Try These Five Outrageously Awesome Shellfish Dishes in Houston

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Photo by Troy Fields
Beer and lobster never tasted so good.
Lobster, shrimp, crab, oysters...these shellfish are all delicious when simply prepared. But sometimes you just want to soak them in beer-butter or coat them in an ultra-thick spiced batter and deep fry them whole until they are crunchy-as-all-hell. And that, our friends, is what we're looking at today. Check out these five outrageously delicious shellfish eats:

See also:
Try These Five Monster Breakfast Dishes
Try These Five Monster Sandwiches
Try These 5 Absolutely Loaded Pizzas
Try These 5 Absolutely Loaded Fries
Try These 5 Chili-Smothered Dishes
Try These 5 Awesomely Outrageous Burgers in Houston

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Kipper Club Test Kitchen To Host Forbes Five-Star Chef Zachary Ladwig

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Photos by Mai Pham
From left, clockwise: Chef Zachary Ladwig will guest chef at Kipper Club this Friday; beet salad; a study on fennel.
It's early days still in the life of the Kipper Club Test Kitchen. The kitchen space by the Treadsack Group (Down House, D&T Drive Inn, Sugar & Rice Magazine) launched quietly in August, where it has been playing host to a rotating roster of guest chefs.

"We built it as a space that the chefs could work in while they wait for construction to be completed on Hunky Dory and Foreign Correspondents," says Graham Laborde, Kipper Club Test Kitchen's director, who is also a trained chef. "We also wanted it to be a creative space, where we could bring in younger chefs and chefs we really admire, and give them free reign do the food however they want to do it."

Since August, Kipper Club has hosted six pop-up dinners. "The response has been extremely positive," says Laborde, who adds "We already have regulars who sign up for every event." This past weekend they hosted a dinner called the "Contenders Series," which featured Bobby Matos (Ciao Bello), Patrick Feges (Killen's BBQ), and Erin Smith (Main Kitchen).

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Filling the Gaps: Cafe Pita +

Categories: Local Spotlight

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Photo by Nicholas L. Hall
Let me see your cabbage roll
I've lived in Houston for 22 years. It took me 16 of those to visit the Rothko Chapel for the first time. I didn't eat at Ninfa's on Navigation until I'd counted myself a Houstonian for nearly a decade. I still haven't eaten at Frenchy's. The list of glaring omissions goes on and on. Before you boot me from the city for civic negligence, or at least refuse to continue allowing me to write about Houston food, let me assure you that 2014 is the year I start fixing this problem. I'm making a list of places. Places I should have been by now. Places even I can't believe I haven't visited. This is the year I get (re)acquainted with my city. Maybe you'll find a few from your own list in these posts. I encourage you to follow suit.

I wish I could say I first heard about Cafe Pita + through pretty much any media other than Guy Fieri. Something about his particular combination of pinky rings, sculpting gel and half-wit-chuckle makes me involuntarily shudder every time I catch sight of the sunglasses perched on his greasy nape. The flip-side to that, of course, is that the guy actually highlights some cool places.

The tiny, converted house on Richmond is Cafe Pita's second location. If you hold your arms out and spin in a circle, you can practically touch all four walls in the sunny space. The small size makes for friendly, personal service. The waitstaff - all one of her - is more than happy to guide you through the menu, if you're new to Bosnian cuisine. When I couldn't decide between the Hadzijski Cevap (cevapi, beef kebab and veggies, sautéed in a light creamy tomato sauce) and the Sarma Cabbage leaves stuffed with ground beef and rice served with kajmak and lepinja bread), her unbridled enthusiasm for the stuffed cabbage made it an easy decision.


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The 5 Best Happy Hours in River Oaks

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Photo by Mai Pham
These sweet, spicy, and ethereally light chicken wings are just $6 during Américas' social hour.
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 moving on to the chic 'hood of River Oaks.

Note: For the purposes of this post, River Oaks is defined as south of Buffalo Bayou, west of Dunlavy, east of Willowick and north of Westheimer. This intertwines with Montrose and Kirby, so be sure to check out those lists at the end of this piece and look out for our upcoming list covering the bars/restaurants near Highland Village.


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First Look at Radio Milano, a New Italian Concept Inside the Hotel Sorella at CityCentre

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Photo by Mai Pham
Jose Hernandez (right) is executive chef at the new Italan concept, Radio Milano, at Hotel Sorella in CityCentre.
Just barely two weeks old, Radio Milano, the new new Italian concept taking over the spot that used to house Bistro Alex in the Hotel Sorella at CityCentre, is giving established Italian restaurants in Houston a run for their money.

A lot of it has to do with the restaurant's executive chef, Jose Hernandez. A pastry chef by training, Hernandez is known among foodie circles for his incredible pastries. Cutting his teeth in Mexico City under Viennese master Olivier Lombard at the Hotel Presidente Intercontinental in Mexico City, he moved to New York, where he got his first job under Philippe Schmit. When Schmit moved to Houston to open Bistro Moderne at the Hotel Derek, Hernandez moved with him as pastry chef. His career took him back to Manhattan to work at the one-star Michelin Fiamma under Fabio Trabochhi and the iconic Four Seasons Restaurant, before returning to Houston to head the pastry program of Philippe Restaurant + Lounge.


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Try These Five Monster Breakfast Dishes in Houston

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Photo by Brooke Viggiano
There's no bigger bun in town.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We agree...especially when it involves one of these completely gluttonous, monster-sized morning treats.

From a bacon-iced cinnamon roll to something nicknamed "7 Layers of Heaven", here they are:

Warning: Consuming the following will likely result in food coma.

See also:
Try These Five Monster Sandwiches
Try These 5 Absolutely Loaded Pizzas
Try These 5 Absolutely Loaded Fries
Try These 5 Chili-Smothered Dishes
Try These 5 Awesomely Outrageous Burgers in Houston


More »

Eat This Fall Must-Have at Beaver's

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Photo by Brooke Viggiano
Trust us when we say you'll want to order this mac'.
Since opening in 2007, Beaver's kitchen has been pumping out some of most outrageous and exciting comfort food in the city. So we can only hope that, by this point, everyone has had the chance to get their mac' on with the quirky ice house's seriously decadent mac n' cheese.

They are currently offering it in six different varieties -- but we have our eyes (or mouths, really) on one that couldn't be more perfect for fall.

And that, friends, is the Pumpkin Mac.

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Filling the Gaps: Eatsie Boys Cafe

Categories: Local Spotlight

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Nicholas L. Hall
Pork Snuggies: Not stir fried in a wok ... pop / like a pinch on the neck from Mr. Spock
I've lived in Houston for 22 years. It took me 16 of those to visit the Rothko Chapel for the first time. I didn't eat at Ninfa's on Navigation until I'd counted myself a Houstonian for nearly a decade. I still haven't eaten at Frenchy's. The list of glaring omissions goes on and on. Before you boot me from the city for civic negligence, or at least refuse to continue allowing me to write about Houston food, let me assure you that 2014 is the year I start fixing this problem. I'm making a list of places. Places I should have been by now. Places even I can't believe I haven't visited. This is the year I get (re)acquainted with my city. Maybe you'll find a few from your own list in these posts. I encourage you to follow suit.

We used to go to Kraftsmen all the time. Nestled in one of the quaintest versions of a strip mall you could possibly imagine, anchored by a church-cum-library, the brick and ivy building housing the café is one of the nicest spots I can think of to spend a leisurely lunch. My wife and I lived two blocks away at the time, in a four-plex on the edge of the University of St. Thomas campus. We stopped going after we were more or less literally evicted by a bunch of nuns, the pleasant and short walk being part of the appeal.

Eight years and three homes later, and we've been back to that shady hideaway, now home to Eatsie Boys, a few times, but never for a proper meal. I'd been by the old Kraftsmen space with my kids a few times, wanting to give them a rare after school ice-cream treat, but wanting to enjoy the actual ice-cream as well as my kids' company. Vietnamese iced coffee ice-cream paired with Shipley donut ice-cream is a luxury unique to Houston. The kids prefer the Brass Monkey Caramelized Banana. Those visits had been rushed, a sugary blitz crammed in between the end of the school day and the start of homework. We'd never found the time to have a meal.

I never managed to eat at any of the iterations of the Eatsie Boys' food trucks, either. Their heyday fell right at the tail-end of mine, when the birth of an extended family member robbed my wife and I of our ready babysitter and we turned into the sad bunch of hermits that makes a series like this necessary in the first place.

Six months into life with our own new arrival may seem an odd time to be making up ground, but there's a sweet spot with babies that makes getting out of the house surprisingly doable. Ours is not yet old enough to walk or talk, so he's a bit of a captive audience, just along for the ride. As long as we feed and change him with sufficient frequency, he tends to be pretty relaxed. It probably doesn't hurt that he's pretty much constantly being held and fawned over. So it was that we decided to grab lunch at Eatsie Boys the other day. It was an impromptu decision, made in the midst of running other errands while our older kids were at school.

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Try These 5 Monster Sandwiches in Houston

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Photo by David Hale Smith
This bbq sandwich has everything but the kitchen sink...and then some.
From triple deckers loaded with slaw and delicatessen to a bbq number stacked with everything but the kitchen sink, here are five awesomely massive sandwiches to try in Houston:

See also:
Try These 5 Absolutely Loaded Pizzas
Try These 5 Absolutely Loaded Fries
Try These 5 Chili-Smothered Dishes


More »

The 5 Best Happy Hours Near the Museum District

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Photo by Mai Pham
A frozen aviator is just one of the many $5 cocktails you can get at GPB's happy hour.
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 restaurants surrounding the Museum District.

Note: For the purposes of this list, the Museum District is defined as the area bounded by Main Street to the west, 59 to the north, Texas 288 to the east, and Holcombe to the south, with a few blocks expanded in each direction.

Honorable Mention: $1 off margaritas and beer at Bodegas Taco Shop.

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