A Sneak Peek of the New H-E-B and Table 57 Restaurant

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Photo by Phaedra Cook
The opening of the new H-E-B and Table 57 restaurant is just around the corner.
When it comes to its new, 91,000 square foot location at 5895 San Felipe at Fountainview, H-E-B is making sure there's a whole lot of fun in-store for shoppers. The company is touting this location as its "finest store in Houston."

It was a stroke of good fortune that when it came time to develop Table 57's menu that a respected, longtime Houston chef happened to be available to help. Chef Randy Evans had just struck out on his own after his prior restaurant, Haven, was sold by its main investor. McClelland asked Evans to consult on Table 57's new menu. The executive chef is Allen Duhon. The restaurant, by the way, is named for the zip code of the address.

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A Snack That's Half-Popped but Not Half-Baked

Categories: Grocery Guide

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Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Healthful not hellacious.

Looking to switch to healthier snacks in 2015? Well, at least for the month of January. Except, of course, on the day of the Super Bowl. Anyway...

Plain popcorn is an incredibly satisfying treat as well as a terrific source of fiber and antioxidants, but in the absence of butter, it can be rather boring after the first handful. A sprinkle of herbs from your patio garden (especially dried dill) can enhance the flavor, but if one of your New Year's resolutions was to stop channeling Martha Stewart all the damn time and keep it simple, stupid, then pick up a bag of HalfPops.


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These Houston Area Grocery Stores Are Open on Thanksgiving Day

Categories: Grocery Guide

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Photo by Kent Wang
It's okay to be last minute. We've got you covered.
Whether you forgot an ingredient for your famous cornbread dressing, can't fit in the shopping, or just really, really like to wait until the last minute, here's a list of the grocery/convenience stores that will be open this Thanksgiving Day:

Note: All information is based on telephone checks with the stores or their websites, so please don't be mad at us if you show up somewhere and that individual store is not participating. Consider this a spirit guide to where you can start looking. And feel free to add any extra openings in the comments.

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5 Revelations From a Grocery Store Insider

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Photo by Orange County Archives
Working at a place can make a person privy to certain things that people on the outside probably don't know. I've had a lot of jobs like that over the years, and have learned a lot about other people and the hidden mechanisms of the businesses I've worked for. I've had quite a few gigs working at various types of grocery stores, and have learned a few things. Things like...

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Photo by Arnold Gatilao
Organic grass fed meat is expensive? Well, there's always Spam for you.

5. Complaining about things being expensive doesn't solve anything.

I hear this gripe from customers fairly often. Meat is getting so expensive. One recent customer of mine complained about the cost of our market-made, labor-intensive chicken salad because it had gone up 20 cents. She squawked about how she would no longer be able to afford it, asked for a discount and then continued to babble about a recent vacation to the Bahamas before leaving the store in her new Mercedes.

Besides the ridiculous nature of this person's argument that she was being priced out of delicious chicken salad, what do these cheapskates expect a store to do? Meat is expensive. It's not cheap to raise large animals simply so they can be killed and eaten. When you get into things like organic meat, the price goes higher and higher. Supply and demand come into play, and people like me have to make a living, too.

My point? Complaining about prices won't affect them at all. The older folks who somehow expect prices to have stayed the same since the 1960s are also hard to reason with.

4. Avoid that olive bar

I used to work in the deli of an expensive specialty grocery store in Houston. There was this huge, self-serve olive bar against a wall, which was full of expensive imported olives of all sorts. So what's wrong with that? Sounds great, huh? Yes, it would be except for the constant stream of children and even some adults who would come through running their hands through the olive trough, helping themselves to a free sample or two, or just thrusting their gross hands into the thing with abandon, for reasons I can't fathom. I used to buy olives from that bar until I witnessed that behavior. Never again. Same thing goes for any salad bar, actually.

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Whole Foods Market Previews Its Post Oak Store With a Tour and a Party

Categories: Grocery Guide

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Photo by Nath Pizzolatto
People attending the Whole Foods Post Oak preview party on Tuesday night.

I love grocery stores. The Clash's "Lost in the Supermarket" isn't describing some stoner nightmare to me; I could be quite content spending an evening or two wandering around, examining the sheer visual spectacle: the modern orderliness of the shelves packed with items in symmetry; the visual brilliance of the display of products, the people-watching. That's before we get into the free samples. If the store has nice decor and is a pleasant place to shop, so much the better, but I can even make do with linoleum and artificial lighting.

The new Whole Foods on Post Oak certainly doesn't have that latter problem. I was able to take a tour of the store Monday, as well as attend a preview party on Tuesday. It opens Thursday morning, and as far as grocery stores go, it's pretty cool, in terms of both the structure itself and the options offered.

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A Preview of the Whole Foods Post Oak Store with Dinner, Beer, and a Chat

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Photo by Joey McKeel
An overhead shot of the food and beer served at the dinner. Dave Ohmer, Whole Foods brewmaster, is third from left.
Next month, a new Whole Foods Market location is opening in the Galleria area that promises, for the time being, to be the biggest Whole Foods in Houston. Inside Whole Foods Post Oak will be the company's first brewery-- according to Whole Foods, the first in-store brewery of any kind in the grocery industry.

As a preview of the features available at the new location, we were able to have a media dinner with the brewmaster at the Whole Foods Market Brewing Company, Dave Ohmer. The meal was from the new location's Souvlaki Greek venue and paired with beers chosen by Ohmer. We also got to speak to Ohmer about his plans for the brewery.

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True or False? 6 Common Food Questions Answered

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Photo by Matt MacGillivray
Lots of mysteries lurking at the average grocery store

There are a lot of misconceptions and myths floating around in our world today about the things we like to eat and drink. I hear a lot of strange "rules" at the grocery store where I work, and of course from people I know outside of my job. Here are a few that I think are pretty interesting.

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Whole Foods Market: Your One-Stop Shop for Pumpkins This Fall

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Photos by Molly Dunn
Whole Foods Market has a plethora of carving pumpkins, along with more you can eat.
Take one trip to any grocery store around town and you'll quickly realize that pumpkin season has arrived. But, there's more types of pumpkins than just the bright orange round ones you carve into Jack-O-Lanterns and set outside on Halloween night. Pumpkins come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors; and just because one is good for cooking, doesn't mean another can be used in the same exact way.

It's always fun to take the family out to a nearby pumpkin patch to sit on gourds, snap some photos and take a few home with you to carve and possibly eat. But, if you're just looking for a quick place to buy pumpkins without it being an all-day ordeal, then stop by any Whole Foods Market in the city. This year, the specialty grocery store offers nearly 27 different pumpkin and gourd varietals -- all of the pumpkins are local and edible. To help you decide which one is right for you, we have broken down the list of available pumpkins at Whole Foods Markets in Houston into two categories: best for carving/decorating, and best for baking/cooking.

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H-E-B Issues Recall of Samuel Kane Beef Processors' Beef Products

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H-E-B customers who recently bought beef at one of its stores might want to take a closer look at what they brought home.

H-E-B has announced it is following the precautionary recall called for by Sam Kane Beef Processors which said there might be foreign material in some of its ground beef and ground chuck products, according to an H-E-B press release. The processing company is just one of several that H-E-B uses.

The grocery store stressed that "no injuries or illnesses have been reported."


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Savory Spice Shop in Rice Village: An Easy Way to Test Out New Smells and Tastes

Categories: Grocery Guide

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Photo by Joanna O'Leary
I respect any establishment with an entire wall devoted to curry.

It's not every day a store clerk encourages you to drop your sample on the floor once you've finished testing it.

It makes sense, though, at Rice Village's Savory Spice Shop where 99 percent of the wares are in powdered form. The store has been open since August, but had its grand opening this past weekend.

And "grand" is certainly a fitting descriptor for anything having to do with the shop, whose voluminous spices, oils, marinades, seasonings, etc. are meticulously ordered and artfully arranged in a space reminiscent of a French Victorian apothecary.


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