This is where the hungry come to feed. For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven't tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It's probably worth it.

Sep 1, 2010

chez roux.

Chez Roux - located within the La Torretta Resort in Lake Conroe, begged for a visit being Albert Roux's first American establishment and headed up by Michael Gray, the only Michelin-star rated chef in Texas.  It's reasonable tasting menu prices were also tempting that the one hour drive sounded completely worth it.  But now that we've been I can easily answer the question:  was worth it or wasn't it?

The husband had made the reservations.. weeks prior, as well as confirmed on the morning of to ensure that we would be dining at the chef's table that night.  All seemed positive besides getting slightly lost on the way there.  Upon arrival, we were quickly seated at what was definitely not the chef's table.  Inquiring further, the hostess bluntly stated that the chef's table was already reserved.  How odd.. didn't WE reserve it?  With no apology or even an acknowledgement that the room was either double booked or perhaps most likely we had been bumped for 'VIPs', it was a vexing beginning to the meal.
As for the ambiance, the view was superb if not slighlty annoying moments prior to sunset for those facing the windows, the glare was almost unbearable, that i noticed several patrons donning sunglasses.  there were approximately 10 tables not counting the chef's table nor the outdoor tables.  it seemed the bar area and wine room took up half the space, while a few art deco light fixtures were hung over the booths.   the place was sadly unfilled for a saturday night.
we decided to order what we came for.. the menu prestige.
the amuse bouche was a side of crab meat with a crunchy black sesame top along with a shot of tomato gazpacho.  the crab was an excellent mix with the texture and slight sweetness of the topping while the tomato gazpacho was a stark contrast with it's bold flavoring and almost overpowering almost as if it was a condensed version.  this left me eagerly awaiting the rest of the meal... which is what a good amuse bouche should do.
Sautéed gulf shrimps over an Israeli couscous salad.  the shrimps were fresh and tasty, matching well with the salad. it made me want to make things with israeli couscous, and wish that this came in an entrée sized portion.
the next course was a fillet of cod over an artichoke barigoule.  i'm generally hesitant for cooked fish, this was perfectly prepared, dense yet flaky with a perfectly crisp skin.  the barigoule was delicious and added the much needed acidic aspect to the fish. 
the third main, was sauteed veal kidneys served with two mustard sauces and an onion compote.  i can see how this could pose to be an acquired taste for some.  those not acustomed to offal may want to stear clear.  even the husband wasn't a fan, but really that's just how kidney's taste.  They were seared well along with the sauce and onions. i enjoyed this.
Next up was the wild boar chop with fennel seed gnocchi.  this was the first time for me to try wild boar, and it wasn't a great experience.  they must be very lean animals, because the meat was extremely tough, that it was difficult to even cut through let alone chew. while the gnocchi was browned on the outside and a bit too soft on the inside for my liking.  this dish ultimately fell flat.  
the last course of the mains was the soufflé of Texas gold cheddar cheese, with corn kernel cream.  from online reviews this sounds like a dish everyone must try.  on the regular menu i saw it presented under the starters section, which is probably when it should have been served.  the cheddar soufflé was actually quite delightful, light with a cheddar taste that wasn't overpowering.  i could definitely imagine eating this at a decadent brunch.  the corn kernel cream was unfortunate, and over-salted, creating a chaos in my mouth. 
the desserts ended on a high note with an assortment of delicious items from sorbet to a mini molten chocolate cake, and of course the obligatory petit fours.

service for the rest of the night was great, if only it had started off on the right note, the whole meal probably would've been that much more enjoyable.  the meal on the other hand started great and slowly digressed until desserts. so it did end on a high note.  overall, it was a good meal, 7 out of 10 the husband would say.  but i'm not entirely sold on the idea that you couldn't get such a tasting menu in town.. without the hour drive.

chez roux
600 La torretta blvd
Montgomery, TX 77356

(936) 448-4400

Aug 25, 2010


i noticed i had this entry as a draft but never posted...

back in january me and the mr. hosted my mom's birthday party... and while i was looking up ideas for decor i googled the term 'tiffany's mantle decor' under google images to see if there was anything i could use for inspiration

but to my surprise the third photo was a picture of me.

* i just tried it again today.  FIRST!!!111!1     - this still makes no sense to me.

Aug 18, 2010

the scariest phrase.

office boss says (11:42 AM):
*heya, come here a sec

no good can come from this.

Aug 12, 2010

chinese foods - pork

stewed ground pork with shitake mushrooms and wood ear

simply made as the above ingredients are stewed in a pot of broth, soy sauce, sugar, rice wine, and star anise.
the next day i added in some hardboiled eggs.. so good.

bok choy with enoki mushrooms

flash boiled then stir fried, added broth and cornstarch for gravy.

pickled pork hock with scallions (a fave of ours)

preboil the hock for about an hour with star anise and garlic, let it cool, dice it up in bite size pieces then mix in with some vinegar, rock salt, and scallions, let chill and add more vinegar as needed. a slightlayer of gelatin will form on some pieces.  so delicious. and good texture.. like al dente pigs feet.

Aug 11, 2010

hitRECord is a site where they collaborate to produce art through film/music/animation.  it's quite cool to see things they've done. and headed up by none other than the point man himself, joseph gordon-levitt.
the short above.  i like.

there's just no need.

my coworkers periodically sends me random links.. much like dru.  except these aren't always funny and sometimes political.  and usually the politcal ones. are just plain ridiculous.  to the point that gets me so annoyed, mainly because the comments are just too ridiculous and no purpose.. and pretty much just insults.  and if you know me i don't get worked up over things. nor do i like too.  
see following example:
 a video of some crazy lady going rage time on some mcdonald's employees because they can't serve her nuggets before 10am?  so the video itself is pretty crazy.  WHY are the comments all about democrats

'Wow, when I first saw this, I thought it was another Dem politician being asked something important by a reporter with a brain. '
given i guess it's the site it's on.

then there was this:,CST-NWS-sweet09.article

an unbiased news site depicting Michelle Obama's recent trip to spain.  i was wondering why my (republican) coworker sent this to me, because it didn't sound like it was bashing her trip more on the lines of describing it and even a defending it a bit.  then yesterday when i read it i got down to the comments, where they were pure ridiculous bashing, angry and racist comments.  i was like WHY.  so much hatery on the internetz.

Aug 10, 2010

Same convo. it happens.

so this happened a couple of weeks ago.  i prove myself useful at work.

    me:  tomorrow they're drawing places for the work fantasy football league

seoxcookie:  are you playing?!
 me:  no.. i don't know anything.. haha.  but ceo and boss were both like issa has to draw names, i'm apparently good luck for them... i think i drew boss #1 and ceo #3 last year.. lol
seoxcookie:  lol
you are like the girl who signals races...
in short shorts
 me:  LOL
i am like the mascot. i help draw the numbers for our superbowl squares too
so much pressure
 seoxcookie:  so much adore
 me:  more like.. i sign ur paychecks, now gib me a good number!
OfficeBFF says (10:52 AM):
*you playing fantasy football this year?
issa says (10:52 AM):
*i just draw the names for them
OfficeBFF says (10:52 AM):
issa says (10:52 AM):
*so scary
OfficeBFF says (10:53 AM):
*so you're like the girl that gestures at the lottery balls?
issa says (10:53 AM):

Aug 9, 2010


we ended june with a quick trip up to austin with friends for some trailer food and trick art.  all of which (for the most part) were excellent.

places we ate on saturday:  flip happy crepes | home slice | odd duck | gourdough's | chil'antro | best wurst | frietknot
on sunday we drove by la boite and gibson bar then ended up at austin java co.

flip happy was definitely most delicious.. although we didn't get to try any of the sweet crepes.. and the wait is a bit ridiculous.. the cuban and the spinach/goat cheese.. were well.. worth the wait.  plus some wewearthings blog readers spotted us here, so that was pretty cool.  home slice's white clam pizza was good, but it just wasn't flavorful enough to be considered great.  odd duck is definitely a must if in austin, the pork belly slider (we had 2) and the soft boiled duck egg with grits, excellent.  gourdough's on the other hand, was a bit disappointing, but it could have also been because i was already so full from odd duck, the donut consistency was good and the size enormous while the chicken was fine.  sixth street eating was excellent.  you can never go wrong with a brat and curry ketchup from best wurst, and our only korean fusion taco truck stop chil'antro exceeded all expectations. super delicious. the tacos were good, and was told that the burger was even better.  and we ended the night with some belgian fries with bacon aioli at frietknot, perfect crispy on the outside light and soft of the inside cooked fries. albeit maybe a tad salty. would've gone great with a cold beverage.. and sans the ridiculous conversation with the guy who asked if we were all chinese or japanese.


after eating...  lunch and dinner on saturday we headed off to take a look at lil bro trick's art exhibition before it ended.

Jul 16, 2010

stinky but delicious.

the other day work was busy so i had to pick up foods to eat at work... and i really wanted  banh mi, but had serious trepidations that it would smell up the office.  funny right?  it's not that banh mi smells bad, but it's asian.. so it smells... different.  and i didn't want to be THAT person at work.  you know the person who smells up the office with their foods, like the person who burns popcorn in the microwave.. i hate that person.  
i ended up ordering the charbroiled pork one on the reasoning that it would smell the most normal.  while i normally get the combo or pate version.  but really they probably all just smell the same.. this got me thinking about other stinky but delicious eats.. and thinking that people probably just think it stinks because they don't know what it is or how it tastes, although some foods are unargumentatively smelly.  if they knew that it was delicious would it still be a bad smell?  i've decided that stinky foods are foods that i don't want my house to smell like (actually i don't like my house to smell like food at all.. baked goods are ok though so this is probably not a good method of judgement), but prior to eating these foods.. smell good. real good.
for instance.. curry.  if you like it, it smells delicious.. but you want that smell to go away after you eat it, and you certainly do not want to smell like it or your house.  then there's shrimp paste..  salty deliciousness.. goes well in chinese/vietnamese/malaysian foods.. this also goes to pretty much all dried/preserved chinese things.. like dried salted fish.. and there's fish and the fermented items like kimchi, soybean paste, stinky tofu... (this list could go on)  why is it that asian foods are so smelly but delicious.  i guess some cheeses smell.. and the more pungent the more i like it.  also some charcuterie can be a bit unpleasant as well as offal.
but in the end all these smelly foods... smell delicious to me.. at least until after i've eaten them.. then it just goes back to being smelly.

Jul 7, 2010

ad hoc adventures - chicken pot pie

this was the second recipe i made from thomas keller's ad hoc at home.  i cheated slightly by purchasing my pie dough, but still it created a delicious meal.  the hubby was quite impressed, and i was surprised at how easy it was. this is not your generic frozen pot pie. the flavors were rich yet simple with béchamel sauce and fresh herbs.  i decided to serve it with a side of cucumber salad.. a perfect light, fresh dinner.

Jun 28, 2010


at the end of may, me and T made a quick trip to Austin.. for some outlet shopping and eating.. and pretty much just to getaway.  one of our stops that we've been planning on for.. years.. was Uchi.  and we finally got to try it.

i went ahead and made reservations, since i've heard that the wait is generally long, but the cool thing is that they only set a small portion for reservations and the rest for walk-ins.  still we had reservations.. at the super early time of 5:30.  we arrived, and there were several others already feasting and drinking. the place was small and quaint, with a small bar up front and tables rather close, dim lighting and modern asian decor.  after looking over the menu and from several suggestions from friends we decided to skip the omakase and order ourselves.
here's what we ate:

hama chili - quite delicious when each bite consists of a slice of mandarin orange, some chili's along with the hamachi.  the citrus sauce was tasty along with the chili's that added a slight kick, although not overly.  i did hope for a more melt in your mouth experience from the hamachi.

mongo ika - i actually enjoyed this, i've never had cuttlefish served this way, so i was slightly skeptical expecting it to have the chewiness of say squid or arctic claw.  while it turned out to be the complete opposite.  T on the other hand didn't enjoy the slight after taste it left behind.

kona kanpachi - amberjack sashimi mixed with rice in a still hot stone bowl, then topped with a sweet soy sauce.  the stone bowl crisps the rice as well as slightly cooks the fish.  the flavors and everything meld quite well together here.  it seems to be a crowd favorite.. but maybe a bit overhyped.

 japanese pumpkin tempura - i like tempura.. and it was happy hour, so this was $1.  i had to get it.  not much else to say.

walu walu - grilled escolar in a bed of yuzupon sauce served with a spoon so you can indulge in large scoops of the sauce.  i also can't say i've had cooked escolar, and was surprised by the meaty texture of it.  it went well in contrast with the sauce.  satisfying but not simply amazing.

foie gras nigiri - aahhh  pure deliciousness.  melt in your mouth seared perfection here.  this dish does no wrong.. and mixed with the rice, is surprisingly delicious.

bacon sen - grilled pork belly with apple puree, such genius.  each bite was melt in your mouth, with a perfect mix of salty, sweet, and tartness from the shaved fennal/cilantro salad on top. we would go back just to order this.

jizake creme caramel - with brown butter sorbet and ginger consume.  honestly the creme caramel was the forgettable part of this dish.. while the brown butter sorbet along with the ginger consume i would've licked up the last drop off this plate.  it was refreshing and light.. and the perfect end to the meal.  i wish i could have this on a hot day.

we had very high expectations going into uchi.  and while the high praises may be merited, this probably hindered our palates, which expected more each time.  even so, it was an enjoyable experience with good food, would we go back? certainly, but not make a trip to austin for it.  luckily for us, there has been news of an uchi coming to houston next year.

801 South Lamar Boulevard
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 916-4808

Jun 9, 2010

ad hoc adventures - roasted poussin

recently, i  finally cracked open my ad hoc at home cookbook by thomas keller.  the inaugural recipe was the roasted poussin.. it didn't sound complex and i already had cornish game hens in my freezer.  preparation was rather basic, and the result was delish.  the flavors were simple and light, really letting you taste the mix of thyme and parsley and the hen.  i decided to roast some potatoes to serve alongside them.

May 11, 2010


last week i decided to finally try to make okonomiyaki.  originally introduced to it via the anime Ranma 1/2, but not actually tasted until our trip to Tokyo last spring.  sometimes referred to as a japanese pizza, it is really not similar besides it's usually round shape.. it's much more akin to a korean pancake.
after finding an okonomiyaki kit at the local korean store, i decided to give it a shot.  it came with engrish directions, and the flour needed as the base of the dish. which mainly consists of cabbage, green onion, and egg.  oh and can't forget the bacon.. (recipe asks for sliced pork... same thing right?)
i have to say it turned out not too shabby.. and flipped much better than my first experience back in tokyo.  i did have to purchase the okonomiyaki sauce separately.. but it is necessary.. also mayo is good on top too.  success.

Apr 29, 2010

the perm.

digital perm to be exact.  i had a strong urge to get one a few years ago.. and i finally did it.  the difference between a digital perm and a regular perm.. is that a digital perm uses rollers that get heated, to give more of a  curling iron effect.  also they perm only to about eye level.. and i'm pretty sure it started in korea... so my korean bff made an appointment for me at a local korean salon. (tabong salon on long point)  $150 poorer and about 2.5 hours later.. i was done.  initially i was expecting large lush waves like namie amuro.
but they chopped off A LOT of hair.  like scary amounts.. to get rid of the split ends, as well as to add LOTS of layers. so instead it's a bit more like song hye gyo from full house.
which is not necessarily a bad thing.. and i've always heard a perm takes some getting used to.. but it's day 5 and i'm glad to say i'm starting to like.  and once i get more practice.. with 'styling' which is super easy.. and low maintenance.. which i'm all about.  although one thing, when it's wet it's a bit scary curly.  but once it's dry.. it's fantastic.

Apr 21, 2010


thanks to fantastic photogs anniecat and dru, that i've gotten to dabble into photography and even been blessed with the opportunity to do some photography outside of just personal photos.

top image from Yellow Mag Mar 2010 issue
bottom image from Culture Map online article

Apr 20, 2010

still cooking.

i know i've been terribly neglecting this blog (as well as the other).  not sure why things seem so busy.. yet i feel like i'm slacking in so many other aspects.. the guitar is dusty.. my workout clothes are clean..  but one things for sure i'm still cooking.

from top: spinach, potato,sausage fritatta | mini fruit tarts | grilled pork loin, baby carrots, and truffle crab pasta | roasted beets w/goat cheese walnuts (yes poscol i copy u) | tortellini and sausage stew | taiwanese style chicken nuggets