I don't often make my way out to City Centre, but when I do...it's good.
Last week I was invited to attend a media preview of Sal y Pimienta's (that's Spanish for salt and pepper!) Houston Restaurant Weeks menu. I had never been, and the food on the HRW menu looked stellar - with veg-friendly options - so I was game! My friend Kelly came along to join in on all the food and fun. Other blogger/writer friends in attendance were Erika, Dalida, and Ellie.
Before we were brought to one of the restaurant's private rooms for the tasting, we were given a presentation on their fresh, locally-sourced meats by Concept Developer Gianfranco Percovich.
Why, yes I'll show you a picture of some plump, juicy, raw meat!
(I thought you'd never ask.)
After this vegetarian regained consciousness, they seated us all together, round-table style.
Sal y Pimienta's Houston Restaurant Weeks dinner menu costs $35 per person and includes three courses of food. $5 of every HRW meal purchased goes towards the Houston Food Bank.
First, we were presented with some wine and food items not found on the HRW menu to kick everything off, starting with some house-made chips.
If you know me at all, you know I have zero self-control when it comes to any and all chips. And THESE chips were no exception. Thick, warm, and slightly-yet-perfectly oiled, they were made even more wonderful when paired with a side of a tart chimichurri type sauce.
Then, we were presented with some flatbreads.
The first of the restaurants' flatbreads was topped with mozzerella and caramelized onion. It was gooey, uncomplicated, and indulgent. The second was a flatbread with fresh basil, tomato, mozzerella, and avocado. I thought the first flatbread would be my favorite, but I ended up loving this one more! The citrus-y, bright tartness of the tomato was wonderfully complemented by the ripe avocado and gooey cheese. It was lovely!
For our first round of food from the Houston Restaurant Weeks menu, I ordered the empanadas Argentinas, choosing the cream of corn and provolone filling.
The outer casing of the empanadas was thick, which combated the all-too-oft-reported issue of a soggy empanada (ammiright?). However, the thick outer casing did not overpower the deliciousness living within. The super creamy and rich creamed corn and provolone was insanely decadent and very enjoyable. These little starters were hearty and satisfying!
For my second course of food, I ordered the canelones of spinach.
Homemade cannelloni pasta was stuffed with spinach, salsa blanca, and ricotta cheese, and was topped with pomodoro sauce. And this. was. AWESOME. The bubbling cheese was so melty and lovely and EVERYWHERE, and the fresh pasta managed to cut through all of it with a wonderful soft texture. It was incredibly herby and fragrant, and I ate every bite! This was definitely my favorite bite of food from the evening.
Kelly ordered the restaurant's tenderloin a la parrilla, and some other folks ordered the red snapper, which both looked delicious as well!
For our third course of food (aka, dessert), I ordered the flan, and Kelly opted for the petite dulce de leche cheesecake.
My homemade vanilla flan was topped with dulce de leche, and the texture of this dessert lived somewhere between cake and pudding, which was an unusual, unique experience (for me at least). The flavors were nice - not too sweet, and a bit nutty - but I will say, Kelly's dessert knocked my socks off! The homemade smooth and rich dulce de leche cheesecake was served with dulce de leche sauce, and it was WONDERFUL. It had a prominent cream cheese-esque flavor that I loved, and the sweet caramel topping counteracted with it beautifully. Almost everyone at the table seemed to concur that this was their favorite dessert of the evening!
If you're like me, and you don't get out to Houston's City Centre area much, Sal y Pimienta is a great reason to go. And their Houston Restaurant Weeks dinner menu is certainly one that should be on your radar. With vegetarian and gluten free options abounding, there are many choices for different diets. And for $35 you're getting a hell of a deal in Houston - great atmosphere, delicious food, and a wonderful experience!
Dream lover come rescue me.