Friday, July 29, 2016

Ciao Bello - A Marche Wine Dinner

I try to attend the wine dinners at Ciao Bello as much as possible. I do this for the authentic Italian cuisine, the surprising array of wines, the excellent service and the always festive atmosphere. My husband and I attended the Marche wine dinner last night and it was no exception. The menu featured items from the Marche region of Italy that are not seen regularly at the restaurant which makes each experience at these dinners fresh and unique.

As expected, there was a full house of enthusiastic guests so it is best to book your spot for these events early. Check the restaurant's website for more information on upcoming dinners.

The wine dinners at Ciao Bello are always highly recommended.

Edit -This restaurant closed in the summer of 2018. Check out the higher end sister restaurant, Tony's, a staple of the city's fine dining scene.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Brunch at Peska

Though it has been open for less than two years, Peska quickly became one of my favorite restaurants in Houston. I have celebrated my birthday there, eaten many dinners, enjoyed a couple of Happy Hours and a few ladies lunches. Last weekend was my first time to try their Sunday Brunch.

My husband and I arrived shortly after the 11:00 opening time. We were immediately seated and given the lowdown on how this brunch operates. For $46 per person, guests have the opportunity to order some items directly from the kitchen and also visit a raw bar station inside by the bar and a grill station out on the patio. Drink specials include bottomless Mimosas or Sangria for $6, Bloody Mary's and Mojitos for $7 a piece and discounts off bottles of wine.

We decided to start with a bottle of pink Burgundy bubbles and ordered some fish empanadas from the kitchen to get started. We then decided not to sit and wait but to hit the raw bar station. The options seemed endless with a choice of fresh oysters on the half shell, large cold boiled shrimp, pre-cracked Jonah crab claws, sashimi and tiradita, three types of ceviche and four kinds of loaded tostadas. We arrived back to the table with our plates as our bottle arrived with the yummy little empanadas following shortly.

Next, I tried the Chupe de Camaron from the kitchen, it was a full and filling bowl of shrimp soup. From the patio spread, I enjoyed a serving of seafood paella and a cochinita pork taco. Other options outside included Black Fideua, lamb barbacoa tacos, grilled clams and smoked mussels. We were told that the patio offerings change from week to week.
To top it off, I ordered the pancakes while my husband checked out the French toast along with a macaron and a piece of cake from the dessert bar. I considered a slice of tres leche but decided to wait until next time and chose a small plate of fresh fruit instead. There were some tasty sounding egg dishes included on the kitchen menu that we didn't have room to try either.

My take, it sounds a bit pricey but it was worth it! This is unquestionably one of the most protein packed brunches I've seen.
We loved the quality of the food that was offered and the fantastic service. Live music kept the atmosphere festive. The kitchen entrees, the raw bar items and grilled food are all served to the guests eliminating the yuck factor found at some self-serve buffets. There is great variety for the raw food lover and the cooked options assure that there is something for everyone. We left feeling thoroughly satisfied.

The brunch at Peska is highly recommended as one of the best brunch buffets in Houston.

Edit: Sadly, this restaurant has closed.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Sunday Brunch at the Bar at La Table

This was our third time to be at La Table for Sunday brunch in less than two month. Although I've confined my excitement to only writing about it twice here, it is unquestionably becoming one of our top restaurants in Houston and we haven't even tried dinner yet.

This time, we decided to sit downstairs at the bar in La Table's informal dining room, Marche. We indeed found a more casual atmosphere which suited our more simple meal plan for the day. We ordered the Berry Kir Royale brunch cocktail with the collossol crab salad followed by the quiche du jour. We topped that off with coffee and a cinnamon and almond brioche. Tasty, straightforward goodness with entertaining service!

After brunching at this establishment three times in three deliciously different ways, I can say it is one of my favorite new restaurants for brunch in the city. Whether you like your brunch formal and fancy or low-key and casual, La Table is one of the best places in Houston to do it.

The Brunch Buffet at La Table's Chateau

Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence Celebration

Showcasing this patriotic red, white and blue painting seemed a fitting tribute today during America's celebration of Independence.

This untitled acrylic on canvas collage was the fourth in a series by Texas artist Joseph Glasco created in 1989.

The sculptural painting is on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.