Horseshoe Lounge Austin Wed, 25 May 2022 22:30:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Horseshoe Lounge Austin 32 32 Celebrate Asian Communities in North America Wed, 25 May 2022 22:30:41 +0000

According to Research benchthe Asian population in the United States has nearly doubled in the past two decades and is now expected to exceed 46 million by 2060. From Asian ethnic groups such as the Hmong of Wisconsin to the Chinese-Jamaican population of Toronto, Asian populations form a wide range of cultures that promote the celebration of authentic experiences that North American travelers and residents can enjoy.

Here are some ways to engage with some of the best Asian communities in North America, in keeping with May’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Hmong community in Wausau, Wisconsin

Lester Public Library.

In a statistic little known outside the state, Hmong Americans are Wisconsin’s largest Asian ethnic group. The Hmong originated in China and dispersed to Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Burma from the early 1800s due to Chinese land expansion. After the United States withdrew from South Vietnam in 1975, thousands of Hmong left Laos to seek asylum in Australia, Europe and North America.

According to the 2010 US Census, there were approximately 260,000 Hmong Americans living in the United States, with the majority living in California, Minnesota and Wisconsin. In the town of Wausau, in central Wisconsin, you can learn about Hmong culture at the Laos to America Museum. Opened at its new location in November 2021, this museum showcases artifacts of Hmong and Lao life, culture and history with exhibits that show hand tools used for subsistence farming, utensils cookware and musical instruments.

People can engage with the Hmong community across the state at cultural events like the Hmong National Memorial Day Festival, learning about and celebrating the diverse and vibrant Hmong community.

Head down to Milwaukee to find the 5XEN Marketplace featuring an international grocery store, authentic Asian and world cuisine restaurants, a conference center, and a banquet hall that hosts events big and small.

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Asiatown neighborhood in Houston, Texas

27th Annual Asian American Festival, Hermann Park, Houston, Texas.
Fossil mike.

Houston‘s huge immigrant population merges into incredible diversity. One in four Houstonians comes from another county, and the sprawling city is home to nearly every Asian culture, including Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and the nation’s third-highest Vietnamese population.

You can find much of this concentration of cultures in the Asiatown neighborhood of Houston. Visitors can immerse themselves in Asian heritage tours, serene Buddhist temples, traditional art adventures, shopping and more.

Perhaps the most acclaimed part of this cultural fusion is Houston’s culinary scene fueled by authentic restaurants, bakeries and specialty grocery stores. This gave rise to famous local dishes such as Viet-Cajun (Viejun), a twist on traditional southern crawfish porridge enhanced with Vietnamese flavors. There’s also James Beard Award semi-finalist Crawfish & Noodles and Kau Ba Kitchen (with Ugly Delicious star Nikki Tran at the helm), who have elevated this cuisine from a local favorite to a sought-after and recognized scene in national scale.

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Discover several Asian communities in Toronto, Canada

Toronto Taiko Festival 2012 Bang On!
Brian Carson.

With more than 200 languages ​​spoken and more than half of its population born in another country, Toronto has long been home to a great cultural variety. This authentic multiculturalism manifests itself as soon as travelers land in Toronto.

There are several Chinatowns, a museum dedicated to Islamic culture, the Caribbean festival of Caribana, and much more. This diversity has inspired generations of diverse Torontonians to establish their ethnic mark in the city and share their unique perspective with travellers.

Among the influential locals creating the future of Toronto’s diversity is MJ Jeong’s restaurant, which fuses Korean and French cuisine. Jeong and his fiancée Jennifer Yeo Jeong started this restaurant from scratch after MJ completed compulsory South Korean military service, migrating to Queen City to start a new life in Toronto.

Craig Wong spotlights Jamaican-Chinese cuisine at Patois. Wong’s family lived in Jamaica for more than three generations before immigrating to Canada in the early 1970s. Their cuisine incorporates this Jamaican-Chinese heritage in concert with world-class, Michelin-starred cooking techniques acquired at years of working in restaurants like Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée in Paris and Heston Blumental’s Fat Duck in England.

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And more…

This is just a taste of what awaits adventurous urban travellers. From Seattle to San Diego on the West Coast and scattered across the United States, travelers from all walks of life can discover art, dance, dining, Asian experiences and more.

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]]> New Deals to Accelerate Donut Franchise Shipley’s Growth, Plus Other Development News | Franchise News Tue, 24 May 2022 14:45:00 +0000

Three agreements with Shipley Do-Nuts will bring more than 50 units to Georgia and Maryland. Based in Dallas ARFD Foodsoperated by Andrew Robertson and Franklin Diaz, has signed for 25 locations in Georgia, while Oziel Rodriguez, operator Sweet Donuts Investments, has reached an agreement for five stores. In Maryland, cousins Brian Lemek Jr. and John Egan signed a 25-unit deal through their Mid-Atlantic Do-Nuts. Founded in 1936, Shipley Do-Nuts franchises more than 330 restaurants in 10 states.

Dave’s Hot Chicken expands into Minnesota by signing a deal with Michael McGuire open six sites in the Twin Cities. McGuire, a franchisee with 34 years of experience in quick service restaurants, has operated brands such as Domino’s, Jersey Mikes, Krispy Kreme and Little Caesars.

Technology reseller PayMore will open branches in the Milwaukee area after signing a multi-unit agreement with Tim Ven Hause. Also a multi-unit operator of uBreakiFix (which is rebranding itself as Asurion Tech Repair), VenHause plans to open its first PayMore store in West Allis, a suburb of Milwaukee.

The exterior of a Bad Ass Cafe.

Bad Ass Coffee from Hawaii signed an agreement with business partners Ankush Agrawal and Rushik Solanki and their Makers Group to develop five units in the Dallas Metro. They plan to open their first store in Sachse, an eastern suburb of Dallas, in late 2022 or early 2023, with the others expected to follow in the next two years. Agrawal has a background in construction and property management, while Solanki has a background in business management and operations.

RCI Hospitality Holdings, which has several strip clubs and dining establishments, signed a franchise development agreement with Jerry Westlund to open three Bombshells Restaurant & Bar units in Alabama. Westlund is a Nashville entrepreneur and managing partner of BMB Huntsville who has experience owning 30 nightclubs, bars and restaurants in 12 states. The agreement provides for the opening of the three military-themed sports bars over five years.

Cafe Elianos plans to expand its current footprint in Jacksonville with two new locations in Nassau County, Florida. It signed a two-unit development agreement with existing franchisees spencer and Kacie Hutchison, which has three stores in Georgia, and another in Peach State is expected to open soon. Founded in 2002, Ellianos Coffee is a Florida-based company with 22 operating locations.

Dog House signed a multi-unit agreement to bring 15 sites to the state of Maryland. Existing franchisees Faizan and Adila Khan, which operates three restaurants, will open new locations in Annapolis, Baltimore and other Maryland communities, as well as the greater Washington, DC area, over the next five years. A franchisee since 2018, Faizan has 25 years of experience in the technology industry.

Everbowl Brees

Everbowl CEO Jeff Fenster, left, with retired NFL player Drew Brees.

Super Bowl champion and legendary quarterback for the New Orleans Saints Drew Bree expands its partnership with the acai bowl concept everbowl. Brees, which has already signed a 60-unit deal for locations in New Orleans, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, will now open 15 stores in Tennessee and 10 in Virginia. Brees works with Alex Yeater, an Everbowl area representative, to jointly manage and operate the locations. Launched in 2016, Everbowl has 46 stores open and signs major multi-unit development agreements.

A new agreement will extend Quiznos and Taco Del Mar. Parent company Rego Restaurant Group has signed a development agreement with Dominica and Monique Mendoza to build 10 restaurants in Denver. The recent deal isn’t the first for the Mendozas, as their company CF Lifestyle Investments also has a two-unit deal for restaurants in New Mexico. The Mendozas also acquired six Quiznos restaurants in the Denver market, making it one of the brand’s largest franchisees. High Bluff Capital acquired Quiznos and Taco Del Mar in 2018.

The Dog Stop, a dog care concept, has signed deals to bring 12 new locations to cities including Chicago, Columbus, Ohio, Long Island, New York, Orlando, Florida and Lexington Kentucky, as well as the Central Region from New Jersey. The signing of a three-territory agreement is Denis Hill, a lawyer in Frisco, Texas. The other three-territory agreement was signed by the franchisee David Weinberg in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. The five-territory agreement, meanwhile, was signed by the franchisee Justin Steiner from Orlando.

Steve Christensen and Reid Richardswho already have a 12-unit deal to develop Big chicken in Arizona, signed a separate deal to bring Shaquille O’Neal’s brand of chicken to Idaho and Utah. Christensen and Richards, former Five Guys franchisees, are also developing brunch restaurant Another Broken Egg Café in Arizona.

Goldfish Swim Schools has signed a four-unit franchise agreement for new locations in the greater Houston area. The franchisees are alexander and Jaime Mesa and Bret Beitleras well as Jonathan Spindler of Waterslake Capital. The Mesas and Beitler own an Urban Air Adventure Park and three Kids ‘R’ Kids franchises in the Houston market. Spindler, meanwhile, is another Urban Air franchisee that also operates Code Ninjas and Scooter’s Coffee locations.

Steve Zeiglera multi-unit Jersey Mike’s franchisee, enters the pizza business by signing an agreement to open three Pizza Mike of the Mountain restaurants in Texas. The deal is one of two three-unit deals signed for Texas. The other is with Robbie and Varinder Basati. Robby is the largest Mountain Mike’s franchisee in California.

Twin Peaks Outdoor Canvas

Twin Peaks opens in Pittsburgh.

twin peaks signed a multi-unit agreement with the franchisee Shamsu Charania of the Falcons Group, with three locations slated to open in the Pittsburgh area within the next year. A franchisee of Dunkin’, Baskin-Robbins, Checkers/Rally’s and TGI Fridays, The Falcons Group operates more than 90 restaurants in seven states and recently acquired 30 Rally’s from Joe Hertzman.

Korean fried chicken brand Bonchon has signed an agreement to open three locations in the Los Angeles area. The agreement is with the contractor Kenneth Parkwhich plans to open the first location in early 2023.

Jérémie’s Italian ice cream has set its sights on the state of Tennessee, with over 20 locations planned. The development is accompanied by the signing of an agreement with DT Ventures, owned and operated by Brad Davis. A total of 22 units are planned, with five locations expected to open within the next 18 months. Davis operates 10 Macro’s Pizza restaurants in Tennessee and is a Scooter’s Coffee franchise.

International Development News

Xponential Fitness continues its international expansion by signing a master franchise agreement in Mexico for its StretchLab, Rumble and AKT brands. The master franchisee, a division of Mexican construction and hospitality company Grupo ITISA, plans to open at least 60 studios across the three brands over the next 10 years. Besides Mexico, Xponential, which went public last year and has 10 brands, is expanding into Australia, the Dominican Republic, Japan, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea and Spain. New studios are also planned in Austria, Germany and the UK.

Metro signed two master franchise agreements, in Brazil and Malaysia. SouthRock, a Brazil-based multi-brand restaurant operator, is one of the franchisees, with an agreement for exclusive rights to manage and develop all Subway locations in the market. A licensed operator of Starbucks and TGI Fridays, SouthRock will expand the footprint of Brazil’s Metro, which already has 1,600 locations. In Southeast Asia, existing partner Pegacorn has signed an agreement to develop 500 new metros across Peninsular Malaysia over the next 10 years, a development that would triple the number of restaurants in the market.

Sola Lounges signed three multi-unit agreements for new locations in Canada. Larry Lloyd and mike mcdonald plan to open three branches in Ontario’s Durham Region. Ammar Aboulnasr, founder and CEO of electronics distributor Basatne International, has signed on to open two locations, in Hamilton and Barrie, Ontario. And the opening of Solas in North York, Richmond Hill and Markham is a new franchisee mike ruthard.

The Birria Queen has become Taco Royalty Mon, 23 May 2022 21:29:33 +0000

It’s 6 p.m. on a hot Monday in April and Donelle Mendoza has been cooking since noon. Bad Bunny and Ramón Ayala blow up an iPhone in his northeast Austin apartment when an incoming call abruptly interrupts a manic accordion solo. On this side of the line, she rattles off a series of well-rehearsed questions: “Have you ordered yet? Do you need the address? Original or red tortillas? Crispy or soft? Onion, coriander and salsita as an accompaniment? »

She leaves the call on the speakerphone as she dips a corn tortilla into the 10-gallon pot of rich, chili-laden consommé bubbling on her stove. The dipped tortilla sizzles and crisps on a griddle as it deftly folds into a mixture of Oaxacan cheeses and tender stewed beef with a flick of the wrist, then hangs up the phone.

For the next four hours, Mendoza repeats this one-woman balancing exercise, as dozens of customers call the person they alternately refer to as the “Facebook taco woman,” the “Birria lady,” or, her adopted nickname. favorite, the “Birria Queen” – an apt title given to her by an enthusiastic fan on social media.

From noon to 10 p.m., six days a week, his cramped kitchen turns into choreographed mayhem, where the aroma of cumin and ancho peppers perfume the air, the unmistakable ringing of Apple’s xylophone bleats on a loop, and the air conditioning turns on. beats valiantly to refresh the steam the confines of his workspace. And there, at the center of it all, is Mendoza, calmly and methodically filing each order in his head while chopping white onions and bushels of cilantro.

In 2018, before the birria trend swept through central Texas, the chef arrived in Austin from Salinas, Calif., homesick for the Mexican flavors she knew best on the West Coast. A daytime medical assistant, she started making the family version of the specialty dipped in Jalisco consommé after work. After posting the results on Snapchat one evening, her life changed forever as DMs immediately flocked to ask for a taste.

With each new effort, her social media presence grew and she wondered if she could actually make a career out of her kitchen. But the financial reality of being a single mom, especially the slower evenings when her phone went silent, gave her pause. Finally, in October 2019, Mendoza consulted a friend in the restaurant industry about pricing and began selling her food full-time out of her home. Through Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and now TikTok, she steadily expanded her following, creating a fervor that surprised even her. At first, 10 orders a day seemed daunting. Now, on a busy shift, she accomplishes up to four or five times that.

Nothing remains static in Operation Birria Queen. Even today, Mendoza tinkers with the menu, negotiates the requests of its clientele while striving to remain faithful to its well-kept family recipe. The beef chuck has been replaced by the more traditional goat shoulder, but it refuses to change the complementary oil-based condiments, such as its La Llorona sauce made with chili de árbol.

The Birria Queen has also perfected its taco delivery system. Imitating the door-to-door salespeople Mendoza grew up in California, she simply waves her hand outside the downstairs kitchen window, signaling to customers at her North Austin apartment complex whenever every freshly made order is ready to go. It’s an endearing play, one she would have to reluctantly sacrifice if she turned her farm into a food truck, a move that is seriously being considered in the near future.

By 10 p.m. most nights, Mendoza has made a sizable dent in the 15 pounds of beef simmering on the stove. In addition to her signature birria tacos, she also uses the ingredients of crispy fried taquitos, birria-infused nacho cheese that’s fishy on Hot Cheetos, ramen noodles swimming in meat broth, carne-laden fries, and a birria pizza that looks more like an overstuffed quesadilla.

Before cleaning up the pile of pots and pans, she scrolls through her various social media feeds and responds to the many messages she’s received throughout the day. It is then time to cook a little more, because it reconstitutes the broth which must simmer all night. It doesn’t feel like a job, she insists, but a tribute to her home and her heritage. It’s love on a take-out plate.

That’s why tomorrow, it will start again.

Celebrate National Breast Day with Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Mon, 23 May 2022 14:01:45 +0000

Dallas, May 23, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Did you know beef brisket is one of the most versatile cuts of meat? It is not surprising that it has its own national holiday. There’s no better way to celebrate than with Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, where our experienced pitmasters serve legit. Texas. BBQ.™

In honor of National Chest Day on May 28, Dickey’s book two amazing offers just in time for fans to feast on a unique, slow-smoked beef brisket:

  • ‘ONLINE EXCLUSIVE’ Beef brisket sandwich, side of your choice and Big Yellow Cup for $8.99 – Redeem online and in-app only (no coupon code required), available May 23-29. This offer is available in the online menu and in the app under “Offers”.
  • Buy a brisket sandwich, get one free – Big Yellow Cup Rewards members will receive a unique code via email to redeem online and in-app only. Code valid from May 28 to 31.

“It’s such a busy time of year for celebrations and family gatherings, and there’s no better way to spend some quality time with loved ones than with Texas-style meats from Dicky. If you don’t have 12-14 hours to smoke the perfect brisket, Dickey’s has you covered and smokes every brisket in a real hickory wood pit every day,” said Laura Rea Dickey, CEO of Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc. “We invite everyone to join us in celebrating one of the most delicious parties of the year and take advantage of these amazing offers to ensure you get your brisket fix, no matter how. you like it !

Do you have an upcoming event that you need to prepare for? Whether you’re planning a Memorial Day gathering, Father’s Day, birthday party, graduation party or even a wedding, at Dickey’s we do it all! No matter the event, no matter how small, let us take the stress out of feeding your guests so you too can enjoy the event. Let Dickey help deliver Legit. Texas. Barbecue. with catering options and party packs that will satisfy your guests and their cravings. No matter how you support it, Dickey’s has you covered. To order online, go to or call your local Dickey’s.

For more, follow Dickey’s Barbecue Pit on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Download the Dickey’s Barbecue Pit app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

About Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc.

Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc., the world’s largest barbecue concept, was founded in 1941 by the Dickey family. Over the past 80 years, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit has served millions of guests in 44 legitimate states. Texas. Barbecue.™ At Dickey’s, all of our grilled meats are smoked on-site in a hickory wood pit. Dickey’s proudly believes there is no shortcut to real BBQ and that’s why our name isn’t BBQ. The Dallas-based family barbecue franchise offers eight slow-smoked meats and 12 healthy sides with “No BS (Bad Stuff)” included. Dickey’s Barbecue has 550 locations in the United States and eight other countries.

Dickey’s was named to Newsweek’s List of America’s Favorite Restaurant Chains in 2022 and USA today Readers’ Choice Awards 2021. Dickey’s won first place on Fast casual “Top 100 Movers and Shakers” list, named to Top 500 Franchise by Entrepreneur and appointed to hospitality technology List of industry heroes. Led by CEO Laura Rea Dickey, who was named one of the nation’s 50 Most Powerful Women in the Restaurant Industry in Nation Restaurant News, has been recognized by Fast casual Top 100 Movers and Shakers List and Honored by Dallas Business Journal. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit was also recognized by Fox News, Forbes Magazine, Franchise Times, The Dallas Morning News, The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine and QSR Magazine. Dickey’s Barbecue is part of Dickey’s Restaurant Brands which has more than 700 restaurants nationwide, including the Wing Boss, Trailer Birds, Big Deal Burger and brands. DRB is led by CEO Roland Dickey Jr. For more information, visit

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  • Celebrate this National Breast Day with Dickey’s

		“Here for the right reasons?”  Houston paid $240,000 to bring The Bachelor to Houston
		Mon, 23 May 2022 02:56:00 +0000

										HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — At the start of a recent episode of ABC’s The Bachelor, a contestant shrugs her shoulders as she shouts, “We’re going to Houston, baby. I’m ready for some Texas fun.”

Episodes four and five of the reality show’s 26th season were filmed in Houston in October 2021. During their two weeks here, the contestants stayed at the C. Baldwin Hotel and played a competitive football game at NRG Stadium to buy more time with the bachelor. . One of the event attendees was able to spend her one-on-one date at an outdoor picnic with Blood Bros. BBQ, which was recognized by Texas Monthly magazine as one of the 50 Best BBQ Joints in Texas.

Throughout each episode there were glimpses of the city’s food scene, diversity and culture, but 13 investigators found that bringing the show to Houston came at a cost.

Houston First Corporation, the public agency responsible for marketing Houston and funded by Houston hotel tax money, paid the show $240,000 in hotel occupancy tax dollars to film in Houston.

“At the time we made the deal, it was just for one episode, but we got two,” Holly Clapham-Rosenow, director of marketing at Houston First.

She said it ended up being an even bigger deal because the city only paid for one episode, but the producers liked it so much here that they filmed two episodes in Houston.

Still, the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent to lure reality TV shows to Houston came as a shock to some locals.

“I think it’s too expensive,” said Houstonian Sara Perez. “They already make enough profit on the show, so why are you still trying to charge us just for Houston, by coming to Houston.”

Erika Esperanza watches episodes of “The Bachelor” whenever it’s trending on social media and remembers when the show was in town. Some of his friends even tried to participate in the series in the past.

She didn’t know the city used taxpayer money to close the deal.

“It’s insane. I didn’t think they would pay to bring them here. I just thought he was kind of like, you know – Houston, Texas, this is the big city,” Esperanza said. “It’s a lot of money just to do a show here, but I know they also did another show here.”

The other show she talks about is Bravo’s “Top Chef,” which filmed its entire current season in Houston.

The producers of Top Chef objected to releasing financial details about how much the city paid to have them film a season in Houston, but we know that was also prompted by taxpayer dollars.

Still, Clapham-Rosenow said publicizing the city’s presentation on a nationally broadcast show was worth it and brought long-term benefits by bringing more businesses and residents to Houston.
She said it would have taken five years to pay for the same publicity the city receives when a show is held in Houston for weeks at a time.

Steven Devadanam, editor and chief of lifestyle website CultureMap Houston, said the value the city gets from being on national shows like The Bachelor and Top Chef can’t be compared to a 30-year-old TV commercial. seconds the city could produce with the hopes of someone in another city looking at it and deciding to visit Houston.

“Top Chef isn’t just a postcard from Houston to the country, it’s a showcase and a love letter. Just watch a few episodes and suddenly you realize that Houston is the most diverse city in the world. country. It’s got an amazing cultural culture. It’s the most vibrant food this city has ever seen,” he said. “If it brings people here and if it takes people away from Austin and that keeping people out of Dallas and bringing in tax money and bringing in dining, entertainment, hotel dollars to my city, I totally agree.”

“Huge impact”

Clapham-Rosenow said the city was approached to host The Bachelor in 2018, but that ultimately didn’t happen. A few years later, as Texas lifted its COVID restrictions ahead of other states, she said the same producer the city spoke to in 2018 reached out again, saying he’d like to film an episode at Houston.

“They came here with over 200 growers, so the request was to help us with site selections, to work with us on a package to help subsidize some of the 200 growers who were here for seven to 10 days and c was the deal that we thought was a great return because it would generate no less than $500,000 in hard cash,” she said. “It would create a comeback for the city in a significant rebound timeframe and would reach over 6 million (viewers).”

In exchange for paying to bring The Bachelor to Houston, Clapham-Rosenow said the city recouped at least $500,000 in direct economic impact.

It even spurred some free publicity, Clapham-Rosenow said. Another The Bachelor affiliate show is shooting a series in the city since the producers loved it here and this time Houston First didn’t have to entice or pay them to come. The name of the show has not been disclosed and the episodes have not yet aired.

City records show The Bachelor spent $325,240 at the C. Baldwin Hotel, where The Bachelor crew and contestants were headquartered in Houston for about two weeks in October 2021. The show also spent money for food, transportation and other costs associated with being in town for two weeks.

Chris Niederschulte, general manager of the C. Baldwin, said the show pays for hotel services like any other guest.

At a time when staff was down due to the pandemic, he said housing hundreds of singles producers at the hotel allowed him to bring back support staff and hourly associates, like bartenders, servers and housekeeping, about three months earlier than it would have been without the show boost in business.

“(It was) a huge impact on people’s lives. They went through something that none of us expected,” he said. “In the hotel, you’re literally family. You spend so much time together, so to be able to bring them all back and see these faces and everyone doing what they’re so good at is just amazing.”

Niederschulte said that after the Houston episodes of The Bachelor aired, there was an increase in visitors asking where certain scenes, like the rose ceremony, were filmed.

“It’s fun and it’s exciting and the staff are excited about it,” he said. “The exposure you get from this show is just amazing, not just for Texas, not just for Houston, but for all the places they touch.”
The Bachelor star also took a lucky lady for a one-on-one horseback ride, where the pair appeared to stumble upon an outdoor picnic hosted by famed Houston-based barbecue group Blood Bros.

Robin Wong, one of the three founders behind the restaurant, said this scene wasn’t quite the chance meeting the producers made appear on screen.

Wong said that with the show filming in Texas, the producers knew they wanted to have a barbecue, but they also wanted it to be a home environment, so they hosted an outdoor picnic.

The restaurant’s logo was blurred and the Blood Bros. did not appear on the show – not even in the closing credits where filming locations were acknowledged. Still, Wong said bringing popular shows like The Bachelor and Top Chef to Houston was a boost for the hospitality industry.

Wong said he had to close up shop for a day while filming, but The Bachelor paid their company for all the food that was prepared and served during the picnic.

Still, he didn’t realize the town had paid to bring the bachelor and top chef to town, but he thinks it’s worth it.

“I think it’s amazing. I think without them these shows wouldn’t have happened,” he said. “I’m glad to see Houston (become) on the card and if that’s what it takes to get him here, I’m all for it because I think down the road they won’t have to buy it like People will already be interested in coming here, so to have that kind of bump or showcase to show people what’s going on here, I think that’s great.

Wong said he regularly entertains barbecue fanatics who hail from as far away as Canada and Australia and is happy to have Houston’s food scene featured on national television.

“Houston is definitely a barbecue destination spot,” he said. “We get a lot of tourists. We have people coming here and they still have their luggage. They’re like, ‘I just got off the plane, straight from the airport’ because they understand our schedules.”

Even though Houston First paid for The Bachelor to come to Houston, not all of the scenes were shot in the city. The crew spent time at The Historic Hill House and Farm in Willis and the Pleasure Pier in Galveston.

“Not everyone is successful the first time they come here and sometimes it comes down to the producers and production staff on location making those decisions and the editors making that decision, doing their homework,” Devadanam said. “Where The Bachelor could have done a little better is really understanding some of the key players in our food scene, but I felt like they were trying to highlight the visuals of the city.”

Still, Devadanam said bringing popular reality shows like The Bachelor to Houston is a boon to the city because it puts it on a national stage.

“We get a lot of traffic from people from other cities looking at our websites, trying to find out where they stayed in a certain city,” he said. “People will Google quickly, in real time, the name of the restaurant or hotel while they’re watching. Now, how does that translate later? Only time will tell if that person actually shows up, but there’s quite a buzz and it’s raising Houston’s profile as a vacation destination where people might not have originally thought of it.”

We contacted ABC, which broadcasts but does not produce The Bachelor, and had no comment on the incentives. An ABC public relations representative offered to put us in touch with Warner Brothers, the show’s producers. We haven’t heard back from Warner or any producer who worked with Houston First on the incentive deal.

Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All rights reserved.

Thomas Keller and Rohini Dey honored at the Chicago gala Sun, 22 May 2022 12:47:13 +0000

“It is very rare to see a profession evolve and I am lucky… to have seen this profession grow since its beginnings”, Thomas Keller told participants of the 25and MenuMasters annual celebration as he was inducted into the Drake Hotel Hall of Fame in Chicago on Saturday.

He said he didn’t start cooking because he wanted to be a chef.

“Nobody wanted to be a chef,” he said. “If you were a cook, you were someone who didn’t do well in school or in your social life or whatever and you were stuck somewhere in a kitchen sweating to death, working with a broken sauté pan or on a burner that didn’t work and all these different things that we went through in those days. … I did it because I couldn’t play baseball.

The legendary chef and owner of The French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., Per Se in New York, and other restaurants, and mentor to an entire generation of chefs said he found the same kind of camaraderie and d collective effort in the kitchen that he found in a baseball team.

“For me, it was wonderful.”

The turning point that made him decide that cooking was his career was when, as a 22-year-old cook, he worked for chef Roland Henin at a private in Narragansett, RI, “whom I greatly admired because he had the most beautiful girlfriend and a Jeep that he drove around the beach with her, and I was like, ‘I want to be like this.

“He said cooks cook to feed people, and that moment…I had that epiphany and felt deep down inside that I was a nurturer, and I became a chef that day in 1977 , and I’ve worked really, really hard my whole career to try and make a difference and nurture people, and it’s wonderful…to be here and still feel uncomfortable…to stand in front of you to accept this price.

Keller was one of eight honorees at the celebration, organized by Nation’s Restaurant News and sponsored by Ventura Foods, which honors culinary innovation in restaurants, from quick service to fine dining.

“For Ventura Foods, this embodies our core work as a company,” CEO Chris Furman told the crowd. “You see, we work every day to partner with our customers to help them create the kind of culinary innovation that delights their customers, and we’re truly proud and honored to be a part of this evening tonight and for the whole duration of MenuMasters.

Another winner, Rohini Dey, PhD., founder of the Indo-Latin restaurant Vermilion in Chicago and the support and networking group Let’s Talk Womxn, also shared her motivation to enter the industry.

“The only reason I got into the restaurant business was to dispel any notion of ‘ethnic’ cuisine. I can’t stand that term. Who said gastronomy was confined to the West, and who said that all but a few of the world’s cuisines belonged to the “ethnic” category? “, she said. This is what led her to found Vermilion, a showcase for Indian and Latin American cuisines, 18 years ago.

Dey and his team served the crowd slices of tandoori steak with mango slaw and mango mung jicama, which the staff at The Drake paired with a Tamarind Whiskey Sour.

Subway, which won the Best Menu Redesign award for its “Eat Fresh Refresh” initiative which is an ongoing overhaul of the chain’s menu, served its new Turkey Cali Fresh, which was paired with local 312 beer.

“Everyone loves a good comeback story, and I think this is one in the making,” senior vice president of cuisine Paul Fabre told the crowd.

Bruce Eckmeder, Aramark’s Resident District Manager, accepted the “Healthy Innovation” award on behalf of Michael Gueiss, Senior Executive Chef of Carolina Dining Services at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who was awarded for its low-waste bowls, which incorporate items that would otherwise be thrown away or composted, such as roasted carrots, braised celery with herbs, celery leaf salad, pickled watermelon rinds and chimichurri made from radishes and carrots, as well as grains such as brown rice and sorghum.

It was paired with a Meiomi Pinot Noir wine from California.

Eckmeder said Gueiss is “a true visionary – to create a product that is not only healthy but uses products that would typically be thrown away is just magic.”

The best new menu item went to Noodles & Company for its range of tortelloni, which was served in a roasted garlic cream sauce and was paired with Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

“I’m lucky,” Noodles Vice President Culinary Nick Graff told the crowd as he accepted the award. “I have some of the best people in R&D on my team. These guys are so good at what they do.

IHOP won Best Line Extender for its burritos and bowls, which were paired with a Burnt Orange Breakfast Margarita.

“I’ve waited over 20 years to stand on this stage,” said Scott Randolph, vice president of cooking for IHOP. “We’re all about flavor, we’re all about quality, and we want to bring joy to everyone here in this room and in our restaurants, and we’re excited to launch bold, innovative dishes.”

First Watch won Best New Menu Item for its short rib omelette, which was paired with a pink grapefruit mimosa as well as the chain’s own drink Purple Haze, a butterfly pea flower lemonade and with lavender.

Senior Vice President of Kitchen Shane Schaibly thanked his team, saying that while that night they had to make the award-winning omelette dozens of times, “these guys and girls do it a lot of times. thousands of times”.

The Trendsetter award went to Austin, Texas-based Loro Asian Smokehouse, which combines Uchi’s modern Japanese cuisine with Franklin Barbecue’s barbecue.

His team served marinated shrimp with a melon and cucumber salad accompanied by a Lychee Martini

Jack Yoss, culinary vice president of parent company Hai Hospitality, said the concept was an instant hit.

“We opened Loro thinking we were going to do 500 covers a day. We quickly grew to 2,000, and by quickly I mean within a week. We weren’t prepared for it. It wasn’t me at the restaurant that got us through this. They were line cooks, just like at Noodles & Company…line cooks and prep cooks and eses and bartenders and dishwashers. They all had to figure out how to do this on a large scale.

Echoing other winners, he said, “It’s easy to make one or two of them look good. It’s really hard to make it look good 365 days a year, over 2,000 covers a day. This award just validates our heart of home and validates the people who are there 40, 50, 60 hours a week in the restaurant preparing this food.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

New Denver restaurants open this week, May 14-20 Sat, 21 May 2022 14:13:22 +0000

As the pressures of staff shortages, rising costs and other challenges of running a restaurant during a pandemic continue, restaurant closures – temporary and permanent – ​​are on the rise. This week we learned of three upcoming closures: Blue Ocean/Little Chengdu, To the Wind and Freshcraft, all of which will close by the end of the month.

Acres, which opened in Englewood in 2015, has been closed for some time; while its website still says it’s temporarily closed, an “available” notice on the building is a (literal) sign that Acres is gone for good. Also to the south, Smokin’ Dave’s closed its Arapahoe Road outpost in Centennial, though its Denver location on Cortez Street as well as two locations in Estes Park and others in Longmont and Lyon remain open.

The original location of Rosenberg’s Bagels at Five Points has been closed since Mother’s Day, with staff listed as the primary factor. A reopening date has not yet been announced – although when it returns, prepared bagels, including sandwiches and those covered in cream cheese, will no longer be on the menu. But it’s business as usual at Rosenberg’s other locations in Boulder and Stanley Marketplace.

Handsome Boys Hospitality has stayed busy — the group just opened putt-putt party bar RiNo Country Club and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-themed Casey Jones Bar and Pizzeria. But his Telephone Pub in Lakewood remains closed. The tavern opened last December under a special events permit, says owner Josh Schmitz, and the group hoped to have a permanent liquor license when that permit expired. But in Lakewood, that process can take up to seven months, he notes: “We’re looking at being closed for another month or so before reopening.”

Click to enlarge

Juan Pablo Llano (left), Michael Graunke and Esteban Gallardo opened Pit Fiend in Owlbear’s former home on May 20.

Evan Semon

It’s not all pessimistic, however. There are six openings to report, including Pit Fiend, a new barbecue that opened in the former Owlbear space at RiNo. Two of the three owners were former Owlbear cooks, and a colleague who died during Owlbear’s last business weekend in January is a big inspiration for the new team.

And a longtime local favorite also got a fresh start this week. Front Range Inn, which was built in Lakewood in the 1930s, had been closed since early 2021. Brother-and-sister duo Kevin Carpanini and Jen Rugh bought the place and reopened May 20 — just in time to be a go-to spot for Red Rocks concert-goers before and after shows.

In other openings and closings news:

Here is the full list of restaurants and bars opening and closing this week:

Click to enlarge The Five Points Rosenberg location is temporarily closed and changes are coming when it reopens.  - FROM HIP PICTURE

The Five Points Rosenberg location is temporarily closed and changes are coming when it reopens.

From the hip photo

Restaurants and bars open this week:*

Flamboyant Bird, 13700 East Colfax Ave, Aurora
Field and Forest, 415 South Cherokee Street
Front Range Inn, 7779 Morrison Road, Lakewood
PitFiend, 2826 Larimer St.
Pure Green, 681 East Louisiana Avenue
Raising Cane’s, 5060 South Wadsworth Boulevard, Lakewood

Restaurants and bars temporarily closed this week:*

Rosenberg Bagels and Deli, 725 East 26th Avenue
Telephone Pub, 7260 West Alaska Drive

Restaurants and bars closed this week:*

Acres, 3999 South Broadway
Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Brew, 7685 East Arapahoe Road, Centennial

*Or earlier and not previously reported.

Know of anything we missed? E-mail [email protected].

Gun violence leaves Deep Ellum suspicious Sat, 21 May 2022 11:00:44 +0000

After a series of gun violence and a public rebuke from rapper T-Pain about crime in the neighborhood, Deep Ellum’s business owners grow suspicious.

Police and business owners are stepping up security ahead of the summer peak season for bars, clubs and restaurants that line Dallas‘ main nightlife thoroughfare, and have drawn up a comprehensive security plan. Owners are worried about their safety and fear of violence could temper crowds.

At the same time, some bar and restaurant veterans say it’s all part of the Deep Ellum mystique. Business owners who have experienced past crime waves say Deep Ellum is no more dangerous than other Dallas entertainment districts, and the crime data backs that up.

“I guarantee you that when a group wants to go to Deep Ellum, someone in that group says, ‘Do we have to go?’ But I think that’s been happening for 20 years,” said Todd Garton, director of the operation of the Deep Ellum Cane Rosso pizzeria.

Recent violent incidents include a shooting that left two dead and three injured last weekend, and another in April that left two injured. The two happened between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. on a Sunday, when clubs were letting customers out and the streets were packed.

So when rapper T-Pain noticed a lull in ticket sales for his Deep Ellum concert, he moved it to Grand Prairie, concluding that fans were avoiding the area for safety reasons.

Police presence

Neighborhood leaders have asked police for help, and police agree the area needs more attention. In September, after a shooting in the area killed a teenager and injured five others, Police Chief Eddie García vowed to “take back Deep Ellum” and said “we are not going to tolerate it”. He said he would add a police presence until police and Deep Ellum leaders can come up with a “more holistic plan.”

The Deep Ellum Foundation released a comprehensive report community safety plan earlier this month calling on police to step up security earlier in the year ahead of summer crowds, create a dedicated entertainment district police force that can provide specialist crowd and traffic control , and to work with other city departments on parking violations and homeless assistance. The plan also calls for Deep Ellum leaders to establish a Central Neighborhood Command to coordinate police, security guards, social workers and law enforcement, among other improvements. The foundation and the police have pledged to strengthen these measures in 2022.

“Like any entertainment district in the country, we must have constant vigilance in the community. This is important not only for customers, but also for employees,” said general manager Stephanie Hudiburg.

In addition to blocking traffic for pedestrian safety, Dallas Police Executive Assistant Chief Albert Martinez said the department has added at least 10 officers to patrol Deep Ellum as summer approaches. The goal, he said, is to have high visibility of officers to make sure people feel safe and deter criminal behavior.

He said the department has also increased its engagement with area businesses and organizations like the Deep Ellum Foundation, which he said recently increased the number of surveillance cameras in place.

“I think it’s important for people to know how invested and committed everyone is in promoting safety at Deep Ellum and making sure it’s safe,” Martinez said.

Police will reassess the plan in the fall. “Everything is subject to change as we are constantly evaluating,” Martinez said. “If things don’t go the way we want, yes, we could increase the number of agents. … A plan is a plan, but we make decisions or assess whether the plan is working. And that’s the goal: are we effective with the plan? »

Neighborhood cycles

Uncle Uber’s Sammich shop, which has been on Commerce Street in Deep Ellum for 12 years, has tightened security after the recent murders. They used to put their ‘biggest’ employee on the front door on weekend nights when they had a DJ, operations manager Dunagin Gaines said, but now they’ve hired a security for high traffic nights.

Gaines said he and other Deep Ellum restaurant operators have talked about moving their businesses elsewhere, but he believes this is a passing phase in the life cycle of entertainment districts. He thinks more police foot patrols will help.

“I’ve been around long enough to see this happen in all areas of entertainment. Every neighborhood goes in and out of it and it gets people out for a while,” Gaines said.

Gun violence in a crowded entertainment district surely heightens the public’s sense of danger. But according to the Dallas Police Department’s Open Data Portal, Deep Ellum is no more criminal or violent than other nightlife neighborhoods in Dallas.

So far this year, the 75226 ZIP code, which includes all of Deep Ellum but also extends east to Fair Park and a few blocks south of Interstate 30, has seen 574 crimes in total, 46 of which were violent crimes, including aggravated assault and homicide.

By comparison, ZIP code 75206, which includes Lower Greenville, with 1,037 total crimes, including 48 violent ones. 75201, which includes the southern half of Uptown and also stretches through the Downtown and Main Street neighborhoods, recorded 54 violent crimes, and 75204, which includes the northern half of Uptown and Old East Dallas, recorded 117 violent crimes.

Vehicle theft is by far the most common crime recorded in Deep Ellum. The region has recorded 25 serious assaults this year, including gunshots and stabbings.

For many people, Deep Ellum just doesn’t feel safe these days.

“On a personal level, as someone who has haunted Deep Ellum since the 80s and who has seen crime rise and fall, I am deeply disturbed,” said Doug Davis, owner of Murray Street Coffee Shop with his wife, Elizabeth , since 2005. .

The crime did not affect his daytime coffee business, which primarily serves neighborhood residents, but he said this crime wave was different.

“I feel like there’s a lot more gun violence going on than there has been in the past,” he said. “Too many people seem to have guns and too many people seem ready to use them.”

Deep Ellum Blues

Deep Ellum has a long reputation for entertainment with a whiff of danger. The neighborhood was home to musical legends such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie Johnson and Lead Belly. And that spawned the 1920s blues anthem, “Deep Ellum Blues,” which warns revelers to hide their money and beware of any women they meet at Deep Ellum. Versions of the song were later recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis and the Grateful Dead.

“Deep Ellum has a folklore going back to the Depression era, it’s like a dangerous part of town. It’s not new. It’s part of who it is,” said Jeffrey Liles, artistic director of the Kessler Theater in Oak Cliff Liles booked shows at Deep Ellum clubs from 1985 to 1993.

Many current business owners remember a more recent crime wave that led the city council in 2007 to require every bar to obtain a new municipal license to continue operating.

Liles calls the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009 “the low point” for Deep Ellum, when “all the clubs closed”. Part of the reason Deep Ellum has returned, he argues, is because of Uber and other ride-hailing services — which he attributes to the dramatic reduction in DUI offenses.

Soon after, Deep Ellum experienced a renaissance, with a wave of new restaurants and bars.

The new Deep Ellum

“Deep Ellum is one of those neighborhoods in Dallas that has gone through so many different waves over the past 20 years: people thought it was unsafe, then safe, then unsafe, then safe. more highs and lows than any other neighborhood in Dallas,” Garton said with Cane Rosso, one of the first participants in the new Deep Ellum.

Cane Rosso business leaders say the restaurant has not seen a drop in crime-related sales. And crime fears haven’t deterred developers from continuing to invest in the neighborhood. A new office building on Commerce called The Stack has seen strong rental, and other office towers are in various stages of completion, although the area was hit when Uber halted plans for a hub of 3,000 employees at Deep Ellum.

“Thousands upon thousands of people visit, work and safely reside in Deep Ellum – one of our city’s most vibrant and unique neighborhoods – every day and night,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. , in a press release. But success requires addressing public safety concerns, he said, which the police are doing.

When T-Pain tweeted his concerns about his performance in Deep Ellum, Johnson responded in defense of Dallas. Johnson, a fan of the rapper, assured him that Dallas was safe.

Some people wonder if T-Pain’s beef with Dallas was all about safety.

Frank Campagna’s art gallery is a block from The Factory, the place T-Pain left to stage his show in Grand Prairie. Campagna opened the Kettle Art Gallery in 2005, and he could easily be called Deep Ellum’s winning artist, having painted hundreds of murals on buildings since 1989.

“I think the neighborhood has always had a bad reputation,” Campagna said, but it’s not as dangerous as a lot of people seem to think. “It’s pretty hilarious. Come on, it deserved a bad reputation for 100 years.

Campagna is skeptical of T-Pain’s motives for pulling his show from Deep Ellum, calling it “a publicity move” designed to land a bigger venue where he could sell more tickets. The Factory adapts 4,300. Texas Trust CU Theater holds 6,350.

“If anything, he upgraded for more space,” Campagna said.

Editors Kelli Smith, Michael Granberry, Sarah Blaskovich, Dan Singer and Tommy Cummings contributed to this report.

Houston Symphony’s New Conductor Talks Music and Explores Houston Sat, 21 May 2022 01:07:20 +0000

Juraj Valcuha, Music Director of the Houston Symphony Orchestra

Photo: Luciano Romano

The Slovakian capital of Bratislava, birthplace of Houston Symphony Designated Music Director Juraj Valčuha, is a cultural hub: close enough to Vienna, Budapest and Prague to make it an interesting place to grow up. The countryside is saturated with folk traditions and the music that accompanies them.

“In every village, every part of the country, you have a different language, different types of melodies – extremely rich,” says Valčuha. “That’s why Bartok was very interested in this part of Europe.”

Valčuha’s musical education began with the folk songs he heard his mother sing. Inspired by a great-grandfather who played it – and learned it while working in the steel industry in Pittsburgh – he also became interested in the cimbalom, a trapezoidal string instrument similar to a hammered dulcimer. Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly made great use of its unique sound in his folk opera “Háry Janos”; the opening scenes of Guy Ritchie’s first film “Sherlock Holmes” also feature the cimbalom.

But the orchestral demand for professional cimbalom players is not great, so on the advice of his father, Valčuha (now 46) turned to the study of composition and theory when he entered the Bratislava Conservatory at the age of 14. Composition students had to conduct their own works, and “My teacher told me that I had to do it seriously,” recalls Valčuha. Later he studied with a pair of highly respected mentors, Ilya Musin at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory and Janos Furst at the Conservatoire Supérieur de la Musique in Paris.

More information

Houston Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven 9

When: 8:20 p.m.-21 May; 2:30 p.m. May 22

Or: Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana St. (live stream May 21)

Details: $43-$144; 713-224-7575;

The soft-spoken Valčuha (pronounced your-I am worth-Selected-ah) first came to Houston to conduct the symphony as a guest in 2011, a few years into his tenure as head of the Turin, Italy-based Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI. When he returned seven years later to conduct a program that included Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra, “I had a very strong feeling, a very strong musical connection with the orchestra,” he says.

“There was mutual trust, which is very nice,” continues Valčuha. “When you trust the orchestra, when you can count on the musicians [and] when they trust the conductor, you can let your imagination run wild [go] free during concerts.

“Obvious Alchemy”

Returning once again in March 2021 to conduct Beethoven and Copland, his warm feelings for the orchestra were reciprocated. “His expressions stood out, even behind a mask,” lead tympanist Leonardo Soto told the Violin Channel website. The organization was looking for a successor to Andrés Orozco-Estrada, musical director since the 2014-15 season, and Valčuha arrived at exactly the right time.

“Juraj stood out for his obvious chemistry with symphony musicians and his commitment to musical excellence,” said John Mangum, CEO of Houston Symphony, when announcing Valčuha’s appointment last July. “We know he will build on the work of music directors before him to support the highest level of performance imaginable for our musicians.”

Valčuha says he admires how the symphony has managed to successfully produce a series of weekly in-person concerts during the pandemic – making it one of the few orchestras in the world to do so – and is impressed with the traditions established by former musical directors such as Leopold Stokowski, Sir John Barbirolli, André Previn, Christoph Eschenbach and Orozco-Estrada. In fact, a series of concerts next season is an exact replica of a Barbirolli program from February 1966, featuring Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” symphony and Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1, with soloist Augustin Hadelich.

“I’m very interested in late 19th century and early 20th century repertoire – all these different schools, different colors, coming from France, Vienna, Bartok, Janacek, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Italian composers, French composers”, Valčuha says, citing “the extreme color of this music and the richness of musical languages”.

Houston to Naples and back

In total, Valčuha is expected to lead nine concert series in 2022-23. Several take turns on the weekends, which gives him a luxury that many conductors are deprived of: spending time in his adopted city during the week. He wants to visit the Menil Collection, Rothko Chapel, and Space Center Houston (so far), as well as delve into Houston’s world-famous culinary scene.

“I am eager to [using] this time to explore the city,” he says.

Until December, Valčuha is also musical director of the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. Choral programming forms a major part of the upcoming season, including the opening night performance of Verdi’s Requiem and the season-ending symphonic staging of Stravinsky’s rarely performed opera “Oedipus Rex.”

He enjoys conducting choral concerts because the voice can be so unpredictable: “One night it might be faster, one night you have to go slower; you have to listen carefully,” says Valčuha. “It gives you a kind of flexibility.”

That applies to this weekend’s performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Valčuha’s official debut as Designated Musical Director and a first hint at the direction of the orchestra under his direction. He did not shy away from pairing one of the repertoire’s most familiar and beloved works with a relatively new piece that contrasts sharply with the Ninth’s message of universal brotherhood: “Elegy: A Cry From the Grave” by Atlanta composer Carlos Simon. written in 2015 and dedicated to Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, “and others wrongfully murdered by oppressive power,” according to Simon’s program notes.

“I only program music that I like to conduct,” says Valčuha, “so I’m going to enjoy it.”

Chris Gray is a Galveston-based writer.

Nashville’s hot chicken food truck brand expands to Katy Fri, 20 May 2022 14:29:04 +0000

Food & Culture // Restaurants & Bars
Photo by Greg Morago

Clutch City Cluckers, a food truck brand specializing in spicy hot chicken and Nashville, opened its third Houston-area location at 1005 Katy Ford Bend Road in Katy.

The food truck, which has gained a cult following in Houston since opening in February 2021, will celebrate its grand opening in Katy on May 20 with 50% off orders starting at 10 a.m. The first 25 in line today will receive a free meal. The opening weekend continues on May 21 with a draw for a PS5; the winner will be drawn on May 23.

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Clutch City Cluckers has locations at 5550 Val Verde and 9598 South Main at Texas Medical Center. Katy’s new location is the brand’s third truck in Houston and fourth in Texas (including one in San Antonio). The menu includes hot chicken sandwiches, hot filets and baskets of fries, loaded fries, tender salad, chicken tacos, and meatless sandwiches made with cauliflower filets.

Clutch City Cluckers was founded by Ahmad Kilani, a native of Irbid, Jordan who immigrated to the United States in 2015; he worked at Abu Omar Halal, the halal food truck, and as an investor he now co-owns six hala trucks in Texas and Louisiana. He plans to take Clutch City nationally.

Greg Morago writes about food for the Houston Chronicle. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter. Send him topical tips at Listen to him on our BBQ State of Mind podcast to learn more about barbecue culture in Houston and Texas.