Chef Aquiles and James Tidwell on DM

NOW HEARD IN THREE GREAT TEXAS CITIES! 

AUSTIN Saturdays 10-11 a.m., Talk 1370

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

This week we check out one of the most interesting and impressive debuts we’ve encountered in a while: the tropical Mexican seafood place called La Fisheria in Houston. We sit down for a tasting and chat with handlebar-mustached chef-partner Aquiles Chavez, who’s something of a food-themed TV star south of the border. And in our Grape & Grain segment, we sample some exciting wines with master sommelier James Tidwell of the Four Seasons Resort at Las Colinas. 

HOUSTON Saturdays 2-3 p.m., News Talk 1070 KNTH

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

This week we check out one of the most interesting and impressive debuts we’ve encountered in a while: the tropical Mexican seafood place called La Fisheria in Houston. We sit down for a tasting and chat with handlebar-mustached chef-partner Aquiles Chavez, who’s something of a food-themed TV star south of the border. And in our Grape & Grain segment, we sample some exciting wines with master sommelier James Tidwell of the Four Seasons Resort at Las Colinas. 

DALLAS Saturdays 7-8 p.m., 570 KLIF

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

This week we check out one of the most interesting and impressive debuts we’ve encountered in a while: the tropical Mexican seafood place called La Fisheria in Houston. We sit down for a tasting and chat with handlebar-mustached chef-partner Aquiles Chavez, who’s something of a food-themed TV star south of the border. And in our Grape & Grain segment, we sample some exciting wines with master sommelier James Tidwell of the Four Seasons Resort at Las Colinas. 

Our 22nd Year of Eating, Drinking and Telling You About It! 

This Week’s Delicious Mischief Recipe

BEJAS GRILL SHRIMP ENCHILADAS 

We’ve always loved this outpost of creative Southwestern flavors at the heart of Fredericksburg. These shrimp enchiladas in a creamy cheese sauce have become a Bejas Grill signature. 

White Sauce:

6 cups heavy cream

4 tablespoons burgundy wine

4 tablespoons corn starch

4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

8 corn tortillas, dipped in oil

2 cups shrimp

1 cup mango

1 cup red bell pepper

Old Bay seasoning

Fresh dill to taste

2 cups Mexican rice

2 cups black beans

2-3 lime wedges

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large pot, heat the heavy cream until it boils. Add the cheese and stir

until blended, then add the wine and corn starch. To make the quick mango salsa, dice equal parts of

mango and red bell pepper. Squeeze the lime juice over the top. Peel the shrimp and butterfly. Marinate

for about 30 minutes using old bay seasoning and dill. After the shrimp have marinated, lightly grill

approximately 2 minutes, turning once or twice. Rough-chop the shrimp.

Moisten the tortillas with a little oil and preheat for 30 seconds on the grill, for greater flexibility in

rolling. Lay out tortillas, add shrimp and roll gently. Place in a ceramic baking dish, folded side down.

Upon completion of all enchiladas, pour cream sauce on top and bake for approximately 10 minutes,

until hot and bubbly. Plate enchiladas with rice and beans, and add a couple of spoons of mango salsa

on top of each enchilada. Serves 4.

NYC, Izkali Tequila on DM This Weekend

NOW HEARD IN THREE GREAT TEXAS CITIES! 

AUSTIN Saturdays 10-11 a.m., Talk 1370

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

We broadcast from New York City this week, catching up on trends and visiting with friends. One of the most intriguing trends goes by the slogan “Asian locavore,” and we settle in to talk and taste with much-praised chef Simpson Wong. We also chat about the future of “hotel restaurants” with Klaus Ortlieb, whose Gotham Hotel includes an impressive eatery called Tenpenny. In our Grape & Grain segment, we zero in on Izkali tequila, based in Texas but made (of course) in the Mexican state of Jalisco. 

HOUSTON Saturdays 2-3 p.m., News Talk 1070 KNTH

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

We broadcast from New York City this week, catching up on trends and visiting with friends. One of the most intriguing trends goes by the slogan “Asian locavore,” and we settle in to talk and taste with much-praised chef Simpson Wong. We also chat about the future of “hotel restaurants” with Klaus Ortlieb, whose Gotham Hotel includes an impressive eatery called Tenpenny. In our Grape & Grain segment, we zero in on Izkali tequila, based in Texas but made (of course) in the Mexican state of Jalisco. 

DALLAS Saturdays 7-8 p.m., 570 KLIF

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

We broadcast from New York City this week, catching up on trends and visiting with friends. One of the most intriguing trends goes by the slogan “Asian locavore,” and we settle in to talk and taste with much-praised chef Simpson Wong. We also chat about the future of “hotel restaurants” with Klaus Ortlieb, whose Gotham Hotel includes an impressive eatery called Tenpenny. In our Grape & Grain segment, we zero in on Izkali tequila, based in Texas but made (of course) in the Mexican state of Jalisco. 

Our 22nd Year of Eating, Drinking and Telling You About It! 

This Week’s Delicious Mischief Recipe

LOBSTER EGG FOO YUNG

New York chef Simpson Wong of Wong in the East Village has attracted attention for many of his “Asian locavore” signature dishes – but none more than his upscaled spin on what may be the ultimate Asian peasant food. Here’s our version of Egg Foo Young made with lobster.

Sauce:

1 1/2 cup vegetable or seafood broth

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoon cold water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

 

8 eggs, beaten

1 cup thinly sliced celery

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 cup bean sprouts

1/2 cup diced fresh mushrooms

1 cup chunks cooked lobster meat

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 

To make sauce, heat broth in a small saucepan; add sugar and soy sauce and blend well over medium heat. Combine cold water with cornstarch in a bowl and then add to the sauce, stirring until thick and smooth. Keep sauce warm. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add the celery, onion, bean sprouts, mushrooms, lobster, salt and pepper. Mix together. Heat oil in a medium skillet or wok and brown egg mixture 1/2 cup at a time until set like an omelet. Serve Egg Foo Yung with sauce spooned over the top. Serves 4-6.

 

First Taste of Townhouse in Dallas

I went to check out the new Townhouse Kitchen + Bar at the Dallas Galleria the other night, not because I had some shopping to do but because – like the Monkees in their ’60s theme song – it may be comin’ to your town. In  fact, the Dallas restaurant is the first of three scheduled to be up and running in Texas by the end of this summer. The others are, quite happily, slotted to open in Houston and Austin.

Any restaurant that has deviled eggs on the menu has to be at least a little into childhood food nostalgia – and on some dishes Townhouse is a lot into it. Sure, there’s a dizzying variety of popular Latin tastes plus a nifty array of Asian (as you’ll see). But American food is the key to understanding the high-quality but also high-casual cooking emerging from this kitchen. These deviled eggs, by the way, are excellent, mostly the classic mix of mayo-lush and mustard-tangy but given a kick by the Asian hot stuff called sriracha.

And… speaking of Asian, one of the menu’s acts of pure genius is something called kung pao shrimp tacos. Come on! That’s like three of my favorite things, in a single dish. The spicy shrimp with peanuts are out in full force, all ablaze in the hot-meets-cool collision that makes Vietnamese and Thai food so terrific. And after all, few actions make anything taste better than putting it inside a taco. 

Nobody doesn’t like a quesadilla, right?  And nobody doesn’t like barbecue either. Those seem to be the deep truths behind the duck barbecue quesadillas. It’s cheese, of course, that glues the two tortillas together. But inside of that lurks some of the deepest, sweetest and smokiest meat you’ll ever slip into your mouth. There’s an extra wonderful taste here that I never could quite identify, and I ate a bunch in the effort to do that for you. Neither the menu nor the chef was in any mood to give away secrets.

Just as there’s the Better Burger movement making the rounds in America, there’s what I hereby dub the Grownup Mac-and-Cheese Movement. You know the type: usually dripping with obnoxious truffle oil, a product that most actual truffle lovers (like me) despise. In this case, the mac and cheese is classically yellow and extremely cheesy, with no truffle oil in sight. And for a few extra dollars, you can make it almost an entree by adding applewood-smoked bacon or shrimp.

Side dishes, it turns out, are one of the strongest suits at Townhouse Kitchen + Bar. When you’re not shoveling mac and cheese in the general direction of your lips, you really need to try the hash browns. Or, to be precise, the Jalapeno Bacon Hash Browns. I ate as much of these as I could, then took the rest home. In my kitchen, the leftovers will soon find a home in what might be the best potato omelet ever.

With everything else Townhouse has going for it, including a fun wine list and even funner cocktails, you’d expect large, indulgent desserts. And you would be correct. The one we sampled was all that and more – involving, like so many other dishes here from start to finish, a salty-sweet flourish of bacon. These are “bacon doughnuts,” fried balls of sweet dough in a sugary caramel sauce plus bacon crumbles on top, topped by the perfect vanilla ice cream. Maybe your mouth needs something as simple as vanilla ice cream after an assault of barbecue duck quesadillas and kung pao shrimp tacos!

DF Grille and Alphonse Dotson on Radio This Weekend

 

NOW HEARD IN THREE GREAT TEXAS CITIES!

AUSTIN Saturdays 10-11 a.m., Talk 1370

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

Only a week after visiting Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in Houston, we find ourselves (quite happily) chatting with the general manager and executive chef at the brand-new concept called Del Frisco’s Grille in Dallas. And let me warn you: they make us eat way too much. In our Grape & Grain segment, we visit with former NFL player Alphonse Dotson and his wife, who now earn their fame and (at least someday) their fortune growing grapes to fine make wine in Texas. 

HOUSTON Saturdays 2-3 p.m., News Talk 1070 KNTH

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

Only a week after visiting Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in Houston, we find ourselves (quite happily) chatting with the general manager and executive chef at the brand-new concept called Del Frisco’s Grille in Dallas. And let me warn you: they make us eat way too much. In our Grape & Grain segment, we visit with former NFL player Alphonse Dotson and his wife, who now earn their fame and (at least someday) their fortune growing grapes to fine make wine in Texas. 

DALLAS Saturdays 7-8 p.m., 570 KLIF

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

Only a week after visiting Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in Houston, we find ourselves (quite happily) chatting with the general manager and executive chef at the brand-new concept called Del Frisco’s Grille in Dallas. And let me warn you: they make us eat way too much. In our Grape & Grain segment, we visit with former NFL player Alphonse Dotson and his wife, who now earn their fame and (at least someday) their fortune growing grapes to fine make wine in Texas. 

Our 22nd Year of Eating, Drinking and Telling You About It! 

This Week’s Delicious Mischief Recipe

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SOUP

2 heads cauliflower

3 garlic cloves

2 shallots

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups chicken broth

1 cup water

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 bay leaf

2 cups heavy cream 

Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut cauliflower into 1-inch flowerets (about 10 cups). In a large baking pan toss cauliflower, garlic, and shallots with oil to coat and roast in middle of oven about 30 minutes, or until golden. In a 4-quart kettle simmer broth, water, roasted cauliflower mixture, and herbs 30 minutes, or until cauliflower is very tender. Discard bay leaf and in a blender puree soup in batches until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), transferring to a bowl. Return soup to kettle and stir in cream and salt and pepper to taste. Heat soup over moderate heat until just heated through. Serves 6-8.

Houston’s Rodeo Uncorked on DM This Weekend

NOW HEARD IN THREE GREAT TEXAS CITIES! 

AUSTIN Saturdays 10-11 a.m., Talk 1370

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

It’s that time of year again: the season when the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo demonstrates its surprising commitment to class-act wine and food. For three segments, we chat with wine importer Stephanie Baird and Del Frisco’s GM Arthur Mooradian about the annual Rodeo Uncorked wine competition, as well as its food component known as Best Bites. In our closing segment, we launch a new feature titled Samira’s Table, talking about dining in Paris with Samira Anne Salman. 

HOUSTON Saturdays 2-3 p.m., News Talk 1070 KNTH

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

It’s that time of year again: the season when the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo demonstrates its surprising commitment to class-act wine and food. For three segments, we chat with wine importer Stephanie Baird and Del Frisco’s GM Arthur Mooradian about the annual Rodeo Uncorked wine competition, as well as its food component known as Best Bites. In our closing segment, we launch a new feature titled Samira’s Table, talking about dining in Paris with Samira Anne Salman. 

DALLAS Saturdays 7-8 p.m., 570 KLIF

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

It’s that time of year again: the season when the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo demonstrates its surprising commitment to class-act wine and food. For three segments, we chat with wine importer Stephanie Baird and Del Frisco’s GM Arthur Mooradian about the annual Rodeo Uncorked wine competition, as well as its food component known as Best Bites. In our closing segment, we launch a new feature titled Samira’s Table, talking about dining in Paris with Samira Anne Salman. 

Our 22nd Year of Eating, Drinking and Telling You About It! 

This Week’s Delicious Mischief Recipe

BACON-JALAPENO CORN MAQUE CHOUX 

Tasting the corn dish Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House is serving at this year’s Best Bites competition in Houston so inspired us, we reached into our own South Louisiana bag o’ tricks and came up with our version. 

1/2 pound bacon, chopped

6 ears young sweet corn

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onions

1 cup chopped green bell peppers

1 tablespoon chopped jalapenos, or to taste

Salt

Ground red pepper

2 cups chopped, peeled, and seeded tomatoes, or 1 cup chopped canned tomatoes

1 cup milk

1/4 cup chopped green onions 

In a large skillet, over medium heat, render the bacon until crispy. Drain the bacon on paper towels and set aside. Pour off all of the bacon fat except for 2 tablespoons. Cut the corn off the cob by thinly slicing across the tops of the kernels and then cutting across a second time to release the milk from the corn. Scrape the cob once or twice to extract the milk. You should have about 4 cups of corn with the milk. To the pan, over medium heat, add the oil, onions, bell peppers and jalepenos. Season with salt and cayenne. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the corn. Season with salt and ground red pepper. Continue to saute for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the corn is tender. Stir in the milk and remove from heat. Stir in the crispy bacon and green onions. Serves 4.

Listen Up! Tamarind in New Orleans on Radio Today

NOW HEARD IN THREE GREAT TEXAS CITIES! 

AUSTIN Saturdays 10-11 a.m., Talk 1370

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

This week we travel to New Orleans to visit a chef with a new restaurant that has not only exotic, delicious food but intriguing historical references. Tamarind, part of the stylishly reborn Hotel Modern on Lee Circle, serves French-Vietnamese cuisine, a reflection of the century the Southeast Asian spent under French domination. In our Grape & Grain segment, we taste and talk about the wines from Snowden Vineyards in California’s Napa Valley. 

HOUSTON Saturdays 2-3 p.m., News Talk 1070 KNTH

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

This week we travel to New Orleans to visit a chef with a new restaurant that has not only exotic, delicious food but intriguing historical references. Tamarind, part of the stylishly reborn Hotel Modern on Lee Circle, serves French-Vietnamese cuisine, a reflection of the century the Southeast Asian spent under French domination. In our Grape & Grain segment, we taste and talk about the wines from Snowden Vineyards in California’s Napa Valley. 

DALLAS Saturdays 7-8 p.m., 570 KLIF

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

This week we travel to New Orleans to visit a chef with a new restaurant that has not only exotic, delicious food but intriguing historical references. Tamarind, part of the stylishly reborn Hotel Modern on Lee Circle, serves French-Vietnamese cuisine, a reflection of the century the Southeast Asian spent under French domination. In our Grape & Grain segment, we taste and talk about the wines from Snowden Vineyards in California’s Napa Valley. 

Our 22nd Year of Eating, Drinking and Telling You About It! 

This Week’s Delicious Mischief Recipe

TEX-MEX SOPAPILLAS 

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus additional if needed
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1/3 cup hot water 

Put flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and shortening in a mixing bowl. Use your fingers or a pastry blender to thoroughly combine and evenly distribute shortening. Add hot water and stir with a fork until mixture forms a dough. If dough is too dry to mold or knead, add a bit more water. If dough seems too wet add 1-2 tablespoons flour. Knead a couple times, then place in a plastic bag and let rise 1 hour in a warm place.

Lightly flour work surface and roll dough in to a rectangle about 1/8 to1/4 inch thick. If the dough seems too elastic to roll easily cover and let rest a few minutes more, then roll again. Fold the dough in half and roll the rectangle again. Cut the dough into 3-by-4 inch rectangles.  Heat at least 5 inches of oil in a 3-quart sauce pan or deep-fryer to 350 to 360. Fry 1 or 2 at a time, spooning hot oil over the top to encourage puffing.  Drain on paper towels. Immediately dust with powdered sugar and serve with honey. Serves 6.

 

 

Chef Paul Petersen of Vivo on DM This Weekend

NOW HEARD IN THREE GREAT TEXAS CITIES! 

AUSTIN Saturdays 10-11 a.m., Talk 1370

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

For several years, the family-owned Austin restaurant called Vivo was known as the place for “healthy Tex-Mex,” even though that struck many as a contradiction in terms. Now it’s known, more and more, as the Tex-Mex place that has Texas chef Paul Petersen in the kitchen. We visit with Chef Paul while enjoying our tacos and enchiladas. In our Grape & Grain segment, we taste and talk about the terrific vintages of Roy Estate.

HOUSTON Saturdays 2-3 p.m., News Talk 1070 KNTH

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

For several years, the family-owned Austin restaurant called Vivo was known as the place for “healthy Tex-Mex,” even though that struck many as a contradiction in terms. Now it’s known, more and more, as the Tex-Mex place that has Texas chef Paul Petersen in the kitchen. We visit with Chef Paul while enjoying our tacos and enchiladas. In our Grape & Grain segment, we taste and talk about the terrific vintages of Roy Estate.

DALLAS Saturdays 7-8 p.m., 570 KLIF

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

For several years, the family-owned Austin restaurant called Vivo was known as the place for “healthy Tex-Mex,” even though that struck many as a contradiction in terms. Now it’s known, more and more, as the Tex-Mex place that has Texas chef Paul Petersen in the kitchen. We visit with Chef Paul while enjoying our tacos and enchiladas. In our Grape & Grain segment, we taste and talk about the terrific vintages of Roy Estate.

Our 22nd Year of Eating, Drinking and Telling You About It! 

This Week’s Delicious Mischief Recipe

MOROCCAN CHICKEN COUSCOUS 

3 carrots, cut in segments

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 stalks celery, cut in pieces

1 large onion, roughly chopped

4 boneless chicken breast halves, cut in bite-sized pieces

Salt and pepper, or Creole seasoning

Mediterranean (or in a pinch, Italian) seasoning to taste

4 cups chicken broth

¾ cup chunky tomato salsa

1 can chick peas

Cooked quick or instant cous cous, preferably plain 

Cook the carrots in boiling water (or in microwave) until just softening, then saute in olive oil with the celery and onion until vegetables begin to caramelize. Season with both blends. Remove from pan and cook the chicken pieces until golden brown, seasoning with both blends as you go. Return the vegetables to the pan. Add the both, salsa and chick peas. Reduce hit to simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, letting flavors blend and deepen. Serve over warmed cooked couscous on dinner plates. Serves 4-6.

 

Raising the Bar at New Del Frisco’s Grille

I was intrigued in Dallas a few days back – walking, then driving, then riding a 1926 wooden trolley through Uptown along the wonderful McKinney Avenue – to spy something new called Del Frisco’s Grille. As a longtime fan of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouses, I wanted to know what this Grille (with one location in Dallas, plus one in New York City) was all about. Last night, looking down at the serving line from the second floor dining and drinking area, I think I started to understand.

Two stories, two bars, two patios – things tend to come in twos around Del Frisco’s Grille. And as GM Sabrina Scully and executive chef Aaron Henschen explained during our radio taping together, this new, hip but less fancy, less expensive and more-devoted-to-fun concept is a way of luring in younger people, along with folks of any age who feel or live younger. The two bars play a major role in that, keeping their energy front and center, right along with “bar food” home runs like these cheesesteak eggrolls – a rework from the company’s oh-so-popular Sullivan’s Steakhouses.

In fact, you might say that if Del Frisco’s Double Eagle and Sullivan’s had a baby (whatever gender issues might be involved in two steakhouses doing that), their offspring would be young and hip and fun, just like Del Frisco’s Grille. For me, Chef Aaron put the whole thing in perspective with his Pimento Cheese Fritters. I don’t know how a New Yorker will react, but here in Texas it’s the perfect upgrade on a flavor we’ve enjoyed all our lives. That creamy dipping sauce, by the way, is a really good chipotle aioli.

Like most restaurants this classy, Del Frisco’s Grille would never dream of serving “pizzas,” even if they’re exactly the kind of thing many want at one of the bars while watching football, basketball or baseball on the TVs. So they serve “flatbreads” instead, making them their own menu category. The list starts with this basic roasted tomato and cheese (yes, like pizza margherita), but then goes wandering through white clam, pulled roasted chicken, wild mushroom and even garlic shrimp.

Ever since my father threw together pizzas from a box every Sunday night while we watched Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (on our black-and-white TV!), I’ve had a serious love/longing for the mushroom variety. So that was the second flatbread I ordered. The cheese this time out is fontina rather than bubbly mozzarella, along with four varieties of wild mushroom, caramelized onions and the final peppery accent of arugula. A perfect marriage, on a light, crunchy, chewy crust from dough made in-house twice daily, sayeth the chef.

This being a Del Frisco’s, the same prime steaks are served at the Grille as at any Double Eagle – a carefully selected handful anyway. But there’s also what I call the comfort food component, each dish with a major to minor twist on some tradition: from veal meatloaf with wild mushrooms to “stroganoff” repositioned around a big hunk of hyper-tender beef short rib. All such blasts from the past make mac and cheese (jalapeno-bacon, no less) one of the most perfect sides imaginable.

And of course, since virtually every table has a nice view of the bar (where the tropical martini called the VIP happens constantly), there are burgers and fries on the menu. We caught up with these fries last night, no doubt on their way to an elicit rendezvous with some burger. Both beef burgers feature two four-ounce patties (yes, rather than a single eight-ounce, in a wink-wink doff of the hat to fast food) but we’re also excited to try the Grille’s “lamb burger,” which goes a little bit Greek (yay!) with roasted tomato, arugula and cooling cucumber-yogurt tzatziki sauce. 

One thing you learn cooking for people who try to “eat healthier” – whether that’s an individual or a generation – is that you’d better not cut back on dessert. Here is the Grille’s crazy-good coconut cream pie. At least it’s sort of a pie, with that individual wraparound “crust” of crumbled vanilla wafers. And yes, all that stuff poking upward like modern architecture is shaved white chocolate, like a whole other dessert hitching a ride on top of this one. From early to late, Del Frisco’s Grille in Dallas is packing them in – no doubt inspiring their customers, and me, to do pretty much the same.

New Triniti on Radio in Houston, Dallas and Austin

NOW HEARD IN THREE GREAT TEXAS CITIES! 

AUSTIN Saturdays 10-11 a.m., Talk 1370

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

One of the most buzzed-about restaurants in memory, Triniti has opened its doors (and its kitchen) in Houston. While there may be “too many chefs” (to quote the old saying), the oh-so-contemporary “broth” they produce is making lots of diners happy. We check in with chef-owner Ryan Hildebrand and his gang. In our Grape & Grain segment, we taste and talk about the tequila of Casa Dragones with maestra tequilera Bertha Gonzales Nieves. 

HOUSTON Saturdays 2-3 p.m., News Talk 1070 KNTH

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

One of the most buzzed-about restaurants in memory, Triniti has opened its doors (and its kitchen) in Houston. While there may be “too many chefs” (to quote the old saying), the oh-so-contemporary “broth” they produce is making lots of diners happy. We check in with chef-owner Ryan Hildebrand and his gang. In our Grape & Grain segment, we taste and talk about the tequila of Casa Dragones with maestra tequilera Bertha Gonzales Nieves. 

DALLAS Saturdays 7-8 p.m., 570 KLIF

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

One of the most buzzed-about restaurants in memory, Triniti has opened its doors (and its kitchen) in Houston. While there may be “too many chefs” (to quote the old saying), the oh-so-contemporary “broth” they produce is making lots of diners happy. We check in with chef-owner Ryan Hildebrand and his gang. In our Grape & Grain segment, we taste and talk about the tequila of Casa Dragones with maestra tequilera Bertha Gonzales Nieves. 

Our 22nd Year of Eating, Drinking and Telling You About It! 

This Week’s Delicious Mischief Recipe

TEQUILA-MANGO SHORTRIBS 

6 pounds pork shortribs

1 large fresh ripe mango

2 tablespoons chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

1/4 cup tequila

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

2 tablespoons honey

6 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/4 cup finely minced ginger

1/4 cup chopped cilantro sprigs

Remove the membrane from the underside of the ribs. Then place the ribs in a rectangular dish or baking pan. To make the marinade, peel the mango and cut the flesh away from the seed. Combine the mango flesh and chipotle chiles in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and puree. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and combine with the ketchup, tequila, lime juice, oyster sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, and cilantro. Makes 2 cups.

Coat the ribs evenly on both sides with half the marinade. Marinate the ribs refrigerated for at least 15 minutes. For more flavor, marinate for up to 8 hours. Remove the remaining marinade to serve as a sauce for the ribs. To grill the ribs, if using a gas barbecue, preheat to medium (325 F). If using charcoal or wood, prepare a fire. Occasionally during cooking, baste the ribs with extra marinade, stopping 15 minutes before removing the ribs from the grill. To serve, cut each side of ribs in half, into 3 sections, or into individual ribs. Transfer to a heated serving platter or 4 heated dinner plates and serve at once accompanied by the reserved sauce. Serves 4.

Culinary Comforts of Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen

All my life – well, at least as many years as I’ve known chef Kent Rathbun, which isn’t quite as long – I’ve wanted to eat at Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen, which serves the “neighborhood” in Dallas known as the Park Cities. Since these places include Highland Park, University Park and the like, they take in people who know something of the best in food and drink, who can afford the best when they want it – but who don’t want to dress up for some fancy, cheffy dinner every night of the week. By all evidence, Blue Plate and its oh-so-welcoming bar have become their home away from home.

Make no mistake: there’s no shortage of pizzazz coming out of this comfort-food open kitchen, especially since executive chef Jennifer Newbold from the Seattle area moved over from one of Rathbun’s other concepts – the very popular Jasper’s, now going great guns in Plano, Austin and the Woodlands north of Houston. This seems a natural step up for her (as she described it on the radio show we recorded last night), since Jasper’s specializes in something it calls “Gourmet Backyard Cuisine.”

We sampled several things during the taping with Chef Jennifer and Blue Plate GM Dennis Egert: a nifty mussels dish with Texas beer (perfect for sopping with grilled rustic bread), a super-good beet salad with pleasantly chewy spinach on the side, and Gramma Minnie’s Country Fried Chicken, a yummy Rathbun family favorite. But really now, whose gramma ever heard of any “coleslaw” that features shrimp, crab and lobster, all turned south-of-the-border tropical with cilantro-lime dressing?

Whenever restaurant people say, as they do often, “Get the duck,” I usually don’t. I’m not a huge duck fan, really. But whenever anyone anywhere (but especially in France) says “Get the cassoulet,” I become like putty in their hands. This Blue Plate Kitchen dish is called Hickory Grilled Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast, to be sure, but it comes with white bean cassoulet, confit duck leg and port wine jus. I don’t suspect there’s any French countryside outside Blue Plate, but you could have fooled me.

In the old days, there was usually an unbroachable frontier between “savory chefs” working the “hot line” and “pastry chefs” working, well, in any space they could find. Chef Jennifer is one of a growing new breed who has handled both jobs (and apparently has both quite different personalities) here and there on her resume, and she makes an incredible flourless chocolate cake to prove it. The delightfully chunky-chewy orange marmalade underneath carried me back to breakfasts with my parents in my childhood. And after all, isn’t that comfort food’s job in the first place?