How to choose? When I googled Japanese Restaurant Houston, I found 150 different listings...from "Aka" to Zushi"...and many listed had numerous locations! So I got lazy and went back to a favorite spot on Hwy 6 in Sugar Land. I should have counted, because there are at least 10 different international cafes in this one strip center!
FYI- The restaurant sign and menu name do not match. Just remember the Mori part!
No Bonus Points
I'm afraid I can't steal any extra points for having Heidi in this blog post. My daughter has been in many posts before. She has also been to Mori Ichi's many times before!
Close Call With Wasabi
Now if I want to cheat with the bonus points, I'll go back in time, when I joined my mother with a group of folks from her nursing home on an outing to Mori Ichi!
This was almost 2 years ago and what a fun time! Most of our dining friends had never had sushi. Mom was the only one who could use chopsticks. And there was only one dangerous moment...when one of our dear dining fellows seemed to think the wasabi was a little pistachio sorbet!
3 bonus points for having Mom in the dining blog!
As I mentioned, this was sort of a lazy attempt at adding to the dining blog. Sometimes you don't really want to chat up a storm. But our server was very sweet and when I couldn't understand her Japanese name, she kindly told me to call her Fiona. Let's give 3 bonus points to Fiona.
If I were a real connoisseur, I would never get this ridiculous assortment of goodies. But I love these boxes! They remind me of TV dinners way back when. Remember how cool it was to have your food all separated! This was pretty darn good, though. Miso soup, salad, chicken katsu, California rolls and veggie tempura! All for $7.95!
Heidi's Healthier Pick
Heidi loves sushi! When she compliments sushi, that says a lot!
Let's just go ahead and give MORI ICHI 5 points for food! We have never been disappointed!
Authenticity and Warmth
What can I say...it's just cozy and comfortable. There are Christmas lights on the bamboo plants and there's a thatched roof over the sushi bar! I don't like TVs in restaurants and I don't really care for boxing, but I'm willing to give 2 bonus points for being able to watch a Japanese boxing match on the TV...for a little authenticity.
5 Bonus Points for Feeling Welcome!
Most diners at Mori Ichi seem to be Japanese. Of course I could be wrong. But all folks, regulars and first-timers, seem to be greeted with equal warmth. Again I'm using a 2 year old memory to give bonus points. (5 for the welcoming atmosphere) I will never forget the day our group arrived with wheelchairs and walkers and took over a large table at the center of the room. Our special group needed extra care since many were hard of hearing, had diet concerns or were just plain confused. But the servers were patient and kind. I won't even take points away for forgetting to remove the wasabi from some plates!
Mori Ichi gets 18 Points!
Diane Brings Style & Bonus Points!
I have partnered with Diane on the tennis courts many times, but this was my first shared meal! 1 bonus point for adding a new friend to the dining blog, 1 bonus for Diane's fashion style at the table. (just like on the courts!) But 2 bonus points for having a friend who can order our meal in Vietnamese!
Here is a poster (taped to the door) announcing the entertainment planned for New Year's Eve at Jasmine. Diane had to translate, but there will be lots of dancing and food all reasonably priced. Diane is planning to go!
Jasmine is located on Houston's Bellaire Blvd., which already says a lot. Bellaire has miles of Asian restaurants, salons, grocers and shops. The dining crowd was fairly diverse on Friday at lunch, but there was plenty of Vietnamese being spoken at tables.
2 bonus points for Authenticity!!
We started our meal with some tea and these delicious spring rolls! They were huge and packed with fresh vegetables, shrimp and rice. The peanut sauce for dipping was perfect.
Bun Thit heo Nuong
Diane's "Bun Thit Heo Nuong" was served on a bed of noodles. Diane used sort of an Asian-Italian approach with her chopsticks and spoon! She shared and it was very tasty!
Com Bo Lui
I ordered "Com Bo Lui" , which is charcoal broiled beef. Fish sauce was served on the side so I could add just the right amount. And the vegetables were refreshingly sweet and sour and very crisp. I took home half!
4 points for food at Jasmine!
Interacting with others is something I used to do very rarely in restaurants. I am not a celebrity and I don't frequent the same places enough to be "known". But in doing this dining blog, I've made it a point to enjoy the people around me. If I have an opportunity to talk to other diners or staff, the outing becomes more memorable.
Well, it helps that Diane is more of a socialite than me, because she saw friends she knew. Diane's friends were delightful and there was a lot of interaction between our tables. Plus these folks know how to dress for a lunch outing! Don't they look wonderful! I'm going to pay closer attention to my wardrobe on my next food outing!
2 bonus points for a good People Encounter!
Making In Smile
Here is Tin, our waiter! I will use the word shy or maybe serious, instead of unfriendly. He didn't spend very much time at our table, although he did return with many items that Diane requested. (napkins, clean menu etc.) Tin didn't seem too impressed when I tried to order in Vietnamese. He gave me his name, but certainly didn't need to know mine. He mostly spoke to Diane, since she speaks his language. I thought maybe he didn't understand English, but he understood me quite well when I asked to take his picture. He shook his head and shooed away my idea with his hand!
But eventually I won Tin over and got this very slight smile in our photo.
Tin as Photographer
I think maybe I have found Tin's preferred job! Once he had the camera in his hands, (this was his idea) he was willing to spend lots of time with us. He posed us by the bamboo. Note the jazzy angle of the photo!
With the Tree
And then he marched Diane and me across the whole restaurant to pose by the Christmas tree! No room to share all Tin's pics. And I refuse to share the photo Tin took of me, zoomed in on my face. That one was a bit scary.
1 bonus point for burning off a few lunch calories at our photo shoot!
Grand total of 16 Points for Jasmine!
Big Points Big Crowd
What a treat to have share some German feasting with my visiting Meyer family!
Our family group that gathered over the Thanksgiving holiday came from Idaho, Colorado, N.Carolina, Austin and Houston. This is the largest group I've dined with for the dining blog!
3 Bonus points!
We started the evening with a few toasts.
Toasting is always a very good way to start the feasting... on the night before Thanksgiving!
Rudy's has a lot of choices for beer. A lot of sizes of beer!
My Bro from Idaho
This is my brother, Chris! We are Meyers, so this makes us feel like we belong in a German restaurant. Of course we did some discussing and we realize there are more memories of our Grandpa Meyer's bread baking than German cooking.
I do have to give a huge 5 Bonus points for having a dining experience with Chris. Not only is he a huge fan of international food, but he's the only one I know who can pull out a little black book with details from past meals from all over the world.
Step Back in Time
Okay, one more bit spotlighting Chris and the world of cooking and dining! He really is my role model for being an enthused diner. As a kid, I rolled my eyes when he chatted with other diners and questioned waiters. (I was mortified when he followed a clueless waitress back into the kitchen to see for himself what kind of lettuce they had)
But over the years, I've observed his enthusiasm and I've admired his curiosity. Chris gets so much out of his dining experience besides the food. I've become more Chris-like...trying to enjoy the people and surroundings and the history as well as the food. Maybe I should carry a little black book!
5 Points for Food
I'd like to tell you about our feast. I'd like to tell you about that huge pretzel and the wonderful schnitzels and such!
But this idiotic blog has been scrambled over time. Pictures have swapped places and paragraphs have disappeared. I am discovering this after nearly 10 years and repairing what I can. But the food words are gone. Who knows what we ate?
We had more than our share of Rudi-time! (he is Austrian, by the way) If you order up Bananas Foster and some of his flaming Lechner coffee, Rudi will spend a little time with his rolling cart at your table.
Right before this photo was taken, Rudi confided that after 30 + years, he can no longer get away with eating his delicious foods, because of his waistband. I recommended getting a dress like mine with elastic waist. He said he would consider it.
3 bonus points for Rudi's flaming delights!
Music & Dancing
Okay, I know some people find an Oompa Band kind of corny and I did sense a bit of weariness in our musical duo at times. But there's something festive about eating German food while listening to accordion and Alpenhorn and yes, yodeling. I have to give 5 points for the inspiring music that got our entire group up on the dance floor for polka dancing! -1 bonus point for having such a tiny dance space. There was a lot of bumping into each other!
1 Big Bonus Point
Sometimes you just have to give an extra point for spotting some lederhosen on the dance floor!
Rudi's gets 18 points!
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.