Monthly Archives: November 2014

Delicious Detours: Giving Thanks at New Zion Missionary Baptist Church BBQ

My dad came to visit from Louisiana a few weeks before Thanksgiving. Sort of an early holiday visit, since John and I had decided to take a vacation with the kids during Thanksgiving week. This time, my dad wanted to get out of the house and “see the sights.” When he told me this, my mind started clicking in about a dozen different directions. A lot of strategic planning is involved in showing my dad “the sights.” I figure it has to be something not too far from the house, something that is quintessential Texas, and, preferably for both of us, someplace where good eats are fairly close at hand. Why not Huntsville?

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Gringo’s Shines in New I-45 North Location

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The air was more than brisk as we pulled into the Spring Park Village retail development, north of FM 1960 on I-45. Our destination, the new location of Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen. (Disclosure: I was part of a group invited to a pre-opening event held a few days prior to the restaurant’s official opening. As guests, we were treated to dinner.) You won’t need your GPS to get here. The restaurant has maximum visibility, fronting the freeway service road, near the Spring High School exit, and is awash in the glow of the gargantuan Topgolf entertainment complex, which sits only a few hundred yards behind it.

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Not so very long ago, there was a single sleepy shopping center out this way, where Albertson’s and some other tenants languished and met their slow demise. But now, with the Exxon campus bursting forth only a few miles north and the latest leg of the Grand Parkway going in just up the road, this area has come to the attention of some heavy hitters, or maybe you would call them shooters and swingers. First Gander Mountain opened an outdoor megastore and shooting range, and then came Topgolf this past April. With a nearby Starbuck’s, an ATT store and several fast food places in the mix, it was just a matter of time before a casual dining chain took advantage of the retail and amusement synergy. That’s what Gringo’s has done, and if the crowds in recent weeks are any indication, they are doing it well.

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Desperately Seeking Sushi


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“You pick your fish, and I will create something, just for you,” says Masa Nagashima, head sushi chef and owner of Masa’s Sushi & Robata Bar in The Woodlands, Texas.  It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon, and I am on my third visit to Masa’s, the latest test site in my search for good sushi.

I am not a sushi expert, but for many years, we have eaten it on a weekly basis, from all sorts of places. And because we eat it frequently, we’ve become a bit finicky. Craving we know not what, but dissatisfied with our current sushi venues, we find ourselves looking for something better.

And believe me, we’re game for anything, sourcing our sushi from every kind of eating establishment imaginable. Not to dwell on our disappointments, but our experiences have led me to compile a list of the kinds of sushi joints from which we now try to steer clear. Maybe you’ve sampled the sushi at some of these types of places too:

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