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  • Website
  • Location: Houston
  • Favorite foods: strong blue cheese, grits, beef bourguignon, pad see ew, hamachi sashimi
  • Last bite on earth: the largest spread of Thai food I could fathom

A Sandwich a Day: Cheesesteak at Pappa Geno's in Houston

Oh, I love this place! Check out my review from the Houston Press last year: Paul, the owner, talks about his bread and so much more.

SE'er Food Blogs

I have my own personal food blog called she eats.

And I also man (or woman?) the food blog over at the Houston Press, called Eating Our Words.

Come play!

do you remember elementary school cafeteria food?

I remember having a choice between blue milk and red milk. The red was whole and the blue was 2%, IIRC. But no one ever chose the blue milk; you got made fun of for it for some odd reason. :D

I also remember that the ice cream was priced separately from the rest of the lunch (which was $1.25). The ice cream ranged from 10 cents to 35 cents, but my favorite was the Drumstick -- way at the "expensive" 35 cents end of the spectrum. I used to beg my mom for an extra quarter and a dime before school each day.

Strange home-made pizza

I had one this weekend that I nearly died over... They'd taken a butternut squash, roasted it and then pureed it and used the puree as the base (instead of tomato sauce). On top was blue goat cheese, caramelized onions and walnuts. GAH. I might have added pears (perhaps also caramelized) just for a touch of something sweet, because I felt it needed a bit more balance. But it was still darn good.

Use Twitter to Find a Lunch Buddy

Not a security breach so much as a phishing scam perpetuated through Direct Messages on Twitter. People just need to be more careful about where they enter their username and password! :D

Sushi - Love it or Hate it?

LOVE IT. Would eat it for every meal if my wallet allowed.

What is it in particular that you find unappealing, just out of curiousity?

too eggy :(

I use eight eggs, too, and don't have that problem. Did you sautee the onion and portobello caps ahead of time? I usually do that (with garlic, too) to add extra flavor. I also use a lot of Worcestershire sauce. Here's my recipe if you want to give it a shot. Just sub in meatless crumbles for the sausage:

Non-eggy breakfast strata recipe

What do foodies do?

I work in Human Resources. But I'm in the nice side of HR -- benefits administration. :) I do food writing on the side, but it's not my main gig by any stretch of the imagination.

Tombstone Pizza Vending Machine

Whoo-hoo! I made it onto Serious Eats! :D

The pizza vending machine is just one of many signs, you know. Not the harbinger of the apocalypse itself. ;)

Essentials: Quesadillas

I don't think you're insulting any Mexican food buffs, since quesadillas (as we know them) aren't a Mexican dish. They're Tex-Mex; completely different. ;-)

Now, if you used masa instead of tortillas, then we'd be talking Mexican quesadillas! Yum! :-)

What is Pho?

@ ansate: Oh, but the strangely bouncy meatballs are sooooooo good! :)

If you find that pho doesn't suit you as much -- for any reason, and I'm not saying that it won't! -- do please try some bun (vermicelli bowl with meat and vegetables), too. There are so many wonderful dishes in Vietnamese cuisine to try! Pho is just one. A delicious one, but only the tip of the iceberg.

Try here for a little sample of other dishes: Pho One

Frog Legs?

FYI: just in case anyone is interested in seeing pictures of the nefarious meal itself, here you go. >:-)

Have higher food prices affected food bloggers?

As a food blogger, I have to say no -- for me. But only because I blog about what I normally cook every day, which is essentially peasant food. Cheap, reliable, delicious peasant food. :)

Now, for those fancy-schmancy food porn kings (whom I love and adore), I think that buying expensive ingredients are something they'd normally do every day. That is to say, die-hard foodies are going to put the purchasing of expensive foodstuffs before any other little luxuries and are probably more likely to make sacrifices in other areas before they'd ever sacrifice high-quality ingredients.

So, in a nutshell, no -- I haven't noticed anything yet and wouldn't expect to. At least not yet... We'll see what future months and years bring. :) :) :)

Frog Legs?

@ czken: Most frogs you eat these days are raised in captivity and are actually a subspecies called "edible frogs." I have friends who -- back in the day -- used to go out and gig frogs (spear them out of the bayou) and cook those up to eat, but I've never personally eaten a gigged frog. I prefer getting my frogs from the butcher, where I know they won't taste "swampy."

I imagine the younger to middle-aged frogs would taste best. To my knowledge, I've never eaten a senior citizen frog and don't think they'd taste very good. I've also never eaten any part of the frog other than the legs... And they are frogs, not toads -- an important distinction. Just FYI, since I've been asked that question before. :)

Is there a such thing as too much fried potato?

I don't know about fried potatoes...meh. For my money, though, there's no such thing as too much mashed potatoes.

Does Where You Live Affect What You Like To Eat?

@ beth1: Even if the poop tastes really good?

Does Where You Live Affect What You Like To Eat?

Funny... I just wrote about that very same thing today.

You read my mind, Blue Iris! :-)

In a nutshell, yes. I absolutely think that where you live affects not only what you like to eat, but also your expectations of what others should eat, how food should be prepared and what is/isn't taboo to eat.

What's the Best Mexican Food Town in the U.S.?

HoustonJoe is absolutely right. Houston is the place where real people come to live and work, not to wander around the Riverwalk or Alamo. Hence, we have real Mexican food, not the touristy stuff that panders to Yankees or whitebread Texans.

We've got it all here, from Tex-Mex to coastal Mexican (lots of yummy fresh fish!), to interior Mexican. We've got the carnecerias, the panaderias, the taco stands, the high-end restaurants, the Mi Tiendas and Fiestas and the little local Hispanic grocery stores and Hispanic farmers markets. There's no better city for restaurants (and, boy, do we have plenty) that serve real, authentic Mexican food in all its many forms than Houston. :-)

Favorite thing to eat with mayo

Nothing goes with mayo.

Everything goes with Miracle Whip. >:-)

Speaking of Mayo....Mayo or Miracle Whip?

Meeeeracle Whip! Always! Mmm. It's truly not a sandwhich without Miracle Whip. Anything else just taste like creamy oil. :(

Best worst-for-you comfort food? A cheese sandwich (just plan cheddar or monterrey jack on white bread with Miracle Whip) and a bowl of tomato soup. :)

Original Iron Chef

Huzzah! You can't beat the original Iron Chef. Those shows are the stuff of legend.

Paula Deen's jewelry

Unless I'm doing something really messy or possibly-unsanitary (such as meatballs, as embolini9 pointed out), they don't leave my fingers. However, I only wear a wedding band an a simple engagment ring -- not the entire David Yurman catalogue, *cough, cough* PAULA.

Becoming a food professional

My mother decided to "live the dream" four years ago and become a personal chef. She's now the most successful personal chef in Houston and absolutely loving life while making the rest of us foam at the mouths with jealousy.

If you're going to do it -- make the leap into a culinary career, that is -- take a page out of her book and PLAN. Make sure you know what you're getting yourself into, have a good skeleton of what you're going to do, what you need, who you need to talk to/get in with, how much money you'll need as a cushion and/or to start the new life, etc. Don't go into it on a whim.

But if you've seriously considered everything and have a plan for yourself, do it! We'd all support you 110%! :-)

Have you influenced your friends and family?

Sweetie...mushrooms? You crack me up. :D

I'm a good influence on my friends. Nearly everything they've eaten that isn't Tex-Mex, Italian or burgers is because I've forced them to. In turn, however, my family is a good influence on me. I come from a huge family of devoted foodies, who are always looking for the next great thing.

My husband, however, bless his heart... You can take the man out of England, but you can't take the dull English tastebuds out of his tongue. ;)

My family bought wet scallops and wants me to prepare them.

I've written about my dislike of wet scallops in the past... But not all is lost. I'm going to plagiarize myself for an answer:

"The scallops that one generally purchases from a grocery store tend to have been soaked in water to increase their weight (and therefore their selling price…grrrrr). This means that when you, the enterprising amateur chef, go to sear your pillowy little scallops, you end up steaming them instead. This is because all of that aforementioned excess water leaches out of your scallops into the pan, which means that your scallops become stringy, tough and altogether unpleasant in the mouth. You can avoid this by either (1) purchasing truly fresh scallops that haven’t been presoaked in water or (2) making sure to pour any excess water off after searing the first side of your scallops. But seeing as how #2 is entirely too much effort for something that shouldn’t have to be done in the first place, I recommend buying them fresh whenever possible."

Good luck!

The Honor System

I remember seeing honor system/self-service boxes like this at roadside produce stands in East Texas when I was younger:

But haven't seen one in years, now that I think of it. Do these still exist in your neck of the woods?


While I'm on the topic of Cinco de Mayo, has anyone actually tried rompope? Any good? I like custard and I like rum (hee!) but I don't know if I'd like a drink that tastes like rum custard...

Sonoran Hot Dog Recipe

Wanted to share Robb Walsh's recipe for Sonoran hot dogs (for Cinco de Mayo!) which seem to be exactly what I've been looking for in a hot dog: wrapped in bacon, covered with refried beans, avocado and cheese, served in a hot bolillo. Dear God.

Sonoran Hot Dog Recipe

Albert Roux Interview

I've been absent for a while, Serious Eaters, and I'm sorry. I missed you guys! And now I have a Serious question for y'all...

I'm interviewing Chef Roux next weekend and I'm totally freaking out. I have a set of questions I *have* to ask him and a few I *want* to ask, but here's my question: What would y'all ask him / discuss with him if you were interviewing Chef Roux?

Frog Legs?

My husband is thinking of having me committed after I served grilled frog legs for dinner last night (with cornbread and peas). Where I'm from, this is perfectly normal and delicious food. He, however, feels quite the opposite.

After quizzing my equally repulsed coworkers this morning, they all are in agreement with the hubby. To each their own culinary heritage, I guess... How do you Serious Eaters feel about frog legs?

Breakfast Club Ideas!

We have a weekly breakfast club at work, and have for a long time. As such, we're all tired of bringing/making things like stratas, coffee cake, monkey bread, casseroles, breakfast tacos, fruit trays, etc. I am, in particular, sick to death of these things but don't want to give up our beloved tradition!

I've resorted to making grits and sausage the last few times that it's been my turn (one of us brings a full breakfast every Friday morning, I guess I should say...). But even that is played out.

Any ideas for exciting, innovative breakfast items? Portable is a plus, since most of us have a bit of a walk to get here. Oh, and if anyone says "a box of Shipleys," it's throwdown time. ;)

Your $200 Pizza

Who watched Hell's Kitchen last night and was super jealous when they unveiled the vast array of primo ingredients the contestants could use to make a super-high-end, chi-chi pizza?

If you had any frou-frou, ultra-expensive ingredients you wanted at your disposal, what kind of five-star, $200 pizza would you make?

Anyone heard of this site? Does anyone use it regularly? I've just discovered it for restaurant reviews and I'm quite keen on it so far and -- as with anything even remotely to do with food -- I'm curious about my fellow SEers opinions on it. :)


I just ate two whole wedges of Brie. Am I going to die?

Someone please make me feel better about this complete and shameful descent into Brie madness. I can't be the only person who's eaten this much cheese in one sitting... Anyone?


I had some leftover berries and a handful of oats (...yeah, I tend to just cook with whatever's left in the pantry before I go to the store and buy new ingredients -- hate to waste food!), so I decided to make a mixed berry crumble.

The blackberries were good, but let me just say that strawberries do not a good crumble make. They just turned into a soggy, tasteless red sludge. It was somewhat redeemed by my super-top-secret crumble ingredients: cassia AND real cinnamon, for a nice dual-cinnamon effect. Not so top-secret, I guess. But, condensed version: strawberries /= good crumble.

What is your favorite fruit to put into a crumble? Pear? Rhubarb? Apple? Have any special crumble secrets?

Lamb and Mutton

Something my husband was wondering recently -- and to which I have no answer -- is why lamb and mutton aren't more popular over here in the States. In most other areas of the world, they seem to be a very popular animal and lamb, especially, is eaten quite widely. But here, no one seems to eat much lamb, and mutton is eaten even more rarely.

Any ideas? We certainly have enough room for sheep grazing, it's a very tasty meat and we love other animals (beef and pork and chicken). So why not lamb?

Lancashire Hotpot

I've recently had a request from my husband to make a Lancashire hotpot from scratch, the ultimate comfort food of his youth. I'm not a huge fan of cooking with kidneys in general, and was wondering whether or not those of you who have made Lancashire hotpot feel that the kidneys are absolutely necessary. Also, all the recipes I'm finding call only for onions, but I'd like to add in more vegetables -- leeks, parsnips, turnips and carrots. Has anyone else had success in this area?

Spinach Help?

My adorable but silly husband put away all of the groceries yesterday afternoon and put my fresh (like, just-out-of-the-ground fresh) spinach directly into the fridge, not the crisper. This morning, I opened the fridge to find all of that lovely spinach wilted and terrible-looking.

I put it into the crisper and am planning on giving it an ice-water bath later to try and perk it back up. Any other ideas? Will the ice-water bath damage it? How do you re-perked wilted spinach?

Your Worst Meal Ever

Following off the hilarious "worst meal you ate politely as a guest" thread, what's the worst meal that you've ever made? We weren't all born great cooks, so I'm sure there are some good stories to share...

When I was in seventh grade, I mistook Karo syrup for canola oil when making a box of macaroni and cheese after school one day. I'll never forget the texture OR the taste...

And in college, when I had gotten somewhat better at preparing food, I attempted to make a German feast from scratch, but only ended up with permanently-stained countertops (from the homemade red cabbage, which didn't even taste good), too-thick and undercooked wienerschnitzel and grease burns from having the oil in the pan too hot for the aforementioned meat. Ugh.


My sage plant has been growing like a weed lately and I have much more fresh sage on hand than normal. Like, handfuls of it. I'm not complaining, but I am looking for some new uses for it.

What would you do with all this fresh sage?

Ketchup On Burgers... a cardinal sin here in Texas. Anyone know why this is? It's mustard and/or mayo here -- along with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, cheese and bacon, of course -- but never ketchup. It never occurred to me until a conversation I had last week with a coworker from Colorado, but I realized that you will never catch a Texan intentionally putting ketchup on their burger.

What would you never put on your burger?

Let's Talk Knives,,,

Some of the reponses in the IKEA thread got me really interested in "cheap" knives. Personally, I've only ever had baaaad luck with knives I've bought cheaply at places ranging from Wal-Mart to Macy's. They either dull immediately, the tang comes loose from the handle, they're uncomfortable or they just plain suck straight out of the box.

The only really good knives I've ever owned are the infamous Cutco knives (and those were hand-me-downs!) and my current Wusthofs.

Does anyone have any experience with good yet cheap knives?

IKEA Starter Kit?

I'm considering buying an IKEA "starterbox" for my youngish cousin, who's about to move into her own apartment after living with the 'rents for a while after college. She's a novice cook and probably won't be doing much actual "cooking," so I'm really just looking to get something fairly utilitarian for her.

Has anyone ever bought one of these? Are they actually halfway decent? Or will I be throwing $90 down the hole? The knives in particular kind of frighten me -- they look like they'd dull after one use -- but, again, this is for a Spaghetti-O's type chick. Thoughts?


If cuy were more commercially available in the U.S. than it currently is, would you buy and eat it? Would you cook it the traditional Peruvian way or would you experiment with it in other dishes?


Call me sheltered, but I've just realized within the past few days that no one outside of Texas seems to know what a kolache is. Do they have kolaches elsewhere in the U.S., perhaps by a different name? Or did our Czech settlers keep them all to themselves?

Cool or Creepy?

I can't decide whether this time-lapse video of various ice cream products melting is interesting or insidious. I'm leaning more towards insidious right now. What do you guys think?

Ice Cream Melting (link goes to YouTube)

Puffy Porkchops

I was sauteeing some porkchops the other night and they did this weird puffy thing that I've never seen before. You can see a picture at my Flickr account: weird puffiness. One porkchop started to puff up and then another. It made cooking the other side difficult, to say the least. They turned out fine, though.

I don't cook pork very often, as you can probably tell. Can someone tell me why they did this?

Five Basic Tastes

Really? Does the news media still not understand that there are five basic tastes? Or do you think this is representative of the general public's knowledge on the topic?

This is what I'm complaining about, FYI: Whose mami? Umami.

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