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This Week in Houston Food Events: Tailgater Tacos and Labor Day Eats

Get the Tailgater taco at Torchy's through September.EXPAND
Get the Tailgater taco at Torchy's through September.
Photo by Scott Paull

Though social distancing is in effect with bars closed for in-house services and restaurants limited, the ever-strong Houston food community continues to truck on. This week, you can support local restaurants by carrying out or making reservations for dine-in service, try out a football-inspired taco and get one last taste of the long weekend with a Labor Day brunch. Here's a look at this week's hottest culinary happenings:

Monday, September 7

Labor Day Food and Drink Deals


From boozy lazy day brunches and fun steak nights to at-home grilling packages featuring burgers, dogs and fajitas, our

Houston Labor Day 2020 Restaurant Guide

covers the food and drink specials in Houston.

Monday-Thursday

Now through Thursday, September 10, Tarka Indian Kitchen, 721 West 19th, is running a Back to School special, offering 50 percent off a kid’s meal with a purchase of an adult entrée. The offer is only available online for rewards club members, but non-rewards members can redeem in-store. To redeem online or via app, add items to cart, hit checkout and discount will automatically apply. Mention the offer to the cashier to redeem in-store (the offer is not valid for third-party delivery).

Tuesday, September 8 through September 15

Mezcal Week at Superica

Mezcal Week returns from September 8 through September 15; and Superica, 1801 North Shepherd, is honoring the week-long event with special mezcal cocktails, flights, prix-fixe menus and endless imbibing – all available for dine-in and dinner only. Expect cocktails featuring mezcals from Del Maguey, Banhez and Casamigos, in addition to a three-course pairing menu ($30) featuring tuna tostada, pollo con mole enchilada and chocolate custard.

Tuesdays in September

Taco Tuesday Team-Up at Tacos A Go Go

Tacos A Go Go continues its "Taco Tuesday Team-Up", a monthly campaign encouraging support of the local restaurant community with a portion of proceeds benefiting I’ll Have What She’s Having. Each month, the taco kitchen will team up with a different restaurant to feature a one-of-a-kind taco on Taco Tuesday throughout the month, with a focus on partnering with woman-owned restaurants. Riel, owned by Mechelle Tran and chef Ryan Lachaine, is up for September. Lachaine went into the kitchen at Tacos A Go Go with chef/owner Maribel Gomez to create the Gulf Coast Fried Shrimp Taco, made with buttermilk and hot sauce-fried shrimp, and topped with “Comeback Slaw”. It will be available at all Tacos A Go Go locations on every Taco Tuesday throughout the month of September.

Wednesdays and Thursdays

Bars Across Houston Patio Pop-Up Series at One Fifth Houston (Wednesday) and Lucille’s (Thursday)

Lucille’s, 5512 La Branch, continues hosting its Thursday Patio Pop-Up series (6 to 10 p.m.), inviting local bar teams to take over the restaurant’s patio for a full evening of service and with the featured staff collecting 100-percent of the sales and tips generated by their curated cocktails. And now, One Fifth Houston, 1658 Westheimer, has joined in on the giving and the fun with its own Wednesday nights (Lucille’s has made each pop-up reservation-only and implements maximum time caps on each reservation to help further manage distancing, and Chris Shepherd and his team plan to implement similar protocols at One Fifth). In addition to supporting bartenders across the city, both restaurants will give $1 for every cocktail sold to Lucille’s 1913, a nonprofit launched to provide meals to Houstonians in need, targeting the elderly in impoverished neighborhoods from Sunnyside to Acres Homes. Restaurants and bars interested in participating in the 1913 Pop-Up Program can contact Lucille’s 1913 at info@lucilles1913.org.

Thursdays

Virtual Wine Dinner with Roma

Roma, 2347 University, continues its Weekly Virtual Wine Dinner series, with a fun, interactive meal beginning at 7:30 p.m. Each setup includes three bottles of wine and a multi-course dinner to be picked up from 5 to 7 p.m., plus a Zoom link for the virtual meal hosted by wine guy Jeremy Parzen and with Italian winemakers as special guests. Cost is $119 per couple or $89 per individual. 

Take a South of the Border Enchilada Tour with Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchens' Sylvia Casares.EXPAND
Take a South of the Border Enchilada Tour with Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchens' Sylvia Casares.
Photo by Paula Murphy

Saturday, September 12

Virtual Cooking Class: South of the Border Enchiladas with Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchens

Enchilada Queen Sylvia Casares will teach Zoom participants all about the art of making some of her most popular South of the Border Enchiladas. Beginning at 1 p.m., the class will cover four kinds of enchiladas: Mexico City, Morelia, Hidalgo and Puebla Enchiladas. Reserve a spot online or call 832-230-3842 no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, September 11. Cooking class packages featuring all the ingredients and recipes can be picked up at 1140 Eldridge. The cost for the hands-on cooking class is $55 per person.

Cravings Zoom Cooking Class with Underbelly Hospitality’s Chris Shepherd

Chef and restaurateur Chris Shepherd is kicking off a new Zoom cooking class series where he’ll cook through some of his favorite cookbooks. First up is Chrissy Teigen's Cravings, with a Zoom on Saturday, September 12 at 6:30 p.m. for $150 per couple ($20 from each ticket sold will be donated to Southern Smoke to provide financial assistance to food and beverage industry workers in crisis). The class will cover The Dump and Done Ramen Salad, Shrimp Summer Rolls, Thai Beef Salad, and Roast Chicken and Vegetables. Participants can pick up all ingredients and their copy of Cravings at 1100 Westheimer on September 11 between noon and 5 p.m.

Sunday, September 13

Drinkin’ with Dusty and Brock

Underbelly Hospitality will also run the third installment of Drinkin' with Dusty, a virtual tasting session featuring Hay Merchant's Dusty Brittain and Saint Arnold’s Brock Wagner. On Sunday, September 13 at 1 p.m., Brittain and Brock will lead a tasting through the following beers: Bishop's Barrel No. 18, Bishop's Barrel No. 16, Bishop's Barrel No. 12, Lawnmower and Oktoberfest. Guests can pick up the tasting kit ($100, includes five beers and a Hay Merchant Snack Plate with meats, pickles and cheeses) at 1100 Westheimer between noon and 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 12.

All month long

Wine and Dine for Two at Brennan’s

Throughout September, Brennan’s, 3300 Smith, will offer a three-course meal for two from its prix fixe menu, along with a bottle of wine, for $99.

Houston Restaurant Weeks

Houston Restaurant Weeks has announced it will extend its run through the end of September in order to raise more money to fight hunger and further support the restaurants and industries that support the charitable cause. Diners can continue to enjoy multi-course prix fixe menus for brunch, lunch and dinner (with dine-in and takeout options) at over 200 local restaurants.

Tailgater Taco of the Month at Torchy’s Tacos

Torchy’s Tacos has created a Tailgater Taco of the Month for football fans, available throughout the month of September. Priced at $5.75, the Tailgater features a panko-battered chicken tender on a bed of crispy bacon, with Torchy’s famous Green Chile Queso, Diablo wing sauce, poblano ranch slaw, blue cheese crumbles, and a drizzle of honey, all served on a flour tortilla.

Back-to-School Grow Kits at Urban Harvest

Urban Harvest has launched Back-to-School Grow Kits for pickup every Saturday of September at the farmers market. The fun, interactive kits include a five gallon grow bag, soil from Farm Dirt, 'decorate your own' plant labels, two seasonal plant starts Basil and Dino Kale, flower seeds, Microlife fertilizer and detailed instructions for the gardener to follow. Urban Harvest will also post an instructional video on Urban Harvest Houston YouTube channel to demonstrate the set-up of the kit. Each kit is $20 or for $35 you can “Buy 1, Give 1” and the second kit will be donated to Urban Harvest partner Kashmere Gardens Elementary School.

New and ongoing specials

Pay It Forward: Teachers Edition at Hopdoddy Burger Bar


Hopdoddy Burger Bar

launched the

Pay It Forward campaign

in May 2020 to provide support (and burgers) to healthcare and hospitality professionals in Houston and across all markets. Now, the burger joint has pivoted the program to support educators. For every burger purchased through September 17, Hopdoddy will donate one burger to teachers who are working to keep students safe as schools open, or to support parents participating in at-home learning. To participate, guests can use the promo code “Teacher” to donate a burger to a teacher when ordering online; and dine-in customers can let cashiers know they would like to “Buy One Give One” when checking out at any Hopdoddy location. Teacher and school nominations can be sent to marketing@hopdoddy.com.

Fall Chef’s Specials at JINYA Ramen Bar

Now through the end of November, JINYA is offering fall chef’s specials. Enjoy the Karaage Chicken Ramen with thin noodles, chicken soup and crispy chicken; or the SPAM Musibi, with Spam and furikake rice wrapped in dried seaweed and garnished with fresh cilantro. 

No Kid Hungry at Phat Eatery and Tobiuo Sushi & Bar

Phat Eatery, 23119 Colonial Parkway, will participate in the No Kid Hungry campaign by donating $1 from every purchase of its legendary flaky roti canai ($5) to the cause. The promotion runs now through October 16 and is offered for dine-in and to-go orders.

Tobiuo Sushi & Bar, 23501 Cinco Ranch, has also signed up to participate for the entirety of No Kid Hungry's Houston campaign, donating $1 for each purchase of one of its signature cold tastings, both by dine-in and to-go customers. Featured tastings include Sake Ginger (salmon, tomato ginger water, compressed mango, pickled red onions, $16); Hirame Crudo (flounder, white chili ponzu, yuzu tobiko, $14); Smoked Ceviche (flounder, onions, serranos, smoked avocado puree, smoked maldon salt, $13); Wagyu Tataki (American wagyu, basil pesto, ponzu reduction, fried garlic, $22); and Hamachi Kosho (yellowtail, tomato oil, ponzu, serrano salt, serrano puree, garlic chip, $14).

Teacher Freebie Fridays at Pluckers Wing Bar

With school back in session, Teacher Freebie Fridays is in full swing at Pluckers Wing Bar. Every Friday from 3 to 7 p.m., teachers are eligible to receive one free appetizer at any Texas Pluckers Wing Bar location by presenting their faculty school badge and dining in (one appetizer per two people, excluding app sampler). 

Hot Chick’n at Shake Shack

Shake Shack has brought back the fan favorite Hot Chick’n, a spicy version of the classic Chick’n Shack sandwich and one of Shake Shack’s most requested items to date. Made with buttermilk marinated crispy fried chicken, the sandwich comes dusted with a guajillo and cayenne pepper blend, topped with Shack-made cherry-pepper slaw and pickles, and served on a potato bun. Guests can also check out the brand new Hot Chick’n Bites, Hot Spicy Fries and Hot Spicy Cheese Fries, made with the same guajillo and cayenne pepper dusting. All four Hot Chick’n items are available in two spice levels — Hot and Extra Hot (order via the app to unlock a third) — and will be at Shake Shack locations nationwide (some exclusions may apply) for a limited time.

Sticky's Hot Chicken Sandwich at Sticky's Chicken.

Sticky's Chicken, 2313 Edwards, has put its own spin on Nashville hot chicken, making a fiery chicken sandwich topped with house slaw and dill pickles. The Sawyer Yards spot is currently offering to-go service only, with orders available by phone, online or delivery through GrubHub, UberEATS and DoorDash. Hours of operation are Tuesday-Saturday noon-8 p.m. and Sunday from noon-5 p.m.

New Tortas at Taco Cabana

Taco Cabana is now offering a Mango-Habanero Pulled Pork Torta, marking the first time that the company is offering the popular Mexican sandwich in its 42-year history. The tortas will be available for in-store, drive-thru and online ordering in locations in Austin, San Antonio, DFW, Houston and El Paso.  

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