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Ziggy Gruber On Houston And Deli Life

Ziggy Gruber didn’t expect he would be the central character in Deli Man, a 2015 documentary about Jewish delis around the U.S. But Gruber, owner and chef of Kenny & Ziggy’s and third-generation deli man, stole the show. When he asked film director Erik Greenberg Anjou why, “he said, ‘because you’re the biggest character I know.’ And if you see the film, I guess I am a character,” said Gruber. A character he is and one sure to make you smile with his stories and good food. Gruber arrived in…

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Space Food: What Goes On In NASA’s Food Lab

Photo Credits (above and below): NASA's Flickr Stream Thinking about eating in space may evoke thoughts of bland and boring food. But much of the food that astronauts consume today are foods they would eat on the ground; they’ve just been processed and prepackaged to withstand microgravity and time. “When you go to a restaurant a lot of it is presentation. When we process food, the presentation is gone and so you are very dependent on the quality of the product and the flavor and the smell and…

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Erin Smith on Winning Chopped and Her Favorite Houston Eats

Houston chef Erin Smith, formerly of Main Kitchen at the JW Marriot, Clumsy Butcher Group and Plonk! Bistro, was crowned victor of the Food Network’s cooking competition, Chopped. Smith won the title in an episode that aired in late May and required her to cook with exotic ingredients such as rattlesnake. She’s the third Houston chef to win on the show. A native Houstonian, Smith went to culinary school in San Francisco before going to work in New York and returning to Houston. She’s currently…

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Camerata's David Keck On Texas Wines and Becoming Master Sommelier

David Keck, sommelier and co-owner of Camerata wine bar in Montrose, earned the highest distinction for wine professionals this month. After passing a grueling series of exams that included a one-hour mock restaurant service and a blind tasting where he had to identify six wines in 25 minutes, Keck became a master sommelier. That makes Keck one of two master sommeliers currently living in Houston. His mentor, Guy Stout of Glazer’s Distribution, is the other one. We caught up with Keck to talk…

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David Buehrer On Houston Coffee and His Upcoming Morningstar

David Buehrer was at the forefront of Houston’s coffee scene when he started Greenway Coffee with partner Ecky Prabanto in 2008, bringing top-quality artisanal coffee to the city when very few people were doing so. He then opened Blacksmith in 2013 along with the Clumsy Butcher Group, redefining what a coffee shop could be by offering not only great coffee but also an interesting menu of breakfast and lunch items. Buehrer is now almost ready to open his third store, Morningstar, at 4721 North…

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Justin Yu of Oxheart Talks James Beard Nomination, Running a Restaurant, and Favorite Eateries

Houston was yet again included among this year's James Beard Award finalists--the Oscars of the nation's dining industry. Justin Yu's Oxheart on the north end of Downtown and Hugo Ortega of Caracol are finalists for Best Chef in the Southwest. We recently sat down with Chef Hugo Ortega to talk tortillas. This week Oxheart Chef Justin Yu sits down with Visit Houston to talk about his nomination and more. Yu's restaurant, which he opened with wife Karen Man in 2012, and has gained national acclaim…

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Anita Jaisinghani On Pondicheri New York, Ayurveda and Houston’s Food Scene

Anita Jaisinghani has been bringing her own brand of Indian food to Houston with her restaurants Indika, Pondicheri and Pondicheri Bake Lab + Shop. Now she’s taking her flavors to New York, where she’ll open an outpost of Pondicheri in the coming months, and increasingly turning her attention to making food that makes people feel good as much as it tastes good. “I want to be part of the restaurant wave that thinks more about food as a lifestyle than pleasure. I mean food is always pleasure but I…

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Hugo Ortega Talks Tortillas

Chef Hugo Ortega calls masa, the corn dough used to make tortillas, the foundation of Mexican cuisine. At his restaurants, Hugo’s and Caracol, he prepares masa and tortillas the old-fashioned way like he learned from his grandmother as a child. The process begins by cooking dried corn in a mixture of water and cal (ground limestone) and allowing it to rest overnight. The next morning, Ortega grinds the corn into masa, which is then rolled into balls, flattened and cooked. It’s not necessarily…

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Chris Cusack’s Must-Visit Spots In The Heights

When Treadsack CEO Chris Cusack and business partner Joey Treadway were looking for locations for their first restaurant, Down House, the Houston Heights wasn’t their only option. But having grown up there, Cusack found it to be an easier choice. The neighborhood’s community feel aligned with the company’s values and, at the time, the neighborhood was underserved. Fast forward to 2016 and Cusack and the Treadsack team have added D&T Drive-Inn, Johnny’s Gold Brick, Hunky Dory, Foreign…

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Nightingale Room’s Mike Criss Talks Music and Cocktails

When Mike Criss opened downtown bar, Nightingale Room, in November 2014, he melded two of the things he loves most: good music and cocktails. Criss describes the bar, which he opened with Bobby Huegel and The Clumsy Butcher Group, as a high-energy place, where people can have fun, listen to good music and make good memories. Now, a little more than a year after it opened, the Nightingale Room is looking to become more of a live music destination. We caught up with Criss about what’s new at the…

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