Nara Sushi & Korean Kitchen to Close This Saturday

Categories: Restaurant News

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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

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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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The Dine-In or Take-Out Guide For Super Bowl 2015 in Houston

Categories: Game On

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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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At Aji Peruvian Café, Dining Is a Battle Between Expectations and Reality

Categories: Cafe Reviews

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Photos by Troy Fields
The causa limeña is like chicken salad, potato salad and deviled eggs all rolled into one casserole.
Aji Peruvian Café is a bit of a conundrum. Just when you're about to write the place off after a few deeply freezer-burned orders of empanadas, your waiter shows up with a glass of fresh mango juice so utterly brilliant that it takes your breath away. Bright and sunny, yet with a keen edge of turpentine and a lovely black-pepper bite, it's a simple and elemental thing, and completely arresting. Of course, those empanadas were arresting, too, but for far more felonious reasons.

Even setting aside the stale, musty taste of poorly frozen pastry, the empanadas were a grave disappointment. Small, scantily filled and under-seasoned, they felt like highway robbery at their $4-$5 price point. The pot roast filling tasted strongly of grease; the potato casserole version (the most interesting-sounding of the bunch, with its offer of iced Peruvian potatoes mixed with fried pork, peanuts, onions and garlic) was dry and mealy, with only punctuations of red bell pepper to perk it up a bit; ordered out of a sense of obligation, a sort of Peruvian picadillo version fared better on a subsequent visit, absent the freezer burn but still lacking in flavor and with an overly cake-like texture to the pastry. The empanadas make up an entire section of the menu here. I have no idea why.

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This Week in Food Blogs: A Fried Chicken Roundup

Categories: Leftovers

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Photo by Mai Pham
The Korean-style fried chicken at Dak & Bop (1801 Binz) is among those featured in Zagat Houston's roundup.

Tag Sale Tastes wins the creativity prize for its pun-filled, divinely-inspired recipe for shepherd's pie. That's right: it's inspired by a poster of the most famous Shepherd of all. Is it sacrilege or sagacity? Only you can decide. Either way, the end result is likely to be tasty.

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Dish of the Week: Arroz con Pollo

Categories: Recipes

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Photo by Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez
This simple dish can be elegant, too.
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 sharing a recipe for arroz con pollo.

Literally meaning "rice with chicken," arroz con pollo is a traditional Spanish dish that is also common throughout Latin America. A variation on the Spanish paella -- which consists of seafood, chorizo, and chicken -- this simpler dish is made with only chicken.

Both paella and arroz con pollo and have their roots in 8th century Spain, when the Moorish occupation influenced Spanish imports, exports, and ultimately the way Spaniards ate. Most importantly, the Moors brought an irrigation system, which introduced rice -- a major staple in Spanish cuisine -- to the region. But traces of the Moorish culture can also be seen in the spices used in the rice dish, mainly saffron, cumin, and coriander, which were included for both color and flavor. The Moors also commonly ate communal dishes which were shared and passed around the table, as are arroz con pollo and paella.

Though some variations of arroz con pollo include chorizo as well, recipes generally call for chicken, rice, sofrito (a mix of garlic, peppers, and onions), chicken stock, and sometimes olives, capers, or spices and herbs like saffron, bay leaf, coriander and cumin.


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This Week in Food Events: Top-Notch BBQ and Beer Before Game Time

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo by Michael Fulmer
Now THIS is what you call pre-gaming! An afternoon barbecue event precedes the Super Bowl this-coming Sunday.

Monday, January 26

Bon Vivant Houston

This over-the-top dinner for charity means that a table of 10 guests at the Royal Sonesta gets their very own noteworthy Houston chef for a night. Here are just a few of the ones participating: Danny Trace from Brennan's, Richard Knight of upcoming Hunky Dory (formerly of Feast) and Oliviere Ciesielski of L'Olivier. Chef Bryan Caswell of Reef will also be there and is an event chair as well. Each chef will create and prepare a five-course dinner tableside. This event benefits The Youth Development Center, an after school academic program that addresses literacy and math development for low-performing students grades 1-6 in the Greater Fifth Ward. Call 713.686.4845 to arrange this rare opportunity. Table sponsorships may still be available. 6:30 p.m. $1000 per person.

Andes Café Celebrates Its One Year Anniversary In a Charitable Way

Today is the first day of a two week celebration that is dotted throughout with special events. From now until February 8, for every $35 spent on dinner, Andes Café will donate $7 to El Centro de Corazon and $25 it will donate $5. Check out the rest of this calendar for other events at Andes Cafe.

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Pizza Is Good, Calzones Are Better at La Fresca Pizza

Categories: On the Menu

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Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Chicken, Mushroom, and Spinach Calzone

There is a paucity of restaurants in Houston that serve calzones and even fewer establishments offer versions that match the quality of those found in Italian-American hubs along the east coast.

La Fresca Pizza is among these few, these happy few, and they have two locations. So, give thanks if you have been craving calzones over-stuffed with lots of cheese and any number of toppings.

People who describe the calzone as simply an "inside-out pizza," or worse, a "pizza pocket" (which conjures horrific images of hot pockets) do this dish a gross disservice. The calzone, whose origins can be traced to Puglia, Italy, is made from thicker, saltier dough than that found in a typical pizza that is folded over in semi-circle fashion to enclose a filling of cheese, meats (chicken, pepperoni, Italian cold cuts are popular) and vegetables such as mushrooms, onions, spinach, etc. Note: Tomatoes are usually not included among this "etc." interior toppings because calzones are traditionally served with a side of marinara for dipping.

This story continues on the next page.

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The 5 Best Things to Eat or Drink This Weekend: A Texas Spirits Showdown

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo by David Rozycki
Head to Harold's for a Texas-style cocktail throwdown.
Final Nights of Galveston Restaurant Week @ Galveston
Friday and Saturday

This is your last weekend to enjoy special prix-fixe menus at 35 of Galveston's most delectable restaurants. We love Farley Girls Cafe, Number 13 and Porch Cafe, to name a few.

Texas Spirits Throwdown @ Harold's Restaurant & Bar
Saturday, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
350 W 19th

Watch as your favorite local 'Mixologists' compete to create some tasty cocktails using spirits from the Lone Star state at this first annual Texas Spirits Showdown. As you taste and drink craft cocktails, enjoy a live DJ, raffle prizes, and complimentary appetizers.

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