Monthly Archives: November 2011

Leung Tasting Video

And because I was off tonight…



Chris Leung Dessert Tasting 11/20/11

Another successful private dinner at 1834 Westheimer.  This time with Houston Pastry Chef Chris Leung.  Chris has been in our kitchen before, but this was the first time for him to run the show.  And this time Rucker was the helping hand.  I believe the conat crew has great comradery.  Its fun to watch them work together.  They’ve been through a lot together, and they’re stronger for it.

Chris sent out 5 gorgeous dessert tastings, Rucker added 2 delicious savory vegetable courses.  The Paulie’s Barista crew paired coffee beverages, beer and Italian sodas for the guests.  That crew consisting of Marshall Guthrie, Josh Busby, and Dean Tryst.

These dinners are always fun, and important for culinary growth in our city.  Without a venue to perform, young chefs cant fine tune their skills.  Nor will patrons have the opportunity to experience their skills.  Im proud to have hosted all of the talent I have over the past 3 years:  Randy Rucker, Seth Siegel-Gardner, Justin Yu, Michael Gaspard, Amanda McGraw, Mark Clayton, Chris Leung, David Buehrer, Aaron Lara, Jon Hone, Julio Hernandez and several other young talented industry folk.  Paulie’s parking lot has also hosted a few Food Truck events, including a couple of Modular’s first outings.

From an industry insider to you, let me tell you how special 2012 is going to be for Houston.  I can never say enough about this generation’s Food & Beverage professionals.  This city is changing, but not without hard work and persistence.  2012 is the year of Houston.  Promise you that.

Coming Christmas Eve will be Ned Elliott from Foreign & Domestic in Austin.  Ned will be offering the Feast of Seven Fishes.  Click link for more info, dont miss this one!



And now visual enjoyment…


Try off the beaten path for Thanksgiving!

We have selected a number of small, artisinal producers from Italy to pair with traditional American Thanksgiving fare. Crazy, right? Crazy like a fox! All of these carefully crafted wines will change everything you think about Thanksgiving wine pairing. The quality that comes from small family wineries where they own their land, grow their grapes themselves and make their wines painstakingly by hand is unmatched. The only thing better than these wines will be the Football on TV.

2008 Montepeloso “Eneo” (Tuscany)

A wine that will make you stop, look at your fellow guests and say: “Whoa”. Staggering complexity with an array of red fruit, floral notes and that gorgeous aroma of Tuscan countryside. (Trust me, smell the wine. You will get what I mean.)

For those that are into ratings…

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (Antonio Galloni) : “The 2008 Eneo literally sparkles on the palate with vibrant red fruit, freshly cut flowers and spices. It shows remarkable tension and delineation all the way through to the resonant finish. This is a striking wine in every way. Floral notes reappear on the finish, along with iron, smoke and ferrous notes, all of which add considerable complexity. This is a dazzling effort from proprietor Fabio Chiarellotto. It is composed of 40% Montepulciano, 35% Sangiovese, 15% Marselan and 10% Alicante Bouschet. 93pts.”

2008 Foradori Teroldego Rotaliano (Trentino)

I am going to simply say this: Take a sip of this wine. Have a bite of your turkey. Enjoy a life changing Experience. You are welcome.

For those that are into ratings…

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (Antonio Galloni) : “The 2008 Teroldego Rotaliano shows terrific purity and focus. The 2008 is a more cool, reserved vintage of this wine, with less exuberance, but plenty of drive and length. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2014.

Elisabetta Foradori continues to set a very high bar in Trentino and the rest of Italy, for that matter. 89pts.”

The Pinot Noir you will be talking about at every holiday party you attend. Graceful, subtle and stylish, who knew that the Dolomites would be producing Pinot Noir like this? Simply exquisite.

2008 Damilano Nebbiolo d’Alba (Piedmont)

With Thanksgiving you need a wine that is strong enough to stand up to the richness of gravy, have good acid to cut through the sweetness of sweet potato and cranberry and subtle tannin to pair with the Turkey. This super-flexible wine prooves yet again why Nebbiolo just might be the best all around red wine for food.

Flour + Water meets MJ

In case you missed this last week from my recent trip to San Fran.

Mama se mama sa mama cu sa

Day (and a half) Tripping to San Francisco

Sometimes when I need to clear the head and re-charge, I just take off.  Leaving my home, my job and my city most of the time puts things back into perspective.  Late Friday night after a tremendous service, I speed over to House of Blues to meet old friends for one of our fave performers, Warren Haynes.  I was hoping this would re-charge me so I wouldnt have to pony up for hotel and flights.  Nope.

Soon after I arrived home in the wee hours of the AM,  I sent out a Twitter message asking which domestic city would most people choose if only for a weekend.  I received Chicago, San Francisco, Kansas City, Portland, Louisville, Memphis, Seattle, NYC and a few other randoms.  I did a quick search for flights, considering times available and price, and arrived at San Francisco.  Booked.  I was leaving in 6 hours.  Shit, need to get to bed.

Now I realize there are dozens of establishments that I would love to try, but I only have one day.  And its raining balls.  Ive heard a lot of good things about Flour + Water.  Mostly that they make all their own pasta dough, and it comes out pretty good.  Thats right up my alley.  Im a little different when it comes to choosing a restaurant.  I usually stray from the obvious.  Although Id like a good meal, I dont need the stuffiness.  Plus I can take away many other things from a restaurant than just the food.  Location, entrance door, lighting, smells, music, servers, tables, chairs, floors, kitchen view, flatware, I could go on…glassware, buzz, name, logo, I mean I could do this all day…ceiling fans, busy table, color coordination, menu material, cleanliness, soap in bathroom, Its a sickness really.

Flour + Water was Italian, artisan and well designed.  I waited for close to an hour for a seat at the bar that looked straight through to the kitchen.











Well worth the wait.  I had the pasta tasting with All Italian wine pairings.  Perfect.  Cant wait to go back.


Directly before, I made a point to trek through the rain to get a coffee at Four Barrel.  Another gorgeous establishment doing fine work.












Did I come back with a clear head?  Dont think so, but it sure was fun!  Trying to kill hours at the airport and on planes, I had the opportunity to finish Grant Achatz book, Life, On the Line.  It was a perfect birthday gift.  Pretty inspiring in itself.  Must read for any chef and/or restaurateur.  Real shit.

I also realized I am now the guy in the restaurant with a huge camera.  What is happening to me?  I can attest, it was work related.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for