This Week in Food Events: A Chili Cookoff for Charity and Drinking Events Out the Wazoo

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Monday, November 3

Shake Off the Afternoon Slump with Free Coffee From La Madeline

Did that extra hour of sleep from the time change the night before just not do enough for you? La Madeline invites you to come have a cup of coffee on them today. Yes, you may take it to go. No, you may not have refills on your free cup of coffee. Don't be that guy (or girl). All Houston-area locations. Free.

Tuesday, November 4

Don't forget to vote, if you haven't done so already. Then, don't you deserve a reward? Of course you do. Consider one of these events (or both if you can manage it).

Del Maguey Mezcal Tasting at The Pastry War

If you don't have to work in the afternoon (or can sneak away for a bit), drop by The Pastry War from 2 to 4 p.m. to try the Del Maguey Vino de Mezcal series and snack on tamales. Alba Huerta of Julep, Bobby Heugel of The Pastry War and Boston bartender and Del Maguey rep Misty Kalkofen will be on-hand to discuss the small batch, traditionally made mezcals. 2-4 p.m. 310 Main.

Don't Be a Chicken and Vote

As reported on Friday, if you go to The Bird House (located in the space where Boil House resides during crawfish season), show proof that you voted and, with the purchase of some fried chicken, receive a free Great White Buffalo beer by Buffalo Brewing Company. Guest chef Lyle Bento of the upcoming Southern Goods will be cooking up a special Korean fried chicken. The event runs until either supplies run out or when The Bird House closes at 10 p.m.--whichever comes first. 606 E. 11th. 5 p.m.

Whole Foods Market Post Oak Preview Party

There's more than one event this week celebrating the opening of the new Whole Foods store. This one is a preview of the store's offerings at Willie G's. It features sips and nibbles from local vendors along with beer brewed from by the store's brewery, Whole Foods Market Brewing Company. All proceeds benefit The Museum of Fine Arts. 5 p.m. 1605 Post Oak. $15

Thursday, November 6

Whole Foods On Post Oak Grand Opening

The new, fancy Whole Foods--with perks like an in-store brewery, beer delivery on-bike to shoppers and a souvlaki grill--will have a breadbreaking ceremony, coffee and pastries at 7:30 a.m. The store officially opens at 8 a.m. The first 500 customers get a free, reusable shopping bag and one percent of the first day's sales goes to Star of Hope. Other charities will be recipients of the donation on the subsequent four days. 1700 Post Oak. 7:30 a.m.

Champagne Dinner at Coco Pazzo

Chef Frédéric Perrier and Billecart-Salmon Champagnes are joining forces for a pairings dinner at Coco Pazzo in Stafford. Work your way through Franco-Texan delights like Tabasco-Rubbed Pork Belly Carpaccio paired with extra brut, Herb Dusted Loin of Lamb with Celeriac Puree & Mint Infused Sauce with blanc de blanc. Capping the evening is Paris-Brest--pate choux with praline cream--and vintage 2004 Champagne to go along with it. Credit card required to hold reservation. Call 281-403-2872 to reserve. 7 p.m. $150 plus tax and gratuity.

(By the way, keep an eye out for our upcoming Chef Chat with Perrier.)

Sanctuari Bar Opening at Triniti

Thursday night marks the reveal of the new Sanctuari bar inside of Triniti restaurant. Rockstar lady bartenders Laurie Sheddan and Leslie Ross will be on-hand to celebrate. Expect a list of cocktails that range from classic to cutting-edge in the sexy, revamped lounge area. 2815 S Shepherd. 8 p.m.

Mia Bella Trattoria downtown is celebrating 15 years of being in business. To mark the occasion, they're offering free wine and hor d'oeuvres from 6 to 9 p.m. Register here to attend. 6-9 p.m. 1201 San Jacinto #161

Friday, November 7

It's National Gin Day and thank goodness it falls on a Friday. Looking for a new place for your tipple? Look at this list of places that would really like you to come in and try their featured gin drink:

  • Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE, 800 Sorella Court: Mullberry Mash (mulberries, Nolets Gin, crème de violete, simple syrup, prosecco)
  • Eleven:Eleven Restaurant & Bar, 607 West Gray Street: New Fangaled Old Fashion (Ransom Old Tom Gin, fruit, grapefruit bitters and Topo Chico mineral water)
  • Sparrow Bar + Cookshop, 3701 Travis Street: #6 (sloe berry gin, Texas port, lime, sparkling wine and apricot-vanilla.
  • BCN Taste & Tradition, 4210 Roseland Street: Gin and Tonic (Hendricks gin and Fever Tree tonic with lemon twist, cucumbers and juniper berry garnishes)
  • Damian's Cucina Italiana, 3011 Smith Street: Hendrick's Meadow Mule (cucumber and rose petal infused Hendrick's Gin, St. Germain's Elderflower Liqueur, apple puree and ginger ale)
  • Royal Sonesta- Axis Lounge, 2222 West Loop South: The Royal Salute. (Hendrick's Gin, green tea syrup, pomegranate, lemon juice, orange bitters and rose water)

Saturday, November 8

Try Some Competition Chili and Help Kids

The Young Professionals for Children Chili Cookoff is happening at Little Woodrow's in Midtown. The event benefits Child Advocates, which trains volunteers to be court-appointed advocates for children in abuse cases. The list of competitors are:

  • BB's
  • Beaver's
  • Brooklyn Athletic Club
  • Cook & Collins
  • El Big Bad
  • Lillo & Ella
  • Local Pour
  • Quattro
  • Revolve
  • Saint Arnold Brewery
  • The Tasting Room

The judges are KPRC Channel 2 weatherman Frank Billingsley, dining and features editor Katharine Shilcutt of Houstonia magazine, chef Jacques Fox of Artisans restaurant and... well... me. Go figure. Buy tickets here and I'll see you there! 2306 Brazos. 12-4 p.m. $20.

Be a Home Mixologist For the Holidays Alba Huerta and Kenny Freeman of Julep teach guests how to make three of favorite classic cocktails during the first of two classes called "How To Make Drinks For Your Holiday Party". (The second class will be on December 6.) Stations will be set up for the students to allow them to get hands-on experience. Snacks will be provided and students will take home recipes and a bottle of housemade syrup. There are 32 spots available per class. Buy tickets at Julep (no phone orders). 919 Washington. $120 4 to 6 p.m.

Coming Up Next Week:

Wednesday, November 12

Find Out If George Clooney Knows How To Make Tequila

Tila's Restaurante & Bar is hosting a three-course dinner paired with Casamigos Tequila, the distillery that actor George Clooney has an interest in. Dinner will take guests through blanco, reposado and añjeo expressions and the dishes served includes manchego-stuffed chicken breast with chipotle-tamarind sauce and Tila's Mexican twist on tiramisu. Limited seats. Call (713) 522-7654 to reserve. 7 p.m. 1111 S Shepherd. $70 plus tax and gratuity.

Thursday, November 13

Alexander Valley Wine Dinner at Tony Mandola's

A four-course dinner will showcase Sonoma winery Alexander Valley. They make, amongst other things, a little first-growth wine you may have heard of called Cyrus. The menu includes Lamb Ravioli al Uovo (pasta with egg yolks) with
Spinach Pasta Dough, Barbaresco Emulsion and Truffle Fondue; and Chocolate Tart
 with Raspberry Coulis and Whipped Cream. One lucky raffle winner will go home with a signed bottle of Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012. For more information and reservations, call 713-528-3474. 7 p.m. 1212 Waugh. $90 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

Saturday, November 15

The Balvenie Fifty Dinner at Cullen's American Grille

Twelve very well-heeled or Scotch-obsessed guests will have what might be the pairings-dinner-to-end-all-pairings-dinners this Saturday. In 1963, Malt Master David Stewart filled bottles of what would be come The Balvenie Fifty. On Saturday, he'll co-host an "extended course" dinner in Houston as of these is opened and poured for the 12 guests in the new Penthouse at Cullen's American Grille. The bottle is valued at $38,000. Only 131 bottles are available worldwide. All told, over $50,000 worth of Scotch will be opened during the meal. 11500 Space Center Boulevard. $2900 per person (includes tax and gratuity).

Sunday, November 16

Fight Cancer With Food

Some of Houston's top chefs will compete to score attendee votes and raise funds for Halo House, a non-profit organization that provides affordable housing to blood-cancer patients during their treatment. The Food Fight Against Cancer event, hosted at Sparrow Bar + Cookshop, focuses on ingredients thought to fight cancer and alleviate the side effects of treatment. The chefs participating are Monica Pope (Sparrow), Kaz Edwards (Uchi), Kevin Naderi (Lillo & Ella), Anita Jaisinghani (Pondicheri), Staci Davis (Radical Eats), Brian Fehr and Jason Strickland (Sorrel) and Ryan Hildebrand (Triniti). Drinks are sponsored by Saint Arnold, Miner Winery and Dash Handmade Vodka. Buy tickets online. 7 p.m. 3701 Travis. $130.

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