Friday, October 21, 2011

Second Edition: Glutton's Tour of Houston--Unexpected Surprises

I love coming across unexpected surprises when I travel—even to very familiar places like Houston. On the one hand, I enjoyed (most of) the restaurants we visited, but situations I didn’t anticipate led to some of the best moments. Here are a few from our recent Glutton’s Tour:

  • “Dinner and a show” at El Real Tex-Mex @ElRealTexMex : No, I’m not talking about the silent Western movie or football game inside. Sit outside, close to the front rail along Westheimer, and enjoy watching the parade of humanity. A not-particularly-fit woman runs for the bus at the curb up the street (and makes it!), the cyclist jumps out of his skin when he hears the squealing car tires (he avoids catastrophe), a couple of drug addicts cautiously step off the bus just in front of the restaurant (there’s a fence and they move along). Make a game of counting the car honks (we heard four) and screeching tires.

  • Meeting the chef @thefrenchcowboy: After a marvelous meal (see future post) with a very knowledgeable server at Philippe Restaurant, Chef Philippe Schmit left the kitchen and stopped by our table to chat. He is quite personable (with that charming French accent) and was truly pleased that we enjoyed the meal.

  • Finally breaking my hex on sports: Regular readers know of my love for the Tour de France. I even play along a own fantasy team. This year, I expected the Cyclists Union to ring my doorbell and ask me to quit choosing riders for my team. By the time they reached Paris, only five riders on my team of ten remained upright on the bike. Complete carnage. Then along comes the American League Championship series. I turned off a couple of games when the Texas Rangers went south upon my tuning in. My friend Shauna enjoined me to switch off and offered to text me the score. Upon returning to my hotel on Saturday night (a week ago), I hesitantly tuned in….and happily watched the Rangers decimate the Tigers 15-5 to win the pennant. Finally I am no longer the bane of professional sports.

  • Watching and learning from the crepe chef at Melange Creperie @melangecreperie: You can't often see the chef prepare your food in most restaurants; even “open kitchens” provide only a partial view. But we enjoyed watching our crepes (and the orders ahead of us) come together—from bubbling dough on the griddle to slicing the bananas to folding the finished product into perfect thirds.

Next up: Failing to meet expectations

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