This week I joined the Houston Food Blogger Collective for a tasting of the new menu at Lucille's; a restaurant located in the Museum District that specializes in Southern cuisine. Thirty bloggers attended the private dining experience where the food was served family-style, which is also the vision for how dinners will experience the new menu. Here are the delicious details...
Char-grilled head-on Gulf shrimp, citrus slaw, lime
We were encouraged to eat these as is including the head. I attempted it but wouldn't recommend it. Nothing like having antennas stuck in your teeth.
Black-Eyed Pea Humus, Shaved Roots, Cumin Vinaigrette
I thought the use of black-eyed peas for a hummus was creative, and yet so simple I don't know why I never thought to do it. The rainbow carrots add color, but the star of the dish is definintely the flavors from the hummus. Not sure if it was seasoned well or if it was the vinaigrette, or both, but I could have eaten a bowl of this and been happy.
Gulf Shrimp, Andoullie, Sherry Tomato Broth, Stone Mill Grits
Not to take away from the shrimp and symphony of flavors in this dish, but the texture of the grits is what did it for me. How the hell did they got those grits to be that soft and creamy is nothing short of sorcery. You could have given me a bowl of grits to go with my bowl of hummus and again, I would have been set for the evening.
Branzino Fish with roasted Portabella Mushroom, Dandelion Pistachio, and Basil Oil
I am not a fan of mushrooms so I picked around this one, but the fish was crispy, not overdone, and the basil oil was a nice touch.
Oxtail Marmalade, Candied Orange Peel Gremolata
This was my first time eating oxtail and second time trying bone marrow ( first time keeping it down) so I was a little hesitant to try this one, but I did. I'll probably never order bone marrow after my first experience, but if you've never had it just think of it as smearing beef jelly on buttered toast.
Collard Green, Kimchi, Serrano, Cheddar Grits, Sorghum Miso Drizzle
Who knew such a little bird had such big flavor! Not only was this seasoned fabulously but once again it comes with those grits of my dreams.
Fresh Gulf Oyster Broccolini, Smashed Fingerlings, Oyster Aioli
So funny story about this...I was so busy taking pictures that I never noticed that most of the plate was eaten. The broccolini and quarter sized steak that I was able to scavenge was quite tasty though.
Rabbit Confit, Sauteed Turnip Greens, Parsnip Puree, Duck Fat Gravy
As soon as I heard that we were having rabbit I froze. I had a pet rabbit as a child. I'll give you two guesses what his name was....yep, Roger. I tried a small bite to say I tried it, but this is my first and last time eating one of Rogers relatives.
Espolon Anejo, Cointreau, Celery Bitters, Red Bell Pepper, Pineapple, Orange, Red Boat Fish Sauce, Siracha, Lemon, Lime, Pepper Rum
Bombay Saphire, Basil-Cucumber Syrup, Dry Vermouth, Lime, Lavendar Bitters, Herbsaint Rinse
Pierre Ferrand Cognac, Limoncello, Demerara, Lemon, Orange Bitter, Brut, Dry Curacao/St. Germain Foam
Bullet Bourbon, Cinzano, Turbinado, Aztec Choco Bitters, Orange Bitters
I am a whiskey girl so naturally I loved the Bourbon cocktail. The coffee bean garnish was a nice touch. The Garden was also a pleasant surprise. It's very delicate with a floral flavor that I would go for at brunch. El Tigre had a lot going on, but would be ideal for anyone that likes a a drink with kick. Lucille's Night Out won points for the foam texture, but it was a little too light for me. Then again I like whiskey so it might be perfect for the general population.
My favorite part of being a food blogger aside from the food of course, is meeting the minds that crafts my meal. Meet Chef Chris Williams who owns the restaurant along with his brother. The restaurant is named after their great-grandmother, and apparently a fabulous cook herself, Lucille B. Smith. The chef has done a stellar job of preserving the integrity of his l family recipes, yet offering new interpretations of traditional southern classics. It's the perfect marriage! Something old, something new, something borrowed like the quaint little house that is now a cozy restaurant, and something blue like the sky you'll be looking at when you thank the heavens for that fabulous food.
This is my last event of the year with the Houston Food Blogger Collective, so I couldn't sign off without saying thank you to the president Renia Butler ( Gristle and Gossip) , and Events Chair Erika Harrison ( Black Girls Who Brunch). It's been a pleasure getting to know these ladies, and an incredible privilege to meet so many talented, passionate, diverse, and dedicated food bloggers. Forks down, glasses up, and cheers to a delicious year.