Saturday Feb. 18 we observed one of our most cherished holidays “National Drink Wine Day” at one of the better known locations in McAllen for wine, House Wine & Bistro. While “National Drink Wine Day” may not be a legit holiday, we were celebrating our 100th Facebook Like in less than a week and Dishin’ It’s fourth article.
Gaby: Walking into House Wine & Bistro gave me a warm familiar feeling. The wood of the chairs and tables complimented by the “Love” artworks of a recognizable artist create the ideal setting for a perfect, relaxing Saturday afternoon. The small sofas, remnants of the once “boutique furniture” gallery, makes for an unpretentious and homey setting.
Due to the special holiday and occasion, Trisha greeted me with a glass of Castellare Spumante. I think she was just trying to get me buzzed right away.
Trisha: It was a celebratory drink. I was trying to help you relax because it seemed you’d had a tough day. Plus, we got 100 likes!
Gaby: I just wanted to start to eat right away. I was starving. Looking over the menu, we decided to skip the classic Garlic Lime Shrimp. They are delicious, but this not being our first rodeo we wanted to try something that different.
Note: If it’s your first time at House Wine & Bistro, we urge you to try the Garlic Lime Shrimp! You cannot go wrong with that.
Trisha: The pork belly sounded appetizing, plus I had never had it.
Gaby: OMG, I had never had it either (as an appetizer)!
Trisha: Thanks for your input and interruption. The pork belly was made up of seasonal relish, julienne carrots and green apples.
Gaby: I wondered what that would be since we have had our experience with the word “seasonal” before.
Trisha: and a berry balsamic reduction.
Gaby: Since this was towards the end of Valentine’s Day Week, our table was nicely decorated with a single rose which prompted Trisha to start a conversation about the new “Beauty and the Beast” live action film and its “Tale as Old as Time” track sung by Arianna Grande and John Legend.
I wasn’t having it.
Trisha: But it’s soooo good! And it’s “Beauty and the Beast”.
Gaby: Shut it.
Trisha: We ordered our appetizer and asked for the soup of the day which was a cream of mushroom. We didn’t want a full cup of soup, so the staff was kind enough to bring us two samples that were more than sufficient in size to really appreciate the wild and Portobello mushrooms. The taste of the flavorful mushrooms was not overpowered by the cream.
Gaby: I think some people might be put off by the color because it is an earth, taupe tone. But you know what, you need to get passed that because you need to put a spoonful of this in your mouth!
Trisha: (laughing) Say what?!?!
Gaby: A spoonful of SOUP, Trisha!
Trisha: We definitely did not regret ordering it. We were about to lick the bowl as our server approached the table with the pork belly in hand to which she responded, “Sorry, I can walk away.”
We asked our server if the Happy Hour special carried over to wine bottles and pitchers of Tincho and Sangria. Happy Hour is all day every Monday, and from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Gaby: We were brought samples of Sangria as well. Bottoms up!
INSIDER’S TIP: House Wine & Bistro has a Box Car special! They have 20 percent off all their bottles of wine every time the train rolls down Business 83. Additionally, customers receive a 40 percent discount from any bottle they take home on any regular business day.
The Sangria was very good, but it had a distinct flavor from what I remember. There was a flavor that I didn’t recognize. It reminded me of Rosemary. There could be a difference since House Wine & Bistro has been undergoing a revamp of their menu. Their much beloved flatbreads even went through a transformation. They’re now prepared on naan bread.
Gaby: While our pork belly had a lot of taste, in my opinion, it was dry. However the relish and balsamic reduction complimented it and gave the illusion of a tender pork belly. There were pieces that were tender and others that were charred. Definitely not consistent.
Trisha: You see, I like my pork belly on the crispier side. But remember that there are also tasty pork belly tacos on the menu.
Gaby: Yes, I would lean more towards ordering those than the appetizer.
Trisha: We were debating on what to order as a main entrée. Every single flatbread listed on the menu sounded incredibly appetizing, and we wondered if anyone had ever ordered a half and half. Much to our delight, our server agreed to our madness and we placed an order for half a Rustic and half a Bee Sting flatbread!
Gaby: Ooooooh! Just thinking about it makes me shiver! It was so beautiful.
Trisha: It was so puuurdy, I couldn’t wait to grab at it. The Rustic part of the flatbread was covered with giant pieces of fresh vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, sun dried tomatoes all laid on top of a spread of pesto and covered with sliced parmesan. I couldn’t wait to put it in my mouth.
Gaby: I felt super healthy just by looking at my slice of Rustic flatbread,
Trisha: Your vitamin levels were through the roof and you hadn’t event bit into it.
Gaby: My ultimate favorite House Wine & Bistro flatbread is hands-down the Bee Sting. Its marinara, capicola, fresh milk mozzarella, and locally harvested habanero honey make for the perfect combination of spicy and sweet.
Trisha: We ate through our flatbread way too fast, and so we decided that we needed a dessert.
Gaby: Chocolate crème brûlée was exactly what we needed to end our “National Drink Wine Day” celebrations. Its decadence melted in our mouths and, like always, I almost scraped the plate clean.
Trisha: House Wine & Bistro, located at 1117 U.S. Business 83, McAllen, TX 78501, is open Monday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. They can be reached at (956) 994-8331.
Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors and Watts is the communications director for Visit McAllen. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on various locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley.