Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

This museum offers a wide variety of collections that will keep you entertained for hours, not to mention the two buildings are connected by a giant trippy light tunnel that will make you have some major Space Mountain flashbacks. One of my favorite sections was the Europe and North American portions, just because I got to see some of my favorite artists. I was also impressed at some of the Egyptian pieces they had, I believe the oldest date I saw was around 2000 B.C. which is incredible! The only semi-bummer factor was that you aren't allowed to take photographs in the majority of the museum, so always make sure to ask before you shoot.
Still can't get over these stunning tree lined streets...
Wasn't really supposed to take this picture (there's no photography allowed in the photography exhibit - oddly enough) but the guard was cool and let me keep it.

Some tips for visiting:
-If you're a student and you have a valid ID (doesn't have to be in Texas) your ticket is only $7.50
-They also have senior, youth, and child discounts as well as FREE admission every Thursday if you can make it then.
-There are two free parking lots near the museum and there's always usually spaces available.
-There is a cafe in the Museum but I would suggest either eating somewhere local in the nearby area or going across the street to the food trucks in the parking lot.

Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, Monet

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fish Tacos With Red Cabbage, Mango, and Chipolte Sauce (Inspired by The Hobbit Cafe)

So my quest continues for the best fish taco in the Houston area...
What determines THE BEST fish taco you might ask? Well for me it has to have these three essential things:
1) A delicious sauce
2) The fish must be cooked/seasoned well
3) A balance of flavors/textures
The best one I have had so far in my taco journey is the one from Hobbit Cafe, the fish was on point, the chipolte sauce was slightly spicy and the mango salsa added some sweetness - it was awesome! I am not ashamed to admit I have ordered these things three a row.

I finally decided to make some tacos of my own, partially from being inspired but mostly due to withdrawals. You could mix some diced tomatoes, onions, and cilantro in with the mango to make a salsa if you're feeling extra fancy but I personally just like the mango bits - it's up to you.

Fish Tacos

serves 4-5

Package of corn tortillas, grilled
I use Swai because of it's light flavor and flaky texture (2 fillets) but you could really use any type of white fish (Swai fillets are large so if you're using a smaller white fish you might have to use 4 fillets)
Seasoning mix:
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
salt + pepper
1 TBS olive oil

1.Make sure fish is dry then mix spices together and rub both sides of fish down.
2.Heat oil on medium high heat in saute pan. Cook fish 3-4 min. on each side then gently flake apart for filling

1 mango, diced small
1 cup chopped red cabbage
fresh lime for garnish

Chipoltle Sauce...
1/2 cup mayo
2 tsp fresh lime juice
tsp honey
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pinch of cumin

Mix together to make a sauce. To assemble, take tortilla and cover with a thin layer of sauce, followed by fish, cabbage, mango, and more sauce.

If you know of a taco place I need to check out in the Houston area let me know!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Baba Yega Review

The first thing that intrigued me about this place was the name. It originates from Slavic folklore that depicts an old ferocious looking women who wields a pestle and dwells deep in the forest in a hut with chicken legs, sorta like this...
What type of food might a hut dwelling witch serve you might be wondering? Well, there's sandwiches, soups, salads and some entrees with a pretty good selection of alcoholic drinks and local brews.

To view their menu, click HERE

The place itself has a sort of magical feel of it's own. What looks like a semi small house from the outside opens up to a surprisingly large dining room, outdoor patio, and buffet style serving room reserved for weekend brunches. While the quirky theme is semi-prevalent up front, I sorta just wish the place was, for lack of a better word, weird. It seems like the decor didn't quite live up to the name.
Our waiter highly recommended the sandwiches, so Lewis decided on a "house made" turkey burger with fries and a Saint Arnold local brew. It pains me to say that the best part of his meal was the beer. The burger was pretty plain and it the texture more closely related a hot dog. The fries were really good, next time we would definitely try a different sandwich.
I ordered the fish tacos topped with a cilantro cream sauce (to continue my search for the best on in town) and while the filling ratio was on point I has overpowered by the presence of red onions! There didn't appear to be a ton on there but I think they disguised themselves among the red cabbage. By the time I finished both, I was a stinking, crying, smelly mess - if you're not a huge onion lover I highly suggest you get them on the side. The chips and salsa were really tasty, however, I just wish I had more of them!
View from our table...

The Verdict:

Baba Yega, like it's name offers unique food and an eclectic atmosphere with friendly service. While our food wasn't the best, I would be willing to give it another try since the rest of our experience was so pleasant.

Baba Yega on Urbanspoon

Baba Yega Restaurant

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Weekend Adventure in Downtown Houston.

We decided to venture out to the museum district in downtown Houston this past weekend. We first checked out the Museum of Contemporary Art, admission is always free so that's a plus but currently they're renovating the first floor so it won't keep you busy for too long (the gift shop is surprisingly awesome though).The secluded sculpture garden nearby however was worth the walk over there, it was like stepping into a magical oasis, there were tables for eating and because it's surrounded by concrete walls, it's surprisingly quite. It was a lovely, overcast day so we walked around Hermann Park (situated between Fannin Street and Cambridge Street) there you'll find a rose garden, Japanese garden, and the infamous grassy dome that allows you to take in the very best views of the park. We ended up only covering only a fraction of the massive 407 acres but it's always comforting to find such a vast expanse of nature amidst the hustle and bustle of the city.

Definitely cannot wait to check out more of the museums and parks next weekend!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Crock-Pot Chicken & Cornmeal Dumplings

So Lewis and I just recently discovered the magical ways of the crock-pot.
We had actually received said crock-pot for our wedding over a year ago (yipes) but it never worked and I never got around to returning it until we moved to Houston. Luckily Target is awesome and let us exchange it and I have pretty much been trying to convert every meal into a one pot deal ever since - you could say I'm obsessed, I'd like to think of it as "innovative."

This recipe is a bowl full of comfort and it's SO easy to make, it's sort of like a cross between chicken soup and a roasted chicken. I also decided to try something new and add cornmeal because I love the added texture that grounded cornmeal provides, and I feel like it prevents it from getting overly soggy.

Chicken & Cornmeal Dumplings

Recipe adapted from Diabetic Living

serves 2-3

5 medium carrots, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs thyme (I used German thyme)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3 chicken thighs, skinned
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 TBS all-purpose flour

1.In a 1 1/2- or 2-quart slow cooker, combine carrots, celery, corn, onion, garlic, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Top with chicken. Pour broth over mixture in cooker.
2.Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. If no heat setting is available, cook for 5 to 5 1/2 hours.
3.If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting (or if no heat setting is available, continue cooking). Transfer chicken to a cutting board; cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, cut chicken off bones (if they had bones); discard bones. Chop chicken; return to mixture in cooker. In a small bowl, combine milk and flour until smooth. Stir into mixture in cooker.
4.Using a 1 TBS cookie scoop, drop Cornmeal Dumpling dough into 4-5 mounds on top of hot chicken mixture. Cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes more or until a toothpick inserted into a dumpling comes out clean. (Do not lift cover during cooking.) If desired, sprinkle each serving with coarse pepper.

Cornmeal Dumplings

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking powder
Dash salt
1 egg white
1 TBS milk
1 TBS canola oil

1.In a medium bowl stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl combine egg white, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened.

Here are some other crock pot meals from some of my favorite foodie bloggers that I plan to try soon!

Crockpot Crispy Caramelized Pork Ramen Noodle Soup - Half Baked Harvest
General Tso's Chicken - Creme de la Crumb
Cinnamon roll monkey bread - Crazy for Crust
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