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  • Article

    Grape Escape - Paul Roberts departs for purpler pastures

    There are only 56 master sommeliers in the United States. At 30 years of age, Paul Roberts is one of the youngest. Unfortunately for Houston, Roberts is leaving his post as wine director for Cafe Annie (1728 Post Oak Boulevard, 713-840-1111) and taki...

    by Robb Walsh on April 10, 2003
  • Article

    Don't Go Changin' - 1415 Bar & Grille

    While the restaurant may have changed its name from Sonoma to 1415 Bar & Grille (so named for its address, 1415 California, 713-977-7911), one dish did not undergo a makeover: the braised crackling pork shank ($16). Slow-braising ensures that the mea...

    by Paul Galvani on April 10, 2003
  • Article

    Bibim Bap's Rap

    Four rolled-up balls of cold shredded vegetables sit in the bottom of the bowl under a fried egg. Rumor has it there's some beef in there somewhere, but I don't see any. I don't see the advertised rice, either. So I call our Korean-American waitress ...

    by Robb Walsh on April 3, 2003
  • Article

    Adis, Los Tonyos - Tony Vallone sells his Tex-Mex concept to Serrano's

    Finally, one of the worst-kept secrets in the local restaurant world is official: Tony Vallone has sold Los Tonyos Cantina. The new restaurant, already risen from the ashes of Los Tonyos in a whirlwind four-day makeover, will be the Austin concept Se...

    by Marene Gustin on April 3, 2003
  • Article

    Empanada Intifada - Caf Red Onion

    A trio of fried half-moon pastries at Caf Red Onion (3910 Kirby, 713-807-1122) is waging a holy war on the archaic assumption that any self-respecting pie must be served for dessert. With innovative fillings and three different sauces, the worst par...

    by Carol Rust on April 3, 2003
  • Article

    Chuck E.-nese Cuisine - Taiko

    The head sushi chef leans over his work station to hear my whispered request. "This young lady over here wants to try sushi for the first time," I explain. "What do you recommend?" "Get the oyster tempura roll," he says, pointing to a sign on the wa...

    by Robb Walsh on March 27, 2003
  • Article

    In the Garden - Meet Camille Waters, an urban guerrilla armed with lettuce

    Camille Waters is the premier urban gardener of Houston, an earth mother who makes enough money from the lettuce she grows to vacation in Mexico every summer -- when it's too hot to grow lettuce here anyhow. "Camille has shown that an urban gardener...

    by Marene Gustin on March 27, 2003
  • Article

    Paella for One - Las Alamedas

    The Spanish dish paella takes its name from the paellera, the shallow, two-handled, iron pan in which it is both cooked and served. The Romans brought this utensil to Spain, while the Arabs brought the rice to go in it -- it's an early example of fus...

    by Paul Galvani on March 27, 2003
  • Article

    Dinner and Darts - The Rivendell Bar & Grille

    When we first enter The Rivendell Bar & Grille, we walk by two women who are talking intently on a big sofa by the front door. One has her legs curled up comfortably underneath her, and they're both working on pints of beer. In the back, near a pool ...

    by Robb Walsh on March 20, 2003
  • Article

    Curry in a Hurry - Stone Mill Bakers

    What makes Stone Mill Bakers' (2518 Kirby Drive, 713-524-6600) signature curried chicken salad sandwich ($6.95) different? Everything. Start with what Stone Mill does best: bread. The freshly baked wheat slices are dense but moist, loaded with plump ...

    by Robin Barr Sussman on March 20, 2003
  • Article

    Katy Pie - Pizza Bella

    Roma tomatoes sliced thin lengthwise, a smattering of fresh basil leaves and a little garlic over olive oil -- these are the only toppings on the margherita pie at Pizza Bella. I'm even more impressed with the crust: Light and airy with a few yeast b...

    by Robb Walsh on March 13, 2003
  • Article

    A Tale of Two Moles - To make from scratch or use a paste -- that is the question

    Holy mole, sauce of the gods. The word comes from the Aztec mulli, meaning "sauce," and legend has it that the chocolate nectar came down from the temples through some nuns in Puebla who are credited with the current-day mole poblano version. The com...

    by Marene Gustin on March 13, 2003
  • Article

    Any Given Sunday - Katz's Deli & Bar

    The problem with David's spinach frittata ($8.99) at Katz's Deli & Bar (616 Westheimer, 713-521-3838) is that it's available only as a Sunday brunch item. Something this good deserves a spot on the everyday menu. A frittata is an Italian version of a...

    by Paul Galvani on March 13, 2003
  • Article

    Whirled Cuisine - Farrago

    A half-pound of medium-rare Black Angus hamburger meat smothered in melting Gorgonzola and topped with a pile of wispy batter-fried onions sits atop a honey-wheat bun bottom. I pick up the top half of the bun, which has three black lines attesting to...

    by Robb Walsh on March 6, 2003
  • Article

    Bye-Bye, Bistrot? - Monica Pope contemplates her future on Montrose -- and in Houston

    Could award-winning chef Monica Pope be pulling up stakes? Maybe. Her lease for the Boulevard Bistrot space at 4319 Montrose Boulevard expired February 28. Pope and her partner, general manager Andrea Lazar, had hoped to sign a long-term lease for t...

    by Marene Gustin on March 6, 2003
  • Article

    The Power of Three - The River Cafe

    The power of three: The Taos empanada ($6.25) at The River Cafe (3615 Montrose, 713-529-0088) takes the classic south-of-the-border treat to new heights in a totally vegetarian way. Inside the baked puff pastry dome, spinach, corn, onions and carrots...

    by Paul Galvani on March 6, 2003
  • Article

    Gem on Jones - Get to A Taste of Portugal before Tony Vallone tells everybody about it

    A large party at the front of the restaurant is getting a lot of attention. A Taste of Portugal's chef jokes with them as he carries dishes out to their table. You just don't see that kind of personal touch in a Houston restaurant anymore. "What a fi...

    by Robb Walsh on February 27, 2003
  • Article

    College Throwback - The Ocean Grill's Salty Dog

    "You don't exactly strike me as the kind of guy to order a salty dog," said the bartender at the Ocean Grill (2227 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston, 409-762-7100). Apparently, the typical drinker of a salty dog is a seagoing fisherman just returning from...

    by J.W. Crooker on February 27, 2003
  • Article

    Homeburger - Lankford Grocery and Market

    Tucked away between the spiffy lofts and towering town homes of Midtown, Lankford Grocery and Market (88 Dennis, 713-522-9555) is a throwback. The 1940s icehouse comes complete with wood-paneled walls, lumpy booths, plastic tablecloths, down-home ser...

    by Robin Barr Sussman on February 27, 2003
  • Article

    Say Cheez - An ode to the stuff that makes Jake's Philly Steaks

    The Villanova, Temple and Penn State pennants on the wall give me a good feeling about Jake's Philly Steaks. Even more reassuring is the souvenir menu from Pat's King of Steaks, where the steak sandwich was invented. But when I reach the counter and ...

    by Robb Walsh on February 20, 2003
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