Subject:

Mai Pham

  • Blogs

    April 17, 2014

    Recap: The 2nd Annual Big Taste of Houston

    "This is such a great event -- so many of Houston's best chefs all in one place!" said Matthew Lovelace, a sous chef at Osteria Mazzantini, as he offered me a sample of their Blackhill Meats lamb meatball and chicken liver mousse. His was one of the first booths I encountered at the 2nd Annual Big T ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 14, 2014

    Tableside Prime Rib Service and More at Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette

    I am always looking at pictures of food. One of my favorite pastimes, it's the reason why my Twitter and Instagram feeds (and now, my Facebook feed) are constantly crammed with photos of food, and why I spend countless hours mentally drooling over pictures of what people are cooking or eating. On ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 3, 2014

    A Farm-to-Table Peruvian Pisco Dinner at Latin Bites

    I distinctly remember the first time I met Johnny Schuler, master distiller for Pisco Port├│n. Schuler, known to Peruvians and pisco aficionados as "Pisco Johnny," is a TV personality in his native Peru, and the world's foremost authority on Peruvian pisco. It was April 2011, and we were meeting bec ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 31, 2014

    Soter Winery and Akaushi: A Tasty Pairing

    Eclipsed by the street construction taking place on the stretch of Westheimer Road directly in front of it, 60 Degrees Mastercrafted, the restaurant by master chef Fritz Gitschner, opened this past November to little fanfare. Since then, however, the roads have cleared, and a new patio has been fini ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 24, 2014

    Going Healthy at Snap Kitchen

    True story: A girlfriend of mine lost 12 pounds doing the Snap Kitchen 21-day challenge. Now, I want to lose 12 pounds, too, but I have to be honest when I say that the thought of eating healthy, pre-packaged foods for any length of time does not appeal. "I eat with my eyes first," I told concept ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 11, 2014

    Spotlight on Chef Austin Simmons' Cuisine at Hubbell & Hudson Bistro

    I've been a fan of Hubbell & Hudson Bistro since I first dined there three years ago. Admittedly, I have not had the chance to return since then (it takes me about an hour to get to The Woodlands), but so memorable was the food that I can recall, with vivid clarity, one of the dishes I tasted during ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 4, 2014

    Truffles, Wine and Italian Hospitality: the Angelini Family Brings a Bit of Italy to Houston

    It happens more often than not: I taste a dish and it transports me to somewhere far away, to another country and another culture, to the place where I'd tasted that dish before. I recently attended a wine dinner that had that same effect, but it wasn't because of the food. It was because of the Ang ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 21, 2014

    Finally! Killen's Barbecue To Open Tomorrow

    It was a beautiful thing to watch: Ronnie Killen, unwrapping a huge slab of hot-from-the-oven brisket, then lightly shaking it to gauge the consistency of the meat. Moist heat curled upwards as the wrapper was peeled back, and the black-crusted meat jiggled as if it was a big block of jello. I kne ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 17, 2014

    Fung's Kitchen Celebrates Lunar New Year with Lions and Cantonese Food

    More than 300 people attended the annual Lunar New Year celebration and banquet at Fung's Kitchen. As in years past, chef and propietor Hoi Fung presided over the festivities alongside friend and colleague Martin Yan, well known for his television series "Yan Can Cook." Yan, who had flown to Houst ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 13, 2014

    Fish & the Knife Opens Today

    The almost austere, minimalist Fish & the Knife sign on the Westheimer-facing part of the building may be prominent, but it doesn't properly hint at the beauty that awaits inside. And if anything can be said about the Fish & the Knife, which has been under construction since 2010, it is that it is u ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 12, 2014

    First Look at Sur Latin Peruvian Cuisine

    You could say that discovering hole-in-the-wall places is a favorite pastime of mine. I love stumbling onto small, family-owned gems, where the cook is the dad or the brother or the uncle or the mother, the server and hostess is wife or mother or sister, and the waitstaff is the daughter or cousin o ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 13, 2014

    Oysters and Tuna Tacos: First Look at Caracol

    "I could come here just for this," I thought to myself as I sampled the unbelievably tasty ostiones asados, or wood grilled oysters, topped with chipotle butter at Caracol. The first of several dishes I tried during my first visit to Hugo Ortega and Tracy Vaught's new coastal Mexican seafood restaur ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 9, 2014

    Top 5 Prix-Fixe Lunches in Houston

    It's not every day that you'll want to indulge in a fancy meal for lunch, but when you do, a lunch prix-fixe is the only way to go. For a fraction of the cost you would pay for dinner, many of the best restaurants around town offer set lunch menus for your dining pleasure. Here are our picks for the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 6, 2014

    First Look at Nara by Donald Chang

    Nara. There's something so inherently sensual about the way in the which the name rolls off the tongue. Spoken with a Japanese intonation, the "r" sound takes on the form of a soft "d," so that that it sounds like a secretive whisper of some sort: "Nah-dhah." My first time there, I admit I didn't ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 25, 2013

    Feast Your Eyes on Tiger Den Yakitori

    In Japan, you'll find yakitori-ya spots -- places that specialize in yakitori, or skewers of chargrilled meat -- everywhere. The places are usually casual and fun, somewhat rowdy and raucus, a venue for friends to gather for an easy meal while drinking beer. This is exactly what you'll find at Tige ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 21, 2013

    Volcano Rice Wows The Crowd: Laudable New South American Dishes at Latin Bites

    The volcano rice arrived at our table to a chorus of wows: three hot stone bowls sizzling, crackling and steaming hot, with a colorful assortment of vegetables and meats arranged around a perfectly round yellow egg yolk. A Peruvian version of the Korean dolsot bibimbap, it was chef Roberto Castre's ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 15, 2013

    Openings & Closings: Ripp's Grille Shutters & Tiger Den Finally Opens For Good

    Ripp's Grille is the only restaurant to announce sad news this week, and the diner's final day of business is today. The Houston Chronicle's Syd Kearney reports the movie-themed restaurant will be closed as of 10 p.m. on Friday, November 15. Before it's gone forever, stuff your face with the Animal ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 14, 2013

    Fantastic Ramen Inside The Loop: The Spicy Soy Ramen at Kata Robata is Utterly Divine

    There's something about the colder weather that makes me crave a hot bowl of noodle soup. There are even days when I actually don a sweater or a jacket, days that are not especially cold, but I want something warm in my belly so I pretend it is near freezing outside and prepare to eat. That's where ... More >>

  • Dining

    November 7, 2013

    Bivalve Season Is Here

    Houston restaurants are ready to get shucking.

  • Blogs

    November 7, 2013

    Philippe Restaurant Lounge's New Menu Under Chef Manuel Pucha: A Promising Debut

    Philippe Schmit's sudden departure from his eponymous restaurant, Philippe Restaurant Lounge, left many wondering: What is going to happen to a restaurant named Philippe when Philippe himself is not there? A recent media dinner to introduce executive chef Manuel Pucha and his new menu answered t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 1, 2013

    Openings & Closings: Flora & Muse Goes Out With A Bang, and Tiger Den Delays Its Opening

    In one of the most surprising, yet epic, ways for a restaurant to close, Flora & Muse informed its customers it would no longer be open for business ... and did so during a Greek Wine Dinner. On Monday, October 28, general manager Evan Turner told guests at the dinner that the restaurant would be s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 29, 2013

    El Big Bad Is Coming Soon: Divine Tequila Cocktails and Chef-Driven Tex-Mex

    Located on the prominent corner of Travis and Prairie in the location that used to house Cabo's, El Big Bad, the offshoot of Lea McKinney and Steve Sharma's wildly successful El Gran Malo, is almost ready to open. The gorgeous copper-topped bar is in place downstairs. The large, inviting patio is ju ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 29, 2013

    A First Look at Tiger Den: Fresh Noodles, a Fine Robata Grill and Long Lines at the Front Door

    Houston has been waiting for a place like Tiger Den. A strip-mall restaurant in the popular Dun Huang Plaza at 9989 Bellaire Boulevard near the intersection of Beltway 8, the new ramen shop and izakaya debuted recently, and diners have had to endure waits of 30 minutes or more for tables. I'd been ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 15, 2013

    Caesar Salad Martinis, Sliders, Tandoori and More at the 29th Annual Caesar Salad Competition

    How many ways can you make a Caesar salad? This past Friday evening, Houstonians were treated to a total of 18 ways at the 29th Annual Caesar Salad Competition, held at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston. The event, hosted by the Food & Bev ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 3, 2013

    A Story of Love: Silver Oak Wines at The Houston Cellar Classic

    The great thing about wine is that it can be an endless source of conversation. You can talk about everything from the nose, to the feel on the palate, to how it pairs with food. You can debate how it should be made, whether it should be aged in oak, which varieties of grapes blend well together, wh ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 1, 2013

    Old-School Service and Italian Classics at La Griglia

    Ah ... fall. What a great time of year. Time for Houston weather to (finally) cool down, for appetites to perk up, and for chefs across the city to introduce new dishes. If anything, it's definitely a good excuse to dine out and get to know places you've never tried before. I found myself doing just ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 30, 2013

    Fire Shutters MF Sushi

    A fire that began in the kitchen of MF Sushi early Sunday morning has forced the popular restaurant to close it doors. KHOU reported that the blaze was quickly extinguished by Houston firefighters. Chef Chris Kinjo told CultureMap Houston that he wasn't sure when the restaurant would reopen. "We ar ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 26, 2013

    7 Of Houston's Best Takes On The Classic Bacon & Eggs

    Last year, Urban Daddy rounded up some of New York City's best alternatives to the classic Bacon & Egg Sandwich. Well, watch out, NYC, because H-town's come to play. Readers, we give you seven of the most mind-blowingly delicious takes on bacon & eggs in Houston:

  • Blogs

    August 8, 2013

    12 Houston Chefs With Celebrity Doppelgangers: Restaurant Weeks Edition

    It's Doppelganger time! See which Houston local chef tried to steal a kiss from Natalie Portman and who plays for the MLB in his spare time. And don't forget to support Houston Restaurant Week by visiting the chef's restaurants all month long (special bonus: if you sneak into the kitchen without ge ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 21, 2013

    13 Houston Chefs Who Have Celebrity Doppelgangers

    Check out which local chef sure looks a lot like a Spice Girl, who might be hosting a game show in his spare time, and who we think is a long-lost triplet: See also: - 12 Celebrity Chefs Who Have Cartoon Doppelgangers - 13 Celebrity Chef Doppelgangers 13. Kaz Edwards vs. Joshua Jackson We could s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 11, 2012

    The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Sushi

    For the next 20 weeks, we'll be rounding up the runners-up to our 2012 Best of Houston® winners. In many categories, picking each year's winner is no easy task. We'll be spotlighting 20 of those categories, in which the winner had hefty competition from other Houston bars and restaurants. It wasn' ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 16, 2012

    Top 10 Octopus Dishes in Houston

    Octopus. Regardless of how it's prepared, I generally love eating the squirmy, tentacled creatures. A great, low-fat seafood option, octopus has this wonderfully distinctive texture. It's also light and fun to eat -- the perfect summertime dish. Our city's chefs must feel the same way I do, because ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 20, 2012

    Go Gourmet This 420 Day: Houston's Best Stoner Snacks

    Today is 420 Day, the day known fondly to stoners everywhere as a kind of unofficial National Marijuana Appreciation Day. It's a holiday that's been around for more than 40 years -- you're not as hip or cool as your parents were, kids; they started this shit in 1971 -- and the evolution of the holid ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 18, 2012

    The Bold and the Blu in Sugarland

    After reading Mai Pham's Chef Chat series with Executive Chef Junnajet "Jett" Hurapan of Blu Restaurant in Sugarland, I knew a trip of my own to Towne Square was in store. I was lucky enough to attend a media tasting at Blu, where I tried delicious and innovative food and fancy cocktails in a trendy ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 9, 2011

    Hot Cross Buns: Houston's 10 Best Bakeries

    Get your green waffles at Parisian Bakery III.​My friend Dr. Ricky has long said that there should be a comprehensive list of all the wonderful ethnic bakeries in town. I don't disagree, and in fact that's a list for another time. Today, however, we're focusing on all the different forms and ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 9, 2011

    Buffalo Bayou Brewery: A Preview

    Photo by Mai PhamCrostini by Ryan Pera​ If you haven't heard about the Buffalo Bayou Brewery, one of the new local craft beer makers in Houston, it's probably because they haven't officially opened yet. But to get the buzz going and to let people know what's coming down the line, they held a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 7, 2011

    Cute Alert: Lucky Dog Rescue's 4th Annual Gingerbread Doghouse Fundraiser

    Photo by Stuart RosenbergThe winning Lucky Dog Gingerbread House, by Julie Busch-Johnson and Liz Sanford Westwood Country Club​Some events just make you go "Aww," or in the case of the Lucky Dog Rescue Gingerbread Doghouse Charity Competition, "P-aww." The popular fourth annual event took plac ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 14, 2011

    Revisiting Rice Bowl II for Tasty Indonesian Cuisine

    Photos by Mai PhamTelor belado, Indonesian eggs, shown here are two orders to go ​It's easy for a restaurant to become old news. Case in point: Rice Bowl II, which got some buzz a couple of years back, has fallen a bit off of the radar lately. But just because it's not getting the buzz that it ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 17, 2011

    Do These Noodles Look Kind of Alive in the Bowl?

    Photos by Mai PhamThis is the picture I posted on Twitter. Do the noodles look alive? ​When I posted this picture with my Tweet of "Cold Korean noodles rock!," I thought people would take a look at the picture and immediately agree about how yummy it looked. But no, that's not quite what happe ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 20, 2011

    Ham & Eggs Pizza at Coppa Ristorante Italiano

    Photos by Mai Pham"Ham & Eggs" Pizza​I visited the new Coppa Ristorante Italiano a couple of weeks ago, curious about the reincarnation of what is now the late Catalan. Hailed as an upscale Italian restaurant, Coppa had a surprisingly informal, somewhat abbreviated one-page menu made up prima ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 9, 2011

    Chef Chat Part 3, Cunninghame West of Valentino Restaurant Is No Food Snob

    Photos by Mai PhamZucchini stuffed with cauliflower and shrimp over a three-tomato sauce​The last two days, Chef Cunninghame West has been entertaining us with stories about moving around the country looking for new jobs, hiding things in cane fields and sleeping outside by the ocean; see our ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 7, 2011

    Comment of the Day

    ​Yesterday, Mai Pham wrote about an unpleasant meal at Giacamo's, which was having A/C issues. Commenter Ivalee thought that was a deal-breaker: No matter how good the food may be at any restaurant, if the servers and management does not see to the customers comfort, they do not deserve your ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 5, 2011

    Comment of the Day

    ​Today Mai Pham wrote about the great pizza and people-watching at the new Alto Pizzeria at West Ave, which led everyone's favorite EOW commenter, SirRon, to discover a weird photo on the restaurant's web page. Commenter Florida63 kindly broke the photo down for us: Clearly they are a hot co ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 19, 2011

    Comment of the Day

    ​Mai Pham told us all about a no-name dumpling place that apparently has some amazing...surprise, surprise...dumplings. Numerous commenters agreed with Mai's assessment, but there were also a few concerns raised. Toddyfree brought up one salient point: thanks for letting out the secret. here ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 24, 2011

    Comment of the Day

    ​Mai Pham stopped by Olive & Vine and got us all salivating for some fine olive oil and vinegar. Commenter Mark W seemed to swoon a little: Jesus Christ on a toast, the truffle oil is the best damn oil I ever had. In fact, I can still remember the beautiful sensation linger in my mouth after ... 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

    May 27, 2011

    Franco-Japanese Meets Molecular Gastronomy at Soma Sushi

    Mai PhamAkaushi short ribs, truffle sukiyaki glaze, Boucheron goat cheese mousse​Soma Sushi is probably better known as one of those trendy restaurants. It's nestled in the heart of the Washington corridor at the Shepherd intersection, making it the perfect pit stop for some nosh before a nigh ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 27, 2011

    Comment of the Day

    ​Mai Pham had a spectacular dinner at Soma Sushi and took some beautiful photos. Readers liked the piece, and one was even inspired to pitch an idea: Katharine maybe this could be the basis for a good story or article? Houston's most underrated chefs as a storyline. People like Chef Hauck, wh ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 13, 2011

    Chef Chat, Part 3: Juan Carlos Gonzalez of Bistro Alex in City Centre

    Mai PhamDuck Debris & Butternut Waffle at Bistro Alex​The last couple of days, we've been chatting with Chef Juan Carlos Gonzalez at Bistro Alex (see our conversation here and here). Today, we'll taste cuisine he describes as "modern Creole with a twist." I started with his signature dish, th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 4, 2011

    Comment of the Day

    ​Mai Pham went out for oxtail pho with a side of raw veal at Pho Ga So 1 and loved it. Commenter Jay Francis is a fan of the soup too: I agree with you. I came across a recipe that recommended oxtail for the base because of its perfect blend of bone marrow, fat and meat and I haven't looked ... More >>

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