Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


I continue to be impressed with the Houston restaurant scene. I was a little worried when I moved to Houston (a year ago today) simply because I remember a Houston of the early 1990's. A lot has changed. 1990 Houston did not eat sushi, or at least not the raw variety. Sushi houses in 2009 Houston are shoe-horned between every Starbucks and Chipotle and completely unecessary bank branch. There have been several that will not get a return visit but mostly they are good; SOMA in particular is very good.

Sushi @ SOMA via Blackberry

"Modern" sushi scares me a little. I always think that by modern they mean - fry it up, melt cheese on it or drown perfectly good sushi in gooey, sweet, over-the-top sauce. This is the Dallas version of modern sushi, which to me is analogous to putting ketchup on filet mignon while watching WWF reruns in your double-wide with your sister-wife. I'm happy to report "modern sushi" in Houston parlance just means modern presentation.

SOMA is a relatively new sushi entry in Rice Military, a neighborhood quickly earning a rep for being foodie heaven. SOMA is modern most senses but it doesnt feel the need to be compulsive about it. The litmus test of Hamachi and Unagi passed with flying colors. In fact, the sushi chef actually subbed our second Hamachi order for Toro; same price, we liked him for some reason. The rolls were creative and well-presented. I think our favorite this trip was the Rainbow Spider, which is the standard soft-shelled crab roll but with tuna, escolar, yellow tail and salmon wrapped on the outside.

SOMA has happy hour most days from 4-7p, during which many of their higher-priced rolls are half off. Hmm, half-priced Rainbow Spiders and a glass of Pear Sake2Me, I feel a 12-step program right around the corner.

4820 Washington Ave
Houston, TX 77007

(713) 861-2726‎

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Its been a busy month what with the layoffs at the Cancer Shoppe. It was sad to see so many of my co-workers leave, but the severance package was extremely generous and most walked out on a little puffy cloud. I will probably put on 10 pounds with all of the going away parties. Such is life, lol.

I was not one of the 10% reduced. In fact, I was one of a handful of people transfered to new departments. I am now in the department that handles computational oncology.

And in case I didnt mention it, I'm now working on a PhD in Health Informatics.

Super cool!

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Last month I joined the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston at a level that allows me to see the exhibits before they open to the public. I did it on purpose so I could actually see the art instead of the people trying to cram into the museum to see the art. I haven't figured out why with 30 different museums in Houston, the MFA is always packed to discomfort.

Yesterday I saw a photography exhibit by Houston's own Amy Blakemore. It was nice to walk through the gallery with only 4 other people.

Blakemore has an interesting style. The composition seems innocuous enough until you look at it for a long enough period of time. Then her photos become evocative and even downright disturbing. She has a knack for light, focus and bringing out elements of the casual street scene that are unexpected and thought-provoking.

Take for example the item below. If you're familiar with I-45 between Houston and Dallas, you have no doubt seen this monument of Sam Houston. Maybe you've even stopped and walked around the surrounding park. I really doubt you've seen it like this. Its 1950's sci-fi, you can almost hear Portishead's Mysterons on loop-back in your head.

Her exhibit opens today and runs through mid-September, definitely worth a visit.

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

White Sangria

The party celebrating Spain, otherwise known as a cover for me to make all the recipies I learned in Barcelona, was a success. Fortunately, whether it was the "collapsing economy" or the "H1N1 global pandemic", the crowd was much smaller than the previous party. I've found that 15-20 people is ideal; more becomes too much work, less is just a dinner party.

The most requested recipies were the White Sangria and the Saffron Meatballs.

White Sangria

  • 2 T Sugar
  • 3 Shots Apple Brandy (Calvados is good)
  • 4 Kiwi, peeled and sliced 1/2"
  • 3 Granny Smith Apples, cored and sliced into wedges
  • 1 Lemon, sliced 1/4"
  • 1 Lime, sliced 1/4"
  • 1 Pint Raspberries
  • 1 Bottle Savignon Blanc (I liked Monkey Bay)

In a large container, mix the brandy and sugar until the sugar in dissolved. Add in sequence: apples, lemon, lime, raspberries, kiwi, wine. Store in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

Its interesting that the order in which you stack the fruit in the container changes the flavor of the sangria. I think its the weight of the ingredients that forces the juice out of the fruit you place on bottom. If you like your sangria with more citrus notes, add the lemon and lime first. If you like it fruit forward, add the apples, kiwis and raspberries first.

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