Here's a look at this week's hottest culinary happenings:
All month long
Holiday Tamale & Mole Specials at Arnaldo Richards’ Picos
Through the end of the year, Arnaldo Richards’ Picos, 3601 Kirby, will be opening its famous tamale stand, offering signature and special off-the-menu tamales by the dozen or half-dozen from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through Friday, January 6 (excluding Christmas Day).
Every day through Monday, December 12, guests can enjoy a wide variety of holiday moles, including Tuesday’s Manchamanteles; Thursday’s Rabbit in Pipian Rojo; and Sunday’s Wild boar in Mole Amarillo.
And on Saturday, December 17, the restaurant will go all out with its Massive Mole and Tamale Brunch Buffet ($29/person and $20/seniors). From 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., guests can expect all the featured mole offerings and more than a dozen assorted tamales and sides.
Tuesday, December 6
Wicked Weed & Jester King Collaboration Beer Dinner at Pass & Provisions
Join Pass & Provisions, 807 Taft, as it pairs a six-course meal to seven of some of the country’s very best brews. Tickets are $100 (plus tax and tip). The dinner will start at 6 p.m. Call 713-628-9020 (option 2) to speak with host to purchase tickets.
Ironroot Republic Whiskey Tasting at Reserve 101
Reserve 101, 1201 Caroline, will be hosting Ironroot Republic for its first ever Houston appearance at a tasting from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Founded by brothers Robert and Jonathan Likarish in 2013, Ironroot pays tribute to Texas roots with fresh and local ingredients—95 percent of the grains that they use come from within 60 miles of the distillery. Robert Likarish will be leading a tasting of the Ironroot Promethean Bourbon Whiskey and Ironroot Hubris Corn Whiskey. Tickets can be purchased for $20, with all proceeds going to the Rescued Pets Movement in Houston.
Wednesday, December 7
1st Annual Holiday Big Bao Battle at Ralph Smith Studio
The first annual Holiday Big Bao Battle will be taking place at Ralph Smith Studio, 5226 Elm, from Big 7 to 10 p.m. For one night only, 15 local chefs and vendors will be making their own version of bao—a steamed bun stuffed with various fillings—as guests sample the bites and vote on a favorite to be crowned the Big Bao Champion. Competitors include Batanga chef Rishi Singh, Just CUC It chef (and Houston Press contributer) Cuc Lam, and Luv Me Tenders chef Jason Hill. Tickets are available on EventBrite (one for $30 or two for $50) and include unlimited food samples, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
Toys for Tots and Sierra Nevada Event at Hay Merchant
Bring a toy to Hay Merchant, 1100 Westheimer, and you'll have the opportunity to purchase a 32 ounce growler of Firestone Walker's Stickee Monkey, Succaba, Parabola or Helldorado for $20 (the growler is included).
Vintage Virtuoso takes place at the Royal Sonesta Hotel
The Royal Sonesta Hotel, 2222 West Loop South, will host this year’s Vintage Virtuoso fundraising dinner, which has raised almost $2.5 million for the Houston Symphony’s education and community programs since its inception in 1990. Spec’s has worked closely with its suppliers and distributors to make sure its guests experience a glamorous, exciting tasting and seated dinner. Tickets start at $300. To reserve a spot, visit specsonline.com/vintagevirtuoso.
Thursday, December 8
Marche de Noel Holiday in the Village
Walk the streets of Rice Village and enjoy food and drinks specials and free samples from local vendors, including coffee samples and 99 cent cannoli at Fellini, 5211 Kelvin; a $5 tasting menu of tapas and wine at El Meson, 2425 University; German cocktail samples made with imported vinegars at Vom Fass, 2424 Times; and a Greek themed special Marche de Noel offer at Helen Greek Food and Wine, 2429 Rice. The event runs from 4 to 8 p.m.
Friday through Sunday
2016 Tomball German Christmas Market & Festival in Old Town Tomball
Held in Old Town Tomball near the Historical Train Depot Plaza, 201 South Elm, this Texas-style Weihnachtsmarkt—or Christmas market—features fun for the whole family. Guests can expect over 175 street vendors, arts and crafts, live music and performances, a petting zoo, and ethnic and festive food and drink ranging from traditional Christmas stollen to brats and kennel corn. Toast the season with a dark Dunkles Bier or warm cup of Glühwein. The event runs from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Saturday, December 10
Breakfast with Santa at Hotel Derek
Hotel Derek, 2525 West Loop South, invites families for a special Breakfast with Santa from 9 to 11 a.m. The festive morning features a holiday buffet, special crafts, Christmas movies and photos with Santa. Tickets ($39 per person for adults; $19 per person for children ages three to 14; and free for children under two) include valet parking, buffet breakfast, holiday activities and photos with Santa. To RSVP, email
5 Year Anniversary Celebration at Pizaro’s
Pizaro’s Memorial location, 14028 Memorial, is celebrating its fifth birthday with wine specials for guests from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For every pizza purchased, guests will receive a glass of wine of choice (red or white). One pizza will get you one glass, two pizzas will get you two, and so on and so forth.
Annual Holiday Market at Four Seasons Hotel Houston
Join the Four Seasons Hotel Houston, 1300 Lamar, for its annual Holiday Market (also held Saturday, December 17). Festive offerings will include an afternoon tea buffet, a children’s gingerbread house workshop, Mexican hot chocolate, mulled wine for adults and live holiday music. Cost is $85 for adults or $155 for two and $65 for kids 12 and under.
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Sunday, December 11
Kick Hunger Challenge Wine Dinner at Frank’s Americana Revival
Beginning at 5 p.m., Frank’s Americana Revival, 3736 Westheimer, will be hosting this cool five-course wine dinner to celebrate Super Bowl LI. The meal will feature chuck wagon live fire cooking, small allocated batches of “home ranch” American wines and hometown Texan inspired dishes, including Wild Mushroom Bisque, Grilled Bandera Quail and Denver-Cut Marble Ranch Wagyu.
Tickets are $125, with 100 percent of total revenue will support the Taste of the NFL Party with a Purpose Kick Hunger Challenge. In addition to the dinner, enjoy chuck wagon cocktails and hors’ d'oeuvres (weather permitting) with Silent Auction Items displayed around the wagon under a tented “fly". Call 713-572-8600 for reservations.