Bought your tickets yet for the upcoming Haute Wheels food truck festival? No? Good. Because you'll have an opportunity to purchase heavily discounted VIP tickets for the event, which takes place on May 14 and 15 at the campus of HCC Southwest. The Houston Press is sponsoring the VIP tent, which will give ticketholders access to private bathrooms, a separate (shaded!) lounge area, free wine and beer samples and goodie bags to take home. The VIP tickets are normally $60, but you can buy them for $30 this Monday when they'll be our Deal of the Day. Get your mouse at the ready, 'cause they'll sell out fast!
Not only does the Kroger on West Gray now have its own Murray's Cheese counter inside, it's playing host to another big cheese next week when Allison Hooper comes to town. Hooper is the founder of the Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery and was one of the nation's very first artisanal cheesemakers. Needless to say, she's a pretty cool lady, and she'll be here to sign copies of her book, In a Cheesemaker's Kitchen, as well as hosting a cheese tasting class.
Hooper will be at the Kroger at 1938 West Gray on Monday, May 9, from 3 to 7 p.m. for a book signing, then at the Kroger at 1035 N. Shepherd the next day, May 10, from 2 to 5 p.m. She'll be sticking around that night for the free cheese-tasting class, which runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m., but you'll need to make reservations if you're interested: 713-661-8305 ext. 2214.
If you like gnocchi as much as we do, you'll want to head to Fratelli's Authentic Italian Cuisine this month as the restaurant celebrates its annual Gnocchi Festival from May 1 to 31. Each Monday and Tuesday night from 5 until 9:30 p.m., Fratelli's is offering its gnocchi for only $7.50 a person, with four signature sauces to choose from: tomato, walnut, creamy porcini or gorgonzola. You can also add a glass of house wine to your meal for $3.50.
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Speaking of wine, sommelier Niki Newman is once again offering her wine classes at Mockingbird Bistro, starting on May 11. On Wednesday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., she'll be helping oenophiles and newbies alike explore big, bold reds and learn all about the differences between varietals, geography and terroir of the selections. The class is $45 a person and includes cheese and light bites from Mockingbird's kitchen. RSVP at 713-533-0200.
Don't forget: Bryan Caswell's new four-episode show is debuting on the Food Network this Sunday, May 8, at 9 p.m. Best In Smoke will follow six pit masters as they compete for a $50,000 grand prize and kicks off with an episode in which the contestants must create "a BBQ hors d'oeuvre for an upscale art gallery opening." The next three shows will air on May 15, May 22 and May 29.