Eric Sandler is the Food Editor for CultureMap Houston and hosts a podcast called "What's Eric Eating" that reports on the Houston-area restaurant scene. This week, Eric walks Chris through his past ten months of restaurant reporting. Along the way, he talks about his favorite new restaurant to open in 2020, the challenges of executing a to-go menu, his safety precautions when eating out, and the future of fine dining post-pandemic.




Pepe Raventós and his family have been making wine in Penedès for 21 generations. In today's episode, Pepe walks Chris through the family's decision to leave the Cava D.O. in 2012, the Mediterranean climate of coastal Catalunya, his years living as an ex-pat here in the states, the influence of Didier Dagueneau, Emmanuel & Anne Houillon, and Frank Cornelissen on his approach to winemaking, the importance of supporting small farmers and preserving old vines of Xarel·lo, Sumoll, and Montònega. 

Andy Young makes natural wine in Oregon’s Willamette Valley under two labels: The Marigny and Saint Reginald Parish. In this episode, Andy describes his approach to carbonic maceration, the backlash to glou, Texas viticulture, and the wine that inspired his Piquette. Along the way, he and Chris hash out the pros and cons of the DTC winery model and the discography of Frank Ocean.


You can purchase Andy’s wine online at and


Follow Andy at @streginald and this podcast at @bytheglasspodcast

Emily Tolbert moved to Houston to pursue a career in medicine at MD Anderson before pivoting into wine. She currently runs the wine program for Savoir, a neighborhood restaurant in Houston’s Heights neighborhood. For BTG’s final episode of 2020, Emily walks Chris through her NYE restaurant traditions (inventory and champagne), her tour of New Zealand wine country, and the chemistry of grape fermentation.

This week, Chris talks with six different hospitality workers about their respective businesses' plans for the upcoming holiday.

Up first is Michelle Wallace of Gatlin's BBQ to talk about this year's influx of catering orders, her pivot to breakfast (brisket tacos!), and gumbo. To discuss Christmas Eve dinner, Chris hits up Marcus Gausepohl -- the wine director of Brennan's of Houston -- to learn about the restaurant's time-honored family meal tradition. Tommy Ho of Anvil Bar & Refuge explains the origin story of the bar's intricate Christmas decorations as well as the secret to making good eggnog. 

For Christmas Day activities, Chris first calls up Greenway Coffee co-founder David Buehrer, who is slinging white truffle biscuits, tenderloin sandos, and flat whites at Blacksmith Coffee in Montrose. Last but not least, Houston legend DJ Sun explains the annual James Brown-themed Christmas party that he hosts at his bar: The Flat


Below are the hours of operation for each establishment featured in this article of each event:

Christmas Eve:

  • Gatlin's BBQ: 7AM-4PM 
  • Brennan's of Houston: 11-2 & 5-8:30
  • Anvil Bar & Refuge: 4PM-2AM

Christmas Day:

  • Blacksmith: 8AM-2PM
  • The Flat: 8PM-2AM

Last week, Christian Varas waxed nostalgic on his time working at NYC's Windows on the World before moving to Anguilla, where he smuggled in jamón for his panini shop and poured Domaine Ott rosewater by the jero. For part two, Christian pops a bottle of Osoyoos Larose and talks about the eccentricities of managing a country club wine program, his foray into Chilean wine tourism, and the oenological potential of the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada. 



First-generation Chilean-American Christian Varas grew up in Queens, NY. He went to film school to become a director and ended up working at Kevin Zraly's Windows on the World, located in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Eventually Christian moved to the Caribbean island of Anguilla, where he managed the wine program for the luxury resort Cap Juluca. In this first half of their two-part conversation, Christian discusses the legacy of Kevin Zraly's approach to wine education, the impact of 9/11 on his restaurant career, the perfect panini, and the logistics of importing wine and charcuterie to Anguilla.  

Djordje Bikicki makes minimal-intervention wine in Serbia's northern wine region of Fruška Gora. In this week's episode, Djordje and his importer, Grant Richardson of Pangea Selections discuss the natural wine movement of Serbia and Central Europe. Along the way, Grant and Djordje walk Chris through Serbia's geopolitical history, the food pairing potential of skin-macerated (i.e. orange) wine, and the underappreciated clairet-style of rosé.


Laura Rhys serves as development manager for Gusbourne, one of England's top sparkling wine houses. Before joining the Kent-based winery in 2015, Laura managed the wine program at the Michelin-starred London restaurant La Trompette. Laura earned the UK Sommelier of the Year title in 2009 and passed Europe's Master Sommelier exam in 2010. 


In this week's episode, Laura and Chris talk about the past, present, and future of English Fizz, as well as the differences between pandemic lockdowns in London and Houston. 


Gusbourne is imported to the United States by Broadbent Selections. For more information about English sparkling wine, visit 

Adam Garcia is the Executive Chef and Director of Operations for PX Project, a non-profit that offers a paid culinary program to immigrants and refugees aged 16-24 in the Sharpstown/Gulfton area. Using the kitchen as the classroom to teach self-advocacy, financial literacy, time management, and problem-solving, PX Project provides displaced youth with career and life skills. Adam hops on the pod to discuss his move from restaurants like Rosie Cannonball and Coltivare to PX Project, and why everyone should know how to break down a chicken.

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