Subject:

Joanna O'Leary

  • Blogs

    June 25, 2014

    $10 (or so) Well Spent At Rice University Farmers' Market

    I spent five years studying at Rice University and only once did I go to its farmers' market that assembles every Tuesday afternoon from 3:30pm to 6:30pm. That's pathetic. I remember my excuses being something like I didn't have time (lame) or that I didn't have cash on me (more reasonable but many ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 23, 2014

    Beyond Brunch: Canopy Shines After 5 p.m.

    While many restaurants are particularly pleasant during certain times of the day, Canopy has, I think, been unnecessarily designated as "best for brunch" by many Houstonians, including, at one point, myself. I am definitely a fan of their sweet and savory morning fare, especially the challah french ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 18, 2014

    This Week In Food Blogs: Have A Hot Dog This Summer

    Urban Swank: Paulie's may be known for its incredible spaghetti and sugar cookies, as noted by Joanna O'Leary, but this Houston family-owned restaurant serves up many more tasty dishes you need to try. O'Leary suggests everyone begins their meal with the simple bucatini amatraciana, or an indulgent ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 16, 2014

    The "Big Philly" Cheesesteak at Subway: Worth It?

    My next scheduled stop on my cheesesteak tour of Houston was Koagie Hots. However, the discovery of a coupon in my weekly circular made me take a slight detour to Subway. I know over the years Subway has significantly expanded its menu (with some locations now even offering this pizza flatbread "fl ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 2, 2014

    Beyond Cocoa Puffs: Top Other 5 Chocolate Cereals to Try

    You know, in theory, morning is probably the best time (metabolically speaking) to eat chocolate since your body will have the rest of the day to burn off the calories. So, there's your justification for eating a Hershey bar for breakfast. Or, if you want to disguise (sort of) your indulgence as a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 1, 2014

    Recipe: Mediterranean Seven-Layer Dip

    Seven-layer dip (also known as "Mexican" or "Taco" dip) is awesome. Recipes vary but most involve strata of refried beans, sour cream, guacamole, cheese, tomatoes or salsa, ground beef, black olives, green onions, and/or peppers. From the list of aforementioned ingredients, it's easy to surmise th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 10, 2014

    Ben & Jerry's New Core Sundae Flavors Have Finally Reached Houston

    Almost two months ago, I read that Ben & Jerry's had released a new line of ice cream designed to approximate a sundae in a pint. These four "core" flavors (That's My Jam, Peanut Butter Fudge, Hazed and Confused, Salted Caramel) would involve multiple types of ice cream, chunks, and, most importantl ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 1, 2014

    Chamak Chocolates Takes Edible Art to a New Level

    It's rare that I describe something as "too pretty to eat," and I have to admit, when I do, I'm usually exaggerating, especially if I'm talking about anything sweet. My hunger for chocolate, candy, and baked goods is so rapacious, I really can't be satisfied with merely admiring a dessert. Consumpti ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 11, 2014

    Dim Sum For Dinner Via Yum Yum Cha

    The oppositional streak in me most definitely plays out in the dining world. I like eating traditional breakfast items at night and have been known to eat my entrée before my appetizer. And, unsurprisingly, I have always preferred dim sum for dinner rather than as a brunch or midday meal. Most of ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 7, 2014

    Don't Blink or You'll Miss It: The Village Bakery

    You would think that driving down a certain street nearly every day for the past five years would enable you to notice even the most minor of changes on that route. Not so in my case, for although I've used Kelvin Drive as a shortcut back from the gym for the greater part of the past decade, I only ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 7, 2014

    Three Brothers Bakery Charms With Anti-Valentine's Day Treats

    Valentine's Day can really blow. The years I have been single and lonely on February 14t still outnumber the (recent) years when I have not been, so when people tell me they loathe the holiday because it only reinforces feelings of personal inadequacy brought on by their solo status, I can empathize ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 9, 2014

    H-E-B's 'Mix 'em-Match 'em Cookie Bar: Pricey But Good

    Up until recently I was unaware that some H-E-Bs had a "mix and match" cookie bar that offered more artisan treats, including some Italian baked goods that are usually hard to find in mainstream grocery stores. Note I did not describe this lack of awareness as blissful, because to be honest I'm pret ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 1, 2014

    What To Drink After You Drank Too Much: Top 5 Liquid Holiday Hangover Cures

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    December 25, 2013

    How To Make 5 Different Cookies From A Single Roll of Dough

    Pressed for time this holiday season, yet simultaneously committed to multiple cookie exchanges? Take the shortcut of all shortcuts (Sandra Lee would be so proud) and buy a single roll of pre-made cookie dough (I chose peanut butte,r but plain sugar works, too). Incorporate just a few additional ing ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 14, 2013

    Baby It's Cold Outside: Here Are Five Things Guaranteed To Warm You Up, Head to Toe

    If you ventured outside yesterday you noticed that the temperatures had fallen. In honor of the chilly weather, we present five foods you should enjoy for lunch or dinner whenever the mercury drops, and we tell you where you can find them if you don't want to cook. 5. Ramen Just sipping on the bro ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 28, 2013

    Looking for Something To Do on Halloween Night? Brenner's Has a Spooky Dinner for You

    This year, I plan to go to a kick-ass neighborhood Halloween party (on the 31st) at which I may or may not consume a formidable amount of pumpkin curry, cupcakes, and red wine. When I heard, however, that Brenner's on the Bayou, was hosting a "spirits" dinner with cocktail pairings, I wished I had ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 25, 2013

    Of Course It's Perfectly Fine To Build a Gingerbread House for Halloween

    In case you can't tell, I really like Halloween. Each year I love to try out Halloween projects (well, some of them are actually old, like bobbing for apples, but you get the point) as a way of vetting potentially permanent traditions. Such is how I came to discover that, yes, I would make a graveya ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 25, 2013

    Get To Houston-area Estate Sales for Culinary Finds

    I've never thought of myself as a "garage sale person." You know, the type that gets up at the crack of dawn every Saturday with a pre-planned itinerary of all the yard sales and flea markets around town and a steadfast determination to wrangle great bargains on novelty items. During this past summe ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 4, 2013

    The Ostensible Randomness of Dining Rewards Cards

    It seems like almost every fast-casual dining establishment offers some sort of rewards card, which is why, perhaps, my cheap wallet barfs out its contents into my purse approximately once a week. Poor wallet, it just can't handle all this rectangular paperwork promising discounts and freebies. Be ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 20, 2013

    Ooh La La Bakery: A Confection Consortium

    To say I have a sweet tooth is perhaps the understatement of the century. I could easily live on chocolate chip cookies and have been known to fight children for the corner piece of a sheet cake (best icing-to-cake ratio). Although I get away with eating more brownies and pie and donuts than the a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 12, 2013

    Dazzling Displays At the Four Seasons Inaugural Eid Al-Fitr Celebration

    It's hard to wish others a hearty (and intelligible) "Eid Mubarak" with a mouthful of food. I came to this realization several times this past Friday during the Eid al-Fitr dinner at the Four Seasons as I sat at my table and consumed plate after plate of the most outstanding Middle Eastern food I'v ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 26, 2013

    Porcine Pleasure and Cherry Cheer at BRC's July Pig Dinner

    I've salivated from afar over the menus for BRC's monthly pig dinners and even marked my calendar to remind myself to make reservations. Again and again, however, I failed to get it together in time to attend, but on July 24, I finally made it. Now, I have decided to tattoo a reminder on my face so ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 24, 2013

    5 Steps to Constructing The Perfect Hot Fudge Sundae

    A few months ago, I whined about the absence of an old-school ice cream parlor that sold ginormous sundaes. The felines at Fat Cat Creamery quickly fired back to tell me they planned to open their own shop this summer and I can barely contain my excitement. However, it doesn't seem doors will be o ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 1, 2013

    Ambrosia: More Than Adequate But Less Than Economical

    The opening of a restaurant within walking distance of my apartment always excites me, and I'm admittedly more primed to enjoy their food than that of other similar albeit less proximal places. In the case of Papa Mio, I was happy to find the restaurant met my expectations. Thus when their next-doo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 29, 2013

    Carbonation & Candy at Rocket Fizz

    It's no secret I'm passionate about potables, especially the adults-only kind. But love of liquids also extends to soda, especially during the summer when I tend to crave the unique sweet burn of a carbonated beverage. So I when first walked into Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop in Rice Village ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 15, 2013

    Grown-up Fun with Easy-Bake Oven

    Having recently achieved a major life goal, I decided to buy myself a present. The latest Apple invention? A designer handbag? A well-aged Merlot? Not for this 31-year-old woman. A used Easy-Bake Oven off of Amazon was my reward. I didn't own an Easy-Bake Oven as a kid, but my best pal Ashley did ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 14, 2013

    Cafe Pita: Pedestrian Name, Food With Panache

    Katharine Shilcutt's list of the Houston Restaurants Every Out-of-Towner Should Visit should go to 11. Because if you come to Houston and do not visit Cafe Pita, you are not just missing the opportunity to try Bosnian food (period) you are missing your opportunity to relish terrific Bosnian food (ex ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 9, 2013

    Celebrate National Apricot Day with Kolaczki

    As you might have guessed from my nostalgic post about new year's traditions, I'm on a bit of a Polish kick. I put Krakow on my 2013 travel wish list (key word "wish") and I have started experimenting with Polish cuisine. (My husband, incidentally, is obsessed with cooking Korean food right now so ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 29, 2012

    Election 2012: Vote With Your Sweet Tooth Not Your Heart

    Looking to advertise your political views in a consumable form, specifically circular baked goods? You are in luck this election season. Two Houston bakeries are not only offering themed Republican and Democrat cookies but are also tracking their sales: What better way to cater those debate-watch ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 23, 2012

    Party Like It's 1799: The Rienzi Punch Party

    When I was first approached with the opportunity to cover the MFAH's second annual punch party, I had my doubts about the quality of the libations. As a card-carrying Victorianist, I'm pretty much professionally obligated to scoff at the so-called merits of other historical eras in favor of promoti ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 18, 2012

    Kraft-Crayola String Cheese Sticks

    I don't know why I can spend an inordinate amount of time examining nutrition labels but I can't take 30 seconds to look more closely at a package of cheese. Ever susceptible to the lure of special-edition products, I noticed what appeared to be a package of string cheese sticks colored and shaped ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 23, 2012

    The Pleasures of Edible Flowers and Other Lessons from Martha Stewart

    When certain friends visit me in Houston, we're all about Going Out To Eat. The itinerary revolves around much-anticipated dinners at fancy restaurants, leisurely cafe lunches and decadent brunches at The Breakfast Klub. With other visitors, however, it's all about What To Cook. My dear friend Soph ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 22, 2012

    Restaurants Weeks Dinner at Backstreet Cafe Derailed By Lobster Addiction

    I had my choices all picked out before I even stepped foot in the restaurant. Backstreet Cafe was offering FOUR different Restaurant Weeks dinner menus, and I had a lofty goal of sampling two or three of them (on separate occasions). When a friend requested Backstreet as the location of her belated ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 30, 2012

    2nd Annual Margarita Fest at El Pueblito

    Last Thursday, July 26, 11 tequila purveyors went head to head at El Pueblito for their second annual margarita festival. Think the Olympics inspire intense competitors? Those athletes have nothing on the ferocity of brand representatives, each determined to produce the best margarita for what appe ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 30, 2012

    A Roman Repast at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino

    When I told my husband I wanted to go to the May Roman Feast at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino, he responded: "Will there be a vomitorium?"* "Good God, I hope not," I said. "Though its presence might actually suggest people were really enjoying the food." And they were. Light tones and merry laughter circ ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 24, 2012

    How Do You Eat Your Cupcake?

    It has come to my attention that there is more than one way to eat a cupcake. Two, three, even five ways, in fact. This shocking realization occurred during a recent family gathering, when I watched my relatives consume chocolate-frosted birthday cupcakes...all using different techniques. My niece ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 7, 2012

    The Global Burger: Argentina

    I love a good burger. While I always enjoy the regular patty on a bun with cheese, lettuce, tomato and ketchup (as long as it's cooked at least medium rare), sometimes I like to put a twist or two on tradition. In this series of posts, I'm globalizing the burger by revamping it according to other co ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 25, 2012

    Revising A Classic: Seven-Layer Bars

    "Seven layer bars," also known as "magic bars," are one of my favorite baked goods, falling just behind chewy chocolate chip cookies. You may wonder why, then, I would ever mess with the traditional recipe, which calls for butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, coconut, nuts (usually walnuts), sweeten ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 12, 2012

    Yasso Greek Frozen Yogurt

    After recently blogging about Ben & Jerry's Greek Frozen Yogurt, a representative from Yasso contacted me to request I try their version. Now, I can't give you an exact side-by-side review of the two products, as that's an oranges-apples comparison: B&J's offers its Greek frozen yogurt in pints, wh ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 2, 2012

    What I Want In My Easter Basket

    In one of his stand-up routines, Jerry Seinfeld has a terrific bit on Halloween, in which he says the "only clear thought" he had in the first 10 years of his life was: "Get candy." Hmm. "Get candy" still dominates my psyche 30 years later...and counting. Which is probably one of the reasons why H ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 27, 2012

    Hits and Misses at Nabi

    A reunion with some old friends prompted a dinner at Nabi. Having recently tried some smashing Korean Fried Chicken at Bon Chon in Virginia, I was eager to try Nabi's version as well as some of their small plates and sushi. Never has a restaurant inspired such ambivalence. The morning after, I c ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 23, 2012

    Experiments En Croute

    "En croute" is the most beautiful two-word phrase in the French language ("service compris" being a close second). I came to this realization while recently perusing the online menu of Le Refuge, which I hoped to visit during a trip to Old Town Alexandria. Among the restaurant's many old-school, alb ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 1, 2012

    UPDATE: Food Maneuvers That Only Work On Television: Drinking Directly From A Straw Stuck In An Orange

    When I blogged last week about five food maneuvers that only work on television, Nicholas L. Hall and Dave Lieberman corrected my assertion that drinking out of a straw stuck directly in an orange couldn't be done in real life. Furthermore, they offered some tips as to how to do so: "The trick ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 24, 2012

    Pillsbury Special Edition "MegaChip" Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Damn you, Doughboy. You pop that hip and giggle and pose with giant cookie, and suddenly I'm $3.39 poorer. I didn't even notice until I was at the checkout that you were proffering "special edition" baked goods, which in my mind is dangerously close to that siren call phrase, "limited edition." Whi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 7, 2011

    Grand Opening Party at Torchy's Tacos

    Photo by Joanna O'LearyParty swag included bumper stickers, temporary tatoos, and a t-shirt I plan to wear every day until my husband complains.​As of 7 a.m. today, Houston officially had a branch of Torchy's Tacos, the Austin-based chain of eateries known for their creative taco fillings (e.g ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 24, 2011

    10 Pumpkin Dishes to Try in Houston: #1 Pumpkin Trio at Ninfa's On Navigation

    In 2010, I had a grand ol' time scouring Houston for outstanding pumpkin dishes. One year later I'm older, definitely not wiser, and still in love with orange squash. So from now until Thanksgiving I've been counting down (again) 10 Pumpkin Dishes to Try in Houston. Forks at the ready! #1 Pumpkin ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 22, 2011

    Warming Up to Down House

    I first visited Down House to vet the Pumpkin Phosphate during my search for great pumpkin dishes in Houston. I was heartily impressed with the phosphate but still a bit wary of the food. The restaurant, as Katharine Shilcutt has pointed out, has some identity issues, and I wondered whether the ent ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 9, 2011

    Limited Edition Nestle Oatmeal Scotchies

    Photo by Joanna O'LearyYes, those are dark chocolate Milky Ways lurking in the background.​Between October and December it's rare to find a "limited edition" food product that doesn't have something to do with the impending holidays. That's exactly why I gravitated toward the new "Oatmeal Scot ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 26, 2011

    Top 5 Seasonal Commercial Halloween Snacks

    Photo by Joanna O'LearyBoo! I'm orange.​Since Halloween is my favorite holiday, I'm more than thrilled that what was once a one-day celebration has now become a whole season in its own right. Despite my usual aversion to processed food, I'm also tickled pink (orange?) by the plethora of Hallow ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 5, 2011

    Recipe: Almond Coconut Candy Fudge

    On a cloudy weekend afternoon, I felt like baking, but the cupboard held everything but flour. To save myself a trip to the store and an overheated kitchen, I settled instead on making fudge. Chocolate was the favor I craved, but since I was having Caribbean cocktails later that evening, I though ... More >>

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