Star Drug Store
This wonderful building has been here on 23rd Street since 1886. It claims to be the oldest drug store in Texas!
The building was originally wood, but was converted to brick in 1906. The store has been doing business since it opened, except for a few years that followed a severe fire in 1998. Luckily the Tilts family bought the place and restored it beautifully.
A few days ago, I stopped for root beer floats with my dad and sister.
We hoped dogs were welcome since my dad was traveling with his dog, Annie. When Celia, (Who works at the store) came outside, I hoped she wasn't coming to tell us they have a no animal policy. You never know. But she only had high praise for Annie.
In fact Celia was one of those friendly, positive people you could chat with all day. She was intrigued with the trailer image on Jennifer's tee shirt and they got off on a conversation about trailer camping. When we raved about the ice cream, Celia told us about the man in nearby Santa Fe, TX who makes the ice cream... with so much butter fat you can barely freeze it.
The 2-story interior offers lots of indoor dining and quirky memorabilia. Jennifer was intrigued by a plaque, 6.5 feet above the floor. The marker showed where the flood waters reached when Hurricane Ike hit Galveston in 2008!
I can't wait to come back and eat at the counter one of these days. This great horseshoe shaped, tile counter was added in 1917. I have fond memories of counter dining at Cunningham Drugs in Iowa when I was a kid. I hope to come back and have Herman cook me a burger or some eggs while I swivel on my stool a little.
Herman was cleaning up the grill when I interrupted him with a photo request. He laughed that I was the third person who wanted his photo that day. Celia insisted the photo would be better with light up hats. (Afraid the lights don't show in the photo) You could tell these 2 have some fun on the job!
I give the Drug Store high marks for fun stuff to look at (Just look in the window) and for friendly staff. I give bonus marks for a history...that goes back way over 100 years! And I'll even give them credit for the heavenly weather. Well, maybe they didn't provide the weather. But they did offer us seating outside where we could enjoy a gorgeous May day! I can't wait to return!
Best in Houston
I love a restaurant with charming curb appeal. Kasra did not have that.
But, I've been told by a few Iranians that Kasra Persian Grill has the best Persian food in Houston. Judging by the constant flow of diners on a Thursday evening, I would guess they were correct.
The atmosphere inside was very welcoming. That was helpful because I was actually on a blind dining date. (more on that later) In this photo my new dining friend, Kristi is smiling for the camera as I tell her about the family behind her. I was amused that the little girl seemed to be sitting on top of the table while the family ate. You have to love a restaurant that welcomes table top diners. I'm not sure I could have gotten away with it, though.
Our server, Mati welcomed us with a smile and some suggestions with the menu. We were served the complimentary plate of warm
taftoon bread as well as an herb plate.
It was a treat having a glass of wine since I wasn't sure we would have an option. (Alcohol is banned for Muslim citizens in Iran) We tried a little of the basil, mint, green onion, radish, mint and feta with the taftoon, but the bread was much better with kashke bademjan. This warm eggplant dish is roasted with sautéed onions and garlic and topped with a creamy yogurt. Evidently the fresh hummus is hugely popular. Another time!
I tried the chicken barg, which was boneless charbroiled chicken. Kristi had the kubideh, which is a ground beef, blended with grated onion and Persian spices. We both agreed the chicken was the winner. Both dishes were served with grilled tomatoes and basmati rice with a hint of saffron. There are a number of Persian restaurants in Houston, but Kasra is known for the best rice. Next time I'd like to try the sour cherry rice, with cranberries, almonds and pistachios!
New Dining Friend
I often meet new friends through my dining adventures. You never know what you might learn from your server, or the diners sitting at the next table.
Kristi and I did meet at Kasra for the first time, but it was the dining blog, not a dining adventure that brought us together. Kristi ran across my blog while doing a Google search. Her comments revealed that we have lots in common. Not only is she an adventurous food explorer, runner, traveler and film buff, but she's a blog writer, sky-diver ( I can barely claim that) and a trapeze class student, like me! When she was up for a dining adventure, I thought why not?
A Short Dessert Review
We decided to share an order of zolobia for dessert. Gooey, sticky, super sweet...too much to finish!
My review of food and atmosphere may be a little weak, but it's difficult combining a food adventure with a new person adventure! There were so many questions going back and forth across the table, it was hard to completely absorb the dining experience. I've stopped rating dining experiences with points, but this one gets the letter A for Adventure! Thanks to Kristi for giving me a real dining adventure! New food...new friend!
For a peek at Kristi's adventures in running...and life: http://runkwrun.blogspot.com/
Seven Hours in Cozumel
There are more Mexican restaurants in Houston than on the whole island of Cozumel, so I hardly need to travel for Mexican food. But it's worth a trip (even if your cruise only allows 7 hours) just to have breakfast at La Choza!
This was the 4th visit to Cozumel for my family and we had never tried a meal at this colorful café. We hit the jackpot when we stumbled across La Chosa at about 8 am.
Good Way to Wake Up
We look like we just rolled out of bed and we sort of did. We woke early on the ship, threw on swimsuits and headed far into town away from the tourists. We found the open doors of La Choza on the quiet Avenue 10. We sat with our cinnamon spiced coffee and complimentary breakfast cookies enjoying the warm breeze passing through from the open patio.
Surrounded by colorful murals, plants, painted figures and bird songs from the garden, we dug into a feast that ordinarily would have made me crave a morning siesta. But we by the time we finished we were all awake and fueled up and ready for a day of scuba and beach adventures.
I have had migas many a time in Texas, but this to me was the best I've ever eaten. Maybe I was just impressed that the tortilla strips didn't get soggy in the perfect mixture of scrambled eggs and bacon. Maybe it was just the relaxed feeling of being in Cozumel before it gets busy and hot. Perfecto!
Music and Margaritas
I will mention one other place on the island, that is better known by tourists. Palmeras. There's plenty of open air seating with a view of the water and there's always the musical entertainment of mariachis. But, more memorable than food is the margarita experience. Beware, they are strong. I will say nothing more.
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.