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Houston Holiday Favorites

Chefs Emily Trusler, Jaime Salazar and Justin Yoakum dish on their holiday inspiration and traditions.

Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette is consistently named one of the best places for fresh seafood in the Memorial area. The Instagrammable restaurant is known for its decadent Hampton's style brunch with dishes like Red Velvet Waffle & Fried Chicken Strips, Crabcado Toast and Buttermilk Lobster Bites. The dinner menu doesn't disappoint with delicious offerings, including Black Truffle Hamachi, Liberty Lobster Roll and Australian Wagyu Strip Diane. 

Chef Emily Trusler has been with Liberty Kitchen for two years and in the industry for over a decade, working in notable Houston restaurants, including BB Lemon, Emmaline, Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and 51fifteen Cuisine & Cocktails. Trusler takes advantage of the restaurant's wood-burning frill to make grilled oysters – one of her seasonal favorites. During the holidays, she cooks with her sister for their extended family and begins all kitchen prep with one of her "famous" egg nogs, but steak and wine pairing is more her style when she's at the restaurant. 

"With the cooler weather, I enjoy my favorite glass of red wine, a Cotes du Rhone, along with Liberty Kitchen's infamous Australian Wagyu Strip," says Trusler. "The Diane topping makes the perfect third wheel to this steak and wine pairing."

Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette offers holiday meals, gift cards and catering for private events. Guests can take advantage of indoor and outdoor seating with live music on Friday and Saturday nights. The restaurant's loft offers rooftop views of Memorial and is perfect for holiday gatherings of up to 35 people. libertykitchenoysterette.com

"With the cooler weather, I enjoy my favorite glass of red wine, a Cotes du Rhone, along with Liberty Kitchen's infamous Australian Wagyu Strip." – Chef Emily Trusler. 

Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette – Memorial 

963 Bunker Hill Rd., 713-463-3745, libertykitchenoysterette.com

Houston food scene veteran Chef Jaime Salazar has worked in the restaurant industry for over 16 years, most recently as Executive Chef at the River Oaks French hot spot Brasserie 19. When Houston favorite Spaghetti Warehouse flooded in Hurricane Harvey, Salazar was tapped to bring his innovative cooking style to the revamped brand. Three years later, Warehouse 72, located in the Marq-E Entertainment Center, is known for its robust menu of elevated classics. Large-scale art and murals by artist Sebastien "Mr. D 1987," along with plush banquets and live music, are the hallmarks of the buzzy eatery. Fans of Spaghetti Warehouse will find a whole new vibe at the restaurant. 

During the holiday, Salazar relies on classic techniques and flavors to craft meals both in and out of the restaurant, saying, "I like incorporating festive holiday ingredients, so, at Warehouse 72, we use caviar, chestnuts, winter truffles and fresh seasonal produce as much as possible." 

When the chef isn't working, Salazar, who grew up making pork tamales with his mom and brothers during the holidays, has a few favorites of his own. He prepares a bone-in prime rib for Christmas, pairing it with a large assortment of sides, "can't forget the mac and cheese," he notes. And the perfect way to end any holiday meal, according to Salazar, is with an old-fashioned and a big piece of pecan pie. warehouse72.com


 

"I like incorporating festive holiday ingredients, so at Warehouse 72, we use caviar, chestnuts, winter truffles and fresh seasonal produce as much as possible." – Executive Chef Jaime Salazar.

Warehouse 72

Located in: Marq-E Entertainment Center, 7620 Katy Fwy #305, Houston, TX 77024, (833) 365-7272, warehouse72.com



Frito pie, fried green tomatoes, chicken-fried ribeye steak and King Ranch casserole - all Texas comfort food with southern influences and what State Fare Kitchen & Bar does best. With three locations in Houston (Memorial, Sugar Land and the Woodlands). The restaurant's lunch, dinner, cocktail and brunch menus all have one thing in common – they are significant. Guests have many options to choose from and while the restaurant has fun with its menus, the flavor profiles are elevated.

Justin Yoakum, director of operations and culinary director, has worked with the restaurant in different capacities for four years and in the restaurant industry for nearly two decades. Yoakum waits for the holiday season to enjoy State Fare's Smoke Ribeye, and when cooking at home, he enjoys making culinary gifts for friends and family. "Each year, I make a batch of Coconut Irish Cream, a Thai version of Irish Cream, that I give out for the holiday season. It is delicious - everyone should try it."

Growing up, Yoakum enjoyed classics like green bean casserole and prime rib. Still, these days he loves pairing State Fare's Brunch Board (secret menu item) with a carafe of Pomegranate Mimosa, saying, "It's the perfect holiday breakfast pairing." 

State Fare Kitchen & Bar offers southern-style holiday meals and catering for private events. For those looking to recreate their Texas-style favorites, the restaurant offers recipes on its website. statefaretx.com

"Each year, I make a batch of Coconut Irish Cream, a Thai version of Irish Cream, that I give out for the holiday season. It is delicious - everyone should try it." – Justin Yoakum.

State Fare Kitchen & Bar

Located in: Gateway Memorial City; 947 Gessner Rd Suite B-190, Houston, TX 77024, (832) 831-0950, statefaretx.com

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