Best Carnival Food at the Houston Rodeo This Year

Categories: Here, Eat This

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Don't settle for eating just anything at the carnival. Go for the good stuff!

There are dozens of food booths and a vast selection of tasty and downright clever things to eat at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo NOV Carnival. Why settle for a boring turkey leg when you can get one wrapped in bacon? Do you want to be seen eating fried Twinkies and Oreos? That's so passé now. A slice of deep-fried pecan pie is where it's at.

It may be carnival food, but there's no reason not to eat in style. Here are just a few of the good (albeit not necessarily good for you) things we found to eat.

More »

Houston's 5 Best Weekend Food Bets: Plenty of BBQ & Texan Pride

Categories: Edible Events

Photo by Daniel Kramer
HLSR's annual cook off is one Bar-B-Que event you don't want to miss.
"Go Texas" Day @ Brennan's of Houston
3300 Smith

In honor of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo's "Go Texan" day, Brennan's of Houston will feature a special prix fixe, Texas edition meal with Creole flare for $29. The three-course menu (available for both lunch and dinner) features a goat barbacao tamale, 44 Farms cheeseburger with rattlesnake chili, cowboy onion rings, and bone marrow aioli, and a strawberry jubilee funnel cake with Cognac glazed Froberg Farm berries. Go, Texas, go!

Boot Scootin' Steak Night @ MKT Bar
1001 Austin

Giddy up and GO TEXAN at MKT Bar's last night in a series of Boot Scootin' Steak Nights. Savor great grub with Texas twang, then wash it down with beer and wine specials and two-step till the cows come home with live country music. The special menu features frito pie w/ Haig's chili, ribeye with iron skillet baked beans, Texas beer flights and wine specials, and more. Lucas Eason and The Panhandlers start jamming at 5 p.m.

More »

Upcoming Houston Food Events: Celebrate Texas Independence With Beer

Categories: Edible Events

Thumbnail image for photo-6.jpg
Photo by Carla Soriano
The beer will be flowing at Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co.'s Texas Independence Day party.
Every Friday through April 20, Saint Arnold Brewery, 2000 Lyons, will be offering a "Fish on Fridays" Lent special featuring two courses and beer for $19. To ensure a spot, you can prepay online, then show up anytime between 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. to take advantage of the special. The offerings change weekly, but you can expect things like fried shrimp and cheese grits, Weedwacker mussels and handcut frites, Lawnmower-battered cod and more. See their website for all of the daily specials. And be sure to check our Lent roundup here.

Paul's Kitchen, 2502 Algerian, will be hosting a Houston Rodeo Chili Cook Off Party on Tuesday, March 3 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The event will feature complimentary appetizers, drinks, and giveaways, as guest judges -- including Paul's Kitchen chef Paul Lewis and KPRC Channel 2 news anchor Phillip Mena -- help pick the best chili of the bunch. Tickets are $20 per person with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the American Heart Association.

More »

Openings & Closings in Houston: A Stand-Alone Restaurant for Asia Market

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Gary Wise
Although the cramped, casual dining area inside a small grocery store has always been "part of the charm," it's good news that Asia Market is expanding to a full-fledged restaurant.

An email from Asia Market on February 23 shared the joyous news that after years of being part of a grocery store-restaurant combination, the restaurant part is finally getting its own building. Asia Market has long been known for its shamelessly spicy curries and is a favorite of Thai food aficionados and industry professionals alike. The new location will be at 4822 Fulton right next to the Metro Red Line station, making it easy to get to from downtown and other stops on the line. Check out the new building and the interior demolition in progress here. The grocery store will remain in the existing location at 1010 West Cavalcade.

More »

Kids Put Their Nutritional Knowledge to Work in the Houston Rodeo Food Challenge

Courtesy of HLSR
An Iron Chef-style competition for FFA and 4-H kids.
Kids from 48 FFA and 4-H chapters all across Texas will put their food knowledge to the test in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Food Challenge.

This "Iron Chef-style" competition is designed to promote the importance of agriculture. Allyson Tjoelker, executive director of Agricultural Exhibits, says, "It's based not as much on the kids' cooking skills as it is on how much they know about nutrition. They'll also be judged on visual appeal and cost analysis."

More »

The American Homebrewers Association Rally at Saint Arnold Had Something for Everyone (Who Loves Beer)

Categories: Brew Blog

Photo by Joey McKeel
The dining hall at Saint Arnold filled with homebrewers, right now mostly sitting down to enjoy a beer.

Founded in 1978, the American Homebrewers Association is a national organization founded to promote homebrewing and to help homebrewers connect with one another. According to Gary Glass, Director of the AHA, total membership is more than 46,000, spurred on in part by the rise in craft breweries but also by the increased ease in homebrewing. If you want to try homebrewing, but find it intimidating, Glass says not to worry: "If you can make a concentrated soup with water and boil it on a stove, you can make beer." Of course, more advanced homebrewers know it can be more complicated than that, but again, part of homebrewing's popularity is that, at all difficulty levels, it's still possible to brew a good batch of beer you'll want to drink.

Last weekend, the AHA held a rally at Saint Arnold Brewing Company, 2000 Lyons Avenue, a chance for local homebrewers to connect with one another, learn more about local resources for homebrewing, and take an expert's tour of the brewery. (Glass said Saint Arnold was particularly special because the AHA rally program was launched in concert with Saint Arnold; the brewery held the very first rally.) By our estimates, around 250-300 people attended the Rally, which had tables set up for local homebrewing clubs and supply stores, as well as Saint Arnold's usual fine selection of beers on tap.

I learned that the homebrewing scene in the greater Houston area was much bigger than I expected, as I got to meet with the local homebrewing clubs that had a table at the event, some of which have been around for decades. (According to Glass, the Houston area has eight homebrewing clubs in total.) If the rally was designed to help homebrewers connect and learn, it certainly seems to have succeeded: I don't homebrew, so I can't say for myself, but not only were many homebrew clubs represented, but our city has more brewing supply stores and educational offerings than I could have imagined. One attendee described it as "a boat show for homebrewers."

More »

Chef Chat, Part 2: The Pit Masters Russell and Misty Roegels of Roegels Barbecue Co.

Categories: Chef Chat

Why change from an easy-to-pronounce franchise name like "Baker's Ribs" to an independent place called Roegels Barbecue Co.? In the case of Russell and Misty Roegels, it was a desire to connect their name and hard work to the quality barbecue and sides they produce day in and day out.

We pick up where we left off in Part 1, after Russell Roegels explained how to pronounce that Germanic surname (it's "Ray-guls"). Here, he reminds us of the German and Czechoslovakian connections to Texas barbecue heritage. Later, we'll get into some specifics about the many meats Roegels Barbecue Co. is cooking as well as the wide range of sides that go alongside.

RR: Barbecue, traditionally, that's a German and Czech thing. Years ago, they would smoke meat to preserve it, and a lot of those immigrants are German and Czech. That's where my great-grandparents emigrated here from, Germany. My grandparents lived in San Marcos, which has a big German population. So, if I open this in San Marcos, maybe people would know how to pronounce my name. Here in Houston -- not happening. (laughs)

More »

Deli Man Movie Examines an Endangered Dining Tradition

Photo by Phaedra Cook
Ziggy Gruber of Kenny & Ziggy's deli in Houston has a prominent role in the new documentary, Deli Man.

According to David Sax, author of Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen, in 1930, there were more than 3,000 Jewish delicatessens in New York City in 1930. In 2009, that number had dwindled to a few dozen.

The numbers haven't just been dwindling in New York. The new movie Deli Man says that there are now only a few hundred Jewish delis nationwide.

Ziggy Gruber, chef and co-owner of Kenny & Ziggy's in Houston, is one of the few "deli men" holding the line and ensuring these repositories of food, culture and tradition survive. He has a prominent role in Deli Man and his scenes with his dad, girlfriend (now wife), and brother are emotional focal points that give the film a whole lot of heart and soul.

More »

Fourth Annual Bento Competition Takes a Look at the "Fifth Flavor"

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
The winning bento by Junko Janvier from this year's Bento Competition, sponsored by the Consulate-General of Japan in Houston, H-E-B, SATAKE and Glen Gondo.

There were smiles all around as five competitors gathered around two tables in the H-E-B Community Room at Bunker Hill and I-10 to create the most beautiful bentos that they could from the random meats, cheeses and vegetables provided. Competitors had only ten minutes to make a winning bento. Themes ranged from very cute to neat, practical bentos anyone could proudly claim as his or her lunch.

The winner, Junko Janvier, had a great deal of experience in making bentos, as she just recently came to the United States from Fukuoka, Japan. The other competitors were Runa Katayama, Sayaka Stephens, Joshiah Ho and Yuko Ouchi.

More »

Chef Chat: The Pit Masters
Russell and Misty Roegels of
Roegels Barbecue Co.

Categories: Chef Chat

Change can be hard, but sometimes it's for the best. Over the past few decades, you may have noticed or even been to the Baker's Ribs location at 2223 South Voss between San Felipe and Westheimer. However, if you've gone by in the past few months, you may have also noticed the sign has changed to Roegels Barbecue Co.

Russell and Misty Roegels worked at Baker's Ribs for years, starting out as employees before buying that franchise location. Russell is the pit master, while Misty makes sure the front-of-house operations run smoothly. The name change marks not only the Roegelses leaving the franchise, but a change in how Russell approaches barbecue. He joins the group of Houston pit masters who have stepped up their game to produce smoked meats that are every bit as good as those found in lauded Central Texas.

In Part One of this Chef Chat, we'll hear how Russell got his start in cooking in Longview and how, he, Misty and their 13-month-old baby ended up in Houston at a time that wasn't exactly ideal. They'll also tell us about one particularly famous visitor who came by during their days as Baker's Ribs.

Come back tomorrow for Part 2, where we'll talk about how Russell has changed and improved the barbecue, other pit masters he admires and some of the challenges of making longtime customers happy with the changes.

EOW: How did you become interested in cooking?

RR: I've always cooked from the time I was a kid. Not anything fancy, but it was me, my mom and my brother. My mom worked nights and she slept during the day, so we cooked.

As far as cooking barbecue, when I was 15 there was a guy down the road that had a barbecue place called Bodacious up in Longview. I was friends with his babysitter, and he did catering there. So I started doing catering jobs with him. I was 15 years old and not into cooking, but I went there and I poured tea on these catering jobs. When we got back, I got to clean them up.

More »