|Cool Running's Jamaican Bar and Grill in Houston|
|Their Delivery Van|
|A little piece of Jamaica in Texas|
|All things Jamaica at each seat|
As I looked over the menu I decided to try a few of the appetizers to give me a feel of the different types of Jamaican cuisine. I have tried the famous Jamaican Jerk Chicken in the past so I decided to try a Beef Turnover, Vegetable Spring Rolls, and Coconut Shrimp. The Turnover came first and had a deep yellow crust surrounding a fine ground beef filling that was a medium heat. The crust helped c sown the spice of the meat, it was very tasty. A few moments later the small spring rolls came out and made me remember that there is a huge Asian influence on some Jamaican cooking as they reminded me of the spring tools that you get at a Chinese restaurant. The Coconut shrimp were big and tasty with a nice coconut crust. The spring rolls and shrimp came with a very tasty mango-ginger dipping sauce that I loved, I would have taken it as a drink!
|Jamaican Beef Turnover|
|The tasty crust hides the even tastier beef filling|
|Veggie Sprig Rolls with delicious Mango-Ginger sauce|
|Coconut Shrimp with Mango-Ginger Sauce|
Before I left I was able to meet the owner and head chef and got him to sign my book, he tanked me for coming and I thanked him for the wonderful meal! I headed out to start my week of work.
After work on my second night I headed out with my co-worker Melanie for a place that was listed as 18 miles from my hotel. The trip took about an hour to get to due to traffic and that I had to avoid the toll road, since it was mostly cashless and I didn't bring my EZ Pass. The good news was that the toll roads have parallel frontage roads in Texas, the bad news there a lot of lights along the way!
"The Original Marini's Empanada House" is in a shopping and restaurant area near a number of office buildings. I was really looking forward as empanadas are one of my favorite Latin foods. They are pastry pockets filled with just about anything and Marini's has about 50 different types both sweet and savory. We entered the place and grabbed a table and menu and went to the front counter to order.
|The Original Marini's Empanada House|
Both Melanie and I decided to try 3 different types of empanada's. I chose the Beef Gaucho, the Chuck Wagon and the English. As I ordered I told our server why I was there and asked to get my book signed, she told me that she was part of the family, in fact most of the employees were members of the Marini family. While we waited, Mr. Marini came over and not only signed my book but talked to us for almost 20 minutes and told us how he started the restaurant in 1971, he was very gracious and friendly, made us feel like we were part of the family! Our meal came and the empanada's were delicious. My Beef Gaucho was filled with ground beef, boiled egg, olives, onions and spices. The Chick Wagon had brisket, tomatoes and red wine and the English was filled with ground beef, peas, carrots, potatoes, and Worcestershire Sauce. All were delicious, the Chuck Wagon tasted like a pot roast pillow and the English was like an English Pasty.
|My Marini's Empanada's|
As we were finishing Mr. Marini came back and gave us a small container of freshly made mini sandwich cookies for dessert that were made in their pastry shop. They were delicious and had a Dulce le laches flavor. He also introduced us to his wife, what a great a gracious coupe and family. The Original Marini's Empanada House is an absolute must if your visiting the Houston area!
|The wonderful cookies, Mr. Marini gave us|
|Mr. Marini and I|
I decided to try one more place before the week ended. I headed north from the airport to a place that had a unusual name and cuisine. "Q-Shi BBQ and Sushi" is a Texas-Asian fusion pace in the town of Spring Texas. I brought another of my co-workers Han on this adventure. We entered a very busy place and I knew I wanted to try some sushi with a very American side.
Han decided to try a full Bento Box of sushi that came with a choice of Sake, he chose the Hot Sake drink. I chose the Q-Shi Sushi #1 which was a brisket based sushi and a side of Sticky Sauce Chicken Wings. They brought us a appetizer of Seaweed, Edamame Beans and Tempura Shrimp. The shrimp was a bit bland, but the Edamame was very good and the seaweed was excellent!
A few minutes later our meals arrived. The sticky sauce on the wings tasted like Teriyaki and were pretty good. The sushi was very interesting as it looked like traditional sushi but had a protein base of chopped brisket and had a really nice flavor. The manager came by and told him about my travels and he got the owner to come over t meet us and sign my book. Han sked him what made him create such an unusual restaurant. He said that it was his lifetime culinary journey. He grew up in Georgia with a BBQ background, went in the military and was based all over, especially in Asia, then ended up in California where he focused on sea food and sushi and decided to put it all together! If you want to try food from all over Q-Shi is worth a visit.
|Q-Shi #1 - Brisket Sushi|
|Asian Sticky Sauce Wings|
My week in Houston and as I travelled home my Triple D count stood at 616