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Photo by Kirsten Gilliam

Thanksgiving may be behind us, but don't forget about all the feasts still coming up this festive season, from Christmas meals to holiday hosting to New Year's nibbles.

Don't worry: You don't have to cook any of them if you don't want to. From December 1 through January 1, The Butcher Shop at B&B Butchers is offering a holiday take-out menu that's available with 48-hour notice.

Entertain with entrees that span beef Wellington to pork crown roast, filet mignon to roasted Prime rib, and even a whole Berkshire smoked ham.

Holiday sides are served by the sheet and feed eight-10 people. All your favorites are there, from whipped potatoes to classic creamed spinach, B&B mac & cheese, and Brussels sprouts with bacon and garlic chili.

For dessert, take your pick of house-made pecan pie or apple crisp.

Don't need a whole meal? Holiday hors d'oeuvres to-go include pigs in a blanket, crab cakes, beef Wellington, caprese skewers, and Chef Tommy's bacon. And remember that a charcuterie and cheese platter is always a good idea.

If you also need a few last-minute gifts, pick up Chef Tommy's Bacon Box, steak knives, carving sets, or Otto Wilde grills while you're there.

Photo by Kirsten Gilliam

Leave the cooking to the pros.

Plus, don’t miss out on this Berg Hospitality holiday gift card special. For every $250 spent on Berg Hospitality gift cards purchased in the restaurant, receive $25 on an additional bonus card.

If you'd rather dine-in, all Berg Hospitality restaurants are open on Christmas Eve for brunch and dinner, as well as on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day (that hangover brunch is crucial).

Check out all of the B&B Butchers holiday happenings here and all the Berg Hospitality holiday happenings here.

View the full menu here and order online here, or call The Butcher Shop at 832-767-4828. Please order at least 48 hours in advance.

Houston Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. presents Jazz Soiree

For the first time since 2019, the Houston Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., in partnership with Delta Research and Educational Foundation, will host the Jazz Soiree.

The highlight of the event will be a ceremony honoring the first recipients of HAC’s distinguished Thelma Patten Law Pillar of Fortitude Awards for outstanding and impactful community service. The honorees include Bayway Lincoln, D-MARS, H-E-B, Houston Food Bank, Houston Public Library, R.A.R.E. Pearls, Inc., and Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. The awards commemorate the late Dr. Thelma Patten Law, who was a charter member of the Houston Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and was one of the first Black women to practice medicine in Houston.

The Jazz Soiree will also feature fine dining, live music, dancing, a silent auction, a vendors gallery, and a raffle prize drawing. Proceeds from the event will support need-based academic scholarships for exceptional students.

Photo by Jenn Duncan

Let your favorite Houston restaurants handle Thanksgiving dinner this year

Gobble Gobble

If you want to focus more on friends and family, and less on cooking, this Thanksgiving, some of your favorite Houston restaurants are standing by to help.

Whether you're looking to pick up a full meal to-go or want to dine in, these eateries have got you covered.

B&B Butchers & Restaurant
Open on Thanksgiving Day: 10 am-9 pm
Prix-fixe menu: $90 for adults, $35 for kids ages 11 and under
Includes: An amuse bouche, three courses (appetizer, main course, and dessert) and family-style side dishes. Grab complimentary hot apple cider and pumpkin cookies to enjoy on the way in or out.
Also available: Ordering from the entire dinner menu.
Reservations: Required. Call 713-862-1814 or RSVP on OpenTable Experience. Learn more, view the menu, and book your table here.

The Butcher Shop at B&B
Pick-up: November 22 through 4 pm on Thanksgiving Day
What's available: Ready-to-roast or pre-cooked entrées, sides, and desserts. Also a traditional prix-fixe plated dinner with all the trimmings (minimum of 2 orders) for $65 per person.
How to order: View the menu here, learn more, and place your order here.

The Annie Thanksgiving meal The Annie Cafe & Bar is also offering a three-course meal for dine-in. Photo by Jenn Duncan

The Annie Cafe & Bar
Open on Thanksgiving Day: 10 am-9 pm
Prix-fixe menu: $90 for adults, $35 for kids
Includes: Three courses. Grab complimentary hot apple cider and pumpkin cookies to enjoy on the way in or out.
Also available: Ordering from the entire dinner menu. A traditional prix-fixe plated dinner to-go with all the trimmings (minimum of 2 orders) for $75 per person is available for pick-up on November 24 from 11 am-2 pm.
Reservations: Required. Call 713-804-1800 or RSVP on OpenTable Experience. Learn more, view the menus and place your order here.

Turner's
Seatings: 1 pm and 5 pm on Thanksgiving Day
Includes: A lavish, exclusive experience curated by executive chef Brian Sutton and sous chef Ricky Cerna. Guests will be transported to a bygone era with its Old World, white-glove service and an over-the-top, festive menu. With live music throughout the evening by a pianist on the baby grand piano, it's an evening truly fit for a king.
The menu: Upon arrival, you'll receive a complimentary glass of welcome Champagne or a Kir Royale. Then begin with a plate of gourmet appetizers for the table to share followed by a series of decadent hors d'oeuvres, which will continue to flow until you say the word. The extensive three-course menu is paired with a selection of six unlimited traditional side dishes, which are all served tableside. Try to save room for the artisan cheese service followed by an assortment of six desserts.
Price: $250 per person, excluding tax, gratuity, and alcoholic beverages.
Reservations: Required with a credit card. Call 713-804-1212 or RSVP on OpenTable Experience. Learn more, view the menu, and book your table here.

Turner's Thanksgiving meal Go all out at Turner's.Photo by Jenn Duncan

Trattoria Sofia
Prix-fixe menu: $65 for adults, $25 for kids
Includes: An appetizer, pasta course, entrée with family-style side dishes, and dessert. Grab complimentary hot apple cider and pumpkin cookies to enjoy on the way in or out.
Also available: Ordering from the entire dinner menu.
Reservations: Required. Call 713-804-0429 or RSVP on OpenTable Experience. Learn more and view the menu here.

NoPo Thanksgiving pies Be sure to save room for dessert.Photo by Jenn Duncan

NoPo Cafe, Market & Bar
Pick-up: November 22-23
What's available: Pies and treats available for pre-order
How to order: Learn more, view the menu, and place your order here.

Courtesy of Wurstfest

The meatiest tips for the best jaunt through Wurstfest in New Braunfels

Best of the Wurst

New Braunfels is about a three-hour drive for Houstonians, but fans of German beer and food have a great incentive to go before the event ends on November 13.

Wurstfest is in full swing again in the popular Hill Country town, coming out of its first weekend of 2022 festivities. Admission is free from Monday to Thursday, then $18 online for the weekend.

Although the German food is at least half the draw, Wurstfest could be called Bierfest with the sheer volume of beers it serves. And they’re not expecting too many visitors drinking before business hours end in the rather quaint New Braunfels. So, Wurstfest starts at 5 pm on weekdays, but the five hours it’s open (ending at 10 pm) offer plenty of ways to pass the time.

All weekdays start with live music at 5:30 pm on all five stages across the old German grounds. (For those who haven’t visited, this is basically a theme park: visitors wander through timber framed beer halls, past many, many concession stands, down the Comal River to a fairground, all without stepping out of Germany, it seems.) From those opening sets, there’s near-constant music on three of the stages.

Most of the entertainment comes from live music and the novelty of wandering around among the lederhosen and dirndls. (Those drinking less than friends should strongly consider bringing a book — this is from experience.) But there is some light programming every day to break up the drinking and dancing, especially for visitors with kids.

Wednesday bring smasskrugstemmen (beer holding) contest and a magic show. On Thursday, kids can hear some storytelling, and Friday, Veteran’s Day, honors veterans with a salute. Following crowds will also bring visitors to shopping, sausage-making demonstrations, and children’s fair rides.

Perhaps needless to say, the food is legitimately excellent; this is, at its heart, a culinary event, and serves more than standard fried fair foods. Obviously, sausage is a great choice, but there are potatoes, gravy, pickles, and sauerkraut to go around.

Returning revelers are thrilled to share their best recommendations for the food and imported beers. Pacing yourself, three to five hours is a very reasonable stretch for trying as much as possible and returning to old favorites.

Wurstfest tickets are available now at wurstfest.com, along with more information and entertainment schedules.

Warehouse 72 presents DAOU Wine Dinner

Warehouse 72’s Chef Jaime will present a five-course dinner paired by Richard Howell with DAOU Wines. The dinner will begin with Beet Carpaccio paired with DAOU Discovery Collection Rose before dishes like Duck Roulade, Wild Mushroom Risotto, and Wild Boar, all paired with DAOU California Wines.

Georgia James Steak presents Vishwesh Bhatt Cookbook Release Party

Greg Peters, executive chef of Georgia James, will host his longtime mentor, famed Snackbar chef Vishwesh Bhatt, for a four-course dinner event in celebration of Bhatt’s first cookbook, I Am From Here: Stories and Recipes from a Southern Chef. Diners will enjoy recipes cooked by Bhatt from his book.

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Canada's favorite coffee and doughnut shop opens second Houston location

More Tims for H-town

Canada’s favorite coffee and doughnut shop will expand its Houston presence next week. The city’s second Tim Hortons will open December 16 in northwest Houston at 5312 W Richey Rd.

Founded in 1964 by NHL legend Tim Horton, the coffee shop is well known for its freshly brewed coffee and other beverages such as lattes, juices, and teas. Customers can pair their drinks with a range of sweet and savory bites such as breakfast sandwiches and muffins. Doughnuts come in a variety of flavors, including the signature Timbits doughnut holes.

The appealing menu and friendly service have allowed it to grow to 5,000 locations worldwide, with over 600 in the U.S. Tim Hortons made its Houston debut in late August with a location in Katy.

A grand opening celebration begins at 5 am on December 16. The first 50 customers will receive free coffee for a year. Expect prizes, food samples, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Once open, the store’s hours of operations will be 5 am to 8 pm daily. Customers may order via dine-in, drive-thru, or an app that features a rewards program for frequent diners.

Tim Hortons partnered with Houston's CSM Group, which operates Popeyes locations in Texas, Kansas, and Missouri. CSM Group CEO Ali Lakhany told the Houston Chronicle in March that his company plans to open 30 locations across the Houston area, including 10 in the first three years.

“We’ve received such a warm welcome from the Houston community since our grand opening in Katy earlier this year,” Ekrem Ozer, president of Tim Hortons, U.S., said in a statement. “We’re excited to continue to grow our presence in this community and get to know more Houstonians with the opening of our Richey Road restaurant.”

CultureMap Wine Guy Chris Shepherd reveals the ultimate holiday 'death match' party game

wine guy Wednesday

Editor's note: Long before Chris Shepherd became a James Beard Award-winning chef, he developed enough of a passion for wine to work at Brennan's of Houston as a sommelier. He maintains that interest to this day. When Chris expressed interest in writing about wine-related topics for CultureMap, we said yes.

In this week's column, he shares his favorite way to win more wine. Take it away, Chris.

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If you’re looking to throw a killer party — one that’s unforgettable — I have an idea for you. It doesn’t have to happen during the holidays, but it will make your holiday party more fun. Let me introduce you to Wine Club Death Match.

My friend Ellen Hur, whose classmates at graduate school first started this game, introduced Wine Club Death Match to us here in Houston a few years back. It’s a game that combines things that I love — tasting wine, talking to friends, talking about wine, and, as part of a little friendly competition, you can win the ultimate prize, more wine!

“I had heard about Wine Club Death Match and thought it sounded really fun,” Ellen explains. “I started playing with a few friends in our little New York City apartments, back in 2007 or so. We liked the idea that we could entertain ourselves without having to go out all the time. Plus, if you weren’t too discerning, which we were not, or if your friends had good taste in wine, you could grow a decent wine collection pretty quickly.”

Here's how it works:

  • Every person who comes to the party is asked to bring two bottles of the same wine that fit the night’s theme (more info on that below) and the night’s price point (e.g., each bottle must be under $25).
  • When each guest arrives, one bottle is immediately stored out of sight, and the second bottle is put in a paper bag and labeled A through Z (or however you want to distinguish the covered bottles from each other).
  • As the party goes on, guests taste each wine (responsibly) and keep their own notes about which bottle they like the best.
  • Once everyone has tasted — or the tasting portion of the party is over — everyone votes for their favorite bottle. The host takes the ballots and tallies them up for the big reveal.
  • The person who brought the bottle that gets the most votes is crowned winner of Wine Club Death Match and wins the entire stash of the second bottles that have been stored away. If you have 10 people at the party participating in WCDM, the winner takes home 10 bottles of wine. Not too shabby!
  • Spend the rest of the party lobbying the winner to give you your favorite bottle (or two) as a consolation prize.

We’ve played with our friends a few times, and it’s a fun, unique way to bring a little extra excitement to a party or gathering. It’s an automatic conversation starter. Plus, there’s a lot of strategy involved. If you’re fighting to the death (or, in this case, fighting for all the wine), you’ll need to have a game plan to take home all the spoils.

A few of my favorite themes:

  • Region + Grape/Varietal or color + Price Point is always a good theme (Oregon Pinot Noir under $30, South American reds under $27, French rosé under $20, Spanish Cava under $25, or my least favorite option— Gewürztraminer from anywhere in the world at any price point—not my favorite varietal)
  • Wine from a region you didn’t know made wine.
  • Wines mentioned in music lyrics
  • Wines from a vineyard named for a person

The beauty of this game is that it’s flexible. Want to pair the tasting wines with a specific dish and make it a more hearty affair? Go for it! Want to go all champagne and deal with the consequences later? Do it! Want to tell everyone to bring magnums? Why not? Want to bring the concept to more of a dinner party atmosphere? Cool. Have fun with it, and learn something.

Let me make a few suggestions to optimize your Wine Club Death March:

  • For WCDM to operate most optimally, the sweet spot is 8-12 guests. If you live in a city like NYC, you must consider how you are transporting all the wine home. For example, 12 bottles on a subway is tough. Luckily, 12 bottles in a Houston Uber is much more doable.
  • That being said, make WCDM yours! If you want a bigger party, go for it – you can have two winners, or be creative about how to divvy up the winnings and how to make sure everyone can taste the wines.
  • Set the price point based on your guests. If your guests are bigger spenders who want to bulk up their cellars, you can have a higher price point. But I think everyone would love a solid stash of $20-$30 wines.
  • Go heavy on the apps. Even small tastes of wine can add up.
  • The wines for WCDM are for tasting, not imbibing during the party, so have other drinks available – especially if you have guests who aren’t participating in the competition.
  • Water should be plentiful, and ride shares are a must.

Let me know how this works out for you. Invite me!

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Contact our Wine Guy via email at chris@chrisshepherdconcepts.com.

Chris Shepherd won a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest in 2014. He recently parted ways with Underbelly Hospitality, a restaurant group that currently operates four Houston restaurants: Wild Oats, GJ Tavern, Underbelly Burger, and Georgia James. The Southern Smoke Foundation, a non-profit he co-founded with his wife Lindsey Brown, has distributed more than $10 million to hospitality workers in crisis through its Emergency Relief Fund.

Get happy with all-day Sunday happy hour at this Galleria pub

Come on down

Some pubs have it all: great food, even better drinks, and an atmosphere you crave. Ducky McShweeney’s Pub is just such a place, offering all that and so much more.

Ducky's is the new premier gathering spot in the heart of the Galleria area. Its atmosphere and extensive list of spirits, wine, and beer have guests coming back again and again. The menu offers everything from shepherd's pie to sushi, and is open daily from 11 am-2 am.

Visitors can watch the game (or all of them!) on more than 19 televisions throughout the pub. All NFL games are broadcast, so you won't miss a single play.

And game day bucket specials will surely keep the whole table happy. After all, it doesn't get much better than a bucket of beer and a cheese pizza for $25.

The pub is not only ideal for game days, but happy hour happens all day on Sundays. Monday through Saturday, get happy from 2-6 pm, and enjoy day-of-the-week specials as well.

Monday is industry night, and has a reverse happy hour from 10 pm-2 am. Tipsy Tuesday offers $5 tequila, $3 pints, and a $5 pepperoni pie.

Wine Down Wednesdays bring trivia night, where you and all your friends are invited to win prizes. Plus, let's not forget you get half off select bottles of wine.

Thursday is steak night with live music. That includes a $25 14-ounce ribeye and specials on tomahawks and filets. On Friday, get $5 off any whiskey, all day long.

Looking for your next favorite brunch? It happens at Ducky's every Saturday and Sunday from 11 am-3 pm.

The menu includes breakfast favorites with a twist such as Paddy's Pancake Tacos, which wraps two buttermilk pancakes around scrambled eggs, bacon, avocado, maple syrup, and hot sauce; and Mother Duckin' Waffles, with four chicken wings, two Belgian waffles, black pepper berry sauce, and whipped cream. And, of course, all the boozy cocktails your heart desires.

For a more lunch-y brunch, there's the Kobe brunch burger with American Kobe beef, provolone cheese, sautéed mushrooms, greens, and a fried egg, served with fries; or Crab Fried Rice that's a savory mix of lump crab, scallions, garlic, cod roe, and fried egg.

If your mouth is already watering, head to 2025 Post Oak Blvd. any day of the week. You can learn more about the pub and see the full menu here.