A family effort


Yep yep, it's another dinner picture ^^  The daigukuimo (sweet potato dish) I made from the last post is on the top left, and my parents enjoyed it :D  Going clockwise, it's my mom's signature cucumber dish, then my dad's favorite veggie which is kind of bitter, and then his signature dish-- mapo tofu, yummeh!  <3 Om nom~

While my parents are talented chefs, I play in the kiddie corner and experiment.  Using my alchemy skills, I made a pot of gold!

Here it is!

Actually, it's custard.

I had leftover egg yolks which would have been a waste to throw away, so I made custard for the first time! ^^  I thought custard was thicker, so I'm not sure if this was a success or fail.  But I kept licking the spoon and my parents really enjoyed the milky flavor when I served it to them, so maybe a half success?  ;)

My dad had the day off, so we had a whole list of errands to run.  First it was visiting a pet hotel for a tour!  We wanted to make sure if we ever went on vacation that Balto and Bacardi would be able to stay in nice conditions :D  We then stopped by Fry's to check out computers and then to Walmart for grocery shopping.    Look what I found at the pet hotel lobby:

Not just cologne for dogs.  DESIGNER cologne.  Haha!  These dogs smell nicer than I do!

Piping hot, sizzling, and delicious!

Then we went to a Mexican restaurant!  Not one of the thousands and thousands Tex-Mex restaurants that Texas has, but a REAL Mexican restaurant!  Well, that's what I'd like to think.  It's called Los Ramirez, and Irene recommended it to me a few years ago, and my dad fell in love with its insanely cheap prices Ahem, food.  ;)    They sell fajitas and bean soup and real chalpuas.  Not those incredibly delicious Taco Bell creations, but authentic chalupas.  I haven't tried them, but it would be tough for me to compare them to Taco Bell chalupas, as I love Taco Bell.  And I love their chalupas.  @____@  *drool*

The great thing is that they're in the Clear Lake area, so they're pretty close to home.  As I insinuated, Los Ramirez is incredibly cheap.  We went in for lunch, and my enchiladas plate was $4.95.  Daddy's fajitas set was $5.75, and our total check including tip was $13.  That's usually how much my subtotal is for just me when I go eat out at St. Louis restaurants with friends! :O  My mom pretty much only eats Asian food, so when my dad takes the day off and I'm home, we make it a tradition to go eat here.  Before our food comes, they always serve us house-made tortilla chips with a sweet green sauce and a spicy red sauce.

Enchiladas rojas!!  Cheese enchiladas smothered in red sauce, served with Mexican rice and refried beans

These are the enchiladas of my childhood!!  I don't remember when the first time I had enchiladas was, but I am quite thankful that I had the experience.  The waiter warmed me that they were "caliente," and I was like.. huh?  They he touched the plate and said, "hot."  Whoooooa, not only am I getting a great meal-- I'm learning Spanish!!  *totally in love with this restaurant*  The enchiladas were hot and gooey, with the corn tortillas giving a nice bite.  Enchiladas have got to be my favorite Mexican food.  I'm glad that they make up the majority of Los Ramirez's lunch menu :D  Also, I really like Mexican rice and refried beans, but the enchiladas just outshone them <3  Rojas is the red sauce!  Last time I came, I had the beef enchiladas which used ground beef.  I don't really like the grainy texture ground beef inside my gooey awesomeness, so I like the cheese enchiladas better.  But I'm eyeing the spinach enchiladas for my next visit ^^v

You get all this for less than $6!!

I sound like I'm advertising for them, haha!  But my dad's fajita lunch comes with fajita beef and carmelized onions served to the table on a sizzling plate, a plate of Mexican rice and refried beans, pico de gallo, and three fresh and warm flour tortillas.  Not bad, eh?  I also learned that "fajita" does not mean the whole tortilla with meat and the fixings inside.  It describes the type of meat @_@  Getting my food eju-mah-cation~

It's not a mystery why Los Ramirez is always so full when we come around lunch time.  The patrons included business men from the offices nearby, families, and students.  There were plenty of Latino people, so that must mean the food is legit ^^b  In our section, there was only one empty table to my right, and it seated a patron when we walked in!

Happy munchers!

If you're craving a hearty Mexican meal in the Clear Lake area, head over to Los Ramirez for low prices and steaming hot food :)  The little restaurants near the library and next door to the 888 Chinese Bistro looks low-key, but its food has got to be one of my favorites!

Los Ramirez
16630 El Camino Real
Houston, TX 77062

I had a doctor's appointment, so by the time we got home, our doggies were waiting for us to feed them dinner.  Have I ever told you about how I trained Balto when he was just a tyke to lay on the ground for his food?  Actually, we have towels as table mats to place the bowls on!  Now when he's hungry or wants a snack, he'll just look at us and lay down wherever he is.  Hehe~  My mom says he looks like a Peking duck :)

Assume the position!  (Notice how he's not even using his table mat... just sprawling out anywhere =_=)

and point!!   He's facing the pantry where we keep all the food.


On the other hand, this late comer of the family hasn't quite got the hang of laying all the way down.  She'll stretch out her paws until we give her food and then stand back up to stand and eat at the same time.  So un-lady like!

While they were eating, my parents and I began to make dinner. And guess what's on tonight's menu?

Veggie uhm.. pastries!

Actually, they're called chive boxes 韭菜盒子, but essentially they're buns with a mixture of glass noodles, eggs, and chives inside and pan fried to a crispy exterior.  We grow chives in the back yard, so it was time to eat them up ^^ 

First we have eggs, chives, and soaked glass noodles.  They're all chopped up.

Mix, mix, mix!

The dough was made using just flour and water, which I thought was pretty weird, since I thought yeast would be included.  But apparently not!  My mom's the best wrapper of the family / none of the rest of us even know how to wrap things, so she was in charge of shaping the buns.

Haha, this is my mom goofing around.  She made a ginormous dumpling!!  It's almost the size of her hand.

Then my dad and I both attempted to make our own buns, and I laughed so hard.  Why?  My dad got two pieces of dough, flattened them, and sandwiched the mixture between to create some flying U.F.O. saucer thing.  XD  But I can't make fun of him too much, because I tried copying the beautiful bun shape my mom made and mine failed.  It burst and the filling got all over the exterior.  Then it was my dad's turn to laugh at my bun, saying that it was growing a mustache :3  Tee hee, my parents are the best <3

Can you tell who made what?

From top left clockwise:  Daddy, me, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy.

The one on the top right is the traditional shape of the bun for this recipe.  It's essentially the regular bun shape (bottom left) but turned over and smushed.  I guess Daddy's was *sort of* close?  My mom laughed at our sad excuses for buns and decided to teach me how to wrap one.  And I improved a lot!  I bet you can't even tell which ones are mine (probably because they are flipped over and smushed, so of course you can't see the seams :P)!

Balto photo-bombing :D

Heat up the pan and go!

While we're waiting, a cuddle with Bacardi.  Oh you cutie, you~  ^^

Oh dear.  I wonder how my bun will turn out?

Well, it turned out to be the CUTEST.  Yeah, it had a tail!  XD

So these are the finished chive buns!

They were crispy on the outside and warm.  The inside was nicely spiced with pepper and salt, and it was very satisfying eating them.  Each person was supposed to eat their "outlier" buns (Mommy's huge dumpling, my exploded bun, and Daddy's flying saucer), but my dad kept eating the perfect ones and left his flying saucer alone.  XD 

Ta-daaa!  Salad made of greens from our garden, feta cheese, croutons, and raisins

I like the raisins with the salad.  Yum!  My dad grows all sorts of stuff in the back, and we even had tomatoes (which I never knew existed in the backyard...).  Here are some unripened ones:

If you're thinking that we eat like rabbits (no meat), you're wrong ;)  I really enjoy eating tofu and veggies at home, but we do eat meat too.  For example, my dad used the pressure cooker I bought for his birthday (Ah yes, food gifts for the family) to make a delicious sliced beef dish.  The meat is marbleized, not with fat, but with "jin," or tendon.  It's super soft and delicious ^^

Looks like someone's hungry~  *Jaws music*

Haha, got to keep the meat away from Balto!  He's mischievous and will jump on the counter when he wants something.  In middle school he stole my McNuggets, in high school it was butter from while I was baking, and while I was in college, he stole away a hunk of ham that my parents were preparing.  What an evil doggie!  ... but I still wuv him <3  ^^

Don't tell my parents, but I gave them a small piece of the meat.  Tee hee!  yum yum~

Bacardi wants some more!

Together, the three of us made dinner, and it was really nice making things from scratch.  My parents used to make water dumplings 水饺 and bread buns 馒头 from scratch, but now we just buy them frozen from Chinatown, since it's so cheap and convenient.  This was nostalgic and fun!  I'm glad my parents share the same passion for food! ^__^  Actually, my mom doesn't enjoy cooking, and my dad only cooks because it's cheaper than going out to eat.. but.. just let me be all giddy-giddy for a bit, kay? ;)

A family dinner.  Nom-licious!

sworly said...

Looks really good! Your blogging is so neat, organized, and fun to read!! I don't know why I haven't been keeping up with this haha.

And clearly since you are in Houston, HANG OUT!!!! >:O

Wendy said...

Hi Matt! :D

Yay, thankies!~ I actually checked your blog a month ago, and you haven't updated it in forevvver~ but looks like I have another entry I can read now :P

I was only in Houston for a week and been back in St. Louis for the summer for a few days now ^^" When did you guys get back? :O

ALSO: There's a Rudy's by Cinemark now! :3