I recently returned to Rice University, my alma mater, to celebrate their centennial - 100 years since the founding! There were all kinds of events - a football game (which we won!), parties, galas, picnics, speeches, lectures, you name it!
And our first President - Edgar Odell Lovett - finally got his own statue! About time! William Marsh Rice (Willy) may have provided the money for the institution, but Lovett provided the vision for what it should be.
For something really incredible, click HERE to see a video of the Spectacle - an amazing work of art combining architecture, history, and technology into something the likes of which I have never seen before. Seriously - watch it. For real.
Ok - moving on. Most of my food was provided for me at the events, but I did have the chance to eat out one night and was fortunate enough to go to Kata Robata - a sushi restaurant and Japanese grill. Headed up by Manabu Horiuchi (aka Chef Hori), my favorite sushi chef from college, the concept is Japanese tapas and the food is AWESOME. The service is pretty incredible, too. Our server, Thai, was very knowledgeable and comfortable making suggestions. The pacing was good and we always felt like we were being taken care of. I tried to order a good balance between sushi and tapas to get a really good idea of the place.
First up - Kobe beef skewers, slow cooked for 72 hours then grilled. Freaking awesome. These were so thick and fatty and juicy and flavorful - they reminded me of pork belly!
Grilled enoki mushrooms (ordered by a friend) - so pretty!
Hamachi crudo with cucumber, shoots, fig puree, peanuts, chili powder, and taro chips - fresh and light and super tasty, not to mention gorgeous presentation.
Miso and panko crusted bone marrow with lime, sea salt, and pickled onions. Off the hook - this was one of my favorites!
Some sushi selections - high quality fish (fatty tuna and salmon in the back), and innovative bites (hamachi with quail egg, seared foie gras with raw scallop).
How awesome is this giant sushi boat?! They will even fry the prawn heads for you (something my friend Justin, who ordered this beauty, taught me to appreciate).
Another creative dish here - uni carbonara. Super rich and decadent, though the uni flavor wasn't very prominent.
Amazingly good coffee, on the house (thanks Thai!). It was so rich and smooth that it was almost espresso-like.
Another comp for us was this amazing dessert picked out by our server - a chocolate bar with banana ice cream, orange gelee, frozen orange pulp, and candied orange peel. Great balance, with bright citrus cutting through rich chocolate - yum!
I am officially jealous of my Houston based friends because of this place, and Jasper is jealous that he didn't go with me!
Another new addition since I graduated 5 years ago, is Sweet Paris Creperie in the village. A small, but super adorable crepe shop with beautiful design.
Again I am jealous - because our local crepe place isn't as good (less creative fillings, crepes can get too crispy). For brunch I ordered this Croque Madam with scrambled eggs, smoked ham, gruyere cheese, and bechamel. Triple yum - so good.
I also got a sweet crepe and opted for the very berry creme brulee with torched vanilla cream, berries, and toasted almonds. I wasn't blown away by this one, to be honest, there was less cream than I wanted and it didn't seem to be torched. But it was still pretty good.