Holiday Food and Drink

Five Special Events at Houston Restaurants Worth the Splurge

With Christmas just a few short weeks away, now is the time to get in the holiday spirit. What better way to do so than to treat yourself and a loved one to an unforgettable meal? If food is your passion, we’ve got the scoop on five upcoming special dinners that are totally and completely splurge-worthy:

What: White Alba Truffle Dinner at Le Mistral
When: Friday, December 4 at 7 p.m. or Saturday December 5 at 8 p.m.
Where: Le Mistral Restaurant
Cost: $340/ per person

Let award-winning chef David Denis seduce your tastebuds with six sumptuous courses of French cuisine filled with prized white Alba truffle imported from Italy. For those who have sampled white Alba truffle, its earthy aroma is considered one of the most decadent and aphrodisiacal in the world. The truffles are extremely seasonal, and are available for only a limited time (the season is expected to end this month). To make the occasion extra-special, the exclusive two-night event is being offered to a maximum of ten guests per evening at the private Chef’s Table, allowing you to meet and greet with Denis and his team inside the kitchen.

The meal starts off with jambon ibérique pata negra et topinambours à la barigoule, truffe d’Alba — poached quail eggs, pata negra ibérico ham, barigoule Jerusalem artichoke, Alba truffle, Champagne sabayon. Continue with a second course of lasagnes safranées au crabe d’Alaska, truffe d’Alba — saffron lasagna of Alaskan king crab, Alba truffle, celery root beurre monté. There will also be filet de turbot (baked turbot filet), filet de veau Rossini (roasted veal tenderloin Rossini style), tartine de truffe et fromage (tartine of sliced Alba truffle sea salt rosemary, coupole cheese), followed by fondant au chocolat blanc parfumé à la truffe (White chocolate Alba truffle fondant, hazelnut ice cream).

For information and reservations, contact Diane Roederer of DRDelicacy at 713-304-5776 or Le Mistral Restaurant at 832-379-8322.
What: Culinary All Stars Dinner benefitting Liz Fenton
When: Sunday, December 6 at 6 p.m.
Where: Underbelly
Cost: $300/per person

As our own Phaedra Cook previously reported,  this Sunday is the Culinary All Stars Dinner benefiting Liz Fenton, a prominent local foodie. A Gofundme campaign set up in Fenton’s name describes her plight: “Liz has been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called transverse myelitis. She is now permanently disabled making it difficult for her to move and she is continually losing additional functionality due to paresthesia, chronic pain and partial paralysis which is only a short list of her ongoing symptoms.”

The Culinary All Stars event, organized by Houston Chowhound Jenny Wang, features a who’s who of Houston’s finest chefs, who have volunteered their time and skill to prepare what will undoubtedly be a magnificent family-style feast. Participants include: Chris Shepherd of Underbelly; Justin Yu of Oxheart; Hugo Ortega of Hugo's; Ryan Pera of Coltivare; Manabu Horiuchi of Kata Robata; Adam Dorris of Pax Americana; Ronnie Killen of Killen's BBQ; and Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan of The Pass & Provisions. There will also be pastry chefs Rebecca Masson of Fluff Bake Bar and Philip Speer (formerly of Uchi), along with beverage pairings by Justin Vann of Public Services.

Per the event’s Facebook page, diners can expect “Shepherd’s Korean fried chicken, Killen’s BBQ beef ribs, Pera’s whole roasted fish, three kinds of sashimi by Chef Hori, Dorris’ Smoked Beef Tartare with fermented pickles, tonnato, mustards and mesquite corn sourdough, and Ortega’s lobster tamales.”

Tickets are available for purchase at Fluff Bake Bar, Underbelly, Killen’s Barbecue and Oxheart. The suggested donation (cash only) is $300 per person. For more information, visit the event's Facebook Page

What: Hunky Dory Wine Dinner
When: Wednesday, December 16 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Hunky Dory 
Cost: $250/per person

When you start a meal with bubbly, it feels like a celebration. When an entire meal is paired with bubbly — specifically high-end bubbly from Champagne, France — it’s a party. Join Hunky Dory executive Richard Knight and head sommelier Michael Peltier for their monthly wine dinner series featuring four courses.

The evening begins with a reception, during which hors d’oeuvres of roasted oyster with cucumber sabayon, tomato and burrata tart, and blood sausage en croute with apples will circulate while you sip on Champagne Paul Goerg Brut Reserve NV. Dinner commences with a decadent torchon of foie gras with mulled wine-poached apple paired to Champagne Marc Hebrart Brut "Cuvee de Reserve" NV MAGNUM. The second course is pan-seared Gulf fish with salsify, turnip, Pernod pickled onions, smoked apple and onion puree as Peltier pours Pierre Gimonnet 1er Cru "Cuvee Fleuron" 2006 MAGNUM. Then there’s rabbit roulade with choucroute garni and sauce Robert, to be eaten while sipping an elegant Egly Ouriet Grand Cru Rose NV. To finish, plan to indulge in a satsuma “creamsicle” with malted biscuit and sorbet, impeccably paired to Champagne Laurent Perrier "Demi-Sec" NV.

For information and tickets, contact Hunky Dory at 713-864-2450 or [email protected]
What: Triniti Anniversary Christmas Eve Dinner
When: Wednesday, December 23 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Triniti Restaurant
Cost: $65/per person

A little piece of trivia about Triniti Restaurant: Four years ago, executive chef and owner Ryan Hildebrand opened his restaurant for first service on Christmas Eve. Since then, the tradition has been to offer an anniversary dinner every Christmas Eve, including this year’s celebratory meal, which is at once a splurge and a steal.

Patrons who call to book this special dinner — which is served family style — will experience an absolute feast. The first course begins with Caesar salad, burrata and lentils, oysters two ways and steak tartare. The second course includes dirty risotto, sweet potato gnocchi and pulled pork with red wine cremini and roasted carrots, roasted beets with pancetta caramel, salted sweet potato tart and goat's milk ricotta, sausage and peppers, glazed pearl onions, bourbon barbecue, whole grain mustard and Triniti mustard with crusty bread. For your third course, let the meat procession begin with a rib roast with horseradish onion jam and steak sauce; cider brined rack of pork; apple sauce and glazed apples; roasted chicken, citrus, garlic, walnuts; grilled red snapper, peanut meunière. And for the finale, cakes, cookies and milk, pies and ice cream. Are you hungry yet?

The restaurant will only accept reservations for this special dinner by phone only, 713- 527-9090.
What: Dessert Tasting at Cloud10 Creamery
When: Tuesday, December 8 at 7 p.m.
Where: Cloud10 Creamery
Cost: $75/ per person or $100 per person (chef’s table)

If you have a sweet tooth and love dessert, this one’s for you. Pastry Chef Chris Leung (Best Pastry Chef 2013) is known for his whimsical, avant-garde and creative desserts. This special, all-dessert dinner will feature five courses which focus on this season.

The evening will kick off with playful, delightful snacks that incorporate apple, pear and orange peel sweets. The first course will feature black sesame, pecan and madras curry. Next up will be a confection made of cranberry, carrot, bay leaf and ginger. To follow, you’ll get a hay, mung bean, olive oil and winter melon creation. Then it gets sweeter with honey, Granny Smith apple, coffee and the mystery ingredient you never thought you’d find in a dessert, fish sauce. The evening concludes with a pumpkin, milk chocolate, hazelnut and black tea dessert, followed by after-dinner candy treats made of chestnut, menthol and butternut squash.

For tickets, please visit
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Mai Pham is a contributing freelance food writer and food critic for the Houston Press whose adventurous palate has taken her from Argentina to Thailand and everywhere in between -- Peru, Spain, Hong Kong and more -- in pursuit of the most memorable bite. Her work appears in numerous outlets at the local, state and national level, where she is also a luxury travel correspondent for Forbes Travel Guide.
Contact: Mai Pham