From a chicken-fried steak burger to a tasty 80th birthday celebration, here's a look at this week's hottest culinary happenings:
Now through select dates in December
December Specials at Hopdoddy Burger Bar
Hopdoddy Burger Bar, 4444 Westheimer, is saying good-bye to turkey and stuffing and hello to hearty holiday flavors starting Monday, November 28. The chicken-fried steak burger ($12) features two Angus beef patties chicken-fried in buttermilk batter with a hint of cayenne pepper and Frank’s Red Hot sauce and topped with bacon and beef cream gravy and bread and butter pickles, on a housemade egg bun. The cookie butter shake ($6) is inspired by Santa’s milk and cookies, with spiced cookies crushed into a buttery spread, swirled with spiced vanilla ice cream and topped with cinnamon sugar. Both will be available through December 18. Guests can also sip on a hot apple sidecar ($8), an adults-only hot apple cider made with mulled cider and Grand Marnier, now through December 28.
Monday, November 28
Dinner Menu Launch at Relish Restaurant + Bar
Relish Restaurant + Bar, 2810 Westheimer, will launch its dinner menu — the first for the new neighborhood establishment — allowing guests to select from an array of entrée offerings as well as cocktails and items showcased on its lunch menu (available Monday through Friday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m.). Entrée highlights include selections like fried chicken with hot honey and maple bacon brussels; grilled pork chop with parsnip, braised greens and honey crisp apple sauce; lamb chops with fingerling potatoes, peas and fresh mint; and pan-seared catch of the day with citrus beurre blanc, farro and seasonal vegetables. Snack service will be offered from 3 to 5 p.m. during the transition between lunch and dinner, with a selection of cheese and charcuterie boards and other light offerings. Brunch service is expected to commence at the beginning of the New Year.
Tuesday, November 29
Pho Night at Eight Row Flint
Continuing the Tuesday night dinner series, Agricole Hospitality culinary director Vincent Huynh will be hosting Pho Night at Eight Row Flint, 1039 Yale. His version of pho will highlight quality products and fresh, local vegetables, as he plans to use Marble Ranch Wagyu, charred on the grill and then served in the broth ultra-rare, along with housemade meatballs. All food service begins at 5 p.m. and the pho will be served until it sells out. The regular menu is always available as well.
Joint Venture with Snooze, an A.M. Eatery at The Burger Joint
From 6 to 9 p.m., The Burger Joint, 2703 Montrose, will host chefs from Snooze for creative burgers and sides to benefit Snooze’s charity of choice, Urban Harvest.
Whiskey Tasting at Reserve 101
Join Reserve 101, 1201 Caroline, at 6:30 p.m. as the whiskey bar introduces Whistlepig with brand ambassador Dave Pickerel. Tickets are $20 per person, with 100 percent of proceeds going to Rescue Pets Movement. To RSVP, visit eventbrite.com.
Port Dinner at Charivari
From 7 to 9 p.m., Charivari, 2521 Bagby, will be hosting a five-course, Port-paired dinner. Chef Johann Schuster will be using lardo from Mangalica pigs for a cranberry-maple-glazed pork skewer, making sausages with wild boar and Wagyu fat and pairing it all with an incredible variety of Port wine. The five-course meal costs $39 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
Wednesday, November 30
Pop-Up Happy Hour Toy Drive at the Dunlavy
Join The Dunlavy, 3422 Allen, for a Pop-Up Happy Hour Toy Drive benefiting The Salvation Army of Greater Houston. Guests can enjoy a glass of cider and live music by The Salvation Army Harbor Light Choir, enter the raffle and decorate a cookie to get into the holiday spirit from 2 to 8 p.m.
Thursday, December 1
Coppa Uncorked Wine Dinner at Coppa Osteria
Coppa Osteria, 5210 Morningside, invites guests to an elegant six-course dinner paired with Italian wines at 7 p.m. The dinner costs $150 per person and includes dishes such as burnt grain pasta with wild mushrooms and sweet onion soubise; braised duck with fregola risotto; and strip loin with black onion ash, seared bone marrow and anchovy butter. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 713-522-3535.
Thursday, December 1 through Wednesday, December 21
Five Year Anniversary Charity Prix Fixe at Roost
In addition to the five-year anniversary throwback dish specials throughout December, Roost, 1972 Fairview, will offer a three-course prix fixe menu for $50, with $10 from each menu sold benefiting a different charity organization each week. Roost has selected BEAR, The Beacon and Houston Youth Symphony to partner with. Menu options include chicken and dumplings with airline breast, French gnocchi and herb gravy, Angus rib eye with winter vegetable gratin, crispy prosciutto and port wine demi glaze (+$5), and coffee and doughnut holes with crushed pistachios, salted caramel and coffee ice cream.
Saturday, December 3
YUMMY! Wonderland at Phoenicia Specialty Foods
Phoenicia Specialty Foods, 1001 Austin, invites guests to its second annual YUMMY! Wonderland from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The international holiday festival and brunch will highlight art, music, traditions and customs from around the globe, with family-friendly entertainment, holiday crafts, cookie decorating, cultural performances and live music. The event is open to the public and admission is free, with a buffet-style brunch, house coffee and juice available for purchase. Seating is first come, first served. Reserve a spot at yummywonderland2016.eventbrite.com.
Brunch with Santa at Brennan’s of Houston
Brennan’s of Houston, 3300 Smith, will host its annual Brunch with Santa from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., featuring a two-course meal from executive chef Danny Trace, plus a North Pole-inspired dessert buffet. Families will have the opportunity to take a family photo with Santa and will receive a keepsake ornament and magnetic picture frame. Alongside a complimentary mimosa and Brennan’s classics such as eggs Brennan and shrimp and grits, adults ($55 plus tax and gratuity) can choose from festive courses, including Texas redfish "on the half shell," blue crab and mushroom risotto, and Creole roasted chicken. Children ages two to 12 ($35 plus tax and gratuity) can select from kid-friendly dishes such as pancakes and eggs, Cajun Santa’s mac and cheese with andouille sausage, Mrs. Claus’s fried chicken and Christmas Tree pasta with broccoli and parmesan.
Shipley’s 80th Birthday Bash at 8th Wonder Brewery
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Shipley Do-Nuts is turning the big 8-0. Celebrate the milestone at 8th Wonder Brewery, 2202 Dallas, from 5 to 10 p.m. The family-friendly event — featuring The Tontons and doughnuts, of course — is free with an RSVP. Tickets, including three beer tokens and a limited-edition Shipley Do-Nuts and 8th Wonder pint glass, can be purchased for $20.
Sunday, December 4
Sierra Nevada Rare Beer Dinner at Underbelly
Beer geeks won’t want to miss this Rare Beer Dinner, held at Underbelly, 1100 Westheimer, at 7 p.m. Brew guru Kevin Floyd is joining forces with top Sierra Nevada talent to create an extravagant beer-paired menu, featuring an amuse-bouche of Pale Ale in a koozie, Celebration 3 Liter, Ovila Saison with Sage, Ovila Quad with Cherries and Barrel Aged Dry Hop Drops. Tickets can be purchased for $100.