As Houston's spring temperatures soar into the 80s, there's only one type of food to cool you down: hot, spicy Texas chili. The beef 'n peppers at the Ryan Gibson Foundation Chili Cook-Off will cool you down by making you sweat. "Texas and chili have a long relationship, back to when the original Latino cowboys would mix in peppers and spices on the trails," says organizer Mark Myers. "It's a big part of Texas culture." The cook-off's proceeds will be donated to leukemia research. Myers and some friends started the Ryan Gibson Foundation to honor the memory of Gibson, their college buddy who developed leukemia and died in 2001. Myers prefers what he calls traditional chili, which doesn't have beans. But he's tasted all kinds -- even chili made from white beans and rattlesnake meat. What if the cook-off takes place on a mercury-bustin' day? "Well...it's a good thing that it's going to be inside," he says. "And there will be plentyof beer." 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 19. Little Woodrow's, 2306 Brazos. For information, call 713-858-4155 or visit www.ryangibsonfoundation.org. $10 admission includes one beer and unlimited chili while it lasts. $50 registration fee. -- Bob Ruggiero
Got Any Singles?
The folks at Mix and Mingle do not, repeat, do not set members up on dates. "It's not a dating service but a dinner and social club," says Kent Evans, who started the group for professional singles in January. For its weekly dinners for six, members (three of each sex) meet at restaurants around town. They've tried out Maggiano's, the Great Caruso Dinner Theater and P.F. Chang's, among other spots. Sometimes members have two dinner parties at separate tables in the same restaurant. When that happens, there's bound to be a little table envy, depending on where the hot minglers are placed. For information on joining Mix and Mingle, call 713-770-0800 or visit www.mixmingle.com. $395 for a six-month membership. -- Cathy Matusow
No Rx Required
We dare you to try the Painkiller. This drink is so thick (we're talking Kelly Price-before-the-weight-loss thick) that people order it just to see if they can finish it in one sitting. The owners of the seven-month-old Daiquiri Bar and Grill say the Painkiller is their best-seller -- even though another frozen treat called the Chronic is more potent. Add to these lethal cool cups a heavily urban (read: throwback jersey-wearing) ambience, and you've got a new African-American hot spot. Brothas and sistas from miles around come here to suck down daiquiris until their faces turn magenta and their brains freeze over. Open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. 9405 South Main. For information, call 713-349-8339. $5 cover Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. -- Craig D. Lindsey
21's Mr. Hershey
Other than the foggy memory of a deliciously sweet cocktail that tasted like a melted Hershey's Kiss, I remember little about my trip to a club called 21 (2102 Postoffice, Galveston, 409-762-2101). The night was cold and wet, and the island winds sent a chill to my bones. The only other people on the street were straggling into this bar on the corner, so I followed them. The place was far from full, with a crowd that I guessed was mostly local regulars, being that tourist season was still a month or so off. When I plopped down on a barstool, the kid next to me confirmed my hunch, and before long I learned more than I needed to know about the ins and outs of being a waiter at the seafood institutions up and down the great seawall. His appetite for alcohol surpassed even mine, so as the empty glasses came down on the bar, two more drinks appeared before us, compliments of my new best friend.
Fill a cocktail shaker three-quarters full with ice. Pour in liquid ingredients and cover tightly. Shake and strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with a chocolate swizzle stick. -- J.W. Crooker