Photo by Jenn Duncan

On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Money Cat chef-owner Sherman Yeung and chef de cuisine Jio Dingayan join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss the new restaurant that recently opened in Upper Kirby. The conversation begins with both chefs discussing how they entered the culinary world and began working together at Katy's well-regarded Tobiuo Sushi & Bar.

Money Cat food spread
Photo by Jenn Duncan
A selection of dishes from Money Cat.

From there, they turn to Money Cat. While the restaurant serves a full range of different kinds of sushi — including sashimi, maki, and nigiri — it also features creative riffs such as a tomato salad with cheese foam, chutoro toast, and tempura fried maitake mushrooms. As Yeung explains, he didn't want Money Cat to be a clone of Tobiuo.

"It's not traditionally Japanese. I play around with 'new Japanese,' where we draw a lot of inspiration from Japanese ingredients and techniques," Yeung says. "We're not adhered to Japanese. Chef Jio and I want to explore Asian culture. That's why I call it new Japanese."

Also worth noting is that Dingayan has a lot of responsibility for a 22-year old chef. Sandler asks him about leading a team of chefs who are likely older and more experienced than he is.

"The thing I project the most is compassion and empathy. You want to work with someone who tries to understand you through the good and the bad, and that's what I try to do with each one of my cooks," Dingayan says. "I think teaching humanity really shines a light on what we're trying to do. We're not just cooks. We're humans, too, and you should know who's cooking your food."

Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Michael Fulmer discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: il Bracco owner Western Addition Restaurant Group opening Balboa Surf Club in the same Galleria-area shopping center; the imminent closure of Tex-Mex restaurant Spanish Flowers; and the opening of Bayou Heights Bier Garten with a barbecue menu created by chef Teddy Lopez.

In the restaurants of the week segment, Fulmer and Sandler share first impressions of Gatsby's Prime Seafood. They also discuss a recent meal at Home Slice Pizza, the Austin-based restaurant that opened in Midtown.


Subscribe to "What's Eric Eating" on Apple podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify. Listen to it Saturday at noon on ESPN 97.5.

Courtesy of Tatemó

Esquire-best-list Houston chef dishes on his acclaimed Mexican restaurant, plus hottest food news

what's eric eating episode 266

On this week’s episode of “What’s Eric Eating,” chef Emmanuel Chavez joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss Tatemó. The corn-focused Mexican restaurant has been attracting significant critical praise, including a spot on Esquire’s list of America’s best new restaurants.

The interview begins with Chavez sharing the story of his career. After starting out as a dishwasher in a Tex-Mex restaurant, he entered the world of fine dining in Seattle. A wake-up call from a mentor prompted him to begin researching the process of making traditional corn tortillas through the process of nixtamalization. Ultimately, he moved back to Houston and started selling tortillas at the Urban Harvest farmers market.

People frequently describe Tatemó as a Mexican restaurant. While Chavez acknowledges his cooking is rooted in Mexican techniques and corn that's imported from Mexico, he tells Sandler he sees the restaurant more broadly.

"We're not a Mexican restaurant. We're a Houston restaurant," he says. "Everything we source, as far as produce, is from within the city. Other than caviar and kampachi from California, it's Texas produce. It's a Texas restaurant inspired by maize. It's maize driven. That's how we like to identify ourselves."

Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Felice Sloan discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: Common Bond’s new partnership with the owners of El Bolillo Bakery; chef Michelle Wallace departing Gatlin’s BBQ to launch a sandwich pop-up; and Pappas Restaurants’ plans to open Little’s Oyster Bar, a new seafood restaurant in the former Little Pappas space.

In the restaurants of the week segment, Sloan and Sandler share their impressions of Ciel, the recently opened restaurant that offers both elevated cuisine and a lively atmosphere that includes singers and dancers. Listen to hear their assessment of how these elements come together.


Subscribe to "What's Eric Eating" on Apple podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify. Listen to it Saturday at noon on ESPN 97.5.

Photo by Dylan McEwan

Bosscat's boss dishes on his new sushi restaurant-bar, plus Houston's hottest food news

What's eric eating 264

On this week’s episode of “What’s Eric Eating,” Daily Dose Hospitality CEO John Reed joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss his two restaurants, Bosscat Kitchen & Libations and Ten Sushi + Cocktail Bar. Reed and his business partner Leslie Nguyen recently brought Ten Sushi to Houston and have plans to open a Woodlands location of Bosscat in early 2023.

After a quick review of Bosscat’s almost six years in Houston, the conversation turned to Ten, which opened across the street for its sister concept in November. Sandler asks Reed about the purpose of Ten’s broad menu, which includes a diverse array of sushi rolls as well as wok–based dishes with Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai influences.

“I’m more of a masses guy than some of these great chefs in town who are focused on specific people. My mind is, how do I recreate this, how do I grow this? Our menu has been centered around that,” Reed says.

“People love sushi. The Chinese portion, the Korean portion has been about that consumer who goes out with four or five people [and someone says] ‘I don’t eat raw fish.’ We have something for you. That’s what we tried to do was bridge the gap for a party of 4 or 5. Yes, we want to go to sushi but two or three people don’t. We have something for all of you. That’s where we’ve found success.”

After a lengthy discussion of Ten’s menu and design, the conversation turns to bringing Bosscat to the Woodlands. Reed also discusses the company’s future plans for the Dallas/Plano market and an opportunity they’re pursuing in Phoenix.

Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Matt Harris discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: Trill Burgers signing a lease for a permanent location; Esquire magazine including Tatemó on its list of America’s best new restaurants; and Houston Restaurant Weeks donating $1.2 million to the Houston Food Bank after its 2022 event.

In the restaurants of the week segment, Harris and Sandler share first impressions of Louie’s Italian American, the new concept that replaced Cafe Louie in the East End. They also discuss Burger Bodega’s successful transition from pop-up to brick and mortar restaurant.

Ten Sushi co-owners John Reed and Leslie Nguyen.

Ten sushi john reed leslie nguyen
Photo by Dylan McEwan

Ten Sushi co-owner John Reed is this week's guest.


Subscribe to "What's Eric Eating" on Apple podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify. Listen to it Saturday at noon on ESPN 97.5.

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Houston's state-sized lazy river floats to the top 3 most picturesque pools in Texas


There’s no better cure for the unbearable summer heat than a dip into the chilly waters of some of Houston's best pools. And you can’t forget to snap a cute photo or video for your Instagram and TikTok feeds. The place to be this summer? Floating down the Texas-shaped lazy river at Marriott Marquis Houston.

The relaxing rooftop oasis, which sits on the sixth floor of the hotel in the heart of downtown Houston, was included in a new list of the "most picturesque pools" in the United States, and the third most photogenic pool in Texas. It stretches a mind-boggling 500-plus feet and is heated at 80 degrees throughout the year.

The study by BonusFinder.com analyzed data from TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube to find the most mentioned, photographed, and viewed pools from around America. The Texas lazy river finished at No. 18 in the overall rankings, which included pools from across the country. However, the pool ranked as the third best Texas pool on the list, following behind Dallas' The Joule (No. 14) and Austin's Barton Springs (No. 4).

The Marriott Marquis Houston has poolside programming for hotel guests that often includes live music and rentable cabanas, pergolas, or day beds. They also offer day passes Monday through Thursday on certain dates throughout the year, so you can book a resort-like experience year round.

Austin's Barton Springs was named fourth most picturesque overall, and was actually the most Instagrammed pool in the U.S., the study says. Videos of Barton Springs had been viewed over 28.5 million times on TikTok and hashtagged over 15,000 times on Instagram.

In total, Las Vegas hosts six of the top 10 most photogenic pools on BonusFinder’s list. Mandalay Bay Beach and The Mirage in Las Vegas were deemed the No. 1 and No. 2 most photogenic pools, and just above Barton Springs in the third place rank was The Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. Other pools on the list were found in Glenwood Springs, Colorado (No. 6) and Atlantic City, New Jersey (No. 10).

The top 10 most photogenic pools in the United States are:

  • No. 1 – Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas
  • No. 2 – The Mirage in Las Vegas
  • No. 3 – The Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California
  • No. 4 – Barton Springs in Austin
  • No. 5 – The Tank at Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas
  • No. 6 – Glenwood Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs, Colorado
  • No. 7 – The Backyard at Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas
  • No. 8 – Stadium Swim at Circa Resort and Casino in Las Vegas
  • No. 9 – Encore Beach Club at Wynn Las Vegas
  • No. 10 – The Water Club at Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey

Fintan Costello, the managing director at BonusFinder.com, said Americans are “turning their attention to where they can kick back and enjoy catching some rays by the poolside” with their spring break and upcoming summer holidays.

“Luckily, the study shows that the U.S. is blessed with some of the best and most picturesque pools in the world and there are plenty of idyllic escapes that can be found across America, without ever having to leave the country,” he explained in a statement.

The full study can be found on bonusfinder.com.

Mariott Marquis Houston's Texas-shaped lazy river pool

Photo courtesy of Marriott Marquis Houston

Find this photogenic pool at the Marriott Marquis downtown.

No fooling — Houston SPCA's spring open house is happening April 1

Welcome In

Animal lovers, mark your calendar for April 1. That's when the Houston SPCA is hosting its April Open House — the largest one to date — from 12-4 pm.

You can learn more about the Houston SPCA's important work in the community, and maybe even adopt a new furry feline or cuddly canine.

Spend the afternoon on Houston SPCA's William and Evelyn Griffin Campus for All Animals enjoying these fun-filled activities and events:

  • Egg hunts, noon and 2 pm: Little ones (0-2 and 3-5 years) should bring their baskets for a first-come, first-served hunt all around the Houston SPCA Dog Parks.
  • Barn Chats, 1 pm and 3:30 pm: Meet the award-winning Equine and Farm Animal Team and watch demonstrations with a rescued equine in the Houston SPCA Rescue Arena.
  • Wildlife Chats, 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm: Meet a wildlife expert and ambassador birds in the Harper Courtyard to learn more about the 12,000 wild animals who come into the Houston SPCA’s Wildlife Center of Texas annually.
  • Kitten nursery: Watch orphaned kittens receive lifesaving care, including around-the-clock feedings, from inside a glass-walled room at this pop-up version of the neonatal unit. Held at the Adoption Center Cattery.
  • Eureka Heights Beer Garden samplings: Those 21 and up can toast to all creatures big and small in the Harper Courtyard.
  • Kona Ice snow cones: Head to the Adoption Center parking lot for one icy treat per guest, or while supplies last.
  • Prize wheel: Try your luck at this spinning game in the Harper Courtyard.

Houston SPCA open house

Photo courtesy of Houston SPCA

Find your new best friend on April 1.

The adoption center will be open from 11 am-6 pm that day, but don't stress if you can't make it then. Adoptions are also open daily Monday through Sunday from 11 am-6 pm.

You can view all the available pets in advance at www.houstonspca.org. Questions? Call 713-869-SPCA (7722).

John Mayer unplugs for fall tour that's coming to Houston

Concert news

Singer/guitarist John Mayer will show off both skills during the fall leg of his 2023 solo acoustic tour, which will come to Houston's Toyota Center on Monday, October 30.

Mayer's tour is currently in the middle of a spring leg, with dates continuing through April 14. The fall leg will include 17 more stops, starting on October 3 in New York City. Along with the Dallas date, Mayer will also play in Dallas on October 28 and Austin on November 1.

The tour features solo performances by Mayer, leaning heavily on his acoustic guitar work with special performances on piano and electric guitar.

Mayer is now in his third decade of performing, releasing seven solo albums since his debut in 2001, most recently 2021's Sob Rock. The seven-time Grammy winner is known for hits like "Your Body is a Wonderland," "Daughters," "Gravity," and more.

He's also a member of the Grateful Dead continuation band, Dead & Company, which will perform at Dallas' Dos Equis Pavilion on May 26 as part of its final tour.

Tickets for the fall leg of the tour go on sale starting on Friday, March 31 at 9 am at Johnmayer.com. Presales start on Wednesday, March 29 at 9 am and run through Thursday, March 30 at 10 pm. Fans can sign up to receive a unique code to access presale tickets via seated at Johnmayer.com. A limited number of VIP packages will be available including premium tickets, exclusive merchandise, and more.

Two pairs of front-row tickets will be auctioned off for each show on the tour through charityauctionstoday.com. All proceeds from the ticket auctions will go to the Back To You Fund, which has supported many charities, including John’s Heart & Armor Foundation, as well as programs supporting at-risk youth and the homeless.


  • Oct 3, 2023 - New York, NY, Madison Square Garden
  • Oct 6, 2023 - Boston, MA, TD Garden
  • Oct 7, 2023 - Philadelphia, PA, Wells Fargo Center
  • Oct 11, 2023 - Nashville, TN, Bridgestone Arena
  • Oct 13, 2023 - Tampa, FL, Amalie Arena
  • Oct 17, 2023 - Indianapolis, IN, Gainbridge Fieldhouse
  • Oct 18, 2023 - Chicago, IL, United Center
  • Oct 20, 2023 - Baltimore, MD, CFG Bank Arena
  • Oct 21, 2023 - Belmont Park, NY, UBS Arena
  • Oct 23, 2023 - Charlotte, NC, Spectrum Center
  • Oct 25, 2023 - Atlanta, GA, State Farm Arena
  • Oct 28, 2023 - Dallas, TX, American Airlines Center
  • Oct 30, 2023 - Houston, TX, Toyota Center
  • Nov 1, 2023 - Austin, TX, Moody Center
  • Nov 5, 2023 - Salt Lake City, UT Vivint Arena
  • Nov 7, 2023 - San Francisco, CA, Chase Center
  • Nov 10, 2023 - Los Angeles, CA, Kia Forum