Mashed potatoes, chocolate, bread pudding, peanut butter sandwiches...everyone has their own form of comfort food. Mine is usually chewy brownies, but since I moved to Houston, I've been craving good old fashioned macaroni and cheese.
Good thing Max's Wine Dive on Washington Avenue had exactly what I was looking for...and a little bit more. But let me warn you, if you show up at Max's 8:30 on a Saturday night like I did, chances of getting a seat will be pretty slim. It was packed and it didn't look like it was going to slow down.
Thankfully, Julius, the place's coolest wine-guy, was able to squeeze me in at the bar. I swear, sometimes being a party of one does have its advantages.
MAX & CHEESE TO DIE FOR
Naturally, I ordered the Max & Cheese from their appetizer list as that was why I was there. Their version of the cheesy dish was not exactly the same as my mom used to make - it was actually better. Sorry Mom, but it was. Max's tosses the pasta in truffle cream with a mozzarella, Texas gruyere and grana padano cheese blend. It's mmm....mmm...good.
Now, one of the cool things about Max's is that you can ask to taste different wines before committing to a full glass. I didn't take advantage of this as I'm not really a wine connoisseur. Instead I asked Julius to pick something out that would go with the meal, and I wasn't disappointed. He picked out a Pinot Gris from Oregon that complimented my pasta perfectly.
But while the Max & Cheese was incredible, the Nacho Mama's Oysters are out of this world. They are deep fried and placed on top of fried wontons. And no, I didn't order them. The Venezuela group sitting beside me did and I tried one of theirs (yes, it's true, you can't take me anywhere).
I swear the oyster literally melted in my mouth. It was fabulous and I will be getting them next time I'm at Max's. The people who actually did order them, agreed. They were a party of three, and they had almost ordered every appetizer off the menu. They tried the buffalo meat sliders, the rib basket, Max & Jack's frites, and finally the oysters. All of the food looked good, but they said the oysters were the best.
BUT WAIT...THERE'S MORE
You would think I would be done after eating a big bowl of pasta and someone else's oysters, but no, I had to have dessert. However, I knew that something called "The Big*** Brownie" would not be something I could handle on my own - but it could be something six girls could handle.
Seated on the other side of me at the bar were five girls from Houston. Let me just say, that after a couple of glasses of wine and conversation about food (they ordered the wild boar pasta), we decided to share the brownie dessert. And I think it was the best decision of the night.
The "Big*** Brownie" was gigantic and if I did eat alone, I would definitely have a much bigger butt today. It's also completely addictive and not overly sweet. Instead, it's slightly spicy. That's because it has ancho chili in it.
Of course, Julius, my wine-guy, didn't let me down. He recommended an Australian Moscato to go with the brownie and again it was perfect.
Overall, my night at Max's was a hit. While it's a little on the expensive side (my mac and cheese was $15.00 and the average glass of wine is going to run you $12.00), it's a place where you can go and spend the evening having a great conversation with friends -- or in my case, complete strangers.