The Big Taste of Houston
The 3rd Annual Big Taste of Houston benefitting Big Brothers and Big Sisters took place at Audi Central Houston on May 17, 2015. The evening was hosted by KPRC Channel 2's Rachel McNeill and included participation from 19 area restaurants, 3 dessert companies, and 10 beverage companies. It was quite a night!
400 guests attended the evenings festivities and helped raise $159,000 for Big Brothers and Big Sisters. The Best of Big Taste winners were Dish Society for their ancho cured honeydew melon with crispy pork belly and a coconut and lime gastrique. They won the People's and Judge's choice award. Best Dessert went to Treat cupcakes for their amazingly delicious cupcake arrangement. My personal favorite was the venison tartare topped with a quail egg from Franks. I can't wait until next year!
I'm a native Houstonian, but since I live in the suburbs, I don't get to explore the Houston area very often. I recently had the opportunity to visit Citycentre in West Houston. There are some really fantastic things going on there. This open-air plaza and green space area is alive with families, festivals, and music. It is a great spot for a weekend getaway or mini family "staycation".
Hotel Sorella is located in the heart of Citycentre and the perfect home base for a weekend of dining, drinking, and entertainment. This hotel exudes luxury from the moment you step into the lobby. There are over 250 guests rooms with Italian inspired decor. Penthouse suites are also available which have a separate living room, full kitchen, stainless steel appliances, and a floor to ceiling glass window for a fantastic city view. Don't forget to check out the rooftop pool! It's connected to the Monnalisa, the hotel's bar/lounge. You can enjoy a drink in your own private cabana and listen to live music that's played nightly Wednesday - Saturday.
It was still early afternoon when I checked into the hotel and a beautiful day outside. I stopped at Cyclone Anaya's for a drink and a light bite. Cyclone Anaya's has mutiple locations, but it's still a family owned business serving classic Tex-Mex dishes. They have a fabulous drink menu and I was looking forward to a refreshing margarita. There are over 100 tequilas to try and specialty margaritas that change monthly. I decided to try the Jalisco Rose made with Casadores Blanco, St. Germain Elderflower, Pink Grapefruit Juice, Basil, and Sparkling wine. It was the perfect drink to sip on while eating crab nachos and ceviche. They have many flavors of margaritas, both frozen and on the rocks, in just about every flavor imaginable. I like my drinks less sweet. For a simple, but delicious drink, try the El Don Margarita made with just Don Julio Silver, Grand Marnier, and a little lime juice. For those watching their calories, Cyclone Anaya's also offers Skinny Margaritas and Guiltless Mojitos made with Monin Sugar free syrup.
The Capital Grille
When I think about the ideal dinner place, I am looking for somewhere I can have excellent drinks and fabulous food. In Citycentre, that place is The Capital Grille. You can't go wrong with dry-aged steaks, fresh seafood, and over 350 world class wines expertly chosen to accompany the exquisite cuisine. What's even better is that you can dine in their bar area or patio for a more casual experience with the same superb service and food as the main dining room.
The cocktail and wine list is brought out to you on a IPad, so there are pictures and descriptions of all the drinks. This is awesome if you happen to be a visual person like myself. I had to go with the The Capital Grille Signature Martini made with Stoli Vodka that is house infused with fresh pineapple, then chilled and served straight. It was a nice compliment to the Caprese salad made with 15 year old balsamic vinegar and house made mozzarella. Executive Chef Jeffrey Meyer graciously provided a few surprises that included a halibut spread and ceviche canape, as well as a lemon sorbet palate cleanser. I know it may seem crazy not to get a steak here, but their seafood items are hard to pass up as well. Wanting something a bit light, I chose the Sushi-Grade Sashimi Seared Tuna with Gingered Rice. Regardless of whether you go surf or turf, the portions are ample, the food is stellar, and the entire dining experience is outstanding.
Sweet Paris Creperie and Cafe
After spending the evening walking around Citycentre and listening to some great music, it was time for a sweet treat. Sweet Paris Creperie and Cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and makes crepes from sweet to savory. They are open 7 days a week and have a private room perfect for birthday parties or bridal showers. They have a great selection of wines, beers, and even a mimosa station. I was definitely looking for some coffee and dessert, but there were so many crepes to choose from, it was impossible to pick just one. In addition to their regular flavors, they also have a crepe of the month. March's monthly special was the ever popular cookie butter! I decided to stick with traditional flavors, so in addition to my latte, I indulged in the Apple Cinnamon Creme Brulee, Dulce de Leche with Banana, and the Nutella with Strawberry and Banana. Hey, don't judge me! Crepes are irresistible!
So next time you are looking for something fun to do, be sure to check out Citycentre. There are some great festivals coming up in the next few months. For more information, be sure to check out their events calendar on their website or like them on Facebook.
About the Author
I like eating, traveling, and enjoying liquid libations. I'm all about great wines, signature cocktails, and local brews.