Dessert and wine pairing

April 3rd, 2020

By Alisa Star

As the colors of the desert get lighter the wine gets lighter.

Rule of thumb: The wine should be as sweet as the desert, with enough acidity for balance. It’s easy to pair wines with the main course. But what if you are treating yourself to the perfect desert? Fear not, the basic rules of wine pairing still apply, that you look for similar notes in your wine and your desert.

When shopping for the right dessert wine, you don’t have to limit yourself — get creative! As long as you ensure that the wine you pick falls on the sweeter side of the spectrum and matches the flavor and the color of the desert. You will be sure to end up with a perfect dessert wine pairing for your guests.

Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc pair perfectly with creamy butter desserts such as cheesecake, or brulee. It also complements lemon and cranberry flavors. Cabernets and Shiraz go well with lighter flavored chocolate, caramel, raspberry, plum and blueberry desserts. If you’re a port lover, try pairing with spicy desserts such as nutmeg, ginger, pumpkin or orange flavors. Rose wines get all the fuss pairing with strawberry, kiwi, peach, and shortbread, such as a fruit tart. For all the sparkling wine or champagne drinkers, we all know the answer to this one…raspberries and dark decadent chocolate! It takes champagne, with all that intense minerality and high levels of refreshing acidity, to contrast with the rich, creamy smooth and intense flavor of dark chocolate.

If you want to throw a special event for a party or holiday, you should try a “Sip & Sweets” theme. Your guests will be entertained throughout the whole evening taking this delicious and unusual journey with their palates as they sample different wines and dessert’s pairing.

Steak au Poivre with Sauteed Asparagus

December 31st, 2019

 By Alisa Star

Classic steak au Poivre is a simple dish of seared peppercorn-crusted steaks with a creamy butter pan sauce. The secret is to start by encrusting  the steak on only one side. Pre-salting the steaks will allow the surface of the meat to dry out allowing the peppercorns to stick.

Pairing this easy elegant meal with a rich full bodied red is a given. Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet 2015. It has an exciting nose of maraschino cherries, blackberry bramble and brisket with notes of clove and star anise. This wine has a fruity mid-palate of current with toasted vanilla and roasted brown sugar from American oak barrels. (Bonanza Cabernet is a great substitute. It mirrors Caymus).

  • 4 (6-8 oz) boneless steak medallions, such as filet mignon
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or cognac
  • ¾ cup chicken stock
  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard

Salt steaks first, let dry for 15 minutes. Meanwhile crack peppercorns into rough halves with a pepper grinder, or a mortar and pestle. Spread peppercorns evenly over only one side  top of each firmly so the peppercorn imbeds the medallion.In a large cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add steaks, peppercorn side down, and cook until peppercorns are well toasted, about 3 minutes. Carefully turn steaks, trying not to break the crust. Add butter thyme and garlic and cook, coating the steaks with a spoon as they cook in the sauce, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat, and check the internal temperature of the steaks. Medium rare will be 125F; if you want your steak medium you can continue to cook to 145F. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet, discard the thyme and garlic, add shallots and more crushed peppercorn, continue cooking over medium heat, until shallots are tender. Add brandy, cook until the smell of the alcohol goes away, add chicken stock and simmer, about 2 minutes. Whisk in heavy cream until sauce has reduced enough to glaze a spoon. Add mustard, and season with salt. Pour sauce over the tops of the steaks.  Coat asparagus with olive oil, lemon, salt and crushed garlic. Saute in pan for 8 minutes.

Grand Opening Night At Cut Foil Benefits Longhorn Project

August 1st, 2019

By Alisa Star

Cut Foil wine and Piano Bar held several great and exciting events this past month. On Saturday July 6, a benefit for the Longhorn project was held and featured music by Jason Allcorn, who rocked the house with country music.

The Longhorn Project is committed to agricultural education. It is a one-of-a-kind, hands-on educational project. The Longhorn Project is a well known center of agriculture, science and engineering. It is located at NASA’s Johnson Space Center on a 53 acre tract of land for grazing, complete with an 11 acre feeding lot and 7 acre garden area. The area consists of garden plots, a greenhouse, orchards, compost containers, aquaculture ponds and paver patio with a beautiful waterfall. The Western Heritage Pavilion was built and donated by the Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo.

Under the direction of project manager, Henry Wilson, a select team of FFA students learn and care for the trophy steer herd, raising and exhibiting 25 longhorns at numerous shows across the state of Texas. The project is challenging and is a major responsibility for all the students involved. They are all proud to be a part of this unique opportunity.
Cut Foil hosted a silent and live auction to help raise money for the Longhorn Project. Chairperson Andrea Wilson kicked off the event. There was a lot of excitement and bidding wars.

Rick Clapp conducted the live auction and the passing of the cowboy hat to help raise funds for this worthwhile cause. Over $3,000 dollars was raised for the Longhorn Project. There was fun and exciting bidding on all the auction items. Some of the items included a BBQ dinner for eight, a photo of the longhorns, and a case of wine donated by Derek and Robin Holk. A tour of rocket park and lunch with retired Johnson Space Center Director George Abby was a hotly bidded item. A horse painting, a nice dinner gift card package and bottle of wine with glasses for two was donated by Bay Area Houston Magazine. Some of the auction winners included Tom Herman, Alisa Star and Rick Clapp to name a few. A special thanks goes to Derek and Robin Holk, and a great time was enjoyed by all.

Cut Foil is located at 20801 Gulf Fwy, Webster, TX 77598 next to the Fitness Connection. For information on live music and upcoming events, visit online at or like them on Facebook.

Cut Foil: An Amazing Wine And Piano Bar

July 2nd, 2019

By Alisa Star

Cut FoilFirst of all, the question most asked by Cut Foil guests and customers is what does Cut Foil mean? Well, it’s the foil that covers the top of your wine or champagne bottle. Viola, hence the name Cut Foil carafes and drafts says it all. The new Webster business also features farm to table delights like cheese plates with unique cheeses and meats, and fresh southern pimento cheese dip, hand crafted pizzas, Spanish almond cups and panini sandwiches. Their goal is to serve fresh farm to table items.

“We get our cheese from dairy made right here in Houston that only sells high quality fresh cheeses that partner perfectly with our wines. Also, our bread is baked daily by Angelas bakery in the Houston Heights,” says Derek Holk, partner.

Secondly, Cut Foil is all about the wine. They have a large selection of over 60 different wines from Texas, Washington, France and many other places around the world. Prices of wine may vary and are extremely reasonably priced. A few of the popular and valued wines are Starry Night, a white wine, and the popular red, Jake Girl for only $8 a glass, or $24 a bottle. They also offer high quality top shelf wines which are priced accordingly.

The best bargains are by the bottle. If you are “wining” by yourself purchasing by the glass may be best suited for you, or an ice cold beer by the draft may do the trick! However, if you come as a couple or more, a bottle will pour four nice glasses at a great price. You may also take the bottle to go if you wish, but it must be sealed and secured by the certified bartenders.

Cut Foil also has a nice selection of craft beers on tap, Texans favorite, Shiner Bock, and a variety of others. Domestic bottle favorites such as Miller, Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob and imports like Dos Equis and Heineken.

The L.A. cocktails are so popular today because of their lower alcohol content, and they are so refreshing and perfect for these hot Texas summer nights. Cut Foil also makes delicious agave wine based margaritas, and peach bellinis, and a house favorite, the delightful Hard Lemonade.

The decor of this place is simple, nothing more than class. It actually makes you want to dress up. Its contemporary look with colorful plush quality chairs, couches and tables creates a relaxed intimate feel. Cut Foil has beautiful unique art work that definitely has a feminine feel at the front but toward the back it is much more masculine, with wood, marble and glass. Let’s not forget the fun area shuffleboard table.

Most people describe the ambience as extremely relaxed, casual and chic. It makes the ladies want to dress up. The bar is a great place to just meet for a glass of wine, an appetizer, a date or to just mingle. They have wine for everyone to enjoy, all you have to do is ask one of the knowledgeable bartender or wine steward Chris Collins who is available from time to time.

“Cut Foil was decorated by Derek’s wife Robin —who had the vision and talent to create this wonderful concept that is so chic and relaxed. We are very much about the community and hosting quality events and fundraisers. Our specialty is creating fun themed events that also help raise money for local causes,” Partner Rick Clapp said. Rick and Derek, partners, have pledged to donate their tips to one of several worthy local charities when they tend bar.

The July 6 opening will also benefit the Longhorn Project at JSC, a local 501(c)3. The night will feature live music, farm to table delights, a silent and live auction, as well as a book signing by former Johnson Space Center Director George Abbey, author the book Astronaut Maker. Another fun event planned for July 18 is “Viva La France,” a celebration of Bastille Day and everything French. Ladies put on your French berets and most fashionable look. The night will feature French wine, a variety of cheese plates, desserts galore, music and best of all dancing! On July 20 is the “Fly me to the moon” party celebrating the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing. Please R.S.V.P. to these special events as space is limited. Welcome to the modern day “cheers” on steroids.

Finally, ladies come every Monday and enjoy your wine time from 5 p.m. till midnight for $5 a glass. Cut Foil has an amazing venue for any special occasion, from bachelor party, to birthday or cooperate mixer.

Cheers, we’ll be seeing you soon!

Bay Area Houston Magazine