Monday, March 16, 2015

First Things, First

A quick recap on another food-filled weekend around town.

Levure Bakery:  As the population of The Woodlands has increased, so have the dining options. Levure Bakery, which opened last week in the Woodlands Creekside Park Village (26400 Kuykendahl) with positive buzz, is one of the latest eateries to open up in this fast-growing Houston suburb. Levure serves hot breakfast options such as omelettes, French toast and pain perdu, salads and sandwiches for lunch, and also offers traditional French pastries and treats. They had quite a crowd when I arrived on Saturday morning, and there was definitely some confusion amongst the staff on how to handle the influx of customers. Levure is wisely closing until this Wednesday to re-group and train the staff to better handle its inevitable popularity, but the food was affordable and well executed. The twice baked brioche and chocolate chip cookie were very good and clearly made with quality ingredients. As one accustomed to paying premium prices for baked goods (thanks for that, Common Bond!), purchasing two pastries and two cups of coffee for less than ten dollars was a pleasant surprise.



from left to right: Bryan Horton, Michael Fulmer, Scott Sandlin, Yours Truly, Chris Reid, JR Cohen. Photo courtesy of Scott Sandlin

Pinkerton's Barbecue: Houston, which until recently was thought to be bereft of good barbecue options, keeps growing its roster as new barbecue restaurants, food trucks, and pop-ups are showing up all over the city. The latest, Pinkerton's Barbecue, is run by 26-year old Grant Pinkerton who is opening up in - of all places - River Oaks. Saturday afternoon marked their first time serving to the general public, offering up free plates of brisket, pork ribs, sausage, sides and desserts. This was a great way to introduce themselves to the community and plenty of the well-known barbecue aficionados of Houston were on hand to show their support. It was a good first impression with well smoked ribs and moist brisket. Pinkerton's is aiming for an August opening at the restaurant but will likely continue to do pop-ups in the interim. It will be nice to have another smoked meat option inside the loop.

Pappa Charlie's: A much overdue return visit to Pappa Charlie's served as a reminder that I need to get there more often. Wesley Jurena's food trailer is regularly at Jackson's Watering Hole (1205 Richmond Ave.) serving up extremely flavorful meats and sides. The stars on this day were the brisket and prime rib. Pappa Charlie's does not abide by the conventional "low and slow" method of smoking meat, instead preferring a hot fire and short cook time. The end results, though, prove that there is not one true way to cook great barbecue. The brisket I was served last weekend was as moist and well rendered as any low and slow joint you're likely to find. With a new schedule alteration that has the trailer parked at Jackson's for Friday lunch, I'm sure my next visit will be in the near future. If you haven't sought out Pappa Charlie's yet, I highly recommend it. It's difficult to find barbecue of this quality without a long line and a trip to the suburbs.

Lamb pastrami sandwich with a side of potato salad from Revival Market


Other Eats: There was another good meal at Tipico Café, a trip to Melange Creperie before they leave their normal Montrose spot, and the fantastic lamb pastrami sandwich at Revival Market that narrowly missed making it on my favorite bites of 2014 list.

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