Thursday, December 13, 2012

A tasty tailgate for a cause

We all migrated indoors..
Tailgater is not a portmanteau to typically describe us, though we are Texans fans. Greg impulsively bought tickets to the first 'Monday Mayhem' tailgate event in the parking lot of Triniti to enjoy the Texans game action against the Pats and 'gin up' on BBQ. This was also a charity event, with proceeds benefiting St. Jude children's hospital and OKRA. Greg is a generous guy, so maybe it was the charity angle that drew him in. Or maybe it was nostalgia, since I moved here from Boston. Or, most likely, it was the promise of BBQ and beer. 

Brandon, a recent import from Trinidad and chef at Triniti
We loved the lineup of participating restaurants: Anvil, Benjy's, Branch Water Tavern, Killen's, Roost, Soma Sushi, Sparrow, Triniti and Underbelly. Plus, we had the benefit of sampling from our favorite local/regional breweries including Karbach, Southern Star, No Label and St. Arnold.

Mind you, this was a Texas tailgate. So, it was rather ... meaty. I ate more smoky goodness in a few hours than I generally eat in a few months. A lot of months. I noticed that Greg didn't complain, but finally surrendered to the gods of carnivorous carnage and said 'no more.'

What worked so well for me were the deep flavors as the parry and fresh crunchy vegetables as the riposte, and the preponderance of pickling. What didn't work well was the 40-something temperature (I'm a wimp now that I live in the south!).

Here are a few highlights:
Benjy's sandwich with picked veg and pickled egg
With Kevin Naderi, Roost's chief everything & owner
Roost's foie gras 'jell-o shot'

Monica Pope's crazy great tacos
Pork cheek, crunchy veggies and hibachi corn from Soma
If Triniti decides to do this kind of event again, I'd recommend outdoor heaters if it's cold, some kind of seating to watch the game or a way to inform attendees that they should bring their own tailgate chairs (there were like 20 seats they grabbed from the front patio), and basic handouts from the participating restaurants to describe what they're serving and maybe an incentive to get us into their restaurants (we frequent most of them anyway but this type of event is a great marketing vehicle).  

Best part of the evening: eating all that wonderful food offset the pain of losing the game. 
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