Friday, March 7, 2014

#My Hometown guide- The 5 Houston Food Scene

Click to Win a Getaway at My Home Town Guide Contest. Enter here. Just click on the link.

This is a sponsored partner post on behalf of my blog, Honest Cooking, and Fiji Water. I was given the opportunity to write a post about Houston food scene by Honest Cooking and the #MyHomeTownGuidecampaign by Fiji Water.  I can’t pass this offer of showing my home Houston’s food Scene. Also note that I was compensated monetarily but if you read my blog with any regularity, you’ll notice that I mention Houston in my post.  Thanks for reading!
 Houston, the 4th largest city in the US, is also best known for its diverse cultures. You can experience all kinds of food here whether you are looking for Tex-Mex, Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cajun or a Brazilian steak house, you will find it here. You can also get sizzling fajitas,  biriyani  or the best texas style barbeques in this city. Here is a list of my favorite places that I love to eat as well as get my favorite ingredients.

  1. Grand Prize Barbeque Restaurant

My hubby is the one who goes out eat in lots restaurant as part of his meeting with clients, and he gives me an idea of best dining places in Houston.  Houston has great barbeque restaurants, however  Grand Prize Barbeque Restaurant stands out for its great taste of the special barbeque sauce.
During a recent visit to this restaurant, my hubby got, barbeque chicken, ribs,  potato salad, coleslaw and Jalapeno cheddar bread.
His friend got this Boudin with barbeque chicken, Marconi, beans and jalapeno cheddar bread. 
Boudin with barbeque chicken, Marconi, beans and jalapeno cheddar bread.
 3002 E. Pasadena Frwy. Pasadena, TX 77502 Phone: 713-473-3355

2.Phoenicia Specialty Foods
I am one of those persons who only goes out to eat occasionally, but would try all the international cuisines from the comfort of my kitchen.  One of the stores where I like to shop for lots of my specialty ingredients is Phoenicia Specialty Foods, a 55,000-square-foot food market for international gourmet foods. Phoenicia now carries more than 10,000 products from more than 50 countries.

Best thing is that you can also get fresh Middle Eastern bread and a wide variety of Middle Eastern food in their deli. I occasionally buy the wonderfully fresh tannour bread from there as well as Tabouli salad.  On some days I get to see the breads being made and going up and down the conveyor belt and get packaged, with people standing by to pick it up as soon as it reaches the aile.They have a very nice sweet shop too, and love to get my share of baklava, coconut Namoora/ Basboosah  and knafeh from there. 
 12141 Westheimer Road

 Houston, TX 77077

 (281) 558-8225

3. Fiesta Supermarket
When I need any vegetables, fruits and Latin American ingredients my one place stop is Fiesta. I can get fresh mangoes throughout the year (which is not even possible in India). When it is Jackfruit season I get them fresh too. I can get small yellow banana (called apple banana) and plantain both raw and ripe my favorite while growing up I can get it from there.
If you are seafood as well as meat lover you can find there.  I can get different flavors of Latin American Coffee from there too. If you are fan of Mexican food, cheese you get it from their deli too. In this store there is also a small restaurant where I can get Mexican food. They even carry spices from several countries of spices and ingredients, but I am a big fan of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Fiesta has more stores in Houston than any other Texas cities.


14315 Bellaire

Houston, TX 77083

(281) 568-4149

4.Goody Goody
 If you make good food, you tend to enjoy the food with some good drinks to go along, and since we have two small kids going out to restaurant or bar is not always possible. We like to have small drinks at our home; mainly it will be a glass of wine or a bottle of my favorite beer. 
And the job of finding a good wine was made easy with the opening of the Goody Goody liquor store near our house. This is a beautiful store covered with murals depicting the history of beer, wide aisles and an inventory that includes thousands of types of wines, liquor and beer from all over the world.
If you are planning for candlelight dinner, then I think this will be best place to get your favorite drinks.
Goody Goody Liquor
2680 Hwy 6 S, Houston, TX 77082
(281) 497-1862

Website: Goody Goody

5. Food Trucks

If you are street food lover, then Houston has best offer for you. In Houston the street food are served mainly by food trucks, and they serve both lunch and dinner. And you can find these trucks all over the city with some of the food trucks have a large fan following.  Some of the popular food trucks are the Waffle Bus (serving up both sweet and savory bites), Bernie’s Burger Bus (specializing in all-natural burgers crafted from scratch), and Kurbside Eatz  (delivering yummy wings, wraps, tacos and much more.). Because of the popularity of the food trucks, the City of Houston has designated couple of places as food park for trucks.
Houston Food Park

1504 St Emanuel St

Houston, TX 77003

My Food Park HTX

800 Highway 6 south

Houston, TX - 77079
Facebook page: My Food Park HTX

Since I cook my own healthy and delicious food from scratch, these are important food scene, I can think off.  These are my opinion and post is sponsored, I didn’t receive any compensation from any of the store I mentioned here. 

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Monday, January 13, 2014

My Best Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

My kids are chocolate lovers; daughter always asks for chocolate chips cookies, and my son also wants cookies with chocolate. I tried and tested vanilla cupcakes, so decide to try chocolate cupcakes. This recipe turned to be my best dark chocolate cupcakes.
Please take a look at following link how you can make this best dark Chocolate cupcake recipe
 Before Christmas, Rizzi from The New York Baking Company contacted me if I am interested to review silicone baking cups.   I thought why don’t I give it a try and I told him yes. And he sends me a dozen silicone baking cups and told me he wants honest review. My daughter got really excited seeing the package as it is different colors. She told me she needs cupcake in all these. Since I tried vanilla cupcakes, I decide to try chocolate cupcake. I was searching the internet for best recipes. Most of the recipes are with buttermilk, some are with sour cream, and recently I discovered that if you use sour cream in baking cakes, you will get a good moist cake.
On searching I found this recipe, and when I checked my pantry I have only Hershey’s special dark chocolate in my hand, so decided to modified the recipe a little bit.  I changed oil to butter, instead of ½ cup cocoa, I used 1/3 cup special dark cocoa, ¼ cup sour cream and ½ cup coffee made with ½ teaspoon instant coffee and ½ cup water. I was able to get 12 cupcakes with this recipe. They are delicious my kids started to eating as soon coming out the oven.
I made the chocolate ganache frosting to go with these dark chocolate cupcakes. It is easy to make I made with semi sweet chocolate bars and heavy cream.
Regarding the silicone baking cups, I have used it twice, first time for eggless Pina colada cupcakes, the recipe turned out to be disaster.  However, cupcakes comes of the baking cups every easily. Next time I used was for the chocolate cupcake recipes, they turned out be delicious, and I will not search for any other recipe.
Pros of the silicone baking cups. are that they are BPA free; you don’t need to grease them before baking. You can also handle them while they are hot. Cupcakes come out very easily. Baking cups are very colorful, so kids will love them. Washing these cupcakes turned out to be little harder, you need to hand wash them by flipping and use a brush to clean all those little grooves. Even after soaking in soap water for overnight, I found this step is necessary.  I don’t think you can wash them in dishwasher as they so light, it will scattered around the dishwasher and also dishwasher can’t wash the food sticks out of the tiny grooves. You can use this for you daily baking schedule, however if you are keeping these cupcakes for a party or you want to give the cupcakes as a gift, you have to make sure you to get back your liners back. I haven’t tried any jelly recipes with this; I will try it in future. It sells in Amazon, for  at $ 9.95 a dozen.
I was provided with 12 baking silicone cups from New York Baking Company. All opinion mentioned here is mine.
Here comes the recipe.

My Best Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Frosting
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
    Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup Hershey’s special dark cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup Sour cream
  • ¼ cup butter (soft at room temperature)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • Chocolate Ganache frosting
  • 9 ounce of semi sweet baking chocolate
  • ¾ cup heavy cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Place silicone baking cups in muffin tin.
  3. Mix ½ teaspoon of instant coffee powder in ½ cup boiling water and set aside.
  4. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.
  5. Add sour cream, butter, egg, sugar and vanilla cream well then add flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add coffee to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.
  6. Evenly distribute cake batter. Each cupcake liner should be about 2/3ths full.
  7. Place in the oven and bake 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
For the Chocolate Ganache Frosting:
  1. Place 9 ounce of chocolate and heavy cream into microwave safe bowl and heat for about 30 seconds high, then  and mix very well. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes to thicken the chocolate a little bit so that it will easy for piping.
  2. Transfer the entire content in the piping bag and pipe according your wish on the top of chocolate cupcakes.
Copyright ©2014 Zesty South Indian Kitchen by Swathi( Ambujom Saraswathy) All Rights Reserved
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