Vote and Get a Free Beer at The Bird House on November 2

Categories: Edible Events

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
What's better than beer? Fried chicken and beer!

The Bird House, Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company and the upcoming Southern Goods restaurant from chef Lyle Bento and partner Charles Bishop want you to get out and vote in the November 2 elections. They are also willing to reward you for it with a free beer.

The event is called "Don't Be a Chicken and Vote" and it starts at 5 p.m. at The Bird House. Show up with proof that you voted and with the purchase of fried chicken you'll get a free beer from Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company.

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Claims and Counterclaims, Complete With Lawsuit, in El Tiempo Land

Categories: Restaurant News
Photo by Carla Soriano
It's been a tough week for El Tiempo and their associates.

It's been a bad week for the Laurenzos. Earlier this week came the news that their El Tiempo 1308 Cantina on Montrose is closing within the next few months due the land being sold out from under them by the landlord.

Now comes a press release from Roland Laurenzo via their public relations firm, The Epicurean Publicist, stating that they're pulling the El Tiempo name from what they are saying would have been their sole licensed location, which was planned for the Webster area.

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The Pumpkin Beer Taste Test, Part 2

Categories: Booze

Photo by Nath Pizzolatto
In Part 2 of our pumpkin beer taste test, we take a look at the stouts and dark beers. Check out what we had to say in Part 1 about the lighter pumpkin beers.

Fewer beers qualified for our stout/dark tasting than our ale competition, which is no surprise. Even so, the sheer number of strong, heavy, and dark beers we found available for our taste test is a testament to how many craft brewers are jumping on the pumpkin beer wagon and taking the opportunity to make a serious beer this time of year.

Included in our taste test were four beers from Houston-area breweries. (To my knowledge, a local brewery didn't come out with a lighter ale, at least not anywhere we searched.)

Alaskan Pumpkin Porter
Buffalo Bayou Whiskey'd Pumpkin Spice Latte
Crown Valley Imperial Pumpkin Smash
Karbach Krunkin Punkin
Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale
No Label Nightmare on 1st Street
Rahr and Sons ___
Saint Arnold Pumpkinator 2014
Samuel Adams Fat Jack Double Pumpkin Ale
Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin
Southern Tier Warlock
Uinta Crooked Line Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin
Wasatch Black-O-Lantern

The first thing I wanted to say is that none of these beers were bad: They all had their own appeals, and unlike the ale selections, where a number of the beers tended to be too indistinguishable, these each had distinct characteristics: some tasted more of pumpkin, whereas in others the spices were dominant. Some of them were dark or even medium-brown ales (the Kentucky entry could have fit into the ales discussion), and some were double-digit ABV, dark stouts. Some had sweeter finishes, some had boozier ones. But they all had some merit.

Onward with some discussion of specific beers, and the best overall.

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The 5 Best Things to Eat or Drink This Weekend: Halloween Bashes & Post-Halloween Hangovers

Categories: Edible Events

Photo by Troy Fields
The appropriately-spooky Pistolero's is just one of the many awesome spots on the Montrose Halloween crawl.
8th Annual Montrose Crawl @ Multiple Locations
Friday, 7 p.m.
Westheimer between Dunlavy and Montrose

Get your costume ready and head over to Westeimer for Houston's most epic Halloween Bar Crawl, where you'll hit more than 11 restaurants and bars (and two food trucks) between Dunlavy and Montrose -- including Poison Girl, Pistolero's, and Catbirds, to name a few. This year's Grand Crawler, Chef Chris Shepherd, will be awarding the best costume prize. There's no cover and drink specials all night, so drink up -- because a portion of the booze sales will be donated to the Houston Area Women's Center.

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Upcoming Events: Perfect Pairings and a Beer Race

Categories: Edible Events

Photo by Julie Soefer Photography
Learn how to make classic cocktails with Julep's Alba Huerta and Kenny Freeman.
Chef Tony Vallone and his team have put together the menu for his last Italian Regional Cuisine Dinner of 2014: Una Serata Milanese: an evening in Milan at Ciao Bello. The five-course meal -- which features four wine-pairings and classic Milanese dishes like branzino with mussels and fennel, oxtail-stuffed pasta en brodo, and osso buco with saffron risotto -- will be held Wednesday, November 5 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $125 per person (+ tax and gratuity). There is limited availability, so call 713-960-0333 to reserve your spot.

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Openings & Closings: Real Estate Realities Vs. El Tiempo 1308 Cantina

Categories: Restaurant News

And all across Montrose, a heavy sigh was heard.

When other parts of the country have suffered economic downturns in recent years, Houston's economy has fortunately remained stable. One ironic and sad side effect of that durability is the climbing real estate prices. There are more profitable things that landowners can do than lease restaurants.

As reported yesterday, El Tiempo 1308 Cantina is probably going to have to move sometime after January 1 because the land is being sold. Apartments will be built in its place. The Montrose location of the popular local chain opened back in 2007. On the plus side, at least there are other El Tiempo locations in town to tide over diners who get a hankering for its freshly-made guacamole.

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Polovina's at 4500 Washington Avenue Is Locked Out

Categories: Breaking News

A sad sign indeed
We just received word that Polovina Italian Cafe has been locked out by its landlord, allegedly for non-payment of rent.

A sign on the door posted on the door says new keys will be issued once payment is made to the company handling the rent.

In September, Joanna O'Leary wrote about Polovina for us, saying that it appeared it was trying to reach several different and perhaps conflicting audiences at once.

We'll update once we hear more news.

Chef Chat, Part 2: Kevin Naderi of Lillo & Ella and Roost

Categories: Chef Chat

Photo by Phaedra Cook
Chef Kevin Naderi on the sunny patio of Lillo & Ella
In Part 1 of our chat with Kevin Naderi, he related a fond memory of the special Persian dinners he made at Roost alongside his mom and grandmother. Does cooking run in the family? In Part 2, we find out and along the way delve into some deeper issues that affect many of Houston's independent restaurants. Naderi voices some strong opinions on the support independent restaurants need from Houston's dining public if the scene is to continue to evolve.

Additionally, we talk about the ambitious cocktail program that some veteran Houston bartenders created for Lillo & Ella, the food at both of Naderi's restaurants and how the dark, fun and funky former home of El Big Bad became the light, colorful and airy Lillo & Ella.

EOW: Did anyone in your family ever cook professionally?

KN: No, not at all, but when my dad came from Iran originally about 40 years ago, he worked at Rotisserie For Beef & Bird back in the day. My uncle Barry, who's a partner with me on [Lillo & Ella], used to work at countless restaurants and he's a walking encyclopedia. He knows where everybody came from, who the manager was, who the chef was, signature dishes from back in the day--it blows my mind. Customers will come in and say, "Oh, down the street there used to be this restaurant that I remember and he'll jump in and be like, "Oh, I know exactly who owned it."

It's important to remember history. Houston, as fast as we're growing, we're really like letting go of a lot of history. We're not keeping a lot of historical buildings and all these restaurants, as good as they are or were back then--they're just shutting down. It's really sad to see.

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6 Tips for a Parent Making Separate Meals for Everyone

Categories: Kids

Jef With One F
Spinach quiche keeps well for days and is a fun, easy dish kids can help you make
Maybe you're one of those people that makes the family dinner and says, "This is what we're having. If you don't like it, you don't eat." I admire that sort of fortitude, but I am paying a penance form being a picky pain in the ass as a child. Now I prepare three dinners every night. One is for me, one is for my wife, and one is for our five-year-old. It sounds like a chore, and it is, but with a little forethought and a few tips you can get used to maneuvering among several different dinners at once.

Rice Cookers
Rice cookers, and for those of you that like to get up early, crock pots, are a godsend to someone trying desperately to get several different meals going at once. You can make a dozen or more dishes entirely within a rice cooker, including sausage and rice, chicken and rice, and... well, you get the idea. The point is that it is a small device that can be shunted off to the side and forgotten while you deal with other things. That's part of the magic of multiple meal prep; finding shortcuts not for time, but for attention.

Stagger Leftovers
When it comes to my own fare I like to stick with things that I can make and eat for several days. Pots of turkey chili, chicken and potato combos, or even just broiled burgers and reheated sweet potato fries. You sacrifice one day of extra effort for three days of leisure where you just pop one entrée in the microwave and you're good to go. It can cut your workload by a third and keep husbanding that precious attention span. If you're carefully in how you plan your days, you might end up only actually cooking one dinner a night through staggering leftovers.

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The 5 Best Happy Hours in the East End

Photo by Brooke Viggiano
These are no ordinary dogs...
If you love happy hour as much as we do, you'll love this new series. We're taking a look at the best happy hours in town, 'hood by 'hood. To narrow it down, we're focusing on the spots with the best deals on not only drinks, but eats, too. From upscale eateries serving bar bites and half-priced wine to dives with cheap beer and burgers, we've got it all. See the complete list at the end of this post

This week, we're moving east of downtown to the area known as the East End.

Honorable mention: Voodoo Queen.

Note: For the purposes of this list, the East End is based off of this official map, which roughly places its boundaries at Clinton Drive to the north, I-45 to the south, 610 to the east and parts of 59 to the west.

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