Since 1969, when Gladys Haak gave her husband Raymond two concord grapevines to celebrate their 10th anniversary, the couple's namesake vineyard has flourished into 1,800 vines sprawling across three acres. Galveston County's first and only winery transforms grapes into award-winning potions that have earned the attention of the Houston Press and the Dallas Observer. Whether sipped onsite or at various shops and restaurants, the wines grace glasses with a diverse m?lange of local blends. Custom labels can be commissioned to personalize each bottle with heartfelt dedications or nutritional information written in iambic pentameter.
The vineyard welcomes thirsty visitors with tours of their verdant vines, 25,000-square-foot workshop, and deli stocked with Boar's Head meats and pungent cheese. Frequent guests reap the exclusive benefits of the winery?s club memberships, which include invitations to special events, first tastings, discounts, and complementary bottles. An event-ready banquet space also sets the scene for memorable weddings and events, with the winery?s chef, Mary Bass, overseeing catering duties, cake cuttings, and the busboys? a capella performance of ?Take My Breath Away."
In true farm-to-table fashion, Chef Coco Hogue of Tabella at Clear Creek Winery sources the majority of her ingredients from onsite gardens, local farmers, ranchers, and other homegrown producers. Each day before dinner service, she strolls through the restaurant’s backyard picking items for the day’s menu such as herbs, baby vegetables, and forks from the silverware tree. As a photographer and painter, Chef Hogue believes in beautiful presentation, which she achieves by delicately plating entrees such as coffee-rubbed pork loin and grilled quail with sides such as potato gratin and brussels-sprout hash. During three- to twelve-course dinners, fresh seafood found within 5 miles of the restaurant is one of four protein choices, and it is prepared to match the evening’s wine selection.
Handcrafted wines flow freely inside the elegant tasting room of Clear Creek Vineyard & Winery. Made with grapes sourced straight from the sunny vineyards of Texas and California, varietals such as cabernet sauvignon, malbec, sangiovese, and chenin blanc line the racks along the walls and are available to taste by the pour right at the bar. The Clear Creek team was recently joined by executive chef Michael Calvino, who has crafted a farm-to-table menu ideal for wine pairings and also oversees multi-course vintner dinners.
On the breezy shores of Galveston Bay in the Lighthouse District, the first Kemah Ragin Cajun Festival will take place on May 16, 17, and 18. The parking-lot party entices festival-goers with live music, cold beers, and its main attraction?Cajun-spiced crawfish, alligator, and gumbo. While revelers soak up the sun and chow down, local and national bands play upbeat tunes and live crawfish sing hauntingly beautiful Gregorian chants before being boiled.
Lauded for its “timeless” feel by Houston Press, Chelsea Wine Bar’s creative menu of old-fashioned comfort food pairs perfectly with the restaurant’s weekly live music offerings and waterfront views. Satisfy sandwich-size cravings with the roast-turkey panini, topped with swiss cheese and basil pesto ($6.50), or the brie, tomato, and spinach panini ($6.50). Herbivores and dairy enthusiasts can skip carnivorous options and munch on the cheese flatbread pizza ($5), baked goat-cheese platter ($10), or warm brie plate ($10.50). Dessert-deigning diners can reminisce on childhoods spent roasting marshmallows over the warm glow of the television with the chocolate-mallow conglomeration of Susie’s s’mores ($6.50), which is complemented by a wide selection of gourmet coffee beverages from delectable white mochas ($3.50) to potent double espressos ($2.75).
Though King's Biergarten describes itself as the place "where it's Oktoberfest all year round," once a year the brew haven really goes all out recreating the traditional German beer and food festival. The restaurant transforms its parking lot into a colorful 400-person bier tent decked out with bells, ribbons, and servers dressed in lederhosen who shoulder drinks throughout the rows of beer hall-style benches and tables. Aside from sipping golden suds, crowds can also help themselves to an all-you-can-eat spread of sausage, beer pretzels, and Bavarian smoked pork loin. Bands will play live sets throughout the fest as attendees try their hand at climbing Jacobs ladders or nailing the target at the dunking booth. VIP ticket-holders will be able to camp out inside the restaurant, where they can take advantage of three-hour table reservations.
The three-day event will kick off on Friday, September 27, when local politicians including Pearland Mayor Tom Reed and Senator Larry Taylor will lead the ceremonial keg tapping. From there on out, the German brews will flow for the remainder of the weekend, with attendees trading in beer tickets for half-liters of Hofbrau Dunkel, Stiegl Lager, Franziskaner Hefeweizen, and Spaten Oktoberfest.