Coming Soon: The 12th Annual Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair

Categories: Things To Do

Photo by Phaedra Cook
Sipping and strolling at the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair at the historic Imperial Sugar factory.

The five-day ultimate wine and food connoisseur event in Sugar Land returns for its twelfth year. Several chefs are coming to Houston from other cities to participate, including former White House chef John Moeller; Maine-based Chefs Shanna and Brian O'Hea; Jose Duarte of Taranta in Boston; Jeff Balfour of soon-to-open Southerleigh in the Historic Pearl Brewing complex in San Antonio; Rob Snow of Greenhouse Craft Food in Round Rock; Mark DeNittis from Denver; Jason Nauert of the Rocky Mountain Institute of Meat; Kevin Williamson of Ranch 616 in Austin and Carlos Crusco, also from Austin.

More than 10,000 attendees are expected over the course of the festival, which kicks off on Wednesday, April 8, with a five-course, Italian-themed VIP dinner called "La Dolce Vita." Chefs from Arcodoro, Coppa Osteria, Quattro and Ristorante Cavour are lending their culinary skills while Banfi takes care of the wine. Tickets are $150 each.

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A Preview of Bernadine's Restaurant Coming to Houston

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Bernadine's promises fresh takes on Southern coastal cuisine.

Last week, attendees got a look at what chef Graham Laborde has planned for forthcoming restaurant Bernadine's at a Kipper Club pop-up dinner. It was the second preview dinner, since the one held back in January sold out. It proved to be a fresh take on Gulf Coast cuisine that embraces its lowbrow roots.

Treadsack group has been talking about Richard Knight's forthcoming Hunky Dory and P.J. Stoop's Foreign Correspondents for about two years now and they're finally getting close to realizing those dreams. Bernadine's, however, turned out to be the unexpected baby -- the result of the right person for the right concept being around at the right time.

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Try These 5 Seriously Awesome Sliders in Houston

Two Houston Chefs Are James Beard Finalists

Categories: Breaking News

Photo by Paula Murphy
Chefs Justin Yu (left) and Hugo Ortega (right) are James Beard Award finalists for Best Chef: Southwest again this year.

Houston, we're going back to the beards!

Two Houston chefs need to start thinking about what to put in their carry-bags, as they'll be expected at the Lyric Opera of Chicago for the James Beard Awards ceremony on May 4. Hugo Ortega of Hugo's and Caracol and Justin Yu of Oxheart are both finalists for Best Chef: Southwest this year.

It's not a complete surprise, since this is Ortega's fourth and Yu's second trip to the finals. Last year, chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly brought home the first James Beard: Best Chef Southwest award for the first time since Robert del Grande did it in 1992.

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Not Everything Sparkles at Tout Suite, but There's Enough to Keep You Coming Back for More

Photos by Troy Fields
The menu features gems like this brioche burger, topped with golden raisins, caramelized onion and a fried egg.

One of the best things about my day job is that it isn't. Midweek days off are a common occurrence, even if they're usually whittled away by my sneaking back into bed to snuggle with the baby (and his mom) after I drop his sisters off at school. We've been trying to take better advantage of these days off, though, or at least more practical advantage. Sometimes, that means hitting the grocery store at 9 a.m. on a Wednesday; it's as empty as six months into a postapocalyptic TV drama, and we're free to roam about at our leisure.

Lately, we've been trying to do something a little more exciting. We're boring and old now, so that means breakfast. As with that postapocalyptic grocery store, though, 9 a.m. on a Wednesday is a great time to go to a popular restaurant, especially if you have a baby with you.

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This Week in Houston Food Blogs: Springtime Is Snow Ice Time

Categories: Leftovers

Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
Green tea snow ice at Nu Cafe

The weather is warming up, which means that cold treats are starting to sound like a good idea again. Tag Sale Tastes takes a trip to Nu Café, which creates beautiful mountains and hills of shaved ice that look like piles of lace. (Kaitlin Steinberg introduced us to the Taiwanese treat last year.) The frozen, airy concoction has a bit of milk but is lighter than ice cream, which means less heaviness and guilt later. There are two locations: 9889 Bellaire and 5901 Westheimer near the Galleria.

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Appetites: A Memoir and the State of French Cuisine

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Marie LeNôtre signs a copy of her new book, Appetites: A Memoir.

Last week, Kris Bistro and French cooking school Culinary Institute LeNôtre celebrated two events in one evening. The first was the signing and party for Marie LeNôtre's new book, Appetites: A Memoir. We received an advance review copy and have already finished it, which was no chore. The book is a page-turner, with some breathtaking revelations about how the respected French culinary school came into existence.

In the book, LeNôtre covers not only her own history but her husband Alain's as well, including the portions of his life leading up to when he met her. The fact that they were both already single parents with two children each by the time they met is one of the lesser dramas of their combined story. LeNôtre's early life as a young actress and model is fraught with its own perils. The rocky relationship in later years between the couple and the LeNôtre culinary empire is shocking. In time, tragedy gives way to forgiveness.

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Southern Goods Dream Team Evolves With Latest Chef Addition

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Mai Pham
JD Woodward, formerly of Plonk! Bistro and Goro & Gun, has signed on for Southern Goods.

A few weeks ago, chef Lyle Bento and and Charles Bishop of Southern Goods made the surprising announcement that they had added well-regarded barbecue specialist Patrick Feges to their team. (Feges was previously at Killen's Barbecue.)

Today comes another piece of good news for the forthcoming restaurant. Chef JD Woodward, formerly the executive chef of Goro & Gun, has been named chef de cuisine. Ever since Goro & Gun closed last year, Woodward's food, like his roasted, fish-sauce-laden "Hustle Sprouts" and Peking-style roasted duck with moo shu (Mandarin-style pancakes), has been sorely missed. We'd expect to see Southern food from him this time around, of course, but Brussels sprouts can be Southern, right?

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"Houston Becoming a Major Culinary Destination," Says Leading U.S. Wine Writer Jon Bonné in IPOB Tasting Preview

Categories: Wine Time

Image via In Pursuit of Balance.
San Francisco Chronicle wine columnist Jon Bonné (right) with California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grower David Hirsch at the In Pursuit of Balance tasting in San Francisco last year.
In the interview that follows, leading American wine writer and author of The New California Wine (Ten Speed 2013) Jon Bonné shares his impressions of the Houston wine and food scene and offers a preview of the In Pursuit of Balance (IPOB) tasting, which will be held in Houston on March 30.

Bonné will be leading guided tastings and seminars on the day of the event and he will also be speaking about his book and the "New California Wine" movement at a dinner at Paulie's on Sunday, March 29. (Visit the In Pursuit of Balance site for tasting details and contact Camerata for reservations for the Sunday dinner.)

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Dish of the Week: Croque-Madame

Categories: Recipes

Photo by Brooke Viggiano
Brasserie 19's croque madame is no joke.
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 covering a French bistro staple: the Croque-Madame.

A croque-madame is a version of the simple bistro sandwich croque-monsieur, which is a ham and cheese sandwich that is sautéed in butter and topped with cheesy béchamel sauce. While both sandwiches are typically made using good-quality ham and Gruyère or Emmental cheese, the madame version ups the ante by adding a poached or lightly fried egg to the already decadent affair.

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