Food for Thought
Yes, it’s rodeo time in Houston.
And while actually going to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo can net you cotton candy, barbeque, turkey legs and deep-fried things, you don’t have to spend time at Reliant Stadium with tens of thousands of your favorite friends to enjoy a little rodeo food fun.
That’s because area restaurants are celebrating all things rodeo at this time of the year.
Katsuya, the hip, high-end sushi joint in West Ave, would hardly seem a rodeo spot but it is.
Cruise by Frank’s Americana Revival in Highland Village on certain Friday afternoons and you can see an actual chuck wagon. Owner Mike Shine is also part owner of Emmett and Shine Chuck Wagon Cuisine — and the restaurant will feature specials every Friday like grilled flank steak, glazed baby back ribs and Texas strip steak. This American West special menu runs through March 29.
Last year I was lucky enough to be lunching at Goode Company Seafood on Westpark Drive and looked out the window to see one of the trail rides passing by. A totally cool Texas experience.
But it’s actually the Goode family’s Armadillo Palace that really does it up right for rodeo. The cool museum/dance hall/ restaurant not only serves up good nachos, chicken fried steaks and burgers, but this time of year it partners up with Houston’s own jitney, The Wave, to transport rodeo folk to and from the restaurant and the rodeo. For $20 you get transportation and a $10 bucket of beer.
Plus, the restaurant with the giant armadillo out front will feature live country bands and has a new dance floor for boot scootin’ fun for pre- and post-rodeo fun.
Katsuya, the hip, high-end sushi joint in West Ave, hardly seems like a rodeo spot but it is offering The Rodeo Clown cocktail made with Texas whiskey, simple syrup, Angostura bitters, absinthe and an orange lasso for garnish, and a Rodeo Roll ($18) made of prime beef tatami, sauteed nobashi ebi, cucumber, avocado, shaved onion and a special Japanese rodeo sauce.
Through March 25, Sprinkles Cupcakes will brand your favorite cupcakes with Lone Star decorations in the shapes of Texas, boots, longhorn, cacti and stars.
Or, saddle up for some seafood over at Tony Mandola’s for a 10 percent discount off your meal if you bring in a rodeo concert ticket or show your Committee Badge. Enjoy this deal through the final performance on March 17. The deal is good for lunch and dinner.
Got your eye on a basketball game but don't want to miss the rodeo? Pull up a seat at the Houston Texans Grille and order a Cowboy Curaçao ($10). This cocktail is made with orange infused Bulleit bourbon, ginger simple syrup, blanco vermouth, orange curaçao, muddled orange and a splash of soda.
Want a little Mex with your Tex? La Fisheria will feature Arrachera Nachos, complete with house-made beans, fresh cooked steak, cojita cheese and homemade queso through March 17.
For the duration of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, The Counter is serving a Texas Caviar and Brie Bison Burger.
Want a little Rodeo Drive before you hit the rodeo? Than head to Up Restaurant in Highland Village for a Texas meal. Enjoy upscale cowboy fare like short rib sliders, shrimp and grits, crispy fried chicken and grilled cowboy steak with sweet potato croquettes. In addition, Up offers a complimentary shuttle from the restaurant to the rodeo with proof of valet voucher. Available for dinner through March 17.
And, finally, there’s The Counter over in The Heights that has rodeo-inspired burgers. For the duration of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, The Counter is serving a Texas Caviar and Brie Bison Burger, with bison, brie, kale, pickled carrot strings, tomatoes, Texas caviar (black-eyed pea salsa) on a ciabatta bun served with Dijon balsamic dressing ($13.75); and a Frito Pie Burger, with beef, American cheese and Tillamook cheddar cheese, lettuce, pickles, red onions, grilled jalapenos, sauteed onions, and beef chili, topped with Fritos on a hamburger bun and served with ranch dressing ($10.75).
Dang, that’s a real Texas burger, but if you want just the plain ol’ Frito pie, just hang out at Blanco’s Bar and Grill before it’s gone or the equally iconic Avalon Dinner where they serve up Fritos and chili plain.