Friday, February 27, 2015

Fat Cat Creamery + A Giveaway!

Hey everyone, remember when it was warm out?

Like, um, last Sunday? 

Yeah me neither. I can't seem to wrap my mind beyond my winter boots and chunky sweaters and scarves and ANGER TOWARDS THIS COLD.

But you see I have these pictures of me eating ice cream outside on a sunny warm day last weekend at Fat Cat Creamery with my mom and dad, donned in my favorite yellow shorts (atop painfully pasty legs, you're welcome in advance). So while I can't even fathom that it was actually warm and lovely out a mere five days ago, I'm going to have to use my context clues here and just believe.

I have heard nothing but rave reviews about Fat Cat Creamery in the Heights, and I was so excited to try it the other day. I was also excited to learn that all of the hype was completely warranted.

First of all, the inside is adorable. When you walk in you're greeted with minty hues, old school bottled drinks, a chalkboard menu, and a giant mural of a fat cat, #obviously.

My dad ordered the frozen yogurt swirl, which on that particular day was a combination of horchata and chocolate flavors, in a waffle cone. I took a sample of his, and it was so freaking unbelievable I had to order it myself.

Now listen up: This frozen yogurt was not your ordinary, sad, this-tastes-healthy frozen yogurt. Au contraire, this frozen yogurt was your EXTRAordinary, UN-sad, this-is-so-delicious-it-can't-be-healthy frozen yogurt (though if it is, then all of my dreams have officially come true)! The pronounced cinnamon in the horchata danced together beautifully with the rich chocolate. Thick and ultra creamy, I truly did not feel like I was missing out on eating ice cream. Also, the employee there asked me if I would mind if she put crumbled cookies at the bottom of the cone to help hold it all in. Umm, is there any answer but yes to that question? The result was an amazing cookie surprise to finish off the whole glorious event of eating my Fat Cat fro-yo.

And an added bonus? I didn't feel uncomfortably full and dehydrated after eating it like I normally do after eating ice cream (though after my dinner of bread, cheese, two bowls of spaghetti, and wine that night, I was whistling a different tune, #help).

**CORRECTION: The cool cats at Fat Cat have informed me that the "frozen yogurt" was in fact soft serve home made ice cream they make. Even better! I sincerely apologize for the error, and I am sincerely overjoyed that such a thing as soft serve ice cream exists!!**
My mom ordered a salted butter caramel sundae, topped with (at the suggestion of the magical cookie surprise lady) nuts, toffee, crumbled waffle cone, whipped cream, chocolate, and a cherry.

You don't even KNOW.

Even though this sundae was completely different from the soft serve, it was equally as divine. The salted butter caramel ice cream is pure velvet lusciousness. The toppings were incredible, and the real stars were the toffee and waffle cone. Sticky, sweet, salty, and smooth, the sundae was a true indulgence and pleasure to partake in.

So seriously, believe the hype. Fat Cat Creamery is just as amazing as everyone says it is. I will absolutely, 100% be going back!

And what makes this place even more likeable is their involvement within the community. Fat Cat was a sponsor of Big Power Yoga's 40 Days of Yoga program this winter (WHICH I FINISHED TODAY! AND IT WAS CRAZY AND AMAZING! ALSO I CAN'T FEEL MY SHOULDERS!). Additionally, Fat Cat Creamery is one of the featured restaurants in the 2015 Houston Press Menu of Menus® Extravaganza, which I will be attending this year!

The Menu of Menus® Extravaganza, presented by Stella Artois, is one of Houston's largest food & wine events featuring over 40 area restaurants alongside wine, beer and spirit sampling.

The event will also feature the 4th Annual Iron Fork Chef Competition presented by Whole Foods Market. The Iron Fork competition will showcase two of Houston's most popular up and coming chefs as they face off in a head-to-head cooking competition that will be judged by local area celebrities. The winning chef will receive the "Iron Fork" award and bragging rights for the next year! During the exciting cooking competition, guests will enjoy cocktails, live music and food sampling from a number of the city's best restaurants. Tickets include food and drinks for the evening.


Here's where the Giveaway comes in:  

One lucky Adventures in a New(ish) City reader will receive two (2) general admission tickets to this year's Menu of Menus® Extravaganza, held at Silver Street Station in Houston on March 31 from 7:00 - 10:00 pm. To enter, all you have to do is "like" my Facebook page (if you don't already), and tell me in the comments section of This Post what your favorite restaurant in Houston is! The contest will run for a week, starting on Friday, February 27, 2015 at 9:00 am CST, and ending on Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 11:59 pm CST. One lucky winner will be picked at random and announced Friday morning, March 6, 2015!  

**Bonus: If you share the post on your Facebook page, you will receive an additional entry! Note: If your profiles are set to private I'm unable to see who did a bonus share, so if you share this post on your Facebook page, please write "Shared" in the comments section so I know!**

So all you Houston food-lovers, this is definitely the contest for you - Best of luck!

NOMaste.

Fat Cat Creamery on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 20, 2015

Ambrosia

I'm a planner.

I also have an irrational (rational?) fear of talking to strangers on the phone. As you can imagine, my high levels of telephone (Does anyone even say "telephone" anymore? Do "telephones" even exist anymore? What century are we in again?) anxiety are not always conducive to making major plans, like booking trips, making restaurant reservations, or discussing my dogs' bad habits with a potential trainer.

The trainer thing happened this week. It was stressful. Let's not talk about it.

My point. The online restaurant reservation website OpenTable* has been a huge anxiety-saver for me on multiple occasions. I've actually foregone going to certain restaurants that weren't on OpenTable for other ones that are, just to save myself the hassle.

I swear I don't need medical attention.
I swear I actually love people on a very basic and fundamental level.
And I swear my dog is well-behaved
(only one of those statements is not true).

So when my boyfriend Jon and I decided to have dinner at Ambrosia on Valentine's Day/President's Day weekend, using OpenTable seemed like a no-brainer! Things came up, and we ended up having to bump our reservations to a none-busy, rainy Monday night, but our server told us the weekends have been getting busier and busier as of late. Noted!

My friend Megan swears by Ambrosia, so Jon and I were eager to check it out. The interior is dramatic, Renaissance-esque, dimly lit, romantic, lounge-y, and cozy. While certain features were a little tired-looking (the red carpet, the stark black bar), the elegant accents of mirrors and eye-catching paintings made up for it. We also fell in love with the enchanting front patio, which we fully intend to utilize when it gets warmer out.

In terms of their food offerings, Ambrosia offers up tapas-style Asian fusion dishes, so we were game to sample a number of them.

We started off with the curry wedges - potatoes smothered with spicy yellow curry, made vegetarian by swapping out chicken for tofu.

At first I was a little put off because the dish was topped with a white grated cheese (my guess is mozzarella) that was not melted. However, served in a little iron skillet, the cheese quickly melted and joined the oozy gooey ranks of the spicy, zippy yellow curry. The wedges did not get soggy at all, and the tofu added a different level of texture to the dish. I definitely enjoyed this app, though I did feel it could use some additional flavoring. While the curry packed a punch, the wedges were quite thick and could have used a little extra seasoning, perhaps something as basic as salt. All in all though, it was a unique and satisfying dish.

Next up we split the brussels sprouts, which are stir-fried and tossed in ponzu, and topped with parmesan cheese.

These sprouts didn't even stand a chance with the likes of us.

Good grief, they were amazing! The sweet, caramel-y ponzu melted into the perfectly cooked sprouts, and the generous topping of shaved parmesan wove everything together beautifully. If you're a brussels sprouts fan, you've got to try these. Hell, even if you're not a brussels sprouts fan (no judgments here, I'm afraid of telephones if that's even what they're called), you should give these a whirl! They're a total game-changer.

In a strange twist of fate, I'm dating someone who doesn't like mushrooms (again. this is a safe space. fear of a telecommunications device.), so I ordered the mushroom flatbread for myself, while he had the steak kabob.

WO/MAN, was this good. The not soggy, yet not too crispy fresh naan is topped with masala mushrooms, onions, basil pesto, and mozzarella. The pronounced basil was the perfect accent to the silky sauteed mushrooms and onions. I had a plethora of cheese to drown myself in, though I didn't feel it was at all overpowering. Stringy, yes. Gooey, yes. But overpowering? Hardly. This wonderful flatbread was sinful and intoxicating.

At the recommendation of Megan and of our server, we ordered the Kahlua Kulfi for dessert. The homemade Indian ice cream is made with Kahlua, saffron, nuts, chocolate, and raspberry sake. What a unique dessert! Jon tasted the chocolate more than anything, but I thought the kahlua and nuts were more present. It was light and decadent and incredibly interesting. If you're looking for a standard chocolate cake, this is not it. If you're looking to try something different, yet delicious, you've found your winner.

Our entire experience at Ambrosia from start to finish was wonderful. Our beyond friendly and accommodating server Anna was incredibly helpful and attentive throughout the evening, the environment was romantic and welcoming, and the food was unique and thoroughly enjoyable. We will definitely be returning!

Sans "telephone."

*This blog post was done in collaboration with OpenTable, but all opinions are completely 100% my own!

Ambrosia on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 13, 2015

Pax Americana

How is everyone's February faring?

For a perpetual February-Hater (guilty as charged!) I'd say mine is going pretty darn well.

(Despite the fact that as you read this this I'm on Day 3 of a 3-day fruit and vegetable juice(ish) cleanse and am writing a blog post on food which makes me feel a whole new level of empty inside).

My February has been going well because it's been pretty warm out for the most part (pause for me to knock very loudly and forcefully on wood), and I've been extremely busy with the 40 Days of Yoga Program at Big Yoga, exciting stuff happening at work, and having visitors coming into town!

Last weekend, my boyfriend Jon's friend Mark came in for a visit from San Antonio with his fiance Kelly. I made reservations at Pax Americana for the four of us, along with Jon's friends Blake and Katie (this is the awesome group I went with on the New Braunfels wine tasting tour back in November). I had been wanting to try the relatively new, much raved about restaurant for a while, so I was really excited to go.

I'm going to shoot straight with you here: It was sort of a letdown.

Yes, we had an awesome time with each other, and there definitely were certain aspects of the restaurant that I really liked, but for the high price of the food and the high expectations I went in with, I was a little disappointed. And I know it's totally crazy and out of character for me to say anything negative on this blog because a) I generally love everything, and b) if I don't love something, I shy away from writing about it. BUT. I feel the need to tell my truth.

So let's get into the nitty gritty here.

The BAR.

We got there an hour before our reservation to sit at the bar and enjoy a few libations with each other. And I really loved the bar. The whole interior of the restaurant is alluring. It's minimalist, yet quirky, sleek, yet simple. The bar itself is large and inviting. And y'all? THEY HAVE COCKTAIL ONIONS. I was able to sip on my martini in pure onion-garnished bliss, and I loved every sip!

Jon got their Vermont Mule because he's obsessed with mules, and this was also really exceptional. Garnished with a fresh sprig of fragrant rosemary, the mule contained honey which became more pronounced the further into the drink you got. It was refreshing and sassy.

Once our table was ready we were escorted to the back room, which houses three large tables. We ordered three appetizers from the "bread" portion of the menu: the beef tartare, the roasted bone marrow, and the creamy goat ricotta.

While I didn't eat the bone marrow or tartare, everyone reached a consensus and ranked the appetizers as such: 1) creamy goat ricotta, 2) beef tartare, and 3) roasted bone marrow. As a whole no one seemed super jazzed about the bone marrow.

What I can tell you from my own experience is that the creamy goat ricotta was fabulous.

Combined with a brussels sprout and herb salad, radishes, pickled green strawberries, and ujukitsu (lemon) marmalade, the ricotta was paired with a sunflower rye made by Common Bond.

The ricotta spread was sweet, silky, and tart. I normally gag at the sight of rye bread, but this bread was fluffy and had a nice kick to it. Paired with the spread, it was quite lovely, with several different exciting layers.

As a vegetarian, I've got to say the veg offerings at Pax are lacking. The only option I could see was basically to get a couple of different little salads as my entree - Which I honestly didn't mind doing since I'd heard so many great things about the food there (and since the ricotta appetizer was so great). So I went with the acorn squash and the roasted beet & arugula salad.

I was so pumped about the acorn squash, combined with chamomile-golden raisin puree, vadouvan spice, toasted pepitas and pecans, and sorghum. And look at how beautiful and vibrant it is! Unfortunately, this salad was very one-note. The acorn squash was overpowering, and essentially took over the whole dish. I would have thought the crunchy pepitas would have been a nice touch, but they were so tough they made eating the salad a bit of a challenge. All in all, it was a beautiful dish to look at, but a boring, unexciting dish to eat. I would definitely not order this again.

Fortunately, the roasted beet and arugula salad was outstanding. Combined with pickled shallot, fermented butternut squash, nasturtium, buttermilk blue, pecan gastrique, and Texas honey, I could not get enough of it. The smooth blue cheese was borderline spicy and was paired beautifully with the plump, juicy, sweet beets. The rest of the subtle ingredients served as the perfect backdrop to the beet/blue symphony starring on the plate. As a stark contrast to the acorn squash, I would definitely order this again.

Mark loved his fried chicken, Kelly loved her brisket, and Blake liked his octopus but wished he'd gotten the fried chicken. Jon and Katie ordered the red snapper. But what Jon got delivered to him was the brisket, and what Katie got was the grouper because, "oh we don't have snapper today."

It's funny how no one ever told Jon and Katie they were out of snapper, yet they were able to order it anyway...

They ended up bringing Jon the grouper, and he was not crazy about it. I tried a bit of the gnocchi that came with it, and it tasted like...nothing. It was fluffy and full and soft and creamy, so when I took a bite into it, my first reaction was "Ooh!" But after the initial bite I realized it had no taste at all. And there's nothing sadder than a tasteless gnocchi.

Look, I waited tables for 3 years, so I know you have your bad days. But at a restaurant that is considered to be one of the best places to eat in a cutthroat food town like Houston, I do expect better. The menu was never explained to us, when we asked specific questions about the wine we were met with a curt, non-informative response, and it seemed like our server was more focused on and concerned about the loud, boisterous, large birthday party at the table next to us. Moreover, the food really was hit or miss. Some dishes were sensational, while others just fell flat.

I can definitely see the potential here. The dishes are so creative, and the atmosphere is vibrant. And you know me, I want to love everything! I just unfortunately couldn't love this place. Based on all of the buzz Pax has been getting, I hope this was a rare experience. I do think I'd go back to see if it can be all it's hyped up to be. Hopefully I can have the experience everyone else seems to be having!

Cocktail onions. Catch on, Houston.

Pax Americana on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Radio Milano

Are we already over a month into 2015?

I feel like I blinked and January was gone, which quite frankly I'm more than okay with, as by now you all know of my deep-seated undying love for all things winter (nope). I've also somehow managed to survive and make it to day 17 of the 40 Days of Yoga program at Big Yoga Houston, which has been making the time fly by. It's been super challenging, but super awesome! Next week involves a 3-day juice cleanse, and I'm not scared at all because by my estimation, wine comes from grapes, and grapes are a fruit, so juice cleanse = wine cleanse. Maybe I'll document the wine cleanse, I mean juice cleanse, for all of you in a later post.

Speaking of "juice cleanses".

My boyfriend Jon and I recently tried out the much buzzed about Radio Milano in City Centre with our friends Lindsey and Caleb. We decided to meet downstairs at their Milano Bar ahead of time. The best word to describe the inside of this bar is "swanky." It's old world meets prohibition meets Ron Burgundy's oasis of leather bound books and rich mahogany. The bartenders all wear fun hats, and don't be surprised if you see a "wild" mustache or two.

I'm going to level with you here. I have absolutely no idea what I ordered. I *think* it may have been the maserati, but my memory is a little hazy from the Radio Milano Juice Cleanse. I told the quirky, awesome bartender mixologist (because that's really what they are) about my love for martinis, and he made me this. I can tell you that the care and precision that goes into the drinks at Milano Bar is a true art form. While I did like the drink I had (and look at that fun glass!), it was still a little too sweet for me. But I like my cocktails super dry, so lesson learned, I need to lead in with that piece of information from now on.

After our pre-dinner juice at the bar, we moved upstairs to the dining room, where I had my martini juice (that I should have just started with in the first place). Oh, and it was good. Super dry, dirty, and strong. I requested it with cocktail onions, but they didn't have them, so I went with olives and was not disappointed.

To start, we all shared the formaggio and carne antipasto. 

Have I ever met a cheese I didn't like? No. Did I like these cheeses? Yes. I loved them. And word on the street from my dining companions was that the meat was also delicious. The variety on the platter was solid, and as with the drinks downstairs, I was in awe of the presentation. Our server came out and squeezed jam from a tube onto the dish for a simple yet stunning touch.

After our first bottle of wine juice, we decided to order our entrees.

(this is a judgement-free zone people).

There aren't a whole lot of vegetarian options on the menu (the carefully selected menu isn't large to begin with), but the ones on there seemed pretty impressive. I was discussing some of the vegetarian dishes with our awesome and hilarious server, and he responded by telling me that what I really should do is order the risotto without the pork belly and with added vegetables and truffle flakes on top. 

You had me at "truffle flakes."

And how great is that? You seriously cannot get more accommodating. A+ for the attentive, considerate service at Radio Milano!

Oh, and YOU GUYS.

Creamy, fragrant, decadent, gooey, rich, and sinful, this dish is a force to be reckoned with. The delicate vegetables interwoven throughout the velvety risotto was a complete symphonic experience. And the pairing of the truffle flakes and pecorino romano on top of the porcini mushrooms was beautiful. Un. real.

Lindsey let me sample a bite of her fagotelli, filled with butternut squash and topped with sage, brown butter, and pumpkin seeds. This was also an exquisite dish. The flavors came together to form the perfect balance of savory and sweet. And it all was somehow magically light. She and I definitely gave this dish another enthusiastic thumbs up.

Radio Milano is a hip, romantic, exciting, new(ish) place around town that offers intricate, thoughtful, incredible dishes, and top-notch service. If you go (and you really really should), you're bound to have a lovely time!

Wine Juice. It's a thing.

Radio Milano on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Breakfast Klub

I've been procrastinating writing this post.

Not because I didn't have a good experience at The Breakfast Klub. On the contrary, I had a fantastic experience at Breakfast Klub!

But because it was my last Houston brunch with my partner in crime Megan before she packed up her life and headed out west to live in San Diego. And I figured that maybe if I held off writing the post, that would make her leaving me not true, right?

Don't answer that.

Before I go any further, I have to mention that I got a shiny, brand new Facebook page! It's been way overdue, but yes, Adventures in a New(ish) city now has a home in the FB world, so if you go and like it I will love you forever and ever and will probably give you a bag of Gardettos.
 
Anyhoo, I asked Megan, "Where do you want to go for our last hurrah? Which one of our 'Best Of' places should we revisit? Oporto? RDG + Bar Annie? Roost? Shade? Brick & Spoon? Reef? Paulie's? Lowbrow? Queen Vic? Sanctuari Bar? Oishii? Should we try to recreate 2013 Lights in the Heights, or Bingo Night perhaps?"

(No I didn't just insert links to all the places we visited together in a feeble attempt to get her to read all of them and remember our love for one another, why do you ask?)

You get the idea- I asked her to pick her favorite Houston spot, and true to form she decided that we should try a place she and I had never been to.

You see now why I love her.

So we decided to give the iconic Houston institution Breakfast Klub a whirl!

We went recently on a particularly cold, rainy (MIMICKING MY GLASS CASE OF EMOTIONS) weekend morning. There was a small line out the door, but they had heaters outside, and the line moved very fast. Also, an incredibly friendly woman came out with menus and cracked jokes with everyone as we waited.

Once inside, we were greeted by more of the friendliest, happiest people I've ever met. We placed our orders at the counter and were then seated by an incredibly nice (are you sensing a pattern here?) staffer.

Megan ordered the katfish and grits, served with two eggs and a biscuit. She absolutely loved it and told me that the catfish katfish was everything you would hope for in a thick, southern, filling dish. However, even though it was filling, she didn't feel gross after eating it. According to Megan it was perfect!

I ordered an egg white swissmush omelette with grits and a side of whole wheat toast.

Oh Y'ALL.

Okay, so - guilty as charged - I was obviously trying to err on the healthy side with this one. But judging by the pool of butter there in the middle of the grits, I'm sure you can deduce how this one went. And you know what? I couldn't have been more pleased!

The omelette was cooked just the right amount - not overdone, but not runny. The pronounced swiss balanced out the velvety, sauteed veggies perfectly. The whole wheat toast was [obviously] fried up Texas toast style, and I savored every fluffy, sinful bite of it.

AND THOSE GRITS. I have to admit I've not actually had a lot of grits in my day, but sweet baby seal these were outstanding. Silky, smooth, and oooooh-zing (see what I did there?) with butter. If you go and have the option of these or the potatoes, I definitely recommend choosing the grits. But then again I didn't try the potatoes, so you should probably throw caution to the wind and order both.

Because this is your life people.

After we finished, the beyond friendly manager came over and talked with us for a few minutes (seriously, there's got to be something in the water), and the conversation was delightful. The only hitch was that the two of us had to cap everything off with some bloodies, and they don't serve alcohol at Breakfast Klub. Never fear though, because Natachee's was just around the corner waiting for us with open arms. The whole experience at The Breakfast Klub was the perfect grand finale to the end of an era and salute to an exciting new chapter in Megan's life.

There is a reason The Breakfast Klub is so popular in Houston. Well 3 reasons: 1) Beyoncé; 2) the INCREDIBLE food; and 3) the amazing, friendly, welcoming staff who make it such a warm and special experience for all of their guests. So take your best friend whom you love so much, and head on over there, pronto!

Tell them Kim and Megan sent you.

The Breakfast Klub on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 23, 2015

Coltivare: Part 2

THIS IS MONUMENTAL.

Well, in the world of my blog, THIS IS MONUMENTAL.

In my almost two years of living back here in Houston, THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I'VE REVISITED A RESTAURANT IN THIS BLOG.
You can't believe it I know.

I wrote about my amazing trip to Coltivare with my friend Christy back in May, and I figured that was that. But when I went recently with my boyfriend Jon and our friends Heather and Dan, we tried a dish that was a total game-changer. Jon and I split their spaghetti with black pepper, Parmesan, and olive oil (rather, I had about 2 bites, turned around, and it was completely gone, THANKS A LOT JON IT'S A GOOD THING YOU'RE CUTE), and I'm telling you it was an earth-shattering experience. I couldn't not write about it.

But before I delve into our most recent visit there, I want to come right out and say I fully acknowledge that anyone who knows me knows I have some standard catchphrases.

"I SO value my female friendships!"

"Instagram is my social media drug of choice!"

"I never met a cheese I didn't like!"

And specifically in the world of this blog~~> "x is the best y I've ever had!"

And here's my new one: "The spaghetti with black pepper, Parmesan, and olive oil is the best dish I've had in Houston."

I sincerely mean this, so please do not take what I've said with a grain of salt. I'll admit I often I get excited and *maybe* a little over-the-top enthusiastic about food on this here blog. But I have never been more serious in my life with regards to food when I talk about this dish.

SO.

Determined to go back to Coltivare and revisit this incredible pasta (and secure more than a few pathetic bites, JON), we took my parents there for dinner. It was a Saturday evening, the restaurant opened at 5:00, we got there at 5:45, and we were told there was an hour wait (which we expected). We had a drink out in the beautiful heated garden, and ended up only waiting 30 minutes.

Coltivare magic.

My folks offered me a bite of this vibrant salad comprised of local citrus, arugula, mizuna backyard radishes, avocado, lemon aioli, and pink peppercorn. This was a very light and refreshing salad that gave hint to summer and warmer days on the horizon. It's hard for me to get truly jacked up about a salad because in general they make me feel sort of dead inside, so while this dish didn't blow my mind (like, oh I don't know, WHAT WAS TO COME), I appreciated the light, delicate, palate-cleansing nuances it offered.

Jon and I started off with with a side of brussels sprouts.

I have now had this dish twice, and in both instances was witness to a complete brussels sprouts-hater 360-conversion (Dan and my Dad). Tossed with shallots, the smoky brussels tasted like they had been extensively marinated in balsamic vinegar (while not at all overbearing) and roasted to complete perfection. This simple side is elevated to such complexity due to its preparation. It is something that diners really need to experience.

Now onto the entrees....

My mom and dad split the pasta of magnificence (which we'll get to shortly) and this pizza, which was topped with local meyer lemons, Texas chevre, green and black olives, and rosemary. I had tried this pizza on my previous visit, and it was outstanding. I learned back in the spring when I had their seasonal potato rosemary pizza that Coltivare had mastered the art of creating pizzas that were equal parts filling, comforting, indulgent, and astoundingly light. This one was no exception. The tangy lemon mixed beautifully with the salty olives and creamy chevre against the soft, doughy crust.

Jon and I decided to split their four cheese pizza, topped with mozzerella, fresh ricotta, Parmesan, and Point Reyes blue. Have I told you guys I've never met a cheese I didn't like?

We absolutely adored this pizza. Even Jon - who has met a cheese he doesn't like and it happens to be blue - gave it an enthusiastic two thumbs up. The plethora of gooey cheeses balanced perfectly with the fresh, fluffy crust, and we didn't feel skimped on - or conversely, overpowered by - anything. I could still taste my beloved blue, though it was pleasantly muted by the soft ricotta. The union of the cheeses was delightful, and once again, the pizza still managed to be relatively light.

Those Coltivarian wizards.

But you guys? It's that time.

I think we need to look at it from another angle.

And another for the sake of posterity.

I'm sitting here at a complete loss for words on how to eloquently start this portion off, but I'm going to try to do my best. 

Coltivare's spaghetti with black pepper, Parmesan, and olive oil (which nbd Garden & Gun rated one of the 10 best dishes of the year in 2014) is a completely other-worldy experience. And it blows my mind because, true to other Coltivare offerings, it's so simple: spaghetti. black pepper. Parmesan. olive oil. That's it! Which is why I'm so utterly baffled at the insane complexity of this dish. The freshly made thick, smooth spaghetti is the perfect vessel for the rest of the ingredients. The velvety olive oil forms the Parmesan and cracked pepper into beautiful melty clumps, which are woven throughout the pasta. The dish is warm, soft, intricate, surprising, fulfilling, and seriously transcendent.

So go there. Get this. And I'll say it again: 

The spaghetti with black pepper, Parmesan, and olive oil is the best dish I've had in Houston.

 And there's one more for good measure.

Coltivare Pizza & Garden on Urbanspoon