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This Week in Houston Food Events: Clique Bistro Happy Hour and PAWliday Market

'Tis the season to make merry with friends.
'Tis the season to make merry with friends. Photo by Gary Griffin
Here's a look at this week's hottest culinary happenings:

Friday, December 3

PAWliday Market at Powder Keg

It's not always easy to find pooch-friendly spots around town and some canines need a little more stimulation than sitting at their owner's feet as they quaff a few pints. At Powder Keg, 1300 Brittmoore, both people and pets can have a rollicking good time because the bar has a dog park where Fido can pal around with other furry companions. This Friday will be extra fun for doggies because it is hosting the 2nd Annual Pawliday Market from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in collaboration with PetTalk magazine and Doggy Party on the Plaza. There will be plenty of local beers, wine, food trucks and shopping opportunities. There will also be an Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest so wear your best (or worst) Christmas sweater and if there's one for Fido or Fifi, that's even better. The winner gets a huge Pet Basket filled with goodies and gift cards.

Admission is free and children are allowed until 9 p.m. Dogs must be kept on leash and picked up after.

Saturday, December 4

Pub Crawl at Spanish Village

Spanish Village, 4720 Almeda, reopened this past August with new owners after a brief closure so those who haven't been in a while might want to check it out and see what has changed. Its special event, " The Party is on the Inside" pub crawl is a great way to do just that. Every Saturday through December, it is hosting the crawl with transportation provided by The Party Bus, LLC. The event begins at noon with brunch at Spanish Village before party participants board the bus for a pub crawl to hot spots like Urban Social and Bar 5015. The cost is $75 and includes three drink tickets, a seat on The Party Bus and brunch at Spanish Village.

Sunday, December 5

Sunday Brunch Buffets at Hugo's, Caracol and Xochi

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Xochi's brunch buffet pre-sneeze guards.
Photo by Paula Murphy
These three H Town Restaurant Group concepts will relaunch their famous Sunday brunch buffets December 5. Chef Hugo Ortega's Mexican concepts will each open at 10 a.m. Sunday with the final seating/reservation for brunch at 2:30 p.m. The brunches were suspended due to COVID restrictions. Now, they return with food guards over the buffets and employees serving the guests on line.

The buffets at Hugo's and Xochi are $39, not including tax, gratuity and beverages. At Caracol, the cost is $42. For kids, the buffet is $15 without tax and gratuity. All three restaurants will continue their a la carte brunch menu on Saturday.

Christmas Spectacular at The Annie

We all need a little glamour in our lives now and then and Supper Club at The Annie is all about the glam of a "dinner and a show". On December 5 there will be two seatings for a special three-course prix-fixe meal and holiday tunes from the Richard Brown Orchestra. While the evening's menu from executive chef Robert Del Grande and chef de cuisine Jose Valencia has not been announced yet, it's sure to be an amazing dining experience as guests enjoy the featured performers, Kelley Peters, Bob Kuna, Evelyn Rubio and Clayton Mabin. And Houstonians will recognize the special guest and local talk show host, Deborah Duncan, who will emcee the extravaganza.

The Annie, 1800 Post Oak, is a posh place and any event with spectacular in its name deserves attendees dressed in their best holiday cocktail attire. The cost for the event, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity, is $250 per person. Reservations are a must and cancellation requirements apply. To reserve, call 713-804-1800 or go online to OpenTable.

All Week Long:

Happy Hour at Clique Bistro

Clique Bistro has bar bites such a Broiled Blue Point Oysters.
Photo by Gary Griffin
Clique Bistro, 120 Westheimer, has a happy hour that runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, meaning those who can't make it during the work week can take advantage of the specials on a laid-back Saturday. This recently-opened bistro and bar is set in a chic, refined space with a blue-lighted bar and a dog-friendly patio. It offers guests globally-inspired bar bites from chef Justin Santellana, a former teacher at Culinary Institute Le Notre. 

The happy hour specials include $2 off signature drinks like the Texas Chile Mule, made with ancho liqueur, lime and ginger beer or the Fancy Nancy, a cocktail of citrus-infused Pinnacle vodka, Cointreau, sweet vermouth, Campari and orange juice. There's also $1 off draft beers and hard kombucha is $4. For $40, guests can indulge in a select bottle of bubbly and two bar bites, including its East Coast oysters, Broiled Miso Salmon or Moroccan Lamb Kofta.

Christophe Paul, owner of Cafe Rabelais and Bistro 555, collaborated with Eric Boyd, owner of The Boyd's Bar, and Coretta Wintz to create the bar program and reasonably-priced wine list. Wintz, who spent close to three decades at Houston's much-loved British pub, The Richmond Arms, is Clique Bistro's head cocktail creator.  Guests can expect seasonal beverages including some festive holiday drinks like the Bad Santa, Blood Orange Sparkler and Frostbite.

All Month Long:

Bubbles and Oysters at Pier 6
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Forget jewelry. We want champagne and oysters for Christmas.
Photo by Swiggard Creative
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that experiences are more important than material things. However, some material things can lead to great experiences. That's the case with gift packages from Pier 6 Seafood and Oyster House. From now through December 30, the San Leon restaurant has gifts that will thrill anyone who loves champagne and oysters. If someone on your list has been particularly nice this year but you want them to be a little naughty, the Deck One is the primo way to go with its bottle of Dom Perignon, two Champagne flutes, one dozen Prestige oysters, caviar, shucking knife, cutting glove and two oyster forks for $300. You know what they say about oysters. Throw in a bottle of Dom and the experience might jingle your bells. Deck Two offers the same with a bottle of Yellow Label Veuve Clicquot instead of the Dom for $160 and a Veuve Clicquot apron is thrown in as well.  Deck Three is four mini Chandon bottles instead with everything else except the caviar for $60. Deck Four is the Oyster Roasting Kit with one dozen Prestige oysters, a Pier 6 shucking board, shucking knife, cutting glove,  two oyster forks and a choice of 6 ounce roasting topping for $85.  The items can be ordered a la carte but the best deal is definitely to go with a package. Orders can be made by calling 281-339-1515.

Gift Boxes at William Price Distilling
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Holiday spirits are available in GOFO.
Photo by Zachary Hiller
William Price Distilling, 970 Wakefield, made it through the COVID-19 pandemic by pivoting to making hand sanitizer, allowing them to hire hospitality staff in need of jobs during the restaurant and bar shutdown. The company was also able to create a fund to support hospitality workers financially. Now, the distillery is back to the business of spirits and smart gift-givers can give some holiday spirit to a special friend or loved one with its customized boxes. Option one is the Two whiskies box ($84.99). It's a $100 value. Customers can also opt for the box with one whiskey and one liqueur for $59.99. The third option is two bottles of liqueur for $44.99. Whiskey choices include Straight Rye Singel Barrel, Straight Rye, finished in a honey barrel, French oak or Oloroso sherry. The third is the TX single malt, finished in either Oloroso sherry or rye barrel. For liqueurs, there's its award-winning cold brew coffee liqueur or its limoncello.

William Price is also offering distillery experiences. The private tasting is a guided tour for 10 or more guests at $25 per person and includes the private tour and four tasting pours of its most popular products. There is also a "Craft Your Own Custom Blend" three-hour experience ($1,000) for six guests to create their own special rye whiskey and each person gets two bottles of the blend to take home. The ultimate "Distiller for a Day" is a full-day distillery boot camp where six guests can spend the day making their own moonshine and spirit to take home for $2,000. 
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Lorretta Ruggiero is a Houston Press freelance writer based in Cypress, Texas. She loves entertaining her family and friends with her food and sparkling wit. She is married to Classic Rock Bob and they have two exceptionally smart-aleck children.