Noble Rot Wine Bar

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Noble Rot Wine Bar located inside of Conservancy in downtown Houston.

I’d like to think that I know about all the wine bars in Houston, but last week I was scrolling on the ‘gram and came across Noble Rot Wine Bar. Of course, I immediately googled it and saw that it was actually located inside of Conservancy in downtown Houston. For those not familiar with Conservancy, it’s an underground beer garden and food hall. How cool does that sound? I don’t really hang out much downtown, but this was worth a trip to check out.

So, when you get to Conservancy, you take a flight of steps down to get to the food hall area. Noble Rot Wine Bar is located towards the front end. It has a small bar area with seating for maybe eight and then there are tables throughout the hall for people to sit as well. I noticed that most people just came up to the bar to order their wine and then left to walk around. My friend and I arrived around a little after 8:30 p.m. and the place was pretty lit as the young kids like to say. Lots of people, great energy, and the place was playing old school hip hop/r&B jams.

The menu features wines from all over the world. The first couple of pages are wines by the glass mostly sold at $5-8. The remaining pages are higher priced wines sold by the bottle. My favorite part of the menu are their flights. So, for $8 you can try any three wines off the first two pages of the menu AND for $10 you can try four. Now that’s a great deal. Most wine flights are not that cheap in the city. Go to places like Cru or Sonoma Wine Bars and you’ll probably pay around $15 to $30 for a flight of three wines depending on the varietal. At $10, my friend and I both got two flights.

Oh yeah!

From left to right:

  • Disruption (Red Blend) — 5 Corks
    This red was soooo good!! One of the best reds I’ve tried in a long time. Light, smooth, and fruit-forward
  • Primarius (Pinot Noir) — 4 Corks
    Pretty solid for a Willamette Pinot.
  • Babich (Sauvignon Blanc) — 4 Corks
    Nice grassy, citrus flavors…what you’d typically expect from a New Zealand Sauv.
  • Vibracions (Sparkling Rosé) — 3 Corks
    I need to stop playing myself with dry sparkling wines. They are just not my thing. It’s the one type of wine that I prefer to be sweeter if it has bubbles (ala a mimosa). For those reasons I wasn’t the biggest fan.

But overall, I was very pleased with my flight selection and at the $10 price point ordered another flight of four. For $20, I was able to try 8 wines, which was a good chunk of the flight menu.

#winning

Oh, and I can’t leave with mentioning their $1 Champagne shots. Now that’s a first! I’m hear for it, especially since that’s about all the Champagne I can take on it’s own.

shots, shots, shots

All in all, Noble Rot Wine Bar is a pretty cool spot. I love everything about this underground wine bar from the ambiance to the wine of course. You should definitely check it out if you’re ever in downtown Houston! Until next time…glasses up!

Momo Food + Wine

4104 Fannin Street, Houston TX

I’m not even going to beat around the bush with this one. There’s a new wine bar in Houston called Momo Food + Wine that is definitely worth checking out! It opened last fall and I’m so glad that I finally got a chance to check it out.

Momo is located in Midtown around the corner from the Breakfast Klub. It’s on this weird strip that if you blink you might just pass it, which ironically I did. Not the best area in town, but once you walk in you immediately forget what’s outside. Momo has this really cute chic vibe. Loved the purple and gray decor! It kind of reminded me of a spoken word lounge channeling the Love Jones era. There is plenty of table seating and a couple of areas where groups can hang out.

So, I absolutely love the concept behind this wine bar. Every little detail is extremely well thought out. Let’s talk food first. The menu is inspired by Bangladesh, Indian, and Spanish cultures. You can see these fusion of flavors represented in each plate on the menu. I’ve never seen that offered at a wine bar before. Typically, you get your cheese/meat trays, nuts, blah, blah, blah. But, Momo takes a different approach—challenging your palate with the unexpected. Offering nontraditional food items with such unique flavors allows for some unique wine pairings.

Now on the menu you’ll find dishes, such as the Savory Chickpea Waffle, Salvador Masa Cakes, and Jhai, Muri (Indian version of bar popcorn) for example. Now the owner said these plates were shareable, but I’m not quite sure you’d want to in this case.

I ordered the Patatas Bravas, which are red potato wedges tossed with turmeric, paprika, and parsley, topped with garlic mayo and jalapeno ketchup. And (clap) let (clap) me (clap) tell (clap) you, it was Al Green Love and Happiness three stomps good!! Seasoned to perfection and with just the right amount of spice.

Don’t ask me to share!

Lawd, I can’t wait to go back just for these! I’d even make a bold statement and say that Momo’s bravas are better than Oporto Fooding + Wine’s.

Yeah, I said it!

Now, you know that’s big considering that Oporto is my favorite restaurant in the city. I only tried one item, because the menu is very carb heavy and I’m trying to keep Bertha (inner fat kid) in check this year. The menu caters to carnivores, vegetarians, and vegans, which I can appreciate. Especially, since every other week I fit into one of these categories. So, I definitely will be back to try other plates on their menu.

Moving on to the wines. Their wine menu features Sparkling, White/Rosé, Red, and Dessert wines by the glass and bottle. This one pager is simple to follow and each wine is said to be selected with a purpose. The owner described the menu as a mix of different blends from around the world. And eclectic it is indeed! I found a Chenin Blanc from India. Wine made in India??? I didn’t even know that was a thing. The Sula is served by the bottle, but the owner was kind enough to let me try a glass.

Nice crisp and refreshing, but a little too sweet for me, BUT when paired with the bravas it was perfect. The sweetness helped balance out the spices. I also tried the L’Oliveto Rosé of Pinot Noir from California.

Very solid selection. Will be perfect for the spring.

I can tell the owner really thought about which wines would complement her dishes. When at Momo, I’d make sure to ask what wine pairs best with the food you’re eating to really elevate your wine/food experience. That’s something I want to do more of in 2018. Oh, and there are beer and cocktail options if wine isn’t your thing.

Momo does have a happy hour Tuesday – Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wines are $1 off by the glass and local beers are $4. Not really a great discount off wines, but I’ll take the L on that one. Snacks are half off. Also, wine bottles are 25% off on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Overall, I’m really excited about having Momo Food + Wine in Houston. I feel pretty lucky because I really don’t think there is any other wine bar out there like this right now. It has so much potential. I’m all about changing the way that we experience wine and Momo does that through its amazing food menu. All Momo needs is a neosoul night and I’d be there sipping my wine and eating my bravas (and not sharing) all the time. If you live in Houston definitely check it out and let me know what you think. Until next time…glasses up!

Ogun Art + Wine Grand Opening Recap

Hey wine friends! I know I’ve been M.I.A lately. Lo siento mucho!!! Still trying to get adjusted to my new work life. It’s been crazy busy, but I promise I’ll be back to my regular blogging routine soon.

Okay, so let me catch you up on my latest wine adventure. I was invited to the grand opening of a new wine bar called Ogun Art + Wine over the weekend. I was super excited to attend. You know wine and art are two of my all time favorite things! But unfortunately that’s where the excitement ends for me. The night ended up being an epic fail for the books.

Epic fail might be a little too harsh, but let’s just say I wasn’t pleased with my experience and here’s why…

Ty’s Takeaways…

Location: So, let me start with some background about the place. Ogun Art + Wine is located off of Washington Ave and Studemont in  a little shopping strip in Houston. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Absolve Wine Lounge, but Ogun is now in that space. I’m not sure what happened to Absolve and I can’t say that I was sad to hear that it was gone. Definitely wasn’t on my list of top wine bars in the city. However, having a wine bar in that location is a nice addition to the Washington Ave area.

Parking: Parking was horrible! Perhaps it was because of the grand opening event, but the lot was packed. They had $8 valet parking available and you know the only valet I recognize is complimentary! I drove around and around trying to figure out where I could park for FREE. There’s a Walgreen’s next door, but I didn’t want to take that risk and get towed. Luckily, there was additional parking behind the building for customers. Please don’t waste your money on valet if the lot is full. I repeat DO NOT pay for valet! Besides the valet attendants were parking cars in the regular lot. They didn’t have spaces marked off, which I thought was a rip off for the person paying. Doesn’t valet mean there is a particular spot sectioned off for your car? I dunno *side eye* But, if all else fails, there’s always street parking on the street behind the shopping center.

Space: The actual space is small, but cute. You’ll find a couple of options for outdoor seating. When you walk in there are several tables and then seating at the bar. Along the wall, you’ll see lots of African art. (Sorry…this is the all I know about this place. Nobody gave any background on the concept or anything. You’ll see keep reading…)

Customer Service: The place was packed when we arrived. There was nobody at the door to greet us. All of the tables were full, as well as the seating at the bar. It took us a while to figure out how to get a drink. There were no menus in sight. There were so many people, including the people who were sitting at the bar that it was hard to squeeze in. I’m an observer, so as I’m waiting to place my order at the bar, I see men in suits that appear to be the hosts, but they’re only greeting the people that they know. Hmmm…if this is a grand opening for the community, why not speak to the people who you don’t know? Introduce yourself, welcome your guests. I don’t understand how you have a grand opening and don’t go out of your way to make your guest feel welcomed (and at least tell them about the place).

After some patience, I finally made my way up to the bar. I noticed that there were only two servers working. Mind you there were probably 10 people sitting at the bar with groups of people standing behind them trying to place orders. So, as I’m waiting I realize that I don’t even know what I can order. There weren’t any menus out. When I finally got the server’s attention, I had to ask for a menu. My cousin was with my me (hey, girl, hey), so I gave her the menu and we figured out what we were going to order. But, by that time our server had moved on to someone else. I guess you snooze, you lose in these streets. We literally waited for almost 30 minutes trying to get the server’s attention, but she never looked up…never acknowledged us. I understand it was a busy night, but one you shouldn’t have only had two people working the bar and two the servers should have acknowledged the people waiting. Like “oh I got you next,” but their heads were down most the time. Anyways, we waited 30 minutes too long and between the bar service and lack of overall customer service in general, we decided it was time to roll.

Menu: I got a chance to briefly check out the menu. Their wine selection wasn’t that extensive. If I remember correctly, there were probably 8-10 whites. The red offering was a little longer and there were a handful of sparkling wines. If I’m wrong on the amounts, it’s because I was so irritated I couldn’t see straight. Anyways, I will say that I was impressed with the types of whites on their wine list. If my order had been taken, I would’v asked for the Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc. Yes, the same Sauv Blanc that I had at Cork in Dallas. I was so happy to see it on a Houston wine list. I guess I need to go back to Dallas to try it again though.

Overall, I was not happy with this event. I thought it was not well planned at all. And sad to say, I probably won’t go back to visit either. Great concept, but service is everything!! And on a night when you’re introducing your wine bar to the community, customer service should’ve been top of mind and it wasn’t. There are plenty of other wine bars in the city that go above and beyond to make their customers feel at home and sadly I just didn’t feel that at Ogun Art + Wine. I’ll take my wine money elsewhere.

Dallas Cork Wine Bar Review

Last weekend, I spent New Year’s in Dallas. I always make it a priority to do something wine-related whenever I travel. Prior to my trip, I researched different wine bars in the area and came across Cork Wine Bar. Its computerized touchscreen menus are what originally caught my attention. These days, majority of the wine bars out there are very cookie cutter and don’t really offer anything (outside of their wine selection) that is different from their competitors. I really hadn’t seen anything like Cork before and wanted to experience something out-of-the-box. Here’s the rundown about this unique Dallas wine bar.

Ty’s Takeaways…

  • Concept: So, Cork is part bar, part retail store. Patrons can drop by to hang out and order a glass of wine or simply come in and pick up a bottle (or two) to take home. Cork’s wine portfolio is amazing. They offer a diverse selection of old and new world wines. You can enjoy a glass of wine from one of 48 different wine options, which vary monthly OR visit their retail store, which features 350 wines…AND this is all located in one place. One of the coolest offerings at Cork are its wine stations. There are six stations that feature eight different wines. For example, there’s the “Big, Bold” and then “Sweet, Crisp” stations. There’s wine available for every single palate! Once you select your wine, it’s served from one of those fancy Enomatic Wine Dispensing Machines. Everything about Cork is hip and modern!
  • Location: The bar is located in the Uptown area of Dallas. It’s a very trendy neighborhood with lots of retail stores and restaurants.
  • Ambiance: The ambiance at Cork is so chill. You really get this intimate feeling when you’re inside. It wasn’t too loud and it wasn’t too quiet. The mood in the room was just right, whether you’re coming on a date or just hanging out with friends. I went on a Friday evening and the place was pretty busy. You can grab a seat at one of their high or low tables. There’s also a nice, couch for lounging. In the back, you’ll find another more secluded seating area to enjoy your wine. That space can be used to host private events as well.
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  • Service: We had the best service! The staff at Cork was so helpful and accommodating. They were extremely knowledgeable about their wine portfolio (which is important to me) and overall just down right friendly.
  • Price: Cork Wine Bar is not cheap! But, I can appreciate the fact that they offer different pour options at different price levels. A six ounce pour (which is a full glass) can range anywhere from $8-15. While a sample taste, which is a one ounce pour, can range from $1.50-$7.25, depending on the type of wine. This gives you the opportunity to try multiple wines at a lower price, which is cool. I was able to sample several wines before I decided on my full glass. Oh, and they also offer flights of three wines, which range in price $14-28.
  • Food: Cork has a food menu that features items such as hummus, charcuterie trays, and even desserts to nibble on while you enjoy your wine. However, I was very surprised to find out that Cork allows its guests to order food from the neighboring restaurants. They have tons of menus on hand for you to choose from. You can place your order over the phone and the restaurant will call you when it’s ready for pick up and some even deliver! We ended up ordering Grimaldi’s, which was  SO good with our wine!!
  • YGOM Favorites: I had two favorite wines, which I need to see if I can order online soon. The Domaine Guillaman (left) is a white blend that tastes like a Sauvignon Blanc, but is more fruit forward. And then I really liked the Mt. Beautiful (right), which is a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, but not as grassy in flavor as a traditional Marlborough Sauv Blanc. Instead you get more tropical fruit flavors that are very refreshing.

Cork Wine Bar is a real Dallas treat! It was the perfect wine experience. I wish we had a wine bar like that here in Houston. If you live in Dallas or plan to visit soon, definitely stop by!

Shake Shack Wine Review

Last week while Houston was all a buzz about finally getting a Shake Shack (womp, womp, womp), I was more like…

#yawn

I can’t tell you how many photos of burgers and crinkled french fries were flooding my timeline from people who were oh so excited about Houston finally getting a spot here. You would’ve thought In & Out was coming to town (says the California girl with a smirk). I haven’t eaten beef since ’89 (ok, more like ’04), so places like this really don’t amuse me, BUT that was until I saw an IG post with someone holding a purdy little stemless glass of wine over one of those burgers.

I immediately went to the Shake Shack website and was pleasantly surprised to discover that this fast food joint offered its own house wines.

Now, you’re talkin’ my language!

So wine friends, you know I had to stop by (and brave the long lines) all in the name of WINE!

Ty’s Takeaways…

I stopped by Shake Shack after I voted yesterday evening. I was really excited to try their house wines. According to their website, the chain offers its own house red and white (made exclusively for Shake Shack by Napa Valley’s Frog’s Leap Winery). Pretty cool, so I thought. I went in thinking that’s what I was going to find at the Houston location, but that wasn’t the case. Instead these were the wine offerings listed on the menu:

  • Red: Cabernet Sauvignon, The Federalist, Lodi, CA ($8.89/a glass)
  • White: Sauvignon Blanc, SIMI Winery, Sonoma County, CA ($7.89/a glass)
  • By the Half Bottle: Prosecco, Mionetto, Valdobbiadene, Italy (Price not listed)

If I’m honest, I was a bit taken back by the price. $8/9 for a glass of wine from Shake Shack?!?

But, why?

House wine is normally like $5 because it’s the HOUSE WINE…lol. Even though the wine selection and prices were different than I expected, I still decided to give the wine a try. I opted for the Sauvignon Blanc…of course.

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The Cab and Sauv Blanc are served on tap.

I was handed one of those little buzzards and patiently waited for my glass of wine. When my buzzard went off a couple minutes later, I received this…

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#yawn

Cute branded stemless glass with probably a 3 ounce pour, which I paid $8.58.

Just dandy...

Just dandy…

So, the Sauv Blanc wasn’t bad. It was very fruit forward with tropical fruit aromas and flavors. I tasted a mix of pineapple, peach, and green apple. I enjoyed the crisp and refreshing taste, plus the wine had a nice tart finish.

Now the million dollar question…would I go back to Shake Shack for wine?? Absolutely not! Definitely not worth it! I understand it’s a burger joint, but I was hoping there was a silver lining with it’s “exclusive” house wine offerings. They should note on their website that the Shake Shack house wine from Frog’s Leap is not offered at every location, but whateves. No matter how good the wine is, I just don’t see myself paying that much for so little wine again. Believe me, I completely get that Shake Shack is not a wine bar, BUT for those exact reasons it should come down on its wine prices and give a little lot more love on the pours…por favor!

Anyways, when I finished my wine, I realized the glass was plastic…and came to the conclusion that Shake Shack was giving the glasses away as a souvenir…or at least I made it one and kindly took it home with me. At least now, I felt like I got my money’s worth…lol. (P.S. I asked the server who said it was okay, so no theft on my part!)

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I went to Shake Shack and all I got was this stemless wine glass…

Any Shake Shack fans? Have you tried their wine? Let me know your thoughts.