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 >>
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 >>
The best espresso drinks in Houston
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 >>
"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 >>
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 >>
"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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
Italian kitchen, still lacking its sea legs, shows real promise.
The Top 12 Texas Junk Foods.
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
Audie Murphy, starring in the story of his own lifeOur 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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
Great balls of fire
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 www.winecountry.it, it is the "most important red grape in Sicily." With flavors of blackberry, plum, chocolate ... More >>
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 >>
Fried egg sandwich at AvalonSince 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 >>
Photos by Mr. KimberlyMost 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 >>
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 >>
Would you drive to Cypress for an enormous roast beef poor boy at Mama's Cajun Cuisine?
Carlo Molinaro reminisces about Italian holiday traditions
At Fabio's, the atmosphere and the Alfredo sauce are old clichés. But so is "Mom's apple pie," and it's still good.
Lunch with Michael May
Big Humphrey's serves up all the comforts of home - assuming home is a double-wide