Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Darband: A Taste of Iran

The recommendation for this restaurant came from Mo (short for Mohammed), our car salesman. He is 100% Iranian and loves this restaurant so much. So we decided to give it a try.

Darband Shish Kabob is located on 5670 Hillcroft St. The area is filled with Middle eastern and South Asian restaurants. The restaurant itself was not eye striking, nor was it easy to find, because well.. it just didn't stand out. Darband is relatively small in size, but take note that it is the oldest and most well-known Iranian restaurant in Houston.

The menu consists of mostly (of course) kabobs. You can order beef, chicken, or lamb. I ordered Chello Kabob which was ground beef kabob and basmati rice. It was delicious. My husband had lamb shank and it was absolutely tender. The meat just fell right off the bone. Personally though, I still prefer my Chello Kabob. Not a big fan of the dill rice that was paired with the lamb shank. A friend of ours ordered a good old Shish Kabob that was served with a huge flat bread. Of course, the bread was best enjoyed with hummus (well, that was personally a personal preference, because they had various dippings). The hummus was OK. Rita's Cafe still has better tasting hummus.

Linger a bit longer then you are bound to be served Darband's Persian hot tea in a pot. Or just ask for your complimentary tea! Free tea and good foods all for price that will not drain your wallet sound like a good deal right?


Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Dog Park Weekend!

Last weekend was fun, both for us humans and the dogs. Our dogs! Finally they got to go to a dog park! Yayyy!

We decided that our dogs are finally ready to be with other dogs, in an open space, without leashes. To tell you the truth I was a bit freaking out, since I don't really know how my dogs would react to the situation. Miraculously, they did pretty good! They were playing with other dogs, sniffing, running, doing things that dogs normally do. And the look on their faces was just priceless! Looking at them having so much fun was even one of the best feelings for me.

We went to Millie Bush Dog Park on 16756 Westheimer Parkway. They had parks for big dogs and small dogs. Any dog over 20 lbs should go to the big dogs park. Our Sausage is a bit over 20 lbs (well, she's actually 33 lbs), but she still went to the small dogs park. We really didn't feel comfortable putting her with the big dogs. Besides, she's short and didn't look that big anyway. I think I just made the typical parent's excuse to protect her child.


Andini, Sausage, Trippy, and Olive

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hus to the Band

I rarely say or show people how I feel about my husband. Now, at the risk of being judged at as tacky, I need to say one thing about my husband; He's the best and I couldn't ask for more (well, that is actually two things).

It's been 4 months since we tied the knot and it has been FUN. I realize now that he really is my bestfriend. And I also realize that he's a guy with 1000 and 1 irritating habits that have grown on me. He's the coolest and funniest, but also the toughest. Tough love is what I get every single day and I'm glad he does that. By far, he's my most favorite guy. Well, there goes my coolness (if there was any in the first place). As cliche as it may sounds; I love that man. Wholeheartedly.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Toyota Celica for Sale - It's Sold, By The Way

The only thing that separates men and boys is the price of their toys. A Toyota Celica GT that was made in year 2000 was my husband's most loved toy. The emphasize is on "was". Yes, he had to sell the car due to growing family. Growing as in: a wife that feels the car is too sporty and dogs that need a bigger car for the crates. 

Luckily, my husband is the kind of guy that could easily let his "toys" go. So we put an ad on Craig List and one by one emails came pouring in. A lot of people were interested, especially students and first car owners. A few serious potential buyers came and met us to see the car first hand. Some of them even took the car to the mechanic. Well, one time it was us who went to their mechanic, driving 38 minutes down south. In Jakarta, 38 minutes is like a going to the bathroom and back before the show was on again. Here, well.. that means a 32 miles car ride. That is far.

The guy that we were meeting wanted to buy the car for his son who was turning 16 and was then legal to drive a car. We met him, his wife and the son at his mechanic's place in a place called Rosenberg, TX. The day before he went to our place and looked at the car. All the time he was looking at the car, he was also on the phone with his wife. She was put on speakerphone so we could hear everything she said. "How about the windshield? The muffler? The dent of the right side? The title? The AC? The heater?" she kept asking stuff that made us felt lucky that we were not married to that woman. The guy then got really tired listening to his wife's endless questions, he hung up. That was funny.

To cut the story short, we had to go to Rosenberg on a Sunday. A Sunday morning that is, since both parties had things to do after lunch. At first my husband and I were having a great time in the car until we realized that we had gone pretty far from Houston. We took an exit from the highway and the road was getting totally unfamiliar. It was the Texas you see in movies about people living far way from big cities and wanted to just get out from that place and start from scratch in a big city. You know how those stories go.

We saw houses with big yards and farms and cows. Yes, cows! I've seen my fair share of steaks and meats in Houston so far, but to see the real cows, well that was the first I experienced here. When we finally reached the destination, we saw even more grasses and fields. It was actually a nice change. Unfortunately, the mechanic found something that made the family wanted to look for another car. The long drive was almost a waste until I found something pretty comforting next to the garage. There were 2  Volkswagen Karmann Ghias just lying there on the grass. They were in pretty bad condition, but still, I love the shape of the car and it was the least I could see to make me feel even remotely consoled.

Anyway, the Celica was sold last week to a young couple that needed a car with low gas mileage. We miss the car already. It's funny how I can miss the car when I was the one that insisted that it needed to go in the first place. It was a cool car, despite the backache it gave me.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Battle of The Burgers

Texas is home to the greatest steaks and burgers. It is truly a carnivore paradise. Personally in Houston, there are two burger joints that are absolutely must-go-to. The first one is Sam's Deli, and the second is Becks Prime. It does not necessarily go in that order. 

The Sam's Deli that I went to was located on 11637 Katy Freeway. It has a diner feel to it and mostly cater to younger crowd because it is relatively cheap. I mean seriously, it's cheap. Do not compare it to those ordinary fast food restaurants though, because even with its cheap price, Sam's Deli does not negotiate with quality. The foods are delicious and greasy and sinful. You will get two big juicy burgers, one chili dog, one chili cheese fries, and a glass of milk shake from any Blue Bell ice cream for around $20. 

Becks Prime is a chain restaurant and fortunately, one is located near our home on Dairy Ashford and I-10. The burger joint spreads a delicious aroma to its surroundings from the meat and poultry they're grilling. I love this place because hands down, they serve really really good burgers. Oh, and fries too!

My husband loves Becks Prime's California Burger. It has beef patty, Swiss cheese, guacamole, tomatoes, and lettuce in it. I on the other hand is willing to try anything on the menu, from Chili Chese Burger to Blue Cheeseburger that uses (obviously) Blue Cheese in it. I really can't decide which one is my favorite yet. Maybe after I go through all the menu I will let you know. 

Becks Prime's fries are made from fresh cut potatoes that are fried with some of the skin on. They are crunchy and salty and addictive.  It is amazing how I can chow down a Becks burger and still have space for its fries. That goes to show that everything from this place is worth to finish at the same time, while it's still hot and juicy. They melt in your mouth. Literally.

So who won in this battle? Price wise, Sam's Deli is the winner, because one Becks Prime burger can cause your pocket around $9. Taste wise, if you want a real burger that melts in your mouth and leave that magnificent after taste that is convincing enough to make you believe that you are one of the world's most awesome carnivores, than Becks Prime is the one for you. 



Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In The Driver's Seat

So, I got my driver's license last Friday. It was definitely a "Hallelujer moment". My husband gave me one hell of a hard time about driving properly here. I must admit that I did suck at first and now, eventhough I already get the DL, I still have so much adapting to do.

I drove quite a lot in Jakarta. I was never the kick-ass kind of driver, nor that I like to speed and do crazy maneuvers. I always considered myself a decent kind of driver. I followed rules and I think I pretty much respected other road users. I never used my cell while driving, I always kept my eyes moving to see the situation around me. Or at least that was what I thought I did, because my husband kept telling me to move my eyes while driving here. He had lots and lots of to say about the way I drive. Strangling him is not an option, so I listen to what he has to say. He is my biggest critic, but I know for sure that he means well and he wants me to be safe. Every single time.

True, people follow road signs here. Well, most of the time they do. And when they don't, they surely scare the crap out of me. One time, a big white truck almost hit our car while we were in a mall parking lot. The truck apparently did not care about the stop sign so he stepped on the gas and at the same time my husband that had already stopped and thought that there was no car from the other sides also went for the gas. The truck was at our right side and from the corner of my eyes I saw it. Big, white and really really fast. "Watch out!" I screamed. My husband hit the break at the right time. If he didn't it would've gone straight to me. Our hearts went to our knees. It was close, really close.

Driving is one thing. The next is my ability to remember the roads in Houston. My husband and I got into a really big fight over this. Over me being stubborn and not even trying to remember which way is which. Where is West, East, North or South, and what street came after the other. Apparently that is a huge thing for my husband. And after a one hour fight, I realized that it was indeed important. He's always right. I hate it.

It was never really that important in Indonesia to know which way is which. In Jakarta as long as we know where we're going than that is it. Turn left, turn right. When you see the X building then make a U-turn. If you can't find the place you want to go to, make a stop and ask people. Or better yet, pay an ojek to show you the way while you follow behind. Here they rely on intersections to name where a place is located. Main streets intersect between the North-South and West-East. It turned out to be really easy to understand once I got the hang of it.

I took two tests to get my DL. The first one was the writing test. It was a multiple choice test and you had to score 70 and above to pass. I got 72. They asked about the fines and ask questions that consisted mile as the parameter. I still cannot convert miles to kilometers without www.convertunits.com. So I did some really bold Russian Roulette on the test.

We had to spend 3 hours at the Driver's License Office on that first day. Everybody waited patiently because they had no other choice. At one point things got really really boring at the office, people were starting to fall asleep. Out of nowhere, one of the officers loudly sang Row, Row, Row Your Boat. People stared strangely at her and she immediately said, "What? Don't you people know that song? Come on, sing with me. Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream..." And everybody started to sing along with her. It was hilarious.

Anyway, the point is I'm so relieved that I got my DL on the first try. Now I need to prove to my husband that I really can drive properly. He will always make comments, but at least I'm trying.