This week in dining

These are the 13 best food and drink events in Houston this week

These are the 13 best food and drink events in Houston this week

Houston, Killen's BBQ, July 2015, fried chicken
Ronnie Killen is popping up with fried chicken on Saturday.  Photo by Kimberly Park

This week is crammed with events that showcase the sheer diversity of the Bayou City. We're not just talking about diverse cuisine, but about how events big and small have the ability to capture the essence of how Houstonians love celebrating Houston.

There's a grand opening of a new outpost of a favorite taco chain this week, plus pop-ups from beloved chefs, and classes that let DIYers make killer desserts. It's also the week of the annual Festa Italiana, and 8th Wonder's Achtoberfest. Salute and prost!

Monday, October 7 through Saturday, October 12

WellWeek continues around Houston
I'll Have What She's Having (IHWSH) brings this initiative back for a second year. It's designed to raise awareness of — and support for — mental health and its effects on the food and beverage community. Participating restaurants and bars will offer zero-proof cocktails designed with the structure and complexity of their full-proof counterparts or a special dessert. $1 from the sale of these drinks will benefit National Alliance on Mental Health - Greater Houston (NAMI-GH), Mental Health of America - Greater Houston (MHA-GH), and the Southern Smoke Foundation. 

Look for the specials at places like Anvil, Avondale Food & Wine, Backstreet Cafe, Coltivare, The Dunlavy, Fat Cat Creamery, Feges BBQ, Georgia James, Giacomo’s, Hugo’s, Nancy’s Hustle, Oporto, Paulie’s, Rosie Cannonball, UB Preserv, Xochi, and more. 

Monday, October 7

Torchy's Tacos Opening Party at the Woodlands Mall
From 5 to 8 pm, drop in for free tacos, chips, green chile queso and other dips, swag giveaways, and more. Can't make it? Don't worry. Opening day is Wednesday,  and guests can stop in then for the chance to win free tacos.

Tuesday, October 8

JQ Tex-Mex and Cochinita and Co pop-up at Decatur Bar & Pop-Up Factory
From 6 to 10 pm, JQ, one of the rising starts in the world of Houston barbecue, will be smoking and grilling the meats while Cochinita, a pop-up that will open at Politan Row, makes delicious salsas and toppings. The event has been a year in the making, so expect a killer party. Those wishing to go need to reserve a spot through the link above, and space is limited. 

Wednesday, October 9

Helen Greek Wine Pop-Up with Cava Spiladis at 13 Celsius
From 6 to 8:30 pm, the Midtown wine bar teams up with the Rice Village restaurant to share the joy of Greek wine. Importer Cava Spiladis showcases 10 wines from across Greece. Helen provides light bites for the walk-about tasting, while 13 Celsius offers a few cheese and charcuterie selections. Bonus: each of the wines profiled will be available for sale at special pricing. Tickets are $45 per person and reservations are necessary. Make them online.

Thursday, October 10

Plated by Peroni at the University of St. Thomas

Part of the annual Festa Italiana, this class pairs Peroni's signature Nastro Azzurro with cheeses from Lira Rossa creamery. Guests will try the beer with Ricotta Salata, Mozzarella, and Latteria, as well as learn about the beer-making process. The class begins at 7:45 pm and is free, as is admission to the festival today. Festa Italiana gates open at 5 pm. (Plated by Peroni repeats Friday at 4 and 6:45 pm, Saturday at 3pm and 7pm, and Sunday at 1:45 pm. Admission charges apply from Friday through Sunday.)

Food and Wine Pairing Class at French Country Wines
The continuation of the boutique's popular wine class series concentrates on helping would-be hosts find the perfect combination for dinner parties, holiday get-togethers, and more. It's hosted by Charelle Grant, adjunct instructor at the Culinary Institute LeNotre, who will share her expertise. Participants will taste the wines and learn more about their structure and the best way to showcase them with food. The cost is $48 per person and tickets can be purchased by calling 713-993-9500. Class begins at 7 pm, and those who miss tonight's session can catch a repeat tomorrow.

Friday, October 11

Veuve Clicquot Rich Release Party at a’Bouzy
Enjoy complimentary snacks including popcorn, popsicles and pop-rocks at this celebration for the venerable champagne house's latest rose. Veuve Clicquot Rich is the first champagne designed for mixology, so expect an evening of specialty cocktails with pop-rocks on the rims of the champagne flutes. Reservations are required. Make them online or by calling 713-722-6899.

Saturday, October 12

Fried Chicken and Chicken Fried Steak Pop-Up at Hickory Hollow
Ronnie Killen previews his upcoming Washington Ave. restaurant with this pop-up that includes not only the fried chicken and classic sides, but also pizza and barbecue. Lovers of Killen's signature style won't want to miss it. The pop-up kicks off at 11 am.

Sweet Like Pan Dulce at The Union HTX
This indoor-outdoor event devoted to Mexican pastries features more than 40 vendors selling food, drinks, crafts, and more. In addition to eating and shopping, attendees can groove to music by DJ Act Badd and enjoy interactive photo installations. The family-friendly event is free to attend with a RSVP on Eventbrite; people may also purchase three drink tickets for $10, 11 am - 4 pm. 

8th Wonder Brewery Achtoberfest
This day-long celebration of beer and food features music, limited edition glassware, and more. The annual bash is a must-do for brew lovers, and the $20 per person entry fee provides guests with access to the concert, three beer tokens, and a commemorative beer stein. Tickets may be purchased online.

Mexican cooking class at Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen
The focus of this hands-on class is Mexican desserts, and participants will make polvorones, flan, capirotada (bread pudding), buñuelos, pumpkin empanadas, and Mexican hot chocolate. Class takes place from 1 to 4 pm, and the cost is $65 per person. Reservations are required. Call 832-230-3842 or make them online.

Sunday, October 13

Turkey Leg Hut Fall Festival and Block Party in the Third Ward
From 11 am to 4 pm, this free celebration enlivens the atmosphere on Almeda Road between Wichita and Arbor streets. The family-friendly event is designed to promote unity and stimulate economic development for businesses in Houston’s Historic Third Ward. The festival features live music, food, and drinks from the Turkey Leg Hut and other restaurants, kid’s activities, and vendors.

Boat noodles pop-up at Wooster's Garden
From 3 to 8 pm, chef Niki Vongthong, a longtime kitchen takeover artist at Wooster's and a veteran of the Aqui kitchen, showcases some of her newest dishes. On the menu are boat noodles with noodles from Nongkhai Village, tapioca dumplings, crispy Thai chilis, and tres leches with Makrut lime curd and vanilla ice cream.