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The special food events you can't miss: Unique meals, a vodka prom and more

Houston foodie events September 2013 3 The Depressed Cake Shop
At the Depressed Cake Shop, buy grey color baked goods to benefit The Montrose Center and raise awareness about depression. Photo by Eric Sandler
Houston foodie events September 2013 Dirt Bar '80s prom event September 2013
Dirt Bar will host its annual '80s Prom this Friday. 100% of vodka sales will go to charity. Dirt Bar/Facebook
Houston foodie events September 2013 Iron Sommelier September 2013 logo
At the Iron Sommelier competition, some of Houston's top professionals will pour rare wines to impress the judges.  Iron Sommerlier/Facebook
Great Ramen Challenge IKEA
Lyle Bento served his winning Korean style ramen at the Great Ramen Challenge. Try it this Sunday.  Photo by Joel Luks
MangiaMacheroni Sicily peppers
Felipe Riccio tempts with this photo and comment, "The Spanish ruled sicily in the 16th century; the House of Aragon imported squash, chocolate, tomatoes & peppers." Photo by Felipe Riccio/Facebook
Mangiamaccheroni artwork September 2013
MangiaMacheroni Sicily should attract an industry heavy crowd to sample fresh made pastas.  Artwork by Hayley Wallace
Houston foodie events September 2013 NACE Golden Noodle Competition macaroni and cheese in a pot
The NACE Golden Noodle Competition features 11 competitors in three categories. Golden Noodle Mac and Cheese Competition/Facebook
Houston foodie events September 2013 3 The Depressed Cake Shop
Houston foodie events September 2013 Dirt Bar '80s prom event September 2013
Houston foodie events September 2013 Iron Sommelier September 2013 logo
Great Ramen Challenge IKEA
MangiaMacheroni Sicily peppers
Mangiamaccheroni artwork September 2013
Houston foodie events September 2013 NACE Golden Noodle Competition macaroni and cheese in a pot

Houston's fall festival season may not start for another couple of weeks, but, in the meantime, there are plenty of exciting food-related events to keep people busy. Here are five of the most exciting food events that are happening between now and the end of the month, along with one not-quite-food event that just looks like a great time. 

The Depressed Cake Shop

Jody Stevens of Jodycakes has organized more than 40 local bakers for this pop-up, part of a global initiative started in the United Kingdom, with the goal of raising awareness of mental health issues and money for The Montrose Center by selling grey colored baked goods. In addition to cookies, cupcakes, brownies and more, several high-powered Houston restaurants are donating baked goods that will be raffled.

Among the participants are pastry chefs from Underbelly, Triniti, Uchi, The Pass & Provisions and Boheme. In addition, there will be free bites from Phoenicia and free greyhounds from Deep Eddy Vodka.

"It's a fun way to bring awareness to a serious topic," Stevens tells CultureMap. Check out this moving essay by Stevens on the event's Facebook page for more information about her motivation to launch the initiative.

The Depressed Cake Shop takes place Sunday Sept. 22 at Paulie's and Camerata from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m.

Golden Noodle Mac and Cheese Competition

The National Association for Catering and Events hosts the third annual Golden Noodle Mac & Cheese Competition this Thursday. Chefs from 11 hotels, caterers and restaurants will compete in three different categories to determine who's the best at making cheesy, gooey deliciousness. Eaters will select a People's Choice winner.

Tickets are $55 and part of the proceeds will benefit the Houston Food Bank.

The Golden Noodle Competition will be Thursday Sept. 19 from 5:30 until 9 p.m. at the Houston Food Bank Conference Center, 535 Portwall Street.

'80s Prom at Dirt Bar

This year Dirt Bar's annual tribute to powder blue tuxes and the timeless music of Miami Sound Machine has a charitable bent. As noted in this CultureMap article, 100 percent of all vodka sales will go to an international organization "created to give people everywhere the ability to help win equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in every country in the world."

So, more of a drink than a food event, but it should be a good time for a great cause.

The '80s Prom takes place Friday Sept. 20 from 6 p.m. until 2 a.m at Dirt Bar downtown.

MangiaMaccheroni Sicily

Round one of this pop-up by chefs Felipe Riccio (former line cook at both The Pass & Provisions and Reef) and Bart Benton (cook at Oxheart) was one of the best events at Grand Prize I attended in the past year. Riccio may have moved on to pouring wine at Camerata, but his dedication to serving delicious Italian food remains delightfully intact.

According to the event's Facebook page, the term Mangia Maccheroni refers to "a term coined in early 20th century Napoli for the locals who would stand around and eat the long strands of pasta. It was common to see street stalls outside pasta manufacturers that would cook the fresh maccheroni along with other items."

While the chefs haven't divulged the menu, expect fresh pastas in a Sicilian style along with a seafood dish or two. It will be reasonably priced and probably attract a heavy restaurant industry crowd. Part of the proceeds and tips will benefit the recently founded Houston Sommelier Association.  

MangiaMaccheroni starts at 6 p.m. on Sunday Sept. 29 and takes place at Camerata at Paulie's. 

Iron Sommelier 2013

Thirteen of Houston's best sommeliers will compete for the coveted title of Iron Sommelier. Among the competitors are Cordua Restaurants beverage director James Watkins, Travis Hinkle from The Pass & Provisions and Adele Corrigan from wine bar 13 Celsius. Each sommelier chooses three wines to present to the judges and share with the crowd, which always results in rare and unusual vintages.

It's also a chance to show off in front of their peers. At $150, tickets aren't cheap, but proceeds benefit the Periwinkle Foundation, an organization that helps children and young adults recover after fighting cancer. Also, there's pretty much no place in Houston that has these wines available.

Iron Sommelier 2013 takes places Thursday Sept. 26 from 6 to 10 p.m. at The Houstonian Hotel. 

Ramen Night at Bar Boheme

Underbelly sous chef Lyle Bento will serve his winning dish from the Ikea Great Ramen Challenge this Sunday at Bar Boheme. His version of Korean-style  Budae Jjigae utilizes spam and hot dogs as American G.I.'s did during the Korean War to help feed locals. Bento will prepare each $9 bowl himself, and the proceeds will benefit  The Black Lab Theatre's production of Assistance. 

The Lyle Bento pop-up happens Sunday Sept. 22 from 7 until 9 p.m. (or until the dish sells out).

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