Steering Committee

What to Expect From May's Keels & Wheels Concours D’Elegance

Cars, boats and crawfish were on the menu at the event's Uncorked preview.

By Emily Juhasz April 3, 2017

Amalfi chtn69

Amanda Saravia, Gerber Hernandez and Paola Brancher of Amalfi.

Image: Kim Coffman

On Thursday, March 23 at the Mercedes-Benz of Greenway Plaza Dealership, the Keels & Wheels Concours d'Elegance Uncorked event featured elegant food and wine pairings that were not only inspired by, but also served alongside, classic cars and boats. Keels & Wheels itself is an event for the whole family. Classic cars and vintage wooden boats fill the grounds of Lakewood Yacht Club each year. In addition to browsing the incredible selection of cars and boats, there are activities for the kids, raffles and a chance to see a car parade as the classic cars leave at the show's closing.

Established in 2009, the Uncorked event takes place each March to serve as a spring showcase for the upcoming Keels & Wheels event at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook. The Uncorked event also serves as a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Harbor in LaPorte.

While the evening dazzled with beautiful people, cars and boats, it was the custom dishes and wine pairings prepared by six of Houston’s top restaurants to complement a classic car or boat that made the event all the more enjoyable.

We began sampling with a dish prepared by executive chef Danny Trace of Brennan’s of Houston. Chef Trace not only paired his tortilla soup to a 1957 Mercedes 190SL Roadster, he also managed to keep with the theme of crawfish season. By taking a classic Tex-Mex favorite, adding some heat and crawfish, Trace created a standout dish that was warm and satisfying. This was paired with a Chandon Rosé.

A 19-foot Century 1964 Resorter was the source of inspiration behind the buckwheat waffle with salmon gravlax and caviar. This dish was beautifully executed and tasted as fancy as it appeared. Executive Chef Brandi Key of SaltAir Seafood Kitchen paired this with a Duval-Leroy Champagne.

From Carmelo’s Italian Restaurant, a hearty dish of rigatoni gratinati with cream sauce, topped with spicy veal meatballs, paired with a 2012 Gavi Beni di Batasiolo. Carmelo Mauro was inspired by a 1950 custom-made Joerns.

Amalfi Ristorante Italiano & Bar served up classic desserts with a savory twist. The source of inspiration behind chef Giancarlo Ferrara’s pairing was a 1961 Maserati 5000 GT. The savory dish sat beside the sweet, a layered sponge cake filled with chocolate mousse and dipped in a layer of chocolate. However, it was the lobster mousse and paprika cannoli, topped with spicy bacon, that continued to tantalize our tastebuds. These delectable finger foods were paired with a 2015 Stella Pinot Grigio. 

Jonathan Salgado of Masraff’s concocted tiny shrimp-and-pineapple ceviche tacos so delicious, we were transported to a Caribbean island with each bite. For dessert, mini lemon tarts topped with meringue. The tart shell was filled a zesty lemon custard topped with the most perfect meringue that was light and fluffy. These dishes were paired with a 2012 Alta Vista Chardonnay. Salgado’s inspiration for this pairing came from a 1954 Packard Caribbean. 

Scott French of Mister French’s Gourmet Bakery was inspired by a 1971 Dodge Charger Hemi. His scrumptious sugar cookie bonbons were dipped in yellow chocolate and drizzled in black icing to match the look of the classic car. These were paired with a 2015 Vouvray Chenin Blanc. 

With those kinds of delicacies on offer, Uncorked was as tasty as it was joyful, perfect breath of spring to get guests in the mood for Keels & Wheels. 

Keels & Wheels Concours D’Elegance, May 6-7, Lakewood Yacht Club, Seabrook, Texas. Discounted tickets are $25 in advance, online. $35 at the gate. Children 10 and under are free. 713-521-0105,

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