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Texas Winemaker Ron Yates

As Seen in the September 2020 issue of Galveston Monthly magazine
In this month's issue, I talk to Texas winemaker Ron Yates, owner of Spicewood Vineyards and Ron Yates Wines. Ron shares thoughts on the 2020 Texas wine grape harvest and makes some wine recommendations.

Recent posts

9 Shaded and Socially Distanced Patios in Sugar Land - Link

I wrote a follow up article for Houston Food Finder focusing on the safe and shaded patios in Sugar Land, a small suburb city outside of Houston on the southwest side. Follow the link to read more.Although I was born and raised in Houston and still spend a great deal of my time enjoying all that the big city has to offer, I have now lived in Sugar Land for over 20 years. During that time, I’ve eaten at many area restaurants — including those with excellent patio dining.Featured restaurants are Aling's, Beck's Prime, Churrascos, Corelli's, Escalante's, Guru Enlightened Burgers and Bowls, Keeper's, Pappasito's, and State Fare.
Watching the sunset from the terrace patio at Churrascos Lake Pointe location in Sugar Land.

The Vesper as seen at Tony's Houston

This is the martini that James Bond makes famous in both the Ian Fleming's book and following movie, Casino Royale. When Bond orders it, he gives specific instructions, "Three measures of Gordon's (gin), one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it is ice cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?"Unfortunately for Bond, the Kina Lillet is no longer available so Lillet Blanc is now substituted. Interestingly, he calls the gin but not a specific vodka leaving that to the bartender. It can be made with your favorite gin and vodka and will still be fragrant and maintain its intended botanical character. Some cocktail aficionados also prefer to stir rather than shake this drink because of concerns that it will be overly diluted by the melting ice. Since it is a fairly robust drink, I agree with Bond, shake it as the movie's hero suggests, before straining into a martini or coupe glass. This version was made at Tony's in H…

9 Shaded and Socially Distanced Houston Restaurant Patios to Enjoy Now - Link

I wrote an article for Houston Food Finder listing nine of the best patios that I have been dining at this summer. I have eaten at most of these several times to find the best time to enjoy the shade and to ensure that safety precautions are being followed. I have been to many others that did not make the cut. From excessive insect issues to compulsive mask touching by servers, I have tried to weed out the worst and share only the best both with Houston Food Finder and, here, in this blog. My search is continuing as I still feel safer dining al fresco so stay tuned for more recommendations.In the meantime, read 9 Shaded and Socially Distanced Houston Restaurant Patios to Enjoy Now in Houston Food Finder and see some more of my pictures of these restaurants below.




Find more of my top Houston patios by clicking Houston's Best Patios

Houston Patio Dining Now - Caracol

Caracol is one of my favorite restaurants in Houston, I have been four times this summer since they reopened. It is part of the H-Town Restaurant Group, which is owned by Executive Chef Hugo Ortega and his wife Tracy Vaught. Ortega is the winner of the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest in 2017. I also frequently eat at both Hugo's and Backstreet Cafe, two other restaurants in the group. As I thought about which restaurants in Houston have great food, nice patios and good ethics for safety protocol, these were some of the first restaurants to come to mind and I have not been disappointed. I've only opted to go to Caracol on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, thus far, arriving as early as 4pm and as late as 7:30pm. I make reservations in advance and request a shady table on the patio at that time.

I like the fact that guests have the ability to not walk through the restaurant to access the patio. You can just open the door and let the hostess know you have arriv…

Corpse Reviver #2

I almost forgot to add this recipe here. Another quarantine cocktail I made last month was this slightly modified classic from "The Savoy Cocktail Book” printed in 1930. In it, Harry Craddock prescribes this drink , “To be taken before 11 a.m., or whenever steam and energy are needed." It was actually originally intended as a hangover remedy.

  While I was definitely not hungover, I did need some energy after being in my home with a broken air conditioner in the hot Houston summer. I whipped this up and then went outside to sit in the shade and dip my feet in the pool while I waited on the repairman to arrive.

  It worked like magic, I was quickly refreshed, and the repairman arrived early and had everything running again in short order.

  The Corpse Reviver #2 recipe:
The original recipe calls for a splash of Absinthe to be swirled around in the glass and then discarded. I did not have Absinthe so I skipped this step. 1 ounce of Gin1 ounce Lillet Blanc1 ounce freshly squeezed …

Summer Sips from Spain as seen in Galveston Monthly

In this month's Galveston Monthly,  I give wine recommendations from a few of the many wine producing regions of Spain.