Here's a look at this week's hottest culinary happenings:
All month long
Sweet March Specials at Ooh La La
Ooh La La bakeries, 23920 Westheimer, 20155 Park Row, 770 West Sam Houston Parkway North, are offering new creations this month: Strawberry Pop-Tart Cupcakes ($3.75 each, $39.95/dozen) and Girl Scout Cookie Macarons ($2.25 each, $27/dozen) in flavors including Caramel Delight and Thin Mints. And throughout the Rodeo (through Sunday, March 17), you’ll be able to find Texas-themed shortbread ($3.75 each $42/dozen), from cowboy boots and hats to blue bonnets, cows and cacti. Limited availability in the bakery cases; call your nearest location for pre-orders.
Charity of the Month at Etoile Cuisine et Bar
During the month of March, Etoile Cuisine et Bar, 1101-11 Uptown Park, will help raise funds for Music Doing Good, a nonprofit arts organization that inspires and transforms lives through innovative, music-based programming and performance experiences. The Houston organization has four outreach programs that bring music to children in Houston who would otherwise not have access. Chef Philippe Verpiand has created two special prix fixe menus, a four-course dinner ($65 per person, with $7 going to the charity) and a three-course weekend brunch ($29 per person, with $4 going to the charity).
All week long
Mardi Gras Weekly Taco at Velvet Taco
Velvet Taco, 4819 Washington, 907 Westheimer, has created a Mardi Gras themed Weekly Taco Feature (WTF) available at all locations through Sunday, March 10. The Gator Gras taco features fried alligator, house shred, chipotle crema, corn pico and micro cilantro on a homemade hibiscus corn tortilla.
Fresh Field Trip Menu at Bernie's Burger Bus
Chef Justin Turner has rolled out new wacky delicious specials, available for a limited time (at least a few weeks) at all locations of Bernie’s Burger Bus, 5407 Bellaire, 2643 Commercial Center, 2200 Yale. Look out for specials including the Chicken Caesar Burger, Memphis BBQ-Dusted Green Chili Queso Fries, Hot Cheeto Mac & Cheese Fire Balls and White Chocolate Oreo Shake.
Tuesday, March 5
National Pancake Day at Snooze
Snooze, multiple locations, is celebrating National Pancake Day on Fat Tuesday, March 5, offering an all-star lineup of throwback pancakes and a strong charitable arm. In honor of this day of indulgence, there will be one-time-only return of some of Snooze’s most missed pancakes, as chosen by guests and staff. Pancake preparations include King Cake, a honey cinnamon pancake topped with vanilla buttercream, served with maple bourbon sauce and festive raw sugar; Coffee N' Donuts, a buttermilk pancake drizzled with maple donut glaze, crushed pecans and a side of espresso cream; and Strawberry Fields, a corn batter pancake topped with fresh strawberries, strawberry honey sauce, whipped mascarpone, and candied almonds, among others. On this day, 100-percent of the pancake proceeds will be used to help develop and nurture a local garden in the community of each Snooze location.
Mardi Craw at The Rustic
The Rustic, 1836 Polk, is celebrating Mardi Gras an authentic, bayou-style Cajun crawfish boil all day on Tuesday, March 5. The Mardi Craw menu will feature Louisiana’s best crawfish with corn and potatoes (two pounds), jambalaya with grilled shrimp, chicken and sausage gumbo and a side of jambalaya, plus drinks like Pacific Beer, Corona Premier, a Hurricane Frozen Cocktail with Bacardi and Swamp Thing Frozen Cocktails with Bacardi. The party kicks off at 5 p.m. with a live DJ spinning New Orleans zydeco, jazz and R&B hits, followed a live performance by The South Austin Moonlighters. Admission is free with an RSVP on PreKindle. The event is first-come first-serve; an RSVP does not guarantee admittance. Limited VIP tickets are available for $40.
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo at Eight Row Flint
Eight Row Flint, 1039 Yale, continues its Outdoor Cooking Series with Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. Beat the arctic blast and get a bowl for $15 from 5 p.m. until sold out.
Mardi Gras at Brennan’s
Brennan’s, 3300 Smith, will feature a three-course Mardi Gras menu, available from 5:45 to 9:45 p.m. for $65 per person, plus festivities including jazz music, beads, custom cocktails — such as the Rue Royale Rickey and Bourbon Street Smash. Enjoy a selection of decadent and classic Creole dishes prepared by executive chef Joe Cervantez, from a Buttermilk Fried Quail and Louisiana Crawfish Pies to Red Snapper and NOLA Praline Tres Leches Cake.
Fat Tuesday at Bistro Provence
Bistro Provence, 13616 Memorial, will be doing something French to celebrate Fat Tuesday. Instead of the American tradition of wolfing down pancakes, it will offer freshly made oreillettes en Provence, a traditional sweet treat almost identical to beignets. The plate feeds two people for $8.
Wednesday, March 6
Karbach Beer Dinner at The Pit Room
Chef Lyle Bento and Karbach Brewing Co. will be collaborating on a special five-course dinner with beer pairings at The Pit Room, 1201 Richmond, from 6 to 9 p.m. Eats include tuna pastrami on beef fat toasted rye paired with Weekend Warrior, smoked oysters and horseradish aioli paired with Karbach Daymaker, duck Vietnamese salad with Hopadillo, house-smoked beer brat with Lovestreet, and coffee-bourbon-glazed smoked beef rib with Chocolate Stout. Tickets are $50 per person (including swag) and seating is limited to 40 people.
Wine Dinner at Lucienne
Guests are invited to a five-course Marchesi Incisa Della Rocchette Wine Dinner at Lucienne in Hotel Alessandra, 1070 Dallas. Enjoy the wines from Piedmont, Italy alongside dishes such as truffle tagliatelle, venison with Valrhona chocolate sauce and vanilla sponge cake with berries and pastry cream. Cost is $110 per person and the dinner begins with a reception at 7 p.m. Call 713-242-8540.
Friday, March 8
International Women's Day Market at Karbach Brewing Co.
In honor of International Women’s Day, Shop Local will be setting up an all-female entrepreneurs of Houston market at Karbach Brewing Co., 2032 Karbach, from 5 to 10 p.m. Sip Karbach suds and shop vendors from Pop Soap and The Pink Swan Shop to Modern Artifacts and Furrever Doggies.
Kickin MAX'S Style Dinner at Max’s Wine Dive Fairview
Max’s Wine Dive, 214 Fairview, will host a Rodeo-inspired Wine Dinner from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Guests can enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres followed by five wine-paired courses for $75 per person.
Saturday, March 9
Now in its 22nd year, the annual Irish Cook-off will take place at Griff’s, 3416 Roseland, from noon to 7 p.m. Cook-off categories include Irish Stew, Chili, Chicken, Desserts and an Open Dish, and guests can enjoy tastes of all while listening to music from Snit's Dog and Pony Show and Spin Cycle.
H-TOWN Chili Throwdown at Onion Creek
Onion Creek, 3106 White Oak, is hosting its tenth annual H-TOWN Chili Throwdown, beginning with cooking at noon and tasting from 2 to 4 p.m. The Creeks, local restaurants, distilleries and breweries will be competing to see who makes the best chili around alongside live music and a day of fun. Tasting tickets are available for $10 or $25 with a t-shirt. Note: the event sold out last year, so purchase your tickets in advance to secure a spot.
Sunday, March 10
Chef Fest Houston at Harvest Green Village
Kicking off the spring season, the third annual Chef Fest Houston will take place at Harvest Green Village, 8939 Harlem. A lineup of ten local chefs — including Atlas Diner’s Richard Knight, Paul Lewis of Indianola, and Kulture’s Dawn Burrell — will use seasonal produce to create festival style dishes that celebrate the Houston terroir. Attendees will also enjoy craft cocktails, local wine and beer, and live music, all while benefiting local producers and our nonprofit beneficiary — I’ll Have What She’s Having.
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Crawfish Cook-Off at Cottonwood
Cottonwood, 3422 North Shepherd, is hosting its second annual Crawfish Cook-Off from 2 to 6 p.m. Stop by to taste crawfish from local teams alongside Saint Arnold beer and music by Pecos Hank and Garrett T. Capps. A $30 wristband earns you unlimited crawfish tastings at each booth and a voting token. Any crawfish ordered to a table and produced by Cottonwood is sold at an additional cost.
Sunday Supper Club: Italian Night at Decatur Bar and Pop-Up Factory
Guests are invited to the first in a series of monthly pop-ups at Decatur Bar and Pop-Up Factory, 2310 Decatur. LMN Hospitality chefs Brandi Key and Jorge Valencia will host a Sunday Supper Club: Italian Night, a 30-seat, five-course dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. Dinner highlights include King Crab & Corn, Sopresini “Carbonara and Brûlée Gorgonzola. Tickets are $125 per person, and drink pairings will be available on-site for $30.