The 5 Best Things to Eat or Drink This Weekend: Super Bowl Wings, 'Cue, & Beer

Categories: Edible Events

Photo by Marco Torres
Chow down on Louie Mueller Barbecue this Sunday.
One Last Taste @ Nara Sushi & Korean Kitchen
Friday & Saturday
2800 Kirby

Sadly, the promising West Ave hopeful Nara will close its doors after dinner service this Saturday due to a landlord dispute. Though we're sure you'll be able to see more of chef Donald Chang's incredible talents in the future, this will be the last time to get a taste of everything that made Nara so delicious.

The Craft Beer Bash @ Caddy Shack Bar & Grill
Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.
1809 Washington

Chicken & Beer Texas is bringing free chicken and craft beer (until it runs out) to the Caddy Shack this Saturday. Chef Boi Chops is frying up the birds while brews from Southern Star, No Label, and Buffalo Bayou flow. Also flowing? Live beats and general good vibes. RSVP for free entry.

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Upcoming Events: A One-of-a-Kind Culinary Experience

Categories: Edible Events

Photo by opacity
You can expect superb nose-to-tail cooking at Cochon555.
Triniti, 2815 S. Shepherd, is starting an exciting new weekday lunch service on Tuesday, February 3. The afternoon menu will showcase a variety of main course salads and sandwiches, plus a curated selection of starters and main courses -- think delicious things like pulled pork and ham Cubans, soba noodle and duck salad, smoked salmon and cucumbers on cranberry walnut toast, and filet of beef and frites. Lunch hours will be Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, February 4 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., eT Craft Burgers & Beer, 19841 Northwest Freeway, will hosts its first quarterly beer and burger pairing event at its new Cypress location. Guests will have the opportunity to preview eT's newest seasonal burger, get an exclusive first taste of craft wines, and support Cy-Hope, a local nonprofit that partners with schools and offers mentoring, tutoring, scholarships, food, and empowerment to children and families. Tickets are $25 at the door, but only $20 when preordered online. 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to Cy-Hope.

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Openings & Closings: No More Nara

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Nara's chances at West Ave were never very good.

It wasn't a big stretch to guess that the chances of Nara Sushi & Korean Kitchen at West Ave on 2800 Kirby weren't good. Its demise adds one more to the "Restaurant Death Toll" that includes Trenza, Ava and Nara's predecessor in the exact same space, Katsuya by Stark. The Korean-Japanese place lasted 14 months before succumbing to a host of issues, including a bad review from the Houston Press, a mixed review from Alison Cook at the Houston Chronicle and, worst of all, a big visibility problem that prevented passersby from seeing the restaurant from the street.

Chef-owner Donald Chang had some savvy plans to give Nara its best possible chance of survival, asking the landlord, Northwestern Mutual, for a few concessions. The specific requests were, "placing visible signage for the restaurant on Kirby Drive, giving their guests complimentary valet parking on Kipling Street, and relinquishing the private room back space in order to make the large 6,898-square-foot restaurant more manageable and profitable." Ultimately, the landlord responded with a 10-day vacate notice.

As reported earlier this week, Nara's last day is Saturday, January 31. Chang is reportedly looking for a new location to open a different concept.

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Eat This: Wendy's Bacon and Blue on Brioche Burger

Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Looks almost like the picture. Note large chunk of errant blue cheese.

Or, "the B^4," you might call it in front of certain audiences who would condemn you automatically for enjoying a fast-food burger.

Unlike in the case of calzones, there is no dearth of good burgers in Houston. Listicles from various outlets suggest you could eat a different burger from various non-national chain establishments every day for a month and have a great experience each time (#spring project?).

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Chef Chat, Part 2: Chris Loftis of Number 13

Categories: Chef Chat

If you've ever had to commute across Houston from one end to the other for a paycheck, you can sympathize with why chef Chris Loftis, a new dad at the time, needed to work in a restaurant closer to home. He left Strata in far northwest Houston and joined the team of a steakhouse closer to Pearland. Ultimately, that restaurant concept would prove to be rather short-lived.

These days, Loftis is at Number 13 Prime Steaks & Seafood in Galveston, one of the few truly fine dining options in the area. It's a great place to have a dry-aged steak and watch yachts bob in the gentle currents of the Gulf.

Yesterday we talked with Loftis about his early start in the restaurant business. In Part Two of our Chef Chat, Loftis explains the journey he made from one ill-fated restaurant to another that was already in its last days and how he'd finally find stability in his position at Number 13.

CL: Here comes Jason Cheney, who was the executive chef at Skyline (where he and Loftis previously worked together). They're opening up the Barbed Rose in Alvin. So, he calls me and he goes, "Hey, I need a sous chef." It's the same thing I heard about Killen's. "Hey, we're opening up this high-end steakhouse in Pearland and I'm thinking, "What?"

And then I hear, "Alvin," and I'm thinking, "Man I've heard this story before, you know?" But Ronnie has the blueprint to make it happen and it was eight miles away from Killen's. So, to me it wasn't the best idea. Killen's is like [in the] top 10 steakhouses in the country and we were trying to open up a steakhouse less than 10 miles away.

So, that's where I ended up: The Barbed Rose.

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A Houston Sommelier on Top of the World in New York City

Categories: Wine Time

Photo by Jeremy Parzen.
As the wine director of Danny Meyer's new Manhattan restaurant Marta, former Pappas Bros. sommelier Jack Mason has reached a pinnacle of the wine trade.
As Houston's allure as a leading international wine destination continues to grow, a number of New York restaurant pros have found their way here.

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse sommelier Steven McDonald is one of them. The San Antonio-born wine stud made a name for himself working at the Michelin-starred Ai Fiori in Manhattan before returning to Texas a few years ago.

Vanessa Treviño Boyd is another. Today, she is the beverage director at the swank Lakeside Country Club in Memorial. But before she came back to her native Texas, she had worked as the wine director at Adour at the St. Regis Hotel in New York, where the celebrated French chef Alain Ducasse once wowed Manhattanites with his spectacular cooking (now closed).

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Nara Sushi & Korean Kitchen to Close This Saturday

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Mai Pham
Say goodbye to Nara's delicous dduk boki rice cakes. January 31, 2015 is their last day of service.

Right on the heels of a closure announcement by the high profile Osteria Mazzantini last week, this week, we found out that another restaurant is set to close: Donald Chang's Nara Sushi and Korean Kitchen in the West Ave complex in Upper Kirby will serve its last meal this coming Saturday evening, January 31.

The announcement, which came via press release and was first reported by Greg Morago at the Houston Chronicle, attributes the closure to a disagreement with the landlord, Northwestern Mutual from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which operates the property in conjunction with Gables.

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Try These 5 Seriously Outrageous "Salads" in Houston

Photo courtesy of BRC Gastropub Facebook
What? This is totally a salad. There's lettuce!
If your salad is topped with more than one kind of fried thing, loaded up with ranch and cheese, and is served with a piece of carb that is pretty much larger than the salad itself, it's pretty safe to say you're not reeeallyyy eating a salad. But that doesn't mean it's not delicious! Here are five outrageous "salads" that truly push the limits on the term "salad":

See also:
Try These 5 Absolutely Loaded Grilled Cheeses
Try These Five Monster Sandwiches
Try These 5 Outrageous Mac & Cheeses
Try These Five Monster Breakfast Dishes
Try These 5 Absolutely Loaded Pizzas
Try These 5 Absolutely Loaded Fries
Try These 5 Chili-Smothered Dishes
Try These 5 Awesomely Outrageous Burgers in Houston
Try These 5 Awesomely Delicious Kimchi-Packed Eats in Houston
Try These Five Outrageously Awesome Shellfish Dishes
Try These Five Outrageous Hangover Cures

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Chef Chat, Part 1: Chris Loftis of Number 13

Categories: Chef Chat

Chef Chris Loftis is the executive chef at Number 13 Prime Steak & Seafood. It's located off the northwest tip of Galveston Island, just as you're coming in on I-45 South from Houston. The sunny back porch backs up to a harbor full of boats and the interior features a big rectangular bar and a high alcove that leads to a skylight.

Number 13 has a serious dry-aged steak program and Loftis certainly has had plenty of experience in that area. One of his first jobs was as the original cook at Killen's Steakhouse.

In Part One of this chef chat, we'll learn how Loftis came to the United States with his German family when he was just a toddler, why he got into cooking and the first restaurants he worked in before ultimately moving to Number 13.

EOW: Where were you born?

CL: Wiesbaden, Germany.

EOW: My goodness. OK, why were you born in Germany?

CL: My parents were there.

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UPDATED: The Dine-In or Take-Out Guide for Super Bowl 2015 in Houston

Categories: Game On

Photo by Phaedra Cook
Really, why wouldn't you want to watch the Super Bowl in a place designed to look like the Dome?

Whether you're looking for a place showing the Super Bowl or just want to grab food to take to a party, there are plenty of places ready to help. We've divided these up by area of town to help you find something close to your part of town.

Downtown and East Side

El Big Bad, 419 Travis

This two-story, casual joint known for its infused tequilas and homey Mexican food is showing the game on television and big screen projectors. To keep fans energized, there's a special $10 Super Bowl menu that includes wings, ribs and loaded fries. $5 house margaritas are available the entire day and evening. Discounted beer and pitcher specials are offered, too.

8th Wonder Brewery, 2202 Dallas

8th Wonder has a new tasting room decked out Dome-style, so what better place to watch the Super Bowl? Also, what better day for the 2015 release of 8th Wonder's Brewston Pale Ale? Both Feges BBQ and the golden Eastsie Boys food truck will be dishing out the eats. The place can get crowded, so get there early. Noon.

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