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A plate full of meat from the 2009 World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest.
A plate full of meat from the 2009 World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest.
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt

By far, the biggest food event happening in Houston this weekend is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo's kick-off event: The World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, taking place all weekend long. The smell of mesquite chips, brisket and mop sauce is thick in the air from the South Loop to the Medical Center for days, but be warned that the barbecue there isn't for everyone.

Unless you have a wristband that allows you access to a tent, there is no reason -- we repeat, no reason -- to attend the World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, even if you buy a ticket to the Rodeo. A ticket does not equal a wristband. You will only find yourself frustrated when you realize that you cannot taste any of the barbecue being prepared, only walk around and watch other people having fun, drinking beer, dancing and spilling sauce all over themselves from the comfort of their corporate-sponsored tents. You will be better off enjoying the midway, carnival and livestock -- trust us.

That aside, the results for the contest will be announced on February 27 in a series of different categories, ranging from best ribs to most unique pit. The winners will take home coveted belt buckles (the standard Rodeo prize) and huge bragging rights across the state.

In a complete change of pace, Bistro Don Camillo is hosting a "Julie and Julia" wine dinner this Monday, March 1, which is simply charming in its inspiration: The restaurant will be serving a four-course meal cooked from Julia Child's famed cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Along with dinner, wines from Heritage will be poured by the winery's own Georges Bitard. The price is $55 per person, but the person who shows up looking (and sounding) the most like Julia Child will have their dinner on the house. Call 713-782-3011 for reservations.

Sunday, March 7, will see long-time Mexican favorite Pico's Mex-Mex celebrating its 26th anniversary with a giant brunch spread starting at 11 a.m. Guests will be able to purchase bottomless mimosas for only $5 and enjoy more than 100 different items of food from the buffet, which will contain dishes from all seven regions of Mexico. The price is $24.95 per person on the day of, or $19.95 for advance tickets. Reservations and advance tickets are available by calling 713-662-8383.


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