Upcoming Events

Your excuse to indulge in several margaritas in an afternoon is coming -- and on a Monday, just when we need it the most. February 22 is National Margarita Day. Who knows why? But, more importantly, who cares? Take the opportunity to try out some of the best margaritas around town (Pico's Mex-Mex, Hugo's and Spanish Flowers have some of our favorites) or make your own. Here's a recipe, courtesy of Herradura, that adds a delicious flair to a traditional margarita:

  • 9 oz Tequila Herradura Blanco
  • 1 liter tamarind pulp
  • 4-6 oz simple syrup
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Chili powder and salt
In a container, mix tamarindo pulp, tequila, simple syrup, orange and lime juices. Shake all of these ingredients by hand. Fill half of a blender pitcher with ice, and complete with the liquid mix just prepared. Blend. Serve in margarita glasses rimmed with chili powder and salt.

It serves six, so don't guzzle it all down yourself. And if you're not in the mood to make one yourself, Bodega's serves a mean tamarind margarita -- just make sure to get it on the rocks.

This Saturday marks the start of what we hope will be an annual event, the FS Prep/ProStart Regional Competition at Westside High School. The event is sponsored by the Greater Houston Restaurant Association and serves to highlight the culinary and academic talents of high school students from eight area schools. The students will compete in a range of events, from knife skills to cooking, with the winners going on to the regional competition in Austin. The national ProStart Invitiational will take place in Kansas in April, with one overall winner from Texas being chosen to represent our state's high schoolers. The event starts at 11 a.m. with the winners announced at 3:30 p.m.

The next day, a food competition of another sort will be taking place to usher in the Rodeo season in Houston. The Rodeo Uncorked! Best Bites Competition starts at 6 p.m. on Sunday at Reliant Center, which seems to be taking the place of last year's Gold Buckle Foodie Awards in which all manner of fried fair foods were pitted against one another. The Best Bites Competition will instead see more than 50 of Houston's best restaurants compete in three areas:

  • Best Bites Popular Choice Award - 1st and 2nd place
  • Trailblazing Appetizer / Entrée Award - 1st, 2nd and 3rd place
  • Two-stepping Bread / Cheese / Dessert Award - 1st and 2nd places

It's possible for a restaurant to win in both the Best Bites category as well as the Trailblazing Appetizer / Entrée or the Two-stepping Bread / Cheese / Dessert categories, so a restaurant could conceivably walk away with two champion buckles this year (we see a nice betting pool developing out of this). Aside from buckles, winners will also receive trophy saddles and/or chaps. Individual tickets to the event are $100, but a table of ten can be purchased for $1,800 -- hey, it's the Rodeo. Did you think this was gonna be cheap? But if you aren't splashing out for a ticket, don't fret: As one of the judges for this year's competition, you can be we'll be back here on Monday with plenty of pictures and coverage from the event.

Later next week, Catalan will be hosting one of its monthly wine dinners on February 24. These sell out quickly, so call 713-426-4260 to reserve your spot now and treat yourself on humpday for making it halfway through the week. The cost is $125 per person, which includes six courses from Chef Chris Shepherd as well as a selection of six different Patz & Hall wines throughout the evening. Donald Patz himself will even be on hand pouring the wine.

Lent officially started this past Wednesday and will last until April 4. What are you giving up for Lent this year? Taking the chocolate and/or booze route, or going with something less traditional like Twitter? All we know is that Cafe Chino is celebrating halibut season all throughout March, so you can get your Friday fish fix there all month long starting on Monday, March 1. The restaurant will be serving steamed halibut with Asian pesto, sautéed baby bok choy and shiitake mushrooms, with a glass of house wine for $24.95 per person. (p.s. If you gave up booze for Lent, send that glass of wine our way.)


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