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This Week in Houston Food Events: Southern Smoke Brings the Heat for Charity

Chefs from around the country (and some hometown heroes) will bring the goods to Chris Shepherd's Southern Smoke Festival.
Chefs from around the country (and some hometown heroes) will bring the goods to Chris Shepherd's Southern Smoke Festival. Photo by Doogie Roux
Here's a look at this week's hottest culinary happenings:

All week long

I’ll Have What She’s Having’s Second Annual WellWeek

After tragic losses among the hospitality community in 2018, I’ll Have What She is Having created WellWeek to stimulate a conversation about mental health and its effects on the food and beverage community. This year, the second annual WellWeek will run for two weeks, now through Saturday, October 12, as participating restaurants and bars develop a menu-worthy non-alcoholic (mocktail) beverage or designated dessert or menu item, with $1 donated for each item sold. Participants include Nancy’s Hustle, Georgia James, UB Preserve, Rosie Cannonball, Hugo’s, Caracol, Backstreet Cafe, Xochi, and Coltivare, among others. See the entire list at

All month long (October)

Charity of the Month at Etoile Cuisine et Bar

Etoile Cuisine et Bar, 1101-11 Uptown Park, has chosen the Posse Foundation Inc. as its charity of the month. Chef Philippe Verpiand is creating two prix fixe menus, one for dinner (four courses for $65, with $7 going to the charity) and one for weekend brunch (three courses for $34, with $4 donated). The Posse Foundation supports public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes, partnering with colleges and universities to Posse Scholars four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships. Another charity will be chosen for November.

Tuesday, October 1

Live Fire Tuesday at Eight Row Flint

Coltivare sous chef Jonathan Ferguson will be taking over the patio at Eight Row Flint, 1039 Yale, with an a la carte menu to preview of New Magnolia Brewing Co., a new brewery opening in The Heights in late October. Get eats — including pickled shrimp with cherries, fennel and pretzels; smoked pork tenderloin with tostones and tomato jam; weisswurst; and popcorn grits — from 5 to 8 p.m.

Thursday, October 3

Corks & Forks at the Ballroom at Bayou Place

American Cancer Society's Corks & Forks Gala returns to Houston, taking place at the Ballroom at Bayou Place from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. This year fifteen of Houston's favorite restaurants and chefs will compete for the culinary crown alongside local celebrity judges, live music, live and silent auctions and more. Guests will be treated to food and wine pairings from local favorites including Steak 48, Amalfi Ristorante Italiano and Bar, Ristorante Cavour at Hotel Granduca, Toulouse, La Table, Brennan’s Houston, Uchi, Liberty Kitchen and Oysterette, Verdine, Le Colonial, The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation, Frank’s Americana Revival, Cacao and Cardamom Chocolatier, Tea and Coffee America, Bisou and the newly opened Ouzo Bay. The dress code is cocktail attire.

Thursday Night Take Over at Fluff Bake Bar

Chef Emmanuel Chavez will be previewing Tatemó, a new restaurant opening spring 2020, at the Thursday Night Take Over at Fluff Bake Bar, 314 Gray, from 6 to 9 p.m. Taste dishes like the “Enchilada de Papas” with Yukon potatoes, manchego and walnuts; Tostada de Pulpo with apple and XO sauce; and a mole and hazelnut ice cream sandwich. The ticket price of $10 will hold your spot for the dinner, and Fluff will give you a $10 credit when you order.

Thursday through Sunday

The Original Greek Festival at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral

The Original Greek Festival returns to Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 3511 Yoakum, for its 53rd year. Hit it to enjoy cultural music, arts and entertainment alongside Greek eats including gyros, souvlaki, keftedes, tiropita and spanakopita, baklava and loukamades, Hellenic beers and wines and more. Hours are Thursday 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday noon to 6 p.m. Admission is $5 at the gate.

Friday, October 4

One Year Anniversary Party at Jonathan’s The Rub Memorial Green

Just one year ago in October, Jonathan’s The Rub Memorial Green opened its doors at 12505 Memorial. To both celebrate and say thank you to the community as it turns a year old, the restaurant will host a birthday party from 3 to 6 p.m., offering live music, happy hour appetizers, drinks and a chance to win a $100 gift certificate. Weather permitting, the party will be held on the patio (it will be moved inside if not). Admission is $20 per person and includes two drink tickets, buffet-style bar food and automatic entry into the drawing. Anyone who joins in for dinner will receive a free glass of sparkling wine.

Friday through Sunday

Oktoberfest 2019 at Saint Arnold

Saint Arnold, 2000 Lyons, is kicking off its Oktoberfest celebrations with a Friday night party and feast in its Beer Hall from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $65 and include beer, dinner and a special commemorative Oktoberfest mug. On Saturday and Sunday (free admission), the Bavarian-style festivities continue at the Beer Garden & Restaurant, with food, beer, music, games and contests, local artists and makers, special glassware and skyline views all day long.

Saturday, October 5

Taste of New Orleans at Jones Plaza

The 2019 Taste of New Orleans festival will take place at Jones Plaza, 600 Louisiana, on Saturday, October 5 from 3 to 10 p.m. Get a taste of Bourbon Street via live music, New Orleans-inspired food and drink and local art. Discounted general admission tickets are available for $5 online.

click to enlarge You'll find more than just regular 'q at this year's Southern Smoke. - PHOTO BY DOOGIE ROUX
You'll find more than just regular 'q at this year's Southern Smoke.
Photo by Doogie Roux
Sunday, October 6

One Year Anniversary Dinner at La Lucha

La Lucha, 1801 North Shepherd, is turning one; and its celebrating with a family-style dinner from 4 to 8 p.m. Inspired by San Jacinto Inn’s $2 menu that made it famous, guests can head to La Lucha to enjoy crab cocktail, shrimp cocktail, baked crab, salads, oysters, red fish, chicken, and more for $2 per person. Reservations are first-come, first-served and can be at 713-955-4765.

Southern Smoke at Georgia James

The 5th annual Southern Smoke Festival is going down from 4 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, October 6 in the area around Blacksmith, Georgia James and The Hay Merchant, 1018 Westheimer, 1100 Westheimer and 1415 California. Helmed by chef Chris Shepherd, the fundraising event will bring together some of the best chefs and pitmasters in the country, including James Beard Award winners Ashley Christensen, Aaron Franklin, Donald Link, Sarah Grueneberg and TV star Matty Matheson, plus more Houston chefs than ever before — Hugo Ortega, Manabu Horiuchi Erin Smith, Patrick Feges, Jonny Rhodes and Justin Yu are just a few. Tickets are $200 for general admission, including food, drink and a $100 donation to the Southern Smoke Foundation, providing funds to people in the food and beverage industry in need.  
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Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano