The Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair 2017

While the Houston area may boast several events for wine and food enthusiast, the ultimate food and wine celebration in Houston is the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair.  Over the past 6 years Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair has been raising the bar on the culinary standards in the city with a decadent celebration of food, wine and spirits in a collaboration that is truly unforgettable.  This year the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair is making some exciting changes to the mix to not only showcase some of the best food Houston has to offers and the top tier of wine and spirits from around the world.  Attendees win as the festival gives you an insider’s glimpse that will take your knowledge and appreciation to the next level.

In lieu of some of introductory events the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair will take on the road as teacher as it showcases food and wine in a more intimate setting.  In order to provide the perfect setting the On the Rocks Bartender Challenge has been replaced with private dinners to kick off the weekend festivities.  Choosing either the Boiling Point seafood boil or The Italian Invasion Dinner guests can mix great food and wine with intimate company and some great insight as they enjoy their favorites or try something new.  Additionally the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair has added several learning experiences that guest can attend Friday and Saturday.  There is nothing like identifying the why of your love for some of your favorite flavor profiles.  Taking the time to get deeper into the educational side only strengthens your appreciation for your favs and gives you clues on how to find other top picks based on your own palette.

The Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair made sure not to mess with the best, with their program changes, and Friday nights Grand Tasting is sure to be one for the books.  The Sugar Land Marriott Town Square serves as the perfect location to meet food and wine nirvana.  With everything from inventive culinary creations (I still dream about the upscale Frito pie) and tried and true favorites from HEB and local restaurant superstars the event provides a something for everyone in an unforgettable night.

Other favorites, such as Saturdays Sip and Stroll will keep more recent location changes, now done at Constellation Field but enhanced it with a two day option so you have all of Saturday and Sunday to get a chance to grab your favorite bites and beverages while enjoying some of the great performers who always deliver during the event. As the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair promises more of the core that has built its following as well as some great new opportunities to appreciate the food and wine on a different level this event is going to be a must on any food and wine lover’s schedule.

Exploring the timeless beauty of Malta

valletta-11As a water sign, water destinations always represent a taste of paradise for me and a visit to the beautiful island of Malta was no exception! Stepping into Malta you can almost feel the spirit of another day and time with remnants of famous civilizations represented all over modern day Malta.  The country is rich in history, from the shipwreck of St. Paul to its conquer by Napoleon, so  with a goal of mixing history and exploration I decided on a half day tour to check out the city.

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First stop up on my tour was the historic city of Mdina.  As with most European tours you are going to see churches galore.  What I loved about Mdina, though, is the authentic taste of an ancient lifestyle you receive.   From the small, cobblestone streets to the impressive palaces each steps take you back centuries as you walked through the walls of the city that previously made it a fortress.  They also offer huge offerings in hand-blown glass for prices that really will blow you away.

 

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valletta-7After Mdina, we travelled to the capital of Valletta.  The city is built on a grid, making it not only easy to navigate, but also gives you breathtaking ocean views and breezes around every corner.  Walking in the city entrance surrounded by the many flags representing its heritage you get a glimpse of just how pivotal the city was.  The St. John’s Co-Cathedral was at the top of the list and to my pleasant surprise it was a church, museum and so much more.  St. John’s definitely gives a different, more elaborate feeling than many other churches and you have the opportunity to see masterpieces of the famed painter Caravaggio while there.

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valletta-9 valletta-17After enjoying the cathedral you are just a quick walk away from the Upper Barrakka Gardens.  This is a great place to enjoy the scenic views Malta has to offer of not only the ocean but the city itself. You also have a premium placement from there for a lot of great restaurants.  I wandered into I found a rooftop restaurant that caught my eye.  Not only did I enjoy some great food and wine, the views and calming sea breeze definitely did a body good.  With street vendors and shopping throughout the peaceful streets making a day in Valletta goes by in a breeze and like that it was time to take the quick walk down to the pier. This timeless city is a great break in between the hustle and bustle of a quick European tour and definitely left me wanting for more in Malta.

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Bistro Brunch Recap

The Bistro brunch of the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair changed up the status quo from the rest of a weekend celebrating wine by shifting the focus seamlessly from wine to food.  From Wednesday to Saturday the wine and spirits were the momentum that pushed the event.  Of course the food for the duration of these days was delicious and a great compliment to the extensive drink selection but it was clear on who was the superstar.  For the final event of the Affair the festival spotlighted food during their brunch extravaganza.

Indian Dance TroupBrunch without question is one of my favorite meals of the day.  I love savory foods but often crave some of the sweet treats that you can only find on your plate at breakfast.  Brunch offers the best of both worlds as culinary creations can range from sweet to savory to salty all in perfect harmony.  Additionally there is no better buffet offered that what comes with brunch.  Because you choose what selections make up your plate combo you can nibble on smaller qualities but a much wider variety than most meals.  The Bistro Brunch hit the ground running by choosing the central location of Sugar Land Town Square to showcase some of the variety and creativity that can come from brunch.  By offering food selections from paella to French toast and brunch drink staples like Bloody Mary’s and mimosas as well as a wide wine selection the Bistro Brunch covered all the basis of deliciousness.

Lobster and waffles Although I had some really great surprise selections in favor from bagels to salad there was one clear stand out favorite in my book.  The masterminds over at the Burning Pear in Marriott Sugar Land Town Square cooked up a showstopper in their Fried Lobster and Waffles with honey butter and the bacon wrapped quail with jalapeno jam.   As the Houston summer was on the rise it was a toasty out on Sunday, making waiting in line not my top priority.  Nevertheless I decided to wait my turn and mockingly teased Chef Kourtenie Tyson when approaching the service that it better be worth the wait.  At that Chef Tyson ensured I would quickly be in the midst of a foodgasm.  Long story short…he was right.  Fried Lobster and bacon wrapped quailWith stuffed quail wrapped in crispy bacon giving off a kick of spice in the jam and fried lobster that would make me gladly slap my momma the offering was a little slice of heaven on an early Sunday afternoon.  Top that off with a great band that makes you want to move your feet and a fun performance by NAACH Bollywood dancers the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair left an impression that has me drooling in anticipation for next year’s fun.

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