This Week in Houston Food Events: Chocolate, King Cakes and Wine in Store
Forget the cheap stuff this year — get gourmet cheesy Valentine's Day candies from Cacao & Cardamom to tell your special someone how you really feel.
Photo by Shannon O'Hara
All Week Long
Chocolate Festival at Central Market
Head over to Central Market, 3815 Westheimer, to pick out the perfect sweets (and not-so-sweets) for your sweetie. The special offerings for the chocolate festival include dark chocolate butter, five-chili and cocoa-seasoned rib eye steaks, and smoked paprika cocoa dry-rubbed chicken breasts.
Monday, February 8
Lunar New Year at Mama Fu's
Celebrate the lunar new year with Mama Fu's Asian House by getting $10 off every order over $20 from now until Friday, February 12. Every location will offer the discount, and it's good for dine-in, take-out and delivery orders.
Espresso 200 at Blacksmith
Continue your espresso education with John Letoto at Blacksmith, 1018 Westheimer, with this 7 p.m. hands-on class. Note that it's meant to be a follow-up to Espresso 100. Did you miss that the first time? Don't worry – it'll come back soon. Topics for this class include tasting espressos and troubleshooting espresso preparation. The class is $80 per person and spots are extremely limited. Make your reservation on the Blacksmith website.
Tuesday, February 9
Take part in the Fat Tuesday festival with a fresh king cake or a big pile of pancakes. Bistro Provence, 13616 Memorial, is celebrating all day with a variety of crepes, including savory and sweet options, and Ouisie's at 3939 San Felipe is also getting on board the pancake train with all-you-can-eat pancakes and fixin's for just $15. Ooh La La Dessert Boutique is offering king cake cupcakes at each of its three locations, and you'll find an extravagant prix-fixe menu at Brennan's, 3300 Smith, which includes crawfish enchiladas, Niman Ranch tomahawk pork chops and carnival flambeaux cake with chicory coffee liqueur.
KUU Turns Two
Head over to KUU, 947 Gessner, for its celebration of two years on the Houston food scene. Chef Adison Lee will present a six-course meal for the occasion, complete with wine pairings by sommelier Ricky Cheung, for $50 per person. There are two seatings — one at 6:30 p.m. and the other at 8:30 p.m. Call 713-461-1688 for reservations.
Wednesday, February 10
The Pastry War Becomes La Cucaracha
The essence of La Cucaracha Cocktail Club, a bar in Mexico City in the 1930s, will be taking over The Pastry War, 310 Main, for one night only. The menu will throw back to the 40-drink menu of classic cocktails offered by La Cucaracha, with a few more modern ingredients. One Mexican cacao and coffee liqueur that figures prominently on the menu is no longer produced, so the bar is going to make its own version in-house for the occasion. We haven't heard anything about costumes, so we can only assume that your best '30s attire is strongly encouraged.
Wine Tasting at Sonoma Wine Bar
Winemaker Steve Matthiasson of Matthiasson Wines in California will host this 6 p.m. tasting at Sonoma Wine Bar at 801 Studewood in The Heights. Cheese is included in the $15 admission price, and you can get that fee waived if you purchase two retail bottles at the special day-of discount prices. RSVP on the Sonoma website.
Thursday, February 11
Jensen Chronicles Pop-Up
Join chef Jonny Rhodes for this five-course, BYOB dinner at Rachel's, 421 San Jacinto. The Creole offerings include poached crawfish étouffée, duck confit and potato croquette, beef cheek with tomato confit and red beans, and alligator sausage gumbo. Cost is $80.12 per person, and the dinner starts at 6 p.m. Make your reservations on Eventbrite.
Friday, February 12
Enchantment Under the Sea
Enjoy a romantic evening with sea life both on and off the plate in the Houston Zoo's Carruth Natural Encounters building, where you'll sip wine, munch on seared yellow snapper and watch jellyfish drift by. You'll also see a private sea lion show, hang out with the zoo's expert animal staff and experience the newly renovated Kipp Aquarium. Tickets are $89 per person, and seating is very limited, so reserve your spot on the zoo website today. The event kicks off at 6:30 p.m. at 6200 Hermann Park.
Friday and Saturday
Tapas on the Trails
This walking wine-and-dine event takes place at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, 4501 Woodway, where you'll find food and wine pairing stations at intervals along the trails. There are five stops, and the path culminates with dessert on the scenic Meadow Deck overlooking a pond. This event goes from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, with the last entry at 8 p.m., and from 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, with last entry at 7 p.m. Tickets are $75 for members and $95 for non-members. Get your tickets on the Houston Arboretum website.
Saturday, February 13
Fluff Bake Bar Bake Sale
Chef Robert Lyford of Patina Green Home and Market, located in McKinney, is teaming up with Rebecca Masson of Fluff Bake Bar, 314 Gray, for the latter's Saturday morning bake sale, which kicks off at 10 a.m. Lyford is known for his gourmet sandwiches, so that's what he'll be dishing out, including offerings like the crispy pork collar sandwich with collard green frittata and farmstead cheese and the chopped brisket sandwich with jalapeño blackberry jelly. Other fare includes fried pie with preserved blueberries and Meyer lemon curd, as well as pecan sticky buns.
Big Table Farm Wine Tasting
Join the folks at Sonoma Wine Bar, 2720 Richmond, for a tasting of Big Table Farm wines from Oregon's Willamette Valley. The tasting begins at 4 p.m. and will showcase wines from the 2013 and 2014 vintages. Cost is $15 per person, and the fee will be waived if you purchase three bottles on the day of. Send an email to Sonoma to reserve your spot.
Sunday, February 14
Still need some ideas to help you plan the best Valentine's Day ever? Look no further than our 2016 Valentine's Day dining guide, and don't forget that brunch is a great option this year for a slightly less-stressful romantic outing since the holiday falls on a Sunday. If you're looking for some sweet treats for the holiday, be sure to check out our guide to locally made Valentine's Day goodies.
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