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Photo courtesy of Modelo

If love is in the air, then be sure to also put something you love in your cup. The warm, welcoming flavors of maple and pumpkin spice get an amorous kick with blood orange, bourbon, and Modelo Especial.

With the help of talented chefs and bartenders from around the world, Modelo Especial has crafted a selection of delicious dishes and beer cocktails that represent the very best flavors of Mexico and beyond.

Here's how to mix up this "beer-tail" for your special someone:

O' My Darling
Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 3 oz. Modelo Especial
  • 2 oz. small-batch bourbon
  • 3⁄4 oz. blood orange gastrique*
  • 1⁄4 oz. smoked maple syrup
  • 1⁄4 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 dashes pumpkin spice bitters
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • Orange
  • Ice

Directions

  • *To make the gastrique: Melt 3/4 quart sugar in a medium pan. Juice 12 blood oranges and add to pan, bringing to a simmer. Add 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and reduce.
  • Combine the whiskey, syrup, lemon juice, blood orange gastrique, and bitters into a shaker.
  • Fill half with ice and shake well.
  • Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass and top with Modelo Especial.
  • Garnish with orange peel.

To see all of Modelo's original beer cocktails and authentic food recipes, by filtering your preferences here. Be sure to enjoy responsibly.

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Drink responsibly. Modelo Especial and Modelo Negra Beers. Imported by Crown Imports, Chicago, IL.

Photo courtesy of Central Market

Cook with top Black chefs during Central Market's live online classes

Black History Month

To celebrate Black History Month, Central Market is hosting a series of virtual cooking school classes featuring the stories and recipes of notable Black chefs and makers. The specialty grocer will also highlight the products and services of several Black-owned brands throughout the month.

Here's who you'll be learning from, and what signature dishes they'll be preparing for you live:

Chef Pierre Thiam is a celebrated chef, restaurateur, author, entrepreneur, and environmental activist known for his innovative cooking style rooted in the rich culinary traditions of West Africa.

His critically acclaimed New York restaurant Teranga introduces healthy fast-casual fare sourced directly from farmers in West Africa. He'll be making salmon and cassava croquettes with a tamarind glaze, grilled chicken yassa with onion and lime confit over fonio, and chocolate fonio pudding with honey roasted mango.

Marcus Samuelsson is the acclaimed chef behind many restaurants worldwide, including Red Rooster Harlem, Marcus Montreal, Marcus B&P, Red Rooster Overtown, and Marcus Fish + Chop House in the Bahamas.

Samuelsson was the youngest person to ever receive a three-star review from The New York Times and has won multiple James Beard Foundation Awards. He's also the head judge of the new show Top Chef Family Style. You'll learn to make blackened catfish with aioli and lime, coconut fried chicken, and roasted carrots with orange and fresh cheese.

Classically trained in French, Mediterranean, West Indian, and East African cuisine, chef Chris Williams has made a name for himself serving up refined Southern food with international infusions at Lucille's, his nationally acclaimed restaurant.

Cook along with the chef to make smoky citrus salmon on the half shell, coconut rice, and collard green salad.

Winemakers André Mack, Mahalia Kotjane, and Donae Burston join Central Market's wine expert for a guided tasting of four delicious wines, featuring grapes from Willamette Valley, Provence, and the High Plains of Texas.

You'll come to understand what a difference terroir can make and learn tips on pairing these wines with a variety of foods.

Central Market was founded on the unwavering belief that each and every person counts. Through its Be The Change initiative, they pledge to do their part to advance equity and inclusion across Texas.

Be The Change builds upon Central Market's established diversity and inclusion framework, driving the company to be a better employer, retailer, and community partner.

Learn from some of the best this month.

Photo courtesy of Central Market
Learn from some of the best this month.
Photo courtesy of Modelo

Start your football watch-party planning now with this colorful guacamole recipe

Here for the Snacks

It's never to early to start planning your watching menu for the big football matchup. Even if your party might look a bit smaller this year, the snacks are still a big deal.

Enter this toasty twist on traditional guacamole, which gets an extra boost of color from the fresh pomegranate seeds studded throughout.

With the help of talented chefs and bartenders from around the world, Modelo Negra has crafted a selection of delicious dishes and beer cocktails that represent the very best flavors of Mexico and beyond.

Here's how to make it:

Guacamole with Toasted Walnuts and Pomegranate
Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 fresh poblano chile
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 3 ripe medium-large avocados
  • 1/2 medium white onion, into 1/4-inch dice (1/3 cup)
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • Salt
  • Seeds from 1/2 medium pomegranate, removed from pith (you need a generous 1/2 cup)

Directions

  • Roast the poblano over an open flame or 4 inches below a broiler, turning regularly, until blackened all over (about 5 minutes for an open flame, 10 minutes for the broiler).
  • Place in a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let cool until handleable.
  • Rub the blackened skin off the chile and pull out the stem and seed pod, chop into ¼-inch pieces.
  • Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake them until toasty-aromatic, 8-10 minutes. Cool. Roughly chop about two-thirds of the walnuts, set the remainder aside for garnish.
  • Scrape the walnuts into a large bowl, along with the diced poblano.
  • Cut the avocados in half, scoop the flesh from each half into the bowl. With a potato masher, a large fork, or the back of a large spoon, coarsely mash the avocado with the poblano-walnut mixture.
  • Scoop the onion into a strainer, rinse under cold water, shake off the excess, and add to the avocado, along with the parsley and lime juice.
  • Stir to combine, then taste and season with salt, usually about 1 tsp.
  • Scrape the guacamole into a serving dish and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and remaining walnuts — and queso fresco, if you wish!

Sort through all of Modelo's authentic food recipes and original beer cocktails by filtering your preferences here. Be sure to enjoy responsibly.

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Drink responsibly. Modelo Especial and Modelo Negra Beers. Imported by Crown Imports, Chicago, IL.

Photo courtesy of Modelo

Put a fun spin on the French 75 with Modelo's suave and spicy version

Cheers, Y'all

Craft cocktails don't have to be pretentious. Take, for example, the Modelo 75, a light and refreshing spin on the classic sip that's perfect for those who want to make the most of the night.

With the help of talented chefs and bartenders from around the world, Modelo Especial has crafted a selection of delicious dishes and beer cocktails that represent the very best flavors of Mexico and beyond.

Here's how to mix up this accessible "beer-tail":

Modelo 75
Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 3 oz. Modelo Especial
  • 1½ oz Reposado tequila
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • Salt
  • Chili powder
  • Ice
  • Lime

Directions

  • Rim a chilled martini glass with salt and chili powder.
  • Combine tequila, simple syrup, lime juice, and ice in a shaker and shake vigorously.
  • Strain into the glass and top with Modelo Especial and a lime wheel.

To see all of Modelo's original beer cocktails and authentic food recipes, by filtering your preferences here. Be sure to enjoy responsibly.

---

Drink responsibly. Modelo Especial and Modelo Negra Beers. Imported by Crown Imports, Chicago, IL.

Photo courtesy of Modelo

Anytime is the right time for a Modelo michelada's burst of smooth flavor

Start Your Day Right

Got a full house this time of year? Surprise family and friends with this michelada recipe, a"beer-tail" that's rich, smooth, and incredibly easy to make.

With the help of talented chefs and bartenders from around the world, Modelo Negra has crafted a selection of delicious dishes and beer cocktails that represent the very best flavors of Mexico and beyond.

Here's how you make one:

Modelo Negra Michelada
Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. Modelo Negra
  • 3/4 oz. lime juice
  • 2 dashes hot sauce
  • 1/4 oz. jalapeno hot sauce
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • Chile-lime salt rim
  • Lime wheel

Directions

  • Rim a pint glass with chile-lime salt.
  • Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, excluding Modelo Negra and lime wheel.
  • Pour into a pint glass over ice and top with Modelo Negra and lime wheel.
  • Serve with the remaining beer.

To see all of Modelo's original beer cocktails and authentic food recipes, by filtering your preferences here. Be sure to enjoy responsibly.

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Drink responsibly. Modelo Especial and Modelo Negra Beers. Imported by Crown Imports, Chicago, IL.

Photo courtesy of Modelo

Make your Christmas Eve meal more colorful with this zingy salad

Red and Green

Green bean casserole has its place, but consider starting a new side dish tradition at your Christmas Eve table with this bright and flavorful salad.

With the help of talented chefs and bartenders from around the world, Modelo Negra has crafted a selection of delicious dishes and beer cocktails that represent the very best flavors of Mexico and beyond.

That includes the crunchy, citrusy Christmas Eve salad, plus green chile and cheese cornbread to serve with it.

Christmas Eve Salad
Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 4 large beets, peeled
  • 3 seedless oranges
  • 5 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium (about 1 pound) jicama
  • 10 romaine lettuce leaves, cut crosswise into thin slices
  • 1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts

Directions

  • Boil beets in a large pot until a knife inserted in the beet comes out easily, about 30 minutes.
  • Drain, then cool under cold water. Cut beets into ¼-inch-thick slices. Cut slices into thick matchsticks. (This can be done
  • several days in advance; refrigerate tightly covered.)
  • Use a zester or vegetable peeler to remove the rind from 1 of the oranges; finely chop the rind.
  • Mix together the chopped orange rind, lime juice, orange juice, sugar, salt, and olive oil in a large bowl.
  • Pour over the beets and let stand for 1 hour.
  • Peel away the brown skin and fibrous exterior layer of the jicama (a small knife works best for this), slice into ¼-inch-thick small sticks.
  • Cut oranges into segments. Just before serving, add the jicama and most of the orange segments (save a few for garnish) to the beets; salt to taste.
  • Place lettuce on a serving platter, scoop the beet mixture into the center of lettuce, sprinkle with the peanuts and reserved orange segments, and serve.

See the Green Chile and Cheese Cornbread recipe, and sort through all of Modelo's original beer cocktails and authentic food recipes, by filtering your preferences here. Be sure to enjoy responsibly.

---

Drink responsibly. Modelo Especial and Modelo Negra Beers. Imported by Crown Imports, Chicago, IL.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Affluent Houston 'burb's big holiday spending leads week's top stories

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: It's time to recap the top stories on CultureMap from this past week.

1. Affluent Houston suburb leads region for highest holiday spending budgets in U.S. Sugar Land has the nation's 15th highest average holiday budget, a study reports.

2. City of Houston announces boil notice updates, timeline, and important tips. The boil water notice prompted school closures and generally disrupted life around Houston.

3. Disney's Strange World is a visual stunner with too many story ideas. It's one of Disney's "less successful films," our critic opines.

4. New sushi restaurant by Hidden Omakase opens in Rice Village with affordable, 30-minute meals. The new restaurant offers an expedited version of Hidden Omakase's premium tasting menu.

5. Innovative, gluten-free Montrose restaurant returns with new breads and pastries, coffees, and hours. The yearlong closure allowed the restaurant to give customers more of what they want.

Luxe plastic surgery center injects River Oaks with cutting-edge techniques, posh recovery suites, secret access, and more

A-list treatment

With the holiday season in full swing and many prepping for a new look for the new year, image-conscious Houstonians have a new option for cutting-edge cosmetic treatments and plastic surgery in one of Houston’s most elite neighborhoods.

Nuveau Plastic Surgery + Medical Aesthetics, a local leader in cosmetic medical procedures, has quietly opened a sleek new facility in River Oaks (3720 Westheimer Rd.). Owned and operated by renowned (and board-certified) plastic surgeon Dr. Edward Lee, the facility offers myriad reconstructive surgeries for men, women, and children, as well as beauty treatments, touch-ups, and more.

Aside from top-of-the-line technology, instrumentation, and treatments, the boutique center has personalized service and features to the tony RO crowd. A secret entrance ensures privacy for discreet clients, much like similar operations in Los Angeles and New York.

Another top-drawer feature: Tastefully appointed pre-op and post-op suites keep patients in-house, rather than having to leave posh treatment centers and head to crowded hospital rooms for recovery.

In keeping with Lee’s insistence on a medicine-first approach, anesthesia for patients is provided by Medical Anesthesia Associates, an MD-only group.

A cut above

Notably, the center places a primary focus on plastic surgery, which, for the uninitiated, has a clear distinction from cosmetic surgery. Randy Rakes, managing partner, tells CultureMap that it’s important for clients to understand the difference.

“You have to understand, you have to go through hundreds of hours of training and cases — face and the entire body — to get that board certification, and go through rigorous testing in order to meet that specification,” he says.

Why is that important? The industry, Rakes notes, is rife with practitioners such as “OBGYNs or dermatologists or people who have not really been trained in the art of plastic surgery, who take a class somewhere and learn how to do liposuction or a fat transfer — and then they're ‘experts’ in aesthetic surgery.”

That’s especially key when selecting a provider for highly invasive — and potentially serious — procedures such as facelifts, eyelid surgeries, tummy tucks, liposuction, rhinoplasty, breast lifts and augmentations, breast reconstruction, and more, Rakes adds.

In an era of Instagram beauty demands, more choosy clients are opting for streamlining facial features. To that end, Lee is one of a select few surgeons in the U.S. who regularly performs “V-Line '' surgery. The set of procedures, popularized in South Korea where Lee honed many of his skills, aim to narrow the width of the jawline and the face.

Aesthetics with an expert eye

Lee’s elegant, 5,500-square-foot center is adorned with CASA Houston designs, Italian-influenced finishes, and soothing elements evocative of a modern art museum or luxury spa. The facility houses a Visia Skin Analysis Studio and seven treatment suites aesthetic work such as Botox, microneedling, VI peels, Halo Laser Resurfacing, Moxi Non-Ablative Laser, Broad Band Light Photofacials, Coolsculpting, Emsculpt, and more.

Rakes says that his registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and estheticians are elite, by design, as he and Lee insist on credentials. “All of our injectors are licensed in the State of Texas,” he says. “Most places don't have that, the reason being is that they are much more highly skilled than a traditional, regular nurse injector. So they have a much higher skill set. The people who do our lasers and things of that nature have 10 to 15 years of experience, so clients know that they're getting the best possible treatment with the best possible devices — we own every medical device that's considered cutting edge in the industry.”

Facing forward

Rakes, a longtime medical industry processional with a keen eye for trends and technology, says that his clients aren’t just looking for traditional services, but new technologies and treatment, such as PRP and other regenerative therapies. “I think patients are kind of moving a little bit away from the traditional Hyaluronic fillers like Restylane and really looking for something with a more natural approach.”

His treatment teams stimulate collagen with fillers such as Radiesse, “and then we combine that with energy-based devices to even further lift the tissue and work as a synergy between using the injectable and the device, because the combination of both of those things give the patient the best possible results,” Rakes notes. Lee and Rakes also focus facial care on medical-grade skincare brands Alastin, Revision, and Elta MD.

A global scope

Aside from his board certification in plastic surgery, Lee has also trained in craniofacial and pediatric surgery. His medical mission work has taken him to Thailand, Haiti, and Cambodia, where he has performed surgeries for nonprofits such as Operation Smile and Smile Train for those in need.

Those in need of non-traditional treatments can also trust Lee, says Rakes, who points to Lee’s work in the cosmetic and plastic surgery-obsessed Korea. “Some of the Korean techniques are much more advanced than the techniques that are available here in the United States,” says Rakes. “Dr. Lee does a lot of things that other physicians here just don't do.”

Those interested should book early, Rakes advises, as the holiday and new year rush is in full swing. The center offers “pre-buying” slots where clients can reserve space and time. “We’ve been very busy,” says Rakes, noting the local celebs who’ve shared the work they’ve received there on social media. “I think people come here because they know they’re getting the very best treatment and results available.”

Photo courtesy of Nuveau PlasticSurgery + Medical Aesthetics

Nuveau's sleek River Oaks center boasts designs from CASA.

Beloved Houston urban farm toasts local culinary legend with new cooking courses and classroom

peg-approved

For longtime Houston food insiders, Peg Lee needs no introduction. A lifelong local culinary instructor, she has been a fixture in the food scene since the 1970s, where she (often humorously) led cooking classes at Houston Community College.

She was a no-brainer to found and direct Rice Epicurean's cooking school. And the newly launched Central Market made waves in 2001 by enticing her to launch its now wildly successful cooking school, which, thanks to Lee, has lured top national and international chefs and food names.

Along the way, Lee mentored now well-known chefs such as Robert Del Grande, Greg Martin, and Mark Cox.

Quite apropos, the Houston legend is now the namesake for a new cooking school in one of the city's most beloved urban green sanctuaries, Hope Farms. The Peg Lee Culinary Classroom in Hope Farms' Gathering Barn now hosts field trips, classes, tastings, and free cooking demonstrations for children and adults.

Locals can also book the charming space, spearheaded by Recipe for Success/Hope Farms founder Gracie Cavnar, for cooking parties and cooking classes for anywhere from four to 24 students. Those interested can find more information on classes, which center on Cavnar's passion for healthy eating, and more here.

As for the classroom, visitors can expect a white, farmhouse-style kitchen with custom cabinets and high-end appliances, all reflective of a home kitchen. Butcherblock countertops, matte black accents, and farm-made tables and more adorn the space, while a Wolf Induction cooktop, A GE Café Smart Five-in-One Wall Oven, and other state-of-the-art appliances get folks cooking.

Fittingly, classroom water is tied into the farm's new rainwater capture system for the ultimate in sustainability.

“Peg was one of my earliest mentors in the imagining and crafting of what Recipe for Success Foundation would become,” Cavnar noted in a statement. “Then, when we began programing, she rolled up her sleeves and got to work, helping us teach children to cook and bringing her many resources to help us raise money and awareness for our efforts. It is my deepest honor to pay her tribute with the naming of our classroom.”