Friday, January 30, 2015

Restaurant: Impossible Link Roundup

Here is a list of links for local news and how they covered/are covering Restaurant: Impossible and Robert Irvine's work at Cocoamoda over the last 2 days.

First, here's my coming soon to the Brazos Valley post on this.

Next is an announcement looking for volunteer diners for the before "evaluation" lunch.

This link is to a photo gallery from the The Eagle, the local newspaper in Bryan and College Station.

The Eagle's article and interview with Robert Irvine.

Images from Cocoamoda's facebook page the second day of the show production.  More images posted later in the day. Somehow I knew the leather couches were going to go. They were comfy, but not typically fitting for the design aesthetic of the show.

KAGS story and video of Robert Irvine, the Cocoamoda crew, and everyone involved in the show.

Evidently Chef Irvine ate at Veritas in College Station while he was in town. It's rumored he worked out at Gold's Gym as well.

Chef Irvine's comments on the Calvert taping on facebook.

This post will be updated as more links become available.

Be sure to follow Cocoamoda on twitter and to like them on facebook.

UPDATE:  The episode of Restaurant: Impossible featuring Cocoamoda will air on April 1, 2015 on Food Network. Check your local television listings for broadcast time and channel.

More updates:

Images of Cocoamoda after the Restaurant: Impossible make-over (spoilers!).

Veritas Wine & Bistro in College Station did the catering for Robert Irvine and the professional crew. Images here.

Business has been so good at Cocoamoda following the taping of the show, they're having to take some time to make more chocolate.  They say they'll be caught up in time for Valentine's Day orders.  This is good news!  Support our local businesses and this amazing chocolatier!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Coming Soon to Food Network!

No, not me, the Brazos Valley!  Restaurant Impossible is coming to Calvert this week to make over Cocoamoda. Long-time readers will remember I visited Cocoamoda here.  Typically, Restaurant Impossible and host Robert Irvine visit struggling restaurants to renovate and make over the business. I'm a bit surprised to see them at Cocoamoda because it is full of awesome. However I'll wait and see.
A screen cap from the local newspaper. Image from Cocoamoda's facebook feed.
A call went out this past week looking for volunteers from College Station and Waco. Calvert is a small town and the production needs several shifts' worth of volunteers to assist with things like painting walls and sweeping floors.  I would totally help out except for that whole Day Job (tm) thing. And I can only imagine what the NDA looks like for volunteers so I'll wait until the show airs  or the whole thing is covered in local news.

Image also from Cocoamoda's facebook feed.
For now I'll say good luck to Chef Ken!  I'm looking forward to the changes and hoping they're all for the best.  And I sincerely hope the chocolates stay.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Torchy's Tacos Came to College Station

Whodathunk it?  An Austin taco chain set up shop in Aggieland.  And it's a very good thing for all of us.

Located in what was previously considered a cursed location (numerous restaurants have failed at this location), on Texas Avenue right next door to Layne's and Raising Canes, Torchy's Tacos offers a wide variety of taco creations served with local beer and all kinds of fried goodies.

The menu offers a number of different taco creations for about $3-5 a taco.  All can be ordered with or without certain ingredients. Don't want onions? Ask them to hold them. It's cool.  To wash down the tacos they've got local beers, from New Republic, Karboch, and Saint Arnold.

The Lovely Spouse insisted upon green chile queso. Eating around the evil herb (cilantro) on the top the queso had a good chile flavor.  I don't normally eat or even like queso but this was pretty good.
I ordered the fried avocado and the Democrat tacos. Fried avocado, unsurprisingly, contains avocado that's been fried. It was actually quite delicious. Not a lot of flavor, but I really like the flavor of avocados.  The Democrat is barbacoa with, unsurprisingly, avocado.  The barbacoa was tender and well seasoned enough to each on its own.  Both were served on corn tortillas.  The second tortilla is to catch whatever falls from the first.
The Lovely Spouse got the Tuk Tuk and beef fajita. The Tuk Tuk is Thai marinaded beef with a lot of stuff and the beef fajitas are as described. Both were more than filling enough for TLS and he thoroughly enjoyed them. 
There were other interesting things on the Torchy's menu, but, honestly, we were too full to consider them.  They had deep fried chocolate chip cookie dough, which sounds awesome.  Alas we'll be back.  Torchy's is also well-known for their breakfast tacos.

4-5 of the Torchy's in Austin could probably fit inside this location.

This outdoor bar area looks like it will wonderful once the weather gets nice. The night we went it was around 35 F outside.
Will they finally break the curse of this particular restaurant location?  I hope so. I like them a whole lot better than Fuegos, there are more options for people like me who can't eat certain ingredients, and it's an alternative to the traditional Tex-Mex found elsewhere in town.

Will this signal to other Austin restaurateurs that College Station is a viable satellite location for their businesses?  That would be awesome if it happened.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Home Cooking from Patranella's

It's taken me quite awhile to get to Patranella's just off of the main part of Downtown Bryan, but I finally made my way there for lunch during the holiday break.

I heard about Patranella's from a number of friends who also have raving sweet tooths (or would that be sweet teeth?) who highly recommend their pastries. Turns out they're a restaurant as well and The Lovely Spouse has been there for lunch several times.

The menu was filled with no-nonsense fare, including Italian-American specialities such as spaghetii and meatball and stuffed peppers, in addition to Texas and country standards such as meatloaf and chicken friend steak.

I got the stuffed pepper with fried broccoli and green beans. I've never had fried broccoli before but I like it.  The pepper was stuffed with ground beef, rice, and mixed veggies. It was good. I like my stuffed peppers better, but this was nice for those days I don't feel like cooking or cleaning up afterwards.

The Lovely Spouse got the lasagna because...lasagna. Served with fried broccoli and potato wedges. He's ordered it several times which means he likes it. 
Because Patranella's is known for their pastries, we simply had to buy pastries as well.

The Lovely Spouse wouldn't share his pinwheel. 

The canoli was the best I've had in Bryan or College Station. Yum! 
Lunch was very filling and delicious.  I recommend going to Patranella's with the plan on taking half home to save room for their delectable pastries.  We'll definitely be back.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Revival Market in Houston

Revival Market in the Heights in Houston is part of an on-going trend among foodies to produce the best foods with locally sourced ingredients.  I first learned about them via the Houston Chronicle and foodie circles after spending a weekend in the Heights last year.

Hearing that they make their own house-cured charcuterie would normally be enough for me to visit and check the out. Finding out that they also have a coffee bar, desserts, sandwiches, and market items (including honey so local it came from the same neighborhood as the store) makes them a must-visit for me when I have extra time in Houston.

We had just eaten before this current visit, so everything we purchased was to go.  And it's all been fabulous. I purchased some cookies (gingersnaps and fluffer nutters) that didn't make it home because they were so delicious. The Lovely Spouse purchased some sausage that we've been enjoying for the last week.  It's delicate and savory with a perfect mix of spices and smoke.  I also purchased bitters that have been a wonderful addition to gin martinis and bourbon manhattans.

Revival Market is definitely worth the visit while in Houston.  I haven't tried their restaurant Coltivare, but look forward to doing so in the near future.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Image source.

To celebrate bringing in 2015 here's a link to a post with my favorite Black Eyed Peas recipe of all time.  If you think that black eyed peas are bland, try this recipe. Ham and chili peppers pick up the recipe. Use dry black eyed peas instead of fresh or canned. The peas (which are actually beans) will soak up the flavoring as they rehydrate.  The onion can be replaced with a shallot to improve digestibility in people sensitive to onions. The leftovers are just as delicious as the fresh-made peas.

What's the deal with black eyed peas and New Years? It's considered good luck for a prosperous new year in the US South.  It's believed the practice began during the Civil War when fields had been stripped bare of other food and there was little else to eat (sources: wikipedia, others and others). Any way you look at it, the easy-to-make stewed meal, served with greens and cornbread, is a nice and flavorful way to bring in the new year.

Enjoy and Happy New Year!