When you're done voting in this year's Houston Press Music Awards, head over to the new and improved 2010 Houston Culinary Awards from My Table Magazine. You'll find a whole host of new categories in which to cast your vote in a section called Houston Foodie Star awards. The usual suspects like Alex Brennan-Martin, Elouise Adams Jones, Schiller-Del Grande, Tracy Vaught and Marco Wiles haunt several lists, from Restaurateur Of The Year to Chef Of The Year and Best New Restaurant. Nominations in other areas mystify us, however, such as pretty much all of the establishments nominated in the the Outstanding Wine Service and Outstanding Bar Service categories.
One area that My Table does have spot-on is the Up-and-Coming Chef Of The Year category, which is a veritable stable of unbridled talent: Justin Bayse, David Cordúa, David Grossman, Ryan Pera and L.J. Wiley. Other bright spots include listing categories for Favorite Ethnic, Favorite Barbecue and Favorite Food Truck. These are the types of juicy categories that Eating Our Words can really get behind. And speaking of Eating Our Words, three of our current bloggers and one of our former bloggers were all nominated for Favorite Houston Food Blog for their personal blogs: Nishta Mehra, J.C. Reid, Robb Walsh and me.
The winners of the Houston Culinary Awards will be announced on October 3 at the 2010 Awards Dinner, held at the University of Houston Hilton Hotel. Tickets are $150 and always sell out fast, so get yours now.
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Meanwhile, the trend toward beer dinners continues to make its way into the mainstream with next Thursday's Summer Beer Dinner at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse. The four courses are pretty typical sorts of fare to pair with beer, but between that and the scholarly presence of fifth-generation brewmaster George F. Reisch, this should be an excellent dinner for a beginner to learn all about pairing different types of beers with appetizers, entrees and even desserts. Four courses with pairings run $65 a person, and reservations can be made by calling 713-780-7352.
If beer isn't your bag, the Sam Houston Race Park and the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce are hosting their annual Epicurean Evening the same night, July 29, from 6 to 9 p.m. For only $15 (or $5 for children), you can sample foods from more than 30 of northwest Houston's favorite restaurants and even take in an optional wine tasting seminar for $10 more. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door.
Last but not least, Branch Water Tavern is continuing its young tradition of giving food away practically for free each Sunday starting at 1 p.m. We approve of this tradition, especially this weekend's menu: free fried chicken with the purchase of a Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka cocktail. You'll remember that we're pretty big fans of Deep Eddy around here, which is even more reason to love this special.
And don't forget: If you were one of the lucky 100 people to get a ticket to our Odd Pair event before it sold out, we'll see you this Sunday at Absolve Wine Lounge from 1 to 4 p.m. Wear comfy clothes to accommodate all the donuts and pizza, and don't forget to bring those cans for the Houston Food Bank.