Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Houston, Southeast of California

It’s midnight, the end of a day out in the market, and the freeways have been moved, the entrances have been blocked off. During the day, the roads are jammed and at night they disappear.

This isn’t like California, where the roads seem to make sense for this native Californian now living in Texas for too long. While there is a lot to miss about California, today in Houston was about as good as it gets.

First stop: Spec’s off of downtown. Joseph Kemble, the Italian wine buyer, needs a few minutes of my time. Spec’s has an array of wines where I can always find something I want to take home. Large selection, low prices, a flea-market, let’s-find-a-bargain kind of atmosphere. Joseph has a good aura about him, he’s a good guy, loves the wines, not that interested in scores, wants the personal connection. Pretty unusual in such a big operation. Kudos to Joseph and Spec’s.

A new wine bar nearby, 13 Celsius. That would be the perfect cellar temperature. An old building, basically stripped and cleaned, minimalism and non-interventionist interior design, coffee roaster and Wi-Fi.

Towards the evening a last stop at Catalan, a restaurant that combines small plates with fresh food, an unusually good and well priced wine list and good energy. Tonight we compared Savennières and Kerner.

Long day, bona notte.

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