The Houston Chowhound Group
Jenny, the blogger at I'm Never Full, has done a remarkable job in a few months of putting together an active group of Houston foodies through the Houston Chowhound Group. The group has online discussions. It also promotes food events. These are a fun way to meet like-minded people.
Randy Rucker dinner
For example, I learned on Chowhound about a dinner this Thursday to be prepared by Randy Rucker, formerly of laidback manor fame. You can see the menu and learn information about the event over at Randy's site. Although it is not a Chowhound Houston event, a lot of Chowhound Houston people will be there.
Hot Pot at Sinh Sinh
Yesterday, a small group of Chowhound folks -- including famous ethnic food expert Jay Francis -- went to Sinh Sinh for hot pot. (Jay is the author of some of the most important documents ever written about the Houston food scene, including the Economical Guide to Ethnic Dining in Houston and the Guide to Ethnic Grocery Stores and Market Areas of Houston.)
The idea of hot pot is simple. The table opens up to reveal a gas stove. Servers bring a broth bowl with two sides -- one a spicy broth and one not spicy. Then they bring raw food to cook in the pot. The raw ingredients include spinach, mung bean noodles, tofu, eggs, beef, chicken, tripe, shrimp, mussels, fish, fish balls, and squid. Chili paste is served on the side.
We also ordered some skewers of live shrimp. Watching the live shrimp flop around on skewers may be disturbing to some. But the fresh shrimp taste great.
After the ingredients have cooked in the pot, the broth absorbs the flavors and is complex and delicious.
Hot pot is a lot of fun with a group. At Sinh Sinh, a hot pot for 2 serves at least 4 people. Hot pot also probably makes more sense in cold weather. Yesterday hit a record high of 99 degrees. I worked up a sweat during our lunch.
This is what it looked like: