Houston Rodeo's Dutch Oven Desserts Competition Cooked 'Em Low and Slow

Categories: Game On, Q, Sweets

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Photos by Molly Dunn
Sticky bread pudding desserts, like this one, were popular entries.
Some judge barbecue and some judge food and wine at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. But me? I judge Dutch oven desserts.

On Friday, February 28, the World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest hosted the fifth annual Dutch Oven Desserts Competition, and nearly 145 teams entered their sweet treats made entirely in a Dutch oven.

The competition was separated into two tasting rounds, each table of judges received eight different desserts in each round. As the desserts were passed around the table, each judge placed a scoop of the sugary creation onto a plate, sampled it and gave it a ranking of from one to ten (one being the worst and ten being the best).

It's like Thanksgiving desserts on steroids.

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Liberty Kitchen and Oysterette Responds to Review With Interesting Gift

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Photos by Kaitlin Steinberg
WHAT'S IN THE BOX?!?
When I first opened the box, I was intrigued. Then I saw the card with the monogram "Lee Ellis" at the top, and I became concerned.

It's no secret that, though I thought there were a few outstanding dishes at the new Liberty Kitchen and Oysterette, the upscale restaurant owned by Ellis and Lance Fegen, my overall impression of the place was not as great as I'd hoped it would be. I'd been wowed by a dinner at the original Liberty Kitchen, and I'm such a regular at Petite Sweets that I can probably attribute at least two pounds of weight gain to that perfect custard. I didn't hate Liberty Kitchen and Oysterette at all. I'd just hoped for better from a talented group of people.

It's also no secret that many of you, dear readers, were displeased with my assessment. You called me whiny, passive-aggressive and "whack" and were upset that I compared the dining area to the home goods section of Anthropologie because of all the owls. And because it's beautiful. I happen to love Anthropologie.

At any rate, I was worried, when I saw Ellis's stationery, that he might have mailed me rotten vegetables, dog poo or gas station taquitos.

What I got was much more terrifying ...

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UPDATED: Win Two VIP Tickets to Menu of Menus and Iron Fork

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Join us for the Menu of Menus Extravaganza 2014!
Tickets are selling quickly for this year's Menu of Menus Extravaganza, which will be held at Silver Street Station on April 8. The event will feature more than 40 local restaurants with incredible free samples as well as the annual Iron Fork competition, which will pit last year's champ, Kevin Naderi, against a mystery competitor.

The Iron Fork competition is much like the Food Network's Iron Chef. Randy Evans of Haven will moderate as two chefs are given a secret ingredient and 45 minutes to cook up a masterpiece of a meal in front of a live audience and celebrity judges.

If you want to join us for Iron Fork and for all the delicious free samples at Menu of Menus you could go online and buy a VIP ticket for $80.

Or you could enter this giveaway and win two free tickets!

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Cheer Your NFL Team to Victory With Cupcakes

Categories: Game On

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Graphic by Monica Fuentes
This weekend is crucial for four NFL teams. The playoffs are coming to a close, and two teams will walk away from this weekend with tickets to the Super Bowl.

To accompany your game-day party dishes of potato skins, barbecue, burgers, chips, dips and everything else in between, why not make and decorate cupcakes inspired by the colors and mascots of your NFL team? Unfortunately, the Texans are not one of those teams, but maybe they'll make it next year and you can make red, white and blue cupcakes to cheer them on to victory.

Whether you want Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to stomp all over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, or you're hoping the San Francisco 49ers beat the Seattle Seahawks to have a repeat shot at winning the Super Bowl, we've got a cupcake for you. Just follow the easy instructions for assembling and decorating these NFL playoff cupcakes.

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Fuel Up for the Houston Marathon With the Right Food

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Photo by Marco Torres
If you're running in the Houston Marathon, you'll need to fuel yourself with the correct foods.
If you have been training to run in the Houston Marathon, which takes place this year on Sunday, January 19, you probably know by now that what you put inside your stomach is crucial to how well you'll do in the race. It doesn't matter if you run two miles, 13.1 or 26.2; what you eat could make or break you.

Contrary to popular opinion, you don't want to "carb up" so much that you puke all over yourself (or the person near you). Who wants to smell a combination of protein bars, bananas, peanut butter, apples and whatever else you decided to shove down your throat hours before the race? On the flip side, you don't want to eat such a small amount of food that you run out of energy before you're even a quarter of the way through the race. Water stations and food stations never seem to appear when you're running on an empty stomach.

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Charities Duke It Out for OKRA Charity Saloon's December Proceeds

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Photo from VoicePlaces
Charities that didn't win earlier in the year are getting a second chance at OKRA.
This month, The Original OKRA Charity Saloon is trying something a little different to determine which lucky charity will be the recipient of the bar's December proceeds.

Usually, the bar picks four local charities per month and offers drinkers and diners the opportunity to vote for the organization they most want to benefit. For every purchase -- food or drink -- the patron gets one vote. So do a lot of eating and drinking at OKRA Charity Saloon and you could help a deserving charity win thousands of dollars.

"It helps you feel good about drinking," says Joshua Martinez, owner of Goro & Gun and a board member of OKRA. "Not that I need a reason. But when you drink, you know that the money you spent will trickle down to a charity, and sometimes it's more money than they've ever had in their annual budget."

In order to give the charities who didn't win the pot the past 11 months a second chance, OKRA is holding a tournament of sorts.

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Our Inspired Suggestions for the Name of the New Menil Cafe (and You Can Name It, Too)

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Courtesy of the Menil Collection
A rendering of the new cafe in Menil Park.
The new cafe at The Menil Collection seems like it's been in development forever. But recently we received some promising information that leads us to believe the café is, in fact, happening -- and soon!

The press office for the Menil announced that the café will be housed in one of the 20th-century bungalows that surround the museum. It will be located directly across from the main entrance of the museum, off Sul Ross Street, next to the museum bookstore.

Chef Greg Martin, formerly of Cafe Annie, Cafe Express and Taco Milagro, will be operating the new space.

This is all welcome news, but the most exciting part of all this is that the café doesn't yet have a name. The folks in charge want the public to name it, so they're holding a competition.

Submissions must be e-mailed to CafeNameGame@menil.org by Monday, November 25, to be considered, and the winning choice will be announced on January 6, 2014. The winner will receive a table for two at a V.I.P. preview lunch.

You should all definitely submit an option or two, but don't count on winning. We at Eating...Our Words came up with pretty much the best options ever.

Ahem...

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Reliant Stadium Kicks It Up a Notch with Local Food and Craft Beer

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Photo by Marco Torres
Reliant Stadium has already hosted a few preseason games this summer, but Sunday will be the first time the Texans play at home this season. Attendees of this game can expect rowdy fans, hot temperatures and great local food.

Yes, great food. Local chefs. At a football stadium.

Gone are the days when your only option at stadium concessions was lukewarm hot dogs and nachos with fluorescent cheese pumped out onto stale corn chips. And though Bud Light is still a favorite of sports fans everywhere, it's no longer your only means of getting booze into your bloodstream.

The Daily Meal recently named Reliant Stadium the third-best stadium in the country for craft beer, and this season it will welcome Chris Shepherd and a mini Underbelly, as well as Bernie's Burger Bus, to the concession lineup.

We spoke to Aramark's general manager for Reliant, Joel Nash, who caught us up on the culinary developments at the stadium.

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The Daily Meal Ranks Reliant Stadium 3rd on Craft Beer List

Categories: Brew Blog, Game On

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Photo by dskillzhtown
Great craft beer and a great team ... what more can you ask for?
Here's something else to get excited about in addition to Monday night's win over the San Diego Chargers: The Daily Meal says Reliant Stadium is the third best NFL venue in the nation based on the quality of craft beers available to fans. Seven NFL stadiums were ranked according to their craft beer selections and Reliant took the third spot. We're not sure why only seven stadiums were ranked, but we'll surmise that only the cream of the crop were included.

Thanks to the concession stands set up by some great local and state breweries, the stadium garnered the bronze medal in the competition. Fans can choose from products created by Karbach Brewing Co., Shiner Bock, Southern Star Brewing Co. and Saint Arnold Brewing Co.

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The Southern Tailgating Cookbook Helps Satisfy All Your Culinary Tailgate Needs

Categories: Game On, Recipes

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Photo courtesy Gina Mahalek
Food photographer Taylor Mathis has spent the last three football seasons right in the thick of all the rivalry and school spirit, but he's only been to one game. Instead of watching college athletes toss around the pigskin, Mathis joins tailgaters in eating pig skin. And gumbo. And ribs. And just about anything else you can imagine cooking out of a tricked out trailer during a tailgate. Mathis has tried it all.

He started a food blog in 2010 and shortly thereafter decided to set off on a tailgating tour and write about it. The result of visiting tailgates at 35 college games over the course of three years is The Southern Tailgating Cookbook: A Game-Day Guide for Lovers of Food, Football, and the South. On Tuesday, September 17, Mathis will be at Brazos Bookstore at 7 p.m. to sign copies of the cookbook and do a few readings.

We caught up with Mathis to ask a few questions about the process of attending so many tailgates and gathering recipes for everything from a seafood boil with fresh crabs from Lake Pontchartrain at LSU to deep fried cookie dough from the Texas State Fair.

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