Hugo's 12th Birthday @ Hugo's Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 1600 Westheimer Birthday parties are great because there's always something sweet involved and nine times out of ten, it's cake. Hugo's will celebrate its 12th year in business this afternoon by serving its guests a free slice of birthday cake ... More >>
"We have an 11-month wait list right now," said chef Joan Roca apologetically when I inquired about dining at his restaurant, El Celler de Can Roca. Ranked among the top five restaurants in the world for six years consecutive years by Restaurant magazine, El Cellar de Can Roca reached the number one ... More >>
Welcome to Eating...Our Words' Bartender Chat, in which we sit down with local bartenders and get to know their style. Whether they're slinging beers or mixing complex cocktails, bartenders are our buddies and confidants, but we're turning the tables and the camera on them to find out what they're p ... More >>
For last week's cafe review I visited Caracol, the new Mexican seafood restaurant from Hugo Ortega and Tracy Vaught, and noted that while there are some truly stellar plates on the menu, the sheer number of items being prepared in the kitchen is perhaps resulting in some dishes being less than they ... More >>
The ambitious new spot is making waves.
"Thirty years ago, I took one huge leap of faith that completely changed the course of my life forever, and with it the course of many other lives. Thirty years ago, I opened Backstreet Cafe." Thus begins restaurateur Tracy Vaught's introduction to Backstreet Kitchen: Seasonal Recipes from Our Neig ... More >>
The prestigious James Beard Award semifinalists were announced this week, and Houston is represented well by four individuals and one bar in three different categories. Anvil Bar & Refuge was nominated for Outstanding Bar Program for the third consecutive year, while Chris Shepherd, Hugo Ortega and ... More >>
Top 10 drive-throughs in Houston.
"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 >>
We've all been there. We've shopped for hours on end, until we're dry and parched, our feet can barely move, and we're desperately in need of revival. We get in the car to drive home, and get stuck in the middle of rush hour, a sea of cars sitting between relaxation. As we're sitting there, listenin ... More >>
For those who speak Spanish, the word caracol is instantly evocative of seafood. It translates to conch, or shell, and in addition to rolling off the tongue, the word has special meaning for Hugo Ortega and his wife,Tracy Vaught, of Hugo's and Backstreet Cafe. "Hugo's brother used to be the chef a ... More >>
Scores of great female chefs are ignored.
Time magazine recently published a feature on the 13 most influential people in the food world. The list actually included 15 people and a company, but it wasn't the fact that Time editors seemingly can't count that had readers, chefs, restaurateurs and just about everybody else in the food industry ... More >>
Here in Texas, we know a lot about Mexican food. But what most of America (including Texas) thinks of as Mexican is actually Tex-Mex, a hybrid of Mexican cuisine and American ingredients. It's comforting to us native Texans, for sure, but it's not true Mexican food. Diana Kennedy knows real Mexican ... More >>
Treat Dad to Something Sweet and Something with Meat.
This week has been full of openings and few closings. So let's just get the bad news over with. Houston Avenue Bar, aka Re:Hab Houston, informed the public that its lease is up and will be closing the first week of July. The Houston Chronicle reported that management already has a new location thou ... More >>
What she does: Tracy Vaught is the owner of Hugo's and Backstreet Cafe and a partner at Prego and Trevisio. ""I do all the planning, train managers, set all the standards for the restaurants, design menus," says Vaught. "Investments and charitable giving. I am the one who has political involvement ... More >>
This is the first part of a three-part Chef Chat series. Come back to read parts two and three, which will run in this same space on Thursday and Friday. On a sleepy corner of Richmond, close to the Spur and around the corner from Montrose, the Brooklyn Athletic Club -- which took over the space t ... More >>
Who he is: Sommelier and wine consultant to a number of Houston establishments, Sean Beck started working as a waiter at Backstreet Cafe 15 years ago while he was pursuing a history degree at the University of Houston. "At the time, Backstreet had about a 55-bottle wine list," Beck recalls. Backst ... More >>
The 13 restaurants that nearly made our 30 essential Texas restaurants list.
Eat here before you die.
The last time we tackled the Top 10 restaurants in River Oaks, Tony Mandola's was still open in what is now Brasserie 19's spot in the River Oaks Shopping Center. Needless to say, things have changed a bit in three years. And in spite of its ritzy exterior, River Oaks still has plenty of inexpensive ... More >>
It's been a while since we tackled neighborhood lists on Eating Our Words, yet posts such as "Top 10 Restaurants in the Heights" continue to be perennial favorites with our readers each month. The last time we compiled a Top 10 Restaurants in Montrose list was well over two years ago, at which time ... More >>
After racking up an impressive amount of semifinalist nods for the 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards, Houston had only one finalist for the annual "Oscars of food," announced today in Las Vegas. One of the most interesting things about the six semifinalists was how accurately they represent the cu ... More >>
A few years ago, I tried being vegan. Then, I swapped to a vegetarian diet, and finally, pescetarian. I found it extremely educational. (For example, I learned that I don't want to live the rest of my life without cheeseburgers.) It also sent me on a quest to find restaurants that could accommodate ... More >>
"This is a great city to work in," said Hugo Ortega as he accepted his award for Chef of the Year at last night's My Table's Houston Culinary Awards. "And this is truly a great country," he finished to loud cheers and applause. It was well-deserved recognition for the man who fought his way out of o ... More >>
FacebookLinda Salinas, before shaving her mustache.Linda Salinas is a talented sommelier and bartender. She's worked at and with some of Houston's best bars and restaurants: Voice, Anvil, Branch Water Tavern, Bootsie's, Beaver's, 13 Celsius and Kata Robata. She is a fixture within the industr ... More >>
Photo by Carbon NYCThanksgiving: 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 >>
The world's great cuisines converge here.
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 >>
The blue plate fried chicken at Gravitas.It started with a Twitter update from @jimbo126 this past Sunday, July 18: "Per waiter, Gravitas closing after today's bruch service. Sure felt like it - out of half the menu and no bread! Out of SALAD DRESSING." Before long, what was merely an out-of ... More >>
Mexican immigrant Hugo Ortega went from washing dishes to owning Houston's best Mexican restaurant — now he has a few things to say about immigration
Hugo Ortega talks about keeping his new restaurant honest
Will downtown parking meters moonlight? Don't count on it.
Once again, Prego is reborn
Backstreet Cafe outgrows its niche as a fair-weather favorite