Takeout Thai from Houston’s Street to Kitchen

As this coronavirus crisis continues, we continue to support our local restaurant industry any way we can, including by ordering takeout.

Over in the East End just off Harrisburg sits a takeout spot you’ll want to get to know asap, the sizzling new Thai concept Street to Kitchen. It comes from Thai native and chef Benchawan “G” Jabthong Painter — whose prior work in the kitchens at SaltAir and Theodore Rex put her name on the culinary map — and her husband Graham; and though it’s only had about two-plus months under its belt and it opened in the middle of a pandemic, it has quickly garnered fans across the city.

Consider this writer one of them. I’d been following its Instagram account and it was already on my hit list before I realized I needed to get out of my Friday night pizza or ramen rut (don’t worry Romano’s and Ramen Tatsu-Ya, I’ll be back). So on a recent, rainy Friday, my husband and I finally decided to check it out.

You can pick up chef Benchawan “G” Jabthong Painter's real deal Thai eats straight from the drive-through window.EXPAND

You can pick up chef Benchawan “G” Jabthong Painter’s real deal Thai eats straight from the drive-through window.

Photo by Kirsten Gilliam

The restaurant’s operations are currently takeout and delivery only (with plans to open a dining space in the future), so you can order online and pick up the goods through a drive-through window or get delivery via UberEats and DoorDash. Note: if you order via the DoorDash delivery directly through Street to Kitchen’s website and not from the app itself, it helps the restaurant avoid the large commissions typically charged by delivery services.

We ordered delivery, and around an hour later the eats arrived well packed and still hot. Veggie spring rolls ($5 for four), teeny numbers packed with cabbage, carrots, shiitake mushrooms and glass noodles, miraculously managed to stay crisp on the ride over.

And the pad Thai ($14.99), ooooph this pad Thai...it is easily my favorite in Houston. Here, it’s made with plump Gulf shrimp (not chicken, though a vegetarian version is available), with toothsome rice noodles, a banging scratchmade sauce that rocks a hint of sweetness, what feels like more than your fair share of egg, and little side cups of ground peanuts and dried chiles so you can top and spice as you please.

We also tacked on two orders of Street to Kitchen’s soon-to-be claim to fame, its Thai-style fried chicken ($7.49 for a two piece box), available by the two- or three-piece box and served with fragrant spiced rice and either spicy Thai chili cilantro or sweet chili sauce. That cilantro sauce packed a nice heat and brightness to cut through the fat of the deeply crunchy, beautifully seasoned fried bird.

Turns out I ordered way too much for two people and a toddler, as each two-piece box of chicken rocked a seriously colossal breast and chunky thigh, and the portions of rice and noodles were a nice size.

To be honest I think I plan

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Houston’s new botanical garden opens

It’s a loss for golfers but a big win for plant lovers. After decades in the planning stage, the Houston Botanic Garden finally opened September 18 on the former Glenbrook Golf Course in southeast Houston. The garden serves as yet another draw for locals and visitors to explore Sims Bayou, a watershed area near Hobby Airport that already includes miles of walking and biking trails and countless places to launch canoes.

a garden with greenery and white flowers

“The garden will showcase international and native plant collections, educational classes for children and adults, and provide engaging programming that will embrace the garden and natural settings,” said Justin Lacey, director of communications and community engagement at Houston Botanic Garden. The international firm West 8 designed and managed the overall garden project, with Harvey Cleary Builders as the general contractor. Houston’s Clark Condon designed the garden’s planting and soil, with installation by Landscape Art.

Related: Failed Palm Springs golf course is being repurposed

a garden of rocks and succulents

Building a garden

By the time Nancy Thomas, past president of the Garden Club of America, and the late Kay Crooker formed the nonprofit Houston Botanic Garden in 2002, they’d already been talking about it for years. The two women dreamed of a massive botanic garden that would rival those of other metropolitan cities.

But like all massive projects, the garden took a lot of planning and plenty of money. It wasn’t until 2015 that the Houston City Council unanimously approved a plan for the garden to take a 30-year lease on Glenbrook Golf Course. Garden supporters had to raise $20 million by the end of 2017 to claim the city-owned property.

The garden has been built from the ground up. First, the garden team analyzed how long-term golfing had impacted the soil. Maintaining perfect-looking greens meant decades of intensive mowing and regularly applying pesticides and herbicides. In 2018, the horticulture staff quit applying chemicals to the golf course and cut the Bermuda turf very short. They tilled to a depth of about six inches, added compost, and seeded the land with cover crops like tillage radish and white clover.

In 2019, gardeners worked on the drainage system and specially blended soils for the garden’s different areas. Planning for tropical, sub-tropical and arid plants, the gardeners sought the right mix to keep all the flora happy. The staff’s 30-year master plan includes conserving water, promoting biodiversity and providing habitat for butterflies, birds and other wildlife. Garden designers integrated the plans into the surrounding Sims Bayou, allowing for the flooding and intense weather events so prevalent in Houston.

palm-like trees in a garden display

Themed gardens

The botanic garden will be organized into smaller themed gardens. Landscape architects picked about 85% of the plants showcased because they grow easily in Houston. The architects hope that this may inspire visitors to up their home gardening efforts.

“In one area, we are assessing the rate of success for simply spreading seed, versus spreading seed and compost,” Joy Columbus, the garden’s vice president for horticulture, wrote in an article about the garden’s opening. “In another, we

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Houston’s First Botanic Garden Opens as a Museum of Plants

Houston’s First Botanic Garden Opens as a Museum of Plants

Dutch landscape architecture and design firm West 8 has unveiled the first phase of Houston’s first ever Botanic Garden in Texas. Designed to be a “museum of plants”, the project features evolving collections to inform scientists, tourists and horticulturalists alike. Conceived over twenty years ago by locals, the project has been developed on an island in the city’s expansive Bayou system.

Courtesy of West 8, Barrett DohertyCourtesy of West 8, Barrett DohertyCourtesy of West 8, Barrett DohertyCourtesy of West 8, Barrett Doherty+ 8

Courtesy of West 8, Barrett Doherty
Courtesy of West 8, Barrett Doherty

The Houston Botanic Garden opened along the Sims Channel as part of a larger plan that will encompass 132 acres for learning and discovery. The garden includes outdoor gallery spaces that feature tropical, sub-tropical, and arid plants from around the world. Future phases will feature expansive outdoor spaces, and an open lawn for day-to-day use, as well as community events like movies, small concerts, private functions, and food festivals. It will also include a future conservatory building on site.

Courtesy of West 8, Barrett Doherty
Courtesy of West 8, Barrett Doherty

“The intent of the site design is to seek balance in all aspects, from planting and soils, through topography and materials—the careful juxtaposition of order and chaos that is at the heart of enduring gardens,” said Donna Bridgeman-Rossi, PLA, director of implementation, West 8 NY. “With this being Houston’s first garden of this kind, it was exciting to work with a client group that not only expects best practice but is open to the complexities required to push status quo into new territories or specifications.”

Courtesy of West 8, Barrett Doherty
Courtesy of West 8, Barrett Doherty

As the team notes, the Houston Botanic Garden’s in-house horticulture team worked alongside the consulting team to develop a mechanism to passively rehabilitate the clay soils of the bayou waterways through a series of sacrificial cover crops and experimental spore treatments. The team also created a structured medium to support a cross-section of plants from around the world.

Courtesy of West 8, Barrett Doherty
Courtesy of West 8, Barrett Doherty

Showcasing the biodiversity that thrives along the Texas Gulf Coast, the garden was designed in collaboration with Texas-based Clark Condon Associates, Overland Partners, and Walter P. Moore Engineers. The garden was constructed under the direction of General Contractors Harvey Builders.

News via West 8

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