Get your palates primed for the Texas Vodka Throwdown this Saturday night at Caroline Collective (4820 Caroline). The event, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m., is absolutely free (as long as you're over 21), but that's not the best part: The best part is that the public will be judging samples of vodka from several distilleries around Texas, then choosing the finest spirit to crown as vodka champion. Donations of cash or cans are also being collected for the Houston Food Bank, so come out and enjoy a free evening with a great side of charity.
Also happening this weekend for a charitable cause is the Houston Police Department vs. Houston Fire Department citywide throwdown at the Houston Hot Dog Eating Championship that we told you about back in June. We could make a joke about cops eating their own kind, but the truth is that we actually like cops on the whole -- and we're taking bets that they'll crush the fireman handily. (Can you bet on cops? It seems shady...) Even if you aren't competing in the eating contest, head out to see the spectacle for yourself on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. at the Hot Dog Shop (6405 Brittmoore) and help support the charitable work of the North West Lions Club.
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Last Sunday's pig roast -- with free suckling pig to anyone who bought a cocktail -- at Branch Water Tavern (510 Shepherd Drive) apparently went so swimmingly that Chef David Grossman has decided to have another "block party" this Sunday, starting at 1 p.m. The restaurant is calling this party "Aw Shucks: Free Oyster Fest" and will be serving freshly-shucked oysters from the Gulf Coast as well as oysters from waters to the west and east. The raw oysters, like the pig, are completely free with the purchase of any adult beverage at the bar. Our recommendations? A Bloody Mary or an ice cold beer.
Houston may not share Milwaukee's enthusiasm for celebrating Bastille Day -- the four-day celebration there includes an actual "storming" of the "Bastille" as well as the erection of a giant replica of the Eiffel Tower -- but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy your own Fête de la Fédération here in the Bayou City. On July 14, the Broken Spoke (1809 Washington) is offering a three-course menu to celebrate the French Revolution. For $35 a person, you can choose from appetizers like escargot or mussels, entrees like beef bourguignon or cote d'agneau vert pre and desserts like Crêpe Suzette. Call 713-863-7029 for reservations.
The newly reopened Cafe Moustache (507 Westheimer) is also holding a Bastille Day celebration with free frites to anyone sporting a beret or mustache (warning: you'll apparently be "immortalized" on their "soon-to-be-famous Moustache wall"). Little do they know that all the skinny Montrose hipsters sport berets and mustaches on a daily basis anyway... The restaurant will also be serving free Kir Royales to the first 50 guests as well as offering a three-course dinner for $30, French wine flights for $12 and a French cheese plate for $7.