Category Archives: Wine

Houston Wine Bars

One of my new favorite things to do is have a nice long dinner over a bottle (or 2… or 3) of wine and a beautiful cheese plate.  Maybe I’m a bit late to this scene, not sure, but I know most days of the week this is an ideal dinner situation dinner for me.  I am still learning about wines about wine and think I can finally tell the differences between some varietals, but I have a long way to go.  As far as cheese, I am still not warmed up to Bleu – I try and try but just haven’t developed the palette for it…. I’m not sure I ever will.

I have been around several of Houston’s Wine bars and sampled several cheese plates (among other small plate items) and here are some of my thoughts:

Sonoma – this was very highly recommended, yet not my favorite.  Located in Upper Kirby, Sonoma seems to have a lot of wine tasting events – which is great for a newcomer to the wine scene or for someone who enjoys variety.  After sharing a bottle of Oregon Pinot – I opted for a Red Flight of wine which was very interesting and informative.  The cheese plate; however, left something to be desired, I only enjoyed 1 of the 4 cheeses (Drunken Goat)  Ordered a couple small plates here too – smoked salmon (good) mac and cheese (eh).  Overall, the ambiance isn’t the best, but the prices seemed okay to me.

So VinoCame here looking for a late night meal just after the kitchen closed – after the bartender noticed I was visibly upset about the lack of food, he whipped up a cheese plate that was delicious! I was so impressed I vowed to return during regular kitchen hours and did so about a week later (consequently the same evening an event was taking place, but nonetheless…) and enjoyed a beautiful meal and New Zealand Pinot Noir which was offered at a wonderful price. I heart SoVino.

Max’s Wine Dive (revisited)Not your typical wine bar – (hello Fried Egg Sandwich!) but on my second trip, I was still impressed.  I tried to recreate the Fried egg sandwich at home before I even tried it here and my version didn’t touch Max’s.  Great wine prices, cool take on food items, and always – always crowded. If I can go on a less crowded night, I’ll be there.

Block 7 Wine Company (revisited) – Been here a handful of times now and I can’t say I’ve been disappointed.  I’ve noticed the markup is a little higher than at other wine bars that offer “market price” but I can’t say I’ve ever been disappointed with any wine I’ve tried. I particularly like the old warehouse feel /open or closed garage door aspects of Block 7 and this cheese plate is one of my favorites so far.  Last time, I had the grilled cheese which was still a bit greasy for my taste and the Block 7 Krack (not impressed at all).  I think I’ll stick to the wine and cheese.

PoscolI was very excited to go to Poscol because not only do I love cheese, I love charcuterie.  Rumor had it Poscol not only offers some great charcuterie, but also a lot of the meats are cured in house. Very cool. Our waiter was extremely well informed and eager to give suggestions, which I love! It always excites me to see the staff so excited about what they are serving. We had 5 meats and 3 cheeses (hard to choose favorite as they were all AMAZING – just take the waitstaff recommendations), the salted cod dip (very interesting but yummy) and risotto (I hear it was good). I read a review saying you could smell fumes from the dry cleaner next door. For me, not so much – but that might be because I sat probably the furthest away you could get from it. As for wines – I rely on other to make the pick but my companion was not so informed on Italian wines so our waiter stepped in and suggested some decent choices…not my favorite ever but still good- and nice prices.  I will def be back.

**I’ve also tried Catalan and Ibiza, but I categorize those as more a restaurant than a wine bar. For the record, our server at Mark’s did obsess a little over the wine selection at Ibiza.

Any suggestions for wine bars to try?

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Date Restaurants – Part 1

For the longest time I have had a list of places I’ve wanted to try that I felt were only suitable to go to with a date (or with a friend willing to spend for a gourmet meal)  Since I’m terrible at updating this blog, I have compiled a list of notable Houston restaurants and my opinions on them that I have had the pleasure of trying over the past 3 months.

Mark’s (8/10) – Just about everything was amazing at Mark’s and it should have been, considering the price tag.  The service, wine, salmon trio starter – perfecto. I have never had such amazing salmon! Mark’s was in the running for a 10, but I had the pork and – don’t shoot me – it was overcooked and tough.  I set high expectations for a place with a reputation like Mark’s so, needless to say I was disappointed.  I did have a bite of the boy’s beef tenderloin and it was wonderful…maybe he would give it a 10. Overall, very lovely – I would still recommend it for a special occasion – the ambiance is amazing and interior is beautiful.

1658 Westheimer Rd. Houston, Texas 77006 (713) 523-3800 marks1658.com

La Colombe d’Or (9/10) – The reason La Colombe is getting a 9 is because I believe it is more geared towards weddings or events, not as somewhere to eat for 2.  Saturday night – reservations at 8:30, and not another soul to be seen – it was a bit eerie for me but also a bit awesome. I like to pretend it was rented out just for us two. We joked we were in either an 80’s/early 90’s romantic comedy/horror on account of the music, decor and the fact this is also a hotel.  This was a meal of firsts for me: first escargot, first time to be the only couple dining in a restaurant and the first time I ever tried Chateaubriand – come to think of it maybe the first time to eat French ever (outside La Madeline of course). The food was amazing. We started with the duck trio – absolutely divine. And the Chateaubriand was amazing paired with the Bearnaise. I had my favorite bottle of wine to date at La Colombe: Chateau Trotanoy 2006. Hopefully if you go, there are others around.

3410 Montrose Boulevard Houston, TX 77006-4329 (713) 524-7999 lacolombedorhouston.com

Glass Wall (7/10) – Oh Glass Wall, how I wanted to love you.  The menu is so creative and interesting, but I have to say I left with an overall feeling of “meh.” I decided to go with wine pairings wince they were available and I always like to receive wine suggestions (mainly because I still have a ton to learn) – these were spot on my taste. The best part was the beignets and milk for dessert, which were served warm and gooey.  Nothing was exceptionally memorable, but I would definitely like to give the GW another shot. I would say this is better for friends than for a date, but the menu might also be an interesting topic of conversation.  Things can get a bit loud so do your best to snag a booth.

933 Studewood Street Houston, TX 77008-7195 (713) 868-7930 glasswalltherestaurant.com

Pappas Bros Steakhouse (12/10) – I’m from Texas and I love me some steak. For a nice long period of time, if steak was available on the menu – I’d order it. At Pappas, I was in another universe from the moment I walked in the front door. If you couldn’t tell already I’m a huge raw salmon fan so the salmon appetizer (another trio) was absolutely breathtaking.  I had the filet (prepared a perfect medium rare) and is just melted in my mouth – words can’t describe how happy I was at that moment…. which is actually a bit sad.  For sides, we split the Crabmeat Macaroni, Sauteed Mushrooms, Asparagus and mashed potatoes.  This meal was a feast – so much so we enjoyed the leftovers the next day, which were just as good as the night before.  There was not one thing wrong with this meal except that I couldn’t finish it all at once. If you have the chance to go here: go go go.

5839 Westheimer Road Houston, TX 77057-5616 (713) 780-7352 pappasbros.com

Catalan (5/10) – Another one I wanted to love – the Street Food looked awesome.  I actually had an item off the Street food menu – I forgot the area but it was braised pork belly, green onions and watermelon – I was not impressed. I feel like I keep missing the mark  with pork dishes.  I want to love them. Anyway – The tuna appetizer left something to be desired and the calamari was – well, calamari. Overall, I regret not trying the Bone Marrow Service – it seems to be one of the most wonderful items no the menu.  If you want to give it a try anyway, reservations are a must.  This place is crowded and loud.

5555 Washington Ave, Suite A Houston, TX 77007 (713) 426-4260 catalanfoodandwine.com

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