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CUISINE UPSCALE COMFORT FOOD MADE FROM SCRATCH
I tried this little gem while parked in front of Inversion Coffee House on Montrose. Ladybird dishes out comfort food all made from scratch. On the menu for our hot lunch venture was their famous grilled cheese, a special gazpacho, the popular Barrio dog, surf and turf quesadillas, chicken tikka tacos and a beef ribeye gordita. All ranging from about $6–$8. Notables from our lunch were the Ladybird grilled cheese. In between two slices of fluffy sourdough you’ll find green tomatoes, cheddar, Texas goat cheese and Brooklyn ricotta. All oozy and melted together, it’s served with a dipping sauce as well. This grilled cheese proves you can never have too much cheese! The surf and turf quesadillas marry combos we would’ve never dreamed of. Crab is combined with brie for a buttery, silky delight while ribeye is combined with Monterrey jack. Last but not least, the chicken tikka tacos with yogurt marinated chicken, cashews and a cilantro mint sauce have Indian food flair with a cool refreshing bite. One lone but mind-blowing pickled cauliflower came on the side that had us wishing we’d asked for more. Short on cash? They accept credit cards. They even walked our food out to us while we sat at a table. It’s all in the details, and with Ladybird, it shows they care.
By Beatrice Allen
2616 louisiana | www.gloriasrestaurants.com | 832.360.1710
CUISINE SALVADORIAN + TEX-MEX
Out of old Ruby Tequila’s ashes rose Gloria’s. Don’t expect the same gimmicky, whimsical Tex-Mex. Gone is the tie-dye craze, replaced with a mature look complete with chandeliers. An expansive bar with banquette seating, plus a main dining room that offers banquette, table and various nooks assures there is enough space to accommodate the masses. And not just for brunch, lunch and dinner but for happy hour and beyond. They extend their hours Friday and Saturday evening for live musical entertainment on their stage. Yes, stage. They clear out the middle area of the dining room to create a dance floor for salsa dancing. Which we hear is already a hit! Their menu is comprised of Tex-Mex and Salvadorian dishes. We opted for the Salvadorian route and had their Salmon Costeno and Pescado Acajutla. Both are served with a hefty portion of grilled vegetables and a bit of rice while the salmon is served with an addition of honey plantains and the Pescado includes a side of refried beans. The marinated salmon is cooked in a banana leaf, comes served atop said leaf drizzled with an ancho chili pepper sauce. This isn’t a spicy sauce but more of a smoky flavor. The Pescado is a tender tilapia fish fillet pan seared with garlic, butter and served with sautéed onion mix. Two very different flavor profiles but equally good. We couldn’t leave without dessert. Their tres leches has a subtle coconut addition that works without being overwhelming. It’s almost hard to say where the flavor comes from, the frosting or the cake itself. Speaking of the cake, it’s a wet cake that isn’t drenched or falling apart into mush. It’s a solid presentation plus all the balance of a great tres leches. Gloria’s rises to the occasion and surprises with good food, attentive service plus entertainment.
By Beatrice Allen
12126 WESTHEIMER RD., #98
www.portugallia.com | 281.497.8012 | CUISINE PORTUGUESE
Portugallia, what a nice surprise. At first the location seems a bit questionable (frankly I’m not a fan of restaurants on the edge of a buzzing street), but my skepticism was quickly put to rest the moment I walked through the door. The space is tastefully decorated, nothing too high-end but not basic either, and very clean. A rounded glass wall separates the main dining from the private party room, so you get privacy without being cut off from the action. Tall waterfalls frame the outdoor patio, clearly disguising the roar of Westheimer traffic. Palm trees and terracotta pots bursting with blooming fuchsia flowers create a lively surrounding. I was expecting Brazilian fare considering there has been a Churrascaria boom in recent years, but I was pleasantly surprised that the menu consisted of authentic Portuguese cuisine. Trying something new can be a bit intimidating for some, but don’t be discouraged; the menu offers plenty of familiar items such as Sopa de Legumes (veggie soup) and Filet Mignon com Langosta (filet mignon w/grilled lobster tail and mashed potatoes). For starters I ordered the Mista de salgados, a sampling of Pasteis de bacalhau (fried cod fish cake w/ potatoes and parsley), Rissol de Camarão (shrimp stuffed pastries), Pasteis de massa tenra (beef stuffed pastries) and Croquetes de carne (mixed ground beef lightly breaded and fried). Winner of that round was the fried cod fish cake, by far! Just keep in mind that portions are small and only includes one of each, not ideal for sharing. If you are a chorizo fan, I suggest you ask for the Linguiça (not on the menu), a leaner chorizo-style sausage packed with flavor. You’ll want to eat them all! For the main course I opted for the Frango assado á Portuguesa, a perfectly seasoned and grilled to crispy perfection half chicken (yes, it’s a lot!), served with grilled veggies, ruffled fries and a crisp house salad. Doggie bag, please!
By Pixie Ibañez
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