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It’s Soft-Shell Crabs Season at Pico’s Mex-Mex Restaurant
Springtime in Texas means Pico's Mex-Mex owner/chef Arnaldo Richards is preparing his signature Al Mojo De Ajo (soft-shell crabs lightly breaded and pan-fried in garlic olive oil). Richards uses live, fresh crabs that pair well with his potent margaritas. But be warned, the dish is so popular they sometimes run out, so you might want to call ahead. And don’t wait too long; the soft-shell crab season only lasts through summer. Pico's Mex-Mex, 5941 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX 77081, 713-662-8383.
Cooking with Chef Matthew Gray
To celebrate the first anniversary of Chez Roux, La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa is offering guests a chance to get up close and personal with Matthew Gray, the waterfront restaurant's chef, for a little cooking and wine pairing. Each Wednesday, beginning on May 12, Gray will lead two classes of eight students through the preparation of a four-course meal in the modern French style. Classes are $79 per person, excluding tax, for either a morning or afternoon session; the cost includes lunch or dinner following the class, which features the corresponding four-course menu with wine pairings. Chez Roux, La Torretta Del Lago Resort & Spa, 600 La Torretta Blvd., Montgomery, TX 77356, 936-448-4400.
Chef Chip Hight, who joined Alden-Houston’s 17 restaurant last year, has quietly left, just before the downtown 97-room luxury hotel was sold. Northwood Investors, a privately held investment advisor with $1.25 billion of equity to invest in real estate, acquired the hotel last month. No word yet on where Hight will end up, but he says he plans to stay in Houston. 17 at Alden-Houston Hotel, Alden-Houston, 1117 Prairie St., Houston, TX 77002, 832-200-8888.
Chef Francesco Casetta, formerly of Tony's, is now spearheading the kitchen at La Colombe d'Or. Casetta left Tony’s late last year in what owner Tony Vallone called an amicable split. La Colombe d'Or, the boutique hotel in a 1923 mansion in Montrose, confirms that chef Casetta is now turning out the restaurant’s modern French dishes and Texas wild game. La Colombe d'Or, 3410 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX 77006, 713-524-7999.
Houston bid a fond farewell to the longtime Galleria-area favorite Masraff's when father and son Tony and Russell Masraff closed the charming location on Post Oak Lane. But fans of the fine Euro cuisine and great wines needn't worry too much. The pair is busy finishing up the remodeling of the new location at 1753 Post Oak Blvd., just blocks away. Russell Masraff says they plan to open the new location shortly. Masraff's, 1025 S. Post Oak Lane, Houston, TX 77056, no phone.
View our calendar of Wine Dinners & Tastings in Houston