This is a two-butt kitchen!” So my grandmother Elsie would say, shooing away the young’uns perpetually underfoot at mealtime. Her words came to mind more than a few times as I embarked, in my equally compact kitchen, on the preparation of mole poblano, a sauce notorious for its many steps and list of ingredients as long as your arm.
Steeped in tradition, with leather chairs, crisp white tablecloths, and low lighting, this restaurant is a favorite for dating and dealmaking alike. It’s difficult to make choices, but for dinner either the seared tenderloin with butter-poached lobster tails or the porcini-rubbed Delmonico with balsamic is unbeatable. This time we went with the steak au poivre, served with a rich Courvoisier cream sauce and cooked to perfection. Don’t skip the side dishes; the creamed spinach hasn’t changed in years for a reason. (11/13)
One thing I will say about the owners of Austin’s Gateway Guesthouse: they definitely know how to cook. I attended a Florentine dinner there back in September and it was very impressive. Which is why I would trust them to show me a thing or two about making a holiday dinner.
Were it not for the fact that it looked a little weird on the cover, I would’ve insisted that we call this a food issue, not the food issue. Magazines are always putting out what they call “the Food Issue,” and this is precisely what we set out to do six or so months ago. But almost immediately we were confronted with the problem of there being too much Texas food for us to fit into a single issue. Our eyes were bigger than our page count, as it were.
Thanksgiving leftovers are usually reserved for boring turkey sandwiches and week-long re-heatings, but a few Houston chefs are transforming the ways in which we use scraps this holiday season.
The Cordúa family does nothing halfway, and this River Oaks showplace certainly has the wow factor, from the over-the-top decor to the unforgettable Latin flavors. A playfully constructed Caesar salad (romaine leaves bundled with a plantain “ring”) preceded toothsome entrées like the succulent carnitas pibil, smoky, slow-cooked pork served with plump grilled shrimp, and the sumptuous roasted sea bass with crab and caramelized scallops. The tres leches cake makes a decadent dessert. (11/13)
My mother was not nostalgic about many things in life, but when it came to cornbread and beans, she was a sentimental fool. She and my father had been teenagers during the Great Depression, and the memory of those hard times was still raw when they married, in 1942. “Many a day, cornbread and beans was all we had to eat,” one of them was likely to say. Neither of them had ever gone to bed hungry, but they came close.
At lunchtime outside Mel’s Country Cafe, in Tomball, a truck dealership’s worth of pickups are jammed into the gravel parking lot. Inside, their owners are sitting cheek by jowl, enjoying Jeff Henry’s famous chicken-fried steak. Whether it’s the light golden crust, the tender cut of meat, or the thick white gravy, the collective mood at Mel’s is buoyant.
Chili. A classic Texas dish, some would say—but not I.