Here's a look at this week's hottest culinary happenings:
Restaurants Rally for Furloughed Federal Workers
Four Houston restaurants are offering no-cost dining options for federal workers either furloughed or forced to work without pay during the government shutdown of many federal jobs. D’Amico’s Italian Market Café, 5510 Morningside; Bistro Provence, 13616 Memorial; Ouisie’s Table, 3939 San Felipe; and Rainbow Lodge, 2011 Ella.
At D’Amico’s, all furloughed workers plus one guest can sit down for a spaghetti and meatballs lunch or dinner on the house, offered Monday through Thursday while the shutdown lasts (dine-in only, good one time per person).
Bistro Provence will offer a free lunch Monday through Friday while the shutdown lasts (dine-in only, good one time per person).
Ouisie’s Table will offer any furloughed federal worker or worker having to work without pay during the shutdown a free main course of any item on the menu for lunch any day of the week. For dinner, the restaurant is offering any main course offering up to $30 at no cost. The offer is good once a week per person (dine-in only and for groups of four or less, reservations are required).
Rainbow Lodge is offering any furloughed federal worker or worker having to work without pay during the shutdown a free bowl of smoked duck gumbo from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., Tuesday through Friday until the government reopens. The offer, which requests the purchase of a beverage and a gratuity for the server, is good one time per person. Proof of furlough with a federally-issued government ID will be requested for all dining deals.
Basque Wine Dinner at Uchi
Uchi Houston, 904 Westheimer, will celebrate Spain’s Basque Country with a one-night-only menu exploring the flavors of the Basque region at 6 p.m. Chef de cuisine Chris Davies’ menu includes snacks upon arrival and a four-course dinner plus dessert, with guest and certified sommelier Chris Poldoian of Camerata at Paulie’s pairing five Basque wines, including a red, white, cider, sparkling, and a surprise pairing, with each course. Dine on courses such as baby Spanish octopus with salt cod pil pil and crisp suckling pig with preserved quince and burnt onion consommé. Cost is $150 per person, tax and gratuity and seating is limited. Call 713-522-4808 ext. 2 to secure a seat.
Two-Year Anniversary at Riel
Riel, 1927 Fairview, will celebrate its two-year anniversary with $2 happy hour specials and guest chef EJ Miller (former executive sous chef at Riel and current executive chef at International Smoke). Miller will collaborate with Lachaine for an a la carte menu of the restaurant’s “greatest hits” for one night only, from old favorites including yellow head-on Gulf shrimp (fried collard greens, radish and hot and sour) and pork tonkatsu tartine (savoy cabbage, bulldog sauce, kewpie), among other surprises. The festivities kick off with happy hour specials available throughout the entire restaurant from 5 to 6:30 p.m., with $2 select wines, $2 8th Wonder beer and $2 bar bites like mini hot dogs, gator karaage, tempura cauliflower and beet chips.
Note: This event has been canceled.
Ribbon-cutting and Grand Opening at SING
Singaporean-inspired hotspot SING, 718 West 18th, will celebrate its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony beginning at 4 p.m.. with a lion dance performance the local Young Pride Lion Dance Team at 4:30 p.m. and complimentary light bites and music during the event.
A Sparkling Evening of New Year Bubbles at Bistro Provence
Bistro Provence, 13616 Memorial, will host a bubbly celebration for its first wine dinner of 2019, featuring sparkling wines from a number of France’s wine regions alongside dishes from foie gras crème brulee to fish terrine and grass-fed veal. Dinner begins at 7 p.m. and the cost per person is $115 plus tax and gratuity. A $60 deposit via PayPal is required to secure a reservation. Call 713-827-8008 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rioja Tasting at Camerata
Camerata at Paulie’s, 1834 Westheimer, will continue its celebrations of the third annual Basque Festival, Txotx 2019, with a special Rioja Tasting from 5 to 7 p.m. Wine importer De Maison Selections will be on hand for a Basque Happy Hour dedicated to the wines and villages of Rioja Alavesa. Attendees can order flights of wine and pair them with housemade pintxos.
Eggs, Grains and Vegetables Cooking Class at Pondicheri
Pondicheri, 2800 Kirby, will be hosting an Eggs, Grains and Vegetables cooking class from 6 to 8 p.m. The intimate class is limited to 12 students, with tickets for $100 per person. Learn how to cook simple egg dishes using various masalas, savory oats and uppma and how to incorporate vegetables into breakfast dishes.
PPK Pop-Up at Kirby Ice House
Peli Peli Kitchen is revamping its menu, focusing on real-deal peri peri chicken and seafood. The team will be popping up and showing off its goods at Kirby Ice House, 3333 Eastside, every Friday in January from 5 to 9 p.m. Get a taste of peri peri wings, peri peri quarter chicken and flat fries with jerky (biltong) seasoning from PPK’s new chef and operator, Ryan Stewart.
Cocktail Making at Lucienne
Master the art of cocktail making and mix it up with chef Jose Hernandez bar-side at Hotel Alessandra’s Lucienne, 1070 Dallas. The mixology series continues in January with a spotlight on Alkkemist and Gabriel Boudier gins, taking place each Saturday of the month from 3 to 4 p.m. Guests can nibble on a menu of light bites including smoked salmon, tuna tartare, mimosa egg and crab cakes while learning about the history, origins and varieties of gin, and then get hands on experience with three classics: Bees Knees, Martini and Spanish Gin & Tonic. Cost is $75 per person and the class is limited to eight guests (21-and-up only). To reserve, email email@example.com.
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One Pot Showdown at Saint Arnold
Saint Arnold Brewing Company, 2000 Lyons, will host its annual One Pot Showdown from 1 to 4 p.m. Now in its 12th year, the “one part chili cookoff, one part stew stampede,” and “one part gumbo gauntlet” will have more than 80 teams serving their tastiest dish with Saint Arnold beer. Tickets (which are known to sell out) are $40 and proceeds from the event will go to Kid’s Meals, an organization that provides healthy lunches to preschool aged kids living in poverty.
Basque BBQ Pop-up at Camerata
Camerata, 1834 Westheimer, will host natural wine importer Álvaro de la Viña and Gaitlin’s BBQ chef Michelle Wallace for a Basque-inspired barbecue from 4 to 8 p.m. Guests can enjoy platters with one protein and two sides for $18, and at 6 p.m., Camerata will host the third-annual porrón-pouring competition.