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Upcoming Houston Food Events: A Woodlands Whiskey Dinner, EatDrinkHTX Soon

Whiskey is winter's warmth at Whiskey Cake.
Whiskey is winter's warmth at Whiskey Cake. Photo by Whiskey Cake Woodlands

Mark your calendars because you don't want to miss these deliciously fun culinary happenings:

In our younger days, we loved to cruise all the fun hot spots on the Richmond Strip but there was always a cozy English pub for just hanging with friends when a night of partying was more low-key. The Richmond Arms, 5920 Richmond, has been a go-to pub for Houston Anglophiles for decades. Unlike the trend of gastropubs that remove all the character, the Richmond Arms still retains the comfortably worn, rough-around-the-edges atmosphere that begs for a place by the fireplace with a cold Bass Ale or dark black Guinness.

For those who have forgotten about the British pub, Monday is a great day to take advantage of specials without hooligans and hipsters. Its Early Open special offers $1.25 Lone Star bottles from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the $7 lunch will help get your budget back on track after holiday spending. The lunch specials offer a choice of half-portion chicken tenders, half-portion chicken wings, The Big Finger Fish or the 6-ounce Burger, all served with a choice of chips (that's fries, y'all) or onion rings.

Happy hour runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with $1 off beers and $3 well drinks. The Monday Steak Night offers a 14-ounce New York Strip, vegetable mix, chips or mash and a domestic pint for $25 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. There's also $5 Jameson shots.

Hot coffee and Irish whiskey does a body good. - PHOTO BY TEELING WHISKEY
Hot coffee and Irish whiskey does a body good.
Photo by Teeling Whiskey

For those who can't wait till St. Patrick's Day to get a little of the craic in their lives, National Irish Coffee Day is January 25. In the spirit of meaningless but fun holidays, some bars and restaurants around Houston are offering traditional Irish Coffee cocktails for a limited time. Reserve 101, 1202 Caroline, will have their R101 Irish Coffee ($12) next week made with a custom Greenway Coffee blend, Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey, Amaro and brown butter whipped cream.

For those who like their whiskey straight up, Whiskey Cake Woodlands, 27800 Northwest Freeway Service Road, is hosting its Buffalo Trace Whiskey Pairing Dinner January 25 at 7 p.m. The five course dinner begins with Colonel Mustard's Black Tiger Shrimp paired with a Buffalo Trace miso-washed cocktail. The second course, Miss Scarlett's Pickled Beets Nicoise, is served with Eagle Rare Whiskey Cake Barrel Select-neat while the third course of Ms. White's Whiskey Rabbit Stew is accompanied by a neat shot of Weller Full Proof Whiskey Cake Barrel Select. It's followed by Reverend Green's Venison Wellington and Blanton's Whiskey Cake Barrel Select, also served neat. For the final dessert course, guests can savor Professor Plum's Pecan Praline Bread Pudding and a Buffalo Trace Cream, offered chilled and neat.

The whiskey and dinner pairing is $98, not including tax and gratuity. Reservations can be made online or by calling 346-209-5577.

The skill of making macarons is not an easy one but Central Market Cooking School, 3815 Westheimer, can help wannabe pastry chefs master the art with its Make and Take: French Macarons January 29 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The class is open to ages 13 and up, but attendees under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult and each person must purchase a ticket.

Participants will learn to pipe out a pre-made batter and how to add seasonal and buttercream fillings to the pastries. Each person will leave with a dozen macarons of assorted fillings.
click to enlarge The dragon will make its appearance January 30 at The Phoenix. - PHOTO BY VU TRUONG
The dragon will make its appearance January 30 at The Phoenix.
Photo by Vu Truong

Lunar New Year 2022 is the Year of the Tiger and The Phoenix, 1915 Westheimer, is celebrating in partnership with The Friends of The Phoenix. FOTP is a non-profit group and the funds from the event will go to the pub's emergency fund and educational pillar. FOTP began its first endowment of a $1,000 scholarship with Houston Community College this year.

The event runs from noon to 5 p.m. January 30. It is dog and kid-friendly with plenty of activities for everyone. Attendees can vie for a prize by guessing the number of "tiger eyes" (marbles) in a jar and try their luck at "Pin the Eye on the Tiger", for which there will be a kids and adults division. The Tiger Races will involve driving a remote control tiger through a maze plus there will be a money tree for kids. Children of all ages will enjoy the Origami Tent/play area. There will also be a ping pong tournament from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

In addition to the activities, there will be a Fried Rice Cookoff. Tickets start at $20 for 8, $40 for VIP with 16 tickets and one beverage token and VVIP ($60) which includes unlimited tastings, a Friends of The Phoenix t-shirt, 18 tickets and two beverage tokens.

The Italian Cultural Community Center, 1101 Milford, is hosting Ambrosia of Puglia, an olive oil tasting event  in collaboration with Maria Cristina Gilberti. The event will take place February 1 at 7 p.m.

Gilberti, a Rice University professor, will guide attendees through the process of tasting and distinguishing the flavors and aromas of the olive oil. The audience will learn how to enjoy it raw and simple while also learning about its beneficial properties.

Gilberti is also a representative for Masseria Maccarone, one of a few producers of organic olive oil in the region of Puglia. The 150-acre estate has approximately 20,000 olive trees, many of which were planted hundreds of years ago, including heirloom varieties. The olives are harvested by hand and with mechanical shakers, then crushed for oil the same day. The low-temperature extraction results in an extra virgin olive oil without acidity.

Tickets are $20 for ICCC members and $25 for non-members. They can be purchased at eventbrite or by phone at 713-524-4222, extension 7. Participants are asked to please wear a face mask and maintain social distancing while in the Milford house.
click to enlarge Katie Stone continues her mother's mission. - PHOTO BY HAYLEY HOCHSTETLER
Katie Stone continues her mother's mission.
Photo by Hayley Hochstetler
Each year, Houston's restaurant-loving foodies and gourmands look forward to Houston Restaurant Weeks, the non-profit established by the late Cleverley Stone. Stone was a much-loved television and radio personality and the event has raised millions of dollars over the years for Houston Food Bank, the largest food bank in the nation.

After Stone's passing from uterine cancer in May 2020, her daughter Katie Stone took on the huge responsibility of keeping the charity event going by creating The Cleverley Stone Foundation. Now, the foundation has added an event, EatDrinkHTX, which will take place February 15 through February 28, 2022.

This special two-week event was specifically designed for the casual dining category. While Houston Restaurant Weeks affords participants the chance to experience some of Houston's fine dining spots and more expensive fare for a fixed-price, EatDrinkHTX is giving casual and fast-casual eateries the chance to be part of the mission. It will also help to bring in customers at a time of the year when restaurants tend to see a decrease in sales after the Valentine's Day boom.

The list of participants is still growing but some early sign-ons include NoPo Cafe, KP's Kitchen, Ciro's Italian Grill, Osso & Kristalla, Thai Cottage, Rim Tannon, Fadi's Mediterranean, Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co., Saigon Hustle and Sunday Press.

There will be several prix-fixe multi-course meals available, which may vary from restaurant to restaurant. Lunch menus will be $15 with $1 being donated. Dinner menus will be $20 or $25, with $2 and $3 being donated, respectively. Some restaurants will offer a brunch menu for $15, with $1 going to the foundation's causes. The proceeds will benefit Houston Food Bank and Star of Hope Mission, two local organizations which have seen a steep rise in need among families in crisis and the food insecure due to the pandemic's challenges. 
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Lorretta Ruggiero is a Houston Press freelance writer based in Cypress, Texas. She loves entertaining her family and friends with her food and sparkling wit. She is married to Classic Rock Bob and they have two exceptionally smart-aleck children.