Legendary Houston chef Robert Del Grande joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler on this episode of CultureMap's podcast, "What's Eric Eating." Sandler and Del Grande discuss the chef's decision to bring back the name Cafe Annie and the recent changes at the restaurant that have brought wood-grilled steaks and oysters to the forefront of its menu.
Towards the end of the conversation, Sandler asks Del Grande, the city's first James Beard Award Best Chef: Southwest winner and a part of the city's dining scene for almost 40 years, what he would like to see happen over the next five or 10 years.
"Is that a true/false question or an essay question," Del Grande jokes. "I guess what I would really like to see — what is it? A fear? A concern? — is not to lose the sense of magic of food or restaurants or people cooking. I think sometimes cell phones have depreciated our sense of magic . . . so then to think of all that cooks are doing and so forth, it's still kind of a miracle. It still has a magical quality to it."
At about the 48 minute mark, Del Grande, Sandler, and co-host Nathan Ketcham use Cafe Annie's removal from Chronicle critic Alison Cook's list of the top 100 Houston restaurants as a jumping off point to discuss the value of lists, Del Grande's feelings about them, and the idea that food writers should be required to work at least one shift washing dishes in a restaurant.
Prior to Del Grande joining the show, Sandler and Ketcham discuss the news of the week. Topics include Dyanmo star Brian Ching's plans to open a soccer-themed sports bar in EaDo, LePeep's plans to relocate, and the fire that has temporarily closed Heights restaurant Southern Goods.
In the restaurants of the week segment, the hosts share some first impressions of Pappas Delta Blues Smokehouse and the ups and downs of a recent visit to Grimaldi's Pizzeria in CityCentre.