Hail Caesar Salad! 28th Annual My Table Magazine Caesar Salad Competition

Categories: Edible Events

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Photos by Carla Soriano
The 28th Annual My Table Magazine Caesar Salad Competition served up some creative Caesars. These guys, from the Houston Airport Marriott, presented savory Caesar salad popsicles.
What makes for a good Caesar salad? Is it fresh, crunchy romaine lettuce? Are homemade, well-seasoned croutons the secret? Is it the perfect amount of lemon juice, olive oil, egg, garlic and pepper? Perhaps the quality and quantity of the parmesan cheese that tops it? Maybe it's the notorious anchovies? Like so many other composed dishes, the best Caesar salad is the one your palate likes best.

At the 28th Annual My Table Magazine Caesar Salad Competition, held last Friday, Houstonians got a chance to try more than 15 Caesar salad renditions created by Houston-area chefs. Guests submitted votes for their favorite salad, which were tallied up to determine the Consumer's Choice award recipient. A panel of judges chose Best Classic Caesar, Most Creative Caesar and Best Overall Presentation.

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Photos by Carla Soriano
One of the few classic Caesar salads found at My Table Magazine's 28th Annual Caesar Salad Competition, held at the Four Seasons Hotel. This one was Cafe Express's version.
Classic Caesars -- the category in which Mockingbird Bistro took the prize -- were outnumbered four to one by those in the "creative category."

The creative category saw Caesars in rare form -- sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. A Caesar salad empanada from Omni Houston-Westside, in which the salad was baked into an empanada and topped with a tomato sauce, was a crowd-pleaser. Featuring romaine that had gently wilted down in the oven, a subtle creamy cheese sauce and a thin, soft dough holding the salad contents captive in a little package, it was delicious, and its delicate texture greatly contrasted the rough crunchiness that most Caesar salads are characterized by.

Another version, a truffled potato donut from the St. Regis Hotel with Caesar glaze, baby romaine and garlic espuma, sounded neat in concept but ventured a little too far astray from the Caesar norm for our palates.

Here are a few of the other salads in the "creative" category:

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"Caesar in the Raw" from Roots Bistro

Roots Bistro's Caesar version went right along with the restaurant's "local, organic, green" mantra -- its Caesar in the Raw was composed of kale, avocado, cashew nori dressing, basil pine nut "cheese" and quinoa sesame croutons.
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Spindletop's "Smoked Texas Style Caesar Salad"
Houston's only revolving rooftop restaurant, Spindletop, entered the competition with a salad of smoked baby romaine, local sunflower honey-glazed duck, blue corn- and parmesan-encrusted anchovies, and ancho chile molasses Caesar dressing. The anchovies were out of this world.
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Believe it or not, this is a version of Caesar salad -- created by Artisans Restaurant.
Artisans Restaurant took the salad interpretation to a whole new level by contributing a chicken Caesar sausage atop a challah bun to the competition.
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Inn at the Ballpark's "Hawaiian Caesar Salad"

The Inn at the Ballpark's Caesar, with roasted pork, caramelized pineapple and crispy taro chips, topped with a signature spicy Island Caesar Dressing, went home with well-deserved "Consumer's Choice" and "Best Presentation" awards. The roasted pork melted in your mouth, while the caramelized pineapple gave the salad an unexpected twist.

It was Ninfa's on Navigation, however, that took home the coveted "Most Creative Caesar" award for its tasty "BLT Caesar." The bacon came in the form of a thin bacon-jalapeño crisp, which was crumbled into bite-size pieces and tossed throughout the delightful salad.

With so many delicious versions to choose from at the competition, it was hard to pinpoint which one of the Caesar salads we thought was the best of the best. One thing's for sure: We'll be back next year to scope out what kind of crazy Caesar salad creations Houston chefs come up with.

Which kind of Caesar salad do you think is best -- über classic versions, or their more creative counterparts? Let us know in the comments below.



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Location Info

Map

Four Seasons Hotel

1300 Lamar St., Houston, TX

Category: General

Omni Houston Westside Hotel

13210 Katy Freeway, Houston, TX

Category: General

The St. Regis Houston

1919 Briar Oaks Lane, Houston, TX

Category: General

Roots Bistro - CLOSED

507 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Spindletop At the Hyatt Regency

1200 Louisiana, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Artisans

3201 Louisiana St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Inn at the Ballpark

1520 Texas Ave., Houston, TX

Category: General

The Original Ninfa's On Navigation

2704 Navigation, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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8 comments
shorty38
shorty38

Caesar salad....hmmm. 

 

By the way, there's no way My Table has been around 28 years, so how can this be the 28th Annual competition? Do they have 3 per year or something?

WendyFou
WendyFou

 @shorty38 I think the event itself goes back to 1908; My Table picked it up later, thinking that it would resonate with their readers and there's no denying that it has. Not to break a story, but word among my foodie friends is that they're planning a Steak au Poivre and Steak Diane contest. THAT would be so cool!

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

 @shorty38 The magazine has been around for 18 years. I think there might have been a wee typo.

carlasoriano
carlasoriano

@kshilcutt @shorty38 hmmm...there may be a story lurking behind this because this year's competition was definitely the "28th Annual", as last year's was the "27th Annual".

phaedra.cook
phaedra.cook

 @carlasoriano  @kshilcutt  @shorty38  My understanding is that My Table is the media sponsor, but the competition could have been started before the magazine got involved. That's my best guess.

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