Mooyah Burgers and Fries and La Torretta Del Lago

Eric Paquin owns Mooyah Burgers and Fries (300 Bay Area Blvd., 281-338-7305) with partner Ken Phelps. When Paquin saw his first Mooyah in Dallas, where the franchise started, he says, "I just fell in love with the concept. I just knew this was an awesome concept and the right one for me."

Paquin, who has more than 20 years' experience in the restaurant business, is proud of his burgers. "We buy the sesame-seed buns from a local bakery — they're really light and soft — and all our meat is fresh, never frozen. That really makes a difference in a good burger."

Mooyah specializes in burgers, fries and thick shakes. With the exception of cheese and bacon, all toppings are included in the price of the burger. Want jalapeños, mushrooms and grilled onions? No prob — and no extra charge.

Dish tried the Mooyah Cheeseburger, which includes two thin patties, a choice of cheeses (Dish got Swiss) and all the fixings. The excellent fries are the rough-cut, skin-on kind, and there are plenty in each serving. — Paul Galvani

Chef Albert Roux, just off a very successful $150/plate "Guest Chef Dinner" with Chef Michael Kramer at VOICE, sat down with Cafe Bites over a delightful luncheon meal at Ibiza to talk about his newest venture: a restaurant at the soon-to-open La Torretta Del Lago on Lake Conroe. Roux, of London's Michelin two-star restaurant Le Gavroche, was in fine form as he explained his concept of food: "Keep it simple"; his strategy: "no mixing of food"; and his aversion to and definition of fusion food: "Fusion food to me means confusion. If you are blindfolded and you taste a food, you should be able to know what it is. With fusion food, you cannot."

The acclaimed French chef now serves as a consultant out of his United Kingdom base, while traveling to other countries six months out of the year. He has hired a kitchen staff of eight from around the world to serve up his simple brand of French food — with a concentration on American produce — at dinner as well as a Sunday brunch in the French manner with a lot fewer choices than the typical U.S. brunch. There will be no cheesecake. "I am not trying to please everybody. I do realize there is a section of society that is not going to like it. I'm going to try to nudge them along," he said with a smile. Wines will be American as well, but it should be noted Roux uses "American" in the broadest sense, including as a matter of course the Malbecs from Argentina. Once the new Lake Conroe venture is up and running, as it is expected to be by late January or early February, Roux plans on coming back on regular visits four times a year. — Margaret Downing

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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
Contact: Margaret Downing
Paul Galvani