Tag: houston

Restaurant Reflections: Papadeaux of Houston, a Review

If you are ever in the Houston area, I highly recommend going out to eat at Papadeaux, a self-proclaimed "Seafood Kitchen".  Although there appear to be multiple locations in the US, the one I at at is located southwest of Houston proper on Highway 59, and provides an excellent meal with good service, a nice atmosphere, and reasonable prices.

I went to Papadeaux for dinner twice during my stay in Houston (yes, it was that good).  Each time, I left feeling sated, happy, and glad that I had chosen that restaurant for the evening.

The restaurant itself feels cozy, but is actually quite large.  A substantial bar area to the left of the main entrance looked to hold quite a few people, but did not feel packed.  The main dining area had plenty of tables, but they were spaced far enough apart that you did not feel you were intruding on another's meal.  Wooden pillars painted to look like old wooden columns were interspersed with the occasional fish mounted on the wall.  The ceiling appeared much higher than it actually was, due to the light grey spanish tile decorating the entire span of the restaurant.

The service was also excellent – my waiters were attentive, polite, and answered all of my questions regarding the menu.  Both times I felt they actually cared about my dining experience, as opposed to some places where it seems the waitstaff is only concerned about pushing tables through their meals.

Meal #1:

I started off with a Manhattan and a half dozen raw oysters.  The drink was very strong, but offset slightly by the large amount of ice they put into it.  The oysters, on the other hand, were some of the best I've ever had; they were large, plump, very fresh, and were actually seven in quantity (I guess they throw in an extra for the half dozen).  It wasn't long before they were gone, but not forgotten.

For my entree, I had two soft-shell crabs, served blackened, with dirty rice on the side.  I was surprised to see that in addition to the dirty rice, the plate also appeared with a side of mixed vegetables.  While pretty, these vegetables had little taste and I quickly ignored them in favor of the spicy, flavorful dirty rice and the exquisite soft-shelled crabs.  Each of the crabs was medium in size, crisp and blackened on the outside but juicy and tender within.  Between the crabs and the rice, I found myself reaching for my water glass often, but in a good way.

I chose to end the meal with the bread pudding, which was half the price of all the other desserts on the menu, at a surprisingly low $2.95.  Served warm with a bourbon sauce, it was topped with whipped cream and was the perfect portion to end my meal without leaving me overstuffed.

Meal #2:

Wanting to mix things up a little bit, I chose to try a cup of the "Louisiana" Seafood Gumbo for an appetizer along with my typical Manhattan.  While full of rice and seafood, including two large shrimp and pulled crab meat, the gumbo was not anything out of the ordinary, and the small size of the cup was probably not worth the $5.50 I paid for it, in my opinion.

For my main course, I chose a "Blackened Catfish Opelousas Fillet", which, in addition to the blackened catfish you would expect, came served with blackened oysters, shrimp, and crab meat in a creamy lemon garlic butter sauce.  The fillet was HUGE, so large I couldn't dream of finishing it, but was extremely tasty.  The blackening added spice, but the meaty fillet was still tender and flaky to the touch of the fork.  With three or four large, plump oysters, a handful of smaller shrimp, and assorted pieces of pulled crab meat, this was an entree that could not be beat.  Served with a huge half-plate portion of dirty rice, I really could have turned this dinner into two meals, had I chosen to take the rest home with me.

Having stuffed myself on gumbo and catfish, I declined to order a dessert after this meal.  I left the restaurant to the well-wishes of the host-staff bidding me a good evening, sure that I would return again the next time I was in town…

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Can I Trade the Ruby Slippers for Some Hiking Boots?

Gosh Toto, it doesn't look like we're in Houston any more.  (At least, not this week).

Flew back late last night – for some reason (*grumble stupid US Airways*) the flight was oversold and there were lots of us poor stragglers who didn't have seat assignments.  Even though they were asking for volunteers to give up their seats and receive a free ticket/etc, it was not apparent whether I was going to make it on the flight or not.  They had the gate staff go check to see how many seats were left after everyone got on – there were two.  After some fiddling with the computer, they called out one name, and then mine.  I got the last seat on the plane…very stressful.

Things got worse, of course, as I managed to some how bang my mp3 player against something as I was getting up to get my luggage out of the overhead compartment.  I am now the proud owner of a large black paperweight.  Well, technically, it could still play music, if only I could figure out how to control the damn thing with a starry, cracked OLED display.  The weird thing is the plastic face is completely unmarred – it's the OLED behind that looks like it was hit with a BB gun.  I'm going to take it to Best Buy tomorrow and see if I can convince them it should be covered under the product replacement plan.  First though, I have to get all those season 3 Dr. Who episodes I somehow acquired off the device tonight.  Good thing I don't need to use the display to access the device from my computer!

This weekend should be relatively relaxing, with the big ultrasound soon to follow on Monday AM.  Then a short week next week before I take Dee to see The Police next Friday in Hershey.  Or rather, take her to Hershey, and then go visit with my folks while she and her mom and sister go see The Police.

And now for some bullets:

  • I have a great dislike for National car rental.  They can bite me for trying to make me pay $50 for a jump start on a car they provided.  I didn't leave any lights on or anything – why the hell did your car's battery die and why the hell didn't you offer to take care of it for free?
  • I may be too into this whole vox thing.  Last week while mowing the lawn I seriously considered doing a 2- or 3-part series on here on Zen and the Art of Lawn Mowing.  I still may.  I'll warn you though so you can avoid what will probably be my most boring posts to date.
  • I met some folks who work for a company who runs clinical trials for various pharmaceutical companies.  They adamantly would not tell me any company names, but entertained me with many stories about various trials, including one for premature ejaculation.  I'll let you ponder how that trial was run.
  • The newest Harry Potter movie was pretty good.  I can't say the same for the audience I saw it with.  Lady, if your 3-month old baby is crying off-and-on during the entire 2.2 hour movie, it's probably a sign that you should not be taking him/her out to the movies yet.  Next time I see you in my theater, I'm getting the staff to ask you to leave.
  • I'm rereading Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card.  Although I will always have a fascination for Ender Wiggin's character, Bean is the one I most identify aspects of my childhood with.  I'm on the fence, but I think I like the "Shadow" series of books better than the "Ender" series.  More to come on this later in a book review.
  • I always forget to take the sticker off the apple before I bite into it.  Luckily, there's only been one time when I've not caught myself in time from taking a bite with the sticker in it.  The stickers really don't taste like much, in my opinion…almost like eating paper (not that I'd know or anything).
  • I'm late for a playdate with my daughter.  Time to get saddled up and ride on home.  Actually, it might be pretty cool to ride a horse to/from work.  Well, not on the highway, but you get my drift…

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Houston in 12 Words or Less

Houston is a lot like Los Angeles, but with more cowboy hats.

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Maybe I’ll Buy a Cowboy Hat While I’m There

I found out a few days ago that I'll be headed to Houston, TX next week for a week-long inspection of a vendor's system.  I've got family in the area, but coincidentally, they'll be in Pennsylvania at the time, visiting my other family.  Looks like I'll bring a book or two and catch on some reading in the evenings. 

I might even get a chance to go catch a movie or two (quite a luxury when you're usually shackled to a 2-year old anytime you go out).  Anyone have any recommendations?  The one's I'm sort of considering are:

    – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (I'm a sucker for the series, although I like the books more than the movies)
    – Transformers (who doesn't enjoy having their childhood repurposed to sell millions of new toys to a new generation of kids?)
    – Ocean's Thirteen (If it's anything like the first two, I'll enjoy this one a lot)

On the fence (I would need a really good recommendation to push me into seeing it)
    – Pirates of the Caribbean 3
    – Fantastic Four: Silver Surfer
    – Evan Almighty
    – 1408 (I've read the Stephen King short story this is based on…Meh.)
    – Evening
    – Live Free or Die Hard (Is this the one where the corpse of Bruce Willis is resurrected to fight terrorists in some city somewhere?)

Ones that are definitely out:
    – Anything animated (I get enough of this at home, I'll see them soon enough when they come out on DVD)
    – License to Wed (Um…if you've seen a preview, you'd understand)
    – Knocked Up (I had to wash my eyes out with bleach after watching the preview for this movie)

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