Deli Man Movie Examines an Endangered Dining Tradition

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Photo by Phaedra Cook
Ziggy Gruber of Kenny & Ziggy's deli in Houston has a prominent role in the new documentary, Deli Man.

According to David Sax, author of Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen, in 1930, there were more than 3,000 Jewish delicatessens in New York City in 1930. In 2009, that number had dwindled to a few dozen.

The numbers haven't just been dwindling in New York. The new movie Deli Man says that there are now only a few hundred Jewish delis nationwide.

Ziggy Gruber, chef and co-owner of Kenny & Ziggy's in Houston, is one of the few "deli men" holding the line and ensuring these repositories of food, culture and tradition survive. He has a prominent role in Deli Man and his scenes with his dad, girlfriend (now wife), and brother are emotional focal points that give the film a whole lot of heart and soul.

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

Categories: Last Night

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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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Cochon 555 Highlights Heritage Pig Goodness

Categories: Last Night

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Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Ecstatic Down House co-owner Chris Cusack, left, celebrates the win of chef Mark Decker (right) at the Cochon 555 competition last night.
Last night was all about pork, whiskey and wine as the Cochon 555 tour made its stand at the JW Marriott downtown. Five chefs competed to see who could make the best use out of a locally-raised heritage breed pig. The competitors were host chef Erin Smith of Main Kitchen at the JW Marriott; Brandi Key of Punk's Simple Southern Food and Coppa Osteria; Ronnie Killen of Killen's Steakhouse and Killen's Barbecue; Mark Decker of Down House and Marcelo Garcia of Coltivare.

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Partygoers Pack the Patio at Houston Press Tequila & Tamales

Categories: Last Night

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Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Los Tios received the most votes last night for their traditional pork and chicken tamales with sides of queso and chili gravy.

Last night proved to be one of those delightfully balmy evenings that Houston is graced with sometimes, even in December. It was perfect for the approximately 200 attendees who gathered on the patio of The El Cantina Superior to taste tamales, as well as margaritas, and vote on their favorites.

Five different restaurants competed in both the tamale and margarita categories. The free event, sponsored by El Jimador Tequila, featured Radical Eats, Texas Tamale Company, Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen, Los Tios and three-time Best Margarita winner El Big Bad (formerly El Gran Malo).

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Wingtoberfest: And the Winner Is...

Categories: Last Night

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Photo by Chuck Cook
Another year's wings smackdown
It was a messy shootout at Outlaw Dave's last night, where almost 200 people turned out to judge the best wings in Houston.

Six vendors vied for the top spot: H-Town StrEATS (food truck), Dosi Restaurant, Little Bitty Burger Barn, Sticky's Chicken (food truck), Bonfire Wings and Dry Creek Cafe.

The winner from the night was Sticky's Chicken with a teriyaki, sweet BBQ and garlic wing. We paired it with Saint Arnold Amber Ale to enhance the sweetness. It was very sweet and the crust caramelized on the outside, making it a refreshing wing compared to the other spicy options.


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Common Bond Serves First Seated Dinner During Inaugural Pop-Up

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Photos by Molly Dunn
The pork shank was the best course during the Common Bond pop-up dinner.
We know that Common Bond Cafe & Bakery has perfected its pastries and sweets, such as the ever-popular kugelhopf, almond croissant, chocolate chip cookie and kouign amman. We also know that the Westheimer bakery offers an incredible lunch featuring seasonal sandwiches and mainstay items, such as the turkey confit with pesto, provolone, tomato preserves and arugula on a fresh-baked baguette. But, can Common Bond serve dinner?

On Monday, October 6, Common Bond stayed open much later than usual to serve its first pop-up dinner. The dinner sold out quickly as word traveled about the opportunity to feast on a five-course meal prepared by chef de cuisine David Morgan along with his team of sous chefs. Each course was served family-style, allowing you to dig in and share each dish with the rest of your table.

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First Female Takes Home a Prize From Iron Somm, But Bubbles Still Win

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Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Steven McDonald of Pappas Bros. Steakhouse (center) proudly holds the Iron Sommelier trophy.

Female sommeliers have competed in the annual Iron Sommelier Competition for years, but last night marked the first time that one has taken home one of the major award categories. Vanessa Treviño-Boyd of 60 Degrees Mastercrafted scored the Best Presentation award last night. She succeeded in the intimidating task of presenting her wine and wowing an elite group of dozens of event underwriters in a private room.

Treviño-Boyd used a creative theme called "Expressions of America's Leading Ladies," specifically referring to wines she felt were reminiscent of Katharine Hepburn, Meryl Streep and Scarlett Johansson. What does her win mean for other female sommeliers in Houston? "The Underwriter Room was the high-stakes room. You were put on the spot, you could either hang or not and there was no real hiding it. So, I think it means women here can hang, stay calm, cool and collected and then shine."

What did she present to win over the underwriters? "2009 Elderton 'Command' Shiraz, and Australia is not my strong suit either!" Well, you'd never know it.

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America's Test Kitchen Shares Culinary Tips & Tricks During Live Show

Categories: Last Night

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Photo courtesy of Mills Entertainment
Christopher Kimball brought the Test Kitchen to Houston on Thursday.
Christopher Kimball, host of America's Test Kitchen, brought the PBS show to life on stage Thursday night during America's Test Kitchen Live. Fans of the cooking show, young and old, filled the seats of Jones Hall to listen to Kimball share secrets about the production of the show and explain how the recipes are tested.

Kimball is the exact same bubbly, energetic and goofy host in person as he is on camera. Since 1979, Kimball and his team of culinary experts have made it their goal to figure out the best method for cooking specific recipes, from soft-boiling eggs to grinding burger meat.

Sometimes these recipes result from science experiments, and sometimes they come about from hundreds of tests.

Thursday night included lots of laughs and jokes from Kimball, live taste-test demonstrations and a behind-the-scenes look into life on America's Test Kitchen. Here are five of the best bits of information learned:

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Sundown at The Grove Returns With Craft Beer Flights & Delightful Bites

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Photo by Molly Dunn
From left to right: Elissa, Amber, Icon and Lawnmower.
How does drinking a flight of beer with specially paired food while watching the sun set at Discovery Green sound? Pretty nice, right? Well, every Wednesday night until September 17, you can spend your evening sipping on beer from a featured brewery while munching on bites of food crafted by the chefs at The Grove.

Sundown at The Grove kicked off Wednesday, July 9, at 5:30 p.m. with beer flights from Saint Arnold and small plates prepared by The Grove's team of sous chefs led by chef de cuisine Ryan Williams. It was a relaxing evening on the upstairs patio overlooking Discovery Green.

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Barbecue and Bourbon: A Match Made in Meat-Lover's Heaven at Killen's Barbecue

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Photos by Kaitlin Steinberg
If you drink one thing with barbecue, let it be bourbon.
And I thought Killen's Barbecue couldn't get any better.

Last night, Ronnie Killen invited the community to come out for a special dinner service (remember, Killen's closes when they run out of barbecue, always before dinner time) that paired the now-famous meat with Jim Beam bourbon. But saying simply "meat and bourbon" doesn't really do the meal justice.

There was a lot of meat--trays piled high with pork ribs, beef ribs, pork belly and brisket. And there was a lot of bourbon--six different varieties to taste along with five cocktails, each made with one of the unique Jim Beam bourbons. I wish I could tell you I was a trooper and I ate all the meat and drank all the bourbon, but I fear I would have been on the floor with the room spinning around me if I'd finished every last sample. There was no skimping on servings at this dinner.

Because I think the story of the smoky, succulent meat and six varieties of bourbon is better told through photos, do yourself a favor and click on over to the next page. And grab a napkin, because you're about to start drooling.

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