Carls' Jr. Testing New Ice Cream Burger

5 More Frosty Food Fakers

Pope promises special guest appearances at each meal, which will still cost only $40 each. Both food and beverages will be provided; guests are only asked to bring their own plate to the feast. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 713-524-6922.

Red, White and Orange: More and More Orange Wines in Houston

By Jeremy Parzen

Carl's Jr.'s Brrrger.
Carl's Jr.'s Brrrger.

"Old-man piss."

I hate to say it, but it's the best descriptor to use to describe the color of many of the "orange" wines that are finding their way to our market these days.

As you can see from the color of the wine in the glass below, orange wines aren't really orange: They tend to have a deep golden color, like the 2005 Vitovska by Vodopivec (Carso, Friuli) that we paired with porterhouse pork chops and braised fennel the other night. (I picked it up at the Houston Wine Merchant for about $60, a "special occasion wine" at our house.)

Orange or "skin contact" wines (as they are more properly called) are made by macerating the skins of white grapes with their juice during vinification.

When it comes to white grapes and wines, the conventions of contemporary winemaking generally call for the skins and juice to be separated after pressing. And as consumers, we are accustomed to bright, translucent white wines.

But in the 1990s, a number of small wineries began to experiment with skin-contact whites. Inspired in part by winemaking treatises scribed before the modern era of winemaking (which began around the mid-19th century), a number of producers in Friuli (northeastern Italy) and the Loire Valley (France) started working with skin contact.

Beyond the color, the skins also impart tannin to the wine (for both red and white grapes) and the winemakers found that they could make structured, powerful wines from white grapes, with remarkable nuance and aging potential. And along the way, they discovered new "applications" for grapes like Vitovska and Ribolla, Friulian varieties that had been used previously to make only light white quaffing wines.

More and more of these wines are making their way to our market, and while they are not cheap, they can reward the curious wine lover with their often intense aromas and flavors.

Look for orange wines from Bea (Umbria), including Giampiero Bea's Coenobium; a new wine from Trinchero (Piedmont) that just landed in Houston; and Vodopivec and Gravner from Friuli. I've even seen an orange wine from California: Scholium Project (look for it at Richard's).

Top Five Pet Foods I'm Tempted to Eat Myself

By Joanna O'Leary

When I was six years old, I asked my parents about every ten minutes for a German shepherd. Instead, I received another sister. Strangely, part of my motivation for owning a canine stemmed from a desire to eat dog biscuits, which to me looked crunchy and delicious. Today, I still harbor a hankering for certain pet foods; here are five you wouldn't have to pay me to try.

5. Friskies Crispies. Looking over the ingredients, I'm finding it difficult to tell the difference between these snacks and your run-of-the-mill crackers or chips. I would take these over Goldfish or Ritz, if only because Friskies offers a salmon variety, which, if it's anything like shrimp chips, is guaranteed to be amazing.

4. Cesar Original Pâté Entrées. Beverly Cleary fans: Do you remember when Henry Huggins ate a can of dog food? Okay, so as I recall, the experience wasn't completely pleasurable, but I bet Henry would have felt differently had he sampled any of the pâtés proffered by Cesar. I'm especially drawn to the lamb and porterhouse flavors, which I'd pair with a robust Pinotage and some cornichons.

3. Frosty Paws. My knowledge of canine eating habits could fit in a dollhouse thimble; however, given the alacrity with which my neighbor's dalmatian devoured my ice cream cone after I dropped it on the sidewalk, I know ice cream must be quite a treat. Just like for us! So, why confine yourself to human brands? Available in flavors "original" (vanilla?) and peanut butter (yum), these fun frozen cups have the additional virtue of containing no added sugar, artificial flavors or colors.

2. VeggieBlend Premium Daily Bird Food. Every nutrition column I read these days seems to advocate eating more seeds and nuts, so why not look to bird cuisine for inspiration? I imagine the VeggieBlend tasting like a wonderful cross between veggie chips and trail mix, perfect for crunching at the ballpark or at a picnic.

1. Fancy Feast Elegant Medleys. I am not the biggest fan of cats, in part because several longhaired varieties make me break out in hives and wheeze like a miner. I might suffer through these allergies just for the excuse to buy the "restaurant-inspired" Fancy Feast Medleys, specifically the white meat chicken and cheddar cheese soufflé. Looks better than most casseroles I've made.

Openings & Closings: Making the Most of Main Street

By Katharine Shilcutt

Last week was full of news items, both big and small, starting with the big news that Ronnie Killen of Killen's Steakhouse in Pearland has leased the old Stella Sola space in the Heights. He plans to open a second location of his steakhouse in the spot after it's remodeled, after which he'll serve a more "inventive" menu than is currently found at his popular steakhouse to the south.

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