Nothing in Houston is as infuriating as waiting for long-promised fall temperatures, resigning myself to another day in flip-flops while boots, scarves and other fall faves sit forlornly in my closet.
But it's not just my feet that are tired of summer style. My taste buds could use a change, too. Luckily Houston chefs are already debuting their fall menus, full of rich flavors and textures that ooze warmth even if the weather doesn't exactly require it.
One dish that makes me wish for a blizzard and a roaring fire is a duo of incredible ravioli at L'Olivier.
One dish that makes me wish for a blizzard and a roaring fire is a duo of incredible ravioli at L'Olivier. Slicing through one pocket with my fork, I knew I was in for something special when the oxtail inside surrendered as easily as the pasta surrounding it. Impossibly tender, the rich, juicy meat was balanced by sweet caramalized onions, fresh, bitter leeks and a buttery bleu cheese cream sauce dotted with au jus that came off as light, not overly strong or tart.
Creamy and rich without being heavy, the texture gave me the impression that the bite was literally melting in my mouth, infusing my entire body with a comforting warmth.
How does one top oxtail and leeks on the perfect-for-fall scale? It's tough, but chef/owner Olivier Ciesielski's butternut squash ravioli was a contender. While it lacked the depth of flavor of the cream and au jus combo, the squash ravioli was infused with a sweet richness and a hint of crunch from a lobster parmesan crust on top.
The flavors, ingredients and buttery richness make these perfect for fall, but I'd be happy to eat them year-round. Boots are optional.