This Week in Houston Food Blogs: Holiday Booze and Bites

This week, we have more holiday recipes, plus some restaurant reviews and a foodie gift guide to help you finish off those last-minute gifts.

Here's another good light bites recipe for your upcoming holiday parties — it's Meyer lemon focaccia, brought to you by Nishta of Blue Jean Gourmet, who originally found the recipe on Food 52. These flatbreads look like lemon pizzas, and their zesty flavors will pair well with some celebratory champagne. If you need some dessert ideas, Nishta shared some of her favorite holiday cookie recipes in the same post to help guide you in the right direction.

If you need something to wash down that focaccia, Ali Miller, RD shared a couple of tasty and healthy winter cocktail ideas that you might want to try. First up is a cranberry spritzer with rosemary and pomegranate seeds, plus your choice of gin or vodka. The other recipe is for kombucha punch with champagne, cinnamon, star anise, lemon and more pomegranate seeds, which will add a nice pop of color to this guilt-free party drink.

Lindy of the Patty and David Said blog visited JINYA Ramen Bar, 3201 Louisiana, for happy hour, where she thoroughly enjoyed the kale lollipops. or fried kale balls. The spicy umami miso ramen was also well-received, and Lindy recommends adding chile oil for some extra flavor and kick. She says the noodles are thicker than others at Jinya, and the ground pork is somewhat unusual for ramen, but she loved the finished product.

Need some gift ideas for your foodie friends and family? Zagat's Robin Sussman put together a guide to fancy food-related gifts that your loved ones will adore, such as the cheese of the month club from Houston Dairymaids, or the chef for a day package from Brennan's, which includes a personalized chef's uniform, training in the kitchen and bar, a tasting, a six-course dinner with wine pairings and an extra gift. We're hoping that our friends read the list, because we wouldn't say no to a chance to try the new Coravin Wine System at Rainbow Lodge.

Here's a recipe that the kids in your life will adore, and we think the adults will, too. Alex of Sugar & Cloth shared this recipe for gingerbread brownies with molasses frosting, which adds a nice gourmet twist to a fairly standard (but oh-so-delicious) dessert. She points out the irony in her post, but a registered dietitian who supports brownies with this much enthusiasm is the kind of RD we want to visit. 

Finally, Hank on Food paid a visit to the new Newk's Eatery at 9448 Katy Freeway in Bunker Hill, and he encourages you not to write off the fast-casual restaurant simply because it's a chain. He enjoyed a nostalgia-inducing shrimp pizza, as well as a po-boy-style sandwich called The Royal, which is loaded with ham, turkey, salami, roast beef, Swiss cheese and standard toppings. His favorite dish, though, was the six-cheese pimento macaroni and cheese, a strongly bacon-flavored dish served in a skillet. He swears that the cheese even squeaked when he bit into it.

That's all for this week in the Houston food blog scene! If you know of a blog that you'd like to see featured, leave us a comment or send us an email.
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Alexandra Doyle