These Three Local Products Will Make You a Labor Day Hero

Categories: Season's Eating

Photo by Greg Habermann
You'll be on fire this Labor Day.
Would you like to be the hero of that Labor Day party you're going to this weekend? Would you like to be complimented, have your name chanted, and/or be carried around the party like you're goddamn Cleopatra?

If you've answered yes to any of the above, we're here to help. It's as easy as showing up to your end of summer party with one of these local products (and a game plan on how to use them) in hand. Here's what to do:

See also: BBQ Like A Boss: 5 Homemade Sauces for Your Labor Day Cookout

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The 5 Best Things to Eat or Drink This Weekend: Get in Line at Revival Market for Kolaches on Saturday

Categories: Edible Events

Photo courtesy of Revival Market
Kolache Saturday is happening this weekend at Revival Market.
Food Truck Friday @ Houston Press
Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
2603 La Branch

Yummy Dog will be at the Houston Press
offices today from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. to serve lunch. Come grab one of the truck's specialty dogs, such as the German Shepherd featuring a bratwurst with sauerkraut or grilled onions and spicy brown mustard on a pretzel bun, or one of the newest creations, the 102 Degrees hot dog with extra spicy smoked pork, Creole mustard, pico de gallo and pickled jalapeno on a pretzel bun.

Kolache Breakfast @ Revival Market
Saturday, 8 a.m.
550 Heights

Kolaches are back at Revival Market this Saturday, starting at 8 a.m., but we all know to get there early so we can secure one of those tasty breakfast pastries, right? This Saturday, Revival will be serving up sweet fig, ricotta and honey, and peach and pecan kolaches, along with savory chicken sausage and sage klobasneks, as well as ones stuffed with keilbasa and cheddar cheese. All of the offerings are made from scratch, so you don't want to miss out on this special breakfast.

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Upcoming Events: September Is National All-American Breakfast Month

Categories: Edible Events

Photo courtesy of The Epicurean Publicist
Bradley's Fine Diner will serve pigs in a blanket stuffed with pork belly.
Throughout the entire month of September, several restaurants will be celebrating National All-American Breakfast Month. Funky Chicken is promoting its Funky Brunch offered on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. featuring chicken and waffles, chicken biscuit sandwiches and mimosas. Bradley's Fine Diner has an a la carte brunch available on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. where guests can choose from sweet dishes, such as warm doughnuts with lemon curd and buttermilk griddle cakes topped with blueberry compote and maple syrup, or stick to something savory, such as the short rib hash or pork belly pigs in a blanket. Skeeter's Mesquite Grill expanded its usual breakfast and brunch menu, available Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. until noon, so guests can feast on chicken and waffles, breakfast tacos and breakfast enchiladas. Laurenzo's will offer a new weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays in September from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. where guests can fill up on eggs Benedict in seven different forms, including ones topped with crab, ham, beef tenderloin or smoked salmon. Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen on Woodway will feature a made-to-order pancakes and eggs breakfast buffet on Sundays, while the Westheimer location will serve breakfast dishes on Sundays a la carte.

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Openings & Closings: Play Strip Twister and Get Evicted

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Zelko Bistro remains open in the Heights and you can still get this cheese plate.
Another Upper Kirby establishment closed its doors this week. Irish pub Mugsy's at 2239 Richmond shuttered on Sunday, August 24, but the co-owner Randy Eddy tells Eater Houston that he is closing the Irish pub and replacing it with a New Orleans-style restaurant, Tavern Orleans. The menu will feature Creole and Cajun dishes, such as classic gumbo, shrimp creole and etouffee, along with unique items like chicory coffee-crusted pork chops. The new French Quarter restaurant is set to open on Tuesday, September 2.

As reported by Swamplot, Judge Randy Wilson granted temporary injunction which prevents Zelko Bistro's landlord from placing a for lease sign outside the restaurant at 705 E. 11th. The judge made this decision on August 20, but 30 days from that ruling date, Zelko Bistro and its landlord must "mediate the dispute." As for now, the Heights restaurant remains open, so you can stuff your face with the incredible cheese plate served with a side of fresh honeycomb; and don't forget about the St. Arnold's short ribs.

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The 5 Best Washington Corridor Happy Hours

Photo by Troy Fields
Cozy up to Coppa's bar for happy hour treats like no other.
If you love happy hour as much as we do, you'll love this new series. We're taking a look at the best happy hours in town, 'hood by 'hood. To narrow it down, we're focusing on the spots with the best deals on not only drinks, but eats, too. From upscale eateries serving bar bites and half-priced wine to dives with cheap beer and burgers, we've got it all. See the complete list at the end of this post

This week, we're taking a look at the bars and restos in Washington Corridor.

Note: For purposes of this post, the Washington Corridor is defined as the strip of Washington running from Westcott to Houston, with a few blocks north or south on either side.

Honorable Mention: $2 off wines and beers by the glass and mid-day bites at BRC Gastropub; drink specials and burger and steak nights at Winston on Washington's dog-friendly patio; and half-priced apps at J. Black's.

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Chef Chat, Part 2: Gerry Sarmiento of Mezzanotte & Piqueo

Categories: Chef Chat

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Gerry Sarmiento of Mezzanotte and Piqueo restaurants
During our interview, Gerry Sarmiento, the chef-owner of Mezzanotte and Piqueo restaurants, mentioned that he and his wife Adriana wanted to create the kind of place that they would patronize themselves. Part of that job is to create an atmosphere where customers feel recognized and cared about. I personally experienced what that meant a little less than two years ago.

One night, I was on my way from downtown to a group dinner I'd arranged at Piqueo. There aren't that many Peruvian restaurants in Houston, so I invited about eight friends to meet me and my family for a shared culinary adventure.

On the way, I stopped at a gas station and when I came back to my car, it wouldn't start. A kind stranger tried to help me with no luck. It was now time for our dinner reservation and I was still 35 minutes away. It was my idea, I had arranged it and I wasn't even there.

I imagined my friends sitting around waiting for me and my stress, embarrassment and frustration grew. I called my husband to let him know the situation. Of course, he offered to come get me, but I asked him to stay at the restaurant with our kids, be a good host, tell everyone to order dinner and not wait for me. One of our friends attending the dinner came to fetch me, sparing me a $40 cab ride to Cypress.

By the time I walked into the restaurant, I was an hour late.

Gerry had been informed of my situation. Instead of getting upset that a table of 12 people was holding off on ordering their dinners and tying up a big table for an hour, he and his lovely wife gave me a hug and a glass of wine. He said, "We're sorry you got stranded. We sent your friends some wine to the table to keep them calm while they were waiting."

Our group had a great dinner, ordered more wine and that was good, for when I returned to pick up my car... it had been towed. But least I had a nice dinner with people that I cared about before I had that unhappy discovery.

I've always been grateful to Gerry and Adriana for salvaging that evening. I don't know how many restaurants would have done that for its customers. But that's how they are.

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Eat This: Thai Hot Pot at Vibe Lounge

Categories: On the Menu

Photo by Mai Pham
The Thai hot pot at Vibe Lounge is a thing of beauty.

Walking into Vibe Lounge on Wilcrest just north of Bellaire Boulevard, the atmosphere is definitely more lounge and bar than restaurant. The lights are dim, and neon blue lighting illuminates the space. There are large, flat screen TVs and a sitting area with comfortable white couches. Tall long tables, with plush, modern white barstools invite guests to grab a drink.

It could have been any regular bar serving typical bar food, but in this corner of Alief, a lot of the bars and lounges are offering bona fide good Vietnamese food. Vibe is leading the trend. Regulars rave about the food.

"Best Lau Thai!" asserted my friend Lan on social media, when she saw a picture of it on my Instagram. Indeed, it was the Lau Thai (Thai hot pot) that had drawn me and a companion to Vibe on a recent Wednesday night. That, and the Wednesday special of hot pot and six bottles of beer for $30.

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The 2014 Best of HoustonĀ® Readers' Poll: Vote Now for the Best of Houston Food!

Categories: Best of Houston

Live somewhere long enough and you develop a collection of favorite locations, places you can always count on to deliver a good times or good service. You have your favorite margarita, your favorite spot for a sandwich, your favorite barbecue, so on and so forth.

In a few weeks, our Best of HoustonĀ® 2014 issue is going to drop and we'll have our list of favorites for you to read and check out. Of course, we also know that you feel very passionate about some of the subjects, which is why we're giving you the chance to let us know what your favorite spots are.

That's right, it's time for the 2014 Best of HoustonĀ® Readers' Poll.

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The 10 Best Places for Desserts in Houston

Dolce Delights 011.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
You better believe these cakes from Dolce Delights made our list.
Sometimes you just want something sweet and when you get that sugar craving, you have to satisfy it right then and there. Baking cookies or brownies takes too long and that small piece of chocolate you have in your pantry just won't do it for you. But, there are multiple places around town serving up killer desserts. You just have to walk inside, choose your poison, sit down and enjoy it. How easy is that?

We are aware that a multitude of restaurants offer quality desserts, like the chocolate coconut shell, el coco, at Caracol, the banana's foster at
Brennan's of Houston and the tres leches at the Cordua restaurants. However, we want to share with you the ten best places that specialize in just desserts. These are the places you want to visit and know you're going to indulge in something sweet. These are the places where sugar is the common denominator. And these are the places you can count on to always satisfy your sweet tooth.

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Remembering Chef Grant Gordon's Life in Food

Categories: News

grant gordon2-thumb-560x420.jpg
Photo by Mai Pham
Chef Grant Gordon
Anyone who knew chef Grant Gordon, whether it was through a restaurant, eating his food or being his personal friend, knew what an incredible person he was and that he was a truly skilled chef. Gordon established a name for himself in Houston as one of the most talented chefs under 30. He received a number of accolades, awards and recognition from various publications and organizations, including the James Beard Foundation.

Gordon was a native Houstonian who graduated from Memorial High School. Kevin Naderi, chef and owner of Roost and Lillo & Ella, actually grew up with Gordon. They started kindergarten together, but it wasn't until high school that Naderi discovered that Gordon, like himself, wanted to become a chef.

"It was cool to find out that he loved to cook because there wasn't anybody else I really knew in my grade that was wanting to be a chef," Naderi says. "So we clicked more over that which was pretty cool. We always kept in touch since then."

During their senior year, Gordon worked at Rickshaw, a sushi bar in River Oaks, and Naderi worked at the Double Tree Post Oak. Naderi says they always jokingly bragged about their jobs and their future successful careers. Both attended the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York, but Gordon stayed to finish the program, while Naderi came home to Houston to enroll at the Art Institute.

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