Last week, we made plans to take a small vacation. Finally.
M gets 3 weeks vacation, like most slaves ;). This, if not claimed, is washed down the drain ( which has happened) without any compensation. Smart people ( and those like us, who learn things the hard way), therefore, take leave, when opportunity arises.
Since he is about to start a new project, come September, last 2 weeks of August seemed like a good time.
We plan things quickly, make bookings quickly, pack minimally and set out. Our destination this time was Houston. It was a matter of minutes before we booked our hotel ( we prefer Marriott Group, simply because they have a kitchenette), booked the car and we traveled during the week.
For the first time in 4 years, I traveled without my kitchen! Let me explain, traveling with little S meant cooking food, I was not too happy about restaurant cooked food for him and preferred making a simple khichadi for him, this ensures no unpleasant shocks with sickness. It did mean carrying my rice cooker and a pre-made khichadi mix from home.
Now that Little S is 4 and enjoys eating out, we decided to drop the extra baggage of carrying 'the kitchen'!
But wait, it is still not that easy! When I say eating out, it does become difficult with an antsy 4 year old, fresh from a long-long drive and I do not like spending my time trying to get him to eat or behave, my solution ? Take everything to-go. Sitting in my hotel room and eating peacefully! Ah! Luxury :)
The first night out, we ate at Cuisine India ( read: to- go dinner)
Tired after a long drive we just wanted to fill our belly and so we did not do the appetizer, entree, dessert courses. We ordered only what we needed and therefore, I am giving our opinion only based on what we ate.
M ordered chicken in Ceylon Curry, a curry redolent with green chilies and heat! he enjoyed the taste and the serving size was generous. The curry came with Basmati rice and a small salad on the side.
I ordered Paneer Makahani and Naan, keeping it simple as paneer is a good source of protein for little S and for me as well.
The naan was soft and light, the paneer was soft and fresh, the gravy was mild and creamy, S enjoyed the combination! I liked the over all taste, however the gravy was on the sweetish side and a strong cardamom scented one. Not offensive, but a bit overwhelming for my taste. But I liked that they were generous with the quantity of paneer pieces and gravy.
The entire meal cost us ~$25, reasonably priced and generous quantities!
For those dining in, the restaurant menu has a good selection has a pleasant ambiance, and the wait staff is knowledgeable and quick.
1212 Nasa Parkway
Nassau Bay, Texas 77058
www.cuisineofindiaclearlake.comOverall Rating: 4/5
Our outings are child-centric ( no surprises there) and at a pace and time he can handle.
Day 1: We spent an enjoyable day at the NASA Space Center, marveling at everything, firing the little one's imagination!
We headed back to the hotel in the evening, tired and hungry. That night we got dinner to-go from Mogul.
Here is what we ordered.
Again, generous helpings. Food taste and quality, very disappointing.
M declared the kebabs were, strange.
The naan was good, the navratan subzi was a disaster. The vegetables used were probably frozen vegetables, at least the beans were, they were limp, rubbery and inedible. The vegetables were not well spiced, I do not mean hot/ spicy, I like mildly spiced, but there has to be some flavor.
The biryani was another disappointment, it tasted like biryani rice had been added to the navratan subzi and a few cashews, fried and sprinkled on top.
The dessert was Gulab jamun in basundi, not too bad, but cloyingly sweet.
The entire meal cost us around $28-30
The restaurant has large capacity with a banquet hall. Reasonably priced, but the taste was just not up to the mark.
1055, Bay Area Blvd., Houston, TX 77058
Tel: 281-40 3097
Day 2 we visited Moody Gardens and loved every minute of it.Everything worked out well for us! Maybe because it was a week day. It wasn't too crowded, there was no waiting in lines etc. and the weather was amazing!
There is plenty for little kids and adults to enjoy. There is a fun ride ( height restriction for kids), 3D ( we opted for the Coral Reef 3d movie, there are choices ex: there is one about Sharks, Polar Bears etc) and 4D movies ( Dora and Diego Adventure, up to 12:00 noon and The wizard of Oz thereafter)
There are 3 pyramids with exhibits, there is the Rain forest Pyramid, which is so, so beautiful! It abounds with flora and fauna found it rain forests and is fascinating, even to children.
The second pyramid has a Science Exhibit, they have the 'Bodies Revealed' exhibit ( camera usage not allowed) at this time. Though fascinating for older children and adults, young ones are likely to be bored and sensitive children may get scared.
The third pyramid is the Aquarium and has a large variety of fish and turtles and penguins etc.
There is a water park and a small beach, which brought back beautiful memories of our time spent in Los Angeles and made us long to go back!
There is a lot to do on Galveston Island for those who wish to explore more. We restricted ourselves to just Moody Gardens.
Day 3 was spent at the Children's Museum , a wonderful world made just for children, but one that is fun for adults who want to refresh or even discover some facts! Little S had a great time and had to be dragged back to the hotel, he played a lot in the water zone. I did not do my homework and did not carry extra clothing for him, my bad!
We spent about 4-4 1/2 hours playing and then ventured out in the water zone, so his fun was not cut short, but yes, we left some part unexplored :(
We came back home on Sunday, happy and tired. I want to 'fess up here. I had a lot of fun in these 4 days but like Little S, I wanted to fret and complain, " I want to go hoooooooooome", just because I wanted home cooked food! I kept thinking of piping hot rice with Daal and pickles. regular chapati/ fulka with a simple stir-fry of vegetables, yogurt-rice.......... oh!
The first thing I did on returning ( apart from the cleaning up and all those rotten, boring chores) was to make a simple Gujarati Daal ( recipe coming up) with Rice and scarf it down!
Does that happen to you as well? Do you long for home cooked meals when on vacation? What do you crave?