• Blogs

    November 10, 2014

    Dish of the Week: Arancini

    From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post. This week, we're learning about the Southern-Italian street food, arancini. Meaning "little oranges" in Italian, arancini are ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 30, 2014

    Stock Your Bar With These Summer Party Staples Recommended By Houston Somms and Bartenders

    As someone who loves to entertain and who loves to drink, I realized recently that my home bar is woefully understocked. When people come over, it's always the same thing: "Would you like tap water, gin, tequila or red wine?" Every now and then I'll have club soda or beer, and on rare occasions I mi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 3, 2014

    Food Fight: Battle Cannoli in Houston

    Making the perfect cannoli is an art. It requires much expertise, experience and practice. From the components (filling, shell and decorations) to the assembly process (making the cream, frying the shell and piping the cream into the shell), everything must be executed just right so the shell cracks ... More >>

  • Dining

    February 27, 2014

    Meet the First Families of Houston Food

    Connect the dots and you’ll find our city’s restaurant scene has been dominated by a few hardworking culinary pioneers and their descendants.

  • Blogs

    February 25, 2014

    Sammy Patrenella Shares Some Family History

    This week's feature story (online Wednesday) takes an in-depth look at the Houston families who developed our diverse food scene into what it is today. We spent hours researching and interviewing family members to compile their stories, but not everything could make it into print. In celebration of ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 10, 2014

    Upcoming Events: Cocktail Lessons and Baking With Citrus

    On January 14, Down House will host a Cocktail Foundations class that will teach you everything you need to know about making drinks. Resident head bartender Jeremy Olivier will lead the class, which runs from 6:30 until 9 p.m and costs $150. While Olivier teaches you about the basics of making cock ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 19, 2013

    It's Time To Make Your Very Own Panettone

    Each country has its own traditional dishes and desserts for Christmas and the holidays. The French make Thirteen Desserts of Provence, Germans make Christstollen, Brits make Christmas pudding and Italians make panettone. This sweet bread originated in Milan (or so the story is told) and has become ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 20, 2013

    Chef Chat, Part 2: Paul Petronella Tells the Story of How Camerata Wine Bar Came Into Being

    This is the second part of a two-part Chef Chat interview. If you missed Part 1, you can read it here. In Part One of this week's Chef Chat, Paul Petronella of Paulie's and Camerata told the story of growing up in an Italian-American restaurant family, and what it was like to take over the family ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 8, 2013

    The 5 Best Things to Eat or Drink This Weekend: Food Truck Fest, Phoenicia's 30th Birthday & A Latte Art Throwdown

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    October 7, 2013
  • Blogs

    September 23, 2013

    Mangiamaccheroni: A Sicilian Seafood Pop-Up Promises Gioia di Vivere

    It's Thursday evening at Camerata, the new wine bar adjacent to Paulie's, and Felipe Riccio, a young chef who works behind the bar, has just poured me a sample of a Gravner wine from Italy. After he provides a comprehensive description of the wine, including how it's made and some of the complexitie ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 17, 2013

    Feminism, Organic Activism, & a Bold Italian List at Osteria Mazzantini

    "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 >>

  • Dining

    July 11, 2013

    Tony Vallone's Regional Italian Cuisine Dinner Series

    Sicilian homestyle cooking at Ciao Bello.

  • Blogs

    July 2, 2013

    Tony Vallone's Sicilian Homestyle Cooking at Ciao Bello

    "You don't even need a knife," the woman seated next to me, the wife of a prominent local judge, advised. I'd just picked up my knife and fork, ready to take a bite of a delicious-looking piece of Gaddina a 'Muddicata, Sicilian for our second course of breaded baked chicken. Taking her advice, I put ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 20, 2013

    R.I.P. James Gandolfini (1961-2013)

    "Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while, a great wind carries me across the sky." -- Ojibwe saying I didn't know James Gandolfini, but I knew Tony Soprano. Knew him well. Tony Soprano, that "fat fucking crook from New Jersey" (his words, not mine), that walking amalgam of ev ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 8, 2013

    World's Most Radical Natural Wine Now Available in Houston

    Ever since the New York Times first reported on the radically Natural wines of Mt. Etna, Sicily producer Frank Cornelissen in 2009, the wines have captivated the attention of Natural wine writers, enthusiasts and detractors across the United States. To my knowledge, the wines have never been availa ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 5, 2012

    Upcoming Events: Punch Parties and Greek Eats

    Can you believe it's been nearly 50 years since the first Greek Festival in Houston? Here we are on the 46th anniversary of the beloved festival, and it's bigger and better this year than ever -- but it's still only $5 at the gate, with kids getting in for free. The festival actually started yester ... More >>

  • Dining

    September 13, 2012

    Nundini: Straight from the Old Country

    Italian kitchen, still lacking its sea legs, shows real promise.

  • Blogs

    June 27, 2012

    The Top 5 Wines for Summer

    One of the things I love the most about summers in Texas is pool parties. When the heat is on, we tend to congregate with our friends around the pool, the grill, and our favorite wines. There's no better time -- in my experience -- to break out all those under-$25, easy-drinking, low-alcohol wines t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 13, 2012

    Today's Cover Story on the Texas Wine Industry

    See our slideshow of Texas wines and wineries. The cover story for this week's issue of the paper, coming out online this afternoon, is an article on the Texas wine industry by my colleague Katharine Shilcutt and me. In the piece, we take a hard look at the challenges that Texas winemakers face. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 3, 2012

    Wine Time: A Favorite Wine for Easter Lamb

    When it comes to pairing wine with food, we live by two maxims at our house. 1. If it grows with it, it goes with it. (Motto attributed to the great New York restaurateur Danny Meyer.) Look to traditional pairings as rules-of-thumb. For example, the inhabitants of the western coast of France famo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 23, 2012

    Wine Time: What To Do When Fine Wine Service Is Really Bad?

    Historically, a sommelier was a cellar master who managed a wine collection. He -- and I say he because in the pre-sexual-revolution era, the sommelier was always male -- tracked and tallied the sums of wine (originally stored in cask and later in bottle). Today, the word is used loosely to denot ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 21, 2012

    St. Joseph Altar Is A Tasty New Orleans Catholic Tradition With Italian Roots

    This past weekend and Monday, March 19, Southern Catholics gathered to celebrate the feast day of St. Joseph, aka San Giuseppe, the patron saint of fathers, workers, families and the Sicilian people, among others. Sicilian immigrants first brought the custom of St. Joseph's Altars to south Louisiana ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 20, 2012

    Wine Time: A Natural Sicilian in Houston

    If you've been following along here at Wine Time, then you certainly know a thing or two about Natural wine and the often heated debate in the U.S. about exactly what Natural wine is, who makes true Natural wine, and who's allowed to write about Natural wine (it's a good thing that the self-appointe ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 12, 2012

    Wine of the Week: Who Needs Another Merlot When You Have Cerasuolo di Vittoria?

    Did the world really need another Merlot and Chardonnay in 1995? Evidently, the Planeta family thought so, and when the younger generation of this Sicilian clan launched the eponymous winery in the mid-1990s, they delivered bold, oaky, concentrated, and highly alcoholic Chardonnay, Merlot, and Syrah ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 3, 2012

    Odd Pair: Sushi and Wine (a Preview of Uchi's Wine List)

    There's a lot riding on the launch of the new Uchi in Houston. Tyson Cole's Austin outposts -- Uchi and Uchiko -- stand apart as "destination" restaurants in Texas, venues that have attained national recognition in part because of Cole's success as a competitive chef on television and in part becau ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 25, 2011

    Odd Pair: Asparagus and Wine

    Today we think of asparagus as one of the standard vegetable side dishes in the contemporary canon of American gastronomy. But in another era, asparagus was considered one of the world's greatest delicacies: The insatiable King Louis XIV built greenhouses so that he could eat asparagus all year rou ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 14, 2011

    Wine of the Week: An "Old Vine" Zinfandel from California (Where Else?)

    Photo by Jeremy Parzen.The "Old Vine" Zinfandel by Bogle showed judicious restraint in its alcohol content and concentration.​What does the designation "old vine" mean, anyway? And how did it come to be a "brand name" for California wines in the 2000s? Vine age is a key element in the qualit ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 1, 2011

    The Eight Toughest Soldiers Texas Ever Produced (Featuring Heroism, Betrayal & Many Dead Bodies)

    Audie Murphy, starring in the story of his own life​Our war heroes are presented to us in different varieties. There are those we create for ourselves, in the mold of what we think a hero should be: David Crockett (nobody but Walt Disney called him Davey), astride the ramparts at the Alamo goi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 19, 2011

    Odd Pair: Top 5 Wines to Pair with Pizza

    ​Above: "Pizza al Trancio" (Pizza by the Slice) in Rome, paired with Coca Cola. Here in the U.S., we don't think of it as an "odd pair." But in Italy, homeland of pizza and a country where wine is considered an essential element of healthy dining, pizza and wine are rarely if ever paired. Do ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 7, 2011

    Tasting Notes: This Week in Wine Blogs

    Know a Houston-based blog we should be paying particular attention to? Leave the address in the comments section below. ​TweetChat #TXWine: If you've been following along here at Wine Time, you know that Texas wines have been on our minds. We found out about the TweetChat #TXWines thanks to t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 9, 2011

    Wine Tip: How to Open a Bottle with Wax Seal

    ​An old-school wax seal (closure) on a bottle can be intimidating -- even for experienced wine professionals. Very few bottlers still use a wax seal and of the few that do, many have converted to faux wax seals that are actually very easy to remove. (For one type of faux wax seal, there is a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 29, 2011

    Odd Pair: Fish and Red Wine

    ​Whenever I am faced with a conundrum like the age-old question of whether or not it is imperative to pair white wine exclusively with fish, I look to antiquity. Indeed, in more cases than not, the ancients were much wiser and more well informed than we are. And as I pore over (excuse the p ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 27, 2011

    Chef Chat, Part 3: Renato De Pirro of Ristorante Cavour

    Photo by Matthew DresdenSicilian smoked swordfish and eggplant involtini. Note the Sichuan peppercorn "sea foam" on top.​After our energetic and wide-ranging discussion (covered in Chef Chat, Parts One and Two), Chef De Pirro brought out a few of Ristorante Cavour's representative dishes, each ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 25, 2011

    Tasting Notes: This Week in Wine Blogs

    ​This is the first of a series of wine blog roundups. Know a blog we should be paying particular attention to? Leave the address in the comments section below. Wine Camp: Craig Camp out on the west coast is always at the top of our Google reader feed. This week he ponders the nature of wine c ... More >>

  • Dining

    December 23, 2010

    Arancini at Union Kitchen

    Great balls of fire

  • Blogs

    November 8, 2010

    Wine of the Week: Cusumano Nero D'avola 2008

    ​After tasting a rare, white Vallone Nero d'Avola at Caffe Bello, it was time to try its more common counterpart, the red. Nero d'Avola is also known as Calabrese, and according to, it is the "most important red grape in Sicily." With flavors of blackberry, plum, chocolate ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 21, 2010

    Pasta Ammuddicata: And You Thought You Hated Anchovies

    ​One of the things that helped me get through the week of eating on $20 like a breeze was making a meal plan and sticking to it. Seriously, this $20 thing wasn't even a challenge. Next time, I'm eating only out of what I have in my pantry and freezer for a week. And that's where this recipe w ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 22, 2010

    Celestial Sandwiches - Day One

    Fried egg sandwich at Avalon​Since picnic season is upon us, we've got sandwiches on the brain. Sandwiches, we feel, are nature's perfect food. You can eat them on the go, pack them up for school lunches, or fancy 'em up for company. They work for vegetarians, pescatarians, and carnivores alik ... More >>

  • Dining

    March 11, 2010
  • Blogs

    December 14, 2009

    Texas Traveler: Pignataro Castle

    Photos by Mr. Kimberly​Most people haven't even heard of Santa Fe, TX, so you wouldn't expect them to know that there was a real life castle in the small community. It's one of about 30 castles in Texas, the closest one to Houston, and its origins are a bit of a mystery. The house is on High ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 12, 2009

    Fall Wine Tasting at Simposio Ristorante

    ​In 2007, Vasco Luti, owner of Simposio Ristorante, opened the restaurant's new location in an unlikely shopping center at the corner of Westheimer and Dunvale. Historically, this native Tuscan focused on Northern Italian cuisine, but last night, Simposio debuted some new wines and Southern It ... More >>

  • Dining

    September 10, 2009

    Barker Cypress Poor Boy

    Would you drive to Cypress for an enormous roast beef poor boy at Mama's Cajun Cuisine?

  • Blogs

    May 27, 2008

    Gelato Man Don Burke Does It Right

    Don Burke of RainDrop Chocolate (810 Waugh Drive, 713-524-2864) is an food artisan in the European fashion. At any one time, he makes no more than 12 flavors in very small batches and is continuously experimenting with new ones. The lemon custard gelato is spectacular. The lemons are imported from ... More >>

  • Dining

    April 17, 2008
  • Dining

    February 7, 2002

    All In The Family

    Dominic Mandola

  • Dining

    December 13, 2001

    Panettone in a Pear Tree

    Carlo Molinaro reminisces about Italian holiday traditions

  • Dining

    October 12, 2000

    Don't Mess with the Family

    Lunch with Michael May

  • Dining

    July 27, 2000

    Truck-Stop Italian

    Big Humphrey's serves up all the comforts of home - assuming home is a double-wide

  • Dining

    October 31, 1996
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