July 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S. moon landing, the day our country fulfilled President John F. Kennedy's promise that before the end of the decade, we would send men to the moon, choosing to do it — and other things — "not because they are easy, but because they are hard."
Houston played a huge role in that historic event, and this week the Bayou City marks the anniversary with a host of moon-inspired dishes and cocktails. For those looking for more terrestrially minded options, this week features plenty of other events, including the opening of two new restaurants.
Monday, July 15
Special Lunar Landing Menu at The Grove
Beginning today and continuing until July 27, check out lunar-inspired food items at this popular downtown restaurants. For dessert, The Grove is offering $5 artisanal moon pies; diners may choose from the classic, graham crackers stuffed with marshmallow and dipped in milk chocolate, or the chocolate, made with chocolate cookies stuffed with marshmallow and dipped in white chocolate. The restaurant is also featuring The Moonwalk cocktail, made with fresh grapefruit juice, orange liqueur, rose water, and champagne. It's available for $10, and was apparently the first cocktail Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren sipped when they returned from that historic mission.
Tuesday, July 16
Lunar Landing Cocktail Special at the Bar at the Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa
One of the city's swankiest addresses marks the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing with the Mission Control cocktail for $17. It's a coffee-smoked cocktail inspired by the quick-thinking team that successfully guided Apollo 11. The special also is available on July 20 and 25.
Wine Dinner at Costa Brava Bistro
With open seating from 5-8 pm, diners can check out some wines from Madame Veuve Point that are brand new to the Houston market. The four-course dinner with wine pairings includes selections like rainbow trout Meunière paired with the 2017 Pouilly-Fuissé, roasted duck breast with the 2015 Beaune 'Climat Epenottes,' and a blueberry crêpe with ice cream. The cost is $90 per person. To reserve, call 713-839-1005.
Wednesday, July 17
National Hot Dog Day
All day long at all Bernie's Burger Bus locations, get 44 Farms USDA Choice Angus beef franks for $2 each. The special is good for dine-in only, and all locations open at 11 am. Over at both Kenny & Ziggy's spots, diners will find a flight of three dogs for $17.95: Da Bronx dog is piled high with potato salad and mustard; the Queso-Ra-Sera! is wrapped in bacon then topped with pepper jack, avocado, pico, chipotle cream, sour cream, and onion rings; and the YoSo Dog is a frank with avocado, fried onions, ebi sauce, and chipotle cream. At James Coney Island, the first 96 guests in the door starting at 10:30 am will receive a free Original Coney. The legendary hot dog spot continues festivities on July 18, too, offering 96-cent Original Coneys.
Celebrity Waiter Spaghetti Supper at Radunare Italian-American Table
Benefiting the Montgomery County Food Bank, this event features celebrities from The Woodlands "waiting" tables at the grand opening of the new Italian restaurant. Dinner is from 6-9 pm, and the cost is $40 per person. Tickets may be purchased online.
Thursday, July 18
Grand Opening of Mendocino Farms
The fresh-food-forward concept opens its doors in Rice Village at 11 am, bringing with it a commitment to sourcing locally and partnering with farm and artisan partners, as well as giving back to the community. Out of the gate, they've paired up with chef Chris Shepherd to create a charity sandwich that will be available the first month they're open; 100 percent of proceeds from the sandwich will go to chef Shepherd's Southern Smoke Foundation.
Lunar Landing Soiree at Le Colonial
Celebrate one giant leap for mankind with a party that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the historic feat. From 7-9 pm, enjoy DJ tunes, a special menu of cosmic cocktails for purchase, and complimentary light bites. A portion of the evening's proceeds will go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Apollo 11 Moon Landing Dinner at Xochi
The downtown restaurant helmed by chef Hugo Ortega hosts a special dinner to mark one of the most famous feats in history. Each of the evenings five courses is named for (or inspired by) a part of the Apollo moon mission. The pre-dinner reception, "Lunar Orbit," features an American sparkling wine and light bites.
"The Eagle Has Landed," the first course, offers a crispy hoja santa leaf filled with house-made Oaxacan cheese, mole verde, and masa dumplings paired with the restaurant's special Tranquility Base Margarita. "The First Step Huarache" is an heirloom “boot”-shaped masa flatbread with squash blossom filling, huitlasquites mole accompanied by the 2014 Birichino Jurassic Park Vineyard Old Vine Chenin Blanc. And the "21.5 Hours on the Moon Carne De Res," the evening's main course, is an all day-braised short rib wrapped and cooked in agave leaf, roasted heirloom vegetables, chichilo mole paired with the 2014 and 2015 Macan Rioja Classico. Dinner begins at 7 pm, and tickets are $115 per person, excluding tax and gratuity, and can be purchased online or by calling 713-400-3330.
Saturday, July 20
An Ode 2 Beef : A Meaty Culinary Tour
The Swanky Maven herself, Felice Sloan, has paired up with 44 Farms for a progressive beef tour around the city. Meet at Bayou and Bottle in the Four Seasons at 2:45 pm for a cocktail reception and steak flight of smoked Texas rubbed tenderloin, braised short rib, and slow-cooked sirloin. Guests will travel around the city in a motor coach, sampling smoked tri-tip served with ghost pepper chimichurri on a bed of roasted potatoes at Blood Bros. BBQ and beef tartare with oyster aioli over at Eunice. Tickets are $155 per person, and the Four Seasons is offering a special rate of $225 for the night for tour participants. Tickets may be purchased online (the hotel discount will be provided after tickets are purchased).
Sunday, July 21
Guard & Grace Welcome Dinner at Kiran's
Chef Kiran Verma rolls out an Indian welcome at her Upper Kirby restaurant to preview the arrival of Denver chef Troy Guard and his Guard & Grace restaurant, coming to Houston this fall. The one-night-only dinner is part of Guard’s Kitchen Kollab series. The menu items feature the styles of both Kiran and Guard, and include lobster bisque, tandoori rack of lamb, steamed and crisped Gulf shumai, and mango cheesecake. Dinner starts at 5:30 pm, and tickets are $105 per person, although those who want a wine pairing can add it for another $60. To reserve, call 713-960-8472.