This post was done in partnership with Seasons 52 in Houston, who provided me with my food and drinks, free of charge. I was not monetarily compensated for writing this restaurant post. All opinions are completely, 100% my own!
Alternate title: "This is my 200th Blog Post". (!!!!!)
In honor of my 200th blog post living here in Houston (and to those of you who have put up with my ramblings for 200 blog posts), I think we should get a little fancy!
A few weeks ago I was invited to attend a media preview of the food featured on Seasons 52's winter menu, at their location near Houston's Galleria area.
I brought Jon along for the ride, and the evening started off with a cocktail reception in one of the restaurant's private rooms, where I saw a friendly, familiar face (Kelly from Last Course Gourmet) and met some new folks (Haylea from Bowl of Happiness and her husband)! Both of these gals are members of the Houston Food Blogger Collective with me, and it was so lovely chatting with them.
No cocktail reception could be complete without food of course - We were presented with several different flatbreads: a braised short rib and aged cheddar flatbread; a roasted roma tomato flatbread; a grilled garlic pesto chicken flatbread; and a lobster and fresh mozzarella flatbread (not pictured below).
The only vegetarian option of the four was the roasted roma tomato flatbread, which was topped with ribbons of basil, mozzarella, and parmesan. It was thin, crispy, fragrant, and was essentially a fancy pizza-I absolutely adored it! Jon very much enjoyed the pesto chicken and the lobster, but the braised short rib and aged cheddar flatbread with beets, cilantro, and horseradish sour cream totally knocked his socks off.
Before we were escorted to our tables, we were provided with a cranberry & sage cocktail, which is featured on the restaurant's winter menu. Made with white cranberry juice, organic gin, fresh cranberries, lime, candied sage leaf, and simple syrup, the drink was hearty yet refreshing, and tasted like Christmas!
Jon and I were then seated in one of the restaurant's cozy, intimate, high-backed booths. The large restaurant is dimly lit and incredibly comfortable. It was fancy, yet welcoming - Not always an easy task to accomplish, but one this Houston spot does seamlessly.
Before we ordered our food, we were brought out complimentary appetizers of lobster ravioli and ricotta meyer lemon ravioli.
I cannot tell you how wonderful the ricotta meyer lemon ravioli was. Almost dessert-like, the soft ricotta filling was faintly sweet and lemony. The ravioli was ever-so-lightly toasted and was covered in what I believe was melted brown butter. The toasted pine nuts added the perfect amount of crunch to this delicate and delicious appetizer!
For our next round of food, we ordered an appetizer of blistered shishito peppers, as well as a side of roasted Basciani Farms mushrooms.
The colorful and bright shishito peppers were combined with sweet roasted corn, creamy and tart Sonoma goat-feta cheese, and smooth lemon aioli with sumac. This dish was spicy, playful, and a real treat!
When I say, "we ordered the mushrooms," what I really mean is "I ordered the mushrooms" since Jon abhors the fungi.<~~(abhors the fungi? don't worry, I also a little bit hate myself right now).
Oh, and they were good y'all. Stuffed with silky sauteed spinach and a delightfully crunchy panko crust, the mushrooms were indulgent and thoroughly enjoyable. Added bonus? They were topped off with a "parmesan tuile," which is basically a top hat for stuffed mushrooms! <~~(Mushroom top hat? Have you forgotten I ever uttered the phrase "abhors fungi"? God I hope so.)
Next up for food, we ordered some soup! (Because it's Houston, and it's 50 degrees outside, and we are cold.)
The restaurant offers some stellar soup options on their winter menu. Jon went with the grass-fed beef & black bean chili, while I opted for the butternut squash soup. Sweet and earthy, the comforting cup of velvety butternut squash soup was brought to another textural level when topped with shiitake mushrooms.
For our main course of food, Jon ordered the Asian glazed Chilean sea bass, and I went with the vegetarian tasting plate.
Jon is crazy about seabass, so it came as a shock to no one that he loved his dish. What DID come as a shock was that his favorite part of the whole dish was the bed of organic black rice underneath the fish. He really really loved it!
And I could not get enough of mine. Listen, a lot of times people look at my vegetarian meals with pity in their eyes, but I'm pretty sure the restaurant threw down the gauntlet with this one. Just look at it! I was able to sample a chilled, earthy, crispy quinoa-citrus salad; warm, subtly sweet, buttery, golden beets; ANOTHER hearty, delicious stuffed 'shroom (score!); steamed broccolini, made more interesting than usual with the inclusion of contrasting red peppers; a WONDERFUL cedar plank roasted tofu; and a citrusy, layered vegetarian taco with black beans, roasted peppers, feta cheese, mole sauce, and tamatillo salsa, topped off with a crunchy slaw. While I thoroughly enjoyed each of these food items for different reasons, the star of this dish was hands down the cedar plank roasted tofu. And I'm not a big tofu person, so this is saying a lot (worst vegetarian ever? Worst vegetarian ever.). It was soft and citrusy and flirted with a borderline grittiness. Lightly basted in a mustard dill sauce, if you had fed me the tofu and told me it was fish, I would have 100% believed you. Yowzers, what a unique and delightful surprise!
To finish this lovely Houston evening off, we of course had to order more food from the restaurant, in the form of dessert.
The restaurant does this thing where they present you with a bunch of shot glasses (if you have a more appropriate name for these, please let me know) filled with mini desserts. This is exciting and dangerous. We weren't very hungry, so we ordered five.
(don't worry, I'm giving myself the side eye too).
The desserts we ordered were a nutty, rich peanut butter chocolate; a cinnamon-y, sweet pumpkin pie that tasted absolutely like fall (my second favorite); a Begian chocolate s'mores (which I didn't try since I didn't know if it had gelatin in it or not); a sweet and smooth pecan pie (Jon's favorite); and a rich, indulgent, not-too-sweet carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (my favorite). It was a delightful sampling!
Seasons 52 is a restaurant that prides itself in serving seasonally-inspired food, with a focus on "what's good now." With over 40 restaurants nationwide, they still manage to bring a personal touch to their food, right here in Houston, as well as provide exceptional service. The eclectic, playful, and thoughtful winter menu is exceptional and definitely worth trying. I can't wait to return to Seasons 52 for a nice evening out!
Here's to 200 more, Houston!