“Top Chef” Contestant Takes On Home Turf

"Top Chef" contestant Casey Thompson's Brownstone restaurant in Forth Worth, TX
"Top Chef" contestant Casey Thompson's Brownstone restaurant in Forth Worth, TX

by Becky Sauer 

Texas native and “Top Chef” Season 3 contestant Casey Thompson is back on her home turf with her first signature restaurant, Brownstone, in Fort Worth. She’s crafted a menu of modern (but still stick-to-your-ribs) Southern-inspired fare like mini chicken pot pies, barbecue pork rib-lets with house-made sauce and sweet relish, and a bone-in buffalo skillet rib-eye with potato dumplings and cumin-butter.

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A Toast to Fall

Check out the Top 10 Fall Beers in our Quarterly Wine Newsletter for autumn
Check out the Top 10 Fall Beers in our Quarterly Wine Newsletter for autumn

by Jeff Hoyt


Sure, it’s great to knock down an ice-cold beer on a hot summer day, but there are certain beers that really shine as the days go brisk. Check out our top 10 fall beers list and learn about pumpkin ales and an amber lager named after crime-fighter Eliot Ness! Our Quarterly Wine Newsletter, published today, also profiles the best Oktoberfest celebrations for next month, and the top 10 Thanksgiving wines for the following month. For those looking to fall in love this fall, we’ve even got the top 10 bars for a first date. The issue also contains information you can use year-round, including the restaurants near you with top wine lists, the best wine bars in your area, and an inexpensive tequila that’s 100% blue agave. Skoal!

Saved by the Décor?

The tequila tunnel at chef Rick Bayless' Red O restaurant in Los Angeles
The tequila tunnel at chef Rick Bayless’ Red O restaurant in Los Angeles

by Sophie Gayot

Watch our exclusive video interview with Rick Bayless talking about his book Fiesta at Rick’s.


Red O is currently the hot place to see and be seen in Los Angeles. It’s celebrity chef Rick Bayless’ first restaurant outside of Chicago. There he operates Frontera Grill which has become a mecca for food lovers in the Windy City, and next-door neighbor Topolobampo, which some rate as one of the best Mexican restaurants in the country. I cannot say all these good things about his restaurant on Melrose.


Last night, I headed to Red O for dinner, and tried 25 (yes, twenty-five) dishes plus two desserts. I had a rather disappointing meal, especially since I had high expectations. The best dish of all was the pescado Zarandeado, a wood-grilled striped bass basted with red chili and served with three salsas, Veracruz-style white rice with sweet plantains and arugula salad. On the other side of the scale, avoid the creamy goat cheese cheesecake accompanied by Mexican “root beer” sauce and caramel popcorn.

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Eat, Drink, and Be Merry and Charitable!

The American Wine and Food Festival
The American Wine & Food Festival

by Jeff Hoyt

If the start of fall is bringing you down this week, perk up by attending the 28th American Wine & Food Festival which supports the Meals On Wheels Programs of Los Angeles. If Saturday night in LA is chilly, warm up with fine food from chefs from around the globe, including Thomas Keller (Bouchon), Paul Bartolotta (Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare), Tetsu Yahagi (Spago Beverly Hills), David McIntyre & Sally Camacho (WP24), Mark Peel (Campanile, The Tar Pit), Julian Serrano (Picasso), François Payard (Payard Patisserie & Bistro), Cameron Lewark (Spago Maui), Dean Fearing (Fearing’s) and Paul Prudhomme (K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen). There will also be plenty of wine and spirit purveyors pouring their warming wares on the backlot at Universal Studios, including Duckhorn Vineyards, J Vineyards, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Beam Global Spirits & Wine and Ultimat Vodka. You can also dance to stay warm, as we did last year until security made us stop, but that’s another story!
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Chicago Gourmet Ushers in Fall

You don't have to be a gourmet to enjoy the food and wine at Chicago Gourmet
by Jennifer Olvera  

Chicago is gearing up for one of its biggest—and, arguably, tastiest—galas: Chicago Gourmet, courtesy of the Illinois Restaurant Association in conjunction with Bon Appetit magazine. The third-annual event will be held in Millennium Park on September 25 from noon until 6 p.m. and September 26 from noon until 5 p.m. and will feature hundreds of the city’s leading chefs, sommeliers, brewers, winemakers and distillers—as well as famed ones beyond Chicago city limits.

From beer tastings to chef demos, seminars to book signings, its attendees will have no shortage of edible opportunities throughout. Plus, Bon Appetit editor Barbara Fairchild and Executive Chef Cat Cora will be present (see them in the Marketplace Tent). Additionally, the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) will feature the Foodspring.com Specialty Food Pavillion, where over 60 food and beverage purveyors will be offering samples. Continue reading “Chicago Gourmet Ushers in Fall” »