Here's a look at this week's hottest culinary happenings, from Memorial Day mudbugs to a brand-new burger opening:
All summer long
Seasonal tomato menu at Backstreet Cafe
Backstreet Cafe, 1103 South Shepherd, has brought back its seasonal tomato menu just in time for summer. Through mid-September, chef Hugo Ortega will feature the bounty of delicious local and heirloom tomatoes at their peak, with specials including fried green tomatoes topped with crabmeat rémoulade ($14), tomato flatbread with prosciutto, summer squash, tomatoes, peppers and romesco sauce ($13) and panzanella salad with arugula, heirloom tomato, shaved parmesan, toast and lemon vinaigrette ($10), among others.
Monday, May 29
Memorial Day Crawfish Boil at MAX’s Wine Dive Fairview
Get your mudbug on at MAX’s Wine Dive Fairview, 214 Fairview, offered from 11 a.m. until the crawfish run out ($5 per pound and five pounds for $20).
Dinner for Two at The Oceanaire Seafood Room
In honor of Memorial Day, The Oceanaire Seafood Room, 5061 Westheimer, is offering couples a Dinner for Two, with dishes including "black & bleu" tenderloin tips, tuna poke and baked Alaska. Couples can savor the three-course meal, paired with a complimentary bottle of J Vineyards California Pinot Gris or Trivento “Reserve” Mendoza Malbec, for $60.
Tuesday and Wednesday
Tuesday and Wednesday night specials at Ouisie’s Table
To celebrate 44 years over two locations (the original opened in a converted building on Sunset Boulevard in 1973 before opening in its current location in 1995), Ouisie’s Table, 3939 San Felipe, will be offering the last of its Tuesday and Wednesday night specials. The blackboard specials will be taken from the original 1973 and 1995 menus, and just like last year, the menus will be offered at the original price. Watch out for classics like the $1.25 WWII Pimento Cheese, $3 Splendid Spud and $9 Bacon Wrapped Quail, filled with veal, prosciutto, herbs and apples and served with mashed sweet potatoes and toasted brioche.
Wednesday, May 31
Pups on the Patio at Cane Rosso Montrose
Held at the Cane Rosso Montrose location, 4306 Yoakum, from 6 to 9 p.m., this pup-friendly event raises funds for Houston Chow Chow Connection. For a $10 donation, guests can get a free beer or wine, plus the option to choose from a selection of special pizzas for a discounted price of $10. Cane Rosso will match each donation.
Far Niente Wine Dinner at Brennan’s of Houston
Guests are invited to this special wine dinner at Brennan’s of Houston, 3300 Smith, beginning with a reception at 6:30 and a seated dinner at 7 p.m. Hosted by wine director Marcus Gausephol with Napa Valley winery Far Niente, guests can feast on dishes such as white-wine-poached snapper with compressed papaya, reduced Champagne fruit vinaigrette and spiced feta; Broken Arrow venison-stuffed quail breast atop wilted summer greens with a white balsamic peach gastrique and banana Foster soufflé with house-made banana bread and a Caribbean rum sauce. Cost is $125, plus tax and gratuity.
Thursday, June 1
Anniversary specials at Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen Restaurant (West U)
Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen Restaurant in West U, 5172 Buffalo Speedway, is having a birthday party and everyone is invited. Celebrate the deli’s first birthday with a full day of specials, starting with $7.95 breakfast bagel sandwiches (regularly $14.95) from 7 to 10 a.m. Kenny & Ziggy’s Pat LaFrieda custom burgers (normally $17.95) will be offered for just $9.95. And have you ever seen that giant, four-foot-plus green pickle hanging over the deli counter? Beginning June 1 and running through the end of the month, anyone who takes a photo of it and posts it on social media gets a choice of any dessert and a cup of any coffee for $6.95. Special prices are for dine-in only.
Friday, June 2
National Donut Day Wine Dinner at Brenner’s on the Bayou
Brenner’s on the Bayou, 1 Birdsall, is celebrating National Donut Day with a special wine dinner at 7 p.m. The five-course, wine-paired feast offers global takes on doughnuts, with dishes including French zucchini and ricotta beignets with candied lemon and whipped crème fraîche; Mexican smoked pork and pickled chile churros; German duck Berliner with duck stroganoff and cremini mushroom; and Italian ricotta bomboloni with roasted rosemary veal rack, all finished with a local take, Shipley Do-Nut Bread Pudding. Cost is $70 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
Saturday, June 3
Opening of Balls Out Burger
Balls Out Burger, the first concept from restaurateur Ian Tucker, is opening its doors (and dog-friendly patio) at 1603 North Durham. The burger joint will offer a simple, counter-service menu featuring classic hamburger, cheeseburger and double varieties alongside shoestring, hand-cut and sweet potato fries. All patties are five-ounce, premium cuts of beef sourced from 44 Farms, and the bun utilizes an in-house recipe with bread produced fresh daily from Slow Dough. Kids’ hamburgers and cheeseburgers, Saint Arnold beer cans, Texas wines and classic shakes with Amy’s ice cream complete the menu. Hours will be Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Madeira 101 at Public Services Wine & Whisky
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Not content to sit on a throne made entirely of sherry, Public Services, 202 Travis, has been quietly amassing a huge collection of Madeira for the past year. The wine is ancient, with a fascinating story to tell, and the bar team will be doing just that. At least seven different types of Madeira will be served, featuring six different varietals, plus snacks curated by Karen Man. Tickets are $65 and the class begins at 2 p.m.
Sunday, June 4
Chefs For Paws at The Merrill House
Chefs for Paws, a chefs’ tasting event benefiting Rescued Pets Movement, will be held at The Merrill House, 2502 Algerian Way, from 5 to 7 p.m. The all-volunteer event will feature local chefs and vendors — including Martha DeLeon of Pax Americana, Felix Flores of Ritual and Ben McPherson of Krisp Bird & Batter — plus cocktails from Deep Eddy, wines from Cannonball Wines and beer from Goliad Brewing. Tickets are available for a donation of $75 per ticket or $500 or a VIP table of eight.