Thu February 20, 2014 3:58 pm By Patricia Sharpe

Alan Richman, restaurant critic for GQ, has sent some big love Texas's way. Number one on his list of the best new restaurants of the year is Qui, in Austin. Also making the list, at number thirteen, is La Barbecue, in Austin. No other Texas places were included. (Qui, incidentally, is number eight on Texas Monthly’s list of the ten best restaurants in Texas, published in our March 2014 issue. La Barbecue was on our roster of the top fifty barbecue joints in Texas, published in June 2013.) Here are excerpts from Richman’s comments. 

QUI

“On the long-overlooked east side of Austin stands the most fascinating new restaurant in America. Thanks to Paul Qui and other local chefs, what used to be the toughest part of town is now the tastiest. Qui's high-end restaurant could be mistaken for a sushi bar but isn't one—you'll realize it's more than that when you see the vast, gleaming open kitchen where he prepares food displaying an array of Asian and Texan influences. Most unusual and daring are dishes from the Philippines, where Qui was born. These include dinuguan, a pork-blood stew containing mushrooms, meat, and potato gnocchi. . . . His Ode to Michel Bras pays homage to the famous foraging French chef and is one of the best vegetable dishes of the year. . . .There's also beef tartare, which wanders far from cattle country—it's spiced with kimchi. . . .If Paul Qui isn't the most fearless chef in America, he's surely the most confident.” 

LA BARBECUE

“It isn’t pretty, that’s for sure. It subscribes to the new school of barbecue aesthetic, which means it’s almost a dump. You enter a compound with a dirt floor and chain-link fencing, pick up your food at a trailer, sit at a picnic table under what could be a second-hand revival tent . . . . The barbeque is some of the best ever, as good as barbecue gets. . . .The brisket is so exquisite you can ask for it lean, usually a mistake, and it will come out soft and savory.”

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Wed February 19, 2014 6:26 pm By Layne Lynch

One day after Texas Monthly unveiled its list of the Best New Restaurants of 2014, the James Beard Foundation announced their 2014 Restaurant and Chef Awards semifinalists early this morning, and there were quite a few overlapping restaurants and chefs. Here’s are the fourteen Texas chefs, bars and restaurants that were nominated to win the food industry’s Oscar equivalent.  

Best New Restaurant

Casa Rubia, Dallas 

Outstanding Bar Program

Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston   

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Philip Speer of Uchi, Houston and Austin

Outstanding Wine Program

Café on the Green at Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas, Irving

Outstanding Service

Abacus, Dallas
Mansion Restaurant at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas

Best Chef Southwest

Justin Yu of Oxheart in Houston
Hugo Ortega of Hugo's in Houston
Chris Shepherd of Underbelly in Houston
David Bull of Congress in Austin
Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine in Austin
Matt McCallister of FT33 in Dallas  
John Tesar of Spoon Bar & Kitchen in Dallas
David Uygur of Lucia in Dallas

Finalists will be announced March 19, 2014.

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Tue February 18, 2014 11:28 am By Texas Monthly Staff


Our March 2014 issue, featuring our thirteenth edition of "Where to Eat Now," hits newsstands Thursday, but we didn't want you to have to wait any longer to make your reservations. Here's the straight list of the best new restaurants in Texas and the best bars in the state, but be sure to pick up the magazine (or, for subscribers, check texasmonthly.com tomorrow) for full reviews, and much more, including lists of the best craft beers and best bites from around the state. (UPDATE: Click here to read the full reviews.)

The Ten Best New Restaurants in Texas: 

1. Spoon Bar and Kitchen - Dallas
2. Casa Rubia - Dallas
3. Osteria Mazzantini - Houston
4. CBD Provisions - Dallas
5. Arro - Austin 
6. The Pass - Houston
7. Sway - Austin
8. Qui - Austin
9. The Granary 'Cue & Brew - San Antonio
10. Little Lilly - Fort Worth

The Ten Best New Bars in Texas:

1. Qui - Austin
2. Whisler's - Austin
3. CBD Provision - Dallas
4. The Rustic - Dallas
5. & 6. Bad News Bar and Goro & Gun - Houston
7. Original Okra Charity Saloon - Houston
8. The Pastry War - Houston
9. Arcade Midtown Kitchen - San Antonio
10. Barbaro - San Antonio 

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Fri February 7, 2014 2:11 pm By Sarah Bourbon

La Kiva, Terlingua’s first well-known bar and restaurant, was dug into the banks of Terlingua Creek in 1979. The over-the-top décor relied heavily on the plentiful bones common to the desert, and on Tuesday morning, February 4, when La Kiva’s owner, Glenn Felts, was found dead outside the building, the mementi mori appeared almost grotestque.

Felts had been killed sometime the night before; his body was discovered by an early-arriving employee. The Texas Rangers and crime scene investigators from El Paso joined the Brewster County Sheriff’s Department, and together they determined that the death was a homicide. By the end of the day, local river guide Tony Flint had been charged with first-degree murder.

It would be difficult to find anyone with a bad word to say about Felts, and this tiny, close-knit community was consumed with shock and grief at the news of his death. Hundreds gathered Wednesday at the Starlight Theater, Terlingua’s remaining whisky bar*, to hug and cry, and maybe have a few more than usual. People mourned the community's loss of a friend, and some questioned what would happen to this local hangout. But most were reeling from the news of the brutal death (Felts died as as a result of blunt-force trauma to the head) and the accusations against one local taking the life of another. As one man was heard to say, “We have lost our innocence.” 

Felts, 50, with his long, curly blond hair and boyish smile, developed a loyal following for La Kiva and turned it into both a welcome watering hole for locals and a friendly tourist destination that has drawn thousands of visitors over its decades-long history. La Kiva was the demented brain-child of Gil Felts, Glenn’s uncle, who built La Kiva out of stone and old beams. To access the subterranean bar and music venue, patrons entered through a huge, counter-weighted mine-shaft door, and walked down several steps, which led to an opening revealing many rooms, grottos, and caverns to the right and left. A creekside patio draped in grapevines hosted dances, weddings, and parties. 

In the recent past live music was featured nearly every night, and each Wednesday for seventeen years, La Kiva hosted an open mic night. The Wednesday after Glenn’s death, the bar was still a crime scene, but that didn't stop a large crowd of grieving friends from gathering outside to keep the open microphone tradition alive, despite the cold temperatures and blustery wind.

If Flint posts bond, currently set at $200,000, he will be required to stay in Brewster or adjacent counties. He had asked to be released to family in Missouri, but the court nixed that idea. When a reporter contacted Greg Henington of Far Flung Outdoor Center about whether Flint would still have a job, Henington answered with one word: “No.”

The fate of La Kiva is unknown, but the grief in the community is still palpable.

*Correction: Due to an editing error, the Starlight Theater was referred to as Terlingua's only remaining bar. It is the town's only other whisky bar. 

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Tue January 21, 2014 9:56 am By Layne Lynch

This year’s weekend festival, which takes place April 25 to 27, will feature dozens of tantalizing culinary events, a slew of interactive cooking demos, professional panel discussions and a bounty of opportunities to feast and booze. 

Here’s a snippet of what you’ll find at the 2014 Austin Food & Wine Festival: 

Feast Under the Stars

This brand new addition takes place on Thursday, April 24, prior to the commencement of the gluttonous festival. A lineup of Texas chefs will put together a family-style, al fresco feast for exclusive ticket-holders at Austin’s Butler Park. Featured chefs include familiar faces Austin's Tyson Cole and Fort Worth's Tim Love, as well as Kent Rathbun of Abacus in Dallas, Chris Shepherd of Underbelly in Houston, and Jodi Elliott of Foreign & Domestic and the soon-to-open Bribery bakery, both in Austin. Tickets for Feast Under the Stars are $185 and must be purchased separately from both the Taste and Savor admission tickets.

Even more Texas – not just Austin – chefs

This year’s Taste of Texas features acclaimed chefs from all corners of the Lone Star State. Here’s the full list of chefs who are preparing bites for the Taste of Texas event: Tatsu Aikawa of Austin's Ramen Tatsu-Ya; Justin Yu of Oxheart, in Houston; Alexis Chong of Sway, in Austin; Jason Dady of Tre Trattoria, in San Antonio; Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher of Lenoir, in Austin; Omar Flores of Driftwood, in Dallas; Terrence Gallivan and Seth Siegel-Gardner of The Pass & Provisions, in Houston; Diego Galicia of Mixtli, in San Antonio; James Holmes of Lucy’s Fried Chicken and Olivia in Austin; Matt McCallister of FT33, in Dallas; Wayne Mueller of Louie Mueller Barbecue; Andre Natera of Marquee Grill & Toko V, in Dallas; Hugo Ortega of Hugo’s Restaurant & Backstreet Café, in Houston; Jesse Perez of Arcade Kitchen, in San Antonio; Blaine Staniford of Grace, in Fort Worth; and Philip Speer of Uchi and Uchiko, in Austin and Houston. 

Tyson Cole making more kickass tacos

Yup, Rock Your Taco is back again. This year’s competition features two-time taco winner Tyson Cole pitted against national contenders: Rick Bayless; Richard Blais; Monica Pope; Tim Love; John Currence; Bryce Gilmore; Chris Shepherd; Jeni Britton Bauer; and a handful of others. Food & Wine publisher Christina Grdovic, celebrity chef Graham Elliot, and Bizarre Foods personality Andrew Zimmern will judge the fan-favorite event.

Wine-makers, Brewers, and Mixologists

In addition to its dining and drinking events, the AF&W festival has pieced together an impressive lineup of beverage professionals, such as master sommeliers Devon Broglie and Craig Collins; sommelier Jill Gubesch of Frontera Grill; Food & Wine magazine’s executive wine editor Ray Isle, and a number of other distinguished beverage figures.

And, yes, pricey tickets

Admission to the festival has never been cheap and will remain thus. For $850, a Savor pass grants attendees priority admission to all demos, panels, seminars, a VIP lounge, Grand Tasting events, and entrance to the Taste of Texas and Rock Your Taco events. Those who purchase the Taste pass ($250) are granted several of the same perks as Savor attendees (sans the VIP lounge and Grand Tastings), but must purchase tickets to the Taste of Texas ($150) and the Rock Your Taco ($150) events separately.

The full lineup and schedule for the Austin Food & Wine Festival will be released on Tuesday, February 25. Until then, Texas Monthly will be featuring interviews from a few of the participating chefs. For more information, visit the Austin Food & Wine Festival website.

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