Houston, I Enjoyed Gaining The Extra Pounds!

Although I spent five days and nights in Houston, I didn’t earn the right to call myself a “Texan”.  At no point of my stay did I wear cowboy boots or a hat, I never said, “howdy”, and I didn’t eat a big hunk of cow in any shape or culinary fashion.  Okay, I’m sure there are not set in stone rules of being a Texan.

The staff of the Hilton Americas Hotel in Houston were amazing, very warm, and very hospitable.  One of the perks of our hotel package was having breakfast each day and evening snacks.  I had oatmeal with brown sugar, raisins, and pecan each morning with fresh cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, strawberries (and papaya, one morning), along with raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.

I skipped the bagels, but toward the end of the stay, Ray and I split a slice of pumpkin bread and we did have a pastry each on the last day.

While I didn’t eat beef during my stay, I didn’t succeed at staying away from buffets.  Actually, we had planned on a buffet on the first and last night.  But, we ended up having another one because the downtown area basically closed down at 6 p.m.!

On our first night, we had dinner at the Lighthouse Buffet in Kemah, Texas, on the Boardwalk.  The salad bar and the desserts were just satisfactory, but the entrees we sampled (pineapple peppered whitefish, chicken francese, and chicken tenders) were very tasty.  Overall, for the price, ($19  each, with tip), it was not a great value.

Sunday night, for our anniversary, we had Mexican food at Pepper Jack’s in downtown Houston.  We chose Mexican because on our wedding night one year ago, Ray’s sister, Cindy, treated us to Los Agaves in Moline, Illinois.  I had a shrimp Diablo burrito and a sangria.  Ray had a margarita and chicken burrito.

Monday night, we had dinner at The Cafe in the Hilton and it was a buffet.  We had salad, baked barbecued chicken, Ray had some beef, and I ate a very small piece of fried catfish just to see what it taste like since I stopped eating catfish when I left Kentucky twenty-plus years ago!

And, when it came time for desserts, they had miniature cheesecakes or petite fours.  But, what intrigued me most were the chocolate dipped strawberries and candied orange slices that had been airbrushed gold!

On Sunday, our one year anniversary, we drove to Kroger and stocked up on soda and bought two bottles of wine and a loaf of cheddar-jalapeno bread.  We also bought some harvest-themed flowers for the room.  We ended up having one bottle of the wine Monday night on the rooftop and the bread for dinner Tuesday night followed by the second bottle of wine overlooking the city.

That last picture is Allure, a California Bubbly Pink Moscato, which was delicious, served with cheese, crackers, vegetable chips, and pomelo (dried Asian grapefruit) from my new favorite store, Phoenicia Specialty Foods!

 

I discovered this specialty store Monday and I also found out that after 6 p.m. each night, certain bakery items are marked down to $1 to move it out for fresh items the next day.  Needless to say that Ray and I bought extra pastries and baked goods Monday and Tuesday night.

Yes, we ate every bite (almond pasty, almond croissant, fruit custard bar, caramel pecan roll, cream cheese cinnamon roll, cherry scone, and baklava).  In addition to that, our hotel had delicious white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, along with chocolate, sugar, and peanut butter cookies that we also sampled.  It’s not surprising that despite walking on the treadmill several times each day and walking many miles in Houston, we both gained a few pounds.  But, it was so good!

Here are some of the other tasty tempting treats offered at Phoenicia and this was just in the bakery.  They also had a deli, a hot food section, a salad bar and much, much more!

And, every dessert that Clint suggested was delicious.  While the baklava was fantastic, Ray and I agree that the caramel pecan cinnamon roll was the best.

I hope you’re enjoying this culinary trip to Houston because now it’s time to talk about my favorite meal in “Space City”.  It was also the one that I had been waiting months to eat.  I bought a certificate from Groupon for DiMassi’s Mediterranean Buffet.  The menu sounded incredible and let me tell you, everything was authentic and not out of a can or a box!

 

We took the rail service out to the medical complexes  on Kirby Drive and walked the rest of the way to the restaurant, which is located in a shopping plaza across from Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans NFL team.  That’s football to the non-sports fan. 🙂  Upon walking in, I was given so many options of what to choose first!

Once I surveyed everything, I went the salad route for my first plate.

 

It consisted of Tabouli Salad (chicken wheat, parsley, onions, tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, salt), Fatoosh (Diced onions, mint, tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil, touch of garlic and salt), Cabbage Salad (cabbage leaves, with tomatoes, olive, lemon juice, garlic), and a spring mix salad with cucumber-yogurt dressing.  I went back and got more of the salads later in the meal!

For my first main entrée plate, I tried to be good by piling grilled zucchini and yellow squash on my plate.  I also tried the Mediterranean Rice, Chicken Kabobs (mustard marinated cubes of chicken with oregano, green pepper, tomatoes, and onion and salt), Baked Tilapia (filets, baked in lemon, pepper, sauce and veggies, moderate spices), and Falafel (Chick peas, parsley, cilantro, onions, all spices), rolled into a ball and deep-fried.

Before moving on to desserts, I had some Baba Ghanouge (roasted eggplant mixed with Thini sauce, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil) and the pita bread was awesome.For dessert, I had three pieces of baklava, a piece of honey bread, and delicious rice pudding topped with pistachios.

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We also topped off the meal with pink rose-water, which was exactly what it sounded like.  It was interesting to drink a flower!  And, right as we were walking out, they put grape leaves on the buffet and I had to go back and sample one of them!

Although we gained a few pounds on the Houston trip, the desserts and the meal at DiMassi’s was definitely worth it.  Now, we have five days back home to eat healthy and exercise to lose that weight before Las Vegas and Madonna, which is one week from today, baby!

Anthony

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Athena Gilbraith on October 6, 2012 at 9:00 am

    What a great looking trip! I’m so glad you had a beautiful anniversary! Those strawberries looked amazing.

    Reply

  2. Posted by susan c meador on October 8, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Yummmm!!but I love my meat..couldn’t have got outta Texas without eatn Steak or Ribs!sound like u had a fabulous Anniversary!!Have a great week too!!

    Reply

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