a love affair with The Inn at Dos Brisas.

This last week the sommelier and I finally had our date. After many months of cancelled plans, work priorities, and sommkid activities, we decided to clear one night so we could yearningly look into one another’s eyes and bask in each other’s company. As we drove into the Texas countryside, the autumn skies were feverish; burning with a desire to slow the pace of our lives and expand our minds with thoughts of pleasure and gratification.


We drifted onto a small country highway northwest of Houston, through hills and valleys, past steer and open fields, and soon we found ourselves at the gate of The Inn at Dos Brisas.


My heart jumped at the sites of horses, herb farms, and small ponds that sprinkled the landscape. The long, winding drive fueled our fervor further, in rusty anticipation of a night for just the two of us.


Slowly a quaint Spanish-style manor appeared, beckoning us with promises of delicious flavors in local dishes and intimate wines. The only restaurant in Texas with a Forbes five-star rating, the Inn at Dos Brisas is the sparkling gem of Houston’s backyard.


The sommelier took my hand as we walked into the quaint villa, the faint sounds of swooning crickets in the background. Every door was opened, with warm, but not overly polite greetings. We were graciously shown to our table, where the sommelier declined menus in lieu of the Chef’s Tasting. With a bottle of Alsace Resiling to start, our journey had begun.

Amuse Bouche: oyster with creme fraiche.


First course: spiny lobster with permisson.


Second course: shrimp with local herbs.


Late Texas Summer slowly faded into early Fall with each dish, playfully alluring our palates with the flavors of the local soil.

Third course: gnocchi with crispy sunchoke.


Fourth course: seabass in light foam.


After devouring what tasted like the simple, clean ocean, we found ourselves with a bottle of 2003 Marcel Deiss Beblenberg, a Pinot that turned our thoughts to smells of burning leaves and crisp morning air.


Fifth course: soft egg with shaved truffle.


Sixth course: conckles in truffle cream.


The satiating menu enveloped us in precise flavors we had not experienced in many years, and so we let the warmth of the wine flow freely into our bellies, as to savor every moment. The service: impeccable. Looking around the manor, beauty was everywhere, as evidenced by the cascading colors hanging on the walls.


Seventh course: rabbit with foie gras and kidney, rillette stuffed Anjou.


Eighth course: venison with local berry demiglaze.


Our eyes began to glaze over, and our stomachs began to twinge with a plea for rest. Just then, Thomas Perez, Wine Director, appeared with Sauternes to accompany our next course.

Ninth course: foie gras ice cream.


My heart was full, but my palate yearned for a sweet cleanse. Luckily, the chefs felt the same way.

Final course: peanut butter and chocolate cream.


With smiles on our lips, we sighed in gastonautical pleasure. Life was good.

As an added bonus to our delightful meal, Executive Chef Zachary Ladwig and Chef de Cuisine Eric Fullem graced our table with their genius. Many thanks were exchanged for our long awaited date, sensuous textures, and amorous combinations of flavors.


The seasons change slowly in Houston. The humidity lays thick well into Fall, as the cooler air is stifled with southern protest. While our date night was long in the making, the sommelier couldn’t have chosen a better experience to portray his love.

Perfect service. Perfect meal. Perfect night.


(Check out other travel blogs at PackMeTo.)

oh how i love chevre

Today I was driving home from The Toy Zone and I heard the beginning of NPR’s Splendid Table. Lynne Rossetta was giving one of her introductions, her voice so smooth, it reminded me of a bowl of fresh whipped cream. Her guest? Anthony Bourdain, “..the author of Kitchen Confidential has just come out with another novel, In the Raw.”Are
we still talking about this? I thought.

A few hours later, I was watching a young Jonah Hill on FX, when a commercial for No Reservations came on. I guess the season premiere is coming on soon. I don’t remember this much promotion for any Bravo Show; guess the Travel Channel has something right. I have already set my DVR to record any new Bourdainisms. At this point, however, I am becoming a DVR Food Junkie. Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, Master Chef, and last but not least, Treme. Tonight, though, I decided to partake in a recent love, Bottleshock. Every time I watch it, I discover something different. I think it bides well with my Pinot Gris, but I wish I were drinking a Cava or Proseco. None to be had. Not even on the rack.

Rheagan went to her first birthday party today. She wore an orange dress with yellow flowers. I tried my best to put her in this vintage red summer thing, so cute and poignant. Still too big. Alas, I have resorted to all the pink dresses. I try to mash it up with fabulous jumpers, in bright green polka dot and soft purple haze. I think she had a good time. We watched the other kids, she played on the tummy time mat, and she got to swing. I found myself wondering what kind of mommy I will become. Will I be the one who walks across the room, takes away the cupcake, wipes off the frosting, and then gives the cake back to my Rhea? Or, will I be the mother who has to scrub green frosting off of her fingernails? Maybe if I know where the cupcakes are from, or if I made the cupcakes, it would make a difference? These are seriously the things I think about.

So, now I am sitting here, after making a delicious tomato, Italian sausage, and pepper fettucine with goat cheese. I had forgotten my love for the nectar of el cabrito. Even though I used a sauce base I made last week, the dish was fabulous, and reminded me of my single days. I ate a lot of pasta back then. With fungi. And chevre.

What a Saturday. I’m lucky that the sommelier decided to join his chef buddies for drinks at The Monterey. I am extremely jealous, however. The pimento cheese and prosciutto omelet I enjoyed over a month ago still lingers in my mind. Maybe the sommelier will treat me to brunch tomorrow? Hmmm….