The Sold-Out Houston Barbecue Festival Shows Off Lamb, Pig and, Of Course, Beef

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Wayne Muller of Louie Muller Barbecue in Taylor oversees a pit full of barbecued lamb chops.

The Third Annual Houston Barbecue Festival at NRG Park yesterday sold out, attracting attendees from all over Texas and even a restaurant owner from France. It was a great opportunity to catch up with several notable pit masters and get updates on their newest ventures, too.

More than 20 vendors gave out bites of brisket, ribs and sausage to a happy crowd. This year, though, there were unique offerings to be had as well. Wayne Muller of legendary Louie Muller Barbecue in Taylor tossed lamb chops in sweet jalapeño sauce with a salt-and-pepper rub. Why did they make lamb chops? "Because no one else is and lamb is the other red meat," he said with a grin. "We're always looking to extend ourselves. It's going back to our roots in a way. Lamb was one of our original meats and they've been off the menu for a few years."

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100 Favorite Dishes 2015: No. 100, Corned Beef Hash and Eggs at House of Pies

Photo by Phaedra Cook
Corned beef hash with two eggs over medium and "cottage fries" at House of Pies at 6142 Westheimer.

Phaedra Cook is eating her way through Houston and counting down her 100 favorite dishes of 2015. It's a collection of personal favorites that is also indicative of Houston dining. It's a scene where a vast range of dishes coexist: highbrow and lowbrow; local and international; cheap and expensive; modern cuisine and beloved tenets--and everything in between.

Like someone you just met at a bar, the corned beef has at House of Pies undergoes a magical transformation. After midnight, it just seems more and more attractive.

There's a secret to ordering it, though. Tell them to "burn it" or at least make it well-done. Corned beef hash is best when it's left on the griddle until it gets a dark, crunchy crust. No one likes mushy hash.

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"Live at the Gateway" Gives Houston Diners a Taste of Five Different Restaurants

Categories: Things To Do

Photo by Phaedra Cook
Gateway Memorial City's restaurants have joined forces for a monthly party in the courtyard.

If you work around Memorial City or pass by on the way home, stop and check out the "Live at the Gateway" patio parties scheduled between 5:30 and 8 p.m. on May 4 and May 20. It's a lot more fun than slogging home in rush-hour traffic.

Gateway Memorial City and its tenants have been hosting free parties in the courtyard encased on one side by KUU and the other by Churrascos and forthcoming Pour Society. They're taking advantage of the temperate weather while it lasts. Last Wednesday's event included a jammin' band called The Nitebeat who played lively '80s tunes. Revelers danced until the last song ended around 8:30 p.m.

All five of the restaurants in the center--Vallone's, KUU, Churrascos, Pour Society and the newly opened Garbanzo--offer free light bites at the event and there's a live band, too.

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Dish of the Week: Scratch-Made Hummus

Categories: Recipes

Photo by stu_spivack
Making your own hummus is quite simple.
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.

This week, we're taking a look into hummus.

The Arabic word for "chickpeas," hummus is a spread or dip made of cooked chickpeas mashed and blended with tahini (sesame seed paste), olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic/spices. Traditionally served on a large plate and drizzled with olive oil and herbs, the spread is popular in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, where chickpeas were known to be cultivated since ancient times.

Though chickpeas were one of the first crops of Mesopotamia and eaten in both ancient Rome and Palestine, the origin of the chickpea dip is unclear. According to the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, a cookbook published in Cairo in the 13th century brought the earliest known recipe for hummus bi tahina (what we know as hummus).

Today, the dip is made all over the world. And because of that, several variations exist -- Greek yogurt, red peppers, cumin, paprika, and herbs are often incorporated. In parts of Palestine, Jordan, and Turkey, hummus is often made using butter instead of olive oil.

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UPDATED: This Week In Houston Food Events: Dine Out For Life Thursday, Derby Day Saturday

Categories: Things To Do

Photo courtesy of Niko Niko's
Niko Niko's is just one of several restaurants participating in Dine Out For Life.

Monday, April 27

Whistle Pig Rye Whiskey Dinner At Prohibition

Whistle Pig Rye Whiskey master distiller Dave Pickerell is visiting Houston for a pairings dinner at Prohibition Supperclub & Bar. Resident burlesque troupe The Moonlight Dolls will start the night off with some eye-opening entertainment. Then, Pickerell and Whistle Pig Texas steward Doug Ward will tell guests the story of the distillery during dinner. Four courses with "copious amounts of Whistle Pig Rye Whisky" are planned. Call 281-940-4636 for reservations. 1008 Prairie. 7 to 9 p.m. $60 plus tax and gratuity.

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Houston Chef David Guerrero Faces Major Brain Surgery Again

Categories: Breaking News

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Chef David Guerrero of Andes Cafe surrounded by friends and staff at the most recent Houston Press Menu of Menus. To his left is his wife, Gillian, and on his right is Andes Cafe waiter Nico Galliardo and catering director Andrea Avila.
Last night, Chef David Guerrero of Andes Cafe sent out a note to several members of the Houston food media community letting them know that his brain tumor that he thought was under control has instead grown in size and he is facing another major surgery.

Following the surgery scheduled for Tuesday, April 28, the 32-year-old Guerrero will spend several months in recovery and away from his restaurant, he wrote.

At age 28, Guerrero faced one of the most serious health problems imaginable. Doctors discovered a six-inch tumor -- an oligodendroglioma -- in his brain. The surgery to remove it caused a stroke that temporarily paralyzed the left side of his body. In addition, he lost his sense of taste -- a serious disability for a chef. (His struggles are documented in a Houston Press article by former restaurant critic Katharine Shilcutt.)

Oligodendrogliomas have "fingers" that extend into the brain, and it's nearly impossible to remove them completely without damaging functional areas.

He was assured by doctors that he was in remission. However, he has told us that his tumor has doubled in size. Depending on the outcome, he says, his recovery may take four to six months.

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Houston's 5 Best Weekend Food Bets: Hot Dogs, Beer & BBQ

Categories: Things To Do

Thumbnail image for HOU_FOOD_20150325_JCIGrillColombianDog_JCIGRILL.jpg
Photo courtesy of JCI Grill
You can expect some pretty funky dog's at Draughts and Dogs event benefiting Lucky Dog Rescue.
Texas Crawfish & Music Festival @ Preservation Park
Friday, gates open at 6 p.m.; Saturday - Sunday, gates open at noon
Old Town Spring
Head to the historic 1900s railroad town of Old Town Spring to celebrate the best of Texas mudbugs and music. The family friendly event, offered over this weekend and next, features tons of local, regional and national entertainment and some of the tastiest crawfish in the South. Tickets can be purchased for $10 at the gate or online ($2 for Zydeco Fridays).

Karbach Pub Crawl @ The Woodlands Waterway
Saturday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Finish Houston Beer Week strong with a Karbach Pub Crawl in The Woodlands. Start at Stadia before moving to Baker Street, Refuge, Goose's Acre, and finishing at Bar Louie. The brewery's newest seasonal, Staycation, will be flowing at all of the bars along the way.

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Upcoming Houston Food Events: Dine Out for Life

Categories: Things To Do

Zelko Bistro Chicken 005.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Zelko Bistro is just one of the many restaurants participating in the Dining Out For Life charity event.
Join Backstreet Cafe, 1103 S. Shepherd, in exploring North Greece with a family-style wine dinner featuring special guest sommelier Evan Turner. Held on both Tuesday, April 28 and Wednesday, April 29 at 7 p.m., the dinners will showcase 10 diverse regional wines paired with Greek dishes, including octopus carpaccio, collard green dolmades, and lamb "riblets," to name a few. Cost is $110 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations can be made by emailing

On Thursday, April 30, more than 40 area restaurants will be participating in Dining Out For Life, the nationwide fundraising event benefiting local AIDS service organizations. Locate a participating restaurant near you, dine out, and a percentage of your sale will go toward this great cause.

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Openings & Closings in Houston: Trading Spaces, Restaurant-Style

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Troy Fields
Eatsie Boys cafe is closing, but another well-regarded, Montrose-based cook is taking over the space.

The big news in this week's Openings and Closings are the various Montrose restaurants opening, closing and taking each other's spaces.

Eric Sandler of Culturemap Houston reports that Eatsie Boys is closing on May 1 and the news is being received by Houston diners with mixed emotions. The little café, which opened in 2013, has been met with success and critical acclaim.

However, the partners of Eatsie Boys are also the owners of 8th Wonder Brewing Company, which is growing by leaps and bounds. The brewery just signed an agreement with Silver Eagle distributing company, which will put their beers--including Intellectuale, Hopston and Dome Faux'm--into even more bars and restaurants around town. Also in the works are plans to start packaging the beers in bottles and a new brewery and tasting room is under consideration, too.

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Chef Chat, Part 2: Jody Stevens of Jodycakes

Categories: Chef Chat

Baker Jody Stevens went through several phases in her life before coming to Houston to establish her business, Jodycakes. In Part 1, we learned she went from college to serving in the Air Force during Operation Desert Storm, to Houston for a career in finance that spanned a decade, to Los Angeles and then back to Houston.

In this final part of our Chef Chat with her, we'll learn how she got her cake business up and running in Houston and about some of her specialties. We'll also discuss The Depressed Cake shop, an annual fundraiser that she established to raise money and awareness for mental health.

EOW: To this day, your baked goods are still placed at different businesses around town. If people want to go buy your products retail, where can they go?

JS: My No. 1 seller right now is Revival Market in the Heights. They carry gluten-free products right now, and hopefully maybe in the future, we'll expand to some of the vegan stuff.

EOW: Are there any other places?

JS: I am in negotiation with some other coffee shops in the Heights area. So, hopefully pretty soon I'm going to have more outlets on a retail basis.

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