Texas dining

We traveled to Houston on Memorial Day weekend to see The Hubs’ mums and pops.     (Have I mentioned I have the greatest in-laws ever.   Seriously, I would put them up against any others at any time.   They are awesome!)

We told them we did not want to do anything but chill and veg.    We didn’t want to go to the Space Center or The Gallaria or the museums.

We wanted to relax.

Instead they took us to France and Italy.  🙂

They know I love new dining experiences so the first night they took us to Bistro Provence, a very unassuming little French cafe located in a strip mall.    This tiny (and I mean tiny) space was full of surprises.   The food was delicious, the atmosphere quaint and kudos to the wait staff.   It was truly a well-choreographed event as they danced from table to table without colliding.  (There was only one mishap.) Bistro_Logo

All of our salad courses were delicious.   The F-i-L had the Salade Bistro (mixed greens, goat cheese croutons, Proscuitto and Dijon vinaigrette).      Both The Hubs and M-i-L had the dinner salad and I had one of the specials for the night, a chilled carrot and fennel soup.   It was served in a tumbler with a wedge of orange.   Presentation and service were wonderful and the server brought this to me with a soup spoon.   Honestly, I didn’t know if I should drink it or slurp it.   I ended up drinking the last bit.

For entrees, the in-laws ordered  the  Poussin Rôti (a Cornish hen, partially de-boned, topped with “Provençal herbs”, Dijon mustard, and roasted in our wood oven) and the Pizza Bistro, with prosciutto, goat cheese, mushroom, and Swiss cheese.    The Hubs and I went for two more specials.   He ordered the steak with escargot sauce and I ordered the Alaskan cod with tomato confit.   All were delicious, but I wish I would have ordered any of the other three dishes.    Oh, well, there is always the next visit.

The bread was fantastic and it, like almost everything at the Bistro, was cooked in a large wood oven.   The small kitchen is open to the dining area and we had a good table to view that choreography as well.

The night would not be complete with out dessert and we sampled three.    The French Apple pie (baked whole upon request in the massive wood oven and then cut into servings) was served warm with vanilla ice cream.   The men deemed it worthy.   My M-i-L had a lemon tart baked in a chocolate crust.   Interesting idea but the crust was extremely thick and difficult to cut.    I had the lavender-honey creme brûlée.    I chose very wisely this time.

Bistro Provence has a Zagat food rating of 24.   I concur.

The next night they took us to Italy.   We dined at Antonia’s Italian Ristorante in Katy.   (There are two more locations in Cypress and Sugarland.)  This looked like a newer restaurant.   I never know whether or not to mark the service as excellent if the chef is on the floor helping.   Does this mean that they are short handed?    Or, as I like to believe, is it because he is interested in his guests.   Let’s go with the latter.Antonias

We each started with the Insalata della Cassa, a spring green salad with dried cranberries, Gorgonzola, candied walnuts and olives.   The M-i-L has challenged me to replicate their dressing.   I am still working on that.

For our main course, we all ordered the Ravioli Andrea (with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach in Gorgonzola cream sauce), Aragosta Ravioli (Maine lobster filled ravioli in a roasted tomato cream sauce), and homemade meatballs and sausage with spaghetti.   All were keepers.   The bread here is also delicious.      We ordered more to sop up the sauces.    When the chef cleared our plates, he sincerely stated that clean plates were his best compliment.

Everything was homemade here too from the ravioli to the bread.    This was well worth the trip in itself!

There was no dessert for us that night, my friend.    We had made some delicious Avocado Coconut Frozen Yogurt and we rushed home to have some.   (More about that later. )

After all this relaxing and fine dining, it was time to head home.   The one thing we look forward to on our eight hour drive back is to stop in Dallas at a new restaurant find.   How appropriate that after our continental dining that we landed at Great American Hero in Dallas.      11I LOVE this place.    Again, the chef/owner was working the crowd.   I had read online that customer service was a plus here and that is no joke.    As soon as we opened the door, we were greeted from behind the counter, asked if this was our first time, and then counseled on a few of the thirty sandwich offerings.     The list is extensive but after being told that he made the best hummus around, I went with the veggie-hummus sub.    He was not bluffin’.   This was a delicious combo.   The Hubs went with the daily special, the Cuban panini.     (He deemed this better than his Cubano sandwich at the Tune Up Cafe in Santa Fe.    That is a tall Texan compliment because he loved this place.)

I love seeing people doing what they love and I believe the owner was doing just that, especially since it was Memorial Day.   (And, I almost forgot—first timers are treated to a free fruit cup with their order.   I just love stuff like that.   It’s the little things that make me happy.  🙂 )

So, just to recap after my long ramblings, please try out these very distinct and different bistro, ristorante and good old-fashioned sandwich shop on your next trip south.

I apologize for no pics.   I felt it would be a bit rude to snap away at our dinners and I was too hungry to care at Great American Hero.    But, we did make our usual trip to Nelson‘s garden shop where I snapped this beautiful gecko (or newt or simple lizard).

No, we did not dine on him.

No, we did not dine on him.





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