Friday, February 1, 2013

February 2013 Odds and Ends

Greetings Readers!

2013 is well under way now, and things are chugging along here in Houston.  One of the original LePeep's closed down in Upper Kirby which will be replaced by something interesting most likely and sooner than later I'd guess.  The Baltimore Ravens are playing against the San Francisco 49ers in the "Big Game" this coming Sunday, and the grazefest will start 6 hours before the kickoff and the Bacchanalia will continue through every odd commercial all the way through.  I've also gotten the inside line on some openings coming up here in Houston, and have thus far visited 3 of my 13 Restaurants I must visit in 2013.  February looks promising between Mardis Gras, Valentine's Day and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.   And of course there will be more great food and craft beer to enjoy.  So without further ado, here's this month's Odds  & Ends:

Plate Party Coming 1st Week of February at The Flying Saucer Sugar Land

Those of y'all who've been following this blog for a while know that back in the Spring, I joined the UFO club at The Flying Saucer Sugar Land.  Every time you try 200 different craft beers they serve, and you make sure to get the chits turned in (pretty good tracking system actually), you get a plate on their Ring of Honor.  This is a limited chain that has locations in various spots--we have another one in Downtown off Main, there are 2 in the Dallas area, one in Austin and one in San Antonio.  I blogged my way through these beers, and though it was a challenge at times, it was enjoyable.  It reaffirmed my love of the dark side of craft beer--Porters, Stouts, Bocks--but I also discovered several Wheat Beers, some Belgian styles (including Wits) and even a few IPAs that I liked.  Many of these beers I would never have tried if it wasn't for joining the UFO club and it's enhanced my knowledge of craft beer compared to a few years ago.  The event is a small private gathering that is already scheduled--invites already sent, et al.  I'll blog it of course once my plate is unveiled.  I got a nice spot in the zone I wanted so it will be easy to find.  Thanks to Ashley C., Matt, Ashten, Lan, Jay, Dee, Sylvia, Ashley V, Ebony, Breana, and the rest of the wonderful staff there who put up with me hanging out and have made some really good recommendations on different Craft Beer.  I am also grateful to see this American industry grow and thrive despite the advent of megacorps like ABinBev.

King Cake from 3 Brothers Bakery
King Cakes in Season--Mardis Gras Coming Up

I may have mentioned on occasion that I grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Although I am neither Cajun, nor am I Creole, I have a great love for their cuisine--especially seafood and sweets.  One of the desserts I enjoyed growing up is called a King Cake--a giant dense, sweet, cinnamon cake shaped in a ring that makes its appearance between King's Day/Epiphany (12 days after Christmas) through the Mardis Gras Season (February 12 this year).  This year I obtained King Cakes from a few suppliers and will be posting comparisons/taste profiles in advance of Mardis Gras.  Stay Tuned for this tasty, sweet posting within the next week.

New Houston-centric Magazine Houstonia to Debut in April

As a blogger/writer, I'm often taking somewhat of a magazine approach to this labor of love.  However, I got word recently that in April, a Houston-based metro magazine from Saga Media called Houstonia will begin to show up in checkout stands in our area.  Per the press release:
Houstonia is the brainchild of two Houston natives, and with a staff packed with top local talent, Houstonia is poised to become an indispensable publication for the Houston area’s 6 million residents, as well as the city’s only paid monthly title with content solely produced by and for Houstonians.

The subscription-based magazine is the latest title from magazine publisher SagaCity Media. Led by CEO Nicole Vogel, a native Houstonian and Duchesne High School graduate.

“This is my hometown,” Vogel says. “It’s always been my dream to create a magazine as smart, creative, unique and exciting as the people who call this place home.” Accordingly, says Vogel, Houstonia is determined to give readers “the smartest, most informative and entertaining take on their city” and to deliver it to all Houstonians, “no matter what part of town you prefer, what lifestyle you prefer, or what device you prefer.”

Scott Vogel, a former Washington Post editor as well as SagaCity’s cofounder and editorial director, is particularly proud of the journalistic talent that he and his sister have recruited for Houstonia, whose staff includes award-winning editors and designers from the Houston Chronicle, Houston Press and more.

“As a kid growing up here,” he says, “I never saw a magazine that came anywhere close to capturing the spirit and complex charm of this place. And 30 years later, in my judgment, that’s still the case.” Houstonia aims to change that, says Vogel. “We want to do everything in our power to give this city a magazine it can be proud of, and I think we’ve amassed the talent and resources to make that happen.”
From where I sit, there is no way you can cover the Houston Lifestyle and Entertainment scene without covering our vibrant, dynamic dining and food scene.  I will be adding this to my reading list along with some of our other local printed/online news sources, to be sure.

Zoës Kitchen to Open in Rice Village on Thurs, Feb 14th

Zoës Kitchen, a popular limited run chain specializing in Mediterranean-style Fast-casual food is opening its 6th Houston area location at 5125 Kelvin Drive in the Rice Village on Valentine's Day. The new restaurant includes the flavorful favorites that have made Zoës an extension of many home kitchens. The menu will also showcase delicious entrees as well as fresh sides such as no-mayo slaw and potato salads and braised white beans with fresh rosemary, among others.

 The Rice Village locale offers guests a selection of signature dishes such as chicken kabobs, chicken rollups and hummus, which include gluten-free options. As always, the focus will be on serving food of exceptional quality and using fresh ingredients prepared daily from original recipes; perfect for busy people who want to eat well with a little help from a friendly, neighborhood kitchen. Fresh is the focus, and unlike most restaurant kitchens, there are no fryers or microwaves at Zoës.  The Rice Village location will also offer beer and wine, and will seat 76 people.

In order to celebrate this grand opening, Zoës Kitchen is having a contest on their Facebook Page.  They're giving away 500 meals and one lucky winner will get free Zoës meals for a year.  Zoës has a great concept and great flavour compared to many fast casual places.  I know many folks who are fans of Zoës and this would definitely make your day if you enjoy good Mediterranean inspired dishes.

It's Rodeo Time and I'll be Hanging with Road Kill Café

One of my good Tweeps online is Melissa A Quintero, who is a member of the Road Kill Café Cooking team.  RKC has competed in many a Rodeo Cook-off contest, and I've been invited to join them on VIP Sponsor night in late February.  While there's all kinds of great carnival and rodeo food, the Barbecue Cook-off is in many ways the jewel in the crown.  I'll be live tweeting, eating and interviewing members of the team during the cookoff.  Stay tuned for more details as this develops readers!!!

Well that about wraps 'er up, folks!  Thanks again for reading about food and drink and for patronizing this blog!  This is truly a labor of love and I'm always happy to share my great love of good food, good craft beer and good company with y'all!

Eat and Drink Happily, Y'all!!!


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