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Currently in Ashburn, VA
Jim's 8 reviews
Reviewed Ft. Worth Ribeye, 12 oz. @ Texas Roadhouse in San Marcos, TX and thought it's just ok.
Sometimes you just want a good steak. Had the opportunity to try a couple of the offerings at Texas Roadhouse in San Marcos, and I can say that these folks know how to do steak. I had the 12 oz. Ft. Worth Ribeye, which came with a loaded baked potato and a caesar salad. The steak was prepared properly, and since I like mine rare, a lot of places tend to overcook my steak. That did not happen here...the ribeye was flavorful, tender and cooked to my liking. The potato was nothing was good, just nothing there to make it stand apart from any other potato, and same could be said of the caesar salad. Had the Baby Blossom onion and the fried pickles for starters, they were good and properly done, albeit you can probably get the same from any other steakhouse. That said, I left the restaurant having had my steak fix quite satisfied. Three of five stars.
Reviewed Wok Seared Beef @ P F Chang's China Bistro in Austin, TX and thought it's just ok.
Had the opportunity to go to this restaurant with a couple of was a birthday thing, and this is where she wanted to go. The restaurant itself is impressive...nice decor and layout inside, and the entranceway is flanked by a giant reproduction terra cotta war horse and soldiers, standing guard for the emperor. If only the cuisine were Chinese. At best, the cooking is Chinese-esque, reminiscent of the faux-Chinese dishes that could be had at any take-out place, albeit for far less money than you'll drop here. Don't get me wrong; the food here is good. The Wok Seared Beef was well marinated, tender and flavorful, with the requisite heat provided by the thai bird chilis in the dish. My friends had the orange scallops and singapore lo mein, both of which were good. The food here is good. It...just ain't Chinese, and it's waaay overpriced. Three of five stars.
Reviewed lunch special @ Chinese Cafe in Houston, TX and loved it!
This is the second time this week I stopped here for lunch, and it continues to impress. This time I had their lunch special. The offerings changes daily, but it comes with two meat dishes, one vegetable dish, choice of soup and rice, for an amazing $4.60! Walk to the counter and order, sit and before long, a tray of goodness is placed before you. I chose the hot and sour soup, and it's not the sucky soup-from-a-mix that most faux-chinese places serve. Made fresh, it had generous amounts of chicken, tofu, bamboo shoots, egg and black fungus in the bowl. The flavors were well-balanced...a hearty, well-prepared soup that I hope to enjoy again and again. The two meat dishes consisted of beef and scallions in black bean sauce and chicken with water chestnuts. Both, again, were freshly prepared and absolutely yummy. The stir-fried cabbage was the vegetable dish for the day, and it was great as well. Chinese comfort-food can you go wrong?
Reviewed Dumplings @ Happy Tea House in Houston, TX and thought it's yucky!
This place is more a hang-out for the high school/college set more than it's a tea house. Everyone who has driven down Richmond has seen the huge billboard at Dunvale advertising this place. The happy faces on the ad suggests that this place sells good drinks and is a half-truth, like most ads. I had their lychee slurpee and an order of their dumplings. The drink was excellent, and the dumplings were...insipid. Watery, tasteless dumplings made of 'pork and cabbage'...which is ok, it's what I put in mine but that ain't all I put in mine. To say these 'sucked' does not do justice to ordinary suckage. There's a whole NEW class to bad food and these dumplings are IT. See the photo...DO NOT ORDER THESE!
Reviewed Pupusa Platillo @ Tarascas Grocery in Houston, TX and loved it!
I dig taqueria food, and whenever I get a chance to go to a new location I welcome the opportunity. I must have driven by Las Tarascas hundreds of times, and I finally stopped for lunch yesterday...and I am glad I did! As I walked in, I spotted the taqueria, which is in the middle of the small grocery store. The dishes for the day were displayed which made for easy decision-making. Tacos, stewed dishes and caldo (soup) were some of the offerings, but the pupusa caught my eye. Go to the register and pay for the platillo, and hand the small slip to the taqueria attendant. Spanish is the preferred language, but there's help nearby if you don't habla. My pupusa with lengua was quite good, and the gordita with mushroom filling was absolutely delicious. I also tried their tamale, and it was superb. There are a few salsa on the counter to choose from, and I found them to be tasty and freshly made. This is not is for real, authentic mexican cooking, done right by folks who has been doing it for a long time. I can't wait to go back to try some other dishes. Three of five stars!
Reviewed Seafood and Tofu Hot Soup @ Chinese Cafe in Houston, TX and loved it!
I was out at lunchtime today, and it was a raw, windy, rainy, cold day. So, as I was cruising down Bellaire, I see this sign, NO.1 HOT SOUP. Sounded perfect, so I go in. I initially ordered the Korean Hot Soup, one of a few hot pots prominently displayed on the wall, but was told that it was not available. I settled on the seafood and tofu hot soup, paid for my order and sat down. Ten minutes later the server brought the hot pot and I was impressed. A mini-wok full of seafood soup sat bubbling before me which included two very nice shrimp, mussels, fish cakes, pieces of fish fillet, squid, chinese cabbage, baby bok choy enoki mushrooms, and probably other things I just cannot recall now. The soup itself is a broth of all the things in the hot is not seasoned otherwise. That's left up to you. The soup comes with white steamed rice on the side, or you can elect to have noodles in the soup instead. Soy sauce, vinegar, chili paste are already on the table, and a "spicy sauce" is available on request. The shrimp were perfectly cooked when the soup arrived at the table, and the rest of the soup was delicious...I couldn't find a thing wrong with it. I cleaned the bowl, natch. The place serves other foods as well, and the next time I'm there, I think I may order from the menu. Perfect? I thought it was. A rare five out of five stars. Outstanding!
Reviewed Pho Dac Biet @ Pho One in Houston, TX
Had a hankering for vietnamese noodle soup, and if you're ever in the Westchase area of Houston, you know there are MANY places to choose from. I can recommend Pho One on Westheimer and Wilcrest without reservation. I ordered the Pho Dac Biet with an order of Goi Cuon to start. The gentleman taking my order was very friendly and was familiar with the menu. I didn't wait long before my starter was served. The Goi Cuon was delicious...shrimp, basil, cilantro and other herbs wrapped in rice paper, served with a hoisin-based dipping sauce with crushed peanuts. The Pho Dac Biet was very good...the broth was light, not greasy in the least, flavorful with fried shallots. The noodles were cooked to perfection, as were the meatballs (worth the extra charge), tendon, tripe, brisket and beef. The dish came with a plate of bean sprouts, cilantro, basil and chilis to put into the soup as desired, and there was the standard complement of sauces for one to flavor their bowl of soup as well. I ordered the large size which was more than enough for me, but I ended up eating it all anyways. A solid three out of five stars.
Reviewed Taqueria Food @ La Michoacana Meat Market in Houston, TX and thought it's just ok.
I have stopped at many a taqueria, be it in a permanent location or on wheels...I keep going back to this particular La Michoacana on Hillcroft. The breakfast tacos are filling, quite tasty and CHEAP! Two breakfast tacos (on corn tortillas) for $1 (Mon thru Fri)...the selection changes daily, my favorites are the scrambled eggs with nopales, huevos con chorizo, and huevos con hamon. There are others, and I've found them all to be well prepared and tasty. I've also had their carnitas, pastor, and pollo, as well as their chili relleno. All were done properly and prepared fresh daily. Whether you eat in or carry out, stop by the sauce counter and have your choice of freshly prepared salsas as well as onions, cilantro, pico de gallo and limes. You gotta go to the register and pay first, then take your slip to the food stall. There might be a bit of a language problem for those who absolutely do not speak spanish, but I've found there's always someone around who'll gladly translate. I've found the staff to be quite friendly and helpful. I keep going back because I haven't really found a place that can beat their food for the price. A solid three of five stars!

Jim B.
Houston, TX