Rodeo Uncorked!

Rodeo Uncorked!

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo 2019 is in full swing. It has everything you could ever hope for in a Rodeo and much more. If you haven’t been yet, you still have 11 chances left- including tonight’s show, so you better hustle. If you can, go every night. Wow, just kidding. That would be so exhausting. Just try and go a time or two at least- really at least. Our favorite day of the week at the rodeo is Saturday because we essentially spend all day on the grounds. (More specifically most of our time is spent hanging out in the Champion Wine Garden). Rodeo only comes once a year and for Houston, it’s our biggest event. Everyone you know is going at least once and most are going multiple times. We like to say that El Tiempo on Washington is “the place to see and be seen on a Friday night” and we believe that the Rodeo Wine garden is the “place to see and be seen at the HLSR”.  

Here in the Wine garden there are over 70 different wines to choose from by the glass or by the bottle. They have all competed in the Rodeo’s international wine competition and are all winners in at least one category. The prices are great too! Most bottles are in the $24- $38 range and the markup from retail pricing is truly not that bad. With this pricing, it is so easy to rotate who buys the next bottle for the table. We all know that with the great atmosphere there and the live music that one bottle won’t be enough. If you’re like us you’ll start with a bottle of Rosé for the group (somehow we convinced the men to join in on the pink wine) and then move on to a bottle of Cab. Houston has some pretty dang hot weather, so one thing we always love is that they serve their reds slightly more chilled than we would typically enjoy.  Our favorite Rosé this year on their menu is the Monte Stella Rosé by Llano Estacado and our favorite Cab is the LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. Of the two, we were really digging the Rosé.

As for food, you can bring whatever you want from the grounds into the wine garden. Out there is like a Disneyland of fried foods and southern goodness. Everything is amazing and some things are shocking. Shocking might seem dramatic, but there are things like Fruity Pebble Fried Shrimp and I’m sure many other crazy things that make that look tame. Once getting to the grounds, we walk straight to grab food. If we’ve already eaten a meal before we arrived we walk straight to get fried oreos. Everyone has their favorite fried delicacies, but the fried oreos are TO DIE FOR. For you it might be the Fruity Pebble Fried Shrimp or Hot Cheetos Cotton Candy. We wait all year for the Oreos and year after year they live up to the hype. After ordering and walking around some of the food options to see what the new creations are, we head over to grab our vino. If you’re looking for food inside the Wine Garden, they do have a cheese plate and Charcuterie platter. We have ordered the cheese plate out of pure curiosity and our opinion is to go grab food elsewhere. It’s not bad, but we just don’t think it is worth the $18. If you are looking for snacks for the table there are plenty of homemade kettle chips and loaded fry options out in the carnival.

After you’ve gone to see the best rodeo in the world followed by a great concert, don’t forget to head back out to uncork some more fun. The live music continues out in the garden and the bands are always great. We also love to walk around and look at all of the booths inside NRG center. The shops are so cute (especially after the wine) and walking through them all is a blast.

We will never get tired of the HLSR and never get tired of the Champion Wine Garden. We will for sure be there next week on Friday and Saturday. If you see us there, flag us down and we’ll make room for you at our table. If you don’t have tickets into the rodeo, you can always purchase tickets to the grounds for $15 or a season pass for $35.

Peace & Pinot,

The Perfectly Paired Pals

Throwing a Christmas Party

Location: Hosting your friends at your home

Recommended time: An evening a week or two before Christmas

The Perfect Pair: A pitcher of bourbon apple cider and a table full of snacks


For the past three years, I’ve thrown a Christmas party and invited quite a few of our friends. For us, hosting is a way where we can bring all the people we love together and spend quality time together. The holidays are a great time to do this, especially before everyone goes and spends time with family. Our friends are family and we love to celebrate our friendships with them this time of year. We also consider hosting to be the sweetest of Christmas gifts. As someone who loves to host, I definitely feel like I get better at the planning, cooking, and setting up every time I do something like this. That’s why we’re doing this today. We would like to give our tips and tricks and menu advice, so that it is easier for you to host a party of your own!

The first thing I do is send out the invites and start thinking of the menu. We like to use Paperless Post for the invite because online invitations are so easy and people are more likely to RSVP. You can totally use Evite or Facebook, or really anything you want. Paperless Post has just been my preference. As people RSVP, I’ll adjust the menu or even consider allergies and preferences for the food and drinks. I’m not saying go crazy, use discretion and maybe let what you know about people help guide what you were already going to provide anyways.

After I make the menu and do all the wonderful shopping, (does anyone love grocery shopping as much as us?!) I make a schedule for when the heck I am going to get it all done. As a Type A person in disguise, this is necessary. I figure out what prepwork I can do earlier in the week or even the day before. Anything to help lessen the the busyness of the day of. The day before, I lay out my table and serving dishes. That way the serving dishes that need it can be cleaned and I can make sure there is a place for everything. Once I have it like I like it, I add in little pieces of paper that say what will go in it. It helps keep me organized day of and not forget something in the fridge. It also makes it so easy if you have someone helping you put it all out.

I tend to go super overboard with food but, oh well! We can eat on the leftovers the next couple of days and I usually send the last people to leave home with a few things as well.


This year I made:

  • A cheese and charcuterie board- a must have for sure!
  • Bacon blue cheese puffs
  • Buffalo chicken sliders
  • A green chile cheese ball
  • A veggie tray and humus
  • Carmelized onion brie phyllo cups
  • Bruschetta
  • Spicy Chipotle Honey Meatballs
  • Dark chocolate cupcakes with peppermint cream cheese frosting
    Peanut butter blossom cookies
  • Dark chocolate cupcakes with peppermint cream cheese frosting
  • Peanut butter blossom cookies


As for drinks we usually have beer, wine, sangria, and a fun cocktail (this year we had two cocktails because we couldn’t decide). As for the beer selection, this year we went Shiner and Miller Light. Shiner because ‘Texas forever’ and it is always good to have a dark and a light beer. If we would have bought more, we would have gone with something Christmasy like St. Arnold’s Christmas Ale. We always make a holiday sangria because it is fun and festive and the fruit always looks so beautiful. As for the wine selection, I buy more red wine than white wine. We typically go with these varieties: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec. There are obviously a million options on what to serve, but those are all of our friends’ favorites, so those are what work for us. If you’re buying multiple bottles of one type, it is totally not necessary to buy different bottles. Find what you like and stick with it. Cocktails. Yummy. We like to pre mix cocktails before the party in pretty pitchers, that way we know exactly how much liquor is going into it. Also we don’t make too much to start, because unlike beer and wine, you’re stuck with what you make and you can always make more. This year we made two bourbon drinks, a bourbon apple cider sour and a whiskey sour with cranberry. We also jazzed up our ice cubes because it makes it look a little nicer.

As far as activities, we always have a white elephant at the end of the night. Completely optional, but always a blast. We do a max of $10 for gifts and people are so creative. It gets a little intense when the stealing is in full force. Also, my perfectly paired pal surprised us with a snapchat filter for the party! It was so exciting to see!

Can’t wait to see all of the wonderful parties y’all host for your friends this holiday season or what tips or ideas you use to help you host a shower or housewarming. The opportunities for hosting are limitless. We’ll be hosting any chance we get and building community one cheese board at a time.

Peace & Pinot,

The Perfectly Paired Pals

Seasonal Sips- Fall edition

Location: Home, preferably a patio

Recommended time of choice: evening

The Perfect Pair: Fall Sangria and Baked Brie

seasonal sips

Fall is such a wonderful time to host. Well, anytime is a great time to host. What we specifically love about fall are the colors, the smells, the spices, and the cozy that comes with it. (Here in Houston, we have to pretend it feels like fall outside, so we tend to go overboard with reminding ourselves that it is) For today’s post, we are going to share a couple recipes that are go-tos for any occasion. Of course we went with a sangria that is not so typical and it is a great combination of spice and sweetness. Secondly, we have a fantastic recipe for baked brie that is warm, delicious, and covered in caramelized onions. Swoon.

 

First up is the sangria.

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Fall Sangria

Ingredients:

One bottle red wine (We prefer Tempranillo or Cabs for this)

1 cups apple cider (not pictured- Oops!)

½ cup Brandy

¼ cup triple sec

2 Cinnamon sticks

1 apple (color of your choice)

1 pear (color of your choice)

1 orange or blood orange

Top with sparkling water or ginger ale

This is best if you let it chill for at least an hour before serving and preferably a lot longer. It is best if you make it right before you go to bed before serving the next day or even first thing in the morning the day you host. That way all the flavors have time to mix together and create the best experience.

sangriapour

One of our most favorite things about fall are the spices, which is why the cinnamon sticks are my favorite part of this recipe. If I know a day or so in advance that I’ll be making this, I measure out the brandy and let the cinnamon sticks soak in it until I add both into the wine along with the triple sec, fruit, apple cider, and ginger ale.

First thing I add to the brandy and cinnamon sticks is the chopped fruit. Following that, just add the rest in and stir. That’s our kind of recipe!! Just make sure to stir well and pour over a little bit of Ice. Top with your prefered sparkling water or ginger ale and serve!

 

brie

Now for the Brie.

 

We’re going to top this bad boy with caramelized onions, which take lots of time and love. You can’t just snap your fingers for caramelized onions. Wow.. wouldn’t that be great. If you know you are having people over in a couple of days or less, go ahead and do the prep work early, that way you don’t have to rush the process. Make sure when caramelizing your onions, you don’t let them dry out and keep the temp low and slow. You don’t want them to burn, so stir them often. Butttttt don’t stir them so much that they don’t brown. Depending on how much you make, these could take about 30 minutes to an hour. We won’t put a specific time on it because it really depends on your preference. Really, it depends on your patience level as well… I would have kept mine going longer last time I made this, but I couldn’t wait any longer! As a final touch and a personal preference, throw in a splash of balsamic vinegar. You’ll be amazed at the depth of flavor this adds– yummm!

 

Preheat the oven to 350℉

 

Place your Brie in an oven-safe serving platter. You won’t want to try and move it after you bake it, it will get a little messy. A mini cast iron skillet makes for a cutie little aesthetic and it helps the Brie stay warm as you are serving it, so that’s our pick.

 

Cover the top with a couple of tablespoons of jam. Our pick for today is Fig jam, because we love it oh so much and all the flavors go very well together. There are so many other tasty options that we considered, one being blackberry jam. On top of the jam add the carmelized onions. I add the amount that I make with one large yellow onion, but I love this stuff. Add as much or as little as you like.

The next and last step is baking it! Throw it in the oven for about 15 minutes and serve warm.   

sangria

These are such simple recipes that will please any guest. That’s the key. Find things that are simple and that you love to make. They will inspire you to have friends over to host and serve. You know our philosophy, the best conversations are had when good friends are gathered around a table of good food. It’s even better when it’s wine and cheese.

 

Peace and Pinot,

 

The Perfectly Paired Pals

5 steps to make your summer recipes beat this Texas heat!

Location: Your home!

When: Anytime you need to escape this Houston heat! A.K.A literally whenever you want this summer.

The Perfect Pair: Cilantro Lime Shrimp Salad and Miraval Rosé

 

Summer in Texas means hot, hot, hot! Especially in Houston, you have to be able to handle this crazy summertime heat and humidity. Some love it, some hate it, but us pals know the perfect trick to make the outdoors much more bearable and enjoyable, no matter who you are or what the temp is! Whether you’re grilling on the patio or sitting by the pool, we have the perfect seasonal pair just for you. It’s quick and easy, and we can tell you in just 5 steps how to perfect your summer pair to help you fight these triple digit temps!

 

  1. Take a trip to your local grocery store!

Rose Blog 3

HEB is my favorite place to go for wine. They have an amazing selection of every kind of wine you can think of, divided by type of wine or country of origin! The best part about HEB is the discount you get after buying 6 wines. If you buy 6, you are eligible for 10% off your wine purchase! I always say, “Never buy 1 bottle from HEB without buying all 6!” The discount is totally worth it, and you always have a bottle on hand at home for any event, while saving money in the long run. I’m sure we will finish any bottle long before having to worry if its gone bad. Here at PPP, we’re all about the best deal!

 

 

  1. Head to the Rosé section and pick out your favorite bottle!

Rose Blog 1

Without a doubt, the Perfectly Paired summer wine pick is a Rosé. It is a classic, chilled wine that is incredibly refreshing on a hot day. Depending on your preference, there are both dry and sweet wines. The Miraval Cotes de Provence is a wonderful dry rose. For only $18 at HEB, it is a killer deal for seriously some of the best rosé I’ve ever had! I like to stick between the $10 – $20 range for everyday wines, so this fits right into the budget. Everywhere else I’ve looked for this wine, it has been over $25… so make sure you go to HEB first! The best part about this wine is the bottle itself – check out how cute it is!

 

 

  1. Invest in your wine glasses!

Rose Blog 2

You’ve just gone to the store and spent a ton of money on wine, but you don’t have the right glass to compliment your new drink. It’s nearly impossible to put chilled wine in a glass and expect it to stay cold outside. And the glass sweating drives me crazy! My all time favorite outdoor wine glass is the Corkcicle wine tumbler. It is stemless, triple insulated, and keeps your wine cold for over 9 hours! It is amazing. It is perfect for sitting outside enjoying a glass of wine on the patio. If you live in a warm climate, invest in one of these amazing cups! You won’t regret it. Also check out that Perfectly Paired pink!

 

 

  1. Make yourself a light and colorful Summer salad!

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This is a quick and easy salad that is just as light and refreshing as the Rosé you are drinking to pair with it! It consists of cherry tomatoes, jalapeños, corn, avocado, onion, lettuce, and cilantro, lime shrimp from the grill. Talk about YUM. All of these ingredients came from HEB as well, so you can get everything in one stop! Whether you’re at home by yourself or hosting a summer soiree with friends, this meal is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Feel free to use it as just the appetizer, but it is definitely a meal just in itself!

 

 

 

  1. Create the Perfect Pair!

Rose Blog 4

With dinner ready, it’s always nice to pour yourself a new glass of Rosé in a regular wine glass. It makes us feel more sophisticated, right? With the shrimp only marinating in olive oil, cilantro, and lime juice, the Rosé is the perfect compliment to enable that light and refreshing taste that is not too overpowering to the meal. Summer is all about light, refreshing, and simple, and we think these two capture that feeling so well! So get yourself to the store, create the perfect pair, and enjoy a sweet Texas Summer night!

 

 

Peace & Pinot,

The Perfectly Paired Pals