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This Week in Houston Food Events: Taste Seasonal Ingredients at Their Peak at the New Le Jardinier

You can expect seasonal plates that taste as beautiful as they look at the new Le Jardinier at MFAH, officially opening this Tuesday.
You can expect seasonal plates that taste as beautiful as they look at the new Le Jardinier at MFAH, officially opening this Tuesday. Photo by Ricardo Mejia
Here's a look at this week's hottest culinary happenings:

Monday, May 17

Tax Day specials at Grimaldi’s

Grimaldi’s will be celebrating Tax Day by offering traditional cheese pizzas for $10.40.

Tuesday, May 18

Opening of Le Jardinier at MFAH

Le Jardinier at MFAH, 5500 Main, is set to open within the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston this Tuesday. French for “the gardener” and led by Michelin-starred chef Alain Verzeroli, the concept is rooted in French culinary technique and inspired by seasonal ingredients used at the peak of their potential. Reservations are available via Resy on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 5 to 10 p.m.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at KP’s Kitchen

New American bistro KP’s Kitchen, 700 Town and Country, will commemorate its successful debut with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1 p.m. Leaders from the Greater Houston Chapter of the Texas Restaurant Association will be on hand to conduct the event. Open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, the menu is a crowd-pleasing blend of Southern classics such as 12-hour baby back ribs, Gulf crab cakes and a hot chicken sandwich, plus café fare from cheese plates and ahi tuna to filet mignon.

Wednesday, May 19

Caymus Wine Dinner at The Tasting Room

The Tasting Room, 818 Town and Country, will host a Caymus Wine Dinner, beginning with arrival drinks at 6:30 p.m. The evening will feature six rich wines, including Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc and Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet, with a six-course food pairing curated by corporate executive chef Beto Gutierrez. Dine on caramelized pear and brie canape, kampachi crudo, duck leg confit with blackberry reduction, smoked pork belly with pickled cherry and ancho mole glaze, porcini rubbed tenderloin in Cognac peppercorn sauce and dark chocolate bouchon. Cost is $125 per person (not including tax and gratuity).

Stag’s Leap Wine Dinner at Ouisie’s

Ouisie’s, 3939 San Felipe, invites guests to a multi-course dinner featuring the famed Stag’s Leap wines of Napa Valley. Guests can enjoy five wine-paired courses, including braised short rib bruschetta, cucumber and smoked salmon rolls, Mediterranean branzino, prime filet medallions and hazelnut Napoleon. Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. and cost is $89 per person plus tax and gratuity. Call 713-528-2264.

“The War of the Rosés” at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse is hosting its annual “The War of the Rosés” on Thursday, May 20 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Attendees will be asked to judge their favorite Rosés from eight heralded bottlings, and the wine tasting event is held simultaneously at Del Frisco’s locations across the country. Guests will also be served an assortment of Double Eagle hors d’oeuvres. Tickets cost $45 per person and can be purchased online.

Saturday, May 22

Annual Gumbo Cookoff at Little Woodrow’s Midtown

Little Woodrow’s Midtown, 2306 Brazos, will host its annual Gumbo Cookoff from 11 a.m. until the winners are announced at 7 p.m. Email [email protected] to sign up to compete, or simply make your way to the bar for cold beer and free sampling on the day of.

Saturday Night Watever Fresh Farm Direct Preview at Bravery Chef Hall

Chef Martin Weaver, formerly of KUU and Brennan’s, is previewing his new concept, Watever Fresh Farm Direct with intimate weekly chef’s table dinners every Saturday night at Bravery Chef Hall, 409 Travis. The menu will feature revolving themes based on the season, with wine pairings and cocktails created by Mario Pineda of the forthcoming craft cocktail bar Bhutane (inspired by Bhutan, the “happiest place.” Dinners must be pre-booked via Resy (“Chef’s Table” under “upcoming events” at Bravery Chef Hall). Saturday night seatings (two per night, ten socially distanced bar seats plus two tables for two per seating) are $85 per person for five courses, with an a la carte wine pairing available.

Saturdays and Sundays

Spring Branch Farmers Market

A new Spring Branch Farmers Market is taking place every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 7202 Long Point.

All month long

National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at Central Market

May is National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and to celebrate, Central Market, 3815 Westheimer, will recognize 24 different American Asian- and Pacific Islander-owned businesses as a part of its ongoing Be the Change campaign. A few highlights include Yummi Sushi, the country’s first clean ingredient sushi program; Mylk Labs, offering a variety of all natural, non-GMO, whole grain, gluten-free and vegan oatmeal cups sweetened with only organic coconut sugar; and Sanzo Soda, which celebrates high-quality Asian flavors without the added sugars, artificial flavors and preservatives.

May Charity Menus at Etoile Cuisine et Bar

For the month of May, Etoile Cuisine et Bar, 1101-11 Uptown Park, will join and area-wide effort to help bring money to a building fund for The Bridge Over Troubled Waters, a Pasadena-based domestic and sexual violence advocacy nonprofit. Chef Philippe Verpiand has created two special prix-fixe menus, one for dinner ($65, with $7 going to charity) and one for weekend brunch ($36, with $4 going to the program).

Complimentary Kids Meals at select Galleria restaurants

Galleria restaurants including Blanco Tacos + Tequila, La Madeleine Country French Café, Peli Peli South African Kitchen, Poke Fresh and Shake Shack are currently offering free kids meals with the purchase of an adult entrée. Families simply need to mention the offer to redeem between now and May 31.

May Taco of the Month at Torchy’s Tacos

Torchy’s Tacos announced its May Taco of the Month: The Tokyo Drifter. It features teriyaki glazed pulled pork, fried wonton strips, sweet and sour veggie slaw, sesame Sriracha mayo and cilantro, served with a lime wedge on a flour tortilla for $5.75. Pair it with Torchy’s featured May margarita, the Raspberry Meltdown, available frozen or on the rocks and made with 100—percent agave tequila and topped with a float of Razzmatazz Raspberry Liqueur. Portions of the proceeds from Taco of the Month sales go to Torchy’s charitable partners, including the Make a Wish Foundation, MD Anderson and Phoenix House.

Brett's Barbecue Shop Collab and a New Snack at Yelo

Yelo, 23119 Colonial Parkway, is teaming up with fellow Katy spot Brett's Barbecue Shop for a limited-time Burnt Ends Banh Mi. Brett’s BBQ, will provide the goods and Yelo will pack banh mis to the brim with burnt ends and all of their signature banh mi fixings like their pickled papaya and carrot slaw. The collaboration will be available Saturdays through the month of May. Chef Cuc Lam has also introduced her latest creation: Lemongrass Pepper Pork Riblets, joining the ranks of snacks like fresh spring rolls, crispy prawn crackers, and chili crab rangoon.

click to enlarge You can find chef Chris Shepherd's Pecan Smoked Bacon Sausage at more than 60 H-E-B stores in Houston. - PHOTO BY JULIE SOEFER
You can find chef Chris Shepherd's Pecan Smoked Bacon Sausage at more than 60 H-E-B stores in Houston.
Photo by Julie Soefer
New and ongoing specials

Chris Shepherd's Bacon Sausage at H-E-B

Chef Chris Shepherd fist made bacon sausage at Underbelly, asking Javi Salvador, his butcher, to cure the bellies like bacon, grind them, stuff them into a casing and smoke them like sausage (first with lamb, then with pork, which was the winner). Years later, you can now find packages of Shepherd's Pecan Smoked Bacon Sausage at more than 60 H-E-B stores in Houston, right in the smoked sausage section for $8.29 (16-ounce package).

Seasonal Favorites Return to Kenny & Ziggy’s

Made using matzo meal for extra crunch, the Bronx Fried Chicken ($22.95) has returned to Kenny & Ziggy’s, 2327 Post Oak, for the season. The delicatessen has also brought back its Chilled Hungarian Sour Cherry Soup ($4.95 for a cup or $6.95 for a bowl).

Spring menu at North Italia

North Italia, 1700 Post Oak, has launched a new spring menu with some fresh, seasonal additions available now through the end of summer. Highlights include a Farmer’s Market Board, Tuna Crudo, Burrata Anolini and Wagyu Skirt Steak Tagliata, among other dishes.

New menu items at Tacodeli

Tacodeli,1902 Washington, will be offering three limited time menu items including a fan-favorite salad, a new agua fresca and a seasonal taco at all locations in Texas (Austin, Dallas, Plano and Houston). Available now through Wednesday, June 2, guests can dig into the Ensalada Corazón ($6.75) – crisp romaine, organic whole black beans, veggie white rice, avocado, roasted peppers and pico de gallo; El Conquistador ($4.50) – roasted Tenderbelly pork shoulder, chile pasilla sauce, avocado, cilantro, onion; and the Basil Piña Agua Fresca ($3) – fresh pineapple blended with basil and sweet spices. 
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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