First Look at Peska Seafood Culture in Houston

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Photo by Mai Pham
Ahi tuna poke by chef Omar Pereney at Peska Seafood Culture is extremely fresh and delicious.

A common misconception about Peska Seafood Culture, the new seafood restaurant located in the BLVD place next to True Food Kitchen, is that it's a Mexican seafood restaurant much like Hugo Ortega and Tracy Vaught's Caracol. The confusion arises mainly because the owners, Maite Ysita and her brother Diego Ysita, are from Mexico, where they own and operate two successful seafood restaurants, La Trainera, in Mexico City and Acapulco.

Perhaps that's why they decided to name their first Houston restaurant Peska Seafood Culture, a name which in itself tells the story about the food that they serve. "At Peska Seafood Culture, our concept is a seafood market. So we carry seafood from all around the world, and we try to make preparations related with where we get our product from," says Omar Pereney, the 20-year-old chef wunderkind and executive chef of the restaurant.

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Whole Foods Post Oak Continues to Produce Quality in Its Beer Dinner Series, Though With Some Growing Pains

Photo by Carolyn McBride
The green curry with shrimp and clam, paired with the Got Lemons? Belgian blonde ale, was the second course at the April WFM Post Oak Beer Dinner.

I attended and wrote about the first in the monthly Beer Dinner series at the Whole Foods Market Post Oak location, where the WFM Brewery is located. WFM Brewmaster Dave Ohmer and Post Oak Executive Chef Josh Shobe collaborated for a five-course meal of food and beer pairings, and I enjoyed it enough that I jumped when offered the opportunity to attend the April dinner as well. (Dinners take place the first Thursday of every month, if you're interested in attending.)

While other of the Beer Dinners will have Ohmer selecting beers from local breweries, the two I attended featured the WFM lineup of Ohmer's own creations, to which Shobe created menu items for pairing.

I continue to be impressed with WFM Brewery's output. Only two months later, Ohmer has a completely different lineup of beers from the February dinner, and he continues to not only keep up the quality but in some cases improve on previous recipes. Shobe's choices of dishes, quality and presentation were up to the standards set by the first dinner, as well. Once again, both the beers and the food were well-made and the pairings well-chosen.

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Whole Foods Opens New Store on Voss

Photo by Phaedra Cook
A centralized fish counter at the new Whole Foods on Voss means customers can watch their fish being cleaned and filleted.

Whole Foods continues to take over Houston with new stores, but this will be the last opening until 2016. The latest addition is a relocation of the Woodway store (which closed as of April 3) into a shiny new place with more features. It follows several new openings over the past year, including Champions, Post Oak and Hughes Landing in The Woodlands.

Every Whole Foods has a unique character and one of the big aspects of this one is the create-your-own ramen bar. Customers will be able to step up to a kiosk and select the ingredients they prefer. An employee behind the calendar will put together the custom ramen selection. The same goes for the taco bar just down the counter.

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Local Pour Opens a Second Location in The Woodlands

Photo courtesy Nick Scurfield of On The Mark Communications
Behind the bar at Local Pour Woodlands, you'll find a wide variety of craft and local spirits and beers.
Local Pour, the Hospitality USA (Baker St. Pub and Grill, Sherlock's) establishment focused on local food and drink, opened a second location in the Woodlands at 1900 Hughes Landing this Wednesday with a contest giving its Facebook fans the chance to tap the first keg of their favorite beer at the new location, then have dinner with a representative from that brewery.

More than 100 people entered, and on Monday night, ten lucky winners were able to collect their prizes. (Among the breweries represented at the event were Houston's Saint Arnold and Karbach, Katy's No Label, Magnolia's Lone Pint, and Conroe's Southern Star.) The winners got a bit of an education the keg-tapping process, as they walked through the entire procedure from popping the cap off the keg to how the keg is tapped and connected to the lines that lead it to the final tap where the beer is served.

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In Its Second Year, Houston Whiskey Festival Takes Steps Forward

Photo by Joey McKeel
Former Texans offensive lineman Chester Pitts was one of the hosts. Although he's been retired some time, he is still much larger and in much better shape than me.

You may remember that I covered the inaugural Houston Whiskey Festival last year. While I enjoyed myself, learned a lot, and discovered a couple of new personal favorites, the event showed some seams, as many first-year events do, and as much as anything, I was interested in seeing if the organizers had ironed those out. (Okay, drinking the whiskey was first, but after that, seeing what the organizers learned from last year as much as anything.)

This year, the event moved from Downtown and the Julia Ideson Building (501 McKinney) to the Bayou City Event Center (9401 Knight), just off the southeast side of the Inner Loop. While I enjoyed the class and decor the Ideson Building brought as a backdrop, the Event Center was a much more suitable location and a welcome change for a number of reasons.

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Houston's 5 Best Weekend Food Bets: Thai Brunch & a Rare Beer Fest

Photo by Paul Joseph
You can expect plenty of rare and one-off cask beers at the Houston Firkin Fest.
2nd Annual Patio Crawfish Boil @ Tony Mandola's Gulf Coast Kitchen
Saturday, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
1212 Waugh

Head to this Gulf coast kitchen for a good ol' fashioned Cajun crawfish boil on Saturday. Live music starts at 1 p.m. but the mudbugs start at 11 a.m. Get them for $8.99 per pound with potatoes and corn, or $16.99 per pound with potatoes, corn, Andouille sausage, shrimp and whole artichoke. You can also expect happy hour prices on selected beverages throughout the day.

Houston Firkin Fest @ Hennessy Park
Saturday, 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
1900 Lyons

Head to this beer festival to get a taste of rare cask beer from your favorite local breweries, including Saint Arnold, No Label, Buffalo Bayou, and more. A $35 ticket will get you a tasting cup, plus eight samples, with additional sampling packages available for purchase ($4 for 4 sample tickets, $8 for 8). VIP packages with early admission, plus a T-shirt and growler ($70) and designated driver tickets ($10) are also available.

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Upcoming Houston Food Events: Celebrate National Oyster on the Half Shell Day, Passover Seder and MOM

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Get Holley's beautiful oysters for half off on National Oysters on the Half Shell Day.
Tuesday, March 31 is National Oyster on the Half Shell Day. Since that actually exists, Holley's Seafood Restaurant & Oyster Bar, 3201 Louisiana, will be celebrating by offering all happy hour and dinner time raw and baked oysters at half the price. The slurping begins at 4 p.m.

Also on Tuesday is the Houston Press Menu of Menus annual event! Tuesday, March 31

Houston Press Menu of Menus
It's held at Silver Street Station where you can sample food and drink from several Houston area restaurants. The highlight of the evening is the Iron Fork Competition where undefeated chef Kevin Naderi of Roost and Lillo & Ella will try to successfully defend his title from new contender Randy Rucker of forthcoming Bramble. Chef Randy Evans is the host and the competitors will be judged by Phaedra Cook, restaurant critic for Houston Press, Eric Sandler, contributing writer for Culturemap Houston and Whole Foods Bellaire team leader Kelly Nelson. Get your tickets asap because they're going fast 1500 Silver Street. 7 to 10 p.m.

And on Tuesday, March 31, Brand Ambassador for Cooley, Cain Fitzgerald will be hosting a Cooley Irish Whiskey Tasting at Reserve 101, 1201 Caroline, at 6:30 p.m. 100 percent of proceeds from the sale of tickets will be donated to Lucky Dog Rescue. RSVP at

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