Monthly Archives: December 2016

Understanding the Art of the Meal

Last year John and I attended a horizontal Bordeaux tasting and dinner held by one of my favorite wine gurus at a great little midtown restaurant. It was a fine evening until the drive home. After encountering a couple of wrecks and an interminable number of mystifying slowdowns along I-45, we finally reached our driveway two hours later. It’s that kind of experience that makes it difficult to work up the enthusiasm to drive “into town” on a weeknight for dinner. And that’s a shame, because some of my favorite eating is inside the loop.

It’s not that there aren’t some wonderful restaurants in The Woodlands area. The last decade of growth out this way has brought sorely needed depth and breadth to the food scene here. Research Forest Drive, the Market Street development near The Woodlands Mall and various points in their vicinity have burgeoned with wine bars, sushi, steakhouses, street tacos, gourmet pizza and various takes on New American cuisine.

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What we’re still lacking, for the most part, is that “inside the loop” vibe. It’s an aesthetic that’s difficult to put a finger on, but Mark Zientek, general manager and co-owner of The Refuge Bar & Bistro, located on The Woodlands Waterway, has set about the task of bringing that feel to the exurbs. He and his partner Luis Padilla, who also serves as bar manager and sommelier, are putting the finishing touches on their highly anticipated new restaurant, The Refuge Steakhouse and Bourbon Bar, set to open in a matter of days and located in the spanking new Crossroads Square developed by Lake Investment Group and located on Kuykendahl Road at Creekside Forest Drive. Continue reading

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