Food for Thought
A Foodie’s letter to Santa: Forget the Food Network hard sells, the best gift iseasy as Price
I’ve been a really, really, good girl this year.
Well, except for that one thing that I won’t mention here because this column goes out on Facebook and my family reads it and, anyway, let’s just keep that between you, me and the elves.
I know it’s been a while since I’ve written, mainly because I’ve been very blessed and don’t really need anything. But, just in case you think I really, really deserve something this year, I’ve got a few foodie suggestions:
First off, dining at Tony’s is something that should be on every Texan’s bucket list. I know I’ve been lucky to eat at this legendary locale, but, frankly, you can never get enough of the food and service here, so if you want to stuff my stocking with a few of Tony’s gift cards, that’d be cool. (By the way, you can use them at any of the Vallone eateries.)
While we’re on the subject of gift cards, you know I wouldn’t refuse any for Molina’s Cantina cards ‘cause dad just loves the Jose’s dip and tacos a la Molina. (OK, I do, too.) Frankly, Kris (may I call you Kris?) gift cards to any of Houston’s fab eateries are always a good idea.
And then there are food baskets, and by food I mean yummies and booze. Central Market does some killer combos, as does Whole Foods Market but if you’re flying by downtown do drop in at Spec’s Liquor Warehouse.
It’s the mothership for all things food and spirits (the kind you drink — not the one’s that visit scrooges on Christmas Eve). They put together some crazy good holiday gift baskets here and I sure could use one of crystal flutes and Champagne or anything filled with vodka, olives and cheese.
Of course I don’t just eat, I actually cook, so something for the kitchen would be nice, too. I’m set with professional knives (although for a budding home cook a pro eight-inch chef’s knife is a great gift) but I could use some new pots. Maybe the Le Creuset six-piece classic cookware set? I’m thinking ones in Caribbean blue.
Too expensive, right? OK, for less than five bucks you can get Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking by Michael Ruhlman. It’s an iPhone (and Android) app that’s let’s you cook anything, anywhere without a recipe. It’s based on his system of ratios. Wanna bake a biscuit? This app will tell you proportions of ingredients needed.
But if you wanna go old school, there is one cookbook I lust for. And no, it’s not a new release (are all Food Network stars contractually bound to put out a new book during the holiday shopping season?). No, this is a book a friend of mine has, one that is personally autographed to her by the author. And, no, I don’t want hers, but I would like to find one that’s also signed by the author.
It’s A Treasury of Great Recipes, a huge leather bound, embossed tome full of beautiful sketches and color photos and recipes from great restaurants around the world. Published in 1965 and written by Vincent and Mary Price, it chronicles their travels with stories of great meals and recipes. And, yeah, when I say Vincent Price I mean that Vincent Price. The horror film legend was also a great gourmand and a fine storyteller. It’s a treasure.
And you know I hang at the Urban Harvest Eastside farmers market every Saturday morning. Last Saturday I saw a woman with a CultureMap canvas tote bag. Um, what’s up with that? Hello, I write for you and I don’t have one? Ahem.
OK, and there’s one other thing I want for 2011. I’d like to take my Chihuahua out to lunch, like we used to do before the puppy police started cracking down and enforcing the city’s archaic animal/food ordinance. I’ve written about this several times, there’s no reason Houston shouldn’t allow dogs on restaurant patios like Austin and Dallas.
A well-behaved Fido can be an excellent dining companion. Now, there’s finally a grassroots movement going on to support this. So, Santa, I want as many folks as possible to Friend Paws on Patios on Facebook.
OK big guy, I think that’s it. Although, come to think of it the only thing I really, really want for 2011 are many more memorable meals, either at home or at my favorite eateries, with my friends and loved ones. Because, as I’m sure you know Santa, the only great meal is one made and shared with love.
Thanks Kris, and Merry Christmas.