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The melting pot: Practice your foreign language skills with culinary meet-ups

The melting pot: Practice your foreign language skills with culinary meet-ups

If your New Year's resolution was to learn a foreign language (or just practice the one you speak already) you don't have to sign up for classes or buy Rosetta Stone. You can just have dinner. Foreign language groups around town are meeting over dinner to meet others when the same cultural affinity and practice their skills. Whether you speak French, Russian, Japanese or Farsi, here's where to get your multi-culti on.

The Italian Cultural & Community Center has partnered with Piola in Midtown for monthly "Pizza in Compagnia" dinners. From 8:30-9:30 p.m. on the first Monday of the month speakers and students of la bella lingua can meet up and also get a 10 percent discount off of all non-alcoholic orders.

Parlais-vous francais? Francophones in The French Connection, a free group meeting since 1997, gather at La Madeleine (oui, La Madeleine) in Rice Village every Wednesday at 8 p.m., often on the patio when the weather is nice.

Iranian natives and other Farsi speakers can practice over drinks at Té House of Tea. The Houston Persian Speakers have a meet-up on the second Sunday of every month at 5 p.m.

The Japan-America Society of Houston includes a monthly Japanese Language Meetup on its events calendar. Held at various restaurants around the middle of the month — the next get together is a karaoke party at Sushi Jin on Jan. 28— and attendees are expected to speak at least basic Nihongo, no faker fanboys allowed.

Brazilians and other Portuguese speakers have one of the liveliest and most active language clubs in town. The second Friday of each month they gather at Emporio Brasil Restaurant at 7:30 p.m. There are other special events that from time to time including holiday gatherings and samba nights.

Is Houston short on Russian restaurants? Maybe, since the Houston Russian Language Meetup have made the Starbucks on Post Oak near the Galleria their home. The group meets every other Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m.

When it comes to Spanish groups, there a two active meetups in town. Houston Spanish In The Loop generally can be found in Rice Village, often at Berripop, but also hosts group field trips to places like Saint Arnold's Brewery and Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park. Social Spanish meets virtually every Friday (and sometimes on other days) at restaurants and bars like Torchy's Tacos, Valentino VinBar and Double Trouble. Some of the events are strictly social, but for those focusing on learning, many of the gatherings are dedicated to a certain part of Spanish speech, like greetings and compliments.

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Piola Photo by Sarah Rufca
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La Madeleine Cafe & Bakery
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Té House of Tea Courtesy of eyrieowl