Inaugural Menu of Menus Pop-Up Dinner Brings Together Great Chefs and Great Food

Photos by Kaitlin Steinberg
Kevin Naderi attempts to take out the competition at the Menu of Menus pop-up at Haven on Tuesday night.
Last night, Randy Evans of Haven welcomed Kevin Naderi of Roost and Kevin Bryant of Eleven XI to his restaurant for a one-night-only dinner prepared by the three chefs in honor of Menu of Menus.

The pop-up dinner consisted of four passed hors d'oeuvres followed by four courses and either a cocktail or wine to pair with each course. We previously reported that these would just be drink samples, but ooooh no ... they were whole drink servings, five in total. We were all feeling pretty good by the end of the evening, but not only because of the generous drinks.

The three chefs plus an unexpected guest turn from Evans's partner at Cove Cold Bar inside of Haven, Philippe Gaston, created an amazing meal that really got the crowd excited for the deliciousness to come at Menu of Menus.

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Rodeo's Best Bites Competition Crowns the Winners

Photos by Kaitlin Steinberg
Eatsie Boys brought its famous donut ice cream to the event.
"I have a fun fact for those of you in the judging room tonight," came the voice over the loudspeaker. The three dozen or so people judging the Best Bites portion of the Rodeo Uncorked!® Roundup competition stopped talking in anticipation.

"If you eat all 81 food samples and all the wine samples we're presenting tonight, you'll have consumed eight pounds of food and two gallons of wine."

We all groaned. Though I'd been pacing myself through the first 12 dishes at my tasting table, I was still full by the time I was called over to the Super Panel to determine the finalists, and I imagine other judges were as well.

Nearly 5,000 people turned up last night to help kick off the Rodeo season with great eats and a lot of wine. Most of Houston's favorite restaurants were in attendance, passing out everything from barbecue to raw oysters to mac and cheese to chocolate galore.

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Tequila & Tamales 2013: You Voted, and the Winners Are ...

Categories: Last Night

Photo by Francisco Montes
The tables at Pearl Bar were packed with tamales and cocktails that were soon devoured by the hungry crowd.
Tuesday night's third annual Tequila & Tamales at Pearl Bar was a great success, with more than 200 people showing up to taste tamales and tequila cocktails from five restaurants.

Every single tamale I tried was delicious and worthy of a spot on your Christmas Eve dinner table (or a table any other time of year). It was clear from the outset, though, that two places were the front-runners in their categories.

Check out the slideshow from Tequila & Tamales for more great photos.

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Killen's Barbecue Pop Up and Syrahvolution at Paulie's and Camerata Wows the Crowds

Categories: Last Night, Meat!, Q

Photos by Carla Soriano
This photo of the five-meat plate from Killen's Barbecue doesn't do the delectable barbecue justice.

Houstonians must be doing something right, as the barbecue gods have been really generous to our city as of late. A couple of weeks ago, Q for a Cause brought Austin-based barbecue legend John Mueller, his pits, his food, and his team to Cottonwood. This past weekend, Killen's Barbecue was served inside the loop not once, but twice: Saturday at Haven, during a benefit for the fire-ravaged My Dee Dee's Pie Shoppe, and Sunday at Q the Wine, a "Killen's Barbecue Pop Up & Syrahvolution at Paulie's and Camerata."

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Late-Night Fire Shutters House of Pies; No Injuries Reported

Photos by Kaitlin Steinberg
The fire was limited to the roof area at the Kirby House of Pies.
A fire broke out at the popular and beloved House of Pies on Kirby last night around 10:45 as the result of an electrical fire that started in the ceiling.

According to Khaled Khalaf, whose family has owned the eatery since 1992, there were about 70 or 80 customers in the building when the fire started. The cooks and diners smelled smoke, and shortly thereafter someone came in and notified management that smoke was coming out of the roof.

The fire department was able to contain the blaze by 11 p.m. and has tentatively called it an accidental electrical fire, though they're still investigating the exact cause.

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Saint Arnold's Brock Wagner Named a Legend of Houston Restaurants

Categories: Last Night, News

Photo by Groovehouse
Brock Wagner received the Legends of Houston Restaurants Award for his many contributions to the city's culinary scene.
While many of Houston's finest in the culinary realm received awards at Sunday's 17th My Table Magazine Houston Culinary Awards in honor of their contributions to the Houston dining and restaurant scene, the most prestigious award -- The Legends of Houston Restaurants -- was bestowed upon the founder of Saint Arnold Brewing Co., Brock Wagner.

Saint Arnold Brewing Co. is the oldest craft brewery in Texas, and in 2014 will celebrate 20 years in Houston.

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Ribs and Ramen Reign Supreme at the 2nd Annual Go Pig! Or Go Home! Suckling Pig Throwdown

Photos by Mai Pham
Clockwise from top left: Dynasty Chinese roast pork; pig's head; Sparrow Bar + Cookshop roast pork
There are pig parties, and then there is Go Pig! Or Go Home! The second annual charity throwdown event last night at Kata Robata was every pig lover's dream -- and then some -- with Houston's top chefs throwin' down everything from traditional roast suckling pig to cochinita pibil to oysters topped with pig, plus pig pizza, pig sushi handrolls and pig ramen.

With more than 600 attendees and over 20 chefs competing, it was easy to get swept away by all the gleeful craziness of it all. Everywhere you looked, there were people enthusiastically stuffing their faces, while others laughed, drank, hugged and ogled the endless pig imagery on display at almost every single stand.

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Frank's Americana Revival and Chef Kevin Naderi of Roost: 2013 Menu of Menu's Big Winners

Photo by Abrahan Garza
Frank's Americana Revival took home the Best Restaurant award last night.
The annual Menu of Menus grand tasting is much more than just a night for our readers to come out, meet their favorite restaurants, find new favorites and get their faces stuffed with delicious grub. It's also a fierce competition.

A wooden token was given to each guest as they entered Silver Street Station last night, good for one vote to the restaurant that wowed them the most. Newcomers Maine-ly Sandwiches and the Eatsie Boys -- serving buttery lobster rolls and Shipley's donut-flavored ice cream topped with specially-baked mini donut holes, respectively -- looked poised to win, but it was another newcomer that swept the competition last night.

Frank's Americana Revival, which opened just this past December, won in a landslide of tokens for its beautifully presented plate of braised short ribs, carrots and pearl oninos over a creamy scoop of jalapeño-cheese grits. Classy comfort speaks to the heart every time.

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Snackshot: Your 2013 Menu of Menus® Extravaganza Pics on Instagram

Photo by egidionarvaez.
It was a true extravaganza Tuesday night at Silver Street Station for the 2013 Menu of Menus® grand tasting event. For the food fans who came out, it was a night of tasty food, fierce culinary competition, good music and new friends.

Many of those fans decided to share their night online via Instagram. We saw a ton of great photos posted, and selected some of our favorites to share. If for some reason you don't want your photo included here, just drop us a line.

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Rainbow Lodge Wins the 2013 Burger Bracket Grand Championship

Photos by Francisco Montes
Were you at the 2013 Burger Bracket? You're probably in our slideshow.
It may be tough to imagine in Texas, but beef isn't always king. That was the lesson learned at the 3rd annual Burger Bracket this past Saturday at The Refinery, where Rainbow Lodge took home first place with a blended burger patty so good that it won with a landslide of plastic silver voting tokens.

Host restaurant The Refinery placed second with its perfectly cooked sliders (a triumph in and of itself, considering how many the icehouse turned out) topped with Cheddar, jalapeños and jalapeño-spiced bacon. Miller's Cafe took third place with its mayo-slathered, classic diner burgers on poppyseed buns.

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