I distinctly remember the first time I met Johnny Schuler, master distiller for Pisco Portón. 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 >>
Asparagus popping up from the soil is the first culinary sign of spring.
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 >>
The top five budget lunch spots in Montrose.
You don't have to graduate from a culinary institute to be a successful baker. Belen Bailey, owner and baker of Sweets by Belen, proves that a love for a mother's sweets and treats, combined with a passion for baking, is more than enough to make a name for yourself in the Houston culinary world. As ... More >>
A history lesson on a plate spanning from the far past to today.
I probably should have researched Peruvian food a bit before I sat down at Latin Bites and read the menu, pretending to understand exactly what I was looking at. I had no idea what aji was, but there was that word, an ingredient in nearly every dish. I didn't know what cancha was either, but appar ... More >>
Latin Bites has come a long way. First a catering business, then to its miniature space in the Warehouse District on Nance and now to its greatly expanded location on Woodway. The new venue is open, airy and bright. You can saddle up to the pisco bar -- the only one in Houston -- or to the cebiche ... More >>
Up until about a month ago, I had never tried quinoa. I was like, "What the hell is it? How do you pronounce it? Is it a grain? Is it...like...pasta? What do you put on it? Why is there so much in my brother's pantry?" So many questions. The bro had recently come back from a little stint in Peru ... More >>
Photos by Mai PhamCebiche de conchas (scallops), a new item from the Cebiche Bar at Latin Bites CafeChef Roberto Castre of Latin Bites Cafe knows what it means to work hard. The last two days, he shared the details of how he worked up the ranks after graduating from culinary school in Peru, a ... More >>
Photos by Mai PhamCebiche Serrano: In honor of the highlands of Peru: Fish Cebiche with Huacatay HerbLatin Bites Cafe is one of my favorite restaurants in the city, but I don't get there as often as I'd like, so last week, when Chef Roberto Castre posted on his Facebook page that he had creat ... More >>
Nabbed in Houston.A book from the 1700s that a traveler tried to smuggle through Bush Intercontinental has been formally returned to the country of Peru, federal officials said today. The manuscript had been stolen from the Recoleta Library in Arequipa, Peru, they said. A man with a record ... More >>
Mai Pham Johnny Schuler.When I think of pisco, I think of pisco sours, and when I think of pisco sours, I don't think about drinking them in Houston. Hopefully, that's all about to change because Houston, we've got a new pisco in town: Pisco Portón. Despite the fact that it's manufactured ... More >>
It wasn't so much the origin of this wine that interested me- it's the last of three samples from Peru reviewed for Wine of the Week. But the varietal, Tannat, is something that I've never tried before on its own. Tannat is a red grape that was originally grown in the Madiran appellation in ... More >>
A30_TsitikaEat grapes for smooth sailing in 2011. Not like you need any excuse to stuff yourself during the holidays, but take heed of what you eat around December 31st if you're interested in a little extra good fortune. Depending on who you ask, certain foods -- if consumed on New Year's -- ... More >>
This is the only time I've ever tried a wine from Peru, a country not revered for its winemaking (at least here in America). It's refreshing to taste a little-known wine that is well representative of the Sauvignon Blanc varietal.
pierre pouliquinAlpaca sez, "Try Peruvian wine!"Perhaps it's because we've never been there, but images of alpacas, Pisco and Machu Picchu account for much of our knowledge of Peru. We're hoping that changes this month with a grand showing of Peruvian products and samplings at Spec's Smith St ... More >>
What is it? So we've already covered heirloom tomatoes, right? Well, apparently there are such things as heirloom beans, and the Mayacopa variety is one of them. For one little legume, there are certainly many spellings and names - Mayacoba, Maya Copa, yellow beans, Mayocoba, Mayo Coba, C ... More >>
Nowadays, there are hundreds of variations of ceviche, even in Peru itself, where ceviche bars are incredibly popular. Despite all the new fusion foods available, this version, my Abuelita's, is still a favorite. Abuelita, who is from Callo, Peru, learned how to make ceviche from her mother, ... More >>
Peruvians and Chileans drink pisco sours like Texans drink margaritas. For decades, Peru and Chile have viciously fought over the origins of pisco, a grape-based spirit similar to grappa, and the equally famous cocktail the pisco sour. Arguing so fiercely over spirits and cocktails may sound ... More >>
This recipe for chimichurri, the traditional Central and South American condiment and marinade, is simple and really easy to make, so there is no excuse to use the stuff from the jar. In Peru, as well as other countries, chimichurri is served with churrasco steak, which is one of Abuelita's ... More >>
Award-winning actor/director/drag queen Clinton Leupp tackles the Lone Star state
When our abuelita came to visit for the first time from Callo, Peru, one of the first things she did was teach our mother how to make ceviche. Ceviche is the quintessential Peruvian food, reportedly invented by the fishermen of Callo or Lima on long fishing trips. Abuelita's recipe was her mo ... More >>
Admit it, you want to look
Though a cuddly two-month-old alpaca drew some interest, the hit of Houston's first Peruvian festival, held last weekend at Heights Theatre, was a ceviche demonstration by chef Johann Schuster. The owner of Charivari Restaurant in Midtown, Schuster whipped up three batches of the raw-fish dish, ... More >>
This weekend, get outside and enjoy this beautiful weather while it lasts. The Slow Food Picnic Dinner at Discovery Green is just one way to do that. Monica Pope and Andrea Lazar of t'afia are putting on the at 6 p.m. It will feature locally grown and caught food prepared by local chefs like Ra ... More >>
Alpacas don't bite, do they?
Photos by Robb WalshPeru Chanchamayo is a rare limited-production coffee that's on special this month during the 36th Anniversary of House of Coffee Beans, 2348 Bissonnet. The coffee comes from the sparsely populated Central Jungle of Peru and is certified organic, Fair Trade, and migratory b ... More >>
Novalima Coba Coba (Cumbancha) www.novalima.net If you hear similarities between Novalima's modern Afro-Peruvian music and the rhythms brought from Cuba by Celia Cruz and Tito Puente in the '50s, you're on the right track: Peruvians have borrowed a lot from the Africans taken to South America as ... More >>
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