Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Local restaurant delivers cookies WAY outside the loop

Bessilyn Piazza's sandtart cookies are out of this world—or soon will be. Recently approved to hitch a ride on the Space Shuttle Discovery (scheduled for an April 5 launch), Mrs. Piazza's cookies are headed to the International Space Station.

John Tesar lands at DRG Concepts in Dallas

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that John Tesar has joined DRG Concepts in Dallas.  As we reported, Tesar recently left his position at his self-named Woodlands restaurant.

DRG operates the Dallas Chop House, Dallas Fish Market, Fish Express, and GoFish.  The company announced that Tesar will be working on recipe, menu development, and concept development alongside Corporate Chef Anupam "AJ" Joglekar.

(via Fork and Cork)

New Find - South Street Dining

We're always on the lookout for new places to eat near the Woodlands, and we received a great tip about a new place.  Called South Street Dining, it's an ambitious new spot on Kuykendahl between the Woodlands and 2920.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Tesar's after Tesar - Do they still have the Magic?

With the whirlwind departure of Chef John Tesar from his self-named restaurant in the Woodlands, we were concerned that the kitchen might be losing its mojo.  After all, John Tesar, the bad boy chef depicted in Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, had to be the heart and soul of the place. His sudden departure left us wondering what would become of Tesar's, and of a spectacular hamburger, the Magic.

We decided to find out.  We visited for lunch with a foodie friend, and looked for changes.

And we found them.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Subway to roll out breakfast menu

Subway, the huge nationwide sandwich chain, is rolling out its first-ever breakfast offerings, started on April 5.  Products were very well received in a limited test that included many Canadian outlets.

According to Subway:
The sandwiches will be made with omelets- regular eggs or egg whites and cheese -served on English muffins, flatbread or Subway's fresh-baked sub rolls. Options include Western egg and cheese, Black Forest ham and cheese, bacon and cheese and steak, egg and cheese. Customers can add any of Subway's regular lunchtime condiments or vegetables to their order. Prices range from $1.75 for an English muffin melt to $6 for a footlong sandwich.

Why we love SXSW

We've seen many things at SXSW, but we've never before seen Bill Murray tending bar

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tesar Speaks - Why he's leaving Tesar's

More information is coming out about John Tesar's exit from his eponymous restaurant.  We broke the story last week about Tesar's hasty and unexpected exit, and a whirlwind of speculation has surrounded the chef's moves.

Last night, John Tesar recently spoke with D Magazine's Nancy Nichols about his leaving Tesar's in the Woodlands.  We're quoting the highlights, and you can read the full interview on D Magazine's site.

In short, Tesar is leaving the Houston area, and heading back to Dallas.

Poll: For how long will you drive?

Update: We've got some hardcore foodies reading this blog. Most of you (57%) are willing to drive over half an hour to check out a new restaurant. And only 12% stay in your own neighborhood (15 minutes or less).

I'm with you. I live in the Woodlands, and I've driven to Sugar Land (several times) for a great meal.

Houston is big.  From Sugarland to the Woodlands is an hour drive, even when there's no traffic. Today's question:

For how long will you drive to visit a restaurant that you want to try?

Fifteen minutes? Thirty? More?

Our poll is on the right; you can vote anonymously. Thanks for your participation.

Health Care Reform means changes at restaurants

Unless you've been living in a cave, you know that Congress passed the most sweeping healthcare reform legislation in decades.  It mandates all sorts of changes in the healthcare industry.  But did you know it also mandates changes for restaurants?

One change that will be obvious: If a restaurant has more than 20 locations, it will have to place calorie information on the menu, so it's easy to read while ordering.

We think this is a provision that's long overdue.  Due to hectic lifestyles, many people, especially in Houston, eat at restaurants several times a week.  It's often difficult or impossible to know how many calories a dish contains, or how many can be saved by choosing between two dishes.

Now the information will be readily available to consumers, and each of us can decide whether or not to factor it into our dining decisions.  We applaud this.

Monday, March 22, 2010

More on John Tesar's hasty exit from Tesar's

Chef John Tesar is expected to be making an announcement this afternoon about his new, exciting plans.  We'll be posting the news as soon as we get them.

We're hoping that Chef Tesar decides to stay in the Woodlands.  In the few months that it's been open, Tesar's has established itself as the best restaurant in the area.  And it's an area with plenty of hungry residents who don't mind paying for good food, as the success of Jasper's has demonstrated.

While we wait for the announcement, those who enjoy a bit of restaurant biz drama should read the comments in this thread on D Magazine's Side Dish.  There's also some banter on CultureMap surrounding the event, but it's nowhere near as amusing.

James Beard Award - Finalists!

The James Beard Foundation has announced its list of finalists for the 2010 awards, via Twitter.  Congratulations to Bryan Caswell of Reef, a finalist for Best Chef, Southwest.

The list:

Best Chef: Northwest: Naomi Pomeroy, Andy Ricker, Ethan Stowell, Cathy Whims, Jason Wilson

Best Chef: Pacific: Michael Cimarusti, Jeremy Fox, David Kinch, Matt Molina, Michael Tusk

Best Chef: Southwest: Bryan Caswell, Saipin Chutima, Ryan Hardy, Claude Le Tohic, Rick Moone

Best Chef: South: Zach Bell, Scott Boswell, John Harris, Christopher Hastings, Michael Schwartz Best

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thank You, Houston Press

In its March 18, 2010 issue, the Houston Press recognized ten Houston blogs that rock their world.  Among a crowded field of truly outstanding talent, H-Town Chow Down was one of two Houston food blogs to be honored.

We were both extremely surprised and deeply honored.  Houston has no lack of top-notch food blogs, many of which you'll see listed on our sidebar. To be selected from this impressive field is an accomplishment of which we are very proud.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

John Tesar out at Tesar's

Update: An anonymous tipster suggests that Tesar was not forced out, rather that he left his establishment to pursue other opportunities. However, our original source stands by his story.

Bad news for fine dining fans - John Tesar is no longer with Tesar's in the Woodlands. Sources say that investors forced him out. More details as they develop.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Heading to Austin for SXSW? Here's what you need to know

Many Houstonians are making the annual drive to Austin for the zoo that is SXSW, and the question always comes up: "Where do we eat"?

Road Trip Chow Down: Fabulous Las Vegas

Spring break is fast approaching, and SXSW is getting ready to go in Austin.  So what's a foodie to do?  We're heading west, to fabulous Las Vegas, home of the cloned celebrity-chef restaurant and the $1.99 shrimp cocktail.  Las Vegas has always been about the money, and we are very curious to see how the town has adapted to the current recession.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Coming Soon - 1252 Tapas Bar

Today we had to run by Market Street to pick up something for dinner, and drove by the location of 1252 Tapas Bar, the new Tapas spot in the Woodlands.  They're getting ready to open in a few days, and we had a chance for a brief look-around and a chat with Hernan, the manager.

The focus of the establishment is obviously tapas, but it's also going to offer a wide selection of wine and a full bar.  The bar and mingle area take up a good portion of the bright, airy restaurant, and there's an outside patio overlooking the Woodlands Central Park, complete with both tables and sofas for lounging.

This is the organization's first restaurant in the US.  Previously, they have operated restaurants in Mexico City.

Since the closing of Mi Luna, the Woodlands has been without a good place to enjoy tapas.  We're looking forward to sampling the tapas at 1252; we'll be back for a full report after the grand opening.