Hot Plate

Ruin This Cheese, Please: The French may frown at the terribly American habit of baking their beloved Brie cheese, but gauche and gooey as it may be, we love it. A particularly appealing baked Brie appetizer ($7.95) can be found at the River Cafe [3615 Montrose, (713)529-0088], here rendered as a pale gold, buttery-soft mass shingled with crisp, paper-thin slices of toasted almond. Even better is the dark, richly seasoned apple chutney served alongside, spunky with balsamic vinegar and prickly sprigs of rosemary. Never mind those Parisian purists; baked Brie and crunchy, spicy apples are the perfect pairing for a cold winter's evening.


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