The eyes of basketball fans will be on Houston, Texas, this weekend for one of sports’ most entertaining events, the annual NBA All-Star game. Thousands will descend upon the Bayou City not only to experience the hoopla surrounding the All-Star weekend, but also in hopes of catching a glimpse of the numerous stars of music, movies, and television that frequent the game.
The 18,000 people that actually have a ticket to the All-Star game in Houston’s Toyota Center can look forward to quelling their rumbling stomachs with offerings from the large selection of concessions available. Because it is Houston and a simple hot dog just won’t do, Levy Restaurants and chef Eddie Romero have created an array of choices with a decidedly Texas twist.
Not just standard stadium food, Toyota Center offers a multitude of quality options. BBQ is smoked on location and carved in front of customers; there’s a salad bar that features fresh vegetables, grilled chicken, salad dressings made in-house, and Texas-sized croutons; and there is even stir-fry for those craving Asian food.
Two things come to mind when food and Texas are mentioned — BBQ and Tex-Mex — both of which have left their mark on most of the concession options. Baked potatoes are stuffed with a choice of beef brisket, turkey breast, or jalapeño sausage and topped with BBQ sauce, sour cream, Cheddar cheese and chives. Even standard nachos are loaded with sour cream and ancho chicken or pork al pastor.
Texas is the place where everything is bigger, and that mantra also refers to food portions. Toyota Center sells a three-meat plate that comes with BBQ brisket, applewood-smoked turkey breast, jalapeño sausage, sweet cornbread, and a side of jalapeño slaw. Even the hot dogs are a foot long and layered with toppings. The aptly named Backyard Dog has everything from a backyard picnic — baked beans, potato salad, BBQ sauce, and mustard.
In addition to the usual fare sold at Toyota Center, chef Romero, along with Hugo Ortega of Hugo’s and Chris Shepherd of Underbelly, has created special offerings for the NBA All-Star game. Items include: BBQ brisket stack, homemade green chicken tamales, chef Chris Shepherd’s famous pork belly, Texas steak chili bowl, chef Hugo Ortega’s chile relleno, Bacardi Limón Gulf shrimp and lobster ceviche, shortrib nachos, chef Romero’s seared scallops, and the Texas BBQ bacon dog.
Perhaps the most over-the-top item available for the All-Star game is the Super Nacho Surf N’ Turf. These nachos are topped with lobster tail, Texas chili made with rib-eye steak, cheese sauce made with seafood bisque, sour cream, and green onions. All it takes is a ticket to the game and $48 to try this dish.