The Last Bite: Rebecca Masson Is Throwing Her Final Sweet & Savory Fundraiser Dinner for Lucky Dog Rescue

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Photo by Mai Pham
From the Spring 2012 All-Star Sweet & Savory: Chefs Jason Gould, Rebecca Masson, Katzie Guy-Hamilton, Amanda Rockman, and Megan Ketover

What started out as a fun fundraising event for the Lucky Dog Rescue charity has taken on a life of its own. Pastry Chef Rebecca Masson's Sweet & Savory charity dinners have become legendary. And this Sunday, she will hold her last one, which promises to be grand in every way.

"So basically, when we started this, my goal was to do 10 dinners and this is the tenth," says Masson. "We have had some amazingly awesome chefs, pastry chefs, bartenders, wine folks & beer masters participate in the dinners. Each dinner keeps getting better and better. This one will be one for the record books for sure. I never thought that this would become such an awesome event. I was just happy after each one that it was successful and folks enjoyed themselves while raising money for a cause that is near and dear to my heart. I owe many thanks to all the folks that have participated... I have some pretty amazing friends."

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It's Wingtoberfest Time Once Again, Time to Vote for Your Favorite Chicken Wing

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It's time to once again line up to be among the first 200 people who'll get to taste and rate the wings from six Houston restaurants in this year's Houston Press Wingtoberfest -- for free.

On Wednesday, October 22, the following restaurants will battle for the honor of being named this year's Octoberfest winner: Dosi, Bonfire Wings, Sticky's Chicken, H-Town StrEATs, Dry Creek Cafe and Little Bitty Burger Barn.

And just to make things even nicer, we've gone ahead and paired the wings with a specific Saint Arnold beer.


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Where to Celebrate National Pasta Day in Houston

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo by Mai Pham
Celebrate National Pasta Day Today. One suggestion? Damian's spaghetti with Mama Mandola's Meatballs. For National Pasta Day only, they are just $8.30.

National Pasta Day is today -- a reminder, if not an incentive, for for pasta lovers all around town to indulge. Houston has many excellent restaurants where one can celebrate.

For a taste of stellar house-made pappardelle bolognese, Best of Houston Italian Restaurant winner Ciao Bello is the place. Their sweet corn pansoti is also insanely good (you can get this and other hand-made pastas at sister restaurants Vallone's and Tony's as well). At Giacomo's Cibo e Vino, artisanal, hand-made pastas by Lynette Hawkins are also delicious --try the tortielli de bietola, ravioli stuffed with swiss chard, ricotta, goat cheese and finished with a sage and butter sauce.

At Paulie's, get spiced up with their house-made bucatini Amatraciana, available in half or full portions. Then there's good ole' Prego in Rice Village, where the pappardelle con coniglio, a wide-fettuccine pasta with braised texas rabbit and ragu sauce is nothing short of divine. Not far away in the Rice Village, D'Amico's offers hand-made pastas to-go, as well as a very popular crawfish ravioli. If you love spaghetti carbonara, chef Brandi Key offers one of the coolest versions in the city at hotspot Coppa Osteria.


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Openings & Closings: An Unexpectedly Speedy Good-bye From Van Loc

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo by Craig Wilkins
A sign on the door of Van Loc bids its customers farewell.

As reported Wednesday, Van Loc has unexpectedly closed much earlier than anticipated. The owners told us last week that it would close "before Thanksgiving." Well, that turned out to be last Wednesday. Van Loc opened way back in 1986 and was one of the first Vietnamese restaurants in Houston. While the city has lost a treasured classic, the owners are expected to enjoy a well-deserved retirement. Hopefully, loyal customers made it there in time for one last meal.

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Van Loc Closes Earlier Than Expected -- As in Today

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Photo by Craig Wilkins
Closing sooner than anticipated

Van Loc restaurant, whose surprise announcement last week that it was closing sometime before Thanksgiving, closed today around the noon hour.

The sign posted on the door thanked customers for their support through the years.

On Tuesday night, the restaurant was packed with people who were obviously trying to get another visit in. Uncharacteristically, the kitchen ran out of several items -- pork dishes were unavailable fairly early on. As of 7 p.m. some types of wine weren't there and a diner who asked for a to-go box was told they had no more.


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Eater Houston Names New Editor

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo courtesy of Eater Houston and Jakeisha Wilmore
Jakeisha Wilmore is Eater Houston's new editor.

Close to three months after former editor Darla Guillen left Eater Houston, a new editor has been named to oversee Eater coverage in Houston: Jakeisha Wilmore. Wilmore was chosen among several candidates who auditioned for the role as guest editors for the website.

"Jakeisha is incredibly obsessed with Houston's culinary world. In her short time guest editing for us, she has already displayed not only a broad knowledge of the restaurant world but also a drive and a desire to break news and uncover new stories and features. As far as experience goes, she studied journalism at the University of Houston, has a blog called Cheap Eats in Houston, wrote for Zagat Houston, and interned at prominent food and hospitality public relations agency before firmly making the switch over to the edit side," says Amanda Kludt, Editor-in-chief of Eater National.


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First Look at Springbok, a South African Gastropub in Downtown Houston

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Photo by Mai Pham
The interior of Springbok features hanging chandeliers, a dark wood bar and columns.

Located on Main Street, just around the corner from The Flying Saucer in the heart of downtown, is the cool new South African bar and gastropub, Springbok. Named after a type of African antelope and the South African rugby team of the same name, it's fitting that the decor includes wall mounted animal trophies of the springbok, eelands, and wildebeest, juxtaposed in surprising harmony against a wall full of framed rugby shirts from around the world.

Though it might be considered a sports bar (there are five, 80-inch flat screen TVs hanging from the walls) there's a swanky, Rat Pack-esque feel to the place thanks to the beautiful chandeliers that hang from souring two-story high ceilings, long drape-y white curtains, and series of square columns that are decorative even as they act as structural supports for the building. It's the kind of place that you might imagine in a chic downtown hotel in the heart of Manhattan. The bar, too, is a gleaming dark polished wood, incredibly long and incredibly attractive, with a backlit stack of colorful liquor bottles that gives it almost a stained-glass window-type glow.

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UPDATED: Openings & Closings: Sad Good-byes & More Sad Good-byes

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo by Jeff Balke
Van Loc Restaurant announced it will close before Thanksgiving.
The theme for this week must have been temporary closures and permanent closures. It was like a domino effect -- one restaurant announced it was closing, then another one, followed by several more.

It's always a shame to see such a popular restaurant close when the reason isn't lack of business. Van Loc Restaurant announced this week through a sign posted on its doors that the first Vietnamese restaurant to open in the Montrose neighborhood will close soon. We called the restaurant to find out the reason why the restaurant would be closingand were told that the family owners have decided to retire after opening 28 years ago. Based on your comments alone, we can tell that Van Loc Restaurant will surely be missed. But, you can still enjoy your favorite dish before it closes, which will likely be before Thanksgiving.

In more sad news, Facundo Cafe, the restaurant located inside Dr. Gleem Car Wash, Auto Salon and Lube Center at 3193 Ella has closed. The Leader reports that the owner, Miguel Facundo, and chef Danny Harper have parted ways. No more noshing on a BLT and fries while waiting for your car to get washed.

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Van Loc Restaurant to Close Soon: Family Owners Decide to Retire

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo by Jeff Balke
Van Loc Restaurant will close before Thanksgiving.
We see restaurants close up shop every week for various reasons, but mostly because business isn't so hot at the moment or the area of town doesn't draw the amount of customers the restaurant needs to remain open. It's not too often, though, that we see a well-established restaurant with history willingly decide to close its doors. But, alas, great restaurants can't last forever.

Van Loc Restaurant has been open for 28 years and will be closing in the next two months. The family-owned restaurant opened its doors to Houston residents in August of 1986 as one of the first Vietnamese restaurants in the area.

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Openings & Closings: Little Bigs Is Getting a Little Bigger

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo by Brooke Viggiano
You'll still be able to get sliders like these at Little Bigs once it moves to its new location.
It looks like Little Bigs is moving to a new location and it's going to be a much bigger space than the current spot at 2703 Montrose. The Houston Chronicle reports that Little Bigs's last day at its original location will be October 26; the owners expect to open at 4621 Montrose (the previous spot of The Chelsea Grill) on October 31. Little Bigs will expand from just 20 seats inside the restaurant to 80 inside the new place, plus 50 seats in a private dining area and another 80 seats on the patio. And you can expect to see new items on the menu at the larger restaurant, plus a full liquor license.

Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe in Lindale Park is also moving. The restaurant will be reopening at a new location just a few blocks south to 3707 Irvington Boulevard (the old spot of Kuko's Taqueria). The opening date has yet to be announced, but a Swamplot photo reveals that a temporary sign is currently hanging outside the store stating, "Teotihucana Mexican Cafe Coming Soon."


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