Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sip, Savor, and Stroll with Rebecca Masson & Friends

Houston's own celebrity pastry chef Rebecca Masson is organizing a star-studded event that will delight the discriminating foodie, and it's for a good cause.

Entitled sweet & savory, it's a chance to sip, savor, and stroll with Chef Masson and some of her chef friends from across the country.  Several were featured on Bravo's Top Chef Just Desserts.

The event is limited to 125 guests.  Get your ticket by making a $100 donation to Lucky Dog Rescue at www.LuckyDogRescue.org .

More info:


Thursday, February 16, 2012

First Look at JerryBuilt Burgers

There's a new player on the fiercely competitive Houston burger scene, and it's one that's worth checking out.  So we trekked down from the Woodlands to Holcombe Blvd. to find out more.

Called JerryBuilt Burgers, it's a new fast casual chain that does things a bit differently than other burger joints.  We were invited to for a preview dinner a couple of days before the grand opening, and here are our impressions.



First, the building.  Entering the lofty, airy space you'd never guess that the building was previously an abandoned WaMu bank that was never completed.



The interior designers did a remarkable job, and thoughtful touches are everywhere.  On one side of the dining room is a large mural featuring numerous Houston landmarks.


There is even a unique feature - an automated handwashing station in the dining room.  Alex, our 13-year-old, actually washed his hands without being cajoled, and he pronounced the automated machine "cool".  We concur.

But you don't read this blog for our architectural critiques - you're interested in the food.  Jerry Built isn't trying to be a health food restaurant, but there is a focus on quality ingredients.  They're proudly displayed on the wall, right beside the eye-catching mural.


From Niman Ranch beef and Buddy's Natural Chicken to organic veggies to Blue Bell ice cream and (be still my heart) Three Brothers Bakery buns, the focus on quality ingredients impressive.  It's part of an overall attention to detail that's rare anywhere in the restaurant business, much less in the fast casual sector.

All these quality ingredients are great, but unless they're combined with skill and care, they're wasted.  Fortunately, that wasn't a problem.  After we ordered at the counter from the well-trained staff, our order appeared very quickly, and attractively packaged.


Looking inside the well-designed recyclable packaging, we found a truly gorgeous burger, char-grilled over an open flame with just the right amount of melty cheese, and fresh, crunchy veggies.


The result is a stunningly attractive burger, artfully arranged between the freshly sliced Three Brothers Bakery bun.  We enjoyed this burger, but we're reserving final comments on its flavor until we can sample a few more examples.  Oh, the sacrifices we make for our readers.

We're looking forward to returning to JerryBuilt Burgers after they've opened to the public to sample more of their offerings, and to enjoy the stylish, comfortable environment they have created.  With the attention to detail that was already displayed, we predicted great success for this new, home-grown burger brand.

(We were happy to learn that they've already begun construction on a second location that's located in the Woodlands.  They're aiming for a March opening.)

JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers | 3501 W Holcombe Blvd | Houston, TX 77025
713-664-2874 | jerrybuiltburgers.com


Jerry Built Burger on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 10, 2012

New Apps for Foodies - Trover, Fondu, Texas Monthly BBQ

A while back I declared the iPhone to be the ultimate gadget for foodies.  I still think this statement is true, and the explosion of interesting apps makes it even more useful and fun for foodies.  In the real world I'm a partner in a technology firm, and keeping on top of the state of the iOS app world is an important part of staying current in technology.  My iPhone 4s is with me all the time, helping me find great meals and recording the experience to be shared later via this blog, Twitter, and FaceBook.

Most of you know about popular apps such as Yelp, FourSquare  and OpenTable; they're a standard part of our iPhone app arsenal.  But there are a some new apps that any foodie should consider.

Trover is a photo-sharing app with a killer feature:  Location.  You can explore interesting images near you, or near any other location.  And as you'd expect, food images are becoming more and more popular.  You can also filter for images taken today or in the past week, letting you focus on the latest images taken nearby.

I find the location-based images to be incredibly useful, letting you focus on things nearby you can actually check out in person.  And you can easily share your photos on a variety of other social networks.

(Free.  iPhone and Android version available)


Fondu is a restaurant review app with an interesting twist: Micro reviews.  It's the Twitter of review sites, a socal network with reviews restricted to 175 characters, and establishments rated on a 1-4 "leaf" scale.  You can follow reviewers you like, and search for nearby reviews with a map.  Sharing your reviews via other popular social networks is quick and easy.

Fondu has launched recently, and doesn't yet have a strong presence in the Houston area.  This is a perfect chance for the discerning foodies who read this blog to have a strong voice and get the word about about the best places in the area.  And with the micro review format, it's quick and easy to share you opinions while they're still fresh in your mind.

(Free. iPhone only)


Texas Monthly BBQ - Texas Monthly is a fantastic resource to learn more about the State of Texas, and this app is their suggested way to find BBQ in your area.  It's a comprehensive list; you'll find both big chains and the mom-and-pop joints known mainly by locals.

You can browse nearby BBQ joints, view Texas Monthly's list of the best BBQ in the state, and read the buzz from your fellow BBQ hounds.  Registration on the Texas Monthly site is require to post your opinions.

(Free. iPhone only)

Have you discovered some must-have apps for foodies?  Let us know in the comments, and we'll check out as many as we can.