This Week In Houston Food Events: Take Your Administrative Professional Out To Lunch

Photo courtesy of Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen
Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen is one of the restaurants offering a special fixed-price lunch for Administrative Professionals Week.

Monday, April 20

Administrative Professional Week Menu At Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen

A special three-course lunch menu is available through this Friday and includes a starter, entrée and dessert. The main courses choices are: North Of The Border Enchilada Tour, South Of The Border Enchilada Tour or the Petite Tampiquena (combination plate). Reservations are required for groups of six or more. Three locations: 6401 Woodway, 12637 Westheimer and 1140 Eldridge. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. $20 plus tax and gratuity.

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The 20 Best Restaurant Patios in Houston

Photo by Troy Fields
The patio of Sparrow Bar + Cookshop is a little haven in the midst of Midtown.

When the weather is blessedly mild, Houstonians go running, not for the hills but for the best restaurant patios in the city. We've gathered 20 of Houston's best and ranked them not just for their good looks but for the food and service as well. Take a look, and be sure to make reservations for the ones that are fine-dining establishments. You won't be the only one wanting to secure a place in the sun.

20. Sparrow Bar + Cookshop, 3701 Travis

Chef Monica Pope's restaurant has been a haven within Midtown for years, even when it was previously T'afia. Choose sun or shade on the partially covered patio adorned in lush greenery. Some of that greenery is functional, as the restaurant grows its own small selection of fresh herbs. The Garden Gin & Tonic, with dill, bay, lemon rosemary cubes and cucumber-infused Texas gin, seems like the perfect drink to match the outdoor setting. There's a vegan- and vegetarian-friendly menu that doesn't forget about meat lovers, either.

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This Week In Houston Food Events: It's Galveston Food & Wine Festival Week

Mats Hagwall via Flickr Creative Commons
First up this week, grab some fish and chips at J.D. Woodward's pop-up at Moving Sidewalk.

Monday, April 13

Chef J.D. Woodward's Fish & Chips Pop-Up At Moving Sidewalk

Following his successful Steak Night pop-up last week, J.D. Woodward of the forthcoming Southern Goods returns to his old stomping grounds for a Fish & Chips Night at Moving Sidewalk. Happy Hour specials will be in effect the entire night, including dollar beers, cheap shots and six-dollar classic cocktails. Food available while supplies last, so get there early. 306 Main. 7 p.m.

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This Week in Houston Food Events: Wine Dinners & Festivals Galore

Categories: Here, Eat This

Photo by Phaedra Cook
This week includes the multi-day Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair.

Monday, April 6

Steak Night At Moving Sidewalk

Chef J.D. Woodward returns for one night to his former home turf to serve up some juicy steaks and hearty potatoes. A vegetarian option is available as well. There are happy hour prices at the bar all night and dollar beers. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. and is available while supplies last. 306 Main. $16 plus tax and gratuity for steak dinner.

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Rebecca Masson and Brandi Key Join Forces for a Pop-Up Dinner Sunday

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Pastry chef Rebecca Masson and chef Brandi Key are cooking this Sunday for an Aces of Taste pop-up dinner.

Pastry chef Rebecca Masson of Fluff Bake Bar (expected to open in Midtown next month) and executive chef Brandi Key of both Coppa Osteria and Punk's Simple Southern Food will cook for an Aces of Taste pop-up this Sunday, March 22.

Aces of Taste is a dinner series that happens on roughly a monthly basis. Past chefs have included Chris Williams of Lucille's and Mike Potowski of Benjy's. The events are held in varying locations, and this one is at Bodega 1617 Wine Bar at 1617 Richmond.

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Best Food We Found at the Houston Rodeo This Year

Categories: Here, Eat This

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
If you see the Go Tejano booth, stop by. It's staffed by volunteers and the money raised goes to the rodeo scholarship fund.

We covered food at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo carnival last week during the World's Championship Bar-B-Que Competition, but many vendors didn't start serving until the rodeo officially started on yesterday. We went back to see what new tasty goodies we could find. This was what we found on-the-fly--the Gold Buckle Foodie competition is tomorrow, so we'll follow up with a list of the official winners.

If you've been to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo before, then you know it's a vast property. We explored the two huge tents of food set up next to NRG Center as well as some vendors that extend around the back of Kids Country.

For those of you who are hoping for a quality alcoholic beverage to go with your selections--good luck. Your best bet is to head to the lovely Champion Wine Garden instead and if you don't like wine--well, sorry. We didn't see any craft beer at all, and it's a real pity because most of the food we tried would have been even better with great beer alongside. Skip those margaritas by-the-yard, too. Those scary neon green and pink abominations are completely gross. They taste like they were made with Sprite syrup and Zima.

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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.

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Why I Love Greenling

Photo by Phaedra Cook
Made from a Greenling meal kit: vegetarian tortilla soup with black bean, cheese and salsa quesadillas on the side

UPDATE: December 3, 2014: After this blog went live, we received some questions about Greenling and local farmers. In a followup post, we went straight to the source to find out what "local" means and to answer the following: does Greenling really help local farmers?

It's always lame to hear about people talk about how busy they are. We're all busy these days. With that being said, as someone who's currently juggling a dual career as a writer and as an IT consultant, I'm probably busier than most.

My days usually start between 4 and 6 a.m. I get up, write for a few hours, then put on my consultant garb and go downtown to take care of my IT clients.

Lunchtime is almost always a "working" lunch. I may interview a chef or check out a new restaurant. Houston's dining scene is so incredibly active that there's almost always some kind of event or review visit in the evening. To retain some personal sanity (and get to see my college-aged kids who are still living at home), I try and stick to a rule that I only go out on assignment every other night.

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From Dangerous to Delightful: Uchi's Moss Dish

Categories: Here, Eat This

Photo by Phaedra Cook
The Matsutake dish at Uchi Houston includes a lichen (referred to colloquially as "reindeer moss") that requires special preparation to transform it from dangerous to delectable.

The string of text messages began with a photo. It was a plate of lovely, unidentifiable green puff balls accented with slices of mushrooms, grilled so precisely that there were criss-cross grill marks, just as one might see on a steak.

The photo and subsequent message were from an exuberant friend in the restaurant industry. We'll call him "Gordon." Gordon is, in fact, made of exuberance. He texts me only when he's excited about something, whether it be a costume party or a something else he thinks is fascinating. I shall paraphrase the conversation:

"This moss dish is at Uchi! It's poisonous if prepared incorrectly! Total delish!"

I search my feelings to find my motivation to eat poison. I am unsuccessful.

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Eat This: The Salted Caramel Peanut Tart at Tout Suite

Photo by Molly Dunn
The Salted Caramel Peanut Tart at Tout Suite is a work of art.
Before Tout Suite opened in East Downtown, I knew the cafe would be serving incredible desserts and pastries, like those delicate macarons and beautiful cupcakes sold at the sister bakery, Sweet in CityCentre, along with a savory menu served throughout the day. But, the tarts and treats were a surprise.

As I stared at the gorgeous display of bright yellow mango passion tart cakes, matcha green tea chiffon cakes and lemon yuzu tarts, one of the employees approached me asking if I had any questions about the offerings at Tout Suite. I told him I was interested in purchasing the "Paris Houston," a chocolate almond cake with a fruit filling and a generous topping of swirled frosting, but he advised me to choose a different pastry, the Salted Caramel Peanut Tart.

He said it is one of the best offerings in the display case, and that he was one of the chefs who makes the pastries at Tout Suite.

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