This month, Grimaldi's announced the addition of liquor and a first-ever cocktail program to their five Houston-area locations. Ten handcrafted cocktails can now be enjoyed with their award-winning coal-fired pizza. I ventured out to my favorite location in The Woodlands Waterway to check it out for myself. The views from the patio overlook the Waterway fountain, but on this warm day I was glad that Grimaldi's offered three different inside dining options.
The cocktail program at Grimaldi's features an assortment of drinks for just about every palate. It includes classic items with and Italian twist to them like the Bloody Mary which uses their famous pizza sauce in the mix or the Paloma which adds a splash of the beloved Italian spirit, Aperol. On a hot day, the Strawberry Basil Smash was quite refreshing. Cocktails are each $10.
Grimaldi's new Stoking Hour runs Monday to Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. During this time guests can get $2 off draft beer, wine, and antipasto or bruschetta. Each month a featured bottle of wine will be available along with a bruschetta trio or small antipasto for just $30. Tuesdays are even tastier at Grimaldi's with half off wine by the glass, carafe, or bottle.
The antipasto was a nice starter for the meal, especially if sharing a bottle of wine with friends. Although it had been quite some time since my last visit to Grimaldi's, they still had the same great pizza I remember. I'm looking forward to cooler weather when I can enjoy an cocktail or two on the patio.
Houston Area Locations:
CityCentre: 12848 Queensbury Lane; 713.463.3730
Cinco Ranch: 2643 Commercial Center Blvd; (281) 574-0070
The Woodlands: 20 Waterway Ave; (281) 465-3500
Sugar Land:16535 Southwest Fwy ; (281) 265-2280
Friendswood:700 Baybrook Mall #117: (281) 286-3942
Blogger disclosure: All food and beverages were provided courtesy of Grimaldi's.
Pei Wei recently launched a $5 lunch menu at 20 of their Houston-area locations. I was invited out to their Woodlands location to give the new menu a try. The menu consists of five different choices: Mango California Roll, Sweet & Sour, Korean Spicy, Thai Dynamite, and Dan Dan Noodles. Each entree comes with your choice of white rice, brown rice, lettuce cups, or salad.
The 8-piece Mango roll was a perfect starter. Crab, mango, cucumbers and scallions were rolled and tossed with sesame seeds for a nice summery treat. Both the Korean Spicy and Thai Dynamite contained a healthy mix of protein and veggies, but next time I will ask for them to be a bit spicier. The pineapple chunks and sugar snap peas in the sweet and sour provided a nice pop of freshness to this classic dish. My favorite overall was the Dan Dan Noodles. It was a filling and hearty bowl with lots of flavor.
Pei Wei's entrees are made to order using freshly chopped ingredients. Almost all of their menu items can be customized for dietary needs including gluten-free and vegetarian. For those in a rush, Pei Wei offers a new app that lets you view the menu, place your order, and even earn My Wei Rewards toward free entrees.
Blogger disclosure: All food and beverages were provided courtesy of Pei Wei.
For some, Labor Day means a three-day weekend, but for me it means that the best craft beer festival in Texas is happening in Galveston. The 8th Annual Brewmasters Craft Beer Festival will take place September 1-3, 2017 at the Moody Gardens Hotel. Five different events will take place over the three day weekend, including the BrewHaHa Grand Tasting featuring over 50 different breweries.
The weekend's festivities kick off Friday night with the Nach-Yo Ordinary Tequila Tasting and a Pub Crawl to some of Galveston's coolest bars. Saturday starts out with a Texas Brewery Tasting Tour, which allows guests to meet local brewery representatives for an up close and personal talk and tasting.
The BrewHaHA Grand Tasting happens Saturday afternoon from 3 p.m.. to 6:30 p.m. Over 400 beers will be available to sample including several Taste It First selections. Tickets are just $35. Upgrade your general admission ticket to VIP for an hour early entry and an exclusive lounge area with food samples for $85.
Sunday wraps up with Brews, BBQ, and a live Band. The $23 Brew-B-Que ticket includes a Stubb's BBQ two-meat plate and a punch card for six 2-ounce samples of beer. Packages are also available for the entire weekend or select multi-events as well as specially priced designated driver tickets.
For tickets visit: brewmastersbeerfest.com
For those of us old enough to remember, the mere mention of Lambrusco might conjure up memories of an annoying jingle proclaiming how Riunite on ice is so nice. This sweet, slightly effervescent wine has been cast aside, sitting in the shadows with its equally taboo cousin, white zinfandel. But has Lambrusco been harshly misjudged? Does this fruity red wine have a place at the grown ups table?
I recently attended a Lambrusco seminar at Vinology led by Italian wine expert and author of Do Bianchi, Jeremy Parzen. To fully appreciate Lambrusco it is imperative to understand its origin. Lambrusco is both an Italian red grape and the name of the wine made from that grape. The grapes and wine come from the gastronomic mecca that is Emilia-Romagna. Lambrusco comes in various levels of dryness and is typically low in ABV and residual sugar.
Lambrusco was wildly popular in the US during the 70's and 80's. Italian wine makers took advantage of Americans love of sugary drinks. According to Parzen, Lambrusco was like the Coca-cola of wine. "Think of it more like drinking a wine cooler." There's no need to swirl it in your glass or savor the bouquet. It's a nice fizzy beverage to accompany your meal.
As the American palate adjusted to more "serious" wines, Lambrusco lost its appeal. However, not in Emilia-Romagna where Lambrusco is still the wine of choice. When you live in a Provence famous for the best cheeses, meats, pasta and balsamic vinegar then you wouldn't want to overpower these delicacies with a Barolo, Brunello, or Chianti. Just as Texans love their sweet tea, Lambusco is the iced tea of Emilia-Romagna.
The pale pink wine formerly known as white zinfandel is now the ultra hip rose, so maybe there's hope for Lambrusco. I recently picked up a bottle of Riunite for $4.99 to have with dinner. The fizzy, chilled wine was very refreshing in this Texas heat. It didn't add nor distract from my meal. I didn't have my Riunite on ice, but it was indeed "very nice".
About the Author
I like eating, traveling, and enjoying liquid libations. I'm all about great wines, signature cocktails, and local brews.