Hank on Food: BRC Gastropub recently rolled out a new menu featuring items such as foie gras poutine and a meatball "sledge" salad. Hank checked out both of those dishes, as well as "Fatboy's Hamburger & Duck Fat Basting," all of which he gave an A+. Hank particularly loved the burger, about which he waxed poetic, saying, "One bite of this and I was in burger heaven...This burger is so very delicious it was hard for me to find the words to describe it. Meaty, chewy, savory, juicy, slight hint of duck fat..." He's added it to his list of the best burgers in town. We'll have to get there soon to check it out for ourselves.
Julia Explores: Julia tried out the new Bambu chain that's invading Houston to give us delicious Vietnamese desserts and coffee drinks. Bambu Desserts and Drinks uses ingredients that may not be part of every Houstonian's regular diet, such as pandan jelly, longan, mung beans, jackfruit and grass jelly, and that's part of the appeal. Julia didn't provide many specific details about her tastings, but she noted that she most enjoyed the "Chè trái cây" with lychee, longan, red tapioca, jackfruit, palm seed, pandan jelly, Jell-O and young coconut, and the "Hạt lựu sương sáo bánh lọt" with red tapioca, grass jelly and pandan jelly. Check out her photos to get an idea of what exactly a dessert made with grass jelly looks like.
Blue Jean Gourmet: Nishta of Blue Jean Gourmet starts out her latest post like this: "If you know how to make a frittata, you'll never go hungry." Wise words to live by. She notes that frittatas are so simple to make that she "almost feels silly posting a 'recipe' for one," but her recipe sounds worth a try. She provides step-by-step instructions for making a kale, chèvre and tomato frittata, along with lovely photographs of the finished product. She also suggests trying combinations such as mushroom, sausage, bell pepper and feta; greens, onion, sliced potato and Gruyère; bacon, asparagus and cheddar; and zucchini, tomato, basil and flat-leaf parsley. If you've got your own favorite frittata recipe, let us know about it.
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Houston Business Journal: Matt Trusch is a local businessman who has recently founded a company here in Houston called Byejoe Spirits USA to import the Chinese distilled liquor baijiu. Trusch tells the Houston Business Journal that it's impossible to do business in China without drinking a lot of baijiu, so the company's slogans reflect the traditional businessman customer. "Our unofficial slogan is 'Close the deal with Byejoe,' and the other is 'Byejoe means business,'" Trusch tells HBJ. He thinks that making the drink available in the U.S. might even help improve the relationship between America and China. Regardless, we can't wait to get our hands on some Byejoe and give it a taste test.
CultureMap: Filipino fast-food chain Jollibee opened its first Texas store last week, near the intersection of Main Street and Kirby, and according to Eric Sandler of CultureMap, the lines have been out the door since day one. The Asian fast-food giant, whose mascot is a huge red (kind of creepy) bumblebee-human hybrid, serves up everything from burgers, spaghetti and chicken wings to purple yam smoothies with tapioca balls. Sandler wrote of his experience waiting in line and eating at Jollibee: "Jollibee probably isn't something I'd wait an hour or more to eat, but, for those who either grew up with it or have been traveling to California for a fix, I can see the appeal." He says he'll be back in the next few weeks to try the breakfast offerings.
Eater Houston: As part of its "One Year In" series, Eater Houston editor Darla Guillen interviewed Ana Beaven, owner of Cuchara, to get her take on how her first year of business has been. Beaven credits chef Hugo Ortega for opening the door for a restaurant like hers to exist in Houston and explains why all of the people who work in her kitchen are women. "Women are great cooks by nature," Beaven tells Eater. "They nourish, they cook for their kids, for their grandkids, for the whole family. Even if they have another job, it's like part of their love to the family to cook. So they don't have to be a professional chef, they just have to love to cook." Beaven says there isn't anything she would do differently (except maybe not throw an anniversary party that lasts nearly 12 hours), and though she has no plans to launch a second Cuchara -- because it's one-of-a-kind -- she's open to the idea of creating another, unique restaurant.
Bonus: This article from the oft-mocked Huffington Post is a spot-on description of what it feels like to shop at Whole Foods (which happens to be my neighborhood grocery). "Whole Foods is like Vegas. You go there to feel good but you leave broke, disoriented, and with the newfound knowledge that you have a vaginal disease." Well, okay, maybe it's not exactly like that.