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Trip to Houston, June 2016: NASA Space Center & Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen

>> Monday, July 11, 2016

On the day that we planned to visit the "must-see" NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, the weather was just fantastic! We had blue skies, clear weather, & hot but not overly heat-stroke temperature throughout the entire day :)

Entrance fee is $24.95/adult & you can spend the entire day in that place from 9:00a.m. - 7:00p.m.! I'm not exactly a crazy space fan, but the guys went bonkers & excited over the cool stuff at this center. Here are some snapshots taken at the center.

Right in front of the space center...whoa...the Shuttle Replica at Independence Plaza

Inside the space center 

We took the "outdoor tram ride" to the mission control center as well (free of charge). There are 2 routes to select, where 1 of it was to the mission control center, while the other was to the Building 9, I think. You'll have to check out their website for more information.

The actual mission control center when they first launched into space *wow*
Yup, no computer, no mouse, no keyboard, but the astronauts landed on the moon alright ;)

And to see the 'real thing' at Rocket Park 

Large bulls seen on the way

Check it out - The Mercury-Redstone, a 1-man spacecraft-booster combination 

F1-Engine (this is the actual Saturn V)
A cluster of 5 engines like these provided the power for the first stage of the Saturn V launch vehicle during the Apollo-Saturn test flights, manned flights to the moon, and the launch of the Skylab orbiting laboratory into Earth orbit.

The tour took around 1+ hours as it's a free & easy tour, where you can get off the tram & spend as much time as you want at the Rocket Park before you decide to head back to the Space Center Plaza. To maximize my time at the Space Center Plaza, I basically planned my route & caught most of the shows/exhibitions within the 2 hours before we regrouped for the day.

Yes, you can 'touch the moon'!
The rock was brought back to earth by the Apollo 17 crew who visited the moon in December 1972. 

Various versions of astronaut suits! 

Most of us managed to visit every section of the Space Center Plaza within 2 hours before we left for lunch/dinner. Yup, we missed lunch & ended up just having like 2 meals for that day i.e. breakfast & dinner!

Dinner was at Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen near our hotel. I still can't get over the insanely large portions of food at Texas!

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen (Willowbrook Mall)
7110, FM 1960 Rd. West
Houston, TEXAS.
Tel: (+1) (281) 5805245
GPS: 29.9676946,-95.5388127

The entrance to this seafood restaurant doesn't really paint an accurate picture of what you'll find as you walk deeper into the pathway leading to the restaurant. The seemingly serene & quiet-looking 'forest' actually housed a restaurant filled with hungry diners.

The bar area

The 'entrance' into the main dining area

Pretty full!

Ordering was quite easy although they have quite an extensive menu. You can even start considering what you want to eat prior to arriving at the restaurant itself as they have their main menu on their website. Prices start from around $20.00/serving & you can be sure to walk out of the restaurant feeling full 'til your next meal.

Watermelon Lemonade & normal Lemonade
The watermelon lemonade was interesting. It's a toned-down lemonade yet still recognizable as lemonade with a twist of refreshing watermelon. I wouldn't mind having this again ;)

Appetizer Trio
Mini Shrimp & Crawfish Fondeaux, Fried Alligator & Hot Smoked Salmon
Yums! The hot smoked salmon was our favorite as it was moist, well-flavored & perfectly cooked. The mini shrimp & crawfish fondeaux was something unique since it's my first time trying it - creamy like a brulee, but it's savory. The fried alligator isn't anything surprising & if you're not told it's alligator, you won't even realize it's alligator, but will think that it's some fish! Hahaha... 

Fried Calamari
With a spicy marinara sauce & lemon aioli
Who doesn't like deep-fried calamari? :D This was slightly heavier on the seasoning (as per all Texan dishes, actually), but it's still tasty.

'I don't know what's this dish called'
Oh, this was one interesting dish. It's some sort of sausage, but doesn't taste like the usual sausages. I really have no idea how to describe it! :P

Grilled Redfish & Jumbo Shrimps with Butternut Squash Risotto
I had this & it was quite tasty although the portion was just too large for me. It was a challenge to finish everything on the plate, so I didn't manage to finish up the risotto :( I found the fish slightly too sweet & salty for my liking as well, but I guess it's Texas-standard to have their food more heavily seasoned.

As for the rest of the dishes below ordered by my colleagues, I didn't try them but I didn't hear any negative comments throughout the dinner, so I'm guessing that it's good! :P

Louisiana Seafood Gumbo (Serving size = cup)

Fried Crawfish Platter with a side of Dirty Rice

Linguine with Spinach & Mushrooms (Vegetarian)

'I think this is the Giant Shrimp & Grits' with a side of mashed potatoes

I was stuffed by the end of dinner & could not have any desserts. We ended up taking a walk to the nearby store before heading back to our hotel for the night's rest. Ah, that ended another day in Houston!

The portions are WAY too huge!


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