The 11th Annual Wine & Food Week – Woodlands took place recently at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center and was a huge success. I attended two of the scheduled eventsSips, Suds & Tacos and The Wine Rendezvous Grand Tasting and Chef Showcase. Both were jam packed with delicious food, wines and righteous beers.
Sip, Suds and Tacos was a fun filled event where over 300 guests meandered from booth to booth for samples of over 60+ craft beers, assorted varietals of wine and of course.. tacos! This “taco take down challenge” consisted of 10 chefs battling it out for the coveted Taco Takedown Trophy. The tacos were tasty, but for the most part very similar with the corn tortillas, meat and cheese.
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This years Taco Take Down Champ was Chef Scott Varnedoe of Restaurant IPO (Baton Rouge). He Wowed the judges with his unique take on the classic crunchy taco. The winning taco was super complex and the flavors were off the charts! I was able to snag one on my way out the door. It was good and the crunch from a hard taco shell was very necessary at that point.
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The winning taco was a mix of rare seared Ahi tuna, Salmon, Asian poached shrimp and goat cheese miso, served in a crispy-crunchy 5 spice, house made tortilla shell and topped with pan fried peanuts, candied sesame, pickled mustard seed and collard green kimchi!! Talk about a mouth full. The added flavor from spices like curry, cinnamon, cumin and 5 spice were present throughout each bite! In speaking with Sous Chef Sara this item was once on the IPO menu but was served in a glass..ceviche style. DELICIOUS!
The Finale event for Wine and Food week has been dubbed one of the most spectacular culinary events in the country, that may be a bit of an over statement but it was a lot of fun!! The Wine Rendezvous Grand Tasting and Chef Showcase was the epitome of chic, from the decadent desserts and food stations to the robust wines and runway fashion.
I have a huge sweet tooth and was immediately drawn to the dessert stations. Eculent located in Kemah, served a “Pig in a Cloud” that totally stole the show. Their seared pork belly coated in smoked mesquite cotton candy, paired with a kimchi shooter was more than delicious. Of course the Macarons from Macaron By Patisse were perfect.. I could’ve eaten them all night. Make sure to check out their website for details regarding their new location and summer grand opening.
Chef Shannen Tune of Revolve Kitchen + Bar, located inside of Hotel Derek, did his thing with his play on America’s favorite treat the twinkie. Chef Tune’s Foie Gras twinkie didn’t just taste great but as guests consumed more of his savory/sweet deliciousness his plating turned into a work of art! It was simply beautiful. There are a handful of chefs who produce ART.. Chef Tune is one to watch!
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With so many beautiful displays I missed getting the name of this vendor but it was simply exquisite as well. If you happen to know who this belongs too, please let me know so that I may tag it!
To learn more about Wine & Food week and how you can participate next year click here. There is also information on how you can volunteer. I personally can’t wait until next years event!