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As the Houston Rockets 2013-2014 season draws near, we have something else besides the game (and Dwight Howard) to get excited about. I know some of you are giving me the “side eye” right now, but let me explain. It’s time to get your taste buds ready for the new menu being introduced for this basketball season! The Toyota Center and Levy Restaurants have teamed up to bring you something new this year. Many of your old fan favorites will remain, but some of them are getting a makeover…and a new pair of shoes!

Toyota Center’s Executive Chef Eddie Romero figured it was time to “freshen up” the menu. He has been known to change the menu throughout the year, but this season he wanted to showcase those dishes that were inspired by us Houstonians. Chef Romero’s new menu was inspired by our city and our diverse culture that extends very deeply into our cuisine. We were very excited when we were invited to check out the new menu for many reasons. First, the food at any sports arena is an integral part of the experience. Nothing is better than a cold beer and a mustard hot dog or plate of nachos during a game. Second, we were curious to see how Chef Romero would incorporate “Houston” into his new offerings.

Well, you haven’t had a hot dog until you have tried one of the new “Steak Dogs”. Served on a toasted roll, you can opt for several varieties, including the Portobello & Goat Cheese Dog (grilled Portobello mushroom topped with goat cheese cream), the Spicy Shrimp Louie & Avocado Dog (spicy shrimp Louie salad with fresh avocado, red onions, and diced tomato), or the Bacon & Horseradish Dog (topped with crispy bacon, horseradish cream, and Balsamic onions). If you are not up for the traditional game fare, try the Korean Steak Taco, which is actually Chef Romero’s favorite item this season. It is served on a flatbread and stuffed with Korean marinated beef, spicy aioli, pickled cucumbers and cilantro leaves. Another item that is certain to bring out the pork lovers are the Pork Belly Tacos. Topped with caramelized onions, banana peppers, spicy red cabbage slaw and salsa Rioja, they will become a new fan favorite for sure.

Other new items include the Meat Loaf Burger, Green Chicken Enchiladas, Ropa Vieja (braised beef stew) Nachos, and the Monster Meatballer (foot long meatball sandwich). They didn’t leave us hanging on the drinks either. I found the new Houston Tea, a vodka based cocktail, to be refreshing and slightly sweet. It reminded me of an Arnold Palmer (mix of iced tea and lemonade) with a kick, of course. And for dessert, why not take your sweet tooth on a little journey with the Adult Cotton Candy. With ingenious flavors like margarita, mojito, red hots, and crispy bacon and coffee, I am sure you will find one that suits you. I personally have my eye on the margarita flavor. Why not have your cake and eat it too!

We are happy to report that Chef Romero represented Houston very well. Although some of the new items are only available in the East and West Clubs, I appreciated the fact that many of the new items are also available in the main concessions stands. I also like the fact that the items are “user friendly”. No one wants to deal with anything that is too complicated to enjoy, especially during a game.

Well ladies and gents, there you have it. A new menu that will bring a little more excitement to this season. The Urban Swank girls like what they see and if we can just have that same success on the court this year that would be great! #justsayin’

 

Urban Swank did receive a complimentary tasting, but the opinions expressed are our own.

Shanna Jones

Shanna is the co-founder and editor of Urban Swank. She focuses on food and travel.

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