Things To Do

This Week in Houston Food Events: Half-Price Oysters and Chocolate Turkeys

Photo by The Original Chocolate Bar
A chocolate turkey for me, a chocolate turkey for you.

Tuesday, November 16

Half Price Oysters at Xin Chao
click to enlarge Gulf Coast oysters get the Viet-Cajun treatment at Xin Chao. - PHOTO BY XIN CHAO
Gulf Coast oysters get the Viet-Cajun treatment at Xin Chao.
Photo by Xin Chao
This Vietnamese restaurant from Christine Ha and Tony Nguyen is celebrating oyster season with half-priced oysters every Tuesday. Traditionalists can go for the Fresh Gulf Oysters with Thai Chile mignonette and Vietnamese herbs or try some mollusks from our neighbors way north and enjoy the Beau Soleil with Canada oysters and lime. Viet-Cajun is not just for crawfish anymore. At Xin Chao, the Viet- Cajun oysters are hit with H Town Bang, a little garlic butter and fried onion and served with baguette slices. The Grilled Oysters are Gulf Coast oysters with scallion oil, pork cracklins, roasted peanuts and lime.

And if half-price oysters weren't tempting enough, Xin Chao's Tuesday special includes half-priced bottles of sparkling wine to pair with the briny goodness.

Thursday, November 18

Deacon Baldy's Holiday Cocktail Class

We at the Houston Press like to keep our readers on the northside up to date on events in their area and the Holiday Cocktail Class at Deacon Baldy's Bar and Food Trucks, 5447 FM 1488, sounds like a good time for the folks in The Woodlands and Magnolia. Learn to make a cocktail to impress your holiday guests while enjoying some charcuterie from a local business.

The cost is $45 and includes two full cocktails, three tasters and a charcuterie box from Occasionally Board whose owner, Dana Anthony, will be on hand to discuss her upcoming Charcuterie Board Class December 16.  Seating is limited so interested parties might want to sign up ASAP on the website.

Duckhorn Dinner at Tasting Room

The Tasting Room at City Centre, 818 Town and Country Boulevard, is partnering with Duckhorn Vineyards for a five-course dinner and wine pairings. The menu from Beto Gutierrez, executive chef at LASCO Enterprises, begins with Warm Brie Crostini with poached pears and truffle honey, coupled with Duckhorn Chardonnay, Napa. It's followed by Beef Carpaccio, served with Calera Pinot Noir, Central Coast. The third course is Potato Gnocchi al Pomodoro with spicy Italian sausage served with a wine that can hold its own with the sausage, Duckhorn Merlot, Napa. Smoked Beef Short Ribs come next, paired with Canvasback Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain. The dinner ends with an autumnal Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake and Decoy Brut Cuvee Sparkling.

The event begins at 7 p.m. and is $95 for a luxurious meal and a little wine education. To make reservations, call 281-822-1500.

Friday, November 19

Trattoria Sofia Opens

click to enlarge Gamberi Fra Diavolo is a spicy shrimp dish. - PHOTO BY KIRSTEN GILLIAM
Gamberi Fra Diavolo is a spicy shrimp dish.
Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
The newest restaurant from Berg Hospitality makes its debut Friday at 911 W. 11th in The Heights. Trattoria Sofia will serve rustic yet elegant Italian food in a cozy, romantic setting. Guests can begin their meal with bruschetta, Pumpkin Chickpea Dip or Fritelle di Cacio e Pepe, a cheese fritter with black pepper, Parmigiano-Reggiano and taleggio. antipasti includes the Sofia Salumi, a platter of Italian cold meats and cheeses or a Fritto Misto  with fried shrimp, squid, capers and peperoncino. There are several pizzas on offer plus pasta such as Campanelli Ragu di Agnello, a plate of campanelli pasta with lamb ragu. Secondi, or mains include Pollo alla Parmigiana (chicken parm), Vitello alla Milanese (veal cutlet) and a Gamberi Fra Diavolo that looks more elegant than any shrimp fra diavolo we have ever seen.

Cocktails are an important part of the Italian experience at Trattoria Sofia and Berg Hospitality Group has partnered with Houston Queen of Cocktails, Alba Huerta, as the group's beverage consultant. Carbs play a big part in Italian cuisine and owner Benjamin Berg has brought in chef and master bread baker, Magnus Hansson to consult on the menu along with Trattoria Sofia's executive chef LJ Wiley. TC Nguyen serves as sous chef for the new concept.

Check back later in this week's Openings and Closings for more information about Trattoria Sofia and interior photos of the new space.

Saturday, November 20

Lagers & Lambic Fest at Star Sailor

Star Sailor, 1710 W. 18th, is hosting its first Lagers & Lambic Fest this Saturday. Tickets are $25 for General Admission and $30 for VIP. Both include entry to the event and small bites from Star Sailor's kitchen but GA includes two beer tickets while VIP includes three. Tickets can be purchased at Eventbrite or at the door. Additional bites and brews will be available for purchase.

The bar is also encouraging attendees to bring out their own whales and growlers to share with other guests. Contact Star Sailor for more information because we aren't sure exactly what that entails.

All Month Long

Hanukkah To-go At Kenny & Ziggy's
click to enlarge Brisket is a traditional meat for Hanukkah. - PHOTO BY PAULA MURPHY
Brisket is a traditional meat for Hanukkah.
Photo by Paula Murphy
This year, Thanksgiving is barely over before Hanukkah begins the following Sunday at sundown November 28. The Jewish holiday ends at dusk December 6. There is usually a lot of feasting during the Festival of Lights and Kenny & Ziggy's New York Delicatessen Restaurant, 2327 Post Oak Boulevard, is always prepared to help ease the cooking load for celebrants with its packages to-go. There's a Family Dinner which serves 6 to 8 people and includes chicken soup, brisket, matzo balls, challah, two dozen mini latkes, one apricot-roasted chicken, a choice of kasha varnishkas or egg barley with mushrooms and a pint of apple sauce or sour cream for $195. There's also the Lox and Latkes package ($148) with two dozen latkes, potato or vegetable, with one pound Nova and a half pound pastrami-cured salmon and dill sour cream. The Deli Feast includes chopped liver, bagel chips, a deli meat tray, a pickle relish tray, two dozen franks in blanket, two dozen mini latkes, potato salad, cole slaw and more. It's truly a feast and feeds 8 to 10 hungry people for $235. The restaurant also offers numerous Hanukkah items a la carte.

Orders should be made online or by phone at least 48 hours in advance.

Uchi's New Happy Hour
click to enlarge Tempura Cod is on the new happy hour menu at Uchi. - PHOTO BY UCHI
Tempura Cod is on the new happy hour menu at Uchi.
Photo by Uchi
This Japanese restaurant can be pretty pricey and for very good reason. It has a reputation for high-quality ingredients and highly-trained chefs. Its new happy hour menu runs from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily and includes plates like the Tempura Cod, Pork Belly with apple kimchi and sesame mayo and Shrimp Skewers with shiro dashi butter, chimichurri, crispy shallots and trinity herbs. For vegetarians there is Agedashi Tofu with mapo mushroom ragu, tsuyu sauce and shiso and for meat lovers, the Wagyu Beef Kushiyaki with aka kosho, lemon, scallions and a5 fat tare is a decadent plate.

Uchi is located at 904 Westheimer. Call 713-522-4808 for reservations.

Chocolate Turkeys at The Original Chocolate Bar
Forget flowers and fake pumpkins, what we really want to see on the Thanksgiving table this year is a giant chocolate turkey from The Original Chocolate Bar. Weighing in at three and a half pounds, the tasty and adorable centerpiece is a milk and dark chocolate sculpture of the festive fowl with chocolate-covered Oreos, Rice Krispy Treats and brownie bites at its base. The hard part will be keeping little (and big) hands away from it while guests enjoy their Thanksgiving meal.

The chocolate turkeys are $69.95 and are available for pick-up at its Rice Village location, 2521 University Boulevard. It is best to call ahead to reserve a turkey at 713-520-8888 or order online. The shop also has smaller chocolate turkeys for place settings and even a 19 pound version for a mega event.