Category Archives: GastroPub

Moon Tower Inn

Austin is the one city in Texas which seems not part of Texas – its liberal, its dynamic, it does not adhere to the surrounding cultural norms in a way that does not offend those who do. Hence the city’s tag line ‘Keep Austin Weird’. To a large extent Austin has been successful in preserving its weirdness.

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Apparently a seed from Austin’s mindset has escaped and traveled the 200 miles to firmly plant itself in the soil of Houston’s night spots, because Moon Tower Inn is weird, at least for Houston. I hope this trend continues.

Lets check the weird aspects:

  • Located in what is mostly an industrial park in Houston’s EaDo neighbourhood
  • All outdoor seating
  • No website
  • A mostly wild-game hotdog menu
  • Huge, mostly unknown but appealing on-tap beer offerings
  • Crowd defies categorization
  • Unapologetic 45-minute wait for food. Signs will warn you of this, so don’t bitch or you’ll get some well-deserved attitude in return
  • They run out of beer and food items randomly – have a contingency plan
  • Bathroom signs – you are either a taco or corn dog – figure it out

That said, I first tried Moon Tower Inn soon after it opened since their wild game hotdogs became legendary on Chow. They are incredible. If you are not sure what to order, just ask the bartenders to pick something out. They are personable, knowledgeable and will Q&A until they can recommend something you’ll enjoy.

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The Lamb Dog is my second favourite to the Coon Dog but the boudin-based Coon Dog is almost always out of stock by the time my late ass arrives. The Lamb Dog is extremely flavourful and spicy with what seems to be a little hot pepper. I had mine with feta and onion this time, one friend called ‘chefs choice’ for his Lamb Dog and was happy with the Jalapenos and ‘special sauce’. Good luck trying to figure out whats in the special sauce, it tastes a little like catsup and black pepper – whatever it is,  you’ll enjoy. The dogs come on a pretzel bun which is out of this world good; a little yeasty, a little crispy, a little soft, no salt.

Music at MTI swings wildly around the genres. This time when we arrived it was metal for the first hour then switched to early 90’s hip hop. I had to use Shazam to figure out the artists – mostly it was Will Smith during his Fresh Prince days, with a side of  Beasties, Dr. Dre and Young MC. A hilarious but enjoyable time capsule.

Contrary to what you might hear, the neighbourhood around MTI is not that bad. Its not a place I would want to wander miles solo at 2am but I wouldn’t give a second thought to walking solo 2 blocks back to my car at midnight. About parking , street parking  along Ennis, Canal and Commerce is widely available and not an issue, however do be mindful of the no parking signs, which are clearly visible and in red font.

If you are looking for a place to roll up as-is, have a few incredible beers, a noteworthy hotdog and relax solo or with your crowd, you just can’t beat MTI.

Drinks: May 2014

Moon Tower Inn | 3004 Canal | HTX 77003

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Hearsay

I’ve been to Hearsay many times but as one of my friends noted, I’ve never written it up. With yet another farewell dinner, the timing seemed opportune.

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Atmosphere
I love this building because its one of few still standing in Houston built in the 1800’s. Two-story, shotgun with a bird’s nest overlooking the crowd and through to the ebb and flow of downtown’s nightlife on Travis St.

The crowd at Hearsay changes drastically depending on when you go. Weekday happy hours can be heavy on the O+G suits. Weekends are far more casual with typically medium-sized groups of 30-somethings out celebrating some event. This time I counted three good-sized birthday parties, which is something considering the space can barely seat 40.

Music is typically of the 80’s-90’s variety. As the crowd arrives, they turn up the bass simultaneously with turning down the lights. If you want to avoid the club vibe, its best to be done by 9p.

Food
IMG_1975Consistently good. Typically I get the Seared Yellowfin Salad since I love the Asian-inspired dressing and I haven’t been able to reproduce the exact flavour at home. This time I went for the Sauteed Snapper which was a total win. Sauteed snapper sitting atop roasted garlic mash, a liberally applied lemon cream sauce with sauteed crawfish accompanied. There was too much sauce, but there always is here in Houston; easy enough to push aside. The lemon and garlic worked well together, as always, and also enhanced mildly sweet flavour of the moist, flaky snapper.

Service
Great, as always. We sat upstairs which is problematic for the server since the kitchen is downstairs. But he never failed to get drinks up in 5 minutes and the apps and mains came out within 20, well paced to allow conversation.

Price
Medium to high but good value. Apps average $10, mains $20-40

Lunch: April 2014

Hearsay| 218 Travis | HTX 77002