Here's a look at this week's hottest culinary happenings:
All month long
Pumpkin Carving Contest at Laurenzo's Restaurant
During the month of October, Laurenzo's Restaurant, 4412 Washington, is inviting guests to bring a carved pumpkin to add to the Spooky Jack O' Lantern Patio, and receive 15 percent off the food portion of the individual pumpkin carver’s meal. Guests can also share photos of their Jack O' Lantern on Instagram, tagged #LaurenzoRestaurant, and the photo that gets the most likes by Halloween will receive a $100 gift certificate.
Monday through Wednesday
SaltAir Chef Series: Vietnam at SaltAir Seafood Kitchen
The 12-week travel-inspired chef series at SaltAir Seafood Kitchen, 3029 Kirby, is coming to an end, finishing off with this week's passport to Vietnam. The tasting menu is available for $50 per person, with a beverage pairing at additional cost. For reservations (highly recommended), call 713-521-3333.
Tuesday, October 4
National Taco Day at Cyclone Anaya’s Mexican Kitchen
All six Houston-area locations of Cyclone Anaya's will be celebrating National Taco Day by offering happy hour tacos at happy hour prices all day. That includes mini food truck grilled pork tacos ($6) and mini crispy beef or chicken tacos ($5). The happy hour drink specials will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Paella Night at Eight Row Flint
Beginning this Tuesday and for the following two Tuesdays (October 11 and 18), Revival Market charcutier Andrew Vaserfirer will be making paella at Eight Row Flint, 1039 Yale. Inspired by the early paellas that were cooked outdoors over wood-burning fires in Valencia on the eastern coast of Spain, each paella will be cooked in a clay vessel on a live-fire grill. Vaserfirer will be making his own Andalusian sausage with a selection of seafood — mussels, shrimp — and rabbit, a classic Spanish tradition. All food service begins at 5 p.m. and they will be served until they sell out. The regular menu is always available as well.
Wednesday, October 5
Arietta 20th Anniversary Wine Dinner at Pappa Bros. Steakhouse
The Galleria Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, 5839 Westheimer, will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Napa Valley classic Arietta, with a special wine dinner at 7 p.m. Arietta owner Fritz Hatton will bring his signature charm and wit, while guiding guests through an array of library vintages shipped directly from the winery as they enjoy dishes such as seared and lightly smoked campeche, veal agnolotti and 45-day dry-aged New York strip. Cost for the four-course meal is $275 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Call 713-780-7352 for reservations.
An Evening in Maremma with Tony Vallone at Ciao Bello
Join Tony Vallone at Ciao Bello, 5161 San Felipe, for the restaurant’s next regional cuisine dinner at 7 p.m. The famed restaurateur will highlight classic dishes and ingredients from the Tuscan Coast, with a multi-course tasting menu along with “free-flowing” wine pairings for $95 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Seats are limited. To secure a reservation, call 713-960-0333.
Home Safe Home Around the World at The Astorian
AVDA (Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse) will be hosting its annual gala at The Astorian, 2500 Summer, beginning at 7 p.m. The event will feature 12 of Houston’s finest chefs, including Neal Cox of Olivette at the Houstonian, John Sheely of Mockingbird Bistro and Danny Trace of Brennan’s, to delight guests with small bites, each paired with a boutique wine. Individual tickets are $250 each. Proceeds from the gala go to provide direct services to families victimized by domestic violence as well as preventative education to stop violence in the future.
Thursday, October 6
Schramsberg Wine Dinner at Le Colonial
Executive chef Dan Nguyen, culinary director Nicole Routhier and sommelier Sebastian Laval have joined together to create an incredible Vietnamese dinner with Schramsberg pairings at Le Colonial, 4444 Westheimer. For one evening only, guests will be transported to an exotic South Asian treetop while dining on a multi-course, wine-paired dinner featuring dishes such as grilled rib eye rolled in steamed rice noodle crepes and crispy whole roasted red snapper with a light garlic glaze. The four-course feast costs $165 per person, not including tax and gratuity. Reservations can be made by calling 713-629-4444.
Wine Dinner: Napa vs. Tuscany at Brennan’s
Brennan’s, 3300 Smith, invites guests to sip wines from two parts of the globe at a special wine dinner hosted by wine guy Marcus Gausepohl and beginning with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m. The dinner will feature some of Italy's Super Tuscans and pit them against one of Napa's greatest producers as chef Danny Trace prepares dishes such as coq au vin ravioli, chicory coffee-braised rabbit and chocolate mousse ice cream. The four-course meal is priced at $125 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Guests can register online.
Buffalo Bayou Park's 1st Birthday at The Water Works at Buffalo Bayou Park
As the city’s favorite urban park is turning one, Houstonians are invited to come out to enjoy tasty food truck fare from Colonel Eats, free birthday cake, beer courtesy of Saint Arnold Brewing Company, tunes from A Fistful of Soul and lawn games at The Water Works at Buffalo Bayou Park, 105 Sabine. The free event will be held from 4 to 8 p.m.
Friday through Sunday
Kingstoberfest at King’s Biergarten
Beer lovers should head straight to the Oktoberfest celebration at King’s Biergarten, 1329 East Broadway. The massive three-day extravaganza will be packed with a huge Oktoberfest tent, eats such as pretzels, brats and sliders, delicious German “bier” and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy. Tickets are available for $10 ($5 for early-bird pricing), with VIP packages available.
Sunday, October 9
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Your Glass or Mine Wine-Versations at The Spring Bok
From 6 to 10 p.m., Your Glass or Mine’s Ty Morrison invites guests for an evening of wine and conversation, featuring hors d’oeuvres and South African wine pairings at the South African gastropub The Springbok, 711 Main. Tickets ($40 per person in advance and $50 per person at the door) include five South African wines paired with five South African hors d’oeuvres. As a bonus, The Springbok will also be offering all attendees 25 percent off the tab on their next visit.
HOUBBQ Collective Charity Tailgate at Eight Row Flint
The HOUBBQ Collective is throwing down for a tailgating fundraiser at Eight Row Flint, 1039 Yale. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in support of chef Ryan Pera’s cycling team (featuring ten staff members from Agricole Hospitality restaurants), who will be riding 100 miles to raise funds for No Kid Hungry later this month. Pera will be cooking a whole hog, and Terrence Gallivan, Seth-Siegel Gardner and Chris Shepherd will be barbecuing, Texas-style, with smoked beef ribs, Hill Country-style sausage, smoked beef shoulder and sides. Guests can support No Kid Hungry by purchasing the full plate, sold online prior to the event for $45 through October 7, or at the door for $50. Barbecue enthusiasts who want to participate in the overnight smoking experience are encouraged to visit Eight Row Flint for a reverse happy hour on Saturday, October 8, as Pera and his team get the hog going and feature $3 beers and $5 margaritas from 9 p.m. to midnight.