December 16, 2017

Food & Beverage

La Tapatia did not just catch fire again—with us it!

We got out of La Tapatia just as the fire trucks arrived.

Last week my friend Stacey Abbott and I had lunch together at La Tapatia, the Montrose location of course, just the two of us. Stacey fashions a weight conscience salad out of fajitas and lettuce; I shamelessly order the cheese enchiladas. But we both love the margaritas—La Tapatia has one of the best house margaritas in Houston. After we finished our meal we were savoring our last drinks when I excused myself for the men’s room. As I stood at the urinal I looked up, knowing that La Tapatia had recently reopened after a kitchen fire, and I admired the fresh …continue reading

I ate Portland, Maine

Steamed lobster and clams, classic Maine fare, from J's Oyster Bar on Portland's Historic Waterfront.

When I was a kid Alka-Seltzer coined the popular slogan, I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.  And my recent trip to Portland, Maine, leaves me with the same sentiment because I ate Portland. Who knew that Portland was such a foodie town?  But when lobsters, clams, fish, and shrimp pulled freshly from the Atlantic are mixed with the plethora of New England grown produce and locally-raised dairy and livestock, it results in what Bon Appétit has called America’s Foodiest Small Town. I have visited Portland before and ate myself silly.  But this last trip afforded me quite a …continue reading

What is a Coravin? Find out at La Griglia…

Cheers from La Griglia; Kristy Phillips & Troy Broussard

Those who know me personally know that on certain days of the week I can be found with one group or another at my favorite neighborhood restaurant and bar La Griglia. Only blocks from my home, I sometimes sit all day at our regular table with friends coming and going—it is like Cheers for us, where everybody knows our names. My friends have congregated there to eat, relax, catch up, gossip, mourn, and celebrate. Recently La Griglia rolled out new wine selections including a Coravin List. And as I have never mentioned this place on my blog (except when the hostess sat the crying …continue reading

Houston’s favorite BYOB Vietnamese: Huynh

Chargrilled Pork Spring Rolls with fish sauce at Huynh.

When I moved to Houston I found a world of cuisine that I could have never dreamed of before—growing up in rural Louisiana we thought that Mexican food at Casa Manana in Lake Charles was the bomb. And I had no idea that there was such a thing as Vietnamese cuisine—but I fell in love with it as soon as I tried it. Of course back at that time Kim Son was all the rage and seemed to be the pinnacle of Vietnamese cuisine in Houston. But lately I have a new restaurant obsession. My friends and I have rediscovered …continue reading

Galveston, Tropical Storm Bill, and the art of hurricane panic

The unsinkable Graham Gemoets, Galveston.

I love Galveston—it’s such a short drive from Houston but such a world away from the city. My buddy Graham Gemoets has a charming little getaway there near The Strand. With Mother’s passing and as hard as I have been working I felt long overdue for a trip and quality time with a friend.  Mr. Gemoets is almost seven feet tall and more outrageous than can be recounted here–he should have his own TV show.  Anyway, a Tropical Disturbance, soon to become Tropical Storm Bill, was churning in the Gulf with all spaghetti models projecting a route directly to Houston. But I …continue reading

The Great Gaido’s Debacle of 2015; the art of serving fancy fish…

Oysters on the Half Shell at Gaido's, Galveston

I remember going to Galveston when we were kids and of course my parents took us to Gaido’s. We were fascinated by the gargantuan crab on the roof with a placard “Caught in Galveston Bay”, debating whether or not it was real. It usually took about an hour to get a table but there was a gift shop to peruse and cases of cut crystal to view while waiting. And once seated that piping hot oval dish of Crab au Gratin made everything right in the world. Gaido’s is synonymous with seafood in Galveston. In 1911 San Giacinto Gaido opened the famous fresh fish house. Still family owned …continue reading

Where food is art too: Kata Robata

Hamachi & Jalapeno Sashimi at Kata Robata

Growing up in Cajun country where fish is battered and deep fried, the idea of sushi was completely foreign to me. I first ate at a Japanese restaurant in 1986 when I visited a friend in Houston. It was something I had only heard of on TV.  I recall that excursion to Miyako—the original out Westheimer—I marveled at the novelty of dining on raw fish and balled up rice wrapped in seaweed. Over the years since then I have been lucky to experience a wide variety of Japanese restaurants all over the world and have come to learn that the cuisine isn’t just a …continue reading

A painting party with John Palmer at Vallone’s

"Ode to Escapism", the result of my evening with John Palmer at Vallone's

Some events sound just too good to pass up. I recently received an invitation that interested me greatly—a painting party hosted by artist John Palmer at Vallone’s restaurant. Buddy Kirk Longmire agreed to join me for the event (I had to find a participant not only willing but also able to pony up the $135 fee). Famed restaurateur Tony Vallone has made a reputation for Houston’s finest and most exclusive establishments.   And having never been to the new restaurant in Memorial, Kirk and I drove out early last week to enjoy Happy Hour and for a tour before the paints came out! …continue reading

Art & fine dining in Houston: La Colombe d’Or

La Colombe d'Or, Houston, Texas

I enjoy getting together with Sisterwoman (Julie Boggio) every week for dinner. Last week she was headed in from Memorial on a Friday night—we had plans to attend art openings and then have dinner. In the meantime I received a call from dear friend Shannon Schrader. He and Charles Leigh III were dining at La Colombe d’Or and requested that we join them. Located in the heart of Montrose, La Columbe d’Or occupies the historic Fondren mansion which was originally built in 1923—the Fondrens being the founders of Humble Oil, which with Standard Oil would become Exxon. On the first …continue reading

The decorations Next Door

Halloween decorations at The Next Door featuring art by Greg Wheeler

The Next Door Bar is a Montrose drinkery on the same block as Rudyard’s at 2020 Waugh in Houston—seems like it has been there forever. The bar serves up strong cheap drinks, Lone Star in a bottle, a rockin’ juke box, old fashioned video games, and plenty of people watching. I stopped in last week for a nightcap and to see the Halloween decorations—this is a neighborhood watering hole that tends to go all out at Halloween. I’ve been a patron for at least a decade. But Next Door isn’t only a hard core drinking bar; it is also, as …continue reading