Thursday, March 29, 2012

Update on Trader Joe's in the Woodlands

We were excited to hear that Trader Joe's, the California-based specialty grocery company, was heading to the Houston area. We were even more excited to find out that their first Houston-area location would be in the Woodlands, across the street from our neighborhood HEB.

We've been keeping an eye on the progress, and it's been good. The building is complete, the sign is up, and now the work is underway getting the interior of the store ready for business. They're making good progress.

We're anxious for them to complete the store, so we can check out the unique product selection. We'll keep you updated on the progress.



Monday, March 26, 2012

JerryBuilt Burgers to open Woodlands store Saturday March 31

JerryBuilt Burgers, the hot new fast-casual burger place, has announced that the grand opening of its Woodlands location will be this Saturday, March 31, at 11am.  The Woodlands location is located just off the ring road around the Woodlands Mall, near the Container Store.

JerryBuilt Burgers is a locally owned chain that features high quality ingredients that are locally sourced when possible.  They serve Niman Ranch beef, Blue Bell ice cream, and buns from Three Brothers Bakery, for example.

We previewed JerryBuilt's first location on Holcombe, and were very impressed with the thoughtfullness and attention to detail behind this burger concept.  When we visited they were still fine-tuning the burger, so we're looking forward to seeing how they've tweaked their creation.

I'm planning to be there for the opening, so if you're in the area, please stop by and be sure to say hello.

Actress Opens Datt's It - A New Restaurant with a Mission

Houston has a new celebrity restaurant opening on the southwest side, and today is the grand opening.

Cherie Johnson (Photo: IMDB)
You may know Cherie Johnson, best known for her roles on situation comedies such as Punky Brewster, Family Matters, The Parkers and her leading role in the movie I Do.I Did.  Ms. Johnson is now ready to make a name for herself as restaurateur. She has enlisted the help of close friend Janice Wright, founder of Houston 411 Magazine and Kay Matthews with Extraordinary Cakes. 

These women entrepreneurs are opening Datt's It Restaurant today (March 26, 2012) in a developmentally challenged and underserved area in southwest Houston. Cherie, Janice & Kay believe that by opening the restaurant will address a need for more restaurant establishments in the area. Additionally, the trio expects to increase employment, and Ms. Johnson ability to attract celebrity interest in the project may spur further economic development in the area.

"Living in Los Angeles has allowed me to witness what happens when entrepreneurs realize the opportunity and invest in underdeveloped and otherwise forgotten areas in a city," said Ms. Johnson.  The group has also sought and received guidance of Houston and Atlanta businessman Toney Means.

"These entrepreneurs fill the void in public interests in investing in these areas either from apathy or lack of available funds" stated Mr. Means. "I believe these ladies have the recipe for success in this venture and in future opportunities. This belief has led me and my investment group to support their activities" continued Means. 

Datt's It will feature American fare such as burgers, hot dogs, fish and chicken and on weekends will feature Saturday breakfast and a Sunday brunch. The restaurant will begin live music on Friday and Saturday nights beginning May. The hours of operation are 10am to 10pm on Monday through Thursday. Friday 10am to 1am. Saturday hours are 8am to 1am and finally Sunday from 10am to 6pm. The restaurant is located at 10101 Bissonnet St Houston Texas, 77036. Cherie, Janice & Kay plan additional ventures in underserved neighborhoods in Houston and other Metropolitan areas.

We look forward to checking it out.

Datt's It | 10101 Bissonnet | Houston 77036

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hubbell & Hudson's Hunnicutt Wine Dinner

Hubbell & Hudson is one of the unique venues that really adds to the great quality of life in the Woodlands.  From the gourmet market to the Viking cooking school, H & H is one place that every foodie should visit.  And if you're not in the mood to cook, the Bistro is arguably the finest restaurant in the Woodlands, and executive chef Austin Simmons has elevated their already impressive cuisine to new levels.

We were invited to attend a recent wine dinner, sponsored by Napa Valley's Hunnicutt Winery.  Hunnicutt is a boutique, family-owned and operated winery that focuses on Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay, and six of their wines were paired with Chef Simmons' creations.

We were seated in the private dining area of the Bistro with a charming group of foodies and oenophiles who were eagerly anticipating the first course.  There wasn't an empty seat.  Several of our dining companions were veterans of multiple Hubbell & Hudson wine dinners, and they assured us that this wouldn't be our last.

In short order the first course came out.  Carpaccio always puts a smile on my face, and Chef Simmons' version was unique.  Beautifully marbled angus beef was sliced paper thin and finished with a light peppercorn crust, Italian tapenade, and a crunchy crumble of crostini.  Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and a drizzle of tangy mustard oil complemented the rich, beefy flavor of the high-quality beef.

The carpaccio was paired with Hunnicutt's 2009 Napa Valley Zinfandel.  This was a big, bright zin with fruity aromatics and plenty of tannins, an inspired choice.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Soft Opening Preview: Zunum

6/3/2012 Update: We've been getting overwhelmingly negative feedback from our readers about Zunum. Caveat diner.

We'd read cryptic press releases about a new restaurant being developed in the Woodlands, and wondered what was behind all the mystery.  Called Zunum, it's a new concept being launched on Research Forest within the city of Shenandoah.  The team behind Zunum isn't new to the restaurant business, owning Russo's Pizzeria.

The concept is a unique one.  Zunum is a place for families, catering to both children and adults while not expecting either to compromise.  For the adults, Zunum offers them a place to "relax and enjoy a gourmet meal in an adult environment", while the kids can "play, be active, and behave as kids in a safe environment".

That's the promise.  Short of attaching a Chuck E. Cheese to Tony's, how would you pull this off?  On a drizzly Tuesday, we went to find out.

Monday, March 5, 2012

NYC's Le Cirque pop up dinner coming to Houston

New York City's famed Le Cirque, named by Gayot as one of the Top 40 Restaurants in the USA, is bringing its show on the road, and Houston will be one of the stops this spring.  On April 13, the main dining room of the Downtown Club at Plaza will host this culinary classic.  Executive chef Olivier Reginensi will be overseeing the travelling kitchen.

Le Cirque's Creme Brulee (photo credit: Le Cirque)

The $150 prix fixe menu will deliver a three-course meal with wine pairings, and a copy of the biography of Sirio Maccioni, the founder of Le Cirque.  Featured selections will include Le Cirque favorites like filet of beef, tuna tartare, and porcini risotto, and of course their famed Creme Brulee will be offered.

For reservations, call 800-402-3933 or click here.

(via New York Times)