Five Houstonians Head to Dallas for Master Sommelier Exams

Categories: Wine Time

Photo by Jeremy Parzen.
From left, Master Sommelier Jesse Becker from Chicago with Master Sommelier candidates Ben Roberts, Travis Hinkle, David Keck, and James Watkins. Hinkle, Keck, and Watkins, along with two other Houstonians, will be taking their Court of Master Sommeliers theory exams on Monday in Dallas.
Roughly 600 wine professionals from across the United States applied last year to the Court of Master Sommeliers, said Master Sommelier Jay Fletcher who sits on the court's board. Five years ago, he noted, that number was closer to 100.

The allure of the court, with its coveted pin and the professional cachet that it confers upon the wearer, has become so strong that it simply cannot accommodate the overwhelming number of aspiring Master Sommeliers.

That's only made the competition more intense.

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A Preview of Foreign Correspondents Restaurant Coming to Houston

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
A bowl of Gaeng Om Fak Tong, which roughly translates to dry golden squash curry. This rendition from a Foreign Correspondents preview dinner included butternut squash from Gundermann Farms, ground Asian rooster meat and no coconut milk. It's just one of the Thai dishes that Houstonians will be introduced to when the restaurant opens in two or three months.

Way back in September 2013, Treadsack, the group behind Down House and D&T Drive Inn, announced that P.J. Stoops would be the chef for Thai restaurant Foreign Correspondents. Seventeen months later, it's still not open, but the good news is that it's now only two or three months away. Construction is under way at 4721 North Main, and diners got a preview of what's to come at a Kipper Club dinner this past Saturday night.

One of the P.J.'s most significant accomplishments -- and the thing he may perhaps still be best known for in Houston -- is that he helped bring awareness to fish known as bycatch. During commercial fishing operations, the nets bring in more than just the intended targets. For example, an expedition might be after lucrative, popular red snapper but a Warsaw grouper might come along for the ride.

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La Bikina in The Woodlands Can't Decide What Type of Place It Wants to Be

Categories: Cafe Reviews

If there's a "can't-miss" dish at La Bikina, it's the molcajete de queso, in which two stubby sticks of Monterey Jack cheese are breaded in crumbled chicharrón (fried pork rinds) and gently placed atop a tangy tomatillo sauce with onion and cilantro. It's served in a searing molcajete (a footed stone mortar), and the cheese is stirred into the sauce tableside. The pork adds fat and flavor, while the cheese contributes stringy texture and creaminess. A few more of the small, warm corn tortillas served alongside would have been appreciated, but the complimentary tortilla chips are fine, too.

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This Week in Houston Food Blogs:
Fearless Farmers' Market Shopping

Categories: Leftovers

Photo by Ken via Flickr Creative Commons
Read Houstonia's guide to Canino Farmers Market and then boldly go forward to fill your basket with beautiful produce.

This hilarious post on drinking in airports by Thrillist is one of the best things they've published in recent weeks. (It's much better than the lame post on the 11 "best" barbecue cities that Houston was somehow left off of. Behind the times much?) The article answers questions like, "Is it okay to drink in the mornings at the airport?" and "Should I order a double?" The answer to the second question, of course, is "Duh! Of course you should!"

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A Little Shrimp Makes for a Big Win at Houston Rodeo's Best Bites Competition

Categories: Last Night

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Davis Street at Hermann Park has only been open since December 3, but that didn't get in the way of the restaurant earning three awards at Best Bites last night.

Fledgling restaurant Davis Street at Hermann Park, 5925 Almeda, proved to be a big fish in a big sea of 91 competitors last night when it scored three awards at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Best Bites Competition.

More specifically, it was a big shrimp that landed them both the Trailblazing Appetizer award and second place in the People's Choice category. Their Crispy Thai Shrimp, in a crispy coating, scored an impressive win for a place that opened less than three months ago. There were a few different sauces included: one made from Sriracha, honey, fresh squeezed lemon and a touch of Apple cider vinegar; a jalapeño cilantro cream; and a Sriracha aioli that's made in-house at Davis Street on a daily basis. Additionally, their booth design scored them a second place in the Showmanship category.

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MOD (Made on Demand) Pizza in Houston: A Cheap, Good, Fast Option

Categories: Fast Times

Photo by Phaedra Cook
If you see one of these in your jaunts around town, it's worth dropping in for a quick little pizza.

I visited MOD Pizza at the recommendation of an independent Houston restaurant owner. "It's actually pretty good!" he said. "I can run in, get a pizza or a salad and get out of there quick for less than ten bucks." No one knows more about cheap, good, fast food than chefs and restaurant owners, the sad irony being that they rarely have time for a sit-down meal themselves.

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This Week in Houston Food Events: Kipper Club Season 2 Comes to a Close

Categories: Edible Events

Photo by Phaedra Cook
A lovely salmon dish served at Kipper Club ,which closes its second season this week with a seafood dinner.

Monday, February 23

A Burgundy Symphony at Charivari
Spec's fine wine buyer Bear Dalton presents a "symphony" of ten wines from Burgundy "in five movements." The wines are paired with selections from Charivari chef Johann Schuster. The menu includes pairing two selections each from Domaine Pousse d'Or Volnay Clos des 60 Ouvrees and Domaine Michel Gros Vosne Romanee aux Brulees--2009 and 2010 vintages--with Braised Black Angus Short Ribs aux Jus with Texas Yellow Grits. To reserve, call Susan at 713-854-7855. 2521 Bagby. 7 p.m. $200 per person cash/$210.53 by credit card.

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Dish of the Week: Seafood Fra Diavolo

Categories: Recipes

Photo by Cooking etc.
Add as many kinds of seafood as you like.
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 seafood fra diavolo.

Italian for "brother devil," fra diavolo sauce is a hot-pepper-loaded, tomato-based sauce that is commonly used to coat seafood and pasta. Though the fiery seafood dish may seem to be Italian in origin, it is much heavier than the kind of fare served in Italy. Instead, it likely originated in Italian-American restaurants in New York in the mid 1900s.

Whoever created it, we're glad they did. The zesty, chile-and-garlic-studded red sauce is often served over linguine or spaghetti with lobster, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels, clams or all of the above.

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Menu of Menus® and Iron Fork 2015: A New Challenger!

Categories: Menu of Menus

Photo by Phaedra Cook
See this smile? It's the same one chef Kevin Naderi will be wearing if he takes home the Iron Fork for the fourth year in a row. Who can stop him? One chef has taken on the challenge.

The chef-owner of Roost and Lillo & Ella has won every single Iron Fork competition at Menu of Menus since its inception in 2012. Is he unbeatable?

Well, one notable chef doesn't think so, as he has stepped up to take his turn at trying to remove Kevin Naderi from the Iron Fork throne. Who is this new contender?

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Houston's 5 Best Weekend Food Bets: Celebrate National Margarita Day

Categories: Edible Events

Photo by Hans Splinter
Celebrate National Margarita Day with an ice cold one.
Chinese New Year @ STRAITS Restaurant
Friday - Sunday
800 Sorella

STRAITS will be celebrating the Chinese New Year all weekend long, as Chef John Sikhattana has created a unique and modern menu. Feast on "Fertility & Long Life", a roasted duck, bamboo and bean thread noodle dish; the "New Horizons + Eternity", wok seared scallops served with long beans and garlic chives; or "Strength & Wealth", a fried pork chop with ginger apricot chutney; to name a few of the many festive dishes. On Friday only, from 6:45 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., guests will be delighted with a traditional Lion Dance, a custom performed during Chinese New Year to bring happiness to celebrating onlookers.

Annual One Pot Cook Off @ The Ginger Man
Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.
5607 Morningside

The Ginger Man's annual One Pot Cook Off benefits the Best Buddies Texas, a non profit organization that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Come for tastings of gumbo, chili, stews, and all other types of one pot wonders in addition to a silent auction, raffle and live music. Call 713-526-2770 for tickets and more info.

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