Things To Do

Upcoming Houston Food Events: Paella and Unicorns for New Year's Eve

Ninfa's Seafood Paella feeds a small group.
Ninfa's Seafood Paella feeds a small group. Photo by Becca Wright
Mark your calendars because you don't want to miss these deliciously fun culinary happenings:

For those looking to join in on the charcuterie craze, Central Market Cooking School, 3815 Westheimer, will have its Make & Take Cheese and Charcuterie class December 29 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Experts will guide participants in the art of putting together the perfect party plate of salumi, cheeses and condiment pairings. There will be wine for sipping and guests will be able to take their creations home, just in time for upcoming New Year's Eve bashes. Tickets are $75. The classes are for ages 21 and up.
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El Big Bad is hosting a unicorn-themed New Year's Eve.
Photo by Juan M. Ocanas
El Big Bad is hosting its 6th annual New Year's Eve celebration, Year of the Unicorn, December 31 with doors opening at 8 p.m. The party will have drink specials like its Unicorn Margarita which is made with fresh-squeezed limes, lemons, agave nectar and 100 percent Blue Weber tequila. For the kicker, a split of Korbel champagne is dropped in, bottom up. After a few, you may be bottom up, too.
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The Unicorn Margarita gets a Champagne boost.
Photo by Steve Sharma
To keep guests nourished, there will be a complimentary buffet and for fun there will be a Glitter Beard/Face/Hair Station. A live Dj will supply the music and there will be a unicorn pinata "ball drop". The evening will be filled with giveaways, costume contests and there will be a champagne toast to ring in the new year. Tickets will be limited to give attendees room to safely mingle.

Basic tickets run $25 to $40 and include entry beginning at 8 p.m. and the complimentary buffet till 10 p.m. plus a glass of Korbel champagne around midnight. There will also be a photo booth and party favors while supplies last. The Inclusive tickets run from $100 to $150 and offer an extra social hour starting at 7 p.m. with a free glass of Korbel, the buffet from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., a private room with exclusive buffet items and an additional bar. The Inclusive package also offers some complimentary drink tickets.  For more information, go to eventbrite.
Chocolat and Art is the New Year's Eve theme at Chapman and Kirby.
Photo by Erika Kwee
Chapman and Kirby, 2118 Lamar, is ringing in the New Year with chocolate and art. General Admission starts at $10 but for the full NYE experience, the cocktail lounge and restaurant is offering a VIP dinner with seatings starting at 5 p.m. with the last at 8:30 p.m. It starts with Sesame Chicken Bites or Ceviche Acapulco. The second course choices include a hand-cut beef filet, lemon beurre blanc grilled chicken, lemon caper butter grilled salmon or a cauliflower steak. Dessert comes in the form of a chocolate fountain trio. The dinner is $75 per person and includes one cocktail.

After dinner, the music begins at 9 p.m. and there is an art show. Later, there will be a balloon drop, confetti cannon and champagne toast. For larger parties, VIP tables are available. Reservations can be made through Resy or at eventbrite.
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The Good Resolution will get 2022 off to a good start.
Photo by Alex Montoya
For a family-friendly New Year's Eve, Palace Social, 4191 Bellaire, will be open until 10 p.m. December 31, allowing parents to get the wee ones back in time for a midnight toast at home. It will also be open New Year's Day from 11 a.m. to midnight. There are seasonal food and drink specials including a cocktail, The Good Resolution ($10) made with Citadel gin, fresh lemon juice, basil and peppercorn. There is a kid friendly menu plus entrees for grown-ups, too. For good luck, guests can add a trio of sides for $12 with black-eyed peas, cornbread and cabbage.

Palace Social is a multi-entertainment venue with arcade games, bowling, virtual reality gaming and sports simulator bays.

The Original Ninfa's is offering Chef Alex Padilla's Seafood Paella for New Year's Eve all day. The paella ($125) can be ordered for dine-in or to-go 24 hours in advance. It is available at both The Original Ninfa's on Navigation, 2704 Navigation Boulevard, and Ninfa's Uptown, 1700 Post Oak. The Seafood Paella feeds 4 to 5 diners and a bottle of Cava can be added for $20.

For New Year's Day, The Original Ninfa's is serving its Red Chile Pork Posole ($14), a warm dish that the restaurant says is a traditional Mexican hangover cure. It will also offer brunch all day New Year's Day.
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A Bloody Mary at Brennan's is a next day pick-me-up.
Photo by Kimberly Park
Once the new year has been rung in, it's time to take a break from the holiday festivities and enjoy a relaxing New Year's Day brunch. Brennan's of Houston, 3300 Smith, will have Creole favorites, live jazz music and holiday specials from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. They will also have their special Bloody Mary with house-made mix to take the edge off Champagne hangovers.

After a big holiday extravaganza, there may be an open bottle of wine or two leftover. For those looking for ideas to use it up, Sur La Table, 800 Town and Country Boulevard, is hosting its Cooking with Wine class January 5 at 1 p.m. Attendees will be taught techniques for incorporating wine into several different dishes. The class begins with seared chicken with Sauvignon Blanc, creme fraiche and herbs. followed by an endive and radicchio salad with Champagne vinaigrette and toasted hazelnuts. Students will also learn to make port fig jam and goat cheese crostini, in groups of four. Class size is limited to 16 participants and lasts two to two and a half hours. The class is $79 per person. 
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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.