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Celebrate National Ice Cream Month

Posted on: July 13th, 2015 by fcasio
Posted in Event, recipe

Executive Sous Chef Javier U. Lopez shares a spiked version of his family’s Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream recipe for National Ice Cream Month.

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream


1 Quart

    • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
    • 4 ounces sweet chocolate
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • Pinch salt
    • Pinch cayenne
    • pinch cloves, ground
    • 1 tablespoon espresso coffee
    • 6 ea egg yolks, lightly beaten
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3 tablespoons Tequila (optional)


    1. Heat one cup of cream in a small saucepan (1 qt). Whisk in cocoa powder. Bring to a simmer. Whisk until cocoa powder is well incorporated. Remove pot from heat. Stir in chocolate until completely incorporate.
    2. Put mixture into a metal bowl and add the remaining cup of cream. Set that bowl over a larger bowl half-filled with ice water to help cool it down. Place a mesh sieve over the bowl with the chocolate mixture.
    3. Put one cup of milk, the sugar, cinnamon, salt, cayenne, espresso powder (or instant coffee) into a saucepan and heat until steamy (not boiling), stirring to incorporate the spices and dissolve the sugar. Place egg yolks in a medium sized bowl. Slowly pour the heated milk and mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the heated milk, but not cooked by it. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
    4. Stir the milk egg mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon so that you can run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run. This can take anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes, depending on how hot your burner is. If the custard base doesn’t coat the back of the spoon, it’s not ready. The custard base coats the back of the spoon.
    5. As soon as the mixture coats the spoon, remove it from the heat and immediately pour it over the mesh sieve into the bowl of the chocolate cream mixture. (The sieve is there to catch any curdled bits.) Stir into the cream mixture.
    6. Add a teaspoon of vanilla. Let the mixture cool a bit in the ice bath and then chill in the refrigerator until completely chilled, a couple hours or overnight. Right before churning, add 3 Tbsp of tequila to the mix. This is an optional step, but it will help keep the ice cream from getting too icy if it is stored beyond a day. If you are planning on eating the ice cream the same day you make it, you can skip this step.
    7. Churn the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Would you rather try the ice cream along with other spiked treats? Join us on Thursday, July 23rd at Yellow Rose Distilling for an upcoming event Spiked by the Scoop. 

For tickets, visit the event page here >>>


Summer Sangria

Posted on: June 22nd, 2015 by fcasio
Posted in Uncategorized


Is there anything better than a cold glass of sangria on a hot, Texas summer day? Whether you’re prepping for a party or simply making an afternoon sipper, Wine Guy John Ramos shares his favorite recipe.


8 Servings

1 Bottle of red wine (John Ramos suggests Honoro Vera Carnacha)

1/2 cup rum

1 lemon, sliced

1 orange, sliced

1 lime, sliced

1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced

1 red apple, cored and sliced

9 whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

1 liter lemon / lime flavored carbonated beverages


Push cloves into apple slices.

Combine all ingredients in a large container.

Cover container and set in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

Event Recap: Bubbles in my Drink (recipes)

Posted on: June 20th, 2015 by fcasio
Posted in Cocktail, Event, recipe, Recipes

When the weather is hot, adding a some bubbles in your cocktail is a sure way to lighten up any drink. For our June Spirit Roundtable, Richard Middleton and Ronnie Stidvent showcased a few. Make some or all this summer and let us know how you like it. Enjoy!

Flight with a Bite:

1.5 oz Avion Reposado Tequila

3 oz. Agave Quinine Water

Wedge of Lime

Method: Build in an ice filled double rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wedge & black lava sea salt


Kumquat May!

2 oz. Snow Leopard Vodka

0.25 oz. Kumquat Gran Gala Syrup

2 oz. Ginger Ale

Method: Build in an ice filled shaker & serve up. Garnish with a Kumquat slice


The Classic Bellini

1 oz. Peach Nectar

1 oz. Peach Schnapps

4 oz. Brut Champagne

Method: Served in a flute. Garnish with a peach slice.

Master Chef Roger Verge Passes Away at 85

Posted on: June 18th, 2015 by fcasio
Posted in Uncategorized

When Alex Brennan-Martin attending school as a young man in France, he had the opportunity to work with Master Chef Roger Vergé. He toured the U.S. while Alex worked for him and even went to New Orleans during his trip. When he returned, he asked Alex to make gumbo which ended up on the menu at Moulin de Mougin for a short while. A Great Man.

This story is republished from John Mariani. 




Roger Vergé, one of France’s most respected and beloved master chefs and a pioneer of la nouvelle cuisine, has died at his home in Mougins at the age of 85 from complications of diabetes.     With his jaunty mustache and white hair, Vergé was the epitome of the modern French chef when he came on the scene in the 1960s, at a time when chefs were barely acknowledged for their efforts and the Michelin Guide gave stars to the restaurant, never the chef.
Along with Paul Bocuse, Michel Guèrard, Jean and Pierre Troisgros, and Alain Chapel, Vergé forged a new style of French cooking whose hallmarks were a respect for the best ingredients, a simplification of cooking and presentation, and a call for creativity in the kitchen without ever abandoning the classic body of knowledge and technique that made innovation possible.  That the cooking was often lighter than traditional haute cuisine was an aspect that garnered too much attention, as if it were supposed to be health food.
Vergé disdained the wayla nouvelle cuisine was appropriated by young, publicity-seeking cooks who took creativity to mean gimmicky license of a kind Vergé characterized as “a joke. It is nothing serious. Now it looks Japanese: large dishes, small portions, no taste, but very expensive.”
What distinguished Vergé’s cooking at his restaurant, Moulins de Mougins, which he opened with his wife, Denise, in 1969, was a distillation of all he knew of classic French cuisine with the flavors of Provence and the Mediterranean.
Having cooked in North Africa and Kenya, he developed an avid appreciation for the taste of fruits, citrus and sweetness, which he amalgamated into haute cuisine with rigorous French techniques. Vinegars and olive oil were used liberally, the aromatics of flowers gave a freshness to the dishes, and the presentation, on Villeroy Boch china, was fanciful.
He’d use ingredients long banned from haute cuisine kitchens, like pig’s trotter, even pasta, and called it the Cuisine of the Sun (the title of his cookbook ), served up in an enchantingly sunny dining room with patio. The first menus, which included lobster, were fixed price at 28 francs; guests felt as well treated wearing casual holiday clothes as jackets and ties. In 1972 he won the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France award and two years later earned a third Michelin star.
    Vergé said he “liked to take risks” and a had a “dread of sameness,” which translated to a glamorous lifestyle that often took him away from Mougins, even to opening a restaurant at Disneyworld in Orlando, FL, with Bocuse and Gaston Lenôtre, as well as promoting products.  It was all a far cry from the stultified stereotype of the chef who never leaves his kitchen and has no life beyond it, including no knowledge of other cuisines but his own.
I still have my index card notes from my one and only meal I had at Moulins de Mougins, on May 6, 1982, remarking on the lovely atmosphere of what had once been a mill and on the young staff that seemed such a contrast to those in stiff, formal dining rooms to the north.  The wine list was superb, with as many wines of Provence as of Bordeaux and Burgundy.  And my wife and I still recall just how amazed we were by dishes that would fit impeccably onto menus today: a warm mousse of salmon and scallops with lemon sauce; zucchini flowers with truffles and another rendering with a forcemeat of mullet; a lobster salad with grapefruit, mayonnaise and snow peas; turbot in cream with morels; duck confit with pears; apple soufflé with Calvados ice cream; and more.  It was all unforgettable, as much for its fine taste as for its personality, which was purely Vergé’s.
Unlike many of his contemporaries and a generation of chefs to follow–who, like Alain Ducasse and Joël Robuchon, built empires on their names and connections–and except for the profitable foray into Orlando and a failed restaurant consultancy in NYC, Verge never expanded beyond Provence, where he was happy.  Which was what Vergé wanted his guests to be after dining so beautifully at his restaurant.  Life is too short to spend it in a dark dining room conversing in whispers, and Roger Vergé broke that mold with personal élan and a touch of welcome Gallic whimsy.


DIY Brunch

Posted on: May 7th, 2015 by fcasio
Posted in Holidays, News, Recipes

Mother’s Day is around the corner! Executive Sous Chef Javier U. Lopez shared with Channel 13 some brunch tips and recipes from Brennan’s of Houston to recreate for your mom at home.


Makes: 4 ordersIngredients:
– 8 each fried green tomatoes (see recipe)
– 1 lb Jumbo lump crabmeat, picked
– 1 cup ravigote sauce (see recipe)
– 6 oz baby arugula
– as needed sugar cane vinegar
– as needed salt, Kosher
– as needed pepper, black

1. Place 2 fried tomato slices on the plate.
2. Gently fold crabmeat with ravigote sauce.
3. Top each tomato with 2oz. of crabmeat mixture on each slice.
4. In a mixing bowl, splash baby arugula with sugar cane vinegar and season to taste

5. Divide arugula among four plates.


Servings: 4

– 1 cup grapeseed oil
– 8 each Green Tomatoes, medium, sliced 1/4″
– to taste Kosher salt
– to taste black pepper
– 1 cup buttermilk
– 1 cup Flour
– 1/2 cup Cornmeal
– to taste Creole seasoning

1. Preheat oil to 350 degrees.
2. Slice tomatoes into ” slices. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper.
3. Place flour in a mixing bowl. Set aside
4. Add buttermilk in a second mixing bowl.
5. In a third bowl add cornmeal.
6. Dredge tomato slices in flour, then submerge them one at a time completely into buttermilk.
7. Finally, dredge them into cornmeal and immediately fry 1-2 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Place on a wire rack or paper towels. Season generously on both sides with Creole seasoning.

Makes: 1 1/4 cup

– 1/4 cup mayonnaise
– 1/4 ea lemons (juiced)
– 2 tbsp Creole Mustard
– 1 1/2 tsp Pickled Okra, chopped
– Dash Louisiana Hot Sauce
– Dash Worcestershire Sauce
– To taste Salt, Kosher
– To taste Black Pepper

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper.
Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Makes: 6 servingsIngredients:
– 6 each thin slices of Canadian bacon
– 6 each halves of English muffins (6 whole), toasted
– 6 each soft poached eggs (pasteurized)
– 1 1/2 cup Hollandaise sauce

1. Broil or saut bacon on both sides until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
2. Put 2 English muffin halves on each warmed plate and top with a slice of
Canadian bacon; put the egg over the bacon and cover with hollandaise.
3. Serve immediately.


– 1 1/2 lbs. unsalted butter
– 4 egg yolks (pasteurized)
– 1 oz. water
– 2 tsp. salt
– 1/2 lemons
– 5 dashes Tabasco

1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not let burn. When completely
melted, remove from heat and separate the oil form the milk solids.
2. Place pasteurized egg yolks and water in top of a double boiler over simmering water. The bottom of the upper pan should not touch the simmering water in the lower pan.
3. Whisk pasteurized yolks until mixture thickens and form sheen, and a temperature of 145F. In a slow steady stream, add butter, whisking constantly until all butter has been
4. Add lemon juice, Tabasco and salt to season.
5. Keep sauce for no longer than 4 hours at a 140 F. Discard

– 3 tbsp. White wine
– 2 tsp. Dried tarragon leaves

In a small saucepan heat white wine and tarragon until liquid evaporates. Remove from heat and add to hollandaise sauce, mixing well.

Serves: 6
– 3 cups strawberries, fresh, stem removed, divided
– 1 cup sugar, granulated, divided
– 1/4 cup Grand Marnier or Island Rum (optional)Shortcakes
– 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
– 1 tbsp. baking powder
– 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
– 2 ea. eggs
– 2 tablespoons milk
– 1/2 tsp. salt

Vanilla sweetened cream
– 1 cup heavy whipping cream
– 2 tablespoons sugar, granulated
– 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

To Assemble
– 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
– 6 each mint sprigs

1. In a blender or food processor, puree 1 cup strawberries, cup sugar and Grand Marnier.
2. Depending on the size, halve or quarter remaining strawberries

3. Combine flour, remaining cup sugar and baking powder in a large bowl.
4. Cut in shortening until mixture is crumbling.
5. Mix eggs, milk in a small bowl add to crumbly mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
6. Use a dessert spoon to spoon out 6 equal portions of dough onto an ungreased sheet pan.
7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and done; test with a toothpick. Reserve, keeping warm.

Vanilla sweetened cream
8. Place the cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and vanilla extract in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed or by hand until soft peak form, being careful not to over mix. Reserve in refrigerator until ready to use.

To Assemble
9. Slice shortcakes in half; place bottom half on each plate and top with strawberries and sauce. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream. Place top half shortcake over whipped cream; sift powder sugar over the top and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
10. Serve immediately.

A Loss of our Friend, Mr. Dick Brennan

Posted on: March 20th, 2015 by fcasio
Posted in Family
dick brennan sr

Photo Credit: Nola.com — Mr. Dick Brennan Sr.


Words cannot express the tremendous grief our community is experiencing over the loss of our patriarch, mentor and friend, Mr. Dick Brennan, Sr. on Saturday, March 14.

We mourn the loss of Mr. Dick, and ask you that you join us and take a moment to commemorate his life and contributions to our industry.


Fiddlehead Cellars Wine Dinner 3/11/2015

Posted on: March 3rd, 2015 by fcasio
Posted in Event, Wine

Any Pinot Noir Lovers Out There?

Speaker Kathy Joseph, Proprietor & Winemaker

Kathy Joseph established Fiddlehead Cellars in 1989 to capture the pure essence of two distinguished grape varietals – Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Her intent was to incorporate European beauty by working with grapes grown in the right place and wines managed with respect in the cellar.

She was one of the first to plant grapes in Santa Barbara County.

Today, Kathy is recognized as a pioneer among women winemakers. She inspired the director of “Sideways” enough to highlight her wine in the movie. The Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc was also a favorite among the crew.

At Fiddlehead, Kathy annually produces only 5,000 cases of wine, with personal interest in each grape cluster, each barrel of wine and every bottle that finds its way to your table.

Cost: $ 120 (plus tax & gratuity)

Reception: 6:30 p.m.,

Passed Horsd’oeuvres & 2013 Pick Fiddle Rose, Santa Rita Hills, California

Dinner: 7:00 p.m.

Presented Menu:

Diver Scallop and Caviar
Louisiana sweets, Alligator pear, Covey Rise greens, hearts of palm, and Petrossian caviar
2011 Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Ynez Valley, California

Sweet Breads & Breaux Bridge Crawfish
Homestead goat cheese grits, Morel mushrooms, melted leeks and English peas with sauce Acadian
2011 Oldville Reserve Pinot Noir, Oregon

Buffalo Bayou Honey Roasted Duck
Duck egg fried rice, duck cracklin, and Huckleberry duck sauce
2010 “728-Fiddlestix” Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills, California

44 Farm Beef Belly Ravioli
Forever braised Texas beef, root vegetable confetti, Trotter stewed Collard greens and Hickory smoked Oxtail jus
2010 Lollapalooza Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills, California

Froberg Strawberry Jubilee
Strawberry & Creole cream cheese cannoli, strawberry ice cream in waffle cone and strawberry dark chocolate moon pie
Coffee Service

To purchase tickets, please visit our Fiddlehead Cellars Wine Dinner Event site HERE.

Bon Vivant 2015

Posted on: January 30th, 2015 by fcasio No Comments
Posted in Event

The Dream Dinner: 22 top chefs come together to cook for high rollers in a foodie carnival night

By Shelby Hodge

1.29.15 | 10:06 am

24 Danny Trace of Brennan’s at the Bon Vivant dinner January 2015

Brennan’s Danny Trace. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com


Reef’s Bryan Caswell was on a culinary high Monday night as he and 21 other chefs gathered in the Royal Sonesta Hotel ballroom for the annual Bon Vivant Houston dinner party benefiting Youth Development Center.

Caswell was coordinating chef for the evening that is so popular among H-Town’s top toques that they actually volunteer for the dinner benefit. “It’s extremely unique,” Caswell explained. “You have 22 chefs cooking 22 dinners all at the same time and they’re completely independent of each other.”

The draw of this evening for both chefs and diners is that each chef cooks for only 10 paying guests (20 if a table is sold twice) and it’s up to the chef to create to heart’s content. Thus, Corner Table’s Ja’Nel Witt took her diners on an international journey, complete with passports at each plate. Each of her five courses represented a different international cuisine.

Oceanaire’s Rocco Nankervis featured Chilean sea bass with lemon risotto and purple cauliflower while L’Olivier’s Olivier Ciesielski served pan seared scallops on beluga lentils and lamb chops with baby ratatouille.

“I participate every year,” said Silver Stone EventsElizabeth Stone. “It’s so special that we really get to cook out of the box with only 10 people. With 10, you really get to showcase what you do.” Her entrée course — bone-in, herb-crusted veal chop.

The event, at which each chef has his own station with teaching mirror overhead so that diners can see the preparation, was chaired by Kristen Barlen, Richard Flowers, Sabrina and Rob Hallett, Kirby McCool and Candice Wells.

Bon Vivant is basically one big party with the chefs having as much fun as the guests. Consider Max’s Wine Dive’s carnival atmosphere with a fire eater, knife juggler and lighted hula hoops as dinner entertainment while  Radical EatsStaci Davis, aka Lady Gaga on this night, created a rock star backstage experience for her diners.

As Brennan’s Danny Trace noted, “It’s awesome. It’s a great cause for the children. All of our brothers are out here. We all have a good time raising money for a good cause.”

Rounding out the entourage of chefs were Mark Decker of Down House, Ricardo Vargas of Capital Grille on Westheimer, private chef Soren Pedersen, La Griglia’s Luis Rubio, Mark Holley of Holley’s Seafood Restaurant & Oyster Bar, Antoine Ware of Harold’s Restaurant, Peter Laufer of the Royal Sonesta, Tanner Lucas of 1600 Bar+Grille, Jonathan Wicks of Hotel ZaZa’s Monarch Bistro, Randy Evans of Southern Son Consulting, Jacques Fox of Artisans, Brian Evans of the Tasting Room at CityCentre, Richard Knight of Hunky Dory, Maurizio Ferrarese of Quattro at the Four Seasons Hotel, Greg Martin of the new Bistro Menil and Kevin Naderi of Roost and Lillo & Ella.

St. 75 Champagne Cocktail

Posted on: December 30th, 2014 by fcasio No Comments
Posted in Cocktail, recipe, Spirit

As the new year approaches, we can’t help reflect back on when Ferrel Dugas visited us from Commander’s Palace and made a St. 75 for our Passport to Cocktails event. If you don’t want to do straight bubbles as you’re ringing in the new year, this Champagne Cocktail is a definite must!

St. 75

St. 75


The St. 75 is a playful twist on the Classic French 75.


1 oz. Tanqueray

1 oz. fresh lemon juice

1 oz. basil infused simple syrup

1 oz. St. Gremain

Champagne or Cava (your favorite)

Fresh basil leaves


Pour Tanqueray, lemon juice, simple syrup and St. Germain into a shaker. Shake and strain into a flute or coupe glass. Top off with Champagne and garnish with a fresh basil leaf.

Brennan’s Milk Punch featured on Food & Wine

Posted on: December 9th, 2014 by fcasio No Comments
Posted in Cocktail, Holidays, Spirit

Original Post on FoodandWine.com

9 Milk Punches to Try This Season

Milk Punch at Brennan's of Houston

Milk Punch at Brennan’s of Houston Courtesy of Brennan’s of Houston

Is Monday too early to start thinking about what we’ll be eating and drinking next weekend? We think not. We have the decadent Southern cocktail milk punch on our minds. Here, nine amazing milk punches around the country to sip next Sunday morning (and evening). And if you aren’t close to any of these spots, make milk punch at home using our recipes for classic rum and bourbon versions.

1. Midnight Milk Punch at Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen in Morristown, NJ.
At restaurateur Chris Cannon’s new multi-concept restaurant, bar and event space, head bartender Christopher James serves a blend of the 86 Co. Tequila Cabeza, agave, whole milk, Bitter Truth mole bitters and absinthe.

2. Cotechino Milk Punch at Lo Spiedo in Philadelphia.
Beverage director Steve Wildy bases his cocktail around autumn-spiced applejack at this wood fire-driven spot, along with vanilla, green tea and clarified milk.

3. Off-Menu Milk Punch at Brennan’s of Houston.
One of the restaurant’s most popular cocktails isn’t even on the menu; in-the-know drinkers request the classic cocktail, made with milk, brandy, sugar, vanilla extract and a dusting of freshly ground nutmeg.

4. Clouds over California at Providence in Los Angeles.
John Richard Thomas Jackson’s boozy, dairy-free interpretation of the breakfast beverage incorporates cinnamon-infused soymilk, persimmon, pear, apple syrup, white pepper, Velvet Falernum, Caña Brava white rum and Boyd & Blair potato vodka.

5. e.m.p. at Blenheim in New York City.
Jonathan Russell’s rum-based milk punch also includes sugarcane liqueur Batavia Arrack, black tea, citrus and fresh whey from farms in the Catskills.

6. Classic Milk Punch at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans.
The sweet, frothy concoction at this iconic New Orleans landmark is blended with 2-percent milk, bourbon, egg whites, sugar, vanilla extract, ice and ground nutmeg.

7. The Navana at Ty Lounge at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara.
Bartender Martin Montera’s creamy cocktail, served hot or cold, features butterscotch schnapps, whole milk, Blue Curaçao liqueur and whipped cream.

8. The Golden Filigree at Celeste in Chicago.
Served on tap, this strong take on the classic is made with Rémy VSOP cognac, Plantation dark rum, Very Old Barton bourbon and milk whey.

9. English Milk Punch at Faith & Flower in Los Angeles.
More than 13 ingredients combine in “Chief of Booze” Michael Lay’s unusual milk punch, which contains no actual milk but retains a silky, creamy mouthfeel after the milk solids are strained out. He incorporates rums from Trinidad, Jamaica and Puerto Rico, along with bourbon, Batavia Arrack, absinthe, fresh lemon, pineapple, cloves, coriander, cinnamon, Japanese Sencha tea and clarified milk.