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Ciao Bello's Pasta Shines; Two Stars for Pho Hung

Ciao Bello
Ciao Bello
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The Houston Chronicle's Alison Cook headed to Chinatown for Vietnamese eatery Pho Hung. She awards the small, unassuming mom-and-pop noodle shop an estimable two stars. Cook praises the no-accompaniments-necessary bowl of soup: "Next I add a handful of pale, crisp bean sprouts and some pungent green herbs from the garnish plate served with the pho. The assortment goes beyond the usual mint and cilantro: there might be anise-tinged Thai basil, or the long, serrated leaves of culantro, cilantro's funkier cousin. That's the sum of my customizing." Cook also relays her routine whenever she dines here: "Small bowl of pho tai be gan, pickled onions and a ca phe sua da to finish. The shop, which is run by an older couple and a helper or two, also serves the Northern Vietnamese soup bun bo Hue, a heartier beef noodle soup that's ideal for cold weather." [Houston Chronicle]

The Houston Press's Kaitlin Steinberg visited Tony's casual offshoot Ciao Bello and raved about the pasta dishes. She writes that the salmon and chicken paillard aren't up to par, but the beef cheeks are somewhat of a culinary revelation: "Meat so tender it falls apart with a sigh in a sticky sweet Chianti glaze on a warm bed of fragrant wild-mushroom risotto — this is Ciao Bello's pièce de résistance. Upon tasting the first melt-in-your-mouth morsel of perfectly braised beef, redolent of mushroom from the wilted fungi beneath it, I closed my eyes, leaned back in my chair and promised myself I'd remember that moment and how wonderful it is when good, simple food has the power to make everything else in the world seem unimportant." [Houston Press]

The ladies over at Urban Swank write about their experience at the Southern Star Beer Dinner at Fusion Taco, where they sampled a variety of pairings. Most notable was the Buried Hatchet stout paired with a toffee pudding dessert. "Since we are not fans of "hoppy" beers, we enjoyed the stout the best. Their Buried Hatchet Stout was served at around 65 degrees (should not be served cold) and is actually a favorite of the owner as well. I guess we do have good taste in beers!" Hank Lewis of Hank on Food headed to Sugar Land's soft opening of BurgerFi. "Although BurgerFi burgers are a little smaller than some burger joints (I'd say larger than slider, smaller than a Quarter pounder with cheese), they are very tasty--the meat is good quality. I really enjoyed the Breakfast All Day Burger--what's not to like about fried egg, bacon, cheese, hashed browns and maple syrup on a burger?" Meanwhile, Patty and David loved the bulgogi at Fat Bao: "I got the Peking Duck (left) and Bulgogi (right). I love how you don't need to order an entire duck just to have a bao. They also manged to keep the duck moist. The only thing is that they were stingy on the sweet hoisin sauce. The Bulgogi was excellent. The way they treated the meat is delicious. I can eat that all day."