Oysters ring in new year
Oysters can mean living dangerously. You’ve read the health warnings on menus. But to me they represent clean, fresh sweeps, accompanied by some New Year’s Eve bubbly. Oysters on the half shell sparkle, with the ice and the lemon. Ever had any oyster shot? They put me in the mind of New Orleans, or an image I saw in a book. I’ll probably never half them at a dockside brunch, but I can imagine.
I’ve often shared this quickie appetizer that fits the season:
Grab a can or two of smoked oysters, which are easy to stock in your pantry
Mash the oysters and mix in with a block of cream cheese.
Spread on French bread toasts or crackers.
The contents of the smoked oysters and their rich oil are an instant topping for linguine or other pastas. You could add spinach and must add crushed red pepper.
Dining out in Houston
One of the best parts of having a hostess prepare food with love for you at her home is that you often get to treat the hostess to a restaurant for a thank you.
Liberty Kitchen & Oyster Bar: There’s a giant sign that says EAT in The Heights, but the tiny neon sign spells out Liberty Kitchen in blue at only a few inches tall. If you drive by it the first time, keep looking. I enjoyed oysters on the half shell for brunch while others around me got hash, fried oyster omelets, salmon omelets and other hipster offerings. No one at the table was brave enough to order something called “Now, Bitter than you’re a** breakfast,” which includes chicken fried steak, or red velvet pancake tacos with mapely bacon inside. It’s a fun stop for sure, and great antique and boutique shopping is all around.
Alicia’s Mexican Grille in Katy is a huge spread off the highway and I appreciate the bathroom is done in Frida Kahlo artworks. The salsa is something special and I love the cheesy, meaty bites people shared with me. I had a salad that featured uncut fajita meat that was thin and pungent with lime. It’s probably rare to offer a sweet mustard dressing and bleu cheese with that combo, but it worked very well.
Star Pizza No. 2 at 77 Harvard in Houston: You’ve got to pick your flour, crust size, toppings and more, but all that work is worth it. Please be a cheese lover when you go in. Even the powdered cheese in the shaker is above par. I love that most of the tables are those wooden ones designed for home use, with leaves you slide out to expand.