This post was done in partnership with Houston's The Tuck Room, who provided me with my food and drinks, free of charge. I was not monetarily compensated for writing this post. All opinions are completely, 100% my own!
My new favorite thing in the world is "Do Nothing Sundays."
Sundays used to be sad. Sundays used to be Monday Eve (well, I suppose they still are). Sundays used to be the pits. But recently I've magically found myself with several Sundays in a row where I have had absolutely NOTHING scheduled, and they're my new favorite thing. Jon and I will sleep in(ish), watch movies, he'll watch football or play video games while I read or catch up on some shameless guilty pleasure tv, we'll cook food, we'll sleep, we'll drink wine, all while staying in our pjs and readying ourselves for the week ahead, one entire box of Cheez-Its at a time.<~~~Just kidding, I don't do that last part. (yes I do).
On the flip side, I've simultaneously stumbled upon "Do Fun Things Mondays." The antithesis of a Do Nothing Sunday, a Do Fun Things Monday is also magical. If you have fun things to do on Monday evening, you have all day to look forward to it, instead of focusing on the fact that it's Monday.
Case in point: Last week I was invited through the Houston Food Blogger Collective to attend a media preview of The Tuck Room, the new restaurant located inside of the new iPic Theater in Houston's new River Oaks District. This dazzling evening happened on - you guessed it - Monday!
This was my first time in Houston's fancy, pristine, and beautiful River Oaks District. The iPic Theater matches this motif, and the company prides itself in offering "plush cinemas" that "indulge moviegoers in a new standard of affordable luxury." In Kimspeak: If you become a member (for free), you can have a great night out in Houston by purchasing a Premium Plus movie ticket for $18-$24 (depending on the day/time). This includes a reclining chair in a private two person section, a blanket, and popcorn.
(is it weird that the blanket is the part that excites me most??)
AND you have the opportunity (movie or not) to dine in their wonderful restaurant, The Tuck Room.
When I first arrived, I was directed to the bar area (The "Upper Tuck"), where I tried no less than 10 drinks (don't worry, I sipped sparingly because although it was a Do Fun Things Monday, it was still of course... a Monday). There was a liquid nitrogen bottle service area, which can be enjoyed before or during a movie. This carte blanc service starts at $100 for a bottle of booze (which includes garnishments and fresh juice mixers).
I opted for a moscow mule tuck ginger fizz, which was made with homemade ginger beer and house-infused melon sweet tea vodka. It was super light and refreshing!
They also offer pre-made, fresh, bottled cocktails, which Adam Seger - iPic's Advanced Sommelier and Master Mixologiest - stated offers "instant gratification with craft cocktails." It's a less scary option for those who might be intimidated by the mixology scene. I tried the southern decadence, a sweet cocktail containing Magnolia tea.
Even though I am a self-proclaimed margarita hater (I know, I live in Houston, how can this be.), my favorite cocktail was a shot of mango margarita with mezcal. Lined with cayenne pepper, the drink was sweet, sturdy, spicy, and offered a beautiful, multilayered tasting experience.
Appetizers were also passed around during the reception.
Of the food offerings, the only vegetarian option was the croquette - a fried ball of sweet corn, smoked gouda, and honey mustard. This was a delightful bite of sweet/savory/crunchy/cheesy goodness!
Before taking a tour of the iPic theaters, we gathered around to hear from Adam and Chef Sherry Yard, Vice President of Culinary Direction at iPic. Touting an impressive background as a James Beard Award winner and Food Network regular (among several other noteworthy accomplishments), Chef Sherry gave us the rundown of the food lineup. Dining at Houston's The Tuck Room is not meant to be a fork and knife experience, but more a social, mix and match event between friends. The gourmet food aims to be exceptional enough in a standalone manner, that people will want to eat dinner at the restaurant whether they're seeing a movie or not.
After viewing one of the theaters, we were directed to the cozy, arty, dimly lit, main dining area of the restaurant. I was lucky to sit with an awesome group of foodies - Sarah, Morgan, and Oscar and John Anthony.
The first course of food, paired with a crisp François Montand brut rosé, consisted of spicy tuna hand rolls, lettuce cups with cod, chicken caesar bites, and panzanella.
The panzanella was the only non-veg food option in this course, and I absolutely adored it. A layer of grilled fresh bread was topped with spinach, tomatoes, red onion, olives, feta, celery, and capers. Tossed with a light vinaigrette and served with a smear of pesto, the salad was pleasantly salty, lemony, and crispy. It tasted like an elevated, fancy Greek salad, and it was probably my favorite food offering of the evening!
The second course of food consisted of fish tacos, lobster rolls, pulled pork sandwiches, filet sliders, and French onion soup rings, paired with a Llano Estacado Mont Sec Texas High Plains sauvignon blanc.
Everyone lost their minds over the sliders, that's worth noting. Of these plates, I was able to try the French onion soup rings. The side of French onion soup dip had a beef broth base, so just the rings for me! The rings themselves were so good on their own that I didn't feel like I was missing out. They had a beautiful light coating, which encapsulated the onions themselves, as well as melted Swiss cheese. The end result of this food marriage was a delicate, smooth, thick onion ring, and I thoroughly enjoyed every bite!
The third course (are you full? I'm full) of food was paired with a Messina Hof grenach-syrah-mourvedre, and consisted of shrimp, beef tenderloin, and chicken kabobs, as well as "fat fries".
Made with white sweet potatoes and paired with a side of malt vinegar aioli, the fat fries were lovely. Thick and golden, the soft, sweet fries were downright mouthwatering when dipped in the foamy, buttery aoili.
Paired with a Messina Hof Texas port (are you drunk? I'm drunk), the restaurant's dessert course contained chocolate truffle-covered grapes, jelly filled doughnuts, and chocolate coconut doughnuts.
The chocolate truffle-covered grapes were a unique and surprising little dessert. The bitter chocolate balanced nicely with the grape, which provided an exploding shot of sweetness as you bit in. The jelly doughnuts weren't too sweet, and also enjoyable. The shining star of this trio, however, was the chocolate coconut doughnut. Nutty and textured, the golden fried outer coating served as the perfect vessel for the gooey, rich chocolate swimming within. A topping of sweet cherries sent it over the edge!
I had an outstanding time at The Tuck Room in Houston. While I am excited to return and attend a movie at iPic, this will certainly not be a precursor to me going to enjoy some incredibly crafted food and drinks at the restaurant. The Tuck Room is an excellent addition to Houston's vibrant culinary restaurant scene. The care and detail that went into everything was evident, and I can't wait to return to this swanky Houston spot!
See you there next Monday.