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Burger Guys Bad-Ass Brunch Is Back

5 things to know before you go

The raw bar area will replace/supplement the cocktail lounge area of Haven, which is a popular spot for classic cocktails and craft beers with a more low-key vibe. The raw bar won't replace the bar bar entirely, though: The "bartenders [are] getting more opportunity to interact with the kitchen and be more creative," says Gaston.

More cool news comes from national yogurt chain Pinkberry, which is opening two more Houston stores just in time for summer: In addition to its Clear Lake store, Pinkberry will open a location at The Woodlands Mall (near Urban Outfitters) on June 8 and a location at Highland Village (3838 Westheimer) in late summer.

Two more locations of another popular chain are headed our way: Raising Cane's is opening its Garden Oaks location at Ella Boulevard and Loop 610 on June 14 and its Pasadena location at 5107 Fairmont Parkway a week later on June 21.

Out in Katy, the fifth location of local favorite Alicia's Mexican Grille is slated to open on Monday, June 11, with a grand-opening cocktail reception to follow on Saturday, June 23, from 2 to 5 p.m. The new Tex-Mex joint will clock in at a massive 8,800 square feet in its new location at 25725 Katy Freeway, and will serve the same salsas, fajitas and margaritas that made it famous elsewhere in the city.
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RESTAURANT NEWS
Oh, Sweet

Pastry Chef Chris Leung debuts new dessert menu at Kata Robata.

BY MAI PHAM

When we talk about pastry in Houston, it's impossible to overlook Chris Leung. Though he's only been at it for four and a half years, Leung's whimsical dessert creations get noticed. They win awards. They get people talking.

The first bite of one of Leung's desserts generally brings some sort of unexpected surprise, like a texture I wasn't expecting, a savory flavor that has taken on a sweet spin or an ingredient that I have never tasted before.

This week, Leung, who recently joined the Azuma Group as Pastry Chef, debuted a new dessert menu at Kata Robata. Each of the dishes subtly incorporates a Japanese element. You may get green tea matcha in one dish, black sesame in another. There will be new specials every other day, in addition to the regular menu, and if you plan to get a chef's-tasting omakase, he'll be on site to whip up something new as well.

A recent night featured a seasonal off-menu special of compressed local Texas seedless watermelon. To make it, Leung compressed watermelon with Japanese togarashi chili, adding sweet pickled fennel, volcanic salt, togarashi-spiced crumble, buttermilk sherbet, watermelon ice and vinaigrette made of fennel tops. The dessert was cool on the eyes and on the palate, a refreshing foil against our hot Texas weather.

One of the new house menu items is a play on the traditional strawberry shortcake. For that dish, Leung made strawberry mousse the central component, accenting the dish with cinnamon and white chocolate scones, whipped lychee cream, strawberry sorbet and white pepper meringue. The deconstructed dish was thought-provoking and fun.

Leung is also debuting a new dessert menu at Azuma Kirby, Azuma Downtown and Azuma on the Lake. He says the Azuma desserts are meant to be more traditional, and include items like strawberry vanilla roll cake, Japanese cheesecake, green tea banana tart, and mango mousse with chocolate namelaka and miso.
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RESTAURANT NEWS
The New York City Big Gulp Ban

Here are 5 Texan foods worth banning, too.

BY KATHARINE SHILCUTT

In the latest blow to common sense, New York City has moved to ban Big Gulps — the extra-large soft drinks of the type you usually see in Styrofoam cups triple the size of a human's normal stomach capacity, or anything more than 16 ounces in capacity (which is close to the size of a McDonald's small soda).

I think we can all agree that a Big Gulp-size soda is bad for you. But banning them entirely? What's to prevent people from purchasing two large sodas and drinking them one after another? And why is it any of New York City's goddamned business if some assholes want to thin their bodies' fluids with high-fructose corn syrup and carbonated water? What possible good could this really achieve in the long run over, say, banning soft-drink machines in school cafeterias and therefore nipping America's soda addiction in the bud (if you're into such measures, that is).

There is so much that is stupid and unnecessary about this proposed ban that it led me to wonder about all the foods and drinks we consume in Texas that would rightfully horrify pearl-clutching New Yorkers. What foods and beverages of ours would they ban?

I'm pretty sure they'd start with...

5. Queso

"You mean to tell me they're melting blocks of cheese down with a few stray tomatoes and calling that 'good'? Do they have any idea how much cholesterol is in this 'queso'? How much saturated fat? Wait — what?! They're not even using real cheese? Velveeta? That's made almost entirely of chemicals. Jesus Christ, these people are clearly too cheese-addled to think for themselves. Ban."

4. Kolaches

"It's a pig in a blanket. With more cheese? And they can't claim that a jalapeño is a vegetable. It's fatty meat wrapped in fatty dough with fatty cheese — and they're eating this crap for breakfast? Ban."

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