness of the red currant demi glace. I choose the rice pilaf instead of the potato. The green beans were young and crisp; the parsnip and onion were tender.
Hubby really enjoyed his corn and jalapeno fritters, the beef tenderloin and the dessert.
The service was attentive and friendly. Open Range is to the land what Big Fish is to the sea. I love seafood; so I prefer Big Fish, but Open Range definitely is a home run.
My mother-in-law is visiting, so I thought I’d make a nice Saturday roast beef dinner. Since hubby is British, I better impress or I may get thrown out of the house. 😉 I bought a nicely marbled Spring Creek Ranch prime rib roast, I suspect it is at least Canada AAA. It’s very tender when roasted and hands down the best prime rib I have ever bought.
The Yorkshire puddings, I usually struggle with, but using a high altitude recipe makes for really good results. They doubled their size. I think I will use the leftovers for popovers. Fill with peanut butter and jam. Tasty.
Friday night, the place was very busy and loud. The last time I was in this spot, it was the Elephant and Castle pub. Wow, that was a long time ago. We were happy to get a reservation half hour after we called; other places we tried, we were not so lucky.
We settled in to watch the Pens and Sens playing while waiting for our order. We started with the arancini. The little fried rissoto balls were hot out of the fryer. The creamy rice and crispy exterior paired well with reggiano and peppery rocket.
The three of us shared the sausage and margherita pizzas. The crust was super thin on the bottom, with puffy crispy edges. The toppings were thin and flavorful, as you might expect from a thin crust pizza. I don’t normally take satisfaction in eating pizza crust, but I do have to admit that I enjoyed this one.
Our server was friendly and attentive. The only knock on this place is the volume. Not recommended for a first date.
Had to hit up some more local food before we leave. We stopped by Rudy’s BBQ on the way to the airport. This place, serves in the style of many of the local joints. Pick your bottled beverage out of the ice coolers, order at the counter and help yourself to the condiments. The burger is served on a paper tray. My friends went for the hunk of prime rib and they cut and ate it on wax paper. Finger lickin’ good.
I usually don’t like to eat too much before a flight, but this time, oh well. The slices of pork loin were cut thick, done well, but still remarkably tender. The rub had a strong flavor of salt, pepper and spices. The “sissy sause” poured like ketchup and tasted more like vinegar than sweet. Texas BBQ, I will miss you, but my waistline won’t.
We stayed in a vacation home near the town of Burnet. Looking for lunch one day, we chose a random Mexican restaurant. El Ranchero is a family run diner, serving Tex Mex style food. I thought the food was decent, for a small town. I had the taco salad with chicken fajita. I also sampled the chicken tamale. It had a nice taste of corn husk. The deep fried ice cream (it’s really deep fried and not rolled in cornflakes) was good.
Eager to try another classic, the Texas BBQ. We headed over to Goode Company Barbeque to see what we could find. I ordered up some pork ribs and chicken. It’s hard to see that under the “Texas Toast” sized slice of bread. The bread was very good; soft, homemade cheddar and jalapeno. The sides were good too. The BBQ sauce was zippy. In Texas style BBQ, the meat is done dry with sauce, if any, added afterwards.
You can order meat by the pound and have it just like that, if you wanted, no sides.
We were looking for some lunch at the Galleria. This was a pretty random selection, “Let’s have Mexican, oh look there’s a restaurant”. I’m not sure what’s up with the bad reviews because I enjoyed my meal. I had a chicken chimichanga covered with a vegetable gravy, beans and rice. The chimichanga was good. I found the beans were a bit on the bland side and I suspect the rice was from a package. Ok, well I can see how this would get a mediocre review. It is what it is, a sit down restaurant in a food court.
My first meal in Texas; we decided on Cajun. I’ve never had real Cajun food before. Admittedly, this is a chain, but that’s ok. I’m not a discriminating foodie. I’ve always wondered what crawfish tasted like. They taste less of shrimp and slightly like lobster. There’s a lot of shell so great if you like fiddling with your food. The broth they were cooked in had kick. I also had a small bowl of shrimp and crab gumbo. I must be a wimp because the spice really kicked. I dumped a few packages of saltines just so I could eat it. No wonder, they have a large pot prominently on display where they must stew this stuff all day. The flavors were bold and concentrated.
I love Houston restaurants. This would be the first of a few restaurants where counter service and serve yourself condiments are the norm. All the tableware is disposable too.
On our way out to Hill Country, we stopped in Austin for lunch. This was a less random pick than some of our other choices, as we had the use of Yelp and Urbanspoon. Komé Sushi Kitchen is nestled on a street with a bunch of older shops. Most of the street has a gritty feel, complete with the graffiti on the buildings. It’s not much to look at from the outside but inside it’s a nice Japanese style bistro. Their awards line the entryway. The hostesses are friendly, greeting customers in Japanese as they walk in the door. Finally, a place that uses real chopsticks, not the splintering wooden kind.
The scallop sushi with mango and avocado was just the perfect bite. Good way to freshen the appetite.
The mackerel came with a small dish of Japanese pickle, miso soup and rice in addition to what was on the plate. A very tasty and affordable lunch for $8.50. The fish was tender and perfectly cooked. Reminds me of the fried mackerel my Mom used to make when I was little. The service was friendly and they handled their lunch rush well. After heavy Texas BBQ, Mexican and Cajun; this is a refreshing treat.