Monday, March 12, 2012

Houston Rodeo 2012

This weekend, in spite of the rain, we visited the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. As you all may or may not remember I wrote on eating at the Rodeo two years ago. As to be expected we visited some of the same places and then some.  This year's quest belongs to The Lovely Spouse: the two pound beef rib. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The HLSR is held every March in Houston at the Reliant Center.  It emcompasses the Arena, the convention center next door and the surrounding parking lots.  In years past it has also taken up the Astrodome, but the Dome is no longer safe for visitors so the Rodeo takes place around it.

There is A LOT to eat at the Rodeo.  Fare ranges from funnel cakes and basic carnival food on up to fine dining for specific groups of attendees.  The Lovely Spouse and I tend to eat somewhere between that. 

My favorite lunch at the Rodeo is the boudain from Triple J's, pictured on the previous post.  Here's a pict of the actual boudain - that's a sausage made with rice.  The filling doesn't hold together the way most people think of sausage and a lot of people scoop it out onto crackers in the South.  At the Rodeo you just carry it around and eat it as is. Triple J's is seasoned with fresh herbs and served piping hot. 

There was also a Freebirds onsight. And a friend of ours had his first taste of a Freebirds burrito.

Notice the perfect unwrapping technique.

Another friend of ours went to a different burrito vendor and got a freshly made one.

And The Lovely Spouse set out on his find the 2 lb rib.  After much searching it was finally found in the midst of the carnival at an unassuming grill.

And check this out, that's one heckuva grill back there.

That, of course is nothing compared to what comes off the grill....
That's a big hunk o' meat.

 The Lovely Spouse was nice enough to share some of this slab of beef with us.  Turns out it's beef that's added to a rib then grilled together.  The meat is moist and quite delicious and flavorful.  If you get one be careful because it very easily comes off from the bone.  I imagine a lot of people lost theirs while trying to walk and eat at the same time.  TLS ate his while sitting here.

There are, of course, other novelties you'll only find at the Rodeo.  Chocolate covered jalapenos, for instance.  No I didn't try them, but it sounded interesting.

And another thing that looked awesome but just wouldn't fit in my tummy was deep fried nutter butters.  As you can see they also had deep fried cupcakes.  Dang, all that deep fried yumminess and me with just a teeny little stomach.  Perhaps some of you all can check them out and let me know how they are.

Not everything is deep fried or grilled at the Rodeo. I did find one vendor selling salads inside the convention center next to the retail area. Of course it was next to a Papa Johns.  LOL!

 There were also vendors for beer and wine.  The Rodeo includes a wine competition, in addition to the gazillion or so other things going on. You can get wines by the glass at the wine garden in sculpture garden by the Astrodome.

And there are beer vendors throughout.  Here's a pro-tip for visiting the Rodeo.  There is one beer vendor along the walls near the retail area in the convention center that has a great selection of beers for a lower price.  The key to finding it is to ask where to find Shiner.  If you find Shiner you find the best selection.  The other places throughout have Bud, Bud Lite, Coors Lite, Blue Moon, Blue Moon Seasonal and Leinenkugel.  And while I like the last three, there's a better selection at a lower price everywhere you find Shiner.  And if you want the best deal on beer there, wait until you enter the Arena for the rodeo competition and concert.  Again look for the places selling Shiner and you'll get a larger serving for lower cost per ounce, and a better selection of beer and wine. The other vendors all have very limited selections and smaller servings. 

Speaking of shopping...
No, I didn't buy it.  Doesn't mean I wasn't tempted.

The final novelty of the night was a revisit to my favorite fried thing place.

If you compare the current picture to the one on the previous post, you'll see they've added some new stuff.  Fried KoolAid.  Interesting.... On closer inspection I saw something called a Cherry Bomb.  It's a deep fried oreo with KoolAid.  Perfect! I can try something I know is awesome with someone new.

The results were actually quite tasty. The powdered KoolAid adds a nice cherry to the nomtastic cookie.  As you can see it was fried to golden brown and delicious.  I must also add the women at the booth were very nice. 

Next year I'll try the fried nutter butters. Unless something else distracts me. :-)

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo continues all of this week, rain or shine, until close of show Sunday, March 18.  The carnival only closes for lightning, which happened for part of the day yesterday.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

...And Sympathy

Around here we are in the midst of an epically bad allergy season due to a much warmer-than-usual winter.  We never really got any frost therefore the plants that would have died back during a freeze didn't.  And it rained and rained and rained.  Great for getting rid of the drought but also great for watering all those pollen producing plants. 

So if you're suffering from seasonal allergies, I'm right there with you.  Pass the benadryl and, of course, the tea.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Taz revisted, with pictures

The last time I wrote about Taz I had only been there twice, total.  Since then I've been back quite a few times and have sampled far more of the menu.  I've also experienced their catering service, which is highly professional.

Our most recent visit was about a week ago but I didn't write about it until now due to updating stuff on the computer.  I'm still having trouble, so if anyone knows how to work chrome around McAfee on Windows 7 let me know.  LOL!

The menu at Taz is split into dishes with and without meat.  And basically follows the South vs North Indian styles of food you find at most Indian restaurants.  I tend to order meatless dishes because I used to be mostly vegetarian.  The Lovely Spouse usually orders dishes with meat.  So I've had a good variety from Taz a result.

All meals start out with an amuse of papadums served with tamarind and mint chutneys.  Mildly spicy, crispy bread with a choice of cilantro-heavy mint chutney or sweet and spicy tamarind chutney.

The Lovely Spouse usually orders a mango lassi with his meal.  This is a yogurt shake sweetened with mango pulp.  I generally don't like the pineyness of mangos but I love the lassis.  They also cool the mouth down if you order an overly spicy dish.

I ordered Upma Pesarattu, a moong bean crepe wrapped around a curry made from cream of wheat, cashews and spices.  Similar to a dosa, but with a different texture and nuttier flavor. I would definitely order this again.

All dosas are served with a wonderful coconut and spicy tomato chutneys as well as sambar, a lentil and vegetable soup. Some days after a workout I'll pick up a plain dosa for an inexpensive ($5) dinner. 

The Lovely Spouse ordered the Lamb Vindaloo.  Frequent diners of Indian restaurants will immediately recognize vindaloo as the hottest, spiciest item on the menu.  I'm not sure that's the case at Taz but I will say it's a shade too spicy for me to eat the entire dish. 

The Spouse loves it though and it's interesting to note that each vindaloo, whether it's lamb, shrimp or another, has a distinct flavor, even if the spice mixture is approximately the same for each.  They're all spicy and flavorful and served with rice and fresh naan, often still warm from the oven.

The decor is casual and continues to change as the restaurant continues to establish itself in College Station.  The owner/manager is there every day and an excellent host.  I've seen her there every single time I've been there and she's always, without fail the best host she can be. If there's a problem she'll fix it immediately and check up on her customers to make sure the dining experience is the best it can be.

In all I'll continue to be a regular at Taz.  The food is excellent and the service is great.  For those unfamiliar with Indian food there is a First Time Special and there is a buffet every day, even weekends, for lunch.  Save room for dessert because the mango fruit custard salad, rice pudding (Kheer) and Gulab Jamun (round sweet balls of wheat in sweet syrup) are delicious.  And so is the chai tea.

Reservations accepted and recommended for large groups.