At the End of the Rainbow

Exciting news from the Randy Rucker camp: the former chef/owner of laidback manor and the genius behind tenacity is now the executive chef at Rainbow Lodge!

Rainbow Lodge holds a special place in my heart, as it’s where my mother and stepfather were married back in 1991.  The restaurant and its grounds are absolutely gorgeous, the 100-year-old log cabin that serves as the main restaurant evoking a warm, sanguine, lodge-like feeling despite being right in the middle of Houston.  Their motto of “sophisticated but not stuffy” couldn’t be more perfectly paired with Randy’s own brand of cuisine.

Randy, too, is excited as you can tell from his blog:

i am very excited about this project because it allows me to continue developing my style of contemporary gulf coast cuisine and with plans are already in effect to increase their potager (kitchen & herb garden) to include citrus groves and many large vegetable gardens.  please come and support us this monday for what is to be the beginning of a very very good thing…

His first dinner will be served this Monday, November 3rd, and will feature a traditional Randy-style menu of modern, experimental American and Gulf Coast cuisine:

  • Gulf amberjack, black lava salt, heirloom beets & cilantro pistou
  • Tartare of local bison, smoked mustard, dried capers & farmhouse egg vinaigrette
  • Crisped sausage, miso, white bean gnocchi, aged sherry & charred Brussel sprout leaves
  • Charred axis venison heart, malabar spinach, shaved cauliflower & truffle anglaise
  • Grey triggerfish, zucchini pesto & foamed goat’s milk
  • Roasted breast of pheasant, local pears & mushroom marmalade
  • Frozen white chocolate charcoal, raspberry curd & rosemary-rose water

The dinner will also feature the debut of his own version of the Savoy Truffle, which I recently wrote about in Houstonist.

This is wonderful news, indeed.  Make sure you drop by Randy’s page and congratulate him!  Houston needs more chefs like him, and I’m glad that Rainbow Lodge has offered Randy a home.  Here’s to a successful pairing and a long, happy partnership!

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Happy Halloween!

Hope you’re all enjoying a happy Halloween so far!

We’re gearing up for a serious potluck lunch here at the office — tamales and empanadas are out in full force — so this afternoon should be filled with the sounds of overly-full moans and heavy sighs from people who’ve overindulged in the feast and are no longer as comfortable in their skintight flapper or pimp outfits as they were this morning.  Thankfully, yours truly came prepared in a roomy Dynamo jersey and jeans.  I plan ahead like that.

To celebrate the day, here’s a great article from one of my favorite websites, Serious Eats:

Halloween Recipes Roundup

The great thing about these recipes is that they’re perfect not only for Halloween, but for the rest of the year, too.  Hellooooo, spiced pumpkin bisque!  So enjoy those autumnal ingredients, crisp spices and yummy root vegetables while the cool weather lasts!

And as one last treat, can you guess the best and worst Halloween candy?  Don’t worry if you can’t; MSN is there to be a spoilsport and try to convince you that everyone loves Tootsie Rolls and sticks of gum for Halloween!  Don’t fall for it.  You’ll be hated almost as much that woman at the end of the cul-de-sac who gives out toothbrushes and can’t figure out why her house always gets egged.  Stick with Snickers tonight and you’ll be golden.

Happy Halloween!

Bière française: existe-t-il?

…et s’il fait, est-il bon?

That’s the question that one of my favorite bloggers, Croque Camille, has bravely attempted to answer in a recent post about French beers.  An American ex-pat pastry chef living in France, Camille is living the dream while eating and drinking her way through the bounty of incredible foods and wines that France has to offer.

But I posed the question to her one day: are there any good French beers?  It’s a reasonable question, as one always hears about French wine, but never French beer.  Their neighbors all make fantastic beer — Belgium, Germany, even Italy — so why not France?

Camille and her husband purchased a few French microbrews and began their journey towards discovery.  Their first beer, Etoile du Nord — a hoppy blonde that sounds terribly promising at first glance — is reviewed here:  Worthwhile French Beers.

Does it live up to the standards set by French wine and cuisine?  Find out for yourself…

Bitter Tastes of Twigs We Chewed

It’s Food Poetry Wednesday, folks!

Sorry for no Tuesday Trivia, but it’s been one of those weeks around the office. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this oldie-but-goodie from Woodie Guthrie (yes, Woodie Guthrie!) called “Remember the Mountain Bed.”

While not traditionally a “food poem,” I love the imagery that Guthrie uses here, so vivid that you can smell the forest and taste the twigs he describes.

Remember the Mountain Bed

Do you still sing of the mountain bed we made of limbs and leaves:
Do you still sigh there near the sky where the holly berry bleeds:
You laughed as I covered you over with leaves, face, breast, hips and thighs.
You smiled when I said the leaves were just the color of your eyes.

Rosin smells and turpentine smells from eucalyptus and pine
Bitter tastes of twigs we chewed where tangled woodvines twine
Trees held us in on all four sides so thick we could not see
I could not see any wrong in you, and you saw none in me.

Your arm was brown against the ground, your cheeks part of the sky.
As your fingers played with grassy moss, and limber you did lie:
Your stomach moved beneath your shirt and your knees were in the air
Your feet played games with mountain roots, as you lay thinking there.

Below us the trees grew clumps of trees, raised families of trees, and they
As proud as we tossed their heads in the wind and flung good seeds away:
The sun was hot and the sun was bright down in the valley below
Where people starved and hungry for life so empty come and go.

Continue reading Bitter Tastes of Twigs We Chewed

Scotch Eggs, Sauerkraut & Turkey Legs

In what is perhaps my unhealthiest entry to date, I’m going to chronicle a few of the things that Jenny, Aaron and I shoveled into our mouths this weekend at the Renaissance Festival.

Before we even got on the road to Plantersville, we headed over to Teotihuacan for breakfast.  Had to give our stomachs a little bit of a warmup session beforehand, after all.

Chips & Horchata

Jenny got a margarita (it’s 5:00 somewhere, I suppose), Aaron a coffee, and for me? A huge glass of ice-cold horchata. Teotihuacan serves some of the best horchata in town. This is the real stuff, too. None of this powdered mix crap.

Chorizo!

My “grande breakfast” platter came to the table with a heaping mass of eggs and spicy chorizo, refried beans and freshly-made tortillas. As Jenny says, when you can nearly see through them for all the lard, that’s when you know they’re good. And for only $3.99, it’s pretty much the best damn deal around for breakfast.

An hour and a half later, we were finally pulling up to the parking area outside of the Renaissance Festival.  While I could take this entire post to expound upon the depth and breadth of weirdness that we encountered at the Ren Fest, I’ll instead direct you to Houstonist for more on that subject.  For now, we’ll just discuss the food.

Continue reading Scotch Eggs, Sauerkraut & Turkey Legs

La Torretta: A Preview

Getting ready to head over to a pumpkin-carving party in a bit (and getting ready to get incredibly messy pumpkin guts all over me as I hack-job a perfectly good pumpkin with my complete lack of artistic skills), so no long post today.

But I just returned from an overnight stay at La Torretta del Lago, the new resort that’s opening up in Lake Conroe in only a week, and wanted to share some pictures from our dinner last night with Chef Albert Roux.  Enjoy!

Menu

The rest of the pictures can be seen at my Flickr account: La Torretta set.

A full write-up will come soon. Until then, barn swallows!