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

Eddie O's Texas BBQ corazon
Eddie O's will compete at the HOU-ATX throwdown. Photo by Houston Foodie
Arnaldo Richards Picos
Arnaldo Richards and his nephew collaborate on a tequila dinner. Courtesy of Picos
Brennan's seafood gumbo
Brennan's hosts a gumbo battle. Photo by Kimberly Park
Eddie O's Texas BBQ corazon
Arnaldo Richards Picos
Brennan's seafood gumbo

In addition to restaurants of every stripe honoring those who served, this week’s list showcases something for every taste and every price range. The newest outpost of Ninfa’s has a week of happy hour fun marking the restaurant’s new location in Uptown. Eureka Heights teams up with Cane Rosso, and there’s a tequila dinner at Picos that's sure to impress.

The week wraps up with Houston's most talented pitmasters squaring off against some of Austin's finest smoke masters for a battle of barbecue supremacy. 

Monday, November 11 – Friday, November 15

Grand opening celebration at The Original Ninfa's Uptown
The party to celebrate the newcomer on the Uptown/Post Oak scene lasts all week long. Every day from 3 to 6 pm, there are complimentary happy hour appetizers such as fajita burger sliders, oyster shooters, chile-lime chicken wings, and assorted chicken tinga, beef fajita, fish, and octopus street tacos. In addition, enjoy complimentary tequila tastings feature Tequila Ocho on Monday, November 11, Casa San Matias on Wednesday, November 13, and El Tesoro Tequila on Friday, November 15.

Monday, November 11

Veterans Day dining offers all over Houston
Let's start with Feges BBQ, where pitmaster and co-owner Patrick Feges will offer a free lunch to any of his fellow veterans. Brennan’s has a Sarge’s SOS appetizer for all veterans who dine at the restaurant on Veteran Day, created by former executive chef and USMC cook, Sargent Carl Walker. The appetizer features Texas akaushi ground beef, house cream gravy, and Texas toast garnished with chipped beef. Dish Society gives active duty service members and veterans 20-percent off any menu item. All vets get a free Amigo Taco Plate at all Fajita Pete’s locations. Jax Burger is offering active and reserve military and veterans a free Jax Burger combo, which includes french fries and a non-alcoholic drink; available for dine-in orders only.

Ouzo Bay and its sister restaurant Loch Bar are offering active duty service members and veterans half-off all entrees, as long as they dine in the restaurant. Over at The Palm, vets get half-off all entrees. At Twin Peaks, active and reserve service members and veterans get a free cheeseburger, order of chicken tenders, or Carolina pulled pork sandwich, all served with fries, or a wedge salad; the offer is valid for dine-in only. All Union Kitchen locations have a free dine-in entrée for active and reserve military and veterans; they can choose from the Union Burger, Country Fried Chicken, Fish and Chips, or Parmesan Crusted Chicken.

Tuesday, November 12

Eureka Heights Brewing Company beer dinner at Cane Rosso
The evening features a four-course dinner, starting with specially created appetizers, followed by off-the-menu pizzas, all designed to pair with Eureka Heights brews. Look for selections such as ‘orange chicken’ pizza made with roasted chicken, orange chicken sauce, and puffed wild rice paired with Wow Factor Mandarina Pilsner, and a spumoni ice cream sandwich served with Wicket Awesome ESB. Dinner starts at 7 pm.Tickets are $40 per person, and can be purchased online.

Wednesday, November 13

Creole vs Cajun Gumbo Throwdown at Brennan's of Houston
Join Brennan's chefs Jose Arevalo and James Reedy for a courtyard party featuring a head-to-head gumbo cookoff. Chef Reedy will serve up a Hunter’s Gumbo with duck and venison while chef Arevalo will offer guests a Bayou Gumbo with alligator fish and more. Come out for music, food, and drinks and to vote on who takes home this year’s trophy and gets their winning gumbo on the menu for the rest of the season. Festivities start at 6 pm, and tickets are $25 per person. Note: this is an adults-only event (21 and older).

No Kid Hungry Dinner at Truth BBQ
Pitmaster Leonard Botello IV welcomes five guest chefs — Nick Wong (UB Preserv), Bobby Matos (State of Grace, La Lucha), Rebecca Masson (Fluff Bake Bar), and Feges BBQ owners Erin Smith and Patrick Feges — at this dinner in support of the nationwide charity that seeks to end childhood hunger. In addition to the food, expect cocktails from La Lucha bartender Vanessa Dworakowski, plus a live auction with lots of tempting items. Cocktails starts at 6 pm; purchase tickets online for $175.

Alana Newhouse at the Jewish Community Center
At the closing night of the center's annual book fair, the author of The 100 Most Jewish Foods will discuss her book that explores the world of Jewish culture through its signature foods: babka, pickles, blintzes, chopped liver, etc. The event also offers a pre-talk dinner prepared by Kenny & Ziggy's for an additional fee. Tickets are $15 for JCC members and $21 to the general public (dinner is $23/$28).   

Thursday, November 14

Rey Sol Tequila Dinner at Arnaldo Richards' Picos 
Carmen Villarreal, owner of Casa San Matias comes to town for this seven-course seated dinner prepared by chef Arnaldo Richards, which also features the culinary creations of Luis Robledo Richards, recently named the best pastry chef in Latin America. Dinner selections include crab meat ravioli with toasted hazelnut praline and ginger-cilantro consomme, cocoa butter poached salmon, and a cocoa-glazed duck magret. Dinner begins with a cocktail reception at 6:30 pm and tickets are $195 per person. Reserve online. 

Garrison Brothers Whiskey Dinner at Punk’s Simple Southern Food
This four-course dinners showcases Punk’s Southern cuisine paired with Garrison Brothers selections. Menu items include a bourbon-spiced shrimp cocktail accompanied by Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey and a bourbon-glazed barbecue grilled chicken with wild rice and whiskey-braised carrots served with Garrison Brothers Straight Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey Single Barrel. Dinner starts at 7 pm and tickets are $65 per person. Purchase online. 

Friday, November 15

The Island Wines of Italy at the Italian Cultural and Community Center
Explore wines from Sardinia and Sicily in this tasting led by Jon Muellner of Dionysus Imports. The four wines will be paired with carefully selected bites and Mueller will help guests understand the history and geography of Italy's islands, and how those affect the flavors of the wine. Tickets are $60 for ICCC members and $65 for non-members. To purchase, call 713-524-4222 ext. 7.

Saturday, November 16

South Texas Breakfast cooking class at Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen
From 1 to 4 pm, join Houston's enchilada queen at the Eldridge location for a hands-on experience, where guests will learn how to make chilaquiles, migas, refried beans, guisado beans, flour tortillas, gorditas and corn tortillas. The cost is $65 per person and reservations can be made online or by calling 832-230-3842.

Yellow Rose Whiskey Cocktail Class at Lucienne
From 3 to 4:30 pm, learn how to craft whiskey cocktails and sample bites from Lucienne chef Jose Hernandez. Guests will create a Passion Fruit Sour and an Apple Spiced Smoked Old Fashioned, featuring Yellow Rose whiskey. The cost for the hands-on class is $65 per person. To reserve a spot, email the restaurant. 

Sunday, November 17

Third Annual HOU-ATX BBQ Throwdown at Saint Arnold Brewing Co.
Top barbecue restaurants from H-Town and the state capital battle it out for bragging rights over who serves the best 'cue in Texas. Austin entries feature Interstellar BBQ and Micklethwait Craft Meats, while Bayou City entries come from Daddy Duncan's BBQ, Eddie O's Texas BBQ, Fire Craft BBQ, Khoi Barbecue, Reveille Barbecue Co, Tejas Chocolate + BBQ, and The Pit Room.

Participants will showcase their signature dishes, and guests get to try them all. The event takes place from 1 to 4 pm, and $70 general admission includes Saint Arnold beer and samples of each barbecue joint’s competition dish. $130 VIP tickets include access to the private Saint Arnold Investor’s Pub for viewing of the judge’s panel (say hi to CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler). Buy tickets online.

Fourth Annual Gr8 Taco Challenge at 8th Wonder Brewery
Head to the popular EaDo brewery for tacos from more than 20 different restaurants, including  Superica, Mastrantos, Hay Merchant, Good Dog Houston, Leeland House, Indianola, and Uchi. Tickets ($40) include samples from all of the participants as well as three beer tokens, a souvenir pint glass, and live music, 12 - 3 pm.