best sushi in Houston

Over the last few months, we’ve tried and tried to find our perfect sushi joint. There are literally hundreds of sushi places in Houston, which makes the chances of good sushi being out there higher, but finding the best places harder. Here are a few of the best that we’ve found; I can vouch for the quality of the vegetarian sushi and hubby for the meat-eating.

For date nights: Kata Robata is our favorite (so far) of the higher end-sushi restaurants, perfect for a date night or special lunch. It has a good atmosphere, delicious and beautifully presented food. It’s pretty limited in the vegetarian selection, but the choices are all great enough to eat over and over. Dessert is a must! 

Vegetable medley (tofu skin, avocado, mushroom, and pepper sushi) and deconstructed strawberry shortcake.

Seaweed salad, hubby’s Caribbean roll (fried lobster and mango!), and fried green tomatoes and green beans.

For everyday lunch: Nabi is a great little neighborhood sushi joint, but still a bit trendy. Hubby and I go for lunch quite often, they have $1 sushi, $2 rolls, and $3 appetizers like salads and miso soup. Also a great rice bowl or balanced plate with salad, roll, rice, veggies, and your choice of protein. Their crunchy tofu is outstanding.

Crunchy tofu bowl with sautéed vegetables and rice.

Small rolls and sushi (my favorites are cucumber, and avocado).

Down and dirty: I have a love/hate relationship with Aka Sushi House. I love their vegetarian’s paradise bento box; I hate that it looks like they never clean. It’s more than a bit on the dirty side. (Whenever I go to the restroom there, I decide never to go back.) It’s relatively cheap, good food, decent portions, and not at all trendy or pretentious. If you’re not squeamish, then go for it.

Vegetarian’s paradise (fried tofu, vegetable tempura, seaweed salad, sautéed vegetables, picked vegetables, and half an orange).

At home: We always cook frozen edamame in the pods, and even the little packets of miso soup for a quick snack, but here’s another little thing we picked up because it sounded intriguing at the grocers: Edamame bites! I expected them to be gross, but I was wrong. They are a great quick snack, a bit high-calorie, but also decent protein and fiber.


Jalapeno cocktails

One of my husband’s favorite drinks is the Regalo Verde at the bar in the Bowery Hotel in New York City. We stay there every time we are in New York so that we can have one (or more) each night. So, even though we couldn’t remember what was in it, except for jalapenos, we decided to try to recreate it at home with jalapenos fresh picked from our tiny herb garden.

After a bit of experimenting, we came up with two recipes that are pretty good, even though of course they still aren’t the Regalo Verde. Each recipe makes two drinks.

 Jalapeno Basil Margarita

Juice from 2 small limes
4 oz. tequila
2.5 oz. Cointreau
2 oz. simple syrup
4 large basil leaves
½-1 jalapeno pepper
margarita salt

Simple syrup: Add 1 cup sugar to 2 cups boiling water. Turn heat very low, stir until sugar is completely dissolved, and let cool.

Muddle 2 basil leaves and jalapeno together in shaker. Add tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, and Cointreau. Add ice and shake. Strain into two glasses rimmed with margarita salt. Garnish with basil leaves.

(You can adjust the amount of basil and jalapeno to get it exactly to your taste.)

Jalapeno Ginger Cocktail

Juice of 2 small limes
½-1 jalapeno
3 oz. tequila
2 oz. Cointreau
6 oz. ginger ale

Muddle jalapeno in shaker. Add tequila and Cointreau. Add ice and shake. Strain into two glasses. Add 3 oz. of ginger ale to each glass and stir.

A few more things learned along the way:

Jalapeno seeds are the hottest part, so take them out! Clean and slice the jalapenos like you would a bell pepper, removing the ribs and seeds. Or, if you want it really, really hot, add some seeds. Seriously, even one seed in the cocktail made it taste spicier.

Jalapenos that have turned red are much milder and sweeter than ones that are still green.


patio time

I finally made an herb garden! It’s one of the things that’s been on my to-do list for a really long time.

It started out with new patio furniture. We shopped around a bit, and settled on two Adirondack chairs from Loll. The company is pretty awesome, and the chairs are made from completely recycled plastic, mostly from old milk cartons. 

They are comfortable, durable, and cleanable, but my favorite part is a secret bottle opener built into each chairs’ arm. How’s that for awesome?

We went with white chairs, because I fell in love with a magenta twist cube designed by Frank Gehry.  I’m a sucker for hot pink furniture, apparently.

Once we got the new furniture, our little balcony looked empty, so I convinced hubby that we needed the herb garden right away. We went to several different garden stores, and saw some beautiful stuff:

But no herbs, until we went to Buchannan’s garden center. They had more different types of herbs than I’ve ever seen in my life, all organic and native to Texas. It took us a while to choose planters and plants, but we ended up after the first trip with mild and hot jalapeno plants, basil, thyme, and chives.

This tiny garden makes me so happy! Plus, we’ve actually used the jalapenos every day since getting the plants and once the basil grows a bit we’ll use it on tomatoes. The chives, however, are going to die. Little Bit cannot leave them alone. I turned my back and he had devoured the whole plant.

We went back a few days later and bought him his own planter filled with chives, catnip, and parsley. Again, he ate the two chive plants down to the root. 

He ignored the catnip and parsley completely, but if I break off a catnip leaf and give it to him he plays with it and even licks it a bit before becoming bored. (I’m pretty sure he’s in the 20% of cats that catnip doesn’t affect.)

And later, I’ll show you how we’ve been using the jalapenos!