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Rants and Raves

REVIEW - Isla Coquí

Home Cookin'

Late at night looking for a new place to try we stumbled upon a gem. A Puerto Rican restaurant ran like Mama's kitchen. The family owned establishment is run by two mighty ladies who start early and cook all day! They chat with diners making you feel welcome and at home. When the food runs out, then there's no more.

We were encouraged to start our meal with a Coquito. A special House drink that is creamy and delicious. They make this shot with whisky, white run, coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk and cinnamon. Muy delicioso!

It was a bit tough to order since there were several versions of the menu and we had to keep flipping through printed pages. Eventually we spotted what we would dine on. First we sampled the Cheese Empanada with its flaky crust and potato like filling. Simple and delightful with slight zest. Next we adventured by ordering the Cod Fish Cake. Similar to a pancake with a slightly crisp texture from being lightly fried. The sticky, savory filling with lots of Cod flavor was a treat for the palate. Our last appetizer was the best! A Green Plantain and Beef Croquette. The sweet aroma invites you to taste and the melange of flavors is outstanding. First you bite through the outer layer which is friend like a hush puppy with a cheesy crust then into the soft light filling. Heavenly!

Now we were on to dinner. I ordered the Grilled Pork Chop w/ Pink Beans and Maduros while my husband enjoyed the traditional Pork Pastel with Rice and Pigeon Peas. Both were so great we had to switch half way through. The pork chop is one of the best Ive ever had. The pastel reminded my husband of his Great Aunt who sent them here from Puerto Rico. A perfect end to a relaxing gourmet home cooked meal... in a setting much more fun than home.

by Chef Natasha Treu Fletcher

Isla Coquí
1801 Durham Dr
Houston, TX 77007

(713) 861-1000

* Sun 11am-5pm
* Tue-Sat 11am-2pm, 6pm-10pm

Opening - June 16, 2007 7pm


Zoë Imaging & Vintage Inspired Fashions

featuring Chef Natasha Treú, Hanq Neal and Aubrey Sellers!

Zoë has an obvious passion for fashion being a notorious entertainer who never wears the same outfit twice. No really! Well she never has to because of her ability to rework clothing in so many different ways. This ability is what attracted many of her celebrity faced clients to her and what keeps them coming for imaging, styling, photo shoots and dressing for their most important events.

Zoë is inviting all to witness what she has done for her exclusive clients in this one night only event! On Saturday, June 16th Zoë will present to you reworked high fashion designer styles reworked in a trunk show and fashion show witnessed by some of the most beautiful people on the planet. Artists of all type will be on hand viewing in your company and purchasing these vintage inspired styles from 7:00PM until Midnight @ Studio 34 – 3400 Montrose Suite #801, Houston, TX 77006.

Unique one of a kind pieces will drape beautiful male and female models and to add to the ambiance’ Top Chef Natasha Treú, Singer/Composer Hanq Neal and Jewelry Designer Aubrey Sellers will be featured in their splendor. Tickets prices: $30 standing room includes hors d’oeuvres, $150 couple seating includes a decadent 4-course meal compliments of Chef Natasha Treú voted Houston’s Best Chef and Caterer 2007! All participants will enjoy the delightful music performance and fashion show presented by one of Houston’s best in styling with that celebrity edge.

Grand Opening Celebration –Imaging & Vintage Inspired Boutique – ZOË - Saturday, June 16th, 2007, 7:00PM – Midnight at Studio 34, 3400 Montrose, Suite #801, Houston, TX 77006. For seated reservations $150 call Indulgence by Natasha @ 713.906.1899. Standing room reservations $30 call Zoë @ 713.521.9963. Cash Bar. Valet Available.

Download the invitation

RSVP soon as space is limited for this fabulous event!

Friday, June 16th 2007
7:00PM – Midnight
3400 Montrose Suite #801, Houston, TX 77006
(right next door to La Colombe D’or Mansion & Le Grande’ Salon)
Tele: 713.521.9963 Email: zoejjimage@aol.com

Joining us this evening will be
Top Chef  Natasha Treu’– Indulgence by Natasha
Vocalist/Composer - Hanq Neal
Designer Aubrey Sellers

And some of the most beautiful people on the planet!

Tips and Tricks


Grilling is Fun

Grilling season started with rain,
but there is lots of sunshine in our future.
Be prepared with this great tips!


A fast easy way to make great tasting meats is to use marinades and dry rubs.

Rubs are dry spice blends, usually including both salt and sugar. You can rub them on meat immediately before cooking, which adds mild flavor, or do it a day or two in advance, which brings the spice flavor deeper inside the meat.
A special Texas trick to add sweetness is to rub the meat with brown sugar several hours before you cook. The meat will absorb all the sweetness and flavor.

Marinades are liquid, and can be made out of pretty much anything. Most important is something acidic (like lemon juice, vinegar, or yogurt) or tropical fruit (like papayas, pineapples or kiwi). Both acids and the enzymes found in tropical fruit react with meat proteins to tenderize. To keep food from becoming over-tenderized (mushy), it's important not to marinate for too long; as little as 15 minutes for seafood, four to six hours for thin cuts of meat, and up to 12 for larger ones.

Check out Grillaxation.com for tips on how to entertain and grill stress free.
Also Enter to win a Strada V Grill
and a $5000 Backyard Makeover!

Every week this summer someone will win $5,000 and a stainless steel grill! PLUS 3 winners will also receive a personalized design consultation with Leslie Segrete. Enter here for your chance to win.


Grills should be kept away from anything that can burn – your home, garage, car, dry vegetation, etc.; a minimum distance of 15 feet is recommended

• Propane cylinders should be kept upright and stored away from the home; a back-yard shed is a good place.

• Never bring a grill inside your home or garage; the carbon monoxide produced by burning charcoal can be dangerous, even deadly, in enclosed spaces

• Never use gasoline to start a fire – it is much too dangerous to use on grills

• Use charcoal lighter fluid only before the fire is lit; trying the make a fire bigger by adding more fuel is dangerous and can cause serious injuries

• Charcoal must be kept dry; wet charcoal can spontaneously ignite when stored in confined areas

• Keep children and pets away from grills; it only takes a second for curiosity to cause a serious burn

• Dispose of grill ashes in a safe manner; never place ashes in paper or plastic bags or other combustible containers

• Soak spent charcoal with water before you discard it and leave the grill away from the house until it is completely cool; coals may retain enough heat to reignite for several days after a fire

• Finally, keep a garden hose or fire extinguisher handy; call the fire department right away if the fire gets out of control


Recipe of the Month

Chili-Lime Grilled Tilapia
with Roasted Corn Salsa

Bright colors and flavors of the SouthWest done quick and easy on the grill.

Tilapia w/ Corn Salsa



4 (4 to 6 oz. each) tilapia fillets

Reynolds Wrap® Release® Non-Stick Foil

Dry Rub:
1/2 tbsp chili powder, 1/2 tbsp ground cumin, 1/4 tbsp dried Mexican oregano 1/8 tbsp black pepper, 1/2 tbsp salt.

1/2 c lime juice
1/4 c garlic olive oil

Roasted Corn Salsa:


2 ears fresh corn-on-the-cob,3 tbspgarlic flavored olive oil, divided, 1can (15.5 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained, 1 small red bell pepper, diced, 1small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped, 1/3 cup chopped red onion, 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 3 tbsp fresh lime juice, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, kosher salt to taste

  • Directions:

    1. PREHEAT grill to medium-high. Make drainage holes in two sheets of Reynolds Wrap Release Non-Stick Foil with a large grilling fork; set aside.
    2. PLACE fish fillets in a shallow dish. Combine rub ingredients; rub over fish. Combine marinade ingredients; pour over fish, turn to coat both sides. Cover with foil; refrigerate 30 minutes.
    3. PREPARE salsa while fish marinates by combining all ingredients aside from beans and cilantro. Cover with foil; refrigerate.
    4. Make a bowl out of foil. Pour salsa into it.
    5. REMOVE fish from marinade. Discard marinade.
    6. PLACE second sheet of foil on grill as directed above; immediately place fish and salsa bowl on foil.
    7. GRILL 8 to 10 minutes in covered grill until fish flakes when tested with a fork. Serve with Roasted Corn Salsa.

    Prep Time: 45 minutes | Cook Time: aprox 10 mins


hank you
to everyone who voted for us to be the Best Caterer 2007



Great Gift Ideas:

  • Treat a friend or family member to their own Chef For the Day!

  • Gift them a weeks worth of personal chef services .

  • Plan a catered party in their honor .

  • Surprise them with a gift certificate for gourmet cooking classes for the two of you to do together.

Sharing food is a great way to
have fun with those you love!
Family Dinner


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Copyright 2007 Chef Natasha Treu’ Fletcher