Monday, April 2, 2012

April Odds and Ends

Hello readers!  I hope that everyone figured out that yesterday's posting "Beginnings and Evens" rather than "Odds and Ends" was an April Fools Day gag.  My apologies to anyone that thought Cactus Club Café was really opening a location in Houston.  I personally wish they would, but anyone with any common sense realizes that it would be silly for a company with its HQ in Vancouver, BC and all of its other locations in BC or Alberta to set up one very far remote location deep in Southern Texas in the US.

Now for a run down of some items for April:

1.  Jerry Built Burgers Woodlands Location Now Open

Just a reminder that Jerry Built Burgers location by the Woodlands Mall opened on Saturday March 31st.  I know a bunch of my Northside friends are happy and a bunch of folks braved the long line up the first day to taste their well seasoned high quality burgers, hot dogs, fries and other delicious items.  One thing I neglected to mention in my report a few days ago was that my 7 year old son, Jason, made a product suggestion to Brooksy Smith.  No promises or guarantees mind you, but Brooksy said he'd seriously try it out, but give him 30 days to see if its workable or not.  If it comes true, I'll mention it in the blog.

2.  Houston's First Del Taco has Opened

Del Taco at 8910 Westheimer
and Fondren
Del Taco is a fast food chain that sells primarily SW/Tex-Mex style food that is based on Southern California.  They have made a gradual expansion eastward and have more recently entered Texas to compete with local giant Taco Cabana as well as nationwide chain Taco Bell.  Del Taco was founded in Yermo, California in 1964.  It has its most visible presence in California where they are actually more popular than Taco Bell.  Del Taco does have a few odd items like Cheeseburgers, Chili-cheese fries and ice cream shakes, but its main line is Southwest/Tex Mex.  I've paid them a visit and find them to be a bit of a middle ground between Taco Bell and Taco Cabana.  Like Taco Cabana, their food is fresh tasting, they're open 24 hours and they have a good variety of menu options.  Like Taco Bell, they have a brightly coloured corporate look.  I've tried a few of their items so far and will be writing a break down on them soon.  Their location is at 8910 Westheimer Road, near Fondren Dr.

3. 1st Annual Houston/Austin Beerfest Woes--Hopeful for 2nd Annual to Improve

Last summer Houston had it's first Annual Beerfest.  I was interesting in coming but personal issues prevented it.  Much like the  first annual Haute Wheels festival at HCC West Loop last year, the Houston Beerfest had major issues between wait times, parking, running out of product, etc.  Those that attended blame the organizers.  The Breweries blamed the organizers.  The organizers blame everyone else.  The Houston Press has a detalied account of similar problems at the first Annual Austin Beerfest.

My take?  First annual events typically have all kinds of bumps in the road.  There are learning curves.  For example, I heard the first day of Haute Wheels, the food trucks tried to do too many products and kept on running out of food on the first day.  There were issues with electricity and other such problems.  The 2nd day, the food trucks went with simplified menus, organizers changed how they approached things, they gave the attendees a heads up on what to expect wait wise and suggestions on how to have a more enjoyable experience and the whole festival went much smoother.  It's my hope that the 2nd Annual Houston Beer Fest and Haute Wheels run more smoothly after getting up the learning curve.

4. Blu in Sugar Land

Word through the Foodie Vine is that there is a New Euro Asian Fusion restaurant that had a soft opening on Sugar Land Town Square by the name of Blu.  (Cue Eiffel 65 technopop)  Per their website:

Eating at BLU is like taking a journey to another country because the flavors are so authentic. Our Executive Chef Junnajet Hurapan, a native of Bangkok, Thailand, won the “Best of the Best” Chef Award from Excellent Culinary, now a part of the American Culinary Institute. He now represents a major coup for the Houston culinary scene. Jiraporn Hurapan, Chef "Jett's" wife, is the pastry chef at BLU. Chef Jett and Pastry Chef Jiraporn prepare everything in-house from scratch and only with the freshest ingredients.
Menu selections include small bites, tapas, dumplings, soups, salads, main plates, rice, noodles and a wide range of Thai variations. BLU’s experienced Executive Chef Junnajet “Jett” Hurapan and his wife, Pastry Chef Jiraporn Hurapan, prepare all dishes in-house using fresh and local ingredients. Their mission is for diners to savor innovative culinary creations, delicacies and delicious libations. Patrons will enjoy performances ranging from late night DJ’s, conga drum players, bands and soloists.
“We chose to open BLU in Sugar Land Town Square because we are from the area and dreamt of bringing something different to this incredible development,” says BLU Owner Amy Karnani. “We noticed that Sugar Land lacked a place where people could go and enjoy a feast of the senses – a unique mix of food, music, art and performance. BLU fills that void in the market.”
Blue is Located at 2248 Texas Drive.  Chef "Jett" as he is affectionately known was a big hit at Gigi's here in Houston, after having worked over the East Coast  at Ruby Foo's in New York and Buddakan in Atlantic City.  Apparently Blu opened in January of this year.  Now they are doing a full on media event.

While some folks may grimace and say "Okay.  Another Pan Asian-Western Fusion place like Uchi and Nabi."  My response is "Not so fast!"  Uchi and Nabi may be Pan-Asian, but they are distinctly different.  Uchi seems to be a mix of Japanese, Latin and French, while Nabi is a fusion of Korean and Southern/Texan.   Chef Jett's specialty is Thai and based upon the menu, it reads like a fusion of Thai, Vietnamese, Tex-Mex and Japanese.  Personally, I am looking forward to a preview meal that Blu is providing for the local media and will, like I did with Uchi, Nabi, Dulce Bakery and Jerry Built Burgers, be providing  you my dear readers with my takes.

5.  $10,000 for a Spaghetti Story?  Really?

I recently read on Robb Walsh's blog that Skinner Pasta has an essay contest where they'll pay $10,000 for an essay on a Spaghetti memory of yours. t If this is true, I may finally become a paid writer after all...  It needs to by 250 word or less... then again, I have a problem with being verbose...  Just saying...

Parting Shot

I want to thank the folks at Cactus Club Café for being good sports about my April Fools Day prank, saying they were opening a Houston Location.  I cannot overemphasize enough that I am VERY FOND of the food at Cactus Club Café, that the service there is top notch and I always recommend anyone I know that goes to visit the Vancouver, BC area or Lower Mainland of BC in Canada stop by there at least once while they're there.  My prank was partly done out of wishful thinking on my part.  I'd love Chef Rob Feenie to open a place here in Houston, even if it weren't Cactus Club Café but were built around our local cuisine instead.  Anyhoo, if I disappointed anyone else over the prank, I apologize.

And remember:
Eat Happy!!!
Zao an, Y'all!!!

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