Sampler Plate: This Week in Food Blogs

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J.C. Reid, Texas: Chris has made his international food writing debut in a big way: with a spread in Qatar Airways's in-flight magazine, Oryx. The restaurant he profiled? Philippe, which has been getting plenty of well-deserved magazine love lately. A hearty congratulations to both Chris and Philippe.

Bon Appetit: In other big news, Chris Shepherd's upcoming Underbelly was singled out by Andrew Knowlton of Bon Appetit as one of the five most anticipated new restaurants in the nation for 2012. Writes Knowlton: "How serious is chef Chris Shepherd's new meat restaurant? In-house charcuterie, on-premises butcher shop, and fresh cuts of goat, lamb, veal, and--of course--pork from his own herds." Knock 'em dead, guys.

Eater Houston: Wrote Eater editor Amber Ambrose: "While Amazón Grill isn't doing anything groundbreaking (like serving bone marrow from a food truck), some of the "old guard" of Houston's culinary scene do care enough to come into their restaurants and discuss the merits of crispy edged enchiladas vs. soft edged ones, making a place more approachable and giving their guests more food for the money." Her interview with Michael and David Cordúa on the new changes at Amazón Grill is a testament to this.

Cheap Eats in Houston: Cheap Eats has an excellent (as always) roundup of the latest dining deals in Houston this week, this one Christmas-themed. Who knew so many area restaurants were offering 12 Days of Christmas-type deals?

Dude, You Going To Eat That?: Ricky has been on a mostly fruitless mission to find authentic drinking chocolate (no, not hot chocolate or hot cocoa) in Houston -- until he hit Cafe Luz. He even found a bonus to the perfect cup of chocolate he enjoyed there: "As a bonus, I learned that the chocolate itself was roasted and prepared in the Houston area. Tejas Chocolates are based out of Spring, and are not simple chocolatiers, but actual chocolate-makers. They import beans, roast and process them here to make their single-source bars (also sold at Cafe Luz)."

From the Gutt: Finally, an extraordinarily useful post from Tom Gutting on the signs and signals of a bad wine. I'm not talking about knowing not to buy a crappy bottle of Yellow Tail Chardonnay; I'm talking cork taint, brett and other fancy-sounding terms that add up to a busted bottle and wasted money.

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