Archive | August, 2012

Kris Bistro & Wine Lounge at LeNotre Culinary Institute in Houston

20 Aug

            My sweet husband, Jay, has been a big part of what helped me to finally emerge from my post-surgery funk.  Despite my listlessness and bouts of foul temper, he has systematically tried to plant seeds of joy in my life: opportunities for travel, culinary adventure, great wine and most of all, tenderness.  He is worth his weight in gold (and on his 6’4” frame, that’s a lot of gold), even when he drives me crazy.  Last week, he invited me out for a “surprise” lunch at Kris, the restaurant at Culinary Institute LeNotre in Houston.

            I loved the experience on so many levels.  As part of the Culinary Institute, part of Kris’ mission is to offer upcoming chefs a practicum in a real restaurant in addition to their culinary classroom training.  The décor is lovely, the menu and wine list interesting.  Our food was delicious, well prepared and the service attentive.  We found the pricing very attractive, as well.  Our three course meal, with wine, was $62.00.  Best of all, I enjoyed the chance to support enthusiastic students while enjoying a great meal.  So much so, that I asked Jay to take me back to Kris in a few weeks to enjoy their prix fixe menu for my birthday.  I love it that a portion of the prix fixe price goes to the Houston Food Bank.  I enjoyed our meal so much that my blogger hat “fell off” and I forgot to photograph dessert – opera cake (Layers of Almond Sponge Cake, Coffee Syrup, Ganache, Buttercream) and Caribbean Cremeux (Passion Fruit Cream,Raspberry Filling,Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mousse and Almond Biscuit).  What a treat!

2010 Simonnet-Febvre Millesime Chablis – fresh and crisp, with characteristic minerality. It paired beautifully with the food.

Butter Lettuce and Frisee Salad with what I believe was a Pernod Vinaigrette – Delicious

Pan Caramelized Diver Scallop, Spicy Summer Pepper Relish, Hummus Spread

Pan Roasted Local Gulf Snapper, Corn Encrusted Crab Cake, Black Bean Puree, Watercress Fume Blanc


Rain For My Soul

16 Aug

            July 2012 was the warmest month in U.S. history.  Drought haunts the American bread basket states of Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas, their fertile farmlands parched and barren.  And while I in no way equate my relatively insignificant private struggles to these global events, the mental image of dry cracked earth resonates in my soul.  2012 has been a year juxtaposed between crisis and grace.  After four surgeries, a month in the hospital and eight weeks without solid food I’ve felt depleted and dry, caught in the tension between gratitude, impatience and a temptation to despair.  At the risk of being melodramatic, it’s been difficult for me to wait for full recovery and to fight the urge to lose perspective.  I’m a writer in my core.  But at my keyboard, my fingers freeze.  I just haven’t been able to compose the arid silence of my heart.

            But my sky has darkened.  The air grows heavy and a primal smell of earth foreshadows the rain that will dampen my soul.  I can feel the drops beginning to fall.  The worst is over.  I can feel life awakening.  The relief and the gratitude are overwhelming.

Photo by Tobias Helbig:

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