Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend a food lover’s dream. For the uninitiated, Zest in the West is a world class culinary event that features the best wine in food from West Houston and beyond. I didn’t know what to expect. Would my tongue comprehend the flavors I would experience? Luckily, All of my fears melted way with the first slip of a well-aged red wine.
While on this food and wine adventure, I was accompanied by my new friends Louie and Karissa. Primed with my food companions, we were ready to set sail. We had 17 restaurants, eight master chefs and only three bellies to work with. We had to be strategic. We couldn’t just run around like crazed animals attacking everyone with food. It's a civilized event after all. We gracefully started outside with wine and worked our way inside. Here is a list of some of my favorite dishes from the night:
Ursula’s Jerk Chicken - Jamican Jerk Chicken
Radio Milano - Foie Gras Meatball with Truffled Mashed Potatoes topped with a Foie Gras Alfredo
Le Mistral - Oregon Dungeness Crab Tartar, Crab Claw Cromesquis
Maggiano’s - Brushetta (tarragon cream, corn relish, cream dill w/topped smoked salmon and onion and caper sauce)
Miyako Japanese restaurant - Sushi
Nirvana - Chicken tikka masala, chicken in a creamy tomato sauce served with rice
Peli Peli - Halal steak topped with Peli Peli Huguenot sauce
Fadi’s - Hummus with beef shawarma
Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse - Empanadas
Havana Houston - Chicken & Beef Empanadas
Churrascos - Ahi Tuna Tostada and Pumpkin Spice Tres Leches
Besides indulging in delicious foods and wine, one thing I appreciated the most was the event’s ability to promote and support local businesses. I was able to learn about their stories and motivations. Snappy Salads is a great example. They are a green company that creates all natural hand-made salads. Each salad seemed carefully thought out and prepared. Most of their countertops are made from salvaged wood. Their cups, utensils, and take-out containers are all made from renewable resources and are compostable. Even their straws are made out of paper (Link to Snappy Salads).
The highlight of the night came from watching friend Louie. He is the owner of Balloon Decor, a company that designs and creates amazing balloon sculptures and clothing. For this event he created a festive gold rose wall with a matching princess dress and crown. The dress (worn by Karissa) took Louis roughly 9 hours to finish! After performing a royal walk through the event, swarms of party goers rushed over to his booth to take pictures and ask questions. For me, it’s always a pleasure to see someone’s hard work get appreciated.
“It was a very fulfilling experience,” said Louie as he mingled with different party goers. “It gave me the drive to continue to change the game.”
A great way to come together as a community is to break bread with your neighbor. Thanks to Constance McDerby at Food & Vine Time Productions, we had an opportunity to come together and share our different cultures and flavors. It was an amazing night filled with lasting memories.
Special thanks to Balloon Decor! For more information visit: