The 2016 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was given a proper start with the annual Rodeo Uncorked “Roundup & Best Bites Competition”. Featuring the best food and wine that Houston and the surrounding region has to offer, guests were treated to an amazing spread at the NRG Center. A number of high profile Houstonians played the role of judges, including Deborah Duncan, Edward Sanchez, Andy Cerota and many other local TV personalities.
Every Texas food specialty was on display from seafood to steaks and muffins to pies. Though LCA had the chance to sample a little of everything, there was one vendor in particular who’s food stood out amongst the rest. That honor went to Federal American Grill. In stark contrast to all the somewhat cliché (but delicious) standards the Rodeo Kickoff has to offer, owner Matt Brice took the bold step of serving Black Truffle Beef Carpaccio. Everything about their food was simply spot on! From taste to presentation, the Federal American Grill had our vote. This restaurant has “foodie” written all over it and we can’t wait to try it again. Kona Grill also made a strong showing with their Rare Tuna on Tostada dish. Surprisingly large cuts of rare tuna were a treat for guests.
There seemed to be more desert offerings this year than before, not that we’re complaining! Our favorite was Trentino Gelato‘s “gelato pops”. Deliciously strong fruit flavor aside, it was a refreshingly cool treat. Of all the wine offerings, the chocolate port from Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards was a perfect finish for the evening.
The event closed with the announcement of this year’s winners. The Outstanding Showmanship Award Grand Champion went to Davis Street at Hermann Park. Royers Round Top Café received the People’s Choice Award. The Tasty Traditions Award went to Joyce’s Seafood & Steaks. Max’s Wine Dive won the Trailblazing Appetizer/Starter Award for their fried oysters over wonton crisps. It’s worth mentioning that LCA’s favorite, truffled beef carpaccio from Federal American Grill, won second place. Grazia Italian Kitchen’s smoked beef short ribs served over pancetta risotto took the Lone Star Entrée Award. The Two-Steppin’ Dessert Award went to another LCA favorite, Trentino Gelato, for their gelato pops. And finally, Grazia Italian Kitchen won the Rookie Award.