Delicious bites delighted, tasty sips flowed, and lively beats amped up the vibe as more than 700 Houstonians turned out for the fourth annual CultureMap Tastemaker Awards, held at Asia Society Texas Center.
The culinary event celebrates Houston’s dynamic restaurant scene, with the respective winners in 10 different categories, from Restaurant of the Year to Favorite Taco, announced this year by celeb chef and restaurateur Bryan Caswell, who was also celebrating his birthday, and CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler. (For the full list of winners, click here.)
What’s more, the spectacular soiree offered partygoers mind-blowing fare from such Houston dining hotspots as Brennan's of Houston, Broken Barrel, Cafe Azur, Cane Rosso, and Fluff Bake Bar. Also doling out tasty eats were Fusion Taco, Le Colonial, Ninfa's on Navigation, Nobie's, Pi Pizza, The Pit Room, Ritual, State Fare, and State of Grace.
But the bite that got the most buzz was the smokin' Dragon Kiss meringue cookies presented by pastry chef Johnny Wesley of Liberty Kitchen. Guests took turns munching on the sweets and then blowing out reams of dry-ice induced smoke, much to the delight of passersby.
Making the night even sweeter, guests loaded up on desserts from KICPOPS, A Fare Extraordinaire, Petite Sweets, and Sprinkles Cupcakes, while bartenders, including Alexander Gregg (Moving Sidewalk), Josh Bearden (Helen in the Heights) and Justin Ware (Johnny's Gold Brick), shook things up, presenting thirst-quenching drinks made with Woodford Reserve bourbon.
Beer from Deep Ellum Brewing Co., Alaskan Brewing Co., and Odell Brewing Co., plus wine from Sonoma-Cutrer, bubbly from Korbel, mineral water from Topo Chico, and coffee by Illy Coffee Bar also flowed freely.
The party roared as DJ Senega spun high-energy tunes, Venetian Nail Spa offered foodie-inspired nail art, and Whole Foods Market, in partnership with Smilebooth, provided animated snaps.
Joining the fun were Gracie and Bob Cavnar, Gow Communications CEO David Gow and his wife Audrey, Lawson and Lauren Gow, Lonnie Schiller, Shepard Ross (Pax Americana) with Erin Hicks, Ian Rosenberg (Weights + Measures) and his wife Julie, Nick Scurfield, Stuart Rosenberg, Jennifer Caswell, Magen Pastor, Lily Jang, Dominique McGhee, Sonia Soto, Kim Padgett, Lindsey Brown, Tiffany Halik, Lisa Gochman, Mary Clarkson (L'Olivier), Laura Beavers, and ESPN 97.5's Raheel Ramzanali.