BEST BITES 2019

Pearland favorite gets top honors at Rodeo Uncorked Best Bites competition

Brothers Produce won for best display. Photo by Eric Sandler

This article originally appeared on CultureMap and was written by Eric Sandler.

Everything old is new again at this year's edition of the Rodeo Uncorked! Best Bites competition. Behind-the-scenes changes in the judging process elevated some winners from previous years back into the spotlight.

Pearland's Grazia Italian Kitchen returned to the winner's circle for the first time since 2016, taking home people's choice for its wagyu ribeye burnt ends over cheddar grits. Fellow Pearland spot Killen's Barbecue, last year's people's choice and entree category winner, took second place in the people's choice for their ultra-popular pork belly burnt ends.

Other winners included Houston classic Ouisie's Table in the entree category and Woodlands restaurant Broken Barrel in the appetizer category (see full list of winners below).

Highlights from among the non-winning entries included burrata and truffle ice cream in a chive waffle cone —a collaboration between Roost chef Kevin Naderi and Sweet Bribery chef Sharon Leonard — homemade hot dogs an everything-seasoned buns from Revival Market, venison puffs from Yauatcha, and shrimp etouffee from Eunice. Unofficial award for the longest line of the night went to Gus's Fried Chicken, who were frying chicken on-site. Special shout out to Tiny's Milk & Cookies for giving away hundreds of their ultra-popular chocolate chip cookies.

Some 40 media judges from radio, TV, print, and online media had the allegedly difficult task of evaluating the entries from the 118 participating restaurants. Instead of two rounds of judging as in previous years, this time restaurants only had one opportunity to make an impression on the panel.

The sold-out event — unofficially the kick-off of Rodeo season ahead of the trail rides and barbecue cook-off — draws 5,000-plus to NRG Center. In addition to food from some of the city's top restaurants, attendees may sample some of the 500 wines that earned medals in the annual International Wine Competition. Thankfully, those who missed the festivities have the opportunity to sample many of the vintages in the Rodeo's wine garden.

Continue reading on CultureMap to see the complete list of winners.

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The Astros will look to bounce back after a tough week. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

After a 6-3 record to start the season, the Houston Astros had a tumultuous week to say the least. They were swept by the Tigers, lost 2 of 3 games to the Seattle Mariners and placed five players on the COVID injured list.

The Tigers' new manager AJ Hinch returned to Minute Maid Park for the first time since the Astros let him go after the cheating scandal in early 2020.

The Tigers swept the Astros and outscored them 20-8 over their three matchups.

Before the 3rd game of the series, the Astros found out they would be without five players on their active roster. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado and Robel Garcia were all placed on the COVID-19 injury reserved list.

"It's hard on the team but you have to carry on. The show must go on," manager Dusty Baker said. "And it went on today with some younger players we have here."

Garrett Stubbs, Taylor Jones and Abraham Toro were called up as well as Alex De Goti and Ronnie Dawson who made their major league debuts last week.

The Tigers were able to score runs early on Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers and Jake Odorizzi (who made his Astros debut) and none of these starters lasted more than five innings in the outings.

Yuli Gurriel was the one Astros bright spot against the Tigers as he had 7 hits and drove in 2 runs. He is still continuing to hit the ball consistently as he finished the series with a .429 batting average.

After a 1-5 home stand the Astros looked to bounce back on the road against the division leading Seattle Mariners (you read that correctly).

Friday night proved to be the Astros' best offensive performance since their home opener on April 8th against the A's.

They scored five runs on Yusei Kikuchi through 7 innings behind good hitting from Aledmys Diaz, Chas McCormick and De Goti who drove in two runs on his first major league hit.

The Astros had a 5-2 lead at this point, but Seattle was able to score 4 unanswered to win the game.

Bryan Abreu, Blake Taylor and Ryne Stanek were credited with those four runs.

Ryan Pressly tried to clean up the bottom of the 9th inning after Stanek put the first two batters on base. His effort was unsuccessfully as Ty France hit a game-ending single that scored J.P. Crawford from second to secure a Mariners victory.

Saturday was the best game of the week for the Astros as they finally broke their six-game losing streak.

After failing to pitch more than five innings on Monday against the Tigers, Zack Greinke threw eight shutout innings with 91 pitches.

He struck out six batters and gave up only 4 hits.

"That's what aces do," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "Guys like (Greinke) ... they stop the bleeding and we're about bled out."

Greinke finished the game with 2,705 career strikeouts. He is now third amongst active players in strikeouts behind Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.

Ryan Pressly got some redemption too as he threw a perfect 9th inning giving him his first save of the year.

The Astros won this game 1-0 as Taylor Jones drove in the game's only run with an RBI single.

Sunday's game ended the Astros week with a whimper, as the Mariners bested Houston 7-2.

Jake Odorizzi got off to a good start, but he gave up three hits and was pulled after Mitch Haniger's fifth-inning triple made it a 3-2 lead over the Astros.

Odorizzi is now (0-2) with a 10.57 ERA after two starts with the Astros.

Houston's offensive woes continued Sunday, as Aledmys Díaz had their only hit, an RBI double in the second inning that fell in when outfielder José Marmolejos lost the ball in the sun.

"It's tough to take when you only got one hit and the one hit we got was lost in the sun," Baker said.

UP NEXT: The Astros (7-8) will finish their road trip with a two game series against the Rockies who have the worst record in the league (4-12) before starting an eight-game homestead.

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