The hubster and I were having lunch in the medical center after some testing last week. Our daughter works nearby at the zoo, so we gave her a little ringy dingy to see if she had time to come out and play. Or rather, as it turned out, break some pita bread.

We deferred to her when it came to the selection of the lunch spot. While Katie has taught us both much about navigating the Yelp app, we still don’t trust ourselves picking out places to eat. After all, we live and breathe mostly in the ‘burbs and only stick our right big toe on occasion into the big city. And don’t get me started on finding an available parking spot.

If the truth were told, her parents tend to ignore the number of Yelp reviews an eatery has appended and focus on the number of “stars.” We wind up in a dive every time that Marvin Zindler would have condemned if he was still alive. Lesson still not learned … an eatery with five stars and one review should be avoided at all costs!

Katie excitedly chose a new Fadi’s location, a Mediterranean buffet serving gyros and baklava and it includes a unique salad bar. I give it five stars! It was certainly exotic by parental standards. We really gotta get out more!

Not certain if it was the interesting cuisine or the three people around the table, but lots of interesting topics flapped their wings around the table that day. Halfway through lunch, I casually mentioned a new downtown dining hall reviewed by local, big-city food critic Alison Cook. Even though I probably have never entered a restaurant she reviewed, it is so interesting to read Cook’s take on a place. It could be her writing style that intrigues me. My favorite reviews are on Friday when she writes about a burger. Have you heard about the burger “ooze” factor? Obviously, it involves juicy stuff running down your chin while partaking, which it turns out, is a very good thing.

“I actually met Alison Cook a bunch of years ago when I worked for a private school,” Katie said.

I never knew that. Turns out that while doing some social media work for the school, Katie came up with an idea to do a take on “Iron Chef.” The event was supposed to have students come up with a dish using a secret ingredient, which she thought might have been either maple syrup or marshmallows. One of the judges was a chef – and foodie Cook was also in attendance.

“The event was pretty much a disaster with the students not being able to handle the stress. My vision was certainly not the reality. Let’s just say it was not a pretty sight,” said Katie.

Fast forward several years and Katie was now married and eating at a new chic sushi establishment with her hubby. It wasn’t long before Katie noticed Cook at a nearby table. I feel certain Chad thought his wife had fallen off her rocking chair when she went right over to chat.

“Turns out Alison remembered me from several years before and made the most interesting comment,” Katie told us. “Alison told me the “Iron Chef” event changed her perspective about how she looks at food. I think it clicked with her how one ingredient can be successfully used in so many interesting and tasty ways.”

It totally was not the reaction Katie expected. It just goes to show how unexpected possibilities like breaking pita bread at lunch, or a funny story about a secret ingredient, are always excellent reasons for having lunch with your daughter.


Dixie Frantz is a Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist for the past 22 years. Email comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also visit Dixie’s blog at

Dixie Frantz
Author: Dixie FrantzWebsite: http://www.lifesloosethreads.comEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I am a long-time Houstonian in love with writing, blogging, travel, quilting and reading. I have written “You Gotta Laugh,” a humorous newspaper column, for the past 21 years. The columns showcase the funny, amusing and sometimes touching slices of life from the suburbs. My writing credentials include more than 430 humorous columns, features and travel stories for The Tribune Newspaper.

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