Pork Gyoza

Here we gyoz-again.

In our last post, while discussing the most rockin’ sushi rolls around Corpus Christi, we also mentioned our order of deep-fried pork gyoza. Curious about what goes into the Japanese dumpling-making process, we decided to do some research of our own and headed out to the store.

Making it happen

The Process

For the most part, we followed this recipe from Budget Bytes. The best way we can describe this process is not horribly complicated but not easy, either. The most difficult part is the wrapping, so don’t be deterred if it takes you a few tries before you get it right. Our biggest tip (or smallest, depending on how you look at it) is to put a very small amount of meat mixture into the center of the dumpling. This will make wrapping easier and also ensure that you can cook the meat all the way through in the pan without burning the outside shell of the gyoza.

Making the magic happen
More difficult than it looks!

The Results

While we can’t speak to authenticity and won’t pretend to, we will say that this was such a fun process and these gyoza turned out delicious. They had the prime level of crunch and it was so hard to not pop ten of these in our mouths at a time. The filling was tasty and it would be super easy to adjust to your specific tastes. These are, dare we say, better than those from Rock ‘n Roll? Get your favorite hoisin sauce, fish sauce, or soy sauce, and go to town!

The journey to the crunch

What Should You Know Before You Make Pork Gyoza?

  • Some of these ingredients may not be the easiest to find at typical grocery stores. We suggest going to an Asian supermarket for the best quality ingredients, primed and perfect for making gyoza.
  • A quick tip on the wrapping process before you get frustrated: YouTube! There are plenty of gyoza-wrapping videos, but this top result is easy to follow and also has text directions.
  • Pre-made gyoza wrappers are great for the novices like us, but if you’re already a gyoza-making pro, why not step it up a notch? Make your own wrappers with this recipe.
  • If you can’t find round wrappers specifically for making gyoza, don’t fret. The larger square ones will work just fine; all you need to do is use a biscuit cutter for the perfectly-sized circles.
A lineup we can get behind

When Should You Make Pork Gyoza?

We fully recommend making gyoza on a solo date night! Here’s what we mean by that. Gyoza are technically a “small bite,” so an appetizer or snack, and they do take up some pretty good time if you’re not accustomed to making them. Therefore, here’s our idea: treat yourself to some creative, culinary alone time and enjoy the slow, steady process of putting these gyoza together. Pour yourself a glass of Japanese plum wine, order an entree, and be rewarded with your creation.

Once you are accustomed to the process? Making these will fly by and be the perfect bite to take to parties. Skip the veggie tray and bring an entire tray of gyoza!

Rock on, gyoza lovers

The Tunes

Still going strong with f&f 2: sushi & gyoza. These soft rock tunes are the ideal pairing to your solo date. Stay tuned for our next playlist!

Rock & Rolls Sushi Lounge

These rolls really rock.

In case you couldn’t tell by our blog name, we love a good alliteration and a good ampersand. That’s not to even mention our love for a good theme, and Rock & Rolls Sushi Lounge has all three. A strong start to our review, to be sure.

Lounge is the perfect word for this restaurant. Rock & Rolls Sushi Lounge is small and dark, but also very cool. Classic rock music plays while an Elvis statue silently rocks on in the corner. The center of the establishment is the bar around which the rest of the restaurant is situated.

The whole shebang

The Fizz

The fizz options at Rock & Rolls really knock it out of the park. We tried two cocktails–the Bad Company Martini and the Purple Rain. The Bad Company consists of your choice of cucumber or watermelon juice, 1876 vodka, lemon juice, mint, and a chili salt rim. Even non-martini drinkers will die for this delicious cocktail. It’s refreshing and the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, not to mention SO photogenic. The Purple Rain is Empress 1908 Gin, Chase elderflower liqueur, lavender, simple syrup, lemon juice, and a splash of champagne. This is a unique and equally-delicious cocktail that’s heavy on the lavender. These cocktails really go well with any dish, which is why they pair so well with a sushi lounge of such unique offerings. 

Giddy for Gyoza

The Fork

Okay, let’s talk courses. This is a sushi lounge, but that isn’t to say that Rock and Rolls neglects their starters. This go-round, we ordered the spicy miso soup and the gyoza. The miso soup is a classic miso soup, plus. Plus sriracha, plus simbal, plus delicious hotness. When it comes to the gyoza, you will get a choice of fried or steamed. Note that the fry in this scenario isn’t just a pan fry as you might expect, it’s an actual deep fry. We learned this after ordering but were not disappointed in the least.

We also ordered a California roll, for comparison’s sake

Now, for what you’ve all been waiting for. The sushi. We’ve already mentioned balance in the fizz section, but want to reiterate that here. Rock & Rolls is great at balancing flavor profiles in one dish. We ordered three rolls–the Rhapsody of Bohemia, the Light My Fire, and the Californication. The Calfornication was different than expected but very good. The fried spicy jalapeño rings really add to this roll. The two others, however, were the star of this meal.The secret to the Rhapsody of Bohemia is a strawberry topping, which sounds strange but pairs excellently with the spice of the rest of the roll. Then, there was the Light My Fire, a goat cheese and jalapeño concoction. Let’s just say, we ate the entire meal and then ordered another Light My Fire roll. So. good.

And light my fire it did

We topped this absolute monstrosity of a meal with tempura ice cream. The batter could be thinner but the cake on the bottom of the ice cream was soft and tasty. We likely won’t be ordering this again, mostly because we would rather save the room for more sushi!

Things to Know Before You Go:

  • Parking: We’re going to be blunt about this. Parking sucks. It’s a tiny parking lot for a tiny shopping center with five other businesses in it. Try to carpool if going with a group or be prepared to park in the grass.
  • Reservations: We recommend making a reservation, especially for a busy night like Friday or Saturday. We called the morning of on a Saturday and were able to get one, albeit not at our perfect time, so the earlier the better.
  • Don’t knock it ‘till you try it. Rock & Rolls has several unique flavor combinations on their list. Ask your server for recommendations based on your palette.
  • Sharing is caring! Try the widest variation of sushi by sharing rolls with your companions. 
There’s a cake hidden under all that heaven

When Should You Make Your Own Trip to Rock & Rolls?

We think Rock ‘n Rolls makes a great date night spot, but an already-in-a-relationship date night, not first-date-never-met date night. While food and cocktails are exquisite, it can get loud which can put a damper on conversation. As we said, the space isn’t huge, so we would refrain from taking huge groups unless you plan ahead so they can set the space up. Considering Mindy did go there before senior year homecoming in high school, though, it’s certainly an option. 

The Tunes

Finally, we can release f&f2: sushi & gyoza to the world! These chill rock jams are the ideal pairing for a plate of sushi and a cocktail. You’ll also notice several live recordings on the list. Covid has taken its toll and we are READY for live music again. In the meantime, though, these live covers will do the trick! Enjoy.

Muse Bistro

A brunch to inspire the artist in you.

It feels gooood to be back. Between both of us starting new jobs in the last few months, making some difficult personal decisions regarding the future, preparing for a big move, and Texas freezing over last month, things have been hectic in the Fizz & Fork universe, to say the least. We are finally back to regularly-scheduled programming, though, and nothing feels more normal and right than sitting down to write about a new restaurant for you to enjoy.

Sorry to get so meta on y’all there for a minute. We know why you’re here, so let’s dig right in.

Simple, but it stands out from the crowd

Muse Bistro is Corpus Christi’s newest and hottest spot for “brunch, bites, and booze on the Bay,” as their tagline puts it. The bistro just opened up back in December 2020 and is already making waves on the Corpus Christi dining scene. The restaurant is unassuming on the outside with a simple white storefront and black logo, but gorgeous on the inside. If we were to describe the decor, it would be French bohemian–lots of greenery, rattan, and marble countertops. Even more impressive than the decor? The food, which is mostly brunch with a Cajun twist.

Have you ever seen anyone happier to be holding a guava mimosa?

The Fizz

We started off brunch in the usual way–with mimosas! Muse has carafes of mimosas featuring cranberry, grapefruit, or orange juice. While those are relatively standard, what is not is their standalone guava mimosa,  which, of course, is what we ordered. This drink was heavy on the guava flavor so if that’s your thing, you’ll absolutely love it. It’s a very unique twist on the mimosa. Besides mimosas, Muse has a few other signature cocktails, like “The Bayside” and “The Muse,” which we look forward to trying on our next trip!

Itty bitty waffles

The Fork

The menu at Muse is not expansive, but in our estimation that is because the limited things they do, they do right. We ordered the Papas Bravas, Southwest Avocado Toast, French Toast, and Mini Chicken and Waffle Kebab. Let’s start with our “tapa,” the Papas Bravas. We had something similar to this when we went to MAD that spurred on this choice, and we weren’t disappointed. The sauce is incredible, with plenty of creamy cheese and a dash of spice. The avocado toast was served on very crispy bread and among the toppings were grilled shrimp and an unexpected jalapeño slaw that added a great texture and spice. This dish was filling without being heavy.

Jalapeño slaw. Don’t knock it ’till you try it.

Now, onto the sweet side of things! The French Toast was a classic French Toast. What we found to be the most unique about it was the maple syrup, which tasted like it was mixed with honey. Yum. Then, the pièce de résistance of the whole experience, and what Muse Bistro has come to be known for so far–the Mini Chicken and Waffle Kebab. This dish is not only adorable, but it tastes amazing. The tiny waffles are crunchy and precious, with the same honeyed maple syrup as the french toast. The real star of the show, though, is the fried chicken. These small chicken bites are fried with Cajun spices that are unreal and so flavorful. Definitely recommend! Next on our list? Trying the mini Fruity Pebbles waffles.

Can’t go wrong with a classic French toast.

Things to Know Before You Go:

  • Because Muse’s focus is on brunch and bites, they are open a limited number of days and hours of the week. Brunch is from 11:00 a.m. through 3 p.m. and evening tapas are served from 5 p.m. to close on every day they are open, which is Thursday–Sunday.
  • Parking: Muse is located on Starr street in downtown Corpus, which is, *ahem* annoying to park in. However, you should be able to find a metered spot close to the restaurant or a free spot just a couple short blocks away.
  • This restaurant is not set up with a typical wait staff ordering situation. Instead, customers walk up to the main bar to order their food and drinks, then take a number and wait there for their food to be brought out. 
Crispy and creamy

When Should You Make Your Own Trip to Muse Bistro?

During normal times, Muse would be a great place for a brunch with the gals, or if you’re free on a Thursday or Friday morning, even better, as there’s less of a wait. Upon further research, however, it seems that Muse Bistro is temporarily closed, as all the restaurants on the Coastal Bend are dealing with a severe staff shortage problem. They will certainly be reopened before their Derby event next month on May 1st, but stay tuned to their website and social media for updates.

We hope you can enjoy brunch on the Bayside soon, and we’ll see you back here next week!

Gates Donut Shop

Welcome to Corpus Christi’s favorite donut.

Open the gates, everybody! It’s time to visit Gates Donut Shop in Mindy’s hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas. We’re taking a bit of a detour today by not covering a full-service restaurant, but we felt the best way to introduce our first coverage of the Corpus Christi area was to show something iconic, and Gates Donuts certainly fits the bill. The simple storefront is a Corpus landmark, and tourists and locals alike flock to the block-letter sign.

The spread (what we didn’t devour on the way home)

The Donuts

The donuts at Gates fall under three umbrella categories–cake, glazed, filled, and specialty. From the cake section, we ordered chocolate and classic, but the option list goes on and on, from blueberry to cinnamon sugar. In our opinion, the best way to judge a donut place is by their take on the classic cake, and Gates Donuts did not disappoint. Their cake donuts are thick, sugary, and not one crumb could be called dry. They’re truly *chef’s kiss.*

The ever-important ooze of the chocolate-filled donut

From the filled collection, we ordered chocolate and apple. We were sorely tempted by the raspberry as well, but a line must be drawn somewhere! The apple-filled donut was more akin to a very puffy apple turnover. As for the chocolate, well, if you can see the delightful ooze in the photo above, you can probably guess how that went. 

Tragically, we arrived too late for them to still have our prime choice of glazed, the buttermilks, but we were able to  pick up some traditional glazed donuts. While happy with what we did get, we beg of you to learn from our dire mistakes and Get. There. Early. We’re probably cheating a bit by saying this but we actually *have* been to Gates before and, all bias aside, their buttermilk donuts alone are worth the trip. Buttermilk disappointment aside, we were able to get two of the Gates Donut pièce de résistance–the maple bacon bar. This house special is a flaky maple Long John topped with a full slab of thick-sliced bacon, and it is a salty-sweet paradise. Bacon lovers rejoice for this one. Our general consensus of the entire smorgasbord is that 82 years of business is a pretty good indicator you’re not going to get a bad donut.

The “More”

We couldn’t exactly do “fizz” this week since this hometown joint is not exactly the type of place to serve trendy cocktails or artisan sodas. What they do have, however, are items that are not donuts. We ordered a plain sausage kolache and a jalapeno and cheese kolache. These kolaches were good, but we wouldn’t go farther than that. They’re not going to knock your socks off, but still–a solid kolache that will make for a solid, satisfying breakfast.

Then come their fried (!)  cinnamon rolls, available with or without a pecan topping. Those things are monstrous but even so, you may not want to share. To quench your thirst in the most breakfast-friendly way, they also have coffee, cappuccinos, and a variety of milk. Aside from these highlights, Gates Donuts also has the most adorable iced cookies to match every holiday, including Texas-shaped ones, and have the option for custom orders for parties or events!

Spot the tiny chef’s hat!

Things to Know Before You Go:

  • Some donuts, including the fan favorite buttermilks, are only available on weekends.
  • Plan to take your goodies elsewhere. Gates Donut Shop is drive-thru only and there’s no outdoor seating available.
  • Favorites sell out quick! Gates donuts are made each day, which means that they’re always fresh and moist, but also that there’s only a limited number of each flavor available. If you’re after a specific type, go early.
The iconic Gates sign

When Should You Make Your Own Trip to Gates Donut Shop?

Early weekend mornings! If you’re in Corpus, that means you’re in easy driving distance of the beach, so our suggestion would be to go right when Gates opens (6 am), pick up a batch of your favorite donuts and a coffee or two, and head on out to the beach to enjoy the sunrise. It may be early, but those views and those flavors can’t be beat.

Are you from Corpus or a frequent beach-loving visitor? Comment your favorite restaurants in the Sparkling City by the Bay so we don’t miss a thing!