This Week in Food Blogs: Chiles, Barbecue and Texas Beer 'n' Wine

Living on Love and Leftovers: Though Central Market's Hatch chile festival ended on August 20, the chiles aren't gone just yet. The official festival in Hatch, New Mexico doesn't end until September 1, and the chiles will continue to be available in grocery stores for some time. Brooke and Greg of Living on Love and Leftovers have an annual tradition of "sourcing, roasting, peeling and freezing as many Hatch chiles as our constitutions and patience allow," and this year was no exception. To celebrate the season (and Greg's New Mexican roots), the couple roasted a whole lotta chiles and learned some things in the process. They advise that the hot chiles are better, they should be roasted all at once, and you need a bowl of ice cold water to plunge the chiles into as soon as the skin blisters in order to make it easier to separate from the meat later. Brooke and Greg also provide a recipe for Hatch chile remoulade, which they say goes well on everything from shrimp to sweet potato fries.

Culinary Houston: Jack Tyler revisited Gabby's Barbecue recently for a cheeseburger and banana pudding, which he'd missed on his previous visit, but he also provides pictures of some of Gabby's other great dishes. Tyler liked the pulled pork sandwich with an East Coast flair and lots of "righteous cole slaw," though he notes that it's still topped with spicy Texas-style barbecue sauce for the best of both worlds. He also waxes poetic about the combo plate, which he ordered with brisket, chicken and smoked pork sausage. "I don't usually order chicken as an entrée (or meat choice) in a barbecue restaurant," Tyler says, "but this was good enough to be a destination dish." He also recommends the red beans and rice and the banana pudding that's just like he remembers from his childhood.

Houston Business Journal: Shaina Zucker of the Houston Business Journal sat down with alcohol aficionado Bobby Heugel to chat about Anvil Bar and Refuge, Clumsy Butcher restaurant group and Huegel's newest concept, The Pastry War. Heugel says his company is growing thanks to the great people he's able to invest in, such as Alba Huerta, who will be opening southern cocktail bar Julep later this year. Also on the horizon is Trigger Happy, a beer and wine bar scheduled to open in late Fall. Huegel says that what helps make Clumsy Butcher restaurants and bars a success is the fact that, "everyone is committed to the idea that we will create really unique spaces in Houston that don't compromise on quality." You can read part of Shaina's interview here, but the rest of it is behind a paywall or available in print.

Houstonia: Houstonia is also talking booze this week, with Katharine Shilcutt's article about what local beers would be in the perfect six pack. After discussing the merits of Saint Arnold, Buffalo Bayou, 8th Wonder, Southern Star Brewing Company and Lone Pint, she notes that many local beers aren't available by the bottle or can or, if they are, they're only available seasonally. As such, they can't really go in a fantasy six pack. She ends up with the following six beers which, she says, would make the perfect Houston-centric gift for an out-of-towner: Saint Arnold Elissa IPA, "the Saint Arnold brew that shook me out of my malt-cushioned comfort zone when it debuted in 2004"; Southern Star Bombshell Blonde, "the perfect beer to convert Miller or Bud drinkers to craft beer"; Karbach Rodeo Clown, "a perfectly balanced double IPA"; Southern Star Buried Hatchet, "an exceptionally creamy and dark stout, with strong coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt flavors rolling off each sip"; No Label Ridgeback Ale, "with caramel and vanilla notes that fade into a nice, crisp finish"; and Saint Arnold Santo, a "blend of German and Mexican tradition into one dark, malty, roasty kölsch beer (that) couldn't be more Houstonian."

Texas Monthly: Moving away from beer and on to wine, Texas Monthly highlights a wine made close by in Lubbock. Well, close by as in it's closer than Napa or, you know, France. Kim McPherson of McPherson Cellars has created El Sueño Tinto de Tejas to distribute exclusively at Max's Wine Dive locations around Texas. The red wine is a blend of 78 percent Tempranillo, 12 percent Mataro, five percent Grenache and five percent Syrah grapes. McPherson, together with Darrin Baumunk, Corporate Wine Buyer for Max's Wine Dive, and Max's owner Jerry Lasco, created a blend that they all feel is representative of the quality of Texas wine. McPherson describes the wine to Texas Monthly, saying "It's not edgy and sharp like some Tempranillos can be. That's because the Mataro, Grenache and Syrah work to add both complexity and finesse as well as a distinct balance of dark fruit and earthiness." The wine is available for $21.99 at Max's Wine Dive.

My Table: Taylor Byrne Dodge of My Table Magazine also takes a look at wine this week. Or rather, she doesn't take a look at it, because she participated in a blind tasting. This tasting was different from your average blind tasting in which the bottle is concealed by a paper bag though. At this tasting, everyone was blindfolded to mimic the sensory perception of the tasting's leader, Henry "Hoby" Wedler, a blind man who has hosted the "Tasting in the Dark" series at the Francis Ford Coppola winery since 2011. Though it's not clear from the article, it seems that Wedler was in town on a Tasting in the Dark tour, and he stopped at Reef to discuss the Coppola wine then enjoy some food pairings. Dodge writes of the experience: "While wearing padded thick blindfolds that completely blacked out all vision and light, sounds of wine being poured into stemware and aromas of oak and fruit became more pronounced and at times even overpowering." Tasting wine without seeing it is a regular occurrence for Wedler, but it makes for an interesting experience for those of us who are accustomed to seeing what we eat or drink ahead of time. Flavors become different or more pronounced without our eyes guiding our brain. Dodge wonders how she's missed out on certain flavor nuances her whole life, when the entire time, she's supposedly been seeing things clearly.

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