My love letter to Comicpalooza

Oh Comicpalooza. I know it’s been over for two weeks now, but I kind of feel like my recap in the last post didn’t do it justice. It was lazily written and it only served to recap what I did, but not WHY I had such a blast, and why I hope to continue having a blast each year. I really didn’t give it the love that it deserves. So here’s a better recap of Comicpalooza, with FEELINGS. OH THE FEELS.

So for anyone who’s kept up with this blog, you’ll know that I’ve been to my share of geek-cons. I won’t claim to have been to TOO many, but I’d like to think I’ve been to enough that I have an idea of what’s a good geek-con and what’s not. San Diego Comic-Con is of course the biggest and best convention, hands down. It’s not every day that you can say “oh, no big deal, that’s just HUGH JACKMAN WALKING DOWN THE STREET.” It’s not to say that it doesn’t come with its own frustrations, but it’s seriously an incredibly stressful, overwhelming, and ridiculously AWESOME experience. Definitely a bucket list item for any geek out there.

That being said, I honestly feel like Comicpalooza is one of the best conventions I’ve been to. But where are all the big movie stars? Where are all the fancy sneak previews of big upcoming movies and video games? SCREW ALL THAT. The thing that sets Comicpalooza apart is that it has that perfect small-scale convention feel where it’s genuinely about the love of all things geeky and not as much about the big movie and comic book studios trying to pimp out their next product. Because if we had to be honest about San Diego Comic-Con, yes, it’s absolutely celebrating all things geeky, but it’s most DEFINITELY a giant promotional event. “Hey you, look, there’s a new movie coming out with Captain What’s-His-Face, come get a freebie and tell ERRRBODY about it!!” “Oh look, a free video game demo! Make sure you brag to all your friends that you got to play it first and buy the real thing later.” I’m not saying this is a bad thing by any means, but it’s unfair to compare Comicpalooza to something as rich with star power as SDCC.

Comicpalooza is about reinforcing a geek love or introducing a new interest. I’d never painted a figure before, but I had so much fun at the figurine painting table that I missed the first 20 minutes of John Barrowman’s panel. I’ve never seen the movie Gravity but I was absolutely fascinated by the Gravity panel where an astronaut and a NASA space debris scientist picked apart scenes of the movie and explained what REALLY would have happened in space. There were dalek races and they had booths showing off 3D printing workshops and robot building classes. Apparently one of our public libraries has a 3D printer that you can use FOR FREE. There’s a genuine kind of fun that you just don’t get at the big-name geek-cons, and Comicpalooza is absolutely brimming with it. I’m so incredibly proud to have a flourishing geek convention right here in my own backyard, and it can only get better from here on out.

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Comicpalooza 2014: The recap!

COMICPALOOZA! This was my second time going to Comicpalooza and I still stand by my belief that it’s easily one of the most fun geek-cons out there. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about geek-cons, it’s that bigger does NOT mean better (see my recap of New York Comic Con for evidence). Right now Comicpalooza is at that perfect size where it’s big enough to bring in some big names, but still small enough that it’s not overwhelming. Late for a panel? No problem, it just means you’ll have to sit a little farther in the back. If it were San Diego Comic-Con it’d be like “LOL you mean you didn’t get in line 6 hours ahead of time?? N00B.” Comicpalooza has only been around for a handful of years so far and I’m already excited that it’s only going to get better from here on out.

But first, the critter roundups! I had three critters to drop at Comicpalooza. Let’s see how they fared:

Spider-Man:

Spider-Man

Status: FOUND!

Spidey’s sticking around right here in Houston! Woohoo!

Iron Man:

Iron man post adoption

Status: FOUND!

Iron Man had a successful adoption too! He’ll be hanging around in the suburbs of Houston.

Wolverine:

BogBpsmCAAEHTLW (1)

Status: Unconfirmed 😦

Unfortunately I haven’t heard back on Wolverine. If you or someone you know has Wolverine, please check in with me! Keep in mind that if you have a protected twitter account I won’t see your tweets, so please e-mail me at geekyhooker [at] gmail [dot] com if you’ve got a protected account!

Otherwise, ON TO THE CONVENTION!

SPECIAL GUESTS:

stan

STAN THE MAN. OMFGWEIOFJALSDKFAKLSD.

Oh, is that Stan “the man” Lee, holding a little Spider-Man that I made for him? Yes. YES IT IS. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see his panel on Friday, but I showed up Saturday morning to get a picture with him. I went back and forth on whether or not I wanted to get a photo with Stan Lee because I’ve never been willing to pay for a photo op. Once I realized that this man’s appeal would probably never die, and that I wouldn’t have many other opportunities where I could easily get a photo with him (compared to bigger geek-cons where I’d have to be in line for HOURS), I decided to go for it. And dammit, if I’m going to get a photo with Stan Lee, it’d be wrong of me not to gift him a critter. So in a last minute decision, I stayed up late and crocheted another Spider-Man to give to Stan Lee, and the next morning I sleepily waited in line for the photo op. Once the line started moving, the photo op went BLAZINGLY fast. Stand in, smile, and you’re gone. Not even a chance to say anything more than a quick hello. So when my turn came around, I kind of became that asshole who held up the photo op line, even if it was just for a few seconds. I told Stan I had something for him and handed him little Spidey, and after exchanging thank yous (no, thank YOU, sir, for influencing so many generations!) it was all shouts of “ma’am, look at the camera” before I had to scurry off. My tiny little victory was when I saw his handler try to take the little Spider-Man away from him and he snatched it away and put it in his pocket as if to say “NO, MINE.” Stan Lee now has one of my critters in his possession. VICTORY!

THE PANELS:

Sure, Comicpalooza doesn’t have nearly as much pull as San Diego Comic-Con and it’s not going to have the likes of Tom Hiddleston or Hugh Jackman there. But they still had some heavy hitters show up and it was AWESOME. The quality of the panel guests is pretty much what will determine what the experience is like, so you know you’re in a good panel if you can still enjoy it without knowing anything about whatever show/movie that person might be famous for. I’ve sat through some star-studded panels at San Diego Comic-Con that were AWFUL because the guests were terrible speakers. Thankfully Comicpalooza’s guests were all fun people and it was a great time for everyone.

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  • Gravity Panel: Nope, not a panel with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney! Since this is Houston, OF COURSE we’d bring our nerd on with some folks from NASA. This was a panel with astronaut Stan Love and space debris scientist (how cool is that?) Sue Lederer. They explored the movie Gravity, picked apart various scenes, and explained how things REALLY would have happened in real life. It was like a giant geeky show-and-tell for adults, complete with pieces of space debris up for display. Super fun and absolutely fascinating. And if you thought the movie was pretty terrifying, the reality behind the events are much, MUCH worse. Like “heads exploding in helmets”-worse.

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  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. panel: I actually don’t watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I watched the first few episodes and quickly lost interest. But it was still a fun time at this panel just seeing the cast joke around with each other, and the best part….
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    Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno crashed the panel! I love that Ming-Na Wen was geeking out and trying to get a selfie with him. 🙂

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  • Billy Dee Williams panel: I walked in late and walked out early. Sound quality in the room was awful and I couldn’t hear anything but muffled babbling from where I was sitting. I eventually walked out because I had no clue what was being said. On the other hand I SO wish I was there to see the guy who mistook him for Carl Weathers because that sounded GLORIOUSLY hilarious. Anyone got a video to share?

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  • Power Rangers panel: IT’S MORPHIN’ TIME! I showed up to this panel on a “why the hell not?” impulse, and it ended up being a lot of fun. Walter Jones (the original black ranger) hasn’t aged a SINGLE FREAKING DAY since my days of watching him on TV. What the hell are you eating, dude?? The first question asked was “Can you morph for us?” They all groaned, but they were good sports and did it at the end of the panel anyway…but not without calling the guy out for asking the worst question of the panel, haha.

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 They’re so unamused. I love it.

  • 1-DSC05030John and Carole Barrowman panel: Admittedly I’m more of a fair-weather Doctor Who fan. I like it enough to appreciate the fun of the show (it’s been on for 50 years for a reason!), but not enough to go nuts over seeing Captain Jack Harkness in person. I also haven’t watched Torchwood or Arrow, so any questions about those shows were lost on me. That being said, remember how I said a good speaker will still make for a fun time even if you don’t know anything about the shows/movies that made the person famous? John and Carole were HILARIOUS. Some of the questions were lost on me, but that didn’t matter because these two would go off on insane tangents to the point where the question didn’t even matter anymore. They were good about bringing it back to the question at hand, but not before going off on something absolutely ridiculous. Unfortunately I walked into the panel late, but I heard there was a same-sex proposal that happened during the panel too! Wow. Such geek. Much love.

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  • Cary Elwes panel: AS YOU WISH. Of COURSE he had to utter that line at least once during his panel. Cary is by far the nicest celeb I’ve seen in a panel, for three big reasons:
    1) He went out of his way to ask each person their name first and would greet them before they asked their questions. He probably won’t remember any of these people, but I’ve NEVER seen anyone go out of their way to greet each fan by name before.
    2) When a few nervous fans started rambling on about how much The Princess Bride meant to them or how much his other movies influenced them he would hop off the stage and go give them a hug out of appreciation. I mean, this guy VOLUNTARILY gave his fans hugs! How awesome is that??
    3) The panel actually ran 15-20 minutes OVER the allotted time. Sure, he had the last panel of the day in the room so there was no rush to get out, but at almost every panel I’ve been to the guests are usually itching to get the hell out of there, even if they’re having a good time.Super sweet guy, indulged us in LOTS of stories involving everything from his days filming The Princess Bride to Robin Hood: Men in Tights, down to humoring us all by doing his awkward “claw” from Liar Liar when he was asked to do so. And he’s got a book coming soon about his time filming The Princess Bride! MOAR STORIES!

THE LITTLE THINGS:

It’s the little things that REALLY set Comicpalooza apart from other geek cons. And it’s the little things that make me want to see Comicpalooza grow, but not grow TOO much. Arcade consoles were set up for anyone to stroll by and play a game, you could sign up for sword fighting lessons from Miltos Yeromelou aka SYRIO FREAKING FOREL from Game of Thrones, there were workshops on how to build your own dalek, and my favorite: a figure painting table where the first figure is free, and any additional figures you paint are $1 each. That would NEVER happen at a bigger convention. There’d be utter chaos with people waiting for a painting spot, or people losing/spilling paints and damaging painting supplies, etc. I was able to walk away with a fun little souvenir because of awesome little events like this going on at Comicpalooza.

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My blank slate!

painted figure

And the finished product! Couldn’t resist taking the badass with a chainsaw amongst the elves, orcs, zombies, and other fun little figures.

Thanks for another awesome weekend, Comicpalooza. I can’t wait to see what will come in the future, and I’m proud to have one of the best geek conventions in Texas right here in my own backyard. 🙂

Comicpalooza: the recap!

Last week I made a long overdue visit to Comicpalooza for the first time. I’ve been meaning to go (it’s in my own backyard! It’s relatively inexpensive!), but something always came up before I got a chance. This year I finally got to go, and in short, it was pretty freakin’ awesome. To recap:

  • Saw Star Warz: Unscripted by Comedysportz. It’s Star Wars: A New Hope redone by an improv troupe. Children under 17 were told from the beginning to get out, so you knew this was going to be inappropriately fun. C-3PO became a hooker bot. Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru owned a smokeshop. Hilarity ensued.
comedysportz

That fuzzy pole with the nasty mop of hair on it? That’s Chewbacca.

  • Saw Sir Patrick Stewart’s panel. I could go on and on about what an amazing panel this was (he’s Captain Picard! he’s Professor X!), but I think I’d rather let everyone see for themselves why this panel ended up being so much more than I thought it would be:

Truly remarkable. My respect for this man has increased exponentially.

  • An extra bit of icing on the cake after that awesome panel: THERE WAS A MUSICAL TESLA COIL. PLAYING THE STAR TREK: TNG THEME. WHAT.

Performed by Arc Attack. My inner science geek kinda freaked out.

  • Saw “Bard Fiction” performed by the Classical Theatre Company, a Shakespearean version of the first 15 minutes of Pulp Fiction. I learned that “Does he look like a bitch?” translates to “Hath he the semblance of a harlot??”
  • CUTEST COSPLAY EVAR. BEHOLD: Little Joker and Little Hellboy!
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Your parents are doing this right.

  • There was also a Khaleesi sighting:

Khaleesi

This dude wasn’t “pretty white dress” Khaleesi. He wasn’t “dirty Dothraki” Khaleesi. He wasn’t even “just ate a raw horse heart” Khaleesi. He had to go with “scorched and naked with newborn dragons” Khaleesi. And it is AWESOME.

  • I didn’t go, but one of the events was “Mighty Morphin’ Salsa Dancing.” It was salsa lessons. Taught by none other than Walter E. Jones, the original Black Ranger. How random/awesome is that? Looking back, I should’ve gone, because how often do you get to say that you learned to dance from a freaking Power Ranger??
  • And of course I dropped a critter! I left behind a little Spock near where Sir Patrick Stewart’s panel was to be given (because Star Trek, duh).

IMG_2248Minutes later I got a message letting me know that he’d been found! SUCCESS! What’s even more awesome is that Spock’s new adopted parent chronicled the whole thing here. Check it out! ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL ADOPTION IN THE BOOKS! WOOHOO!

Needless to say, Comicpalooza was pretty freakin’ awesome. Don’t get me wrong, San Diego Comic-Con is a crazy geekfest of epic proportions, but you can’t deny that it’s overwhelmingly crowded, and you end up spending a huge chunk of your time waiting in line for stuff. You wait in line for hours (or overnight sometimes) for panels. You wait in line for over an hour just to buy something. You wait in line for the bathrooms. For Starbucks. And when you wait in line at Comic-Con, sometimes you don’t even get into whatever it was you were waiting for. But you wait in line at Comic-Con because you know it’s worth it, because you know that just about ANYWHERE you go at San Diego Comic-Con, there’s something ridiculously awesome going on. When it comes to smaller conventions, there’s virtually no lines (hooray!), but content will obviously be a little less star-studded than what you’d find at the larger ones. Comicpalooza had the perfect balance between great content and a good crowd. Lots of fun and quirky events (a POWER RANGER teaching dance lessons?), with just enough of a crowd to fuel the excitement, but not enough to be congested. The most impressive part to me is that this is only Comicpalooza’s 5th year in existence! If this is what they bring out for year 5, I can’t even imagine what will come in the future. Comicpalooza, you’ve won my geeky heart. I’ll definitely be back.

Go Coogs!

A few months back I was approached by the folks at the Bare Bowls Kitchen food truck to make a little mascot for them, particularly one related to the University of Houston since they started serving their bowls of deliciousness to the starving masses of students there. I still don’t really take orders or commissions, but 1) I’ve had their food before and really enjoyed it (it’s tasty! it’s locally sourced! it’s 12,876,234 times healthier than the crap in the cafeteria!), and 2) I earned my professional degree at UH and had some good times there, so I couldn’t turn this down. 🙂 And seriously, where were all these awesome food trucks on campus back when I was in school?? I was one of the unfortunate souls that had to resort to the fast food joints in the campus cafeteria. I feel like I missed out. 😛

At any rate, they asked for a lil’ cougar (UH’s mascot) holding one of their signature bowls, so I got crackin’. The toughest part about making the little cougar was…well, making it look like a freaking cougar. I’ve made lions before, so I thought I could make a lion and take away the mane. Turns out taking away the mane left me with a yellow teddy bear. Then I pointed the ears and I ended up with a yellow kitty cat. STUPID COUGAR, WHY WON’T YOU SHOW YOURSELF?? After lots of fiddling (you’d be surprised at what kind of subtle alterations completely changed how the lil’ dude looked), I think I finally managed to get a serviceable lil’ coog. 🙂

Go Coogs!

And this lil’ coog is feasting on a bowl of his own. 🙂

I dropped by campus to deliver the lil’ guy and to grab a bite. I ordered a Western Indian bowl (marinated chicken, spinach, corn, all over a lovely bed of seasoned rice), topped with a poached duck egg. Let me repeat that. POACHED. DUCK. EGG.

Ohhhh mama.

The pieces of chicken were tender, the spinach was silky and took on the flavors and spices used in the chicken, and don’t even get me started on the duck egg…

GET IN MAH BELLY.

With the rice soaking up all that eggy goodness (I’ve got an unhealthy obsession with poached eggs), this was a bowl full of win. If any of you are fortunate enough to be on UH campus, these guys serve up some serious goodness. They’re super affordable, and they dole out hefty portions to boot. You eat well, spend less, and you get to support local farmers and growers in the process. TRIPLE WIN. Next time you drop by, say hi to the friendly staff, and say hello to their new pet!

Lil’ coog, happily perched in his new home.

You can keep up with Bare Bowls Kitchen on twitter or facebook. They’re honestly doing (and cooking) great things, and for all you UH students out there, seriously, ditch the Taco Bell and go straight for the trucks. I WILL LIVE VICARIOUSLY THROUGH ALL OF YOU, since I never had the chance back when I had my days at UH. Go forth my dear coogs, and EAT WELL. 🙂

Twitter: www.twitter.com/BareBowls
Facebook: www.facebook.com/barebowlskitchen

Info about UH’s food truck food court can be found here. Goodness knows I would’ve eaten through ALL of those trucks if they were around when I was in school. 🙂

100 reasons why Houston is friggin’ delicious

Recently, Alison Cook – one of Houston’s prominent food critics – took on the daunting task of ranking the city’s best restaurants from 1 to 100. And if you check it out, it’s a damn good list. Do I agree with all of it? No. Because if someone has to pick just 100 restaurants out of the thousands that are sprawling this city, there’s bound to be omissions and disagreements in terms of rankings. But the thing I love about the list is that it’s a brilliant snapshot of everything Houston has to offer. We’re not New York or LA, but Houston’s got a flavor that we can call our own, and it’s friggin’ delicious. I love that there’s plenty of down-home, tasty-like-yo’-grandma-made-it ethnic picks peppered in with the fancier dress-up-and-prepare-the-expense account joints. The fact that a no-frills pho trailer is in the top 10 along with our nationally acclaimed restaurants shows that Houston’s best food is far from being limited to the expensive and trendy category. It just needs to be made with heart, and we’ve got plenty of that in this town. I’ve tried 34 out of the 100 restaurants on the list so far, and I can’t wait to tackle more. So Ms. Cook, this one’s for you.

You can check out the list here. It’s definitely worth a look, and even if you vehemently disagree with it, it’s still a great way to get people talking about Houston’s good eats. 🙂

Cupcake pattern from Amigurumi World by Ana Paula Rimoli

This little piggy went to market: Showin’ some crochet love to Revival Market

Confession: I’m probably one of the least “green” eaters you’ll find. Maybe it’s because I don’t have enough cooking prowess to justify paying premium for organic/local food if I’m going to screw it up, and maybe it’s in the interest of saving a few bucks here and there. Even after watching Food, Inc. (great documentary about the food industry), I still ate mass-produced meats, thinking to myself “I don’t wanna know what happened to this chicken, but I haven’t grown a third arm yet, so I’m gonna eat it anyway,” as I chomped down on that chicken wing. But places like Revival Market are slowly turning me into a believer in the locavore movement. It’s a market. But they also serve food. And holy crap, the FOOD.

Revival Market has a simple, straightforward mission: Local means fresher & cleaner, and fresher & cleaner means tastier, healthier, and better for the community. 🙂 The whole menu has wonderful items that are all made fresh, local, and just plain GOOD. But if you want the best example of everything Revival Market stands for, just utter three letters: BLT. Bacon, lettuce, tomato, and dammit, I’m convinced there’s some magic in there. It’s so simple…how could you POSSIBLY make it that much better? Much less $9-better? I had a bit of a Pulp Fiction moment when I saw the $9 on the board…just as Vincent Vega questioned the $5 milkshake, I questioned the nearly-$10 BLT plate. And oh, how Revival proved me wrong.

Half of my BLT, shortly before I devoured it.

That bacon is UH-MAZING. Bacon is already a sacred perfect form to me already, even the cheap-o diner bacon you’d get with a greasy breakfast platter. But THIS. This was something different. Fatty, perfectly crisp edges, smokey and flavorful…this is the remarkable result when your bacon comes straight from a farm and is cured and smoked in-house. Pair it together with fresh slices of tomato, leafy arugula, and a wonderfully light herbed mayonnaise, and you’ve got yourself a BLT that changes everything you knew about the classic sandwich. Those sandwiches that I once loved with the wilted lettuce, chewy bacon, and mushy tomatoes were suddenly shoved into a corner of my mind along with a few ex-boyfriends. One way or another, it’s a beautifully simple demonstration of Revival Market’s mission…when I thought a BLT was a BLT everywhere I go, Revival Market shows how just 3 locally sourced ingredients sandwiched between two slices of fresh-baked bread can elevate the taste and quality to a whole new level. No heavy sauces to mask the inherent flavors, no gimmicky garnishes to make it look prettier. Just pure, fresh ingredients left alone to allow the flavors to speak for themselves, all put together with care. And this is just ONE item on the menu that I’m gushing about here.

These guys have fed me ridiculously well and have helped me slowly turn towards the fresher side of things, so I decided I wanted to give back.

Their logo is a piggie with a chicken perched on top.

So I made them a piggie with a chicken perched on top. 🙂

Yesterday I dropped by and grabbed a BLT with a wonderfully cool and spicy side of gazpacho for lunch. On my way out, I handed the piggie to the girl at the counter. Immediately she says “Oh my god, I saw this on twitter!”…she took it back to the kitchen to show the rest of the staff, and the chef came out from the kitchen to thank me! Chef Pera, thank YOU and your staff for all your hard work and everything that you’ve done for the community. I’ve been visiting more and more often (the Saturday morning specials are enough to continually drag me out of bed on the weekends), and just when I think I’ve eaten through the entire menu, I still manage to find something new (and delicious!) every time. There’s some serious awesomeness going on in the kitchen, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down any time soon. Which means I’ll just have to keep going back. Now ain’t that a shame. 😉

Revival Market
http://revivalmarket.com/
550 Heights Blvd
Houston, TX 77007
713-880-8463

Piggie pattern from Lion Brand Yarn’s website. (you’ll have to register to view it, but registration’s free, and you get access to a nice collection of free patterns)

Showin’ some crochet love: Uchi edition

If there’s one thing I need to say about Uchi, it’s that you don’t go there to eat, you go there to have an experience. This isn’t a restaurant where they’ll hand you a pretty plate, only to find out that only 40% of it is actually edible and the rest is just for show. You’re actually expected to eat that flower that’s sitting on the side, maybe even drag it through that oh-so-pretty spiral of sauce drawn on the plate, and it will be freakin’ delicious. Calling Uchi a sushi restaurant is a bastardization to the establishment…this isn’t a typical trendy Japanese joint that tosses random ingredients of the day into a roll and serves saketinis. It’s so much more than that, and it’s definitely a dining experience that Uchi can brand as its own.


Photo credit: Uchi Houston Facebook page

Don’t know what a gastrique is? No worries, you won’t get any of those dreaded condescending eyerolls here (hooray!). The waitstaff walks you through the menu, and they won’t just recite ingredients if you ask what’s in a particular dish – they’ll tell you in detail what’s in it, where it comes from, maybe throw in a fun story about what happened the first time they ate it themselves, all to the point where you’ll be like “Holy crap, that sounds amazing…yeah, I’ll get a plate of that. And throw in that other thing you mentioned too…I don’t remember what it was, but it sounded awesome. Kthanx!”

Yokai Berry
Photo credit: Uchi Houston flickr page 

They have dishes like the “yokai berry” on the menu: it consists of Atlantic salmon, dinosaur kale (I’ll admit seeing the word “dinosaur” written in the description sold me), Asian pear, yuzu, candied quinoa, and blueberries. You’ll see all of that written on paper (my eyes shot straight to “TEEHEE, DINOSAUR!”), and you kinda think “Salmon and kale, and – blueberries? Candied quinoa? Huh?” Sometimes I get skeptical about overly avant-garde sounding dishes…I love seeing creativity put to food, but some restaurants take it too far and you end up feeling the same way as you do at a modern art museum…you pay money, and after all is said and done, you still don’t “get it.” Then you walk away pissed off that you paid money to look at paint splotches on canvas that a four year-old could have replicated at a daycare. ARGH. Anyway, that’s not the case at Uchi. You take a leap of faith and order the damn thing, and it blows you away. The richness from the incredibly fresh and fatty slices of salmon gets paired with the earthiness of the fried kale. Then the crisp, sweet and tart flavors of the Asian pear and blueberries begin to cut through, topped off with an extra bit of sweetness and crunch from the candied quinoa. It’s hard to describe, but it all comes together into a moment where you’ll be like “OH MY GOD I GET IT. AND IT’S DELICIOUS. THANK YOU.” That’s the kind of innovation and creativity that runs across the rest of the menu (none of that “WTF, you just added chocolate to garlic for shits and giggles, I hate you” feeling), and everything I’ve tried has translated from paper to the plate without a hitch.

After having an incredible dinner at Uchi, I decided to do a crochet drop. I could have made little pieces of nigiri sushi, but that would’ve been too generic to any other Japanese-themed restaurant. I wanted to do something unique to Uchi, so I chose a dish that had a name that I could work with: the jar jar duck. It’s a dish brought out in a glass jar layered with duck served 3 ways (duck confit, duck cracklins, duck jus), candied kumquats, endive, with rose­mary smoke wafting out of it. This dish is pure theater when it’s brought out to your table.

Look. At. That.
Photo credit: Rebecca Fondren

And so I present my own rendition of a jar jar duck:

I’ll admit once I made the lil’ guy, I looked at it and thought to myself “Crap…this seemed like a better idea in theory.” What the hell was I thinking?? I put a duck. In a jar. WTF? I came to the horrifying realization that when I handed it off, they were either going to be delighted, or think it was really freaking weird, but give a polite “oh cool, thanks”. Kinda like when a kid gives you a bowl full of mud from outside…you say thank you for the thoughtful playtime gift, but you’re really just going to wash out the bowl once little Billy scampers off and finds something else to play with. Either way, my bf booked a reservation, we had a brilliant meal, and after stuffing our faces, I handed the lil’ duck in a jar to our waitress after we were presented with the check. She said it’ll have a good home in the office! Operation Jar Jar Duck Drop complete! 🙂 I’ll definitely be back to eat my way through any remnants of the menu that I’ve tragically left behind. I’M COMING FOR YOU. NOM NOM.

Uchi Houston
http://www.uchihouston.com
904 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 522-4808

Duckie pattern from Amigurumi World by Ana Paula Rimoli