I'm finally sitting down to write about my visit with my aunt. I'm not sure what took me so long. It has been burning in the back of my mind, I just haven't sat down to do it. Even now I'm distracted by the most perfect man on earth (Mr. Darcy of course!)
It is always so much fun to spend time with my aunt. She lived in Houston for 40 years and has superb taste. She knows all the neat shops in town and all the nice restaurants that I have been to have been with her. I invited her to come see Discovery Green and to go eat at the Grove. Now that she lives in East Texas she enjoys any chance she can get to come to Houston.
SO much more after the jump including pictures!
Our first stop was at another completely awesome store to add to my list, Kuhl-Linscomb. It had so many interesting things to look at from housewares, to furniture, kitchenwares, to gifts. I could have spent a long time wandering the aisles, but we were on a schedule. This store also had the most amazing chandeliers and lighting in every building. If I ever win the lottery I know where I will be shopping for lighting.
Dining at The Grove was the main purpose of our visit. I love Discovery Green and I wanted to try out this restaurant. One of the things that is so much fun about Discovery Green is that you never know what will be happening in the park. When we arrived we found an Indian wedding processional. Lots of drums, color, neat fabrics and colorful umbrellas. I have found out that there was a processional earlier in the month that even featured an elephant!
The Grove was nice. I don't think it is a place I would visit often, but it is in such a lovely location and has a nice atmosphere. I had the charcoal grilled ribeye with grilled onions and roasted cluster tomatoes. The meat had a very nice smoky taste. For dessert I had a dark chocolate and cherry bread pudding with cherry gelato. I like bread pudding a lot, but I'll admit this wasn't my favorite. However the gelato was amazing. I'm not really a huge cherry fan, but it was tart but not bitter with a cold snap. It was excellent.
The next morning we headed out to Cornelius Nursery. I am the only person in my family who does not have a green thumb. I tried to grow some plants last year, but when school started I got distracted and unfortunately they paid the price. But I'm going to try again and I'm definitely going to Cornelius to pick up my new plants. The plant area was very well organized with very easy to understand signs about the plants growing conditions. The other plant places frustrate me because even though they have those little plastic tabs in the pots it doesn't really give you much information.
We spent part of our time at my apartment enjoying the reviews from the Fearless Critic. Since my aunt had lived here for so long and has traveled in such different circles than I have she was familiar with a lot of the restaurants in the book. Once she heard that the top rated restaurant was her favorite cuisine, Italian, she decided that we should go and take advantage of their 3 course business man's lunch.
What can I say but wow. WOW. This was the highlight of the visit for me. It was an incredible experience. Elegant doesn't begin to cover it and the lunch special was a steal. 3 courses for $25! How can you beat that. Da Marco has the only two page review in Fearless Critic. My first course was what has to be the best salad I have ever had, and I'm not a salad person. I'm *still* thinking about this salad. It was frisee, pears, pecans and taleggio. It had a nice vinaigrette as the dressing. The pecans were sugar coated. The salad had a sweet, but not too sweet taste. It was wonderful. My second course was pizza margherita "verace". The Fearless Critic says about this dish:
Campiania, another southern Italian region, is where you'd see the most wood-fired brick ovens of the sort that Chef Wiles uses for his traditional margherita pizza, whose balance of ripe, reduced tomato flavor with sharp, brick-seared ash approaches a level of perfection rarely found in the United States
Wow, that's quite a statement and it was delicious. I was proud of myself for using the knife given to me to cut the pizza up (apparently served in the traditional manner) unlike the lady at the table next to me who sent it back to the kitchen so they could slice it up for her.
And then the dessert. Up until now my favorite dessert has been the strawberry short cake at Mark's, an establishment that I also visited with my aunt, but this one is giving it a run for its money. I do not have a photo because I was halfway through eating it before I realized that I had forgotten to take a picture. I had the flourless chocolate cake with coffee caramel gelato. The chocolate cake was like a small cylinder of cake. There was no frosting. It was warm and soft and tasted like the richest, most delicious mix between a cake and a brownie. The gelato was wonderful as well and when I say that take into consideration that I don't drink coffee at all. The first couple of bites I was hit with the coffee taste, but the longer I went into the dessert the more the flavors of the gelato and the cake worked together to create an amazing sensation. To top it off was a thin wafer of a cookie that added a crisp crunch and sweetness.
This was quite an experience and is easily going to be one of the highlights of my summer vacation. I hope with a $25 tab for lunch I will be able to go back. I just need to find a lunch partner with fancy tastes!
Whew. It was a whirlwind two days, these were just the highlights. If you read all of this then you are a champion and you need to leave a comment and make sure to check out the pictures!