As Houston eases into 2020, a host of events offer hands-on leaning opportunities, whether it's how to make Chinese dumplings, the most perfect camp-out food, or even sampling some great Rhone wines. Anyone who made a new year's resolution to learn more about food and drink will dig this list.
There's plenty for more passive participants, too, including a new throwdown event at Penny Quarter and the grand opening celebration for a new ice cream shop.
Wednesday, January 8
Lunar New Year Dumpling-Making Class at the Chinese Community Center of Houston
Get ready for the Year of the Rat by learning how to make pork, beef, and vegetarian dumplings in this class that also features an eight-course Lunar New Year's Eve Family Dinner. The cost is $99 per person and class starts at 5 pm. Purchase tickets online.
Thursday, January 9
Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Grand Opening
Although the shop has been open for a month, Jeni's makes it official on Thursday. Founder Jeni Britton Bauer will be on hand for the festivities, which run from 7 pm to 11 pm. The ice cream tasting is free, and the first 50 customers through the doors get a swag bag.
Friday, January 10
Rhone Wine Class at French Country Wines
Charelle Grant leads this learning experience, focusing on small, family-owned vineyards in France's celebrated Rhone region. The cost is $48 per person plus tax. Reservations are required as seating is limited. Call 713-993-9500 to save a space.
Full Moon Party at Present Company
Celebrate the first full moon of the year — the Wolf Moon — with lunar-inspired cocktails under a starry sky. Check out the inflatable full moon on the second floor patio, plus get henna tattoos, a Tarot card reading, and groove to music by Grrl Parts. The party rocks from 8 pm to 2 am.
Saturday, January 11
Dutch Oven Cooking Class at REI
This hands-on class offers tips and tricks for dealing with cast iron, as well as showcasing all the tasty items campers and home cooks can craft from the study appliance. No cooking experience is necessary. Class starts at noon.
Tequila and Wine Dinner at Alicia’s Mexican Grille
The Katy location hosts a three-course dinner featuring handcrafted Goza Tequila cocktails as well as Franscian Cabernet. On the menu are selections such as squash blossom soup topped with shrimp and crabmeat, paired with "El Arándano" made with Goza Reposado tequila, and filet mignon stuffed with panela cheese, served over a bed of portabello mushrooms and topped with brandy chipotle black pepper sauce, paired with 2014 Napa Valley Franciscan Cabernet. The cost is $59 per person and reservations can be made by calling 281-347-1800.
Sunday, January 12
Booze Can Sunday at Riel
Food, art, and cocktails collide at this monthly event that features music by DJ Seek and art curated by Donkeeboy. Tonight's installment features guest chef Scott Vivian, of Toronto's Beast restaurant, and live art by local artist Tyler Kay. Expect Vivian to make a few of his signature biscuit sandwiches alongside a few one-off creations from Riel chef-owner Ryan Lachaine. The fun starts at 3 pm.
Penny Quarterly Throwdown at Penny Quarter
Bobby Heugel and Justin Yu's all-day cafe invites 32 baristas to compete at this event. A $5 buy-in will yield a first prize of $400. Members of the general public are invited to witness the competition while enjoying drink specials (half-price Irish coffee and $3 Buffalo Bayou brews). Attendees can also participate in a raffle for three $100 gift cards to Anvil and additional giveaways from Slow Pour Supply. Festivities start at 7 pm.