Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 4 – Eldorado Jacks on Lake Conroe & Hillstone

NYC and SC’s good friends from nursing school, who I’ll call Couple OU, live out on Lake Conroe, so we decided to take a day trip out there to visit them and their 1 year old son. First, we met up with them at Eldorado Jack’s right on the lake for lunch, and then we headed over to their place to coo over the little one for a while. Our last destination for the day was Hillstone, formerly called Houston’s for an incredible dinner with our other sister H-Town, SC and another good girlfriend, who we’ll call Grave because she’s a Forensic Photographer.

Eldorado Jacks
Rating: B-
Location: Hwy 105, Lake Conroe
Category: Sports Bar and Grill
Pricing: $$
Favorites: Outdoor seating and Waterfront View

I can be placed at the dumpiest restaurant or bar in Texas and it would be absolutely amazing to me if it’s on the water. I love being near just about any body of water and Lake Conroe is no exception. Eldorado Jacks has a great view of the lake, and you can even get there by boat. Yep…if you want to show off your ski boat, fishing boat, yacht or better yet … canoe, you can pull right up to one of their docks and walk right up to the bar. In my book, that’s awesome! I don’t care what kind of boat you own, I love having that option. The food is also not bad as well. I was hankering for some guacamole, which was waiting for us when we arrived….Thank you…and I was quite satisfied with it. The margaritas were also pretty decent and most of the food seemed up to par. NYC and I shared a burger, which was mediocre, but everyone else’s, especially the fish tacos, looked really appetizing, and big portions at that. If you are more into watching sports on the big tube rather than gawking at the boats going by, well you have a place there too, even outside on the patio. It’s a place for anyone who enjoys the outside air next to a carefree lake while sipping on some adult libations. That’s heaven!

Hillstone (formerly Houston’s)
Rating: A
Location: 4848 Kirby Dr., Houston, TX
Category: Modern American, Romantic
Pricing: $$$
Favorites: Seared Tuna Steak, Crab Cakes, Wine List, Buttermilk Salad Dressing
Salad w/Buttermilk Dressing
If you know me at all I usually despise National restaurant chains, but this place is my one exception and it’s a good one. I can’t tell you how much I crave this place every time I come to Houston (I never go to the one in Addison because it wasn’t that great when I tried it). NYC was the one who introduced me to Houston’s and I was reluctant at first, but she has great taste, so I gave it a try. I was fixated immediately and now it’s become an addiction. Foremost, the ambience is immensely romantic with dim lighting and their snuggly private booths. You can also watch the kitchen pound away at the dinner rush, which I always find so exciting, and is largely due to my passion for cooking. The wine list is quite limited, but they have some really good selections, so being the Wine-o’s that we are, we dove in and ordered a bottle. As for the food, NYC suggested to start with a side salad topped with Buttermilk Dressing and then the Seared Tuna Steak as your entree, which I ordered, and I haven’t steered away from either ever since. The Buttermilk Dressing is definitely the star of their traditional salad with it’s creaminess and just the right amount of tang. Then the Seared Tuan Steak….oh my goodness…Magnificent! The tuna is always super fresh, perfectly cooked with a nice sear on the outside, and, shockingly enough because I’m not a fan of this dish, but their coleslaw is brilliant! It’s not swimming in mayonnaise, but instead I think they use yoghurt and then they add an unexpected ingredient…coconut, which really gives it a nice sweet but not too sweet ending. Now, this trip to Houston with the girls I have a new dish that I just might order next time. H-Town ordered the crab cakes, which are just like finding a good Bloody Mary because they are so hard to find, but when you do, you can’t stop thinking about them, and that’s just what these crab cakes did for me…after I snuck a taste. Wow! They actually tasted like crab and it had succulent fresh huge chunks of crab with a perfect thin crust of breadcrumbs on the outside. So freakin’ good! I have dreams about them now! SC and Grave stayed on the top side of the menu and ordered the Thai Steak and Noodle Salad and Sashimi Tuna Salad, respectively. I tried both, and they were really very good, but not good enough to be in my Zzzzz’s. Largely, it’s a brilliant place to dine!
Seared Tuna Steak
Crab Cakes
Houston's on Urbanspoon

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