This Week in Houston Food Blogs: Make Your Own Pumpkin Blondies

Some of Houston's best shopping areas are also home to longtime favorite eateries, such as Etoile Cuisine et Bar at 1101 Uptown Park, and exciting newcomers, like Pour Society at 947 North Gessner at Memorial City Gateway. Zagat's Robin Sussman has created this handy guide to the best dining options in local shopping meccas so that your holiday shopping expeditions aren't governed by a grumpy stomach. Be sure to skip the insanity of the Galleria's food court and head to a department store's posh cafe instead.

If you're finding yourself in need of recipes to keep you cozy, look no further than Claire's sweet potato and cauliflower soup recipe from The Petite Professional. Inspired by the baked potato soup from Barnaby's, she created this healthier version of a loaded baked potato stew to let you enjoy the bacon and cheese you desire while still eating a healthy meal.

However, if you're not totally set on keeping things healthy, we think that soup would go nicely with a big plate of piping hot latkes, and we think Morgan of The Foodie Chef would absolutely agree. She shared a recipe for these traditional potato cakes that helped her get through her first time making them for her whole family, and it was a huge success. Be careful to follow the recipe closely, because latkes take special care to come out just right.

Kim at Adventures in a New(ish) City got a sneak peek at the winter menu at Seasons 52, 4410 Westheimer, which boasts an ever-changing menu of fresh, seasonal fare. The restaurant is known for its delicious flatbreads, and a braised short rib and aged cheddar flatbread with beets, cilantro and horseradish sour cream was no exception. The ricotta and lemon ravioli was sweet and well-balanced, but the vegetarian tasting plate is a true tour-de-force with quinoa salad, golden beets, steamed broccolini, cedar-plank-roasted tofu and a black bean taco.

Need a playful holiday dessert? Tired of bringing cookies to holiday parties? Check out these yummy-looking and easily transportable pumpkin blondies from Alex of Sugar & Cloth. They're like traditional blondies (a.k.a. brownies with vanilla batter), except these use pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin purée for an extra kick of fall flavor. Fill them with your favorite chocolate chip flavor, like butterscotch or white chocolate, then top with your favorite nut, such as chopped pecans. 

If you're thinking that your holiday plans need to include barbecue, check out this Texas Pit Quest post by Scott to find out where you can get a deliciously smoked holiday feast. Options include brisket and pork tamales from Killen's Barbecue at 3613 East Broadway in Pearland, which you can buy from the restaurant on Thursdays through Saturdays, as well as its world-famous meats, which you can pre-order in bulk 48 hours or more in advance. Roegels Barbecue, 2223 South Voss, also has smoked turkeys and hams for the holidays, plus the regular meats by the pound.
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Alexandra Doyle