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BBQ-O-Rama

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Lemongrass Z’herbes Bourride Gumbo

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or Green Fish Soup

Makes 8 cups or 4 large bowls

When I buy a fish at Katie’s Seafood, the spectacular seafood store on the Galveston waterfront, I tend to have it filleted—and I ask for the bones and head in a separate bag. There were three such bags of fish frames along […]

Dinner Party in Charlotte!

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Prague Kolaches

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At an open air market near Prague’s Old Town, I happened on a booth where they were selling “kolacé.” These big round pastries looked like fruit pizzas. The cherry version was amazing. I guess these are the Old Country version of Texas kolaches.

SFA Podcast: On the Origins of Texas BBQ

A Food Lover’s Guide to Food Lover’s Guides

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While we were working on the Food Lover’s Guide to Houston at Houstonia Magazine, I fondly recalled my first purchases of Patricia Wells’ Food Lover’s Guide to Paris (1984), and Food Lover’s Guide to France (1987). Those two wildly successful guidebooks created a genre that inspired dozens of “Food Lover’s Guides” to various places […]

Hot Sauce Cookbook Signing

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Sneak Preview: Houston on Burger Land TV

A sneak preview of the Houston Burger Land episode that will air Monday, May 6 at 8 p.m on the Travel Channel.

Dining with Dad: The Pass, Taste-By-Taste

By guest blogger Katie Walsh

I spent some time in Houston with my dad On A Meat Mission, to learn about meat and how it’s cooked. Over the next several weeks we’ll be sharing recipes and tales from our meaty adventures.

A few weeks ago, I was oblivious to the French-style “tasting menu” trend sweeping the restaurant scene. Riding around Houston with Dad, he broke it down for me (as he does in this month’s Houstonia review of his birthday dinner at Tony’s); its degustation origins, its surge in popularity, its delights, and the outcries it’s inspired. On this night, he’d made reservations for just the two of us at the tasting menu half of Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan’s The Pass & Provisions.

 

As we walked through Provisions to get to The Pass, I couldn’t help noticing that the former seemed like the place to be. Big groups, lots of laughter, colorful outfits and characters. The hostess pushed all of her weight into the far wall as we followed and it gave, an entire solid section sliding back like a hidden passageway, revealing the entrance to the quieter, dimmer, intimate dining room of The Pass.

The first morsel to hit our table was an off-menu amuse-bouche, a wildly shaped dehydrated shrimp chip served in a rough stone pedestal, like an artwork. Translucent and flecked with bits of Japanese shichimi togarashi spice and black sesame seed, it burst with flavor and then almost melted in the mouth.

Then the tasting officially began. We each went with the full eight-course menu.

1. “Snacks”

Oyster on the half shell, simple and clean with a vibrant mignonette and small sprig of fennel; Old Fashioned cocktail “foie gras” (“It’s like a jello shot!” said Dad) and a Pocky stick coated in white chocolate and dehydrated black olive, which worked way better than I expected, sweet and salty and crunchy.

The standout of this course was a warm, pureed shot of green soup topped with a hearty dose of orange foam, made from nasturtium—all the way from its green leaves to its orange flowers. Herbal, floral, beautifully spiced and a lovely taste of comfort next to all the snacks. I took baby sips of mine, savoring every bit.

read more Dining with Dad: The Pass, Taste-By-Taste »

Mutt City: Hot Breads and Himalaya Sweets

Anglo-Indian chicken tikka in French pastry. Welcome to Houston.

By guest blogger Katie Walsh

I spent some time in Houston with my dad On A Meat Mission, to learn about meat and how it’s cooked. Over the next several weeks we’ll be sharing recipes and tales from our meaty adventures.

Taking a break from the kitchen and riding along with Dad on various stops around town, I gasped at a familiar sight as we made our way down Hillcroft.

“HOT BREADS!” I said, wiggling my eyebrows up and down at him. He obliged, pulling into the parking lot as I eagerly unbuckled my seatbelt.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly ten years since my sister Julia and I sampled the Euro-Indian fusion fare of this spicy bakery for a story Dad was working on. The “goat doughnuts,” as we’d affectionately dubbed their curry goat croissants, looked just as tasty as ever.

Hot Breads is so dang cool because of the story it tells about fusion food and blending cultures. An Indian marketing professor returned to Madras after living abroad to open this European-style cafe and bakery, but instead of putting pepperoni on the pizza and ham in the croissants, he went with the popular ingredients of Southern India, creating a cross-cuisine hit. Hot Breads franchises became hugely popular on the subcontinent. Then in a baffling turnabout, franchisees took the concept to the NRI (non-resident Indian) community and all over the world. The huge Indian populations in Houston and New Jersey were easy targets.

Which is how we ended up with a Indian-owned, European-inspired bakery in Houston serving Indo-Chinese “chilli chicken puffs.” No wonder John T. Edge labeled Houston “Mutt City.”

Aside from the savory stuff, Hot Breads sells a ton of great cakes and cookies too, including egg-free stuff for the Jain crowd (and the vegans!). My all-time, hands-down, indisputable favorite is the mango gâteau (about halfway down the row in the picture).

Dreamily light and airy, its layers of lady finger and fluffy mousse burst with sweet, tangy fresh mango flavor. All those years ago, it was love at first bite.

“You’re gonna have to share,” Dad warns me as I watch the woman box it up. These days, the baby sibs are just as fond of Hot Breads mango cake.

read more Mutt City: Hot Breads and Himalaya Sweets »