Partygoers Pack the Patio at Houston Press Tequila & Tamales

Categories: Last Night

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Los Tios received the most votes last night for their traditional pork and chicken tamales with sides of queso and chili gravy.

Last night proved to be one of those delightfully balmy evenings that Houston is graced with sometimes, even in December. It was perfect for the approximately 200 attendees who gathered on the patio of The El Cantina Superior to taste tamales, as well as margaritas, and vote on their favorites.

Five different restaurants competed in both the tamale and margarita categories. The free event, sponsored by El Jimador Tequila, featured Radical Eats, Texas Tamale Company, Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen, Los Tios and three-time Best Margarita winner El Big Bad (formerly El Gran Malo).

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Wingtoberfest: And the Winner Is...

Categories: Last Night

Photo by Chuck Cook
Another year's wings smackdown
It was a messy shootout at Outlaw Dave's last night, where almost 200 people turned out to judge the best wings in Houston.

Six vendors vied for the top spot: H-Town StrEATS (food truck), Dosi Restaurant, Little Bitty Burger Barn, Sticky's Chicken (food truck), Bonfire Wings and Dry Creek Cafe.

The winner from the night was Sticky's Chicken with a teriyaki, sweet BBQ and garlic wing. We paired it with Saint Arnold Amber Ale to enhance the sweetness. It was very sweet and the crust caramelized on the outside, making it a refreshing wing compared to the other spicy options.

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Common Bond Serves First Seated Dinner During Inaugural Pop-Up

Photos by Molly Dunn
The pork shank was the best course during the Common Bond pop-up dinner.
We know that Common Bond Cafe & Bakery has perfected its pastries and sweets, such as the ever-popular kugelhopf, almond croissant, chocolate chip cookie and kouign amman. We also know that the Westheimer bakery offers an incredible lunch featuring seasonal sandwiches and mainstay items, such as the turkey confit with pesto, provolone, tomato preserves and arugula on a fresh-baked baguette. But, can Common Bond serve dinner?

On Monday, October 6, Common Bond stayed open much later than usual to serve its first pop-up dinner. The dinner sold out quickly as word traveled about the opportunity to feast on a five-course meal prepared by chef de cuisine David Morgan along with his team of sous chefs. Each course was served family-style, allowing you to dig in and share each dish with the rest of your table.

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First Female Takes Home a Prize From Iron Somm, But Bubbles Still Win

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Steven McDonald of Pappas Bros. Steakhouse (center) proudly holds the Iron Sommelier trophy.

Female sommeliers have competed in the annual Iron Sommelier Competition for years, but last night marked the first time that one has taken home one of the major award categories. Vanessa Treviño-Boyd of 60 Degrees Mastercrafted scored the Best Presentation award last night. She succeeded in the intimidating task of presenting her wine and wowing an elite group of dozens of event underwriters in a private room.

Treviño-Boyd used a creative theme called "Expressions of America's Leading Ladies," specifically referring to wines she felt were reminiscent of Katharine Hepburn, Meryl Streep and Scarlett Johansson. What does her win mean for other female sommeliers in Houston? "The Underwriter Room was the high-stakes room. You were put on the spot, you could either hang or not and there was no real hiding it. So, I think it means women here can hang, stay calm, cool and collected and then shine."

What did she present to win over the underwriters? "2009 Elderton 'Command' Shiraz, and Australia is not my strong suit either!" Well, you'd never know it.

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America's Test Kitchen Shares Culinary Tips & Tricks During Live Show

Categories: Last Night

Photo courtesy of Mills Entertainment
Christopher Kimball brought the Test Kitchen to Houston on Thursday.
Christopher Kimball, host of America's Test Kitchen, brought the PBS show to life on stage Thursday night during America's Test Kitchen Live. Fans of the cooking show, young and old, filled the seats of Jones Hall to listen to Kimball share secrets about the production of the show and explain how the recipes are tested.

Kimball is the exact same bubbly, energetic and goofy host in person as he is on camera. Since 1979, Kimball and his team of culinary experts have made it their goal to figure out the best method for cooking specific recipes, from soft-boiling eggs to grinding burger meat.

Sometimes these recipes result from science experiments, and sometimes they come about from hundreds of tests.

Thursday night included lots of laughs and jokes from Kimball, live taste-test demonstrations and a behind-the-scenes look into life on America's Test Kitchen. Here are five of the best bits of information learned:

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Sundown at The Grove Returns With Craft Beer Flights & Delightful Bites

Photo by Molly Dunn
From left to right: Elissa, Amber, Icon and Lawnmower.
How does drinking a flight of beer with specially paired food while watching the sun set at Discovery Green sound? Pretty nice, right? Well, every Wednesday night until September 17, you can spend your evening sipping on beer from a featured brewery while munching on bites of food crafted by the chefs at The Grove.

Sundown at The Grove kicked off Wednesday, July 9, at 5:30 p.m. with beer flights from Saint Arnold and small plates prepared by The Grove's team of sous chefs led by chef de cuisine Ryan Williams. It was a relaxing evening on the upstairs patio overlooking Discovery Green.

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Barbecue and Bourbon: A Match Made in Meat-Lover's Heaven at Killen's Barbecue

Photos by Kaitlin Steinberg
If you drink one thing with barbecue, let it be bourbon.
And I thought Killen's Barbecue couldn't get any better.

Last night, Ronnie Killen invited the community to come out for a special dinner service (remember, Killen's closes when they run out of barbecue, always before dinner time) that paired the now-famous meat with Jim Beam bourbon. But saying simply "meat and bourbon" doesn't really do the meal justice.

There was a lot of meat--trays piled high with pork ribs, beef ribs, pork belly and brisket. And there was a lot of bourbon--six different varieties to taste along with five cocktails, each made with one of the unique Jim Beam bourbons. I wish I could tell you I was a trooper and I ate all the meat and drank all the bourbon, but I fear I would have been on the floor with the room spinning around me if I'd finished every last sample. There was no skimping on servings at this dinner.

Because I think the story of the smoky, succulent meat and six varieties of bourbon is better told through photos, do yourself a favor and click on over to the next page. And grab a napkin, because you're about to start drooling.

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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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