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Glenmorangie Companta

Posted on: October 13th, 2014 by fcasio No Comments
Posted in Spirit

By Richard Middleton

Glenmorangie Campanta (photo credit OaksLiquors.com)

Glenmorangie Campanta (photo credit OaksLiquors.com)

Dr. Bill Lumsden, Master Distiller for Glenmorangie, has created another single malt classic for us to treasure. From his travels across the great vineyards of France, the good doctor has conceived Glenmorangie Companta (Scots Gaelic for ‘friendship’). It is a refined balance between bold spice & rich, smooth sweetness. Companta is an expression careful assembled with spirits extra matured in Grand Cru casks from Clos de Tart & those of a lusciously sweet fortified wine from Côtes du Rhône. Glenmorangie has given us another phenomenal non-chill-filtered single malt produced from these unusual woodings. Come by our Courtyard Bar & enjoy two fingers of another classic!

Tasting Notes:

Aroma: Companta exudes rich, ‘autumnal’ scents of red berries & damp forest floors, with a hint of fragrant woodsmoke complementing notes of aromatic, nutty oak.

Taste: Upon tasting, a spicy palate redolent of cherries & stewed fruits is slowly revealed, as notes of sugared plums, blood orange & rose-hip syrup emerge alongside milk chocolate with brown sugar.

Finish: Companta lingers on with a rich, mouth-coating finish.


Courtyard Bar Summer Feature – Double Cross Vodka

Posted on: July 10th, 2014 by fcasio No Comments
Posted in Cocktail, Recipes

Photo Courtesy of Forbes.com

Double Cross Vodka is produced in Stara Lubovna in the Tatra Mountains of Northeastern Slovakia by Master Distiller Jan Krak. It is a superior product made from local estate grown winter wheat & aquifer water 200′ deep. Distilled 7 times and filtered 7 times via a proprietary filtration system, Double Cross Vodka has won accolades from every source in the spirits review sector. A very special vodka!

95 ~ Superb “Vibrant, creamy and full.” Wine Enthusiast (11 pts higher than Grey Goose)

4 stars ~ Highly Recommended “Dry, delicate, silky” Spirit Journal

Two gold medals San Francisco World Spirits Competition.



2 Oz. Double Cross Vodka

1 Oz. Mathilde Poire Liqueur

.5 Oz. Domain de Canton

Served up ~ Garnished with a Chilean Baby Pear


RECIPE: Crawfish Empanadas

Posted on: June 30th, 2014 by fcasio No Comments
Posted in Uncategorized




2 tbs grapeseed oil

4 oz diced chorizo

1 tbs minced garlic

1/2 c finely chopped poblano pepper

1/2 c finely chopped red bell pepper

1/2 c finely chopped yellow onion

1 lb fresh crawfish tail meat

1/2 tsp cumin

2 tbs Crystal hot sauce

2 tbs Worcestershire sauce

1 c grated jalapeno cheese

1 recipe pie dough (recipe follows)

salt, pepper and Creole seasoning to taste

Pie Dough

3 c all-purpose flour

pinch salt

2 sticks butter (1/2 lb)

3/4 c ice cold water


Heat oil in sauté pan over medium heat; toast garlic then add Chorizo and render
Add Poblano, red peppers and onion until vegetables are caramelized
Add crawfish and cook until just heated through
Add cumin, seafood seasoning, hot sauce and Worcestershire
Remove pan from heat. Fold in cheese and all to melt. Chill.
Divide ingredients evenly among 6 pie rounds

Pie Dough:
In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt.
Using your hands, work butter and flour gently until butter is the size of a dime.
Make a well in the center.
Add 5 tablespoons of water into the center and combine gently by folding together.
Add the additional water if needed.
You will know because dough will be dry and crumbly.
Fold until dough forms together.
Do not over work dough.
Wrap with plastic and set in refrigerator to rest.
It is best for dough to rest overnight or until center is cool.

Sip-Sational News with the Coravin

Posted on: December 3rd, 2013 by fcasio No Comments
Posted in Wine
Jason Sherman Brennan's of Houston Wine Guy

Jason Sherman Brennan’s of Houston Wine Guy

A word from our Wine Guy / Wine Director, Jason Sherman:

“So who has heard the latest buzz in the wine world? If you read any current magazine, or ask any sommelier you might know, he / she will say the Coravin. “Intended” to be for the wine collectors to test wines from their own collection without breaking the seal, or having to consume the whole bottle, this device is now in the hands of many sommeliers around the world…including mine. Like many, I wanted to utilize this system of wine preservation to pour something unique by our fall / wine menu (think osso bucco, lamb chops, venison).

Dominus is one of the most age-worthy cabernet based blends made in our country…fitting that its owned and operated by the French Moueix family of Bordeaux. Try a 3-ounce glass of $25, or a full glass for $50.”

Keep an eye out for more exciting wines to be poured from the Coravin in coming months, including Gaja, Patz and Hall, Bruno Giacosa and Ogier.

What are you drinking for Thanksgiving?

Posted on: November 26th, 2013 by fcasio 1 Comment
Posted in Uncategorized

Here’s what Wine Guy, Jason Sherman, has to say:

“The red white and sparkling wines of the Loire Valley are great to enjoy with Thanksgiving meals. High in acid, low in oak influence and great with food, these have always been some of my favorites on Turkey day. The red wines of Chinon, made from Cabernet Franc, are one such example.

Chinon is a small, hillside commune located in the central part of the Loire Valley, and by law all red wines are to be made from Cabernet Franc. Total production for the entire region is less than some single wineries in California. Unlike cabernet franc from warmer climates like California and Argentina, whose wines display rich, fruit flavors and pronounced oak, these are a fine contrast. Grown in a much cooler climate that does not allow the ripening potential of the previous, cabernet franc from chinon is light to medium-bodied, with flavors of plum, cherry and olive tapenade. Fermented and aged in mostly concrete and stainless steel, they also have no obnoxious oak flavors, just the clean, pure flavors of fruit and herbs. Some labels to be on the look out for are Charles Joguet and Bernard Baudry, two families who have been at it for decades in Chinon.

jason thanksgiving wine blog pic

Sparkling wines from the Loire Valley are great choices for Thanksgiving as well. Sparkling Vouvray from the Vouvray region of the valley is on the lighter, drier style, and perfect for enjoying while your family argues over how long the turkey needs to bake. These wines are made from the chenin blanc grape varietal. Domaine Huet is the producer to look out for. Other sparkling wines made outside of Vouvray, are made from chenin blanc as well, but some blend in pinot noir, chardonnay, and even cabernet franc. Langlois Chateau, owned by the Bollinger family of Champagne, is one of my favorites in this style. Made from chenin blanc, pinot noir and cabernet franc, this is a little more fruit-forward than those of Vouvray, with flavors of red berries and creamy vanilla. Most wines in this style will be labeled Cremant de Loire.”


Jason Sherman, Wine Director / Wine Guy

Thanksgivukkah: When Hanukkah and Thanksgiving Collide

Posted on: November 21st, 2013 by fcasio No Comments
Posted in Uncategorized

A rare occurrence will take place this Thanksgiving where both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah collide. We’ve also merged the event with a traditional Thanksgiving ingredient and twisted it for a Hanukkah dish.

Brennan's Pumpkin Latkes

Brennan’s Pumpkin Latkes

“Fairytake” Pumpkin Latkes


10 wt. oz. pumpkin “fairytale”, peeled
1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled
1/4 cup shallots, finely shopped
1 each egg large, lightly beaten
3 tbl. flour (or more) or matzo meal (during Passover)
1 tsp. salt, Kosher
1/2 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
1 each lemon, juiced
1 tbl. herbs, fresh (finely cut oregano, thyme, flat leaf parsley and basil)
as needed grapeseed oil for frying



  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees
  2. With hand grater, grate potato and pumpkin into a mixing bowl. Rinse the mixture once.
  3. Then transfer mixture to the sieve. Hold sieve over faucet with running cold water, rinse until water runs clear.
  4. Transfer mixture to cheesecloth making a beggers purse, then ring out all the moisture.
  5. After all moisture is gone, transfer to a bowl. Add shallots, herbs, egg, flour, salt, lemon juice and freshly ground pepper. Mix well.
  6. Line a baking pan with paper towels.

In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch oil over medium high heat to 350 degrees. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of potato mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Latkes should be golden brown and crisp on both sides. Eat right away or keep warm in oven. Serve with applesauce, sour cream or cottage cheese mixed with sour cream.

Pralines Available to Ship for 2013 Holiday

Posted on: November 18th, 2013 by fcasio 2 Comments
Posted in Holidays, Uncategorized

Brennan's of Houston Pralines

We are now shipping Brennan’s world-famous pecan pralines to your loved ones who can’t fly down south for the winter! The gift is presented in a Brennan’s keepsake box and includes twelve individually wrapped pralines to keep (or share). Secure your place on Santa’s “Nice” list with gifts of good taste.


Cost: $25 per dozen + shipping (available beginning December 7)


URL: shop.brennanshouston.com or call 713.522.9711


5 Years Later

Posted on: September 13th, 2013 by fcasio 1 Comment
Posted in Uncategorized

Taking a look back five years after the storm.

Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Donald and Susan Wedding

Posted on: August 21st, 2013 by fcasio No Comments
Posted in Uncategorized, Wedding


I am so excited that you visited me here. You have found my online journal that I keep up to date showcasing your special days and moments for a world of lifetimes to come….take a peak…
Brennans houston

Peaceful, calm, cool…collected.  Everyone was at total ease the morning that this sweet couple said “i do”.  Brennan’s was the PERFECT spot for the beautifully intimate gathering of friends and family.  They giggled as they said their vows, Donald wiped away a sweet tear from Susan’s face and then a kiss and a turn to their attendees to say “let’s eat”.

It was a beautiful morning in Houston…one that all in attendance will not forget as the day that Susan and Donald became one.

Some of Donald & Susan’s memories from the day:
Q. What was your favorite part about the wedding?

A. The vows. Hands down. I had heard them millions of times and when they were said to me, I was flooded with emotion. That and 70 degree weather outside in Houston. In May.

Q. What was one quirky or crazy thing that happened on your wedding day?

A. We had a very small gathering of friends and family after the wedding. My friends surprised me with a mariachi band in the backyard!

Q. What was the most special moment on your wedding day?

A. Again, the vows. They were traditional Christian vows but hearing my new husband say them to me overwhelmed me with emotion. He was so sincere and it just totally tugged at my heart strings.

Q. What do you look forward to most about being married?

A. I look forward to being with Donald. Is that too easy of an answer? It’s true, though. We’ve got lots of years of neighborhood walks and evenings on the porch ahead of us. He’s my partner in crime, my teammate, but most of all, my best friend. I’m looking forward to our FUN future together!

Q. Where do you hope you will you be as a couple in five years?

A. I think we will still be having lots of fun! (Oh, and we’ll grow and establish our roots and all that other mature stuff.) Hoping we’ll have some kiddos along for the adventure in five years too….

Brennan's of Houston Courtyard Bar Cocktail MenuCourtyard Wedding

In the words of the bride: -vendor love-

Venues: Brennan’s Houston

Dress: BHLDN

Bridesmaids: J. Crew

Hair/Makeup: the Do Bar

Suit: Brooks Brothers

Cakes: Banana’s Foster, Brennan’s

Flowers: Central Market

A Garden Party Celebration – Megan and Danny’s Vow

Posted on: August 9th, 2013 by fcasio No Comments
Posted in Memories, Wedding

Republished – Original Post: OneFabDay Blog

○ 9 August by

To round off the week, we have something more than a little bit special for you this morning: our first ever Vow Renewal. And it’s an amazing inspiration for those of you married readers (we know you’re there :) who might be wishing for a special moment to celebrate your marriage. Since their elopement ten years ago, Megan and Danny have been through a lot together: a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, a cross country move for treatment, a clean bill of health, and the adoption of their daughter. They had always planned to renew their vows, so when the dust settled, they did just that. We’re excited to show you photos from Awake Your Soul Photography from their wonderful garden party vow renewal – it’s gorgeous!

wedding signage

Megan and Danny met when Megan’s staffing firm was hired to find employees for Danny’s company in Chicago…Megan was not overly successful at finding employees but she was excellent at flirting with Danny. Despite her poor professional showing, the flirting was enough to lock down the account, and months later, a husband. Sounds like a win-win!

wedding hair dressers

These custom shirts from Claridge and King are a great idea for the bridal party on the wedding day – they’re classy and also unbutton easily so you won’t mess up your hair and makeup. You can even have the pocket monogrammed, making a sweet pajama top for years to come.

bride getting her hair done

wedding stationery

jewel bridal clutch

gold strappy sandles by DSW

lace weddign dress hanging in tree

BHLDN lace dress with satin ribbon

pink flowers and lace wedding dress

When it came time to plan the vow renewal, Megan knew she wanted a rustic garden party vibe. She chose a pretty lace dress from BHLDN, and the rest of the details started falling into place. Megan’s dress is just exquisite and suits a vow renewal perfectly because it isn’t too dressy but still has a hint of bridal with the cream colour and the lace. It would also suit a bride who’s looking for a dress that’s a little less traditional.

wedding signage

Megan chose Brennan’s restaurant in Houston, Texas, as the venue for the vow renewal because it suited her garden party theme perfectly….Brennan’s outdoor space has a lot of greenery, exposed brick, and is overall very quaint – perfect for a garden party feel.

whimsical wedding stationery

Because Megan is a writer, the vintage books that adorned the dessert table were especially meaningful.

Awake Your Soul - Brennans Houston 20

peach roses and foliage bouquet

Megan worked with stylist Alyson Fulcher of Mimosas in the Morning, to put together the garden party. They were able to source bouquets from their local grocery store in Houston, Texas. Can you believe these blooms come from a grocery store? They’re stunning and we love the wild tendrils on the bride’s bouquet.

peach pink and cream bouquet

They even managed to squeeze in a few succulents into the flower arrangements – we love this trend!

flowers and vintage books

 peach and orange flowers

bride and bridesmaids in short dresses

Megan’s mini blusher veil was also from BHLDN, and it just suits the occasion perfectly. Her maids wore dresses in soft peach and gold which created a beautiful palette along side Megan and her cream lace dress.

pink white and orange bouquet

garden party wedding table

peach rose and vintage props

This is a sweet take on the vintage book trend we see frequently in table decor – prop open a book and tuck in a little poesy of flowers. It adds an interesting element and another way to showcase fabulous florals.

flower table centre pieces

chair decorations using colourful flowers

 flowers used for chair decor

gold cutlery with thyme and ribbon

The place settings were beyond simple, but just so lovely. Layered white plates, a textured linen napkin, and a sprig of rosemary tied with a piece of ribbon to the silverware. Such a lovely little detail!

raspberry wedding favours

 peach pink and c ream bouquet

Megan and Danny’s tables also included little goblets filled with fresh berries. These added to the garden party feel, but they also make a sweet snack for your guests!

garden party

wedding toast

garden party table setting

Here’s another fabulous way to set up your place settings – a folded napkin and a sprig of herbs. Simple but so sweet.

peach pink and white flowers

 vintage table centrepieces with flowers

peach pink and white flowers for table centre piece

Cream cake with silver floral detail

Cream cake with silver floral detail

desert table

peach wedding cake and cake topper

pink and white wedding cake

The cakes from Silver Cake Studio are just amazing, aren’t they? We love that Megan and Danny let them speak for themselves – the dessert table has a few decorations, but it’s not overcrowded. And of course, lace bunting to tie in perfectly with Megan’s dress!

bridesmaids bouquets

Garden Party Wedding

bride with birdecage veil

Danny’s outfit suits the garden party to a tee – a little green in his sweater and pink in his shirt, but not overly fancy.

baby flowergirl

We think this little girl quickly stole the show! Her little lace romper is beyond adorable.

bride with lace BHLDN dress and birdcage


vintage wedding decor

blackberry and raspberry wedding favours

bride and groom wedding signage

wedding signage

These frames are such a lovely touch for the signage on the day. You could DIY something similar using charity shop frames, spray painted gold.

bride and groom portrait

bride and groom garden party

groom with pink shirt

Megan has a little advice for those of you who might worry you can’t afford the wedding of your dreams at the moment. If you can’t afford nor do you want to do a big wedding day to start, you always have the option to go all out in years to come with a vow renewal ceremony.  So true. If you aren’t able to have the celebration of your dreams today, that doesn’t mean it can never happen. We love that Megan and Danny put together a day to celebrate all they’ve been through in their marriage and have the garden party celebration they’ve always wanted!

Thanks, Megan and Danny for sharing your beautiful love story and your gorgeous vow renewal with us. And thanks to Awake Your Soul Photography for sharing these stunning images.

All the Details: