Houston doesn't offer tons of options when it comes to outside dining. And Bissonet is not a Houston street you'd usually choose to dine beside. But Piquet's has managed to create a lovely little outdoor space with the help of a bubbling fountain and some tropical plants! Plus the weather was nice!
The Piquet family built this oasis as if saying, "We'll make it possible for you to forget Houston's climate or the street of Bissonet. Of course it happened to be about 77 degrees on this lovely evening! 5 bonus points for offering nice outdoor seating!
Cheers to Terry and Susan!
This was the first time I've been able to get Terry and Susan off on a dining adventure!
I know Terry and Susan from tennis, but we have also clinked a few glasses together over the years. What I've never had the chance to do with them before, is to hear Terry's stories about how her parents met in Cuba and how she spent her early summers visiting this incredible world that I will most likely never see! There is no better way to enjoy an international dining adventure than by eating foods from a world you've never experienced... while hearing stories that make that country come to life!
8 bonus points for Terry's stories!
Terry ordered in Spanish...so that gives us 2 bonus points!
There is nothing better than a little Sangria on a glowing evening, along with Mariquitas! These plantain chips are served with a garlic sauce/dip that is surprisingly sweet and addictive! (The bread is yummy, too) An extra 5 bonus points for our server Jesus, who helped us move tables a few times. You could tell we were getting special service because he is fond of Terry!
A Bit of History
This restaurant has been here since 1997, but that is not the beginning of the story.
Guido Piquet (even though the name sounds Italian and French!) came with his wife from Cuba in the early 1960's. They first opened a Cuban grocery store on Chimney Rock, then added a restaurant in 1989.
Guido's son took over the restaurant when it moved to the Bissonet location. There is a banner in the dining room that reads, "All Because Two People Fell in Love" There's more to this story obviously, but the restaurant is all about family...the family that runs it and the families who dine here...they even have family night on Mondays. Terry's parents and her children have celebrated many birthdays and gatherings at Piquet's. 5 bonus points for a restaurant that cares about family!
Hints of Cuba
Many of my favorite authentic restaurants are "hole in the wall" places. Piquet's is no hole in the wall. The interior is filled with black and white photos and curious, artistic objects from Cuba. I'm afraid I didn't get the story about the door, but there must be one! I love a place that feels authentic, while being comfortable, clean and attractive. 3 bonus points there!
My photos hardly capture how massive and delicious these plates of food were! It was incredibly fun having Terry explain the different dishes and talk about her family favorites! I even love the names of the dishes!
Carnaval Cubano and La Rumba! These foods were so different from the Mexican or Central American foods I already enjoy. There was more garlic and less hot spice. The Yuca, (mouth watering white blobs with garlic!) was a treat to this potato lover! The Picadillo was one of my favorites. Terry reminded me that the dish was nothing fancy...just casual home cooking. It might be my favorite comfort food if I lived in Cuba! Jesus said his favorite was the Vacca Frita...beef with slivered onions. I tried about 12 different foods and I am craving each one of them, as I write this! As a rule (This blog is oh so strict!) I only give up to 5 points for food...so I'll be crafty in how I raise that. Since I had leftovers of all these dishes...I'll give an extra 5 bonus points for enjoying the food all over again!
The Piquet Family
I was happy to meet one of the Piquet daughters when I was getting ready to leave. Her grandmother's recipes are still being used in Piquet's dishes. She was delightful and very pleased I had enjoyed my first visit. I know this won't be my last, because I learned they have live music and dancing on weekends! Terry, Susan and I are already making plans to return with a bigger group!
4 bonus points for meeting one of the Piquet Family! I do love a restaurant with multiple generations!
Total of 40 Points for Cafe Piquet!
Oh my, I'm getting carried away with my point system. What can I say, it was good.
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.