Friday, September 25, 2009

Ruby Tequila's

Ruby Tequila's
7748 FM 1960 West
Houston, TX 77070
2616 Louisiana
Houston, TX 77006

About a month ago I started to hear a lot of buzz about a new restaurant opening up in town and luckily one of the two locations were opening up near me. After a long day of running errands I decided to take my mom out for dinner. What a better place to take your mother than the new place in town so we headed to Ruby Tequilas. I was really excited to try this place mainly because I had yet to hear anyone else talk about it. When you walk in, there is a clearly visible sign that states “No Microwaves In Use” with a nice radioactive symbol. I guess they really want to push this point that everything here is made fresh. The d├ęcor of the place is nice. It’s very colorful and there are painted quotes all around the room. I will admit I really like the bar setup. They have a nice little patio and you can access the bar from either inside or outside. The doors happened to be open when we arrived which was nice but unfortunately this brought flies. The waitress brought out some chips and salsa while we looked over the menu and assured us that everything at Ruby Tequilas is made fresh. Nothing is premade and there are no microwaves in the building. I can say it felt good to know that. There really isn’t anything worse than not so fresh Mexican food. Another added bonus was their .99 cent draft beers and $1.99 margaritas. I was kind of expecting a long wait for the food since they made sure everything was made fresh. After about fifteen minutes of fly swatting, the sizzling platter of beef and chicken fajitas with shrimp, ribs and mushrooms was being brought to the table. I was pretty impressed by the time it took to bring the food out. The aroma was great, you could smell the parade of flavors that you were about to indulge. A side plate of rice and beans, and another with taco fixings made this meal complete. I couldn’t wait for it to cool down. I started to prepare the tortilla for stuffing while burning my hand on the skillet. The beef fajita was very tender and was cooked to a perfect medium well. The chicken was tender and juicy but there were a couple of strips that were not fully cooked. I couldn’t find anything bad about the shrimp, very tender and not over cooked. They were seasoned in what I could only consider tequila and lime. The ribs were literally falling off the bone. Its hard to describe the seasonings on the ribs because of the light barbeque sauce. It made me think of a mild ancho or chipotle blend of spices. While the beef and chicken fajitas were good they just didn’t seem to blow me away. Unfortunately, this place seemed like a very Americanized Tex-Mex restaurant. While it was good it just didn’t seem too authentic. While I’ll admit everything was fresh I just felt the food really lacked the cojones to be real Tex-Mex. The food was good and I would make a return visit but if I was planning to show friends Tex-Mex food this wouldn’t be my first choice. Granted this place has only been open for two weeks I think after a couple of months they will get into a pattern and maybe the food will have a little more presence. I also believe that if they are going to keep the bay windows of the bar open to the outside that they should invest in some type of fly traps. I could tell you how aggravating it was to enjoy your food while your fighting off four flies. In the end Ruby could use a little work but her tequila is great!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Railean Rum

Railean Rum
The "Original" Texas Rum

This year has to be one of the hottest and driest summers I can ever remember. It seems like no matter what you do you can’t beat the heat. I know it’s not very manly but I have found myself craving frozen tropical drinks. While BBQ’ing in this heat a cold beer didn’t seem to do the trick anymore, so I headed to a liquor store to pick up a bottle of rum and mixers to liven up any party. This is when I came across a rum that was new to me. Since it is known I support everything from Texas, I thought I would give this rum a shot. Railean Rum was a major hit. This is exactly what I had been searching for all summer to quench my thirst. With its mellow flavor and clean finish it added just the special kick to daiquiris and coladas. I had to know more about this hidden gem so I took a short drive south to the coastal town of San Leon, TX. Owner and distiller Kelly Railean was eager to show me around. I was amazed that the rum I was drinking the week before was coming from such a small garage. Off a dusty dirt road Railean Rum is distilling some of the best Texas rum that I have had the pleasure of tasting. It was so hard to believe a product as fine as this could be produced on such a small scale but I think that is what gives this rum so much character. Kelly and her husband are the only real employees and they are both distilling and bottling everything by hand. They use only the finest ingredients to make such an enjoyable rum. From imported sugar to high grade molasses and their in-house filtered water, Railean Rum is sure to use only the best for their rum and the proof is in the product. After showing me around I was lucky enough to taste the finished product. To me rum has always been used as a mixer but once I sampled the rum I was instantly corrected and discovered that Railean Rum was something you could admire even on the rocks. Railean makes three different styles of rum: The Texas White, Reserve XO and the Small Cask Reserve. For all you spiced fans they are working on a recipe to blow your mind. The Texas White was a smooth rum with semi sweet hints of vanilla and caramel. The flavor was not over bearing and it quickly became my choice for a nice pina colada. The Reserve XO was a little on the finer side. Aged in charred oak barrels gave this rum a light smoky caramel flavor and was very mellow on the taste buds. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on the Small Cask Reserve then you are in luck. This beautifully crafted rum is slowly aged to give it a brilliant color and a taste so smooth you would imagine you were sipping on a fine Scotch. Soft hints of the charred wood and mellow sweet tones make this a one of a kind rum. They say everything in Texas is bigger and better and Railean keeps that tradition alive with their delicious and intoxicating rums. If you haven’t had a chance to sample Railean then, my friend you are missing out. Send them an email or give them a shout; they are always willing to show you around. After you try their rum it’s hard to want anything else. So next time you’re out in the heat bbq’ing, pick up a bottle of Railean Rum and beat the heat with a frozen treat!