Swanky Tasting Event Returns To Westchase For Its 10th Anniversary

2016 Zest In The West

Wednesday, October 18 is the decade mark for the popular Zest In The West wine showcase, tasting event and food competition. It will be at Château Crystale at 2517 South Gessner from 6 to 10 p.m. and tickets are available online.

This year, there are multiple ticket levels, depending on how “VIP” you want to feel.

  • Snag an entry level ticket for $65 to attend the Grand Tasting. Sample unlimited wines and small bites from 7 to 10 p.m.
  • For $95, add an hour of “pre-gaming” and attend Bubbles & Brews beforehand from 6 to 7 p.m.
  • VIP perks start at $125 with entry to the Grand Tasting and to a special lounge featuring exclusive bites and sips.
  • Splurge for $155 per person for the Grand Tasting and also gain access to the VIP lounge and the hour-long Bubbles & Brews event.
  • For a $200 ticket, get entry to all of the above plus a commemorative wine glass to take home.

Featured restaurants for the Grand Tasting include Latin Bites, Le Mistral, Rudi Lechner’s, Churrascos, Seasons 52 and Cantina Laredo. Pair small bites with wines from over two dozen vintners, including Riboli Family, Ste. Michelle, Wagner, Alexander Valley and Justin. Beers take a distinctly Texas turn, featuring Houston breweries Buffalo Bayou and Karbach; San Antonio’s Alamo Brewing and Revolver Brewing from Granbury.

Zest In The West wines
Dozens of wines are showcased and paired with food at the annual Zest In the West event. Photo by Steven David of Houston Event Photos

There’s a judging component as well. Bites from all participating restaurants will be evaluated by chef Kris Jakob of Brasserie 1895 in Friendswood, Phaedra Cook of Houston Food Finder (that’s me), Sherri Segari, content producer for “Goodtaste with Tanji,” Renia S. Butler, founder of the Houston Food Blogger Collective and chef Michael Gabriel, who has competed on Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” and Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen.” Last year’s “best in show” winner was Latin Bites, so that is the competitor others will be looking to dethrone.

Thanks to this video, we already have sneak peek at what Churrascos is serving—crab “fingers” prepared over smoked corn husks and finished with a white wine-butter sauce.

Guests who dress to impress might end up with awards, too. Representatives of fashion retailer Claudia G! will wander the floor during the event to find the best-dressed. If selected, those guests will have some stage time and compete for the Fashion Forward Award.

All in all, the event is three or four hours of indulgence. We recommend your fashion statement includes some comfortable shoes and an outfit with a little give to it.

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