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Finding Houston's best restaurant: City food awards look to cut through the hype

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My Table magazine Houston Culinary Awards 2014
Vote now for the 2014 My Table Houston Culinary Awards. Houston Culinary Awards/Official Website
My Table Houston Culinary Awards October 2013 The Pass & Provisions Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan
Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan earned a restaurateur of the year award for dual concept The Pass & Provisions. Photo by Kim Coffman
My Table Houston Culinary Awards October 2013 Brandi Key, Randy Evans
2013 Chef of the Year Brandi Key, center, accepts her award from My Table publisher Teresa Byrne-Dodge and ex-Haven chef Randy Evans.  Photo by Kim Coffman
My Table magazine Houston Culinary Awards 2014
My Table Houston Culinary Awards October 2013 The Pass & Provisions Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan
My Table Houston Culinary Awards October 2013 Brandi Key, Randy Evans

Once again My Table magazine wants to know which restaurants Houstonians consider the city's best. Voting for the 2014 Houston Culinary Awards began Aug. 1 at midnight and continues through Aug. 31. 

Voters need only to access the Houston Culinary Awards website and log in via Facebook (to ensure each person only votes once) to cast their ballots in the 25 categories that are broken into 10 Houston Culinary Awards categories (best restaurant, best chef) and 15 more casual Houston Foodie Star Awards (favorite bartender, favorite pub). The big change for 2014 is that favorite blog category has been replaced by favorite farmers market vendor.

A panel of sponsors, food writers and local dining enthusiasts selected the seven semi-finalists in each category, which includes established names like Tony Vallone for restaurateur of the year and white hot bakery of the moment Common Bond, which is nominated in five categories. 

Fear not about the absence of big names like James Beard Award winner Chris Shepherd from the ballot. Previous winners have to sit out five years. 

The winners will be revealed at a gala event at The Houstonian Hotel on October 5, which is hosted by Houston Public Media's St. John Flynn. Tickets for the banquet dinner, prepared by a who's who of Houston chefs including Justin Turner (Bernie's Burger Bus), Mark Holley (Holley's) and Donald Chang (Nara) are on sale now for $160 each.

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