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  1. Arista winery, in the Russian River Valley. Stunning pinot noir, perhaps my favorite wine ever.
  2. Yes, god help me, but I actually felt sorry for Angelo this episode. I too, fell for the Bravo triple edit and thought that against all evidence to the contrary, Etch would win. Dale's been killing it lately. Sad to see his old temper return but he's on a serious tear. And picking Marcel to lead the opposite team was some Sun Tzu level strategizing. He played that full well knowing that the head chef of the losing team stands a substantial chance of going home, and that he was such a toxic personality he'd have difficulties rallying others. Well played.
  3. He's one of those old school cooking show chefs that's just fun to watch. I could watch him break stuff down with his cleaver all day.
  4. Years and years ago we used Omaha steaks for our traditional Christmas filet mignon dinner and they were horrible. They came in vacuum packages in perfect little filet shapes, but once you opened the package they collapsed and spread out. I couldn't have been much older than my teens or early 20s but even then I recognized a scam. I guess Steven's right in his conjecture; otherwise I have no idea why they're still kicking.
  5. Looks good Chris. Like how dense the filling looks. Regarding the cookies, I like Mario Batali's technique of grating one amaretti on a microplane over them at the end. It doesn't get as overbearing as they can be when used in the stuffing. Also on a lark one time I added a splash of Amaretto to the brown butter in place of the cookies and thought it did a good job.
  6. I found it kind of irritating when Tom was giving the chefs grief over what fish they were cooking. It's one thing to say they did it improperly (Tiffany vs. Carla) but when he was going the walkthrough and gauging what they were cooking it seemed unnecessary. That's what they caught! Good riddance Jamie. Dale's consistency and different attitude this season have been quite surprising. Also surprising is Richard's underperformance so far.
  7. I'm not much for steakhouses, unfortunately. I went to t'fia several years ago and quite liked it. Monica Pope has really been at the forefront of Houston's culinary explosion in the past decade or so, IMHO.
  8. And so the strange, sad saga of Green Room's return comes to an end. Nancy Nichols at Sidedishreports that the restaurant apparently closed over Christmas, with a voicemail there saying they would reopen on Dec. 27. Green Room had an extended "soft opening" late last summer, then received some strongly mixed reviews (here and here, for example) once it was up and running in the fall. Frankly the reviews scared me off until I could hear that it found its legs again, but I guess it wasn't to be.
  9. The economy in 2010 tooks its toll on two fine dining destinations that I know of: Voice and Textile. I went to Mark's this past summer and was let down by the experience. It seemed exhorbitantly expensive and then they compensate by giving you an obscene amount of food. There's Robert Del Grande's new concept RDG + Bar Annie but I haven't been. It's gotten good reviews but those that I've read also mention the high price point. Tony's has seemed to enjoy some resurgence lately. Not to perpetuate the stereotype of Houston being more of a midpoint town, but that's the type of stuff I go for when I'm in town and there's an abundance of fun, unique, and interesting places: Feast, Reef, Ibiza, Catalan, Stella Solla, Hugo's . . . Waaaay out in Tomball, far northwest of Houston, is Bootsie's Heritage Cafe which was named best new restaurant in the Chronicle and got national attention for having one of the best dishes of the year in GQ or Esquire. Service is a little rough, but it's again very unique cuisine and there's lots of menu options: a la carte, chef's tasting, Heritage menu, etc.
  10. I caught up on some old 60s and 70s era Julia Child shows when Cooking Channel first debuted. While she was of course a font of knowledge for French cuisine and technique, she was at the time decidedly less sure of herself when it came to other cuisines. So, she made lamb curry one time and, um, yeah. She basically made a traditional French braise and then dumped in curry powder as the seasoning. So she browns everything in oil first, then adds stock and red wine, and then a heaping tablespoon of curry powder at the end.
  11. Jen's meltdown was just tragic. Her comments about what her dad thinks about 2nd place pretty much said it all about what's been going through her head since season 6 (imagine what he thinks about 4th place.) I think she thought she'd figured out how to win (cook to the judges; picks braised bacon to impress Tom like it did when they cooked it in Season 6) and then when it failed she just couldn't process it.
  12. Coincidentally, Tei An gets reviewed today in the DMN and gets Five Stars
  13. Kevin72

    Christmas 2010 Menus

    It's a take off of the Venetian recipe Sfogi in Saor. Dust shrimp in flour, fry them in a generous amount of olive oil in the bottom of a skillet. Remove the shrimp, drain off all but a couple tablespoons of oil, then saute celery, red onion, currants. Add sugar (1/2 a cup or so), then 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup white wine, and reduce to a syrup consistency. Stir back in the shrimp to coat in the sauce, hit with parsley, spearmint, and pine nuts (or almonds). Set aside to steep at room temp, the longer the better, but serve on the same day you make them.
  14. Kevin72

    Christmas 2010 Menus

    I'm [hopefully] sitting out Christmas dinner, but it is expected of me to do my traditional "Feast of the Fishes" menu on Christmas Eve: Stuffed Broiled Smelts Clams Oreganato (sp?) Sweet n Sour Shrimp Linguine with Lobster Fish with potato crust Braised spicy greens
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