This week's cafe review takes a look at Osteria Mazzantini, a new-ish Italian restaurant from Mockingbird Bistro's John Sheely. I first went there on opening night, and though I enjoyed the food, I found myself most impressed by the creative and interesting wine list and the young sommelier who had ... More >>
There's something special about enjoying a cup of coffee made from house-roasted beans sourced from small farms or plantations around the world. Matt Toomey, owner and roaster at Boomtown Coffee, cares deeply about all the work and labor it takes to produce a single serving of coffee. He values the ... More >>
Since 2007, Absolut Vodka has been releasing a limited-edition flavor based on an American city every year. The first one was New Orleans, followed by Los Angeles, Boston, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Miami and Chicago. This year, the company has decided to create its first-ever state-inspired vodka i ... More >>
Look, I don't know who comes up with these national food and drink holidays. I don't know why. I don't know how many years any of them have been celebrated. And I swear, there are at least four National Pie days every year. What I'm saying is I'm kind of a scrooge when it comes to food holidays. A ... More >>
In Houston, we have experienced our fair share of pub crawls, but there's one drink we haven't gotten to crawl for, and that's coffee. Missouri-based boutique marketing company The LAB created Caffeine Crawl in 2011. The event spread through the country, reaching a variety of cities (Kansas City, D ... More >>
When I go to a coffee shop, nine times out of ten I order a cappuccino. To me, it reflects the true talent of a barista -- getting the foam-to-espresso ratio just right; making sure the java is strong enough to ensure a caffeine boost; and guaranteeing every sip is warm, smooth and comforting. It's ... More >>
For previous posts in our "how-to wine" series, please click here. Like so many women and men across America, hundreds of Houstonians will head to their neighborhood wine shop today to pick up a special bottle of wine for a Valentine's Day dinner. For some of them, it will be an extremely stressfu ... More >>
There isn't a name for it, David Keck, head wine guy at Camerata, tells me. At least not yet. Beer produced by spontaneous fermentation with wild yeast is a lambic. Wine with quite a bit of carbon dioxide caused by fermentation is sparkling. This wine/beer hybrid is a bit new to have a name, perhap ... More >>
Previous entries in our "how-to wine" series have included How to Open a Bottle of Wine, How to Prime Your Stemware, and How Much Wine to Pour and When. The world of wine is often divided between the decanters and the anti-decanters, in other words, those who like to decant aggressively and those w ... More >>
Every college campus needs its own special coffee shop -- something other than Starbucks, at least. For me, it was Common Grounds at Baylor University. Just on the outskirts of the campus you could find a crowd of students sipping on the signature Cowboy Coffee made with the Daily Joe, half-and-half ... More >>
Jack Daniel's and Ginger Ale isn't as simple as it may seem.
Texas spirits are getting some well-deserved international recognition.
Nothing pairs better with drinks than the right food. Except maybe movies. From the White Russians in The Big Lebowski to martinis in any (and all) James Bond films to the French 75, which rose to fame after its mention in Casablanca, films and cocktails have a long, mouthwatering history. Alamo D ... More >>
After a fairly mild fall and a deceptively warm December, winter finally decided to wallop us with some mighty chilly weather. Fortunately, our weather won't be so cold that we'll be forced indoors by the possibility of frozen flesh like folks in other parts of the country. And while warmer temperat ... More >>
Though winter officially began a while back, from now until February, the weather is just going to keep getting colder. There's a hard freeze in the forecast for Thursday night, and since the week isn't quite over, I don't recommend you warm yourself with a few too many hot toddies just yet. The sol ... More >>
Throwing back a tipple or two during the holidays may be par for the course, but if you find yourself less than chipper the following morning, consider bingeing on something other than ethanol to regain your holiday cheer. Here are my top five favorite liquid cures for the dreaded holiday hangover. ... More >>
Movie studios scramble to have big-name stars headline their films, but in many of my favorite movies, food is the star. Few things are better than pairing a foodie film with a great meal so we can enjoy ourselves just as much as the folks onscreen are enjoying their own aliments. In this series, we ... More >>
Let's just cut to the chase. As one of the largest retailers and wholesalers of wine in the country, Spec's nearly always has the best pricing, especially when it comes to higher-end bottles. Houston Chronicle wine (and sports) writer Dale Robertson once called the outfit "Houston's 800-pound wine ... More >>
Nightfly visits The League of Extraordinary Brewers and Saint Arnold.
Go for the Agavales margaritas at Pappasito's.
As I have done every year since I moved to Texas five holiday seasons ago, I'll be spending Christmas eve on Cow Bayou in Bridge City, East Texas (about 20 minutes up the road from Orange, where my wife was born). Uncle Tim will make his famous gumbo, spiked with his hard-boiled-egg-laced potato s ... More >>
A Double Gold nearly guarantees these spirits are good.
In the wine trade, they call it "OND": October-November-December, the last quarter of the Gregorian calendar and the 92 days of the year during which more wine is sold than in any other period of the year. And from the romantic dinner for two to the whole mispucha blowout, from the company holiday ... More >>
It's only been open since July of this year, but already Camerata is on the map. Eater National's map, that is. It's already received a glowing review from our wine writer, Jeremy Parzen, who also put it on his list of the best destinations for wine in Houston. Prior to that, we named it our favo ... More >>
Tia Maria's is famous for the frozen margaritas, and deservedly so.
Hopping around the city last week as I did my Thanksgiving wine shopping, I couldn't help but be reminded what a great time it is to be a wine lover in Houston. These days, as the city continues to become one of the top destinations in the U.S. for fine wine -- driving value and broadening the spect ... More >>
It can be complicated and difficult to properly pair wines with the Thanksgiving dinner. You have so many different types of dishes -- spicy, sweet, savory -- and with so many different types of wines to choose from, which ones should make it to the Thanksgiving table? We spoke with two of Houston' ... More >>
Recently, I wrote about the pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks and McDonald's, and a few of you wanted to know about seasonal beverages available at local coffee shops. While some places are serving their versions of pumpkin spice lattes, such as Dirk's Coffee and Bite Macarons, others have seasonal ... More >>
FM 903 Pop Up Bakery @ Triniti Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 2815 S Shepherd Yes, this pop-up bakery has occurred every Saturday since November 2, but that doesn't mean it's not one of the best things to do this weekend. Spend the morning or afternoon in the lounge at the restaurant munching on fresh ba ... More >>
On November 13, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo announced the champions from the Rodeo Uncorked!® International Wine Competition, held this past weekend at Reliant Center. Now in its 12th year, the wine competition is one of the highlights of the livestock show and rodeo. The judging involve ... More >>
8th Annual Katy Wine Festival @ The Tuscany Villa Friday, 7-11 p.m. 3330 FM 1463, Katy Cinco Ranch Rotary hosts this year's Katy Wine Festival, which features Italian wines from the Tuscany, Piedmont, Campania, Sicily, Veneto, Puglia and Umbria regions. Purchase an advanced general admission ticket ... More >>
These items can't make you a star bartender, but they'll make you a better one.
I have always been a fan of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, or PSL, from Starbucks. It's the first seasonal beverage to arrive after a summer of iced coffees and frappuccinos, and it always gets me in the spirit of fall. However, this fall, another contender might be giving Starbucks a run for its money w ... More >>
For decades, the Houston wine scene has been dominated by the California powerhouse: "California Chardonnay," "Napa Cab," and "Merlot" (in quotes because it denotes Merlot from California) have long been been Houston's go-to wines. And in many circles, they still are the most frequently ordered wine ... More >>
Although kombucha has been trendy for years, I had yet to try it until a few weeks ago. I was rather suspect (as many have been) of the supposed health benefits, and at $3-$4 a bottle, it's not inexpensive. When I learned that Reed's (purveyor of one of my favorite ginger ales) had inaugurated its o ... More >>
More than 20 of Houston's top wine professionals gathered yesterday at the weekly meeting of the Houston Sommelier Association. The occasion was an advanced seminar and guided tasting with winemaker Alessandro Bindocci from the Tenuta Il Poggione, iconic producer of Brunello di Montalcino and one of ... More >>
A new classic cocktail
As our sister blog Eating... Our Words does, from time to time Rocks Off will be giving your our picks for the top taverns in various Houston-area neighborhoods. Of course, the lines can be porous, but here anything with a TABC license that cannot reasonably be considered either a restaurant, coffee ... More >>
I was raised on Tex-Mex food in Corpus Christi and San Antonio. Breakfast tacos were the only way to get the day really going, and a huge bowl of chips and salsa seemed a perfectly acceptable dinner dish. I obsessed over finding the best fish tacos in town, and I learned that the best margaritas com ... More >>
Many small brewing companies love any excuse to come out with a special beer to stir up excitement among fans. The idea is that if it's available for only a short period of time each year people will want it that much more. In my case, it totally works. Every year I look forward to fall beers becau ... More >>
Here are 10 reasons why.
Brewfest is only two weeks away, so we can finally reveal our awesome list of beers and breweries and the stellar band lineup. In case you missed our first post, the festival will take place on October 5 from 2 to 7 p.m. in and around Silver Street Station. Inside, there will be an alarming amount ... More >>
"While traveling alone through Sicily," writes Osteria Mazzantini wine director Samantha Porter in the presentation of her intelligent list, "I fell in love with the idea of taking risks. Feet soaking in the crystal, cyan sea along the coast of Taormina, I sipped on a bottle of wine chosen by the ow ... More >>
The 53rd Annual National Wine Week, sponsored by the Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, is celebrated from September 16 through September 20. Of course, because it's an SWRG event, it tends to take place exclusively at Smith & Wollensky restaurants across the country, but we don't really like the i ... More >>
Vietnamese iced coffee done the right way is a treat and is usually reserved for weekends when you can either set up the small metal drip filter or phin, and read a newspaper as you wait for each thick caffeinated drop to settle over the layer of condensed milk at the bottom of the glass, or head to ... More >>
There's an old and chiasmatic adage often uttered by the great wine lovers of Europe: No wine without food and no food without wine. To those who truly love wine, no glass is complete without the complement of food. In America, the utterance of the binomial wine bar seems to elide wine's natural co ... More >>
Houston's love affair with coffee shops doesn't seem to be in any danger of dying out. And this time of year, with classes at colleges and high schools starting up again and students looking for places to study (or not), coffee shops are swinging back into high gear -- especially those open into the ... More >>
It's that time a year again: Like their brethren across the nation, Jewish Houstonians will make their way to their local supermarkets for last-minute kosher wine shopping. And like most Jewish Americans, they will find themselves ill-prepared in selecting the wines, partly because for most of them ... More >>
Houston is finally set to get a true 21st century tiki bar next month, when Lei Low finally opens. Though it won't be the city's first tiki bar. The long-gone Shamrock Hilton was once the site of a Trader Vic's. There was a tiki bar out on the west side when I first moved to town. And who could forg ... More >>
The whiskey sour was my first cocktail I every ordered (legally) at a bar. I was having a rather angsty college semester and asked the bartender at Daedalus to recommend a drink that was boozy but sweet. I think he could tell I was a neophyte in the world of cocktails and thus didn't want to thro ... More >>