On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler mixes things up a bit. First, he welcomes a new co-host, reporter/producer Stephanie Gerry from KPRC's Houston Life. Also, this week's guest, Agricole Hospitality co-owner Morgan Weber, sits in on all three segments of the show instead of just participating in the interview.
The trio get off to a lively start in the news of the week segment. Weber provides an update on the status of Agricole's plans to open three concepts in EaDo, while Sandler and Gerry discuss some of the upcoming bars and restaurants they're most excited about. The conversation moves on to Hugo Ortega winning a lifetime achievement award from the Southern Foodways Alliance (view the documentary Sandler references here) and three of this fall's most interesting food events: Southern Smoke, which announced this week that celebrity chef David Chang is joining the party, the Butcher's Ball, which takes place this Sunday in Brenham, and Chefs Unmasked, which features star chef Michael Mina.
In the restaurant of the week segment, Sandler discusses his first impressions of Killen's STQ's new lunch menu and the new brunch at Riel. Gerry and Weber offer their thoughts on One Fifth Romance Languages.
From there, the conversation goes deep into Weber's latest project, Indianola Distilling Company. His passion for the new project becomes evident as he shares the unlikely story behind the company's peach brandy and the technical details of creating the proper barrels and sourcing heirloom corn to produce a bourbon he can feel proud of. Expect to see the first Indianola products on store shelves and back bars in the first quarter of 2018.
Weber also touches on Proposition F, the ballot initiative that will end the club license restrictions that govern liquor sales by bars and restaurants in a section of the Heights. While most people might consider the regulations just the cost of doing business, Weber has a different perspective.
"You can't change the drinker's mindset," Weber notes. "'You decided you would show up and build a restaurant in this neighborhood, so you've just got to deal with that.' I get that, and we did that. If we also have the opportunity to make life a little easier and a little bit better on all the independent restaurants and bars that are in the Heights that I think at this point we can safely say have contributed a lot to the Heights, stand behind your independent guys and help them out . . . If you care about independent restaurants, this is an easy no-brainer."