houston & Ike
I knew not to expect devastation but here in downtown Houston it's hard to find any real evidence of Hurricane Ike, which swept through this part of Texas just a month ago. Leaves on the trees on Discovery Green look a little raggedy, and the O is out on top the Hilton logo on my hotel, but otherwise you have to really look to find any signs of the epic storm that came to town. I'm here for a meeting of the Society of American Travel Writers which offers workshops with some of the top folks in the business so I can get up to speed on video, podcasts and other skills I need to stay current in this industry. On Monday I'll spend the day at Space Center Houston and NASA/Johnson Space Center to gather information for stories I expect to write about the space program's 50th (can it be?) anniversary this year.
"You'll see signs of the hurricane when you visit the Space Center," said Cinda Ward, who was offering tacos from a flashy red truck opposite the hotel. It's Armando's gourmet taco truck with a fully equipped kitchen inside. She and her husband Armando have er, HAD, two area restaurants besides the truck, but one of them got wiped out in the hurricane, she said. "Our Houston place had its generators switch on right after the storm came through so we were the first restaurant up and running." They served everyone their signature queso falmeado tortillas while people were dealing with the hurricane's aftermath. Those homemade flour tortilla with mozzarella cheese looked great.
But I'd already eaten, having stopped at Orchard during a lunchtime stroll through Discovery Green. Surrounded by floor to ceiling windows on three sides, it affords wonderful views of the park. I was intrigued by a menu which seemed to offer a twist on comfort food...It's been years since I've had deviled eggs and my cholesterol is OK so I ordered that appetizer. Six hardcooked egg halves cames lined up on the plate with mashed and mayonnaised yolks artfully piped in the hollow whites. A tiny slice of chorizo sausage and a dab of sun dried tomato and olive tapenade topped each yolk. Yum!. And just about perfect to hold me over to dinner.