L.J. Wiley

  • Blogs

    May 22, 2013

    This Week in Food Blogs: Nuts for Tacos and the Importance of Buns

    Open the Taps: The big news this week is the passage of a few beer-related bills in the Texas Senate. Open the Taps has the rundown on what it means now that brewpubs' annual production limit has been raised to 10,000 barrels and breweries can sell beer directly to consumers for on-premise consumpti ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 13, 2013

    Taco Nuts, L.J. Wiley's New Taco Truck, Is Open for Business

    The last time I visited with chef L.J. Wiley was in March. That's when the prodigal chef was busy hosting a pop-up dinner called "Yelapagain" with his former employees and colleagues from Yelapa, the modern Mexican restaurant Wiley helmed to critical acclaim before departing for New York City in 201 ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 22, 2013

    Pop-Ups Are Back: Will They Continue to Predict Houston's Culinary Future?

    Restaurants such as The Pass & Provisions, Oxheart and Goro & Gun are already so firmly affixed in Houston's culinary firmament that it's sometimes difficult to believe the restaurants which are bringing so much attention to our city's food scene have only been open for a year -- or less, in the cas ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 28, 2013

    Catching Up with Yelapa Alumni L.J. Wiley and Vincent Huynh, Both with Big Plans for Houston

    It's a rare occasion when you get to enjoy a favorite dish from a long-closed restaurant, prepared once again by the chef himself. But that's exactly what took place this past Tuesday and Wednesday as chef L.J. Wiley and his old kitchen crew from Yelapa Playa Mexicana hosted four pop-up services at ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 22, 2013

    Upcoming Events: Bitches Love Food

    A familiar face is back in town: L.J. Wiley, the prodigal chef behind Yelapa Playa Mexicana, has returned to Houston. Although Yelapa has been closed since October 2011 and its various staff have moved on, the modern Mexican restaurant dazzled during its brief run -- the Houston Press gave it a Best ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 27, 2011

    The Biggest Disappointments of 2011

    I think that 2012 is shaping up to be Houston's year, after a long 2011 featuring false starts, delayed openings, unexpected closings and failures to launch. That's not to say that 2011 didn't have its perks: Look for our list of the year's best new restaurant later this week. But it came with its ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 21, 2011

    Openings & Closings: Ménage à Foie

    Photo courtesy of FacebookSomething much cooler is coming to the old Zula's space downtown...​Two big blows of bad news shook the food community this week: Yelapa Playa Mexicana announced its closure, and Moon Tower Inn decided to take a three-month break to remodel. The writing had been on t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 22, 2011

    Openings & Closings

    ​The big news this week, of course, was that Randy Rucker is packing up and moving to Houston. Bootsie's will still operate in Tomball under his mother's stewardship, but his new restaurant will be a partnership with pastry chef Chris Leung, located at 5219 Caroline in the Museum District. In ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 9, 2011

    Meet Houston's Most Underrated Chefs

    Photo by Matthew DresdenWhich "underrated" chef made this beautiful tai ceviche?​Two weeks ago, Mai Pham's excellent post about the modern Franco-Japanese cuisine Chef Jason Hauck is cooking up at Soma Sushi shed some light on the fact that Soma serves much more than just sushi, despite its na ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 11, 2011

    Yelapa Is Back on Track

    ​Over a spicy jalapeno-infused margarita and a bowl full of the chunky "real guacamole" last night, I looked around the busy bar at Yelapa Playa Mexicana (2303 Richmond, 281-501-0391) and felt a wave of relief wash over me. I admit to being very nervous about the restaurant's lifespan when it ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 1, 2011

    Mexican Truffles: Classing Up Corn Smut

    Granted, it looks like pure death. But it's tasty!​Poring over the short menu at the recently reopened Spindletop (1200 Louisiana, 713-654-1234) last week, something odd caught my eye. There, listed next to the cumin-rubbed rack of lamb, was a phrase I hadn't seen used in quite a long time: Me ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 27, 2011

    Erin Hicks Miller Signs Houston Classic Mexican Recipes

    Photo courtesy of William Jones MillerHicks Miller at her book signing last night.​Erin Hicks Miller was beaming as she put her pen to one bright green book after another at Hugo's last night. It was the first of several book signing parties celebrating the release of her newest cookbook: Hous ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 22, 2010

    What Are Houston Chefs Cooking This Thanksgiving?

    Photo by Carbon NYC​Thanksgiving: A day to gather with your loved ones and give thanks? Or a day to display your culinary prowess to friends and family? Increasingly, the emphasis has been on the latter in the past few years, as people try to dress up the traditional Thanksgiving spread and im ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 15, 2010

    Five Questions for Geri Druckman and This Year's Wine Conference

    Photos by Jeff BalkeSamples were drained during last year's Wine Conference sessions.​Last September marked the inaugural year for The Wine Conference, an annual event pairing more than just food and wine. The Wine Conference seeks to pair people with knowledge, whether those people are wine e ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 15, 2010

    Sunday Brunch at Yelapa: Texan Twists on Old Favorites

    Frito Pie Migas for breakfast, because you need corn chips at 11 a.m. on a Sunday.​Last Sunday morning, a table of friends and I attacked our plates with a vengeance on the sunny back patio at Yelapa Playa Mexicana (2303 Richmond, 281-501-0391). Although it's been open for nearly a year, I'm s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 17, 2010

    Upcoming Events

    The patron saint of food nerds come to Houston.​Do you have your tickets ready to see Anthony Bourdain this Monday night at Jones Hall? I certainly hope so, because the event is sold out. But don't fret; more celebrity chefs are on their way to Houston in coming months. Alton Brown, the origi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 14, 2010

    Local Spotlight: All-Star Chef Series at Wood Duck Farm

    Veggies from Wood Duck Farm.​Fabulous news for those of you still kicking yourself for missing out on the Just August Project last month... Two of the three acclaimed pop-up chefs -- Justin Yu and Seth Siegel-Gardner -- will man the kitchen at Wood Duck Farm's first-ever All-Star Chef dinner o ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 30, 2010

    Upcoming Events

    ​Houston Restaurant Week is here once again, the annual benefit to assist the Houston Food Bank. And this year, "week" is a misnomer: Houston Restaurant Week runs from August 1 through August 21, giving you nearly an entire month to dine out at some of Houston's best restaurants, all while hel ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 23, 2010

    Upcoming Events

    ​When you're done voting in this year's Houston Press Music Awards, head over to the new and improved 2010 Houston Culinary Awards from My Table Magazine. You'll find a whole host of new categories in which to cast your vote in a section called Houston Foodie Star awards. The usual suspects li ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 25, 2010

    Houston's Hottest Chefs: Eric Aldis

    Tam Vo​This past week, we've highlighted the winners in the second round of Houston's Hottest Chefs: the men. We've taken a good, long look at Justin Basye, Ricky Craig, L.J. Wiley and Bryan Caswell. But the moment of truth has come. The people of Houston have spoken. Eric Aldis of Mo's: A Pla ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 23, 2010

    Houston's Hottest Chefs: L.J. Wiley

    Tam Vo​Every day this week we'll be highlighting the male winners from our poll on Houston's Hottest Chefs. On Friday we'll reveal the hottest chef of all. Yelapa Chef L.J. Wiley is a guy's guy: a tall glass of water that likes to throw back a drink or six and is always up for a challenge. H ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 27, 2010

    Houston's Hottest Chef: Voting Is Now Open

    Thankfully, none of our nominees look like this.​We've carefully combed through the 100 plus comments from last week's post and compiled the top five male and top five female chefs you nominated as Houston's hottest chef. We combed through our own photo archives and -- occasionally -- the che ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 19, 2010

    Top Five Twitter Food Fights

    ​As Craig Hlavaty briefly discusses in this week's feature on the Twitterverse, the food community has become one of the largest on Twitter. At first, it may seem unusual for members of a a non-tech-oriented community to have become such early adopters of the technology and to have built such ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 4, 2010

    Robb Walsh's 100 Favorite Houston Dishes #49 Ceviche at Yelapa

    ​Over the course of the next few months, I'm counting down 100 of my favorite Houston dishes. I chose some because they are such quintessential Houston creations, others for their cultural or historical significance, and others because they are just so damn tasty. Share your own nominations in ... More >>

  • News

    April 15, 2010

    Chef Tats

    Kitchen pros express themselves through inked flesh, no matter how upscale the Houston restaurant.

  • Blogs

    April 15, 2010

    Chef Tats: In Their Own Words

    ​​This week's feature, Chef Tats, focuses on a new breed of chefs in the restaurant industry: those who are vibrantly and stunningly decorated with ink. No more starched white chef's jackets -- these chefs are young, brash and have a story to tell, both with their food and with their bodies. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 1, 2010

    Shrimp and Grits, Mexican-Style

    Photo by Katharine Shilcutt​I passed a very pleasant lunch hour at Yelapa Playa Mexicana on Wednesday afternoon, drinking iced tea at the bar and lingering over my dish of shrimp and grits, one of the newest additions to the pan-Mexican menu. One of Robb Walsh's 100 favorite dishes in Houston ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 31, 2010

    Top 10 Restaurants in Upper Kirby

    ​Let's leave aside a second some of the things we hate about the Upper Kirby district -- the bizarre desire to forge a connection with the U.K. based solely on sharing the same initials and installing anachronistic red phone booths on random street corners, the fact that Kirby itself is always ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 2, 2010

    An Unlikely Winner at the Mushroom Throwdown

    Photo by Katharine ShilcuttThrowdown judge Gracie Cavnar prepares to sample an entry.​The big guns were brought out last night for the fourth -- and largest to date -- throwdown organized by Jenny Wang and the Houston Chowhounds: the Mushroom Throwdown at Vic & Anthony's. From the judging pane ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 22, 2010

    Upcoming Events

    ​Smackdowns, showdowns, throwdowns. There's food violence aplenty coming up for your voyeuristic pleasure. Bread and circuses, served up daily by your Houston food community. This Sunday, of course, is our very own Cupcake Smackdown at Block 7 Wine Company (720 Shepherd) from 4 to 6 p.m. You ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 21, 2010

    Food Fight: Battle Supper Club

    Photo by GroovehouseDessert at a Reality Dinner / Click here for a slideshow​Other cities have had them for years, but -- as with many concepts -- Houston is a bit behind the curve. We're talking about chef-driven, intimate, fiercely modern, multi-course dinners that allow a culinary wild man ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 16, 2009

    Saying Yes to Yelapa

    Photos by Katharine Shilcutt​It looks like the curse may have been lifted from 2303 Richmond. The location has seen many restaurants come and go over the years, some which have had achingly short lifespans. Most recently, it was the home of The Chimney (for a few short months) and before that, Sau ... More >>