Last weekend we went on a Houston Culinary Tour. This one was Seafood, with Bryan Caswell (Reef, El Real, and Little Bigs), and Levi Goode (Goode Co. Barbecue, Goode Co. Taqueria, Goode Co. Seafood, and Armadillo Palace). Started three years ago, the intimate tours feature popular chefs, and highlight Houston’s culinary diversity.
A large part of the fun of the tours is the chefs. Bryan Caswell and Levi Goode, both avid fisherman and Houston culinary standouts, were excellent tour hosts. It was fascinating to hear them share their knowledge of the Gulf Coast seafood industry and Houston’s culinary history.
Bryan Caswell and Levi Goode
We boarded the limo/bus, and headed to our first stop at Gilhooley’s in Dickinson.
Now we’re talkin’!
We were greeted with a bucket of beer:
Which was followed by barbecued oysters dripping with garlic butter:
While at Gilhooley’s, Chef Caswell entertained us with stories from his recent trip to Viet Nam. Looking forward to seeing new dishes on the menu at Reef influenced by his travels.
Next stop was an interesting tour of an oyster boat near Misho’s Oyster Co. in San Leon.
Look at the mountain of oyster shells next to the processing plant:
From there we headed to Bubba’s Shrimp Palace in San Leon.
Our group sat on the patio with a view of the water:
The restaurant is popular for its all-you-can-eat fried shrimp and catfish:
The VERY popular fried shrimp lady
But wait, what’s that at the bottom of the menu? Bubba must be crazy?
The taxidermy decorating the restaurant suggested that Bubba might be a little wacky:
When we got back on the bus, Chef Caswell told us that the snapper we were served was actually tilapia, which pissed him off. So is Bubba crazy? He must be, passing off tilapia as snapper to Houston’s preeminent seafood chef. In any event, it made for a very informative talk by Chef Caswell about a large problem in the seafood industry.
From there we went to Rose’s Seafood Market in Seabrook.
Shrimp, shrimp, and more shrimp
Chef Caswell and other local chefs have received quite a bit of attention for serving bycatch–fish caught unintentionally by fishermen intending to catch other fish–at their restaurants. At Rose’s I saw something that I would label “bye-bye catch”
Goo fish? Bye bye.
Just kidding. Goo fish is a nickname for a type of drum. Despite its name, it’s probably quite tasty. With my mouth watering as Levi Goode told me how to make New Orleans-style oven barbecued shrimp, I bought some shrimp–and some lump crab meat–to bring home. Rose’s was interesting, but I don’t think I’d make a special trip there just to buy seafood.
The last stop on the tour was to meet up with the founders of the Shrimp Boat Projects at their shrimp boat.
I have to admit — I didn’t get the Shrimp Boat Projects.
All in all, it was a fun day. This is the third tour we’ve done (about 1 a year), and if you are lucky enough to be able to get tickets (only 16 per tour), I highly recommend it. We learned something new on each tour, had a great time, and got to meet some of Houston’s top chefs.
Passing by the refineries on the ride back to Houston.