Whole Foods in The Woodlands Is Opening Soon

Photo by Phaedra Cook
Whole Foods in The Woodlands opens on Wednesday, March 18.

Rapidly expanding grocery store chain Whole Foods is set to open its tenth store in The Woodlands at 1925 Hughes Landing on March 18 at 8 a.m. It's the first one in that area.

It has several of the same features as Whole Foods' most recently opened stores, including a beer bar with 24 taps. Wine will also be available, as well as a menu featuring food from the other store departments, such as cheese and charcuterie. The bar has an interesting nostalgic feature. The seats are made from wood reclaimed from the decks of trucks that traveled on Route 66.

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Try These 5 Outrageously Awesome Chicken Wings in Houston

Past Houston Rodeo Bar-B-Que Competition Winner Does It Again

Categories: Meat!, News, Q

Courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
Overall Champion team Across The Track won the chicken category as well. This is their second Houston championship.

Despite temperatures that hovered in the 40s at night at NRG Park, competing barbecue teams from across the country toughed it out to submit 419 entries.

Amazingly, the grand champion this year was Across the Track, a Houston cookoff team that took home the exact same honor in 2013. Across the Track also was the top scorer in the chicken category. First runner-up was Iowa's Smokey D's BBQ, and second-runner up was Ram's Club.

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Takeout Trials: $16 Steak & Curry Fries on Tuesday at Ambrosia

Categories: Meat!, On the Menu

Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Steak & Curry Fries Tuesday Special

After my first visit to Ambrosia, I stated that despite the good food (particularly, the curry wedges) I wouldn't return anytime soon unless they lowered their prices or started a happy.

In the 18 months since this initial visit, Ambrosia has not only added a "reverse" as well as a regular happy hour, but also introduced a Tuesday night special where for $16 you you get a steak and curry fries (aka wedges). Having enjoyed this special in-house, I was curious as to whether Ambrosia would honor a request for two orders for takeaway as most restaurants that serve steak specials do not. This restriction is reasonable given the point of the food deal from the restaurant's perspective is to entice customers to dine in and buy additional food and drinks to make up the difference.

What a lovely surprise it was when Ambrosia not only agreed to package two steak specials to-go but did so in a bang-up fashion.

This story continues on the next page.

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Five Insanely Awesome Hangover Cures in Houston

Hubcap Grill 002.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Hangover is in the name of the burger. If that's not a sign, we don't know what is.
New Year's Eve is a hell of a drug. To help aid the inevitable hangover, try any of these awesomely delicious next day gut-busters.

See also:
The 5 Levels of a Hangover and How to Cure Them with Food
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
Try These 5 Awesomely Delicious Kimchi-Packed Eats in Houston

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Dish of the Week: Bulgogi

Categories: Meat!, Recipes

Photo by Chloe Lim
Serve bulgogi the traditional way...or chopped it up and throw it into a cheese steak.
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.

This week, we're looking at bulgogi.

Bulgogi is Korean dish of grilled, marinated beef that is said to have originated during the ancient Goguryeo era (37 BC-668 AD). Literally meaning "fire meat" in Korean, the beef is cooked on a gridiron over an open flame. Variations on the dish include dak bulgogi (made with chicken) and dwaeji bulgogi (made with pork).

Traditionally, bulgogi is made with thin slices of sirloin or other prime cuts of beef that are marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and spices that works to both flavor and tenderize the meat (sometimes, things like ginger, scallions, and pureed pears are added to the mix). It is often grilled alongside cloves of garlic, sliced onion, and green peppers before being served with whole lettuce leaves and ssamjang (a spicy Korean chili paste) -- though many variations on the dish exist.

Today, you'll find it in everywhere. Here in Houston, you can get everything from Koagie Hots' bulgogi cheese steaks to bulgogi-smothered fries at places like Oh My Gogi! Food Truck.

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Try These 5 Monster Sandwiches in Houston

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

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A Few Answers to Common Questions About Meat

Categories: Meat!

Photo by Anthony Albright
There's a lot of confusion at the average meat counter.

I've spent the past few years working in meat markets and the meat departments of specialty grocery stores, and have encountered a lot of confused people in that time. In a lot of cases, that confusion is understandable. There is a lot of bad information floating around about meat. Just searching online for info on meat reveals vastly different data, coming from both sides of the spectrum - Those who would convince you that eating meat is dangerous or evil, and those who believe it's a basic component of a healthy diet.

I'm not going to touch those debates. People are either going to eat meat or not, and I'm not trying to make that decision for anyone else.

However, there's a lot of ignorance among the meat-eating population out there. Here are a few of the types of questions I get asked daily.

What's a good steak to buy? I hear this question daily, and the answer is it depends on many factors. I ask customers how they plan to cook their steak, and often get bewildered deer-in-the-headlights looks in return. Then I'll usually ask if they're planning on grilling it in some fashion or have another plan.

Generally, my "go-to" steak suggestion is a rib eye, followed by a New York strip. The (usually) greater fat content in a rib eye makes it tasty, and rib eyes are hard to screw up by grilling or cooking in a pan. They're a basic steak that's moderately tender, and most people seem to like them. I personally don't enjoy New York strips as much, but a lot of people prefer them for some reason. So be it.

Sirloin is popular, and it's understandable. They pack a lot of flavor, and although they're not usually a really tender steak, if they're chosen and cooked right, they shouldn't be as tough as leather either. Some people grill them, and they can be delicious that way. I go the extreme route and grind them, making sirloin patties. Sirloin can be a little dry, but will remain juicy if it's not overcooked.

Then there is the beef tenderloin. That one is popular, and is one of the more expensive cuts of beef. It is a muscle from the cow's back that doesn't have much fat and is (guess that name came from somewhere) extremely tender. A lot of people like tenderloin, and I can understand the appeal. It's relatively small, and can almost be cut with a fork. A lot of people will wrap their filet mignon with bacon, and that's probably a good idea, as the bacon reintroduces fat to an extremely lean steak, which can be a bit dry and bland on its own. One of the reasons the tenderloin is so expensive is that it's labor intensive to remove the surrounding fat and tough membranes that encase it, and there is a lot of waste as a result.

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Chefs Represent Houston at Heritage Breed Pig Competition

Categories: Meat!

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Justin Yu of Oxheart worked on a pork-centric meal for judges at the Cochon 555 Heritage Breed Pig BBQ Competition in Austin on Sunday.

The challenge: prepare six courses using as many parts of a whole heritage breed pig for 24 judges. Consider how hard it would be to pull that off for private guests, much less be judged on it! That, however, is exactly what each chef had to pull off last Sunday for the Cochon 555 barbeque competition. This was in addition to preparing small plates throughout the night for a crowd that filled a ballroom of the W Hotel in Austin.

(The "555" stands for five cities that the tour goes to each year, five chefs that compete in each and five beverage pairings.)

The point of the event was to bring awareness about heritage breed pigs, like Duroc, Ossabaw and Yorkshire, which are far different from "commodity pigs" raised by farms that deal in big volume production. The meat is richer and fuller in flavor. Even the fat is tasty. As more farmers turn to commodity pigs to help them make ends meet, some heritage breeds are in danger of becoming extinct. They are harder to raise, not as profitable and require more attention.

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Chicken Sandwich Chronicles: Jerrybuilt

Categories: Meat!, On the Menu

Photo by Joanna O'Leary
This might taste better than the burger version.
Following a less-than-stellar experience with Smashburger's chicken sandwiches, advice poured in as to where better versions could be found.

Among those venues suggested was JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers, whose seasonal burgers, at least, have been impressive.

In fact, prior to the chicken sandwich tipoff, I had planned a trip to the restaurant to try their special September burgers designed by local food writers and bloggers as part of JerryBuilt's ambassador program.

Two chickens could be killed with one stone during this visit, however, as almost all the ambassador burgers can be made with a chicken breast rather than a beef patty.

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