Dine Out on Turkey Day: Where to Eat This Thanksgiving in Houston

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Photo by Rachel Bohanan.
This Thanksgiving, let Houston restaurants take care of the fuss.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner -- and if you aren't planning on burning your house down with a turkey fryer (again) or you just don't feel like cooking, you're going to need some ideas on where to eat. Well you've come to the right place, friends.

From casual options and brunches to fancy five-course affairs, here is your Thanksgiving 2014 Dining Guide:

Note: Don't forget to make your reservations quickly, as these spots are bound to fill up!

024 Grille
945 N. Gessner, 281-501-4350

Head to this modern American eatery from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to enjoy an all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving Day feast ($55/adult; $45/senior; $25/child age 6-12). Along with complimentary mimosas, indulge in pastries and muffins, seasonal fruits, made-to-order omelets, eggs benny, roasted butternut squash soup, an assortment of fresh greens, turkey and prime beef carving stations, smoked chicken and cornbread stuffing, goat cheese whipped potatoes, French green bean casserole, smoked gouda mac', and more. And we didn't even get to dessert. A chocolate fountain, honey bourbon pecan pie, and bananas foster bread pudding (among others) help round out the affair.

Américas
2040 W. Gray, 832-200-1492
21 Waterway, 281-367-1492

Both Américas locations will being serving Thanksgiving Day brunch buffet -- featuring Cordua classics alongside holiday favorites with Latin flair -- from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. ($49 adults; $15 for children age 6 to 12). Enjoy dishes like pumpkin and chorizo empanadas, maple glazed pecan ham, loaded mashed potatoes, aji-pepper-rubbed roast turkey, and pumpkin spice tres leches; Then wash it all down with some cinnamon-spiced cranberry sangria (additional charge) for good measure.


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Whole Foods Market: Your One-Stop Shop for Pumpkins This Fall

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Photos by Molly Dunn
Whole Foods Market has a plethora of carving pumpkins, along with more you can eat.
Take one trip to any grocery store around town and you'll quickly realize that pumpkin season has arrived. But, there's more types of pumpkins than just the bright orange round ones you carve into Jack-O-Lanterns and set outside on Halloween night. Pumpkins come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors; and just because one is good for cooking, doesn't mean another can be used in the same exact way.

It's always fun to take the family out to a nearby pumpkin patch to sit on gourds, snap some photos and take a few home with you to carve and possibly eat. But, if you're just looking for a quick place to buy pumpkins without it being an all-day ordeal, then stop by any Whole Foods Market in the city. This year, the specialty grocery store offers nearly 27 different pumpkin and gourd varietals -- all of the pumpkins are local and edible. To help you decide which one is right for you, we have broken down the list of available pumpkins at Whole Foods Markets in Houston into two categories: best for carving/decorating, and best for baking/cooking.

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10 Comforting Recipes to Make This Fall

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Photo by Molly Dunn
This fall, we're making French onion soup.
Ah, fall season. A time for cooler temperatures and heartier meals. Some of my favorite meals in the fall center around a warm, comforting dish usually while watching a football game. Unfortunately, everyone gets to celebrate the autumnal seasonal sooner than our portion of Texas does, but that doesn't mean we can't plan out our fall meals in advance. We've compiled ten stick-to-your-ribs recipes that you should definitely make when the cooler temperatures arrive.

When that time comes, grab a blanket and cozy up to any of these dishes for a relaxing, enjoyable meal.

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Dish of the Week: Braised Beef Kreplach

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Photo by MMChicago
Serve these dumplings in chicken noodle soup or brown gravy.
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, in honor of the upcoming Jewish High Holidays Rosh Hashanah (beginning this Wednesday) and Yom Kippur (beginning Friday, October 3), we're sharing a recipe for kreplach.

Kreplach are small dumplings filled with ground meat (or sometimes potato). They are often served on Rosh Hashanah, the eve of Yom Kippur, Hoshana Rabbah, and Purim.

There are several explanations for the origin of the word, some saying the letters K, R and P each represent a different Jewish festival on which they are eaten (K for Kippur; R for Rabba; and P for Purim), with the suffix "lach" meaning "little" in Yiddish. But it is likely derived from the German word krepel, meaning fritter or the Old High German word kraepfo, meaning grape.

The preparation is simple. A soft dough made of flour, water, and eggs is used to envelop a minced or ground meat mixture. The tiny triangles are then poached in either water or broth before being served in soup or fried and served with gravy, sour cream, and/or apple sauce.


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Peak Season: Five Standout Apple Dishes in Houston

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Photo by Catrin Austin
We're more than happy to eat an apple a day with these stellar treats.
Crisp, juicy apples are in season through the end of November, so now's the time to get your fall apple gorging on. From a salted caramel apple cupcake to a poached-apple salad, here are Five Must Try Apple Dishes:

What: Triple Apple Bacon Pizza
Where: Brasil

Why wouldn't you want crisp bacon and apples on your pizza? You would. Because the sweet and salty combination is magic. A bit of fried sage, garlic oil, and mozzarella won't hurt either. Get it all on one pie at this charming neighborhood café.


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Dish of the Week: Beer-Battered Apple Fritters

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Photo by JustyCinMD
Finish the fritters with a dusting of powdered sugar or a drizzle of caramel.
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 sharing a recipe perfect for fall: apple fritters.

The word fritter is derived from the Latin word frictura, meaning "to fry." So it should come as no surprise that fritters are basically batter (chou paste or yeast dough) that gets fried until light and crisp. Often, the batter either coats or is mixed with fruit, vegetables, meat, or seafood before being fried.

Fritters can be found in all types of cuisines, from Japanese tempura and Indonesian gorengan to French beignets and Italian fritto misto. Of course, there's also the all-American fried dessert, the apple fritter.


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These Three Local Products Will Make You a Labor Day Hero

Categories: Season's Eating

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Photo by Greg Habermann
You'll be on fire this Labor Day.
Would you like to be the hero of that Labor Day party you're going to this weekend? Would you like to be complimented, have your name chanted, and/or be carried around the party like you're goddamn Cleopatra?

If you've answered yes to any of the above, we're here to help. It's as easy as showing up to your end of summer party with one of these local products (and a game plan on how to use them) in hand. Here's what to do:

See also: BBQ Like A Boss: 5 Homemade Sauces for Your Labor Day Cookout

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Back to School: Feed Your Kids Like a Chef

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Photo by Melissa
What did you have for lunch as a kid?
As the start of another school year approaches, we've got school lunches on the mind.

Mostly, when we think of school lunches, we picture cafeteria trays with grayish glop in each compartment, and we think of all the debates over what should or should not be given to growing kiddos. The vast majority of children eat cafeteria food every day, but those who don't rely on their parents to pack the good stuff.

And who gets the best stuff? Chefs' kids, of course.

Well, that's debatable, according to some chefs. Ryan Lachaine of Reef packs lunches for his twin boys, but, he notes, "I don't know that it's gourmet. There's not a lot of technique involved in making a fucking turkey sandwich."

Still, some chef's kiddos probably eat better than most of the country, and it's clear that many chefs place a greater emphasis on healthy eating than many parents.

Here's what some of Houston's culinary moms and pops give their children for lunch.

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Seasonal Special at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers

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Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Seasonal Saint Arnold Burger. Why not make it a double?
If children were allowed legal access to cars and could drive themselves to dinner, JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers would be the most profitable restaurant in town. The combination of cheeseburgers, ice cream, cookies, a wall-length chalkboard ready for doodlin', and a Coke Freestyle Machine pretty much make this place heaven for kids...and young-at-heart adults eager to binge on beef and strawberry-flavored Sprite.

With two locations (West University, The Woodlands), JerryBuilt is easily accessible to families with a fair amount of disposable income, which is why they can charge $9-10 for a single-patty sandwich and include sides such as truffle macaroni and cheese alongside more traditional options like crinkle-cut fries without most people batting an eye.

Is the elevated pricetage worth it? You betcha, as these burgers are far better than Whataburger to say the least. The foodstuffs (grass-fed beef, organic produce, Three Brothers rolls, etc.) are fresh, minimally processed, and locally sourced, which makes even the plain cheeseburger, classic "greasy" fare, taste lighter and maybe even healthful? More reasons why, perhaps, so many parents seem comfortable taking their kids there and even letting them round out dinner with a house-baked chocolate chunk or cow-shaped cookie.

This story continues on the next page.


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What Your Hot Dog Toppings Say About You

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Photo by Steven Depolo
They say your hot dog toppings are a window into your soul.
You know what they say. You can tell a lot about someone by what they put atop their hot dog. Okay, so maybe nobody actually says that. But we swear it's true!

Here's what your hot dog toppings say about you:

Just Ketchup: You're mom still does your laundry...and you don't mind one bit. What? She folds the like a boss and she never shrinks your deep vees.

Just Mustard: Let's just say you're not exactly a risk taker, but you know what you like and you stick with it. Even if it does mean you've been stood up by the same Tinder date three nights in a row.


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