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This Week in Houston Food Blogs: The Debut of Harold's Tap Room

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This week, we've got a few recipes for light bites, plus reviews of a creative pop-up dinner series and a new bar from a well-established restaurant.

Many people would agree that the best way to start a meal is with an appetizer, preferably something loaded with cheese that you can dip carbohydrate-heavy foods into. If that appeals to you, we have just the thing to satisfy your app cravings: this recipe for skillet brie and artichoke heart dip from Bev of Bev Cooks. Aside from the brie and the artichoke hearts, the dip also includes Greek yogurt, garlic and scallions. She suggests serving with crackers or — one of her favorite accoutrements — crusty bread, but we won't say anything if you decide to use good old-fashioned tortilla chips, either. We're in Texas, after all!

This week, Kim of Adventures in a New(ish) City ducked into Harold's Tap Room, the new, shotgun-style bar under Harold's Restaurant, 350 West 19th, to check out the new digs. She tried out a cocktail, plus one of the wines on tap and several of the light bites. The bar is definitely drink-oriented, but also serves up quality bar food – Kim couldn't get enough of the pretzels and beer cheese, and who could blame her?

If you've got a spiralizer, then this one's for you; Claire of The Petite Professional posted a recipe this week for spiralized and baked sweet potato fries with barbecue honey mustard dip. They're simple to make, especially with that spiralizer, and since they're baked instead of fried, they're at least a bit better than those fast-food curly fries you've been dreaming of. The sauce is a straightforward mixture of things you've probably got in the pantry anyway. Haven't got a spiralizer? You can do the same thing with straight-cut fries, too – but we all know that the curly ones taste better.

The final installment in the first "chapter" or season of the Jensen Chronicles Pop-Up Series is drawing near; on June 11, chef Jonny Rhodes will host one more pop-up dinner before he breaks for the summer. Wondering what to expect at Rhodes's multi-course, wine-paired meals? The Urban Swank Girls visited one of the earlier dinners, and they've got a run-down of the entire thing to get you in the mood for the next one. They were especially impressed with Rhodes's pickling abilities, plating and the smoked trout, which was served with greens, kumquat preserves and fennel paste.

Fancy recipes are exciting and fun to create, but sometimes all you really want is a big helping of comfort food. If that's the case, check out this recipe for classic potato soup, brought to you by Nancy of Tag Sale Tastes. It's got all the standard baked potato toppings in it, like bacon, cheddar and chives, and it's a surefire cure for whatever ails you – especially if that something is hunger!

Finally, don't say that you heard it from us – Zagat's Robin Sussman shared a list of 11 secret offerings at Houston-area restaurants and bars that will help you find the best food and drink deals in town. Among them are top-notch wine tastings, gourmet TV dinners, seafood tasting menus and other classified info that you can impress your friends with; or, you can keep these juicy tidbits all to yourself.

That's it for this week's food blog revue! Leave us a comment or send us an email if there's a blog you think we should know about. 

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