By Edward A. Forbes The Bulletin
I came to Luling for The Watermelon Thump, hopefully to see some old classmates.
Instead, I was treated to the discovery of a new restaurant, In Good Spirits Wines.
The wine selection is broad, varied and excellent. The food falls into the same categories.
Small servings, exquisitely prepared, with flavors that pair beautifully with the wine.
Luling, you have a jewel in your mids, and travelers have something to discover.
The owner and chef is a sweet young lady named Blue Grant. She is a native Texan who has moved to different states and Texas locales that have served to broaden her horizons as well as her culinary and business skills.
Blue was born in Corpus Christi and lived in Austin for kindergarten through third grade.
Then, still in her childhood, time was spent in Washington State, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Las Vegas, Missoula Montana, and then back to Rockport, Texas for high school. As a young enterprising 21 year-old with $300 to her name, she moved to New York City, working as a server and bartender.
Her next stop was East Hampton as a server at Nick & thenToni’s, where she met her ex-husband and then to Manhattan, opening a restaurant on the upper west side. Now both 23 years old, the couple did everything in the restaurant until its success enabled them to hire additional help. The couple had several restaurants in Manhattan and Miami, Florida. Their marriage failed after opening a South Beach location, and Blue took over, doing all the cooking herself.
After selling the South Beach restaurant, Blue worked in Oregon wine country, Austin, Los Angeles, and then Woodside, Calif. at a one-star Michelin restaurant called The Village Pub.
For those not knowledgeable, a Michelin one-star rating means the restaurant is considered “very good in its category” having a quality menu and prepares cuisine to a consistently high standard. In November 2020, there were only 2,160 Michelin one-star restaurants in the world.
She has spent 30 years learning her craft, and her knowledge of wines comes from practical experience as well as studying in California. She has a Level 2 Court of Master Sommeliers, Certified Sommelier, WSET Level 3 and still going on Level 4 as well as being a French wine scholar. In layman’s terms, she knows an awful lot about wines and is a great source for the wine novice.
Blue moved her family back to Texas in 2020 before the birth of her second child. Blue bought a home in Martindale and was considering an online business from her home.
She contacted the city to determine the logistics, and a representative came to speak to her.
He was also associated with the City of Luling and encouraged her to open a business there.
Blue’s original concept was more of a retail wine spot with event pairings to show what foods and flavors are accentuated with different wines. She sells wine by the bottle at retail prices as well as by the glass with some of her wonderful dishes.
I ate at In Good Spirits twice - escargot one evening and crab cakes the next. Blue asked me what wines I liked. I told her I liked red wines, especially from the Bourdeaux region of France but would prefer a white with the dishes I was having. She suggested an Albert Bichot Macon-Villages 2021 Chardonnay that was perfect, so perfect I bought a bottle at a price that was competitive and reasonable. I enjoyed the tale of Blue’s journey as much as I enjoyed the cuisine and ambience of her restaurant.
(Edward Forbes wants to hear from you. Email him at email@example.com or send comments by snail mail to The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX. 77516.)