Pigs Have Seams, and Other Lessons Learned at Revival Market's Hog Butchery Demo Series

Photos by Christina Uticone and Joshua Payne
Morgan Weber, Adam Dorris and Ryan Pera break it down at Revival Market's Hog Butchery Demo.
If you think spending two hours watching a pig butchery demonstration at Revival Market makes for a weird date night, we probably couldn't be friends. Earlier this week my husband and I shared a romantic evening -- with about 20 other hog butchery/charcuterie fans--while getting up-close and personal with a couple of hogs, and the Revival Market guys: Chef de cuisine Adam Dorris and owners Morgan Weber and Ryan Pera.

Revival Market started its Hot Butchery Demonstration Series back in June, and it was such a success that they brought it back in August. When the e-mail about this hit my inbox a couple of weeks ago, I was sending emails to make reservations within minutes.

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Ten Farmers' Markets in & Around Houston to Visit This Summer

Stock up on fresh produce all summer long at these farmers markets in and around Houston.
My favorite thing about the summer is buying fresh, in season, produce from farmers markets. The beauty of Houston is that we are blessed with so many -- and ones that are open just about every single day.

Here are ten farmers markets in and around the Houston area for you to frequent this summer, whether it is on a Saturday morning or after work on a Tuesday, there's a farmers market waiting for you.

10. Grogan's Mill Farmer's Market
Every Saturday, 8 a.m.- noon

For those of you who live in The Woodlands or in Spring, this farmers market is perfect for you. Located in the Grogan's Mill Village Center, this farmers market offers a variety of vendors year-round selling gourmet coffee, fresh goat milk products, homegrown vegetables from local farms and even treats for your dogs. In fact, you can bring your dog to walk around the farmers market while you enjoy an iced coffee from AA Costa Rican Gourmet Coffee and a pastry from Angela's Oven.

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Room to Grow at Urban Harvest Eastside Sunday Market

Photos by Christina Uticone
A rainy Sunday morning, but we hardly noticed while we shopped, tasted and chatted our way through the market.
When Urban Harvest announced that they were expanding their Eastside market to include Sundays, I was ecstatic. An early morning Saturday run to the Eastside market is a staple in our weekend routine, but it's always nice to have options, and the location is perfect for us to combine with book shopping, breakfast eating, recycling returning and other errand-running-type chores.

It's been about a month since Urban Harvest threw open its, um, parking lot to Sunday morning shoppers and while it's quieter than its Saturday counterpart, there is much to enjoy.

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Ramps Aren't Rampant in Houston

Photo by David Marcel
Ramp and spring pea soup.
From the mailbag, a reader request for ramps:

Ramps, which are basically wild leeks, are widely available in other parts of the country in the spring. Where can Houstonians find lovely spring vegetables like ramps, fiddleheads, etc? Tried Trader Joe's, no luck. Houston needs our ramps!

Sorry to say, but ramps are pretty hard to find in Houston to begin with -- especially this late in the season. Calls to Revival Market, Whole Foods and Central Market all netted the same response: No ramps. Maybe next year.

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Whataburger Ketchup Now Available by the Bottle Thanks to H-E-B

Texans love their homegrown restaurants and grocery stores, and the affinity that people feel for San Antonio-based H-E-B is easily matched (if not surpassed) by the cult of Whataburger. The best thing to come out of Corpus Christi aside from Selena (a.k.a. the Mexican Madonna), Whataburger inspires the sort of passion in Texans that In-n-Out evokes in those silly, silly Californians.

It's only natural, then, that two such beloved food purveyors would come together on a project guaranteed to endear both to fast food-loving Texans for all eternity.

It was announced a few weeks back that Whataburger would soon be selling its Fancy Ketchup, Spicy Ketchup and Original Mustard in H-E-B stores across the state. To anyone unfamiliar with the burger chain's condiments, let's just say they're pretty popular.

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State House of Representatives Votes to Pass Texas Cottage Foods Bill

Categories: Market Watch, News

When HB 1139 -- also known as the Bake Sale Bill -- was signed into law in June 2011 by Governor Rick Perry, it set a precedent in Texas for so-called Cottage Food Bills that allow small, independent bakers and other culinary artisans to make and sell food from their homes.

Former Houston Press food critic Robb Walsh profiled the "pirate bakers," canners and tamale-makers who fought to have greater freedoms in selling their goods in his feature "Come and Bake It" in February 2011 -- just a few short months before the bill was finally passed.

"Bake sales and homemade tamales are only two of a long list of beloved Texas food traditions that health authorities are stamping out," Walsh wrote of the dark days before the State of Texas saw the light.

"Your tax dollars are also helping eradicate the dewberry jam, mayhaw and muscadine jellies, and other preserves that were once sold at farm stands," Walsh continued. "To the disappointment of many budding local food entrepreneurs, homemade food products may not be sold at farmers' markets either."

Not only has that changed, now the state is allowing even more goods to be brought to farmers markets -- and it should be easier now, too.

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Cupcakes Are Out: Five Treats That Are In

Courtesy of rosebengal
Cupcakes are on their way out, so what other treats are in?
Cupcakes have been the rage in America for several years now. After stores were opened exclusively to sell cupcakes, television shows were centered on the little individual desserts and the public went crazy over different cupcake presentations and decorations, it seemed as if cupcakes were the end-all-be-all desserts.

However, after recent results showing that Crumbs Bake Shop's stock has fallen by 22 percent. What once was being sold for more than $13 a share, is now going for a measly $1.30. In addition, Sprinkles has delayed its much-ballyhooed cupcake ATM.

The cupcake industry just isn't what it was a few years ago, when everyone and his mother wanted to get a cupcake -- cupcakes are elegant and have interesting designs and sweet flavors. Personally, I have always loved cupcakes; they're like your own personal cakes. But there's the problem. Everyone knows how to make them, causing the public's demand to diminish for something so homemade and simple to put together, as noted in a Wall Street Journal article about the crash of the cupcake market. Why would you pay nearly $4 for one when you can make a dozen or two at home for less than that?

One of the biggest draws with cupcakes, however, was the fact that they're little; they are easy to package to go or to eat in a shop. Their size makes them the perfect treat for individuals. But there are also other small treats we should keep our eyes out for -- they could be the next big, or little, things.

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Purple Hull Peas in Season: Get Yours at Canino's and Make an East Texas Feast

Photos by Katharine Shilcutt
I should like to show you the food of my people.
One of my favorite springtime rituals is finding purple hull peas at Canino's -- the massive farmers' market complex on Airline at Loop 610 -- and picking up the ingredients for a good, old-fashioned East Texas supper.

Canino's has those peas in right now for a very reasonable price: $5.99 for one and a half pounds. Purple hull peas are not to be confused with other cowpeas such as black-eyed peas or lady cream peas or crowder peas, although they can all be cooked up very simply in the same exact way: boiled down with some salt pork and onions.

Black-eyed peas are beige with a dark-brown "eye," while lady cream peas are light green with no colored eye to speak of. By comparison, purple hull peas are noted for their vibrant green color and vaguely purple "eye," which will turn your salt pork purple as the peas cook.

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Do These Logos Look Familiar? 6 Brands with Variant Names

Whether it's for legal purposes, local recognition or because pancakes are just damn tasty-sounding, check out these brands that may have a different name depending on where you find them:

Do you recognize this mayo?

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H-E-B Plans New Galleria-Area Store; More Apartments Torn Down to Make Way

tanglewood court.JPG
Photos courtesy of Google Maps
Few tears will be shed over the demolition of the Tanglewood Court apartments.
In 2010, Montrose residents were upset to find out that the languishing Wilshire Village apartment complex, built in the 1940s, were scheduled for demolition after Texas grocery giant H-E-B purchased the large parcel of land at Dunlavy and West Alabama.

Later that year, West University residents were upset to find out that the new H-E-B planned for Buffalo Speedway wouldn't include room for the beloved Buffalo Grill which had occupied its spot at the corner of Bissonnet for 26 years. The diner was forced to move to a new location a few blocks away on Weslayan.

Now, the grocer has announced plans to construct a new store at the corner of San Felipe and Fountain View, a site currently occupied by the sprawling Tanglewood Court apartment complex. But unlike these previous situations, no one seems particularly sad to see the Galleria-area apartments go.

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