Friday, February 19, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 97

Movie Review: The General

About the Cougar

Mama's is a good place to get jiggy after hours

Night Writer

Isabella So

OK, here's the situation. You're bored on a Tuesday night and about to burst if you don't find a place to go or something to do. I'm here to give some suggestions on where you can go to have a little fun.

A second scenario: after coming out of a movie or dancing 'til they kick you out, you guys are hungry, but the restaurants are all closed. Where do you go? International House of Pancakes and Denny's are the last place you probably want to hit, and House of Pies is crowded. Well, here I am to help you out.

A final situation: you want to get out of the house or the dorm, but you also want to study in a nice, quiet place. Need to find that jackpot? Once again, I am here to inform you of such a place.

Mama's Cafe combines a laid-back setting with tasty food to provide a decent place for all times of the day.

Will Cordray/The Daily Cougar

Taking the second scenario into consideration, we decided to choose Mama's Cafe which serves nothing but home-cooked meals and whose motto is "Prepared from scratch."

Mama's Cafe has a homey and very laid-back atmosphere. It's decorated with vintage license plates, old canned foods and lots of other odds and ends.

This chilled-out atmosphere attracts many people from the ages of 15 and older, but that doesn't mean they exclude younger children that come with family.

You can choose to sit outside on the patio underneath a tree that towers over the restaurant. Up front you can relax at the bar or play video games and pinball if you feel like a challenge. Then there's the back part of the restaurant with a beautiful, yet oversized fireplace. I am told that on cold nights in Houston, you can find a warm blaze waiting.

Enough about the place. Let's talk about the food it serves. Mama's holds its motto true to the very last bite. Be sure to go there, if you're starving and wanting a hearty meal.

Appetizers are a must. The variety includes chicken tenders, stuffed jalapeño peppers and Mama's own world-famous mushrooms, which are beer battered and fried crisp. A warning: Remember not to eat too much of the appetizer, or you'll regret it later. I promise.

Then, of course, comes the main menu. Mama's has the typical soup and salad combo. The menu also features rockport shrimp salad, which is a regular salad topped with eggs and shrimp. Itis a little pricey at $7.50 a plate. Still, under this heading is Mama's blue-ribbon chili, which is made from scratch and served with cornbread.

For a heavier meal, try a blackened chicken club, said to "satisfy your innermost cravings." This plate costs a reasonable $5.95.

If you're in the mood for steak or seafood, there is a plate that delivers the "best of both worlds" -- a 7 oz. sirloin steak with four golden fried or grilled shrimp. Don't forget that it also comes with a serving of french fries, cole slaw and your choice of veggies.

The classic and most ordered plate is the chicken fried steak. I was curious as to why it was the most ordered item, so I tried it myself with mashed potatoes on the side, topped with southern cream gravy. Then I had a plate of chicken fajitas.

After only one bite, I could see why it was so popular. Like the motto, it had a perfect made-from-scratch taste. Then there are the mashed potatoes, which almost melt in your mouth. You just want to savor the taste.

Let's not forget the chicken fajita plate. The chicken arrives sizzling on top of grilled onions that leave a tinge of sweetness on the tongue.

The plate is served with refried beans, Spanish rice, guacamole, salsa and flour tortillas. The refried beans and Spanish rice overpower the sweet taste of the onions. This is a must to order if you're extremely hungry.

Unfortunately, I didn't have room for dessert, meaning I have to make a trip back. Judging from the rest of the food, I'm sure theyire great. Youill have plenty of options ranging from coconut cream pie, chocolate-chocolate cake and apple crisp.

The hours are what make this place conveniently available to the night owls. Mama's is open Monday through Wednesday 6:30 a.m. until 1 a.m. and Thursday through Sunday until 4 a.m.

But there is a catch.

Mama's Cafe is hard to find. It's hidden between Pappadeaux's Seafood and its big tree. The sign is small and hidden off the road. The address of this carefully hidden place is 6019 Westheimer, and if you have any questions, the number is (713) 266-8514.

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