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This Week in Houston Food Events: Where To Get Your Tamale Fix and Dine Out This Christmas

Ninfa's tamales will make your holiday spread shine.
Ninfa's tamales will make your holiday spread shine. Photo by Sergio Trevino
Here's a look at this week's hottest culinary happenings:

Tuesday, December 20

Hanukkah Party at The Upside Pub

The Upside Pub, 3402 North Shepherd, closing out 2022 in style with a Hanukkah celebration on Tuesday, December 20. Owners Paige and Andy Lujan’s neighborhood pub will have a special Hanukkah Party menu and games for all, with eats including brisket special, jelly doughnut holes and caviar latke balls.

Wednesday, December 21

One Year Anniversary Open House at R-C- Ranch

R-C Ranch, 2520 Airline, is celebrating its first year at The Houston Farmers Market with an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Guests can pop in to enjoy complimentary Karbach beer, samples of wagyu queso, wagyu sausage, and more, plus drawings to win two Denver steaks, gift cards, jerky, seasonings and R-C Ranch merch. During the open house, everything in the shop will be 10 percent off (fun fact: Alex Bregman signed several items throughout the shop, so a few lucky people may find some signed products).

Thursday, December 22 – Friday, December 23

Santa at Saint Arnold

Head to the family-friendly Saint Arnold Brewery, 2000 Lyons, to snap photos with Santa in the Beer Hall from 1 to 4 p.m. both days. Free admission.

Saturday, December 24

The Muppet Christmas Carol Brunch at Wild Oats

Wild Oats, 2520 Airline, will host The Muppet Christmas Carol Brunch on Saturday, December 24; with the first seating at 11 a.m. and a second seating at 3 p.m. Guests can enjoy a screening of the classic movie plus a Muppet-themed menu including Al-Gonzo's Texas meat and cheese board, smoked turkey legs with Kermit’s Joplin’ John with crowder peas and Miss Figgy pudding. Tickets are $50 per adult and $35 per child (free for kids 3 and under).
click to enlarge
The Annie is all decked out for the holidays.
Photo by Jenn Duncan
Saturday, December 24 – Sunday, December 25

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Dining

Check out our 2022 Houston Holiday Dining Guide for family-friendly brunches, fancy prix fixe affairs and more on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

All month long

Kids Eat Free All Month at Dish Society

Normally $7 each and free every Tuesday with the purchase of a regular entree, Dish Society will offer kids meals for free every day of the week through the month of December. Get meals like French Toast Bites, Kid’s Chicken Biscuit or Grilled Chicken Strips.

Miracle Pop-Up bars

Cult favorite holiday-themed cocktail pop-up Miracle is back in Houston, running now through Saturday, December 31. This year, participating bars will be featuring an array of new cheery cocktails like the Grandma Got Runover by A T-Rex, Island of Misfit Toys and Ruldolph’s Rum Rhapsody; and local participating bars include Johnny’s Gold Brick, Winnie’s and Galveston’s Daiquiri Time Out.

The Nutcracker Pizza at Vinny’s

To celebrate Houston’s beloved The Nutcracker show season, four dancers from the Houston Ballet and Agricole Hospitality’s EaDo pizzeria Vinny’s have partnered on two artisan pizzas available through Saturday, December 31. The themed pizzas are available for dine-in, takeout, or delivery, offered by the slice or by the pie. Guests can vote for their favorite and the winning pie will be announced in the New Year, with a portion of proceeds going to the Lauren Anderson Young Dancer Scholarship Fund, which supports artists that reflect the rich diversity that shapes Houston as a community. Team Nutcracker’s pizza, titled “Lucid Dreamz" features sweet onion sauce, mozzarella, tea smoked pork loin, baby spinach, Fatback bacon, TX pecans and coffee bbq glaze. Team Rat Queen’s pizza, titled “Seven Gold Crowns” offers a cheesy vegetarian delight with sweet potato puree, gold cheddar and provolone, mesquite smoked broccoli, red onion, spiced pecans and a walnut pesto drizzle.

New and ongoing specials

Hanukkah specials

The eight days and nights of Hanukkah begin at sundown, Sunday, December 18, and Kenny & Ziggy’s, 1743 Post Oak, is ready to help you celebrate, offering Hanukkah and Festival of Lights menus (plus a la carte items) available to order in advance for pickup or nationwide shipping. Highlights include latkes, stuffed cabbage, brisket, kasha varnishkas, fried kreplach and sweet noodle kugel, glazed salmon, hummus and matbucha, and a variety of cakes, cookies and pies. All orders must be made at least 48 hours in advance.

The team at New York Deli & Coffee Shop, 9724 Hillcroft, and Houston Catering Concepts is offering Hanukkah packages and specials, and New York Deli and Bagel Shop Bakery will be giving away dreidels and gelt to children that visit the restaurants during the holiday. Those looking for catering can check out the Hanukkah Nosh Package (serves 5 for $100), which includes two Quarts of Chicken Soup, five Matzo Balls, one Roasted Chicken Cut and more. The Hanukkah L’Chaim Package serves serve for $165 and features Butternut Squash Soup, Ginger Teriyaki Salmon Grilled Asparagus, Mini Potato Latkes w/ Applesauce and Sour Cream and more. Rounding out the meal package options is the Hanukkah Deli Spread that serves ten for $225 and includes Corned Beef, Pastrami, Turkey, Roast Beef, and Salami on Assorted Breads, Potato Salad and Coleslaw, and a Hummus Tray Served with Pita Bread, among other delights. Catering orders can be placed online.

Seasonal specials

Montrose neighborhood favorite Southern Yankee Crafthouse, 1312 West Alabama, has crafted a special Eat Drink and Be Merry Menu, and for each item purchased from it, the crafthouse will donate $1 to Kids' Meals and its mission to end childhood hunger. The menu is available now through January 8 and features eats from wood-fired brie and Bomba’s chili to beef stroganoff and a red and green M&M skillet cookie.

Tiff’s Treats Santa Pack is now available, featuring a warm half-dozen boxe with a blank gift card to leave your own note for Santa. The Texas-born cookie company also offers custom gifting bundles, including the co-founders of Tiff’s Treats Tiffany and Leon Chen’s best-selling book “It’s Not Just Cookies” and Tiff’s Treats and Kendra Scott’s exclusive Muriel Earring collection. Texans also have the exclusive opportunity to add an El Arroyo ornament reading “in a world where you can be anything, be kind” to any warm cookie delivery placed at a Texas store for $18 each.

Tacodeli, 1902 Washington, will offer its festive Chile En Nogada and Spiked Horchata for the holiday season this year. The Spiked Horchata is available for dine-in or to-go in a 16-ounce or 64-ounce container. Both items are available December 6 – December 23.

Tamale season

Maize, 14795 Memorial, tamale options include Pork in Green Tomatillo Sauce, Chicken in Red Mole, and Rajas (Peppers and Cheese) priced at 12 tamales for $24 and six for $12. Tamales are available to-go from now until December 23.

The Original Ninfa’s is offering tamales to-go now through December 31. Snag Carnitas con Chile Verde (traditional slow roasted carnitas with a tomatillo sauce) for $24/dozen, Rajas con Queso (thin strips of nopales, poblano peppers, onions with queso panela) for $20/dozen, and Mermelada de Piña y Coco (pineapple stewed down with piloncillo, warm spices, and Kahlúa) for $20/dozen. Customers can pick up their frozen tamales during normal business hours at both locations, but are encouraged to purchase from the Uptown location.
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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