Congratulations to Houston's 3 Sons Foods, whose Diablo Verde Sauce took home top prize in the 2019 H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best competition. The creation by mom Traci and sons George, Luke, and Ayden Johannson—a gluten-free, soy-free, preservative-free creamy cilantro sauce in hot, medium, and mild—triumphed over more than 800 other competitors, including 19 other finalists, in the contest. For winning, 3 Sons gets $25,000 and featured placement on H-E-B shelves.
Southern Smoke tickets are now on sale. This year's festival, set for Oct. 6, promises to be the most local celebration yet, and chefs visiting from elsewhere include James Beard winners Ashley Christensen, Aaron Franklin, Donald Link, and Sarah Grueneberg, plus Matty Matheson (seen on VICE's Munchies). Get your tickets here. And that's not all: On Oct. 4, the festival will kick off with Chris Shepherd's Houstonian Hoot'Nanny, a dinner that will spotlight some of Houston's most revered, tried-and-true establishments (Saigon Pagolac, Al Aseel, London Sizzler). Tickets for that event are $500 per person and available via the Southern Smoke website, as well.
New concepts open as of today: Penny Quarter, the all-day café and bar from Justin Yu and Bobby Heugel (Better Luck Tomorrow) is serving up coffee, pastries, booze, and small plates next to Huegel's Anvil. And One Fifth Gulf Coast is scheduled to unleash its pork belly and baller boats on the world starting tonight.
Just three months after returning to the restaurant to run Kata Robata's kitchen with Manabu "Hori" Horiuchi, Jean-Philippe Gaston is out. Why? He's heading to Europe to travel and do pop-ups with friend and chef Carlos Redon. As for Kata, it's moving Dexter Nguyen to chef de cuisine.
Chef Troy Guard, who will be opening his Houston location of Guard & Grace this fall at One Allen Center, will be collaborating with Camerata at Paulie's for a steak and sommakase dinner starting 6 p.m. Aug. 25. A five-course menu will be presented at Paulie's, with a wine pairing offered for each dish. For tickets ($95) and more information, click here.
LeRoy & Lewis BBQ, a popular Austin food truck known for a fresh approach to barbecue (and some very good beef cheeks), is dropping into Houston for a pop-up. Look for them at Eight Row Flint at 5 p.m. Aug. 20, part of the Heights bar's Outdoor Cooking Series. There's a connection here: Lewis is Sawyer Lewis, who previously was a manager at Coltivare, which is part of the Agricole Hospitality family that includes Eight Row. She and pitmaster Evan LeRoy will be featuring a Chinese-influenced menu at the pop-up—look for Akaushi brisket, char siu pork ribs, barbecue fried rice, and more. (You'll have to drive to Austin for the beef cheeks.)
There's a new Fajita Pete's out there: 5710 Memorial Drive in Rice Military is open for business. It's the 14th location of the Houston-based fajita quick-service chain; next up is a League City spot.
Get ready for an L&L Hawaiian BBQ at 209 Heights Blvd., in the same plaza at Pokéworks and Chipotle Mexican Grill. The popular chain of Hawaiian comfort food specializes in chicken katsu, BBQ chicken and beef bowls, Spam musubi, and the loco moco—hamburger patties over rice and brown gravy and topped with fried egg.