I’m doing the October edition of Eat.Drink.See, so that must mean its November and that all the holiday craziness is about to start. But before I get too deep into sweet potato pies, cornbread dressing, and my favorite American Pinot Noir for Thanksgiving dinner, lets take a look back at the memorable eats, drinks, and sights of October.
Triple Stack Pork Tostadas at Ritual, Houston, TX
Ritual is known for its relationships with local ranchers and farmers and they definitely “have the meats.” With deep southern influences, the menu is a playground for serious meat eaters. And it’s one of those places where you need to arrive really hungry and bring friends to share. We’ve been for every meal imaginable and keep going back. It’s even a favorite of the Thing 1 and Thing 2. On a recent brunch trip we had the Triple Stock Pork Tostada and wow! Actually the entire brunch menu is great. Pork, queso fresco, tomatillo, sour cream, avocado, fried egg made for a tasty brunch entrée that Thing 1 didn’t want to share.
Scallops & Grits from Américas, Houston, TX
Mr. Corkscrew is a big fan of Americas, but with so many great restaurants in Houston, we often forget about it. It’s one of those places where you seriously have a hard time deciding what to get because everything is so good. Probably because they are generous with the crema! We were out and about and had the kiddos so decided it was a great time to introduce them to one of dad’s favorites. I think we all did well with our ordering (highly recommend the sea bass too!) but on this most recent visit, the scallops and grits were definitely the standout. Bacon wrapped jumbo diver scallops, andouille sausage, jalapeno cheese grits, roasted corn, buerre blanc and topped with scallions. So darn tasty!
I’m a big fan of fried fish (that’s not cod)1 but rarely order it out because the only fish that people like to fry is catfish. And I can’t stand catfish. So when I saw the Crispy Flounder entrée on Reef’s menu, I was definitely curious. And when I saw it came with a mirliton slaw, I was all in. Mr. Corkscrew introduced me to mirliton squash (aka chayote) many years ago and order it almost every time I see it on a menu. The crispy flounder with the tart acidity of the slaw was a party in my mouth.
2014 Kongsgaard Chardonnay, Napa Valley, CA (~$140 retail)
For years, I’d been wanting to try a Kongsgaard wine. Any Kongsgaard. I always assumed it would be their Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon, but when I saw the Chardonnay as I was eating the above crispy flounder at Reef, I thought, let’s give it a whirl. OMG! This was the shizzz! With an intense nose along with minerality, tropical fruit, and créme brûlée on the palate, I seriously swooned.
2017 Cameron Hughes Lot 687 Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, CA ($15)
I just published an article on my observations on the Cameron Hughes wines here. You did read that, didn’t you? But this one was so good that it bears repeating. I still can’t believe this was a $15 wine! Juicy red cherry, vanilla spice and silky smooth tannins. And drank even better on day two.
2017 Domaine Bousquet Gaia Red Blend, Mendoza, Argentina (~$20)
I had the opportunity to have a decadent lunch with Labid Al Ameri co-owner (along with wife Anne Bousquet) of Domaine Bousquet. During lunch he presented several of their wines that are happily available in the U.S. including my local market. One of my faves was the Gaia Red Blend. Usually at tastings you spit or drink very little, but I found myself wanting to not only finish my glass but also pour a bit more. Crafted of 50% Malbec, 45% Syrah, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon it was smooth and full of juicy black fruit. This is a great wine to warm up to this coming winter. And FYI, I’ll be doing a full recap on Domaine Bousquet soon so be sure to circle back.
I got to see and dine with a couple of fantastic winemakers and winery owners. I always love these experiences because you really learn so much about the wineries and the people that brought them to life. It’s part of what makes wine so interesting. As I mentioned above, I had a fantastic lunch with Labid Al Ameri of Domaine Bousquet.
I also had a wonderful press dinner with Alice Paillard of Champagne Bruno Paillard at the newly opened Café Annie. It was my first time having any of the Champagne Bruno Paillard wines and how exquisite they were. You’ll also have to come back for a recap of those wines too!
October is the month of Halloween after all. And since we were flying as a family to Chicago on Halloween night, that meant no trick-or-treating (the horror!). So I had to seriously make it up to Thing 2 big time. All month long, we attended various Halloween festivities so he could wear his costume and collect the all-important candy. Sadly, during one of those outings he fractured his collarbone on a bouncy house. Eek! But happy to say he’s back to harassing his sister and recovering just fine. And we even got candy at our hotel!
Also, my daughter, Thing 1, won first place in her age group for the “monster cupcakes” she made for school. And though I was grumpy when she called me at the office at 5:30 the day before they needed to be brought to school asking for eggs, etc, and I had to grudgingly take my tired, grumpy self to the store for eggs, sprinkles, eyes, etc., I am so proud of her.
And yeah, we arrived to Chicago on Halloween night to snow! That’s a big deal to us Texans!
See y’all soon for the November edition.