Last night I traipsed through the Taste of the Town at The Woodlands Marriott in search of the tastiest tidbit, the daintiest delectable, the most mouth-watering morsel. Coming from someone who is basically 'kitchen impaired,' any sample of ample size will probably meet with my approval, but at the Chamber's Taste of the Town, I was on a quest to find the perfect 'amuse-bouche'… bite-sized hors d'oeuvre.
My first order of business was to find Tabitha Lenox, M.S., R.D., L.D., of Masters in Dietetics to get some expert advice on how to approach the event eating healthy as I was hoping to avoid doing too much damage in one evening. Tabitha simply suggested that I just enjoy myself and enjoy the food. After all, that's why we attend the Taste of the Town. She said people come with different goals, "Some come to eat dinner; others just want to sample the cuisine from restaurants they haven't visited yet. Tabitha further suggested that if they're coming for dinner, try samples that work towards a balanced meal. Ask for smaller portions (many of the samples offered can be quite large) which will enable you to try a larger variety. Sage advice, so I stepped outside of my comfort zone to find the chef who did likewise. Which chef topped all the others by preparing the most unique offering in volume, to the masses? Who was the 'top chef?'
With over sixty participants, I looked for familiar faces with a food background for help and ran into Margie Taylor of the Montgomery County Food Bank. No one knows more about feeding the masses than Margie. She was most impressed with the Italian food from Luca & Leonardo Ristorante, who served up a spinach encrusted kind of dumpling, with a stuffed, fried olive on the side. Very unique!
I also spotted Dawn Candy, a board member for the Montgomery County Food Bank, and instrumental in forming the Greater Montgomery County Restaurant Association; she liked the fin Tuna Tartare from Stir Crazy.
Ron and Amanda, co-authors of The Woodlands Eats! Restaurant Reviews website and Facebook page, mentioned several samples they liked. I'm always interested in what they have to say about their dining experiences in the Greater Woodlands area, so join me in reading their recap at The Woodlands Restaurant Reviews.com.
Some vendors that exceed expectations…
Mamacita's brought their whole restaurant and served up a complete Tex-Mex meal, even providing a Mariachi band. Dosey Doe, one of my favs (see my review Breakfast at Dosey Doe I ate some of the largest sliders I've ever seen! Being a 5th generation Texan, I'm picky about Bar-B-Q, but Mama J's BBQ & Grill served a brisket that melted in your mouth. And I was wild about the wild boar presented by Amerigo's.
The desserts were a whole different category. Gigi's miniature cupcakes were gobbled up as fast as they could replace them on their tiered display. Not having a sweet tooth, I really liked the berry crisp from B.J.'s, but everyone was talking about the "Great Wall of Chocolate" from P.F. Chang's. Amanda gave high marks to the Black Walnut for their Vanilla Bean Gelato saying that it tasted like ymmy cake frosting. Since she's a food blogger that counts for extra points.
In my quest for the perfect 'amuse-bouche,' a bite-size portion that was tasty and easy to eat, I narrowed the field to the Brio Tuscan Grill for their chicken and artichoke heart crostini, and the mushroom cap stuffed with crab from the Black Walnut Café. Scoring in both the hors d'oeuvre and dessert category gave the Black Walnut Café a bit of an edge. We'll see who else scored major points when the exit surveys are tabulated. Unfortunately there's no big prize money awarded, the real winners were those who attended the Taste of the Town to sample the best culinary cuisine the area restaurants have to offer.
Photos / Collage by J. Werner