Above: Ostiones asados, baked Gulf of Mexico oysters, a signature dish at the newly opened Caracol in Houston, where the restaurant scene is literally exploding with new high-concept entries.
Despite Houston’s manic traffic, I managed to drop by the newly opened Caracol last night in time for happy hour.
The restaurant, celeb chef Hugo Ortega’s latest effort, is the most recent in a string of new entries into the city’s vibrant and ceaselessly expanding restaurant scene.
The new “Mexican coastal cuisine” concept opened on Monday, December 16, said general manager and beverage director, Sean Beck, who now runs four major wine programs in town.
Above: I really loved the unctuous mouthfeel and rich aromatic character of the Heidi Schröck 2012 Gelber Muskateller. I’m so geeked to see what Sean is going to do with his list.
Sean insisted that I try the oysters (above) and they were delicious. But I would have loved to have sampled the Tacos de Gusano, “sautéed dired maguey worms,” yes, worms, with “guacamole, tortillas, and salsa verde.”
They were out last night but they would have paired well with the the Pol Roger NV Champagne that Sean has on the list for $60 (YES, 60 buckaroos!).
As much as I believe that San Francisco is currently the number-one restaurant destination in the U.S. today, with New York on its heels, Houston — now America’s third-largest city after NYC and LA — is really beginning to adolesce.
Caracol is going to be a winner and a national player, for sure.
Although he’s shuttling between all four of the group’s restaurants these days, Sean is spending most of his time at Caracol. You can keep up with Sean sightings and where he’ll be working on a given night by following his Twitter.
In other news…
Please check out Levi Dalton’s excellent interview with Gaia Gaja for his “I’ll drink to that” podcast. Gaia is very candid with Levi about what’s been changing at the winery over the last decade and as always, Levi surprises me and teaches me something new by means of the questions he poses.
And I LOVED this post by my good friend and homegirl Samantha Sans Dosage, who shares her experiences as a buyer for a major So. Cal. wine shop. The holidays are always intense for anyone who works in the wine trade and I fell out of my breakfast chair this morning reading her descriptions of the often hard-to-palate questions she’s asked.