This Week in Houston Food Events: Fall Festivals Abound

All Week Long

Dessert for the Dogs at Tony Mandola's

When you buy a dessert in September at Tony Mandola's, 1212 Waugh, Tony will give $1 to BARC, the City of Houston animal shelter. As if that weren't incentive enough to spend a meal at the creole and Italian restaurant, you'll also get $10 off every bottle of wine this month. These two deals might be dangerous for your sweet tooth, but they're certainly a source of hope for a pet in need.

Monday, September 28

Arian Foster Serves You at Morton's

Have you ever dreamed of having Arian Foster serve you a delicious steak? Make those dreams come true right now; this dinner is a Celebrity Servers Charity Dinner at Morton's The Steakhouse, 5000 Westheimer, which means that Foster and other Houston Texans will be serving up dinner instead of passes. It's a benefit for The Arian Foster Family Foundation, and there will be a silent auction, plus a live auction led by Sean Pendergast of CBS Sports Radio and frequent contributor to the Houston Press. Call Morton's to reserve your tickets to this fantasy-meets-football event at 713-629-1946. 7 p.m., $300.

Jeff Runquist Wine Dinner at Paul's Kitchen

These California wines hail from all over the state, and Paul's Kitchen at 2502 Algerian will showcase five Jeff Runquist wines from the 2013 and 2014 vintages. Chef Paul Lewis has created a fall-inspired menu to accompany the wines, including a caramelized onion and mushroom tart, coffee-crusted Berkshire pork with plum jam and foie gras crème brûlée. Call 713-360-2002 for reservations. 6:30 p.m., $109.

Bordeaux Class for the Women's Center

Bear Dalton, fine wine buyer for Spec's, invites you to join him for this seminar on value Bordeaux wines — that is, wines that you can regularly drink at home without having to dip into your savings account and without sacrificing your high standards. The class is a fundraiser for the Houston Area Women's Center, and the cost of a ticket is a minimum $20 donation to that organization. Bread and cheese will be served alongside the wine, and the class takes place at l'Alliance Française, 427 Lovett. Call 713-854-7855 for reservations. 7 p.m.

Texas Tailgate and Craft Spirits Show

This spirits show has it all — 30-plus craft spirit portfolios, five bartending teams, food trucks, live music and fabulous prizes! There's a cocktail showdown, and, of course, attendees will get plenty of samples. The event benefits both the Houston Food Bank and the U.S. Bartenders' Guild, and it takes place at the House of Deréon Media Center at 2204 Crawford. 7 p.m. 

Tuesday, September 29

Taste of the Nation for the No Kid Hungry

More than 40 Houston chefs and mixologists will donate their skills at this event to feed you some of the best cooking in town for a great cause — No Kid Hungry, a nationwide program that aims to feed and educate children about the foods they eat. There will be eats, beer, wine and cocktails, as well as music and a silent auction to further benefit this charity. The business casual to cocktail attire event takes place at The Corinthian Hotel, 202 Fannin. Buy your tickets on the Taste of the Nation website. 6 to 9 p.m., $125 general, $200 V.I.P.

Wednesday, September 30

Taste of Italy at Kroger

From now until October 13, you can find the flavors of Italy at area Kroger stores, including special events such as "Crack the Parm," where a specialist will crack 78 pounds of parmigiano cheese. Free samples will abound of various Italian specialties, and some special items will be introduced, such as Primzie's Caramelized Garlic with Herb Butter crispbread. Check out the details, including recipes and a chance to win a trip to Italy on the event website

Scarpetta Wine Dinner at Backstreet Cafe

Master sommelier Bobby Stuckey and chef Laclan Mackinnon-Patters created the Scarpetta Winery, and Stuckey will be joining chef Hugo Ortega of the Backstreet Cafe, 1103 South Shepherd, for a wine dinner featuring Scarpetta wines. The dishes include scallop crudo, pan-seared grouper, and sausage-stuffed pork belly, and there's a reception before the dinner. Email BackstreetSpecialEvents@gmail.com to make your reservations. 7 p.m., $95.

Thursday, October 1

Iron Sommelier Grand Tasting 

The annual Iron Sommelier contest is back this year at the Houstonian Hotel, 111 North Post Oak, and 13 sommeliers will compete and transform the hotel into a fine-wining experience. The event is a benefit for The Periwinkle Foundation, an organization that hosts camps and other programs for children and families experiencing potentially terminal illnesses at Texas Children's Hospital. For a list of the sommeliers participating and to buy tickets, check out the website. 6 p.m., $150.

Friday, October 2

Robb Walsh Chili Cookbook Release Party 

Get yourself a signed copy of Robb Walsh's newest cookbook at El Real Tex-Mex, 1201 Westheimer, as well as a Frito pie, for just $25. The new book features recipes for traditional Texas chili, other American chilis, vegetarian chilis, international-style chilis and probably more chilis that we haven't even thought of. Walsh is a Houston-based James Beard award winner for his food journalism, so trust us when we say that he knows his chili. Get your ticket. 5 to 7 p.m.

Food and Films Series at Quattro

As part of the Friday night cinematic series at Quattro, 1300 Lamar, you can see a film and get a five-course feast for $79, or $145 per couple. This week's feature is the classic romantic musical Grease. Beverages are extra, but beverage packages will be offered each evening. Reservations are required, and you can make them by calling 713-276-4700. 7 p.m.  

Stand-Up Comedy at MKT BAR

Every Friday until the end of October, you can find BETA Bracket's stand-up competition at MKT BAR in Phoenicia, 1001 Austin, and, as part of the audience, you can help select the winners. Ten local comedians (or people who think they're comedians) will perform in a five-minute round, then the competition will be thinned out to a ten-, then a 20-minute set, and the winners go home with lots of money. As in, the top prize is $3,000. Admission is free, and you can enjoy MKT BAR provisions while you laugh. 10 p.m.

Saturday, October 3

Q for a Cause Barbecue

The fourth annual Q for a Cause at Lucky's Pub, 801 St. Emanuel, features John Mueller of John Mueller Meat Co., Wesley Jurena of Pappa Charlies Barbecue and Patrick Feges of Feges BBQ, who will be cooking up their goods and selling them to benefit the U.S. Vets Initiative, which provides housing and other services to veterans. The event is put on by Eat for a Cause, which organizes food events for a variety of charities. Noon to 4 p.m.

Tamales 101 at Sylvia's

Sylvia Casares, chef and owner of Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen at 1140 Eldridge Parkway, is hosting her fall cooking classes again this year, and they feature the basics of tamale making, including sweet and savory tamales. The class includes a full meal of tamales, cheese enchiladas, dessert and a margarita or other drink of your choice. Sign up for the class and future classes. 12:30 to 3 p.m., $65.

Beer and BBQ Fest at Brenner's 

This outdoor festival features beer samples, barbecue and live music from cover band Play It 4Ward included with the ticket price. Among the nine featured breweries are Karbach, Saint Arnold, Ballast Point, Bayou Tech LA 31 and Independence. Let your summer cookout season end with a bang and a brew at Brenner's on the Bayou, 1 Birdsall. Visit the festival website to buy tickets; attendees must be 21 or older. 3 to 6 p.m., $55 in advance, $70 day-of, $110 V.I.P.

Saturday and Sunday

2015 Autumn Art & Texas Wine Festival

This festival showcases Texas wineries alongside craft beers, local art, crafts and more. Featured wineries include Landon Winery, Clear Creek Vineyard, Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards and Bernhardt Winery. Check out the full list on the website and purchase your tasting tickets; the event itself is free, and wine tasting tickets are $25 in advance, which will get you a commemorative wine glass and seven tastings. Old Town Spring, 427 Gentry. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Sunday, October 4

Octoberfestivus at The Pass & Provisions

The first annual iteration of this Octoberfest celebration is taking place at The Pass & Provisions, 807 Taft, and the restaurant is pulling out all the stops. Attendees will get 6 six-ounce beer tastings and a food ticket to enjoy while hearing live music from The Sideshow Tramps, The Wandering Buffaleros and Potbelly. Featured breweries include 8th Wonder, Karbach, Saint Arnold, Lone Pint and New Braunfels. Reserve your tickets. 3 to 7 p.m., $50.

Mercury Orchestra Dinner at Triniti

This seven-course meal at Triniti Restaurant, 2815 South Shepherd, will be complemented by the sounds of Mercury, The Orchestra Redefined; diners will experience Dante's seven deadly sins through music, food and drink. The dishes sound like enough to inspire a few sins in even the most devout, such as the dish representing Greed, a pasta plated to resemble an octopus hoarding treasure, or Lust, which involves plenty of oysters, grapes, pomegranate and caviar. Reserve your seats, and note that seating is very limited. The champagne reception starts at 6 p.m., and dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. $295 or $395, depending on your seats.

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