top food & drink events
6 Houston food and drink events to know: Celeb chefs, milestone parties, rockin' picnics, and more
The time after the Rodeo and before summer is loaded with food events. Even though the past few weeks have been loaded with everything from the Houston Barbecue Festival to the CultureMap Tastemaker Awards, the next few weeks have plenty of tempting options to experience special events with some of the city’s top chefs.
Food lovers have the opportunity to attend anniversary celebrations that recognize enduring institutions, eat dishes that earned praise from Netflix stars, and sample bites while helping kids with cancer. Events are presented in chronological order.
Note, the below list does not include May’s three big eating and drinking holidays — Cinco de Mayo, Kentucky Derby Day (May 6), and Mother’s Day (May 14). We’ll address those in separate articles to account for the numerous bars and restaurants running specials for each occasion.
20th Anniversary Celebration at Vic & Anthony’s
The downtown steakhouse — Landry’s only ground up concepts of the more than 60 brands in its portfolio — will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a cocktail reception on Friday, April 28. The party includes light bites, sips of 2003 vintage wine, and tastes of the restaurant’s private barrel releases from Angel’s Envy and Whistlepig. Every attendee will also receive a swag bag with gift cards to Vic & Anthony’s and other Landry’s concepts, discounts on hotel stays, wine glasses, and more. $100
AAPI Heritage Month Mondays at Kau Ba Saigon Kitchen
Every Monday in May, chef Nikky Tran will feature some of the dishes she’s served on television shows including Ugly Delicious and Somebody Feed Phil. The menu of Viejun dishes, Tran’s term for her blend of Vietnamese and Cajun cooking, includes snails, oysters, scallops, and, of course, crawfish.
Celebrity Chefs Against Cancer at the Four Seasons Houston
Held on May 3 from 6:30-9 pm, this fourth annual event unites many of Houston’s best chefs to raise money for Camp H-Town, a summer sleep away camp the Four Seasons hosts in collaboration with MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital that provides young patients with a fun camp experience at no cost to their families by converting one floor of the hotel into a “campground” complete with bunk beds and camping gear.
The lineup includes chefs such as Jose Arevalo (Brennan’s), Brian Sutton (Emilia’s Havana/Berg Hospitality), Jonathan Levine (Jonathan’s the Rub), Chris Bosch (Loro), E.J. Miller (Muse), Scott Muns (Pastore/Underbelly Hospitality), and two James Beard Award winners — Tom Cunanan (Soy Pinoy) and Hugo Ortega (Xochi/H-Town Restaurant Group). Attendees can bid on silent auction items such as hotel stays and restaurant gift certificates; in addition, a live auction will feature more premium items such as resort packages and a VIP experience to the F1 race in Austin. Tickets are $200 for general admission or $150 for young professionals 35 and under.
2nd Annual Rock ‘n Roll Picnic at Last Concert Cafe
Scheduled for Sunday, May 7, from 12-4 pm, local nonprofit I’ll Have What She’s Having will host this event that unites Houston chefs with local musicians to raise money to improve healthcare for hospitality workers. Chefs serving picnic-inspired dishes include: Dawn Burrell (Late August), Layne Cruz (Lagniappe Kitchen and Bar), Jacob Pate (Agricole Hospitality), Josh DeLeon (Underground Creamery), Kathleen Morgan (Honey Child’s Sweet Creams), Blood Bros. BBQ, and Nick Wong. In addition, a number of local bartenders, including former Tastemaker Awards Bartender of the Year winners Sarah Troxell, Lindsay Rae Burleson, and Lainey Collum will present original and classic cocktails.
Attendees can enhance their experience by purchasing a whiskey tasting with Hal Brock of Teeling Whiskey, a champagne tasting curated by Antonio Gianola of Houston Wine Merchant, or a picnic tiffin with dishes prepared by Justin Yu (Theodore Rex), Ryan Pera (Coltivare), and Anita Jaisinghani (Pondicheri). Both silent and live auctions will be held to raise additional funds.
Local acts Say Girl Say, Marley Moon, Sara Van Buskirk, DJ G Funk, and DJ Mexican Blackbird will perform throughout the event. Tickets start at $85.
50th Anniversary Celebration at Ouisie’s Table
The upscale Southern restaurant in River Oaks will celebrate its 50th anniversary from May 8-12 by serving two pre-fixe menus — a two-course, $25 lunch and a three-course, $50 dinner — that feature some of founder Elouise “Ouisie” Adams Jones’ most-enduring dishes. Look for selections such as the World War II pimento cheese, Splendid Spud with caviar, shrimp and grits. In addition, the restaurant will offer $50 bottles of sparkling wine and host the Charlie Perez Trio for live jazz on May 10-12.
Encuentro: The Native American Roots of Texas Mexican Food at MECA
This event will feature a panel discussion with three scholars — Mario Montaño, Lilliana Patricia Saldaña, and Leslie Bush — interacting with filmmaker Adán Medrano and a group of Texas chefs about the Native American roots and contemporary practices of Texas Mexican foodways as illustrated in Medrano’s film Truly Texas Mexican. Panelists will address how the fields of archaeology, anthropology, food studies and Mexican American studies illustrate the roots of contemporary Texas. Attendance is free but advanced registration is required.