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Community Restaurants

105 Cafe

Image Source: http://105cafe.com/

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals to eat out. I do it often and I know all the breakfast places in The Woodlands and just outside. 105 Cafe is in Conroe, but is part of my regular rotation because of the amazing bacon. It is really a very short trip just north of the Woodlands. Did I mention bacon? You can order it three ways and I always go with crispy. It is perfect every time. 105 Cafe has a ton of breakfast options as well as some great lunch salads, sandwiches, and soups. The buttermilk pancakes are huge and wonderful. I love them. The omelets and skillets have some excellent healthy options like the Mediterranean omelet and the organic spinach and feta omelet. One of my favorites is the smoked chicken with avocado and salsa and the Philly Cheesesteak omelet. I also love the Rancher skillet with smoked chicken, broccoli, tomatoes and hollandaise sauce. Heaven on a plate. This is a place that your healthy organic eating friend can eat while you have some biscuits and gravy! At lunch, the Reuben and the fish tacos are excellent choices as are the huge Angus beef burgers. The service is always very friendly and makes me want to go back the next day. It is totally worth the drive to Conroe.

Community Restaurants

Landry’s Seafood

Image Source: http://www.landrysseafood.com/location-the-woodlands.asp

While Landry’s is a chain, our local one in The Woodlands is exceptionally good. I’m always surprised by how great it is.  The service and food have both improved in the last few years and is now on my regular rotation. One of my pet peeves is when fish is over cooked.  At Landry’s, they get it right every time.  It is always moist and perfectly cooked.  There are many many kinds of fish to choose from. On a recent visit, there were nine different kinds of fish to choose from. And there are many different ways to prepare them, from fried, broiled, blackened, pan-seared, or grilled.  Once you decide what kind of fish and how prepared, you can select from many delicious sauces.  My favorite is the crawfish etoufee. It is rich and decadent and pairs well with a moist broiled fish.  I also love the firecracker shrimp with its spicy sweet bite. The Melissa topping has shrimp, scallops, crab, and mushrooms.  Entrees are served with a generous helping of salad that is fresh and plentiful. There are many other items besides fish to order.  They have cold water and gulf oysters. Their gumbo is excellent.  They have shrimp and grits, po-boys, all manner of shellfish, salads, and pastas.  The crawfish bread appetizer is totally addictive and a must order.  Landry’s also has an excellent bar and Happy Hour.  I love the happy hour drink and food specials.  The firecracker shrimp and the fried zucchini are always my favorite.  The fish tacos are a close second.  For any seafood you desire, Landry’s is a great place to get your fix.

Community Restaurants

Huti’s 5 Free-Fire Grill

Image Source: http://www.hutis5.com/

If you want to eat excellent HEALTHY food in a fast casual atmosphere, look no further than Huti’s 5.  While it is ‘order at the counter’ and you have to clear your dishes like at home, this healthy eatery has an urban trendy atmosphere.  Maybe it is the industrial decor or the beers on tap or the craft sodas, but it feels like a cool funky place in an urban area.  The 5 in the name comes from the five steps to ordering.  First you pick your main.  The selection includes beef, chicken, salmon, pork, and even Feijoada (Portuguese stew).  I like that you can see everything as you are ordering. Then you choose your base from white rice, brown rice, or fresh crispy organic greens (salad).  Next you pick a side dish.  My favorite is the fire grilled squash.  Other options include roasted root vegetables, street corn, black beans, super greens, and plantains.  Next you sauce it up from some amazing options.  I love to mix them.  My favorite is peri peri and creamy avocado.  The creamy avocado balances the heat in the peri peri to perfection.  The chimichuri is also a favorite.  Step five is to top it off with something like white queso fresco, oranges, vinaigrette or sour cream drizzle.  The combinations are endless!  I was really pleased at how healthy and fresh the food is.  I have a couple of favorites.  My number one is chicken with salad greens topped with fire grilled squash and zucchini and finished with creamy avocado and peri peri sauce.  I add whatever tempts me at step 5.  Another favorite is the Feijoada with brown rice, street corn, and chimichuri.  This food is so delicious and it is healthy too.  The nutritional information is on the back of the menu so you can feel very proud of the meal you put together.  Because of the combinations, healthy eating has never been more fun and creative.

Community Restaurants

Chi Japanese Cuisine

Image Source: http://www.chijapanese.com/

Heaven to me would be an all you can eat, fresh made sushi special at a beautiful restaurant near my house.  This heaven exists in Oak Ridge, just on the other side of I-45 from The Woodlands.  Chi Japanese Cuisine has all you can eat, fresh made sushi every week night from 3pm to 10pm for about $26 per person. It includes many items from their menu in addition to sushi and sashimi. It is a great deal.  If you don’t think you want to eat that much, there are fantastic happy hour specials that cover the gamut of sushi, edamame, dumplings, salads, and veggies.  There are also lots of happy hour drink specials that are perfectly paired with sushi.  The lychee martini is exotic and tasty at a $5 happy hour price for a good sized cocktail. Happy Hour wine at $5 makes me very happy.   I love the sushi/sashimi here and it is clearly the star. The fresh salmon just melts in your mouth.  The tuna is amazing, and the rolls are unique and interesting.  I love the Lake Charles roll which is deep fried with crawfish, cream cheese, and jalapeño.  The Conroe roll is another favorite with salmon, tuna, and spicy mayo.  They have everything Japanese here.  The tempura is legit and they have udon and rice specialties as well as hibachi and robota grill items.  Going for lunch?  They have some great lunch sushi and sashimi specials as well as Bento boxes.  This is quickly becoming my favorite place for some excellent sushi and tempura veggies after a long day of golf!  Great fresh sushi is always my idea of heaven.

Community Restaurants

Grotto Ristorante

Image Source: http://www.grottorestaurants.com/

I recently visited Grotto with a friend and was pleasantly surprised at this chain’s quality of food and service. This Italian restaurant has impressed me during all of my recent visits. We’ve had excellent service every time, and each time a manager has checked in to make sure all was excellent. I’ve tried many items on the broad menu and they have all been excellent. I’ve developed a kind of addiction to the meatballs. This is not something I would normally order, but did so on a whim. They are so fresh, tender, and tasty. For that reason, one of my favorites has become the Rigatoni Della Sansoni with meatballs and meat sauce. It has the double whammy of meat sauce and meat balls! The linguini pescatore is another favorite with its abundance of seafood in a tomato sauce. Hands down, my favorite appetizer is the calamari. It is always cooked perfectly and served piping hot. The pear carpaccio salad is a great salad with its pears, spinach, and gorgonzola cheese. The roasted cauliflower salad on the Happy Hour menu is fantastic and healthy! They really do a great job with seafood here – cooking it lightly so that it tastes fresh and full of flavor. The baby salmon ‘Becca” is great with the pinot grigio sauce and Grilled shrimp. The servings here are huge so you always have lunch the next day. It’s a good thing to save room for dessert. They wheel over a massive desert cart (wasn’t this a thing in the 1980s?) with mountainous sized cakes and pies. Each piece will feed a large family. What a fun way to split dessert!