Boiled Peanuts, Mushroom Noodle Soup, Steamed Mixed Dumplings

My last night in Houston (I decided to stay two more days) was enjoyed mostly with my mom and with packing. I did manage to sneak away to Chinatown with my best friend for dinner at Xiong’s Cafe, though. The noodle soup I had last night was incredible—the mushrooms were meaty and juicy, but the side dishes weren’t that good.

Houston’s Chinatown is where I spent a great deal of my college days. I’d go there for meals with friends or solo studying when Rice Village began to feel a bit stifling. I’ll miss it and all of the greater Houston area during the coming months, especially my family. The last two weeks in Texas were just what I needed.

Today it’s off to Vegas.

Saltgrass Steak House in Pearland

My last dinner in Pearland was at Saltgrass Steak House tonight. I’m not sure if I ordered the wrong food or if all of it was this way but my goodness did everything taste oversalted.

For the price of the meal I wasn’t super impressed; there are a dozen other places I can think of in the city with better meat. The atmosphere of the restaurant, though, was lovely and the waitstaff was incredibly nice; and the hostesses were also accommodating and friendly. The people behind the place were so great but the actual food was not pleasant.

Either way, I went with my best friend so bad food or not I was still thankful for the night. Tomorrow it’s off to Dallas.

Fajita Taco Plate

One of the locations of required eating during my university days was Taco Cabana (or TC), where I’d eat at least once a week—every day during exam weeks. I’m sure there are other places throughout Houston that would fully qualify as better Tex-Mex restaurants but I don’t care. TC is ritual and it’s seen me through many a rough night in Texas.

This trip to the United States has been one filled with protein and more protein. Other than the apple or orange I have for breakfast I’ve eaten little else besides chicken, beef, or beans. Thank goodness for multivitamins.

Cream of Celery Soup, Peanut Grilled Chicken

Today I met with Nath, one of my friends from Rice University who I had last seen more than six or seven years ago. We ate lunch at Empire Cafe and talked about a lot: the death of friends, moving to new places, and work. It’s funny how we both have changed a lot in superficial ways—we have good careers, feel older and grayer, and talk about the past like old people do—but not so much in ways that matter. Nath still has the good personality I remember him having in university and is still super-smart and emotionally intelligent.

It’s nice that even after all these years he and I were able to sit down and have a chat exactly like we always had at Rice. As much as I talk about how horrible a school Rice was for me I can’t ignore that many of my wonderful relationships came from Rice. I’m so thankful for that.