Selected highlights from a year of direct coverage

Since March 2020, I’ve been primarily focused on the intersection of a pandemic—the defining story of 2020—and eating and drinking in Houston. The food and beverage scene in H-Town is considered one of the world’s best, and the coronavirus and its impact have changed it considerably.

In Time of Coronavirus, the Farmers Market Stands Strong / March 13, 2020
My first substantial story about COVID-19 and Houston food looked at the immediate impact of the virus on local farm markets.

Food and Drink Spots Doing Deals for Customers Right Now / March 13, 2020
Restaurants and bars were beginning to react to a potential shutdown by getting goods out the door quickly.

How to Support Restaurants, Establishments Right Now / March 13, 2020
After a couple emails and phone calls, I wrote this quick piece advising people how to think about restaurants and bars with the threat of COVID-19 bearing down.

What to Know About Grocery Stores During Coronavirus Spread / March 17, 2020
Once COVID-19 shut down restaurants and bars, Houstonians hit the grocery stores hard. This gives fast information to folks thinking about heading into markets.

How You Can Eat From Restaurants, Help Local Establishments / March 17, 2020
This list began the day restaurants and bars shut down. It grew over two months into a guide giving constantly updating information about the status of establishments. Regular updating of the piece ended around the time restaurants were permitted to re-open for dine-in service.

Houston Food and Drink Community Pens Open Letter for Help / March 18, 2020
Hospitality workers needed answers as they quickly realized pay wouldn’t be coming and work wouldn’t be happening. I wrote about a quickly generating movement in the city to get those answers.

Beer Courier Service Brings Local Brews to You / March 19, 2020
I wanted to write about this Houston beer delivery business for a little while, and with folks in quarantine, it seemed like the perfect time.

Restaurants Opening Markets: A New Model? / March 20, 2020
The pivoting was happening quickly. Restaurants and hospitality workers were considering ways to generate income and rethink food distribution. I got some of the story here.

Southern Smoke Secures Major Donations to Help Food, Drink Workers / March 23, 2020
The first of many pieces about the work of the Houston-based Southern Smoke Foundation during the pandemic. It also includes news about new organizations and efforts trying to feed and help food and drink workers.

Our Favorite Take-Out Food Experiences / March 24, 2020
The first of many pieces highlighting takeout meals acquired across the city. In this one, I had co-workers send me their favorite to-go dinners during the first week of a stay-home order.

For Houston’s Craft Breweries, It’s One Day at a Time / March 26, 2020
I spoke with a few folks in the Houston craft beer industry. For the most part, they were frustrated and worried they weren’t being considered as essential as restaurant workers.

Indigo Chef Hopes to Spur Change With New Grocery Store / March 27, 2020
Jonny Rhodes, a celebrated chef whose restaurant had quickly become one of America’s most important establishments, decided to open a grocery store during COVID-19. His story was one of the most fascinating of 2020. This would be the first of a few times I’d speak with him during the pandemic.

Some Recipes For Those Leftover Foods in Your Kitchen / March 27, 2020
At the same time, I spoke with an accomplished chef who had some recipes for leftover and unused pantry foods. This felt like a fun piece to run at the beginning of a stay-home order.

What’s Happened to the Restaurants Scheduled to Open This Spring? / March 30, 2020
That was a question I asked myself, so I wrote about it. I talked to a couple folks who were scheduled to start service early in 2020, only to experience delays that were out of their hands.

6 Places That Have Wine Specials Right Now / March 31, 2020
Look, we were all drinking a lot of wine early on. Might still be. This helped.

Find Houston Restaurant Favorites, Local Products at H-E-B / April 3, 2020
Texas’ big grocery chain was helping out local restaurants with heat-and-eat products and other ideas.

Are Bar and Restaurant Drink Kits Worth It? We’d Say So / April 15, 2020
By this time I had started writing more takeout lists and recommendation pieces, while much of my focus in early April had shifted to hurriedly finishing print copy that had changed completely over the month previous. I did have some time to try a take-home cocktail kit and reported back the results.

What You Should Know About the Confusion Over To-Go Cocktails / April 17, 2020
Of course, not everyone was following the rules about to-go alcohol. I wrote about this, what was happening at some bars and restaurants, and if state officials were taking the illegal activity seriously (spoiler: not really).

What You Should Cook This Month: Our Favorite Recipes / April 18, 2020
The first of a couple articles where I recommended some recipes, this time with the help of co-workers. I made pork shoulder with oxtail ragout.

Now That You’re Drinking, Get a Virtual Wine Education / April 22, 2020
I was noticing that wineries and sommeliers were doing whatever possible to get knowledge out there. Mostly, they were using Zoom. So I spoke to a few folks and wrote about that.

Why One Restaurateur Is Opening His Dining Room Friday / April 23, 2020
Before all restaurants in Texas were allowed to re-open their dining rooms, one operator thought enough was enough. I spoke with him.

Restaurateurs Readying for the Day They Can Reopen / April 24, 2020
Texas wanted to re-open restaurants as quickly as possible, so with news fast approaching, I spoke with some operators to get their feelings on it all.

Food Establishments Can Reopen Friday: How Restaurants Are Reacting / April 28, 2020
Once Texas Gov. Greg Abbott decided to re-open restaurants, I spoke with as many operators as possible. What I got was a story with a range of opinions.

How Grocery Stores Are Handling Mask Policy / April 28, 2020
On the same day, I reached out to grocery stores for comment about a city ordinance requiring all people to wear masks inside in public.

Will Texas Restaurants Be Able to Sell Alcohol To-Go Forever? / April 29, 2020
It seemed evident that things were trending that way, so I reached out to folks in the industry to get their thoughts.

Things to Know If You’re Planning to Eat at a Restaurant / April 30, 2020
With restaurants gearing up to reopen, I wrote a quick piece about what people should expect.

10 Foods You Should Buy from Local Makers / May 1, 2020
In late-March I finished this print piece highlighting offerings from local food businesses. This demonstrated a pretty solid and quick pivot from our original plan of reviewing two restaurants and telling people where to go for a specific kind of food.

A Look at Two Restaurants That Restarted Dine-In Service / May 6, 2020
A few days after restaurants reopened, I spoke to a couple operators to get a sense of how things went in the early going, and what they were learning.

Some Meat Prices are Rising, and Availability is Decreasing / May 11, 2020
It was one of the most interesting problems of the pandemic early on: the rising cost of meat, specifically beef. I spoke to some folks who need beef to survive, and came out with this piece.

How Restaurants Have Pivoted with Heat-and-Eat Meals / May 15, 2020
Another fascinating story of the pandemic: how restaurants were getting creative to get their food into public hands. I looked specifically at one restaurant group’s mission to sell some of their wares at H-E-B locations.

This Week, Bars Can Open, Restaurants Can Move to Half Capacity / May 18, 2020
Just two weeks after reopening, restaurants in Texas were getting an even brighter green light. This was the news.

Houston, You Kind of Failed This Memorial Day Weekend / May 27, 2020
I wrote this editorial because there were too many people too close to one another and not following common-sense guidelines after restaurants and bars got that green light.

A List of Houston Restaurants That Have Permanently Closed During Pandemic / May 28, 2020
This list was bound to happen. It started on this day.

UB Preserv’s Tribute Brings Back Memories of Iconic NYC Ssam Bar / June 3, 2020
One cool pivot was this great restaurant doing a lot of different things all of the time, just to have fun. This thing, a tribute to a restaurant its chef de cuisine once helped run, meant a lot to me. I put my personal spin on it.

Recipes for the Perfect Summer Picnic / June 9, 2020
For the next print issue, I had some local chefs help me put together a Houston summer picnic. Inside are recipes for fried chicken, an omelet sandwich, and awesome ginger cookies, plus wine and cocktail recommendations.

COVID-19 Remains While Restaurants Consider the New Normal / June 16, 2020
With the virus raging onward and Houstonians still going out for meals, I wrote about how restaurants were reacting. How much risk were they taking on? How have they adapted?

Emotions Swirl as Bars Close and Restaurants Re-tool Again / June 26, 2020
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott backtracked because things were getting worse. That brought a mix of emotions, most of them frustration, from people in the food and drink community. I wrote a long piece about it all.

Bartender Claims Being Fired After Revealing Alleged COVID-19 Spread / July 2, 2020
A hospitality worker alleged she was fired after tweeting about the supposed spread of the virus at her former restaurant. I worked diligently to get the most complete story about this matter.

For Your Astros Watching Enjoyment, Here Are Our Favorite Hot Dogs, Burgers, and Beer / July 24, 2020
Here’s an odd one: I figured it may be fun to recommend some ballpark eats just in time for baseball to start back up.

Craft Brewing Community Feels Disrespect During Pandemic / July 28, 2020
I chronicled the ongoing issues facing the craft beer industry by speaking with a number of folks.

Farmers Markets Are Seeing Positive Changes During the Pandemic / July 31, 2020
I checked in with those behind some of the city’s farmers markets and found that more people were going to them during the pandemic.

Celebrating Alice’s Tall Texan, Houston’s Kindest Bar (Seriously) / Aug. 13, 2020
One casualty of the pandemic was this classic Houston dive bar. I wrote about its final days, which led to a print story a few months later.

How COVID-19 is Changing the Way Restaurants Do Business / Aug. 20, 2020
A few months into the pandemic seemed to be a good time to check back in on restaurants on a macro level. Just how was it going? How were operators learning? I also spoke to a new restaurant operator about the lessons he was learning on the fly.

What We’re Ordering Out: Food Fit for Summer and Fall / Sept. 23, 2020
Here’s an example of the many takeout pieces I was (and still am) writing. Each week I’ve been recommending up to five places I have visited for to-go grub recently.

Virtual Food Hall Partners with Popular Burger Concept / Sept. 30, 2020
For about a month, I was primarily writing takeout pieces while focusing once again on a new print issue and general restaurant news, as for a moment worries about COVID-19 had lessened. This little story was just another of the many pivots that I wrote about over the year.

Bars, Breweries Find Creative Ways to Boost Food Sales / Oct. 26, 2020
While coverage continued to focus more on everyday food news, recommendations, and lists, I dipped in once in a while with trend pieces. This one looked at how drinking establishments were faring since they could be open, but with a caveat: They had to ensure more than half of all sales were coming from food.

The Fall and Winter Patio Dining Guide: What’s Heated and What’s Covered / Oct. 30, 2020
This one came in handy: a list of spots in town that were ensuring a heated and/or covered, but especially socially distanced patio experience.

Need a Drink This Election Day? Here’s a Booze Guide / Nov. 2, 2020
Hey, never a bad time. I spoke to some bar friends for this one.

Best New Restaurants 2020: Our Favorites of a Strange Year / Nov. 5, 2020
In lieu of a standard best restaurants feature in our magazine, I wrote this digital piece exploring my 2020 superlatives. Not really a list, more of a celebration.

How Southern Smoke Became a National Leader During the Coronavirus Crisis / Nov. 6, 2020
A story all about how this organization, based in Houston, turned into the go-to place nationwide for industry workers needing emergency help.

Thanksgiving 2020: Your Dine-In and Takeout Guide / Nov. 9, 2020
I write this one every year. And I do it again for Christmas and New Year’s. This is just to show you that I do this every year.

So You Want to Smoke a Turkey This Thanksgiving / Nov. 12, 2020
I thought this could be fun and very appropriate in 2020. I asked a couple barbecue pitmasters to give me tips and tricks, and I loved putting this together.

The Best Kitchen Gadgets, According to the Professionals / Nov. 16, 2020
This was a print article in which I asked a bunch of chefs what kinds of tools they liked to use in the kitchen. The responses ran the gamut. Another fun one.

It Was a Very 2020 Iron Sommelier Competition / Nov. 16, 2020
I recapped a virtual wine competition in which I got to participate by picking up my stuff and drinking it at home.

Recipes for a Small Thanksgiving Gathering (Maybe 2?) / Nov. 20, 2020
I reached out to some chefs and got recipes for a not-so-traditional Thanksgiving. Good for a not-so-traditional year.

This Year’s Thanksgiving? Let All the Emotions Fly / Nov. 25, 2020
It’s my favorite day of the year, and it was so different in 2020. So I wrote about it. It’s how I cope.

Everything You Could Possibly Need in Your Home Bar / Dec. 22, 2020
This print story went all out: I reached out to some bar professionals to get recommendations on assembling the perfect home bar. Here it is.

2020: A Journey of Food Experiences Like Never Before / Dec. 24, 2020
I tried to summarize this nutty year in a personal essay. It highlights some of my favorite experiences of the year, too. What a year.

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