Times are tough for everyone, including the hospitality industry. But that doesn't mean all hope is lost, as Houston's food community has proven to be a strong one. Here's a look at what's going on in the food world during the COVID-19 crisis, including a citywide #StayAtHomePicnic, Sunday Supper fundraising event and Indian food pantry to-go.
To celebrate National Picnic Day (Thursday, April 23), PR group Public Content has teamed up with local Houston restaurants to launch a #StayAtHomePicnic campaign to engage Houstonians with special picnic offers to enjoy at home. More than 20 Houston institutions participating, including Adair Kitchen, Betsy’s at Evelyn’s Park, Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co., Camerata at Paulie’s, La Lucha , Mutiny Wine Room, Rainbow Lodge and more.
This Friday, April 24, River Oaks District eateries Ouzo Bay and Loch Bar, 4444 Westheimer, will distribute free specially prepared care packages for restaurant industry professionals and first responders. The free meal kits for four are comprised of locally sourced raw provisions from Common Market, Harvest Grain Mills, Gundermann Acres, Lira Rossa Artisan Cheese and Bedias Creek Farm, all procured through Urban Harvest, plus recipes from the culinary teams at both restaurants. The packs are available from 10 a.m. to noon while supplies last (available on a first-come, first-serve basis with proof of employment/badge or company ID).
La Grange, 2517 Ralph, will be reopening for the evening for a curbside pop-up on Friday, April 24 from 3 to 8 p.m. Expect family-style favorites and tasty beverages to take home, with more details and menu items to come. Stay tuned for details on its Facebook page.
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Urban Harvest will host its spring Sunday Supper fundraising event on Sunday May, 3 and Saturday, May 9, offering a reimagined at-home family experience in partnership with Tony Vallone’s famed restaurant Tony’s and executive chef Austin Waiter. The Drive-Thru Sunday Supper events will offer supporters two ways to enjoy a meal. First is the drive-thru family meal, hot and ready for pickup on Sunday, May between 5 and 6:30 p.m. at Tony’s, 3755 Richmond ($175, deadline to order online is Thursday, April 30 by 5 p.m.). The second option offers supporters the opportunity to be the chef, with a Tony’s Meal Kit available for pickup at Urban Harvest Farmers Market Drive-Thru, 2752 Buffalo Speedway, 2nd Floor, on Saturday, May 9 from 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. ($75, deadline to order Thursday, May 6). All proceeds for both events will support Tony’s staff and Urban Harvest and its Farmers Market vendors.
Dandelion Café, 5405 Bellaire, is making locally-grown, artisanal foods easily accessible for Bellaire area residents, launching a line of new retail section with housemade goods and partnering with local small businesses to host open-air patio pop-ups with food makers (and live-streamed concerts from local musicians). Locals can get their hands on goods like Dandelion’s housemade tomato-cilantro salsa; orange marmalade, blueberry, apple cinnamon, and strawberry jams; chorizo, maple sausage, turkey sausage, and bacon breakfast meats; a lemon and ginger immune-boosting juice and almond milk; and everyday grocery from coffee and espresso beans to beer packs from local breweries.
The cafe has also partnered with Plant It Forward Farms to offer Farm Share produce boxes with a mix of vegetables; KICPOPS for natural ice pop desserts available in bulk carryout, and JodyCakes for gluten-free, vegan and organic cakes. Customers will have the option to walk-up or pre-order from individual food vendors for pickup at their respective events. The pop-up and live-streaming schedule can be found on Dandelion’s Facebook page or website.
In addition to its full menu of to-go dishes, Verandah Progressive Indian Restaurant, 3300 Kirby, is now offering sauces, spices and other ingredients to-go so you can cook Indian food at home. Pick up lemon and tamarind rice mixes, spices like Indian rasam powder, sambar powder and dehydrated lemon peel and orange peel; and 24-ounce sealed containers of Verandah’s signature makhani sauce, a tomato cream sauce usually used with both vegetables and meats; or its korma sauce, a delicious cashew, cream and onion sauce. lemon rice mix, and a tamarind rice mix. Call 281-501-0258 or 832-886-4291 or visit verandahrestaurant.com.