Upcoming Events

No big surprise here, but a welcome announcement nonetheless: Houston Restaurant Week has officially been extended until Labor Day, making it -- in effect -- Houston Restaurant Month. HRW was expected to end on August 21, tomorrow, but will now run through Monday, September 6. A full list of the restaurants that are participating in the extension will be available at the HRW website this weekend.

All those with celiac sprue, IBS or those who are gluten-free by choice need to mark next Saturday, August 28, on their calendars: Gluten-Free Houston is hosting its first-ever bake sale at 1014 Wirt Road from 8 a.m. to noon. Gluten-Free Houston, a local company owned by Randi Markowitz, creates a range of GF products for many area restaurants and food stores. At the bake sale, visitors will be able to sample many of these products and find out where to purchase them throughout Houston and even in suburbs like The Woodlands and Copperfield.

If you went to this past Wednesday's Garden to Glass event at Backstreet Cafe, you know firsthand how knowledgeable sommelier Sean Beck is when it comes to cocktails -- he's not just a wine man, after all. And if you didn't, you can catch his next cocktail-based event at Backstreet next Saturday, August 28. The Mad Men-themed class will teach participants how to create "cool cocktails" and old-school classics, all while munching on bar bites from Hugo Ortega. Tickets are $50 a person and can be purchased by calling 713-529-5500.

And if concocting classic cocktails sounds cool, you'll probably really enjoy the Cigar & Scotch Tasting along with an all-red wine dinner at Ray's Grill in Fulshear on Friday, August 27. Talk about a dinner that'll put a little hair on your chest, Don Draper-style. Tickets for the five-course dinner -- which, yes, includes plenty of scotch and cigars as well as admission to the Styx Mobile Cigar Lounge -- run $100 a person. Call 281-533-0099 to make your reservation now.

September is fast approaching, and so is Galveston's upcoming Shrimp Festival. With the start of the fall shrimping season underway this week, expect plenty of tasty Gulf shrimp at the weekend-long event. Starting on Friday, September 24, the Shrimp Festival kicks off with a party for the Gumbo Cook-Off teams and ending on Sunday, September 26 with something called the "Whimcycle Shrimpcycle," the meat of the celebration will happen on Saturday with the Gumbo Cook-Off and parade on The Strand. To register a team for the Gumbo Cook-Off or purchase tickets, visit the Shrimp Festival's website.

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