This Tuesday, hundreds of hungry Houstonians joined me at Houston Press's annual gala to sample some of the tastiest treats our local restaurants had to offer. The event was held indoors this year at West Ave. Though last year's event at Discovery Green was more casual, this year people were dressed to the nines and looked ready for a party. Guests were given a plate and wine glass upon entering and were then able to move around the large open venue from table to table, grabbing nibbles of various dishes and sips of fine wines.
Laurenzo's Grille might have been the most popular table in the place, with a continuous line extending a hundred or so feet all night long. Unfortunately, I was not feeling particularly patient so I never got to see what all the fuss was about. Ooh La La bakery was one of my favorite destinations, serving up a smorgasbord of sweet treats from chocolate raspberry mini cupcakes to decadent chocolate chewy cookies that were impossible to resist. Danton of Danton's Gulf Coast Seafood was personally serving up scrumptious creamy crab bites. They were so good, I snuck back for seconds. And though many of the tables had long lines, I found plenty of opportunities to run up and quickly a steal a bite of food, such as a giant cinnamon bun from Shipley Donuts. There were even people walking around passing out tiny, mouth-watering corned beef sandwiches from the famed Khan's Deli. The people at My Dee Dee's Pie Shoppe table were especially friendly and generous. I sampled the chocolate, blueberry banana, and strawberry cream cheese pies. Don't even ask me to try to pick a favorite. The salt and pepper shrimp from Fins were so good that I've already planned that as my next dinner destination.
In between sampling all of this fine cuisine, I had ample opportunity to get that aforementioned wine glass filled. The women representing the Coppola wineries were very helpful and offered me a tasting of their favorite reds. I was particularly fond of the Pinot Noir. I also enjoyed chatting with the owners at the Water 2 Wine table, which featured award winning custom blended wines. I'll definitely keep this place in mind should I ever need 20 bottles of custom wine with my own label...very cool. The Chambord table was another excellent destination that was generously giving away raspberry margaritas and Kir Royal. Free Chambord? Sign me up anytime.
A DJ was spinning some excellent tunes and I grooved to everything from MGMT to MIA. Between all that eating and drinking, I felt I needed to get outside and do a little dancing. The band was great and I got to burn off at least the caloric equivalent of a mini cupcake or two! I had an amazing time meeting all kinds of new foodie friends and learning about previously undiscovered restaurants. I even got a goodie bag on my way out that was filled with chocolates, trinkets, and coupons to these fabulous restaurants. It was a wonderful evening and I can't wait for next year!