Get the Flamin' Hot Cheetos Roasted Corn but Skip the Pizza at Rodeo Houston

Avoid avoid avoid.
Avoid avoid avoid. Photo by Gwendolyn Knapp
click to enlarge Avoid avoid avoid. - PHOTO BY GWENDOLYN KNAPP
Avoid avoid avoid.
Photo by Gwendolyn Knapp

Flamin' Hot Cheetos have been fully embraced as a gimmicky yet integral part of Houston's dining milieu for years now, with the ultimate stoner snack making appearances everywhere from sushi rolls to nacho variations. Well, Rodeo Houston is now getting in on the act with two brand-new Flamin' Hot Cheetos-adorned carnival foods, but what you can expect flavor-wise lands at two opposite ends of the likability spectrum. Yours truly had a chance to sample both the Flamin' Hot Cheeto roasted corn and the Flamin' Hot Cheeto pizza at yesterday's Gold Buckle Foodie competition, and both made a lasting impression.

Flamin' Hot Cheeto roasted corn is decidedly delicious, taking third in the Most Creative category, which I believe is a disservice to its genius. Then again, the category's winning kettle corn was doused in a spoonful of liquid nitrogen, meaning smoke pours out of your nostrils and mouth as you eat it. Just as a ventriloquist would never win a pageant against a tap dancer wearing a jet pack, there's no way a cob of corn lathered in thick crema with the adorning electric red pop of Flamin' Hot Cheeto crumbs sprinkled over the top would take top honors. And yet it spoke to me. It's crunchy, sweet, spicy and electric red. It's entirely unnatural and everything you want at a carnival. Bonus: If you don't want to walk around the grounds with creepy red goo all over your face, Flamin Hot Cheeto roasted corn is also available in a cup.

Flamin' Hot Cheeto pizza, on the other hand, is like something you'd find on a greasy paper plate abandoned in the toilet stall at a roller skating rink's overcrowded tween night. The pizza itself is a Chuck E Cheese's-style atrocity  that somebody then threw some hot cheetos at. It's the type of pizza that becomes cool on top, the cheese congealing like a store-bought latex wound at Halloween, while somehow the underlying layer of marinara remains molten hot, burning the top of your mouth so that the purchase of a $10+ ice cream will also be necessary. Anyone under the age of 14 will love it.

click to enlarge Kettle corn will have your nostrils steaming like a bull's. - PHOTO BY GWENDOLYN KNAPP
Kettle corn will have your nostrils steaming like a bull's.
Photo by Gwendolyn Knapp
Here are the Gold Buckle winners. I also tried The Works cinnamon roll, the crispy shrimp taco and the chocolate-dipped oatmeal cream pie, all of which were quite tasty as well.

  • Best Breakfast Food: Stubby’s Cinnamon Rolls, The Works Cinnamon Roll
  • Classic Fair Food: Stubby’s Cinnamon Rolls, Cinnamon Roll with Icing
  • Best Value Food: Stubby’s, Loaded Baked Potato
  • Best Food-on-a-Stick: Berryhill, Shrimp Diablo
  • Best Fried Food: Berryhill, Crispy Shrimp Taco
  • Most Creative Food: Cowboy Kettle Corn (Carnival), Nitro Pop
  • Best New Flavor: Mad Hatter Funnel Cake #2 (Carnival), Chocolate Dipped Oatmeal Cream Pie
  • Best Dessert: Fried What, Buckeyes

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Gwendolyn Knapp is the food editor at the Houston Press. A sixth-generation Floridian, she is still torn as to whether she likes smoked fish dip or queso better.