For 30 years, Cenare's sconce-lit walls and elegant menu have entranced diners, inviting them to linger luxuriously over plates of pasta, tiramisu, and creamy espresso cups. Fresh, daily made bread greets guests with a firm, crunchy handshake, moisturized to taste with imported olive oil. While kitchen magicians arrange 15 layers of beef, mozzarella, and ricotta cheese for the homemade lasagna ($10.99), noshers may savor stuffed mushroom cap starters, drizzled with a Creole mustard sauce ($6.95). The tortellini alla diavola accessorizes a saucy ensemble of chicken, ham, fresh mushrooms, and chipotle cream with cheese-filled pasta rings ($12.95), while the secret ingredients of the spaghetti al telefono are discoverable only through long, whispered games of telephone ($7.95). Gluten-free pasta is also available.
Beneath a basil-green awning, Cellar Door Market fills with the universal clatter of a happy kitchen as chef Paul LaLone brings 26 years in the culinary industry to bear on heaps of regional ingredients. Guest chefs lead hands-on classes in specific cuisines and techniques, which may introduce pupils to the art of baking bread, preparing healthy food, rolling sushi, and remembering that sushi is the one food that should not be roasted on a campfire. Each session is rated according to the knife skills required to complete the meal, and pupils bustle past the kitchen, laden with completed dishes for their friends and families.
Beyond the kitchen doors at Cellar Door Market, chefs create meals from scratch, quick-cooling them to preserve integrity. Whenever possible, meals are made with local products including meats and produce from nearby sustainable farms. The rotating menu has included dishes such as red beans and rice with Zenner’s sausage, smoked pork loin with a peach and bourbon sauce, and zucchini manicotti, and each item comes with instructions for easily reheating it or taking it to a dragon’s surprise party.
Pinot's Palette combines wine and art to create an enjoyable night out with friends or a date. The painting sessions encourage adults' inner artists whether they have any painting experience or not, encouraging light-hearted conversation, fun, and good cheer while painting and sipping BYOB beverages. Each session's painting of the night may feature anything from landscapes and wine-inspired art to known classics such as Van Gogh's Starry Night, and each painter tackles from their own artistic angle under the guidance of an experienced instructor. At the end of the night, painters can take their painting home with them and ring a "Gong of Awesomeness" on their way out to signify a good time.
From above, the cluster of red umbrellas on GenuWine Tasting Room?s patio looks like grapes, an homage to the cabernets that flow from the selectively curated bottles inside. A wealth of specialty and boutique wines await the curious, and the store's racks of bottles display vintages both accessible and challengingly unique. A weekly tasting helps to introduce patrons to the shop?s wares, delivering a palatable tour through varietals ranging from sparkling proseccos to pinots smoother than a dolphin?s saxophone solos. The sounds of live music, aquatic or otherwise, draw passersby through the tasting room's doors on many nights, filling ears with sounds as sweet as the elixirs the venue uncorks. Sippers hankering for solid nourishment peruse a menu flush with salads, pizzas, and flights of aged cheese. Before they leave, patrons can stop into the boutique, where wine-themed T-shirts and aprons entreat visitors to flaunt their passion for fermentation.
Upon their arrival, visitors to Crescent Moon Wine Bar and Restaurant will be faced with a difficult decision?they'll have to decide on a wine. The extensive list spans more than 300 selections available by the glass or bottle. Then they'll have to select something to nibble on, perhaps the beef short ribs slow cooked in a Shiner Bock gravy or the filet-and-shrimp surf 'n' turf accompanied garlic truffled mashed potatoes.
And the whole time, they'll be distracted by their impressive surroundings, including stone-arches soaring high above them, stone walls, and a stage where live bands play nearly every day of the week. In front of this stage is an open space, and they'll have to decide if they want to dance here alongside the couples or organize a game of Freeze Tag.
Since opening in 2003, The Tasting Room has morphed from a wine bar to a full-service restaurant with four locations—all while retaining its wine-bar charm and racking up numerous awards and accolades. Diners can select libations from a list that boasts more than 200 wines, pairing them with contemporary dishes whipped up by executive chef Jonathan LeBlanc. TTR offerings run the gamut from small plates of mini grilled sandwiches and classic bruschetta to entrees including creole-spiced quail and Jamaican jerk chicken breast, which diners can savor at windowside tables or on the plant-ensconced patio and garden area.
The eatery doesn't just sate hunger for eclectic classics and thirst for fermented grapes. It also hosts live music, meetings, and events such as 2011's Grapes vs. Grains, which pitted beer against wine in a liquid wrestling match. The owners have their hands in other culinary enterprises, too. There's the Houston Cellar Classic, for example, an annual celebration of food and wine. Also popular is MAX's Wine Dive, a destination for gourmet comfort food best defined by its slogan—"Fried chicken and champagne? ... Why the hell not?"