Feasting Fun at Menu of Menus

Categories: Last Night

IMG_3499.jpg
Photos by Apollo Stackwell
As I was leaving Spring Street last night, I noticed a line winding around the ruddy brick building for Menu of Menus. Even at 8:30 p.m., people were still clamoring to get in. And why not? Inside was a treasure trove of treats from more than 30 restaurants and -- for the first time since the Houston Press has put on the yearly dining event -- a food truck court outside.

It was a splendid feast, and that's not even counting all the wine and booze.

New establishments like Xuco Xicana (still referenced as El Patio on their booth, unfortunately) and The Rolling Hunger wowed the crowd with Jalisco-style hot wings topped with crumbled queso fresco and Korean-style chicken tostadas, respectively.

Upstairs, a one-two punch of happiness waiting in one of the corridors: old-fashioned Dr Pepper floats from Another Time Soda Fountain were being served directly across from the dangerously delicious Deep Eddy sweet tea vodka booth. I judiciously avoided indulging too much in either libation.

MVI_3471.MOV.Still001.jpg
Just down the row, I found another happy pairing: fresh Shipley's donuts (with take-home foam donuts!) and taro milk tea from The Teahouse. And waiting at the end of the second floor tour? Braised short ribs and butternut squash risotto from The Capital Grille that were so good, I wanted to camp out behind their booth all evening long, begging for more samples.

Back downstairs, just as it was getting stuffy, Craig Hlavaty and I escaped into the crisp dusk air to see at least a hundred people enjoying live music and getting to know four of the city's best taco trucks: MMM Cupcake, The Rolling Hunger, Zilla Street Eats and Sylvia's No Borders truck. My heart swelled several sizes taking in the sight. And then my stomach swelled as I used the last available space to greedily gobble down Sylvia's cheese enchiladas (which are every bit as good, if not better, than the cheese enchiladas at El Real right now).

Food trucks of Houston, I expect to see many more of you here at Menu of Menus next year.

But where to dispense my two voting tokens? One had to go to The Rolling Hunger, the fabulous new Korean-Mexican-Vietnamese fusion truck for those chicken tostadas. And the other went to Branch Water Tavern for its elegant spoons of tuna tartare with yogurt caviar, crispy potato and wasabi puree. Both were smartly sized, traveled well and stood out among the many pork-based dishes (although, to be fair, the pineapple-habanero sauce-topped pork carnitas tacos from Rudyard's were outstanding) and canape-style foods of the evening. In the end, though, the grand prize for the evening went to Humble favorite Italiano's.

Where did your tokens go, attendees? And did you leave with a full belly and a well-used wine glass? If not, there's always next year.

For more photos from the evening, check out our slideshow.



Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords
My Voice Nation Help
16 comments
KP
KP

I missed out on the majority of everything Menu of Menus had to offer, save the crowds.

Of the five restaurants I was able to try, The Rolling Hunger's pork tostadas were dynamite, and The Counter's turkey sliders with cranberry, sour cream, and green onions were tasty. Capital Grille's short ribs were tiny but yummy, and everything else to which I had access was rather unfortunate. I'm a big fan of Rudyards, but I thought the pork tacos were one-note. The sloppy-something sandwich from House of Blues was not good. And the ... oh, no, that was it.

I truly hate to sound whiny, but this place made me whiny. And the fire marshal inside of me was cringing at every turn. I'll save my money next time for a really good dinner, where things that aren't supposed to be cold aren't, where I'm not poked in the eye and jostled in the tummy with elbows, and where I get slightly more than five bites of food.

Old lady rant aside, I had such high hopes, but they were dashed with a $40-a-ticket vengeance. Bummer.

TQro
TQro

I will do my taxes on time next year so I can attend.

Mike Calimbas
Mike Calimbas

Token #1: Niko Niko's

Token #2: Capital Grille

trisch
trisch

#1 Branch Water Tavern and #2 MMM Cupcake (I got the carrot cupcake, and it was divine). I can't believe a soggy plate of chicken alfredo with a garlic roll on top won, but the team from Italiano's was really woo-hooing it up at the end of the night for tokens, and there's lots to be said for enthusiasm.

I missed out on the offerings from Beaver's, Niko's, Rolling Hunger and Sylvia's. :( But the constant refills in my wine glass more than made up for the awful paloma drink I tried -- two sips and I had to walk away.

Txvet
Txvet

One token went to The Capital Grille, and the other went to Niko Niko's for that delicious brownie dessert they had. I wanted to love Sylvia's enchiladas but my portion was cold and the cheese was almost chalky. I was disappointed in a dry cupcake from MmmCupcake, but maybe their regular sized ones are better? Loved BWT's tartar and whoever did the BBQ pork crostini with a pickle slice on top. It was my first time to attend Menu of Menus but I will definitely go again!

KP
KP

... and I feel like one of TV's bitchiest bitches for saying that. Sorry, HP -- I still love you.

TQro
TQro

We've tried almost all of their flavors in full size and we agree the strawberry w/strawberry cream cheese and the carrot are standouts, stick to those two. Cookies n cream, lemon, red velvet are the most obviously dry. I hope they tweak those recipes because the lemon cream cheese frosting is all it should be.

Gaslight
Gaslight

Regular sized are better. Still no Crave, but worth the trip downtown/downstairs.

KP
KP

I didn't roll in at 8:30. I got there when it started (for non-VIP folks): at 7. It would obviously be an advantage to have VIP tickets, get there at 6, and eat enough samples for six people (as the guy from BWT informed me). However, given the massive, lung-crushing crowd that appeared at the plebian hour, I'd just leave when they showed up. And an hour of sucking down mediocre samples is not worth $50 a ticket, in my opinion. So, Regina Dupuis, although most people might know to get there early, I now know that neither scenario is worth it.

KP
KP

Fantastic! Glad we could reach a conclusion, however backhanded it may be. You have a good one, Regina.

ReginaDupuis
ReginaDupuis

got it, clear now, KP; i'll stipulate your hypothetical sucking

KP
KP

Hmm. It appears I'm not being as clear as I'd like. Please understand that "sucking down samples" was in no way referencing you, or implying that you consume foodstuffs in any manner other than is socially acceptable. It was simply outlining my own hypothetical experience, should I have gone back in time and arrived at 6:00, further reinforcing how your comment to "get there early" would not have resulted in a drastically improved experience for me, specifically.

And I'm afraid I'm going to have to pull out the logical fallacy card -- I fail to see how any reference to hair color supports your argument, or is in any way connected to this fine, fine discussion we're having.

ReginaDupuis
ReginaDupuis

please don't think that I 'suck down' samples. although i'm not blonde, my approach to eating is: i nibble and graze, keeping my mouth unoccupied often enough to be chatty and cute.

i guess our experiences were just different.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...