This Week In Food Blogs: Tequila Tragedies and the Three Faces of Saba

Eat My Words: Talk about unfortunate timing...Texas Monthly's Patricia Sharpe had a terrific interview with chef David Guerrero of Samba Grille in which the chef discussed his brain cancer, Houston attitudes toward Peruvian flavors and learning to taste again after a stroke...and then Samba Grille announced it was closing down. Fortunately, there are indications that neither Guerrero nor Samba Grille will be gone for long; the owners are reportedly looking for another location with more traffic than the downtown spot at Bayou Place offered.

Delicious Mischief: I've been excited about Hawthorn ever since I found out that Riccardo Palazzo-Giorgio would be the chef at the recently rejiggered River Oaks restaurant (which, if you'll recall, was a very silly sounding club when it was first announced). And after reading John DeMers's first look at Hawthorn, I'm even more intrigued. DeMers specifically hails the lobster lasagna between sheets of squid-ink-black pasta, which he predicts will be one of Hawthorn's signature dishes: "Look for this dish on 'Best of Houston' lists in the months and years ahead," he writes.

Hank On Food: Speaking of first looks at places that intrigue me... Hank has a write-up of the relatively new barbecue joint on Jones Road, It's Ribs! (You know, like, "It's a boy!") Although its name would suggest otherwise, It's Ribs! actually offers an array of other barbecued items, including brisket, chopped beef and chicken. But it's the ribs that Hank tried...and liked, giving them an A.

Lushtastic: Still more new places are spotlighted this week, with Leslie taking a look at Premium Draught, the beer retailer that's going in next door to Antidote Coffee in the Heights. When it opens, Leslie writes, expect "20-24 taps for growler fills and 4 doors of coolers that will be filled with bottles for purchase, organized by style of course."

Commercial Free Cocktail: There are a lot of problems arising south of the border when it comes to agave farming and tequila production. Between inbreeding of plants, shortages, potentially disastrous diseases, political pressure and greedy corporations, the tequila industry as we know it could be on the verge of collapse. Bartender Alex Gregg has more about this tenuous situation -- and what can be done to prevent it.

Dude, You Going To Eat That?: What's in a name? In the case of saba, as Dr. Ricky teaches us this week, at least three very different foodstuffs.

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Katharine Shilcutt