Believe it or not, foodies don't always have to hang out inside the city limits.
If you need proof, head to The Woodlands this week, where 10,000 sybarites will be indulging in food and drink from a who's who of Texas chefs and 250 wineries at the 2010 Wine & Food Week.
Almost 30 events are spread throughout the week, including a winemaker discussion by authors Eric Arnold and George M. Taber and wine dinner at Kirby's on Monday, wine and cigars with Master Sommelier Guy Stout at Crush Wine Bar on Tuesday, a girls' night out at the AVIA with sparkling wine, diamonds, and a Chloe Dao fashion show and a tasting of Israeli wines while touring The Woodlands' waterway via boat.
Of course, those without a week to devote to vinous pursuits might want to focus on the big three: Thursday's Wine Walk at Market Street, Friday's Sips Suds & Sliders at CityCentre and the Wine Rendezvous Grand Tasting & Chef Showcase on Saturday.
The H-E-B Wine Walk at Market Street is a casual stroll through the 34 acres of stores and restaurants that make up The Woodlands' thriving Market Street development, with 60 tasting stations set up throughout the participating stores and food vendors, as well as entertainment by the Mambo Jazz Kings.
Heading south, the festival picks up at CityCentre on Friday for Sips, Suds & Sliders inside Lifetime Athletic Club, with a mini burger contest and tastings of Texas wines and beers.
Of course the marquee event everyone looks forward to is the Wine Rendezvous Grand Tasting & Chef Showcase on Saturday at The Woodlands Marriott Waterway. Chefs from across the country will compete for the Waterford Crystal Chef of Chefs Award and $5,000 grand prize, with presentations live on-stage while dressy revelers can taste their creations and sample from 500 wines. There's also a separate dessert contest and a silent auction.
Whether guests are wine newbies or oenophiles — or just ready for a good time — there's plenty to keep everyone raising their glass.