Restaurant review

3 1/2 years in the making

by Shawnda on August 1, 2007

in Restaurant review

It only took 3 1/2 years to get my husband to dinner at one of my favorite spots in Houston, Cafe Red Onion. I guess I can’t call it one of my favorites anymore – the last time I ate there was *literally* the day before I met my husband.

Far more exotic than Tex-Mex, the Red Onion prides itself upon “Latino Fusion” cuisine – a mixture of American and fresh tropical Caribbean and Latino flavors. If you’re visiting Houston, this place should default as one of your “must eat” locations.

I think of suggesting the Red Onion for dinner all the time, kick the idea around a bit in my head:

  • I imagine the “where’s the green stuff” look on his face when they bring out fresh yellow corn tortilla chips with the house papaya-chipotle and pineapple salsas before dinner.
  • I imagine the “What. The. Heck” look on his face when he sees everything is beautifully plated on, next to, or under an artistic mound of black beans, corn, and fruit salsa (because those things belong on someone else’s plate).
  • I imagine the “this stuff is waaaay too complicated” look on his face when he sees that Chicken Quesadillas aren’t just chicken quesadillas.
  • Then I usually promptly discard the Red Onion as a suggestion and we move on.

    However, because my in-laws (that’s still so funny to write, much less say!) are taking us to the Red Onion for dinner to celebrate my birthday tonight, I no longer have to imagine all those funny looks on my husband’s face – I get to see them! I will not whip out a camera at dinner, though – that silly moment will still be reserved for just the two of us.

    To my surprise, there actually are a handful of very normal items on the menu – “regular” chicken quesadillas and tacos al carbon. Jason enjoyed dinner, completely delighted with the handful of “normal” offerings on the menu. I returned home completely delighted at the Chicken Relleno I ordered – thinly pounded chicken breast stuffed with broiled grape fruit, crushed pistachios, goat cheese, cilantro, and chopped relleno peppers, plated with a creamy cilantro sauce, and a tropical black bean salsa. There were no leftovers… there never are.

    My “must make as soon as the kitchen is finished” list is growing quickly – I expect to turn out a Chicken Relleno knock-off within the first week!



    Locatelli’s: A Local Secret

    by Shawnda on April 28, 2007

    in Restaurant review

    Locatelli’s Pizza
    13215 Grant Rd
    Cypress, TX 77429


    Six hours can make all the difference in the world.

    The suburbs can be touch-and-go when it comes to eating out at dinner time. I’ve learned that visiting a place at lunch time is no way to gauge how dinner will be there. My husband and I work in the suburbs of Houston – it’s great to live in town and work out, driving against the flow of traffic. The downside is that our favorite “lazy lunch places” up in the ‘burbs seem to disappear around 7:00 each night and morph into total chaos.

    We frequented a Tex-Mex restaurant near our workplace for lunch that had a neat atmosphere. We decided to go for dinner one night and oh, my! Loud. Obnoxious. A totally different place – the lazy lunch place was no more. The entertainment worked hard to play over conversation and the shrieks from the kiddies, while the diners worked hard to speak over the music – a viscous cycle. Then there is Locatelli’s Pizza.
    Continue Reading…



    Christmas at Candelari’s

    by Shawnda on January 7, 2007

    in Restaurant review

    Location: Washington Ave
    Verdict: Might go back

    We finally were able to catch up with our about-to-be-married friends Brooke and Scott last night. Between the holidays, tummy problems, wedding plans, and colds, we hadn’t seen them in quite a while. We borrowed a table at Candelari’s Pizza to catch up, exchange Christmas gifts, and try out a new restaurant.

    I took 10 minutes to jump online and checkout the reviews for Candelari’s before we headed out. The reviews were weird but intriguing – they were voted “Best Italian Sausage” in Houston. In Houston. I can’t be the only one from this area who gets a strange look on her face to hear that award category… “Best Italian Sausage.” Perhaps it might have made sense as the Chronicle is currently running the Ultimate series in which readers vote for the ultimate everything in Houston, from tater tots to weathermen. But this award was given completely independent of that series. Continue Reading…


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