Tag Archives: houston’s

An Ode to the Martini

I definitely was not always a martini drinker.  In college my drink of choice was something mixed and definitely left me with a headache the next day.  As I got older (and wiser) my tastes shifted to more simplistic drinks such as a nice glass of wine, vodka mixed with club soda and a craft beer.  Then somewhere down the line my love affair with the martini began.

My ultimate favorite martini is a dirty martini with blue cheese olives, but I also love other kinds of martinis as long as they have minimal ingredients, aren’t overly sweet and made with good vodka.  Yep, I’m a vodka martini kind of girl.

So without further adieu, I give you some of my personal favorite martinis.

Lola’s Lemon Drop Martini:

I’d like to think Lola’s in Los Angeles first sparked my love for the martini as they haves such a wide variety to choose from!  The lemon drop has subtle sweetness and a bit of a sour punch too.  If you want a little bit of sweet but not too overpowering, this martini is for you.

Houston’s Dirty Martini:

The dirty martini at Houston’s would be 100% perfection if it was made with blue cheese stuffed olives.  But regardless, this martini is pretty good if you ask me.  Very tempting to order more than 1 of these at a time.

Paul Martin’s “Effen Vodka” Martini:

I always get the effen vodka martini at Paul Martin’s American Grill and it is always as good as I remember.  Shaken vodka over ice with three olives.  Simple and smooth.  If you do not like the taste of vodka, I do not recommend this martini.

Cucina Enoteca’s Ginger Pear Martini:

Cucina Enoteca has special infusion drinks that you can have in any form – on the rocks, mixed, martini, etc.  I tried their ginger pear infusion as a martini and it was delicious.  I loved the pear slices in the martini along with the tiny bits of clove.  It’s definitely a more unique take on the traditional martini.

The ROCK’N Tini at Rock’N Fish:

This unique martini at Rock’N Fish Laguna Beach is infused with agave syrup and guava nectar.  I really enjoy this martini because it isn’t overly sweet, has a nice fruity taste and is a lovely shade of pink (because clearly that is what matters most).

And those are my current favorite martinis of the moment, but I’m still on the quest for the perfect dirty martini.  Any suggestions?

Current Foodie Favorites: July Edition

Welcome to another edition of current foodie favorites!  To see last month’s foodie favorites check it out here.

This month it’s all about delicious summery foods and new discoveries.  And iced tea.  Lots and lots of iced tea.

So here we go….

1. Homemade Hummus

Why I haven’t jumped on the homemade hummus train sooner I’ll never know.  And it’s so easy peasy to make.

Step 1: Buy garbanzos from bulk bins at Whole Foods (or Henry’s, or Sprouts, etc.).

Step 2: Soak Garbanzos overnight and then boil the next day.

Step 3: Blend garbanzos, tahnini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper (and any other mix ins) in your food processor.

Looks kind of weird, tastes amazing. Promise.

Step 4:  Devour and repeat.

2. Iced Tea and Starbucks Tumblers

Ever since I got myself one of these bad boys:

Starbucks Cold Cup for the Win. Bottle of wine not included.

I’ve been on the iced tea train.  Naturally I’m a big fan of Starbucks’ black iced tea or their iced tea/lemonade combo but I also just like making my own tea at home with the Newman’s Own Royal Tea Blend with a slice of lemon.  So good.

3. Pasta Salads

Since it’s hot out, it’s fun to experiment with different types of cold salads.  This latest pasta creation was a hit but still needs some tweaking.  Recipe to come soon.

who doesn't love a good pasta salad?

4. Sugar Blossom Bake Shop

Move over Sprinkles, there’s a new kid in town. I’m already plotting my next visit for these delicious cupcakes.

Carrot Cake Cupcake, you are so delicious

5. Pain du Monde

Lovely little Euro-style bakery in Fashion Island.  Everything is made fresh and in-house (as evidenced by watching bakers knead bread while I placed my order).  The scones are pretty rockin’ too.

Bakery Bliss. Credit: OCweekly.com

6. The hot fudge Sundaes at Houston’s

Cause hey, we all need a little (or a lot) of ice cream in our lives during the summer.

Ice Cream overload in a bowl.

And who am I kidding?  I’m pretty obsessed with these at Houston’s as well.

Vodka Martini with Blue Cheese Olives. Oh Yeah.

Stay tuned for August’s foodie favorites next month!

Houston’s: Where “happy” hour lasts longer than actual dinner hour

Houston’s is part of the Hillstone Group (Bandera, R+D Kitchen) and has been a staple around Southern California and surrounding states for years.  When it came time to celebrate the Englishman’s birthday, it only seemed appropriate to take him to a SoCal staple that has hosted many business lunches and happy hours alike.

We called to make reservations at the Irvine location on a Saturday evening for a party of 5 but they were booked up.  No worries, we thought.  We’d just get to the restaurant a little early then our intended time to eat and have a “happy hour” of sorts while we waited for a table.

At 6:30 on the dot we arrived at Houston’s where they promptly told us it would be an hour wait.  No problem – to the bar it was!  We ordered some drinks for the table and sat down and relaxed and chatted.  I had a vodka martini with blue cheese olives that was quite delicious but oh was it strong.

An hour soon passed and we were getting quite hungry.  We debated ordering more drinks/appetizers but the waitress reassured us that we were going to be seated next.  7:5.  8:00.  8:15.  Nearly 2 hours after we arrived at the restaurant we were finally seated and promptly brought a spinach artichoke dip as the restaurant’s apology for the excessive wait.  By that point everyone was so hungry that we all ordered some sort of burger or another and devoured them as they arrived at the table.  The burger was good, but between being so hungry/slightly drunk I think I need to go back for a second, unbiased opinion.  Houston’s sure knows what they are doing when they serve you drinks!

Since it was a birthday celebration and all, the Englishman was delivered a monster ice cream sundae.  This picture does not do it justice.

This was also the only picture of the night due to my martini buzz and hunger pains.  Blogger fail.

By the time we had finished dinner and left it was 9:00pm, which means our meal took half the time to eat than it did to wait for it!  While I do like Houston’s, next time I think I’ll just stick to happy hour rather than dinner hour – at least then I know I ‘ll have a delicious martini waiting for me with my name all over it.


2991 Michelson Dr
Irvine, CA 92612