TASTEMAKERS 2018

5 reasons every Houston food and alcohol fan should attend the 2018 Tastemaker Awards

There are plenty good reasons to attend Tastemakers. Photo by Kirsten Gilliam

Steven Devadanam is editor of CultureMap/Houston. This article originally appeared there.

You know the nominees and you’ve voted for your favorite new restaurants. It’s time now for Houston’s premier culinary event — the 2018 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards party presented by Woodford Reserve. Here are our top five reasons to attend this can’t-miss bash that's happening April 4 at Silver Street Studios.

1. A smorgasbord of Houston’s hot spots
Consider this a buffet of Houston’s best restaurants. Sample items such as peppercorn seared tuna from A’Bouzy, scallop crudo from Field & Tides, chicken biryani from Himalaya, a sausage sampler from The Pit Room, salmon poke from Pokeology, a venison puff from Yauatcha, and much, much more.  You’d need 10 times the ticket price — not to mention a month of your time — to sample this much fare.

2. The sweet life
After the savory hors d'oeuvres and entrees, get your just desserts at the Sweet Suite. Gorge on items such as bread pudding with smoked cream cheese from Alyssa Dole of Pinkerton's Barbecue, assorted petite fours from La Table, all-natural popsicles from Kicpops, truffles and macarons from Maison Pucha Bistro, and cream puffs from Killen’s Restaurants pastry chef Samantha Mendoza.

3. Cocktail hour
You’ll need something to wash down these delectable items, such as a Woodford Rye Old Fashioned; a Texatucky Tea; signature margaritas; a variety of red and white wines from ONEHOPE; and craft beers from Deep EllumAlaskan, and 11 Below breweries.

Also watch for the bartender showcase, which features sophisticated, signature sips from the Bartender of the Year nominees: Stuart Humphries of The Pass & Provisions will serve up the Anderson Fair (Woodford Reserve, lemon, dry Curacao, tea syrup, Angostura Bitters). Sarah Troxell of Nobie’s offers up the Ain’t No Holla Back Girl (Woodford Reserve, creme de banana, pecan orgeat, lime, Angostura Bitters). Kristine Nguyen of Nancy’s Hustle mixes up her Single K.O. (Woodford Reserve, Lustau Palo Cortado sherry, Cappelletti, lemon juice, simple syrup) cocktail.

4. Meet your host, Houston rap legend Bun B
Your host for the night is legendary rapper Bun B, who helped put H-Town on the current rap map as one-half of the duo UGK, and has since exploded with his own solo career. When not hosting segments on Vice or his own Trill Foods web series (or guest lecturing at Rice University), Bun is a veritable foodie and man-about-town at Houston’s restaurants.

With his latest album due this spring, is there any chance Bun might drop some bars? “There’s always the potential if I’m in the building,” Bun teases CultureMap. “On that day, in Houston, that might be the best place to perform. Not a promise — but if the drinks are flowing you never know.”

5. It’s the perfect date (or, the place to meet your future date)
In a food town such as Houston, you’d be hard-pressed to make a better date than what’s become the city’s signature culinary event. “This is great event to bring a date,” says Bun. “It’ll make you look cosmopolitan — you’ll look like you're dialed in to what’s hot — and who’s-who, and that you’re actually in that circle.”

But what if you’re single, and ready to mingle? “This party puts you in an extremely enviable social circle,” notes Bun. “And you’re gonna meet some like-minded people.”

General admission tickets are on sale now for $55; a portion of the proceeds benefits Second Servings of Houston. Get your tickets before they sell out, or risk missing a food fest like none other. 

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Houston couldn't keep up

Astros fall to Blue Jays as Toronto gets homer-happy

Houston's bats couldn't keep up with Toronto's Saturday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With an offensive clinic in the opener on Friday night, which helped them handily defeat the Blue Jays, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park Saturday with a chance to secure another series. Toronto had other plans, though, reversing roles with Houston by getting big home runs to even the series.

Final Score: Blue Jays 8, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 17-16, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Steven Matz (5-2)

Losing Pitcher: Cristian Javier (3-1)

Toronto flips the script and turns on their offense against Javier

Toronto flipped the script from the night before early in this middle game of the series, dealing damage to Cristian Javier, who so far in 2021 had been able to limit his amount of earned runs. After retiring the first four batters he faced, a one-out walk in the top of the second set up the Blue Jays' first hit of the night, a two-run home run by Cavan Biggio, giving them a 2-0 lead over Houston.

After a leadoff home run made it a 3-0 score, Javier would deal with the fallout of more walks in the top of the third, issuing two to set up a two-out two-RBI double to give the Jays a commanding 5-0 advantage. Javier would battle back and complete five full innings, getting one out into the sixth before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to make the call to the bullpen. His final line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 2 HR, 91 P.

Alvarez keeps mashing as Houston tries to claw back into it

Javier would exit with at least some runs on the board in support of him, with Yordan Alvarez hitting a two-run opposite-field homer in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to three runs. Alvarez accounted for another run in the next inning, coming through with an RBI-single to make it 5-3, which is where the game stood as Andre Scrubb would take over in the top of the sixth.

Scrubb finished that inning for Javier and returned for a 1-2-3 seventh to keep it a two-run game. Bryan Abreu was the next reliever, and he, too, was able to retire the Blue Jays in order in the top of the eighth. The Astros continued to chip away at Toronto's lead, getting another run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI by Yuli Gurriel to make it 5-4 heading to the ninth.

Toronto evens the series

Brooks Raley entered to try and keep it a one-run game with a clean inning, but instead, two runners would reach on a walk and error before Joe Smith would enter to try and strand them. Instead, a two-out home run put the game back out of reach at 8-4, with Houston coming up empty in the bottom of the inning, setting up a rubber match in the finale.

Up Next: This series's third and final game will be an afternoon start of 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Zack Greinke (2-1, 3.76 ERA) will try to add more wins to his record for Houston, while Nate Pearson will be making his 2021 debut for Toronto.

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