With warmer weather ahead, food festivals are kicking off in earnest across the city, starting with the 17th annual Bayou City Cajun Fest on Saturday, April 14, and Sunday, April 15, at Trader's Village. Admission is free to the Cajun Fest, which runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Plenty of home-cooked Cajun fare will be available for purchase, including crawfish etouffee, red beans & rice, fried boudin balls, sausage po-boys, fried alligator and -- of course -- thousands of pounds of spicy boiled crawfish.
The next weekend, the 26th annual Texas Crawfish & Music Festival in Old Town Spring will have its first of two weekends full of crawfish, live music, midway games, carnival rides and more. One of the most anticipated events each year, the Texas Crawfish festival will take place Friday through Sunday on April 20 to 22 and April 27 to 29 in Old Town Spring's beautiful Preservation Park. In addition to 25 tons of crawfish, the festival has booked big-name acts like Filter and Fastball to play, along with local acts like Vinyl Ranch. Tickets are only $8 and children under 12 get in for free.
That same weekend, Texas Beer Fest will take over downtown's Discovery Green. On April 28, they will be pouring craft beer (and only craft beer! No beer pong or flip cup competitions here!) from 1 to 7 p.m. and serving food from Wicked Whisk (one of our favorite caterers, by the way). Tickets are $27 in advance, which includes admission and a free "drinking vessel." Packs of tasting tickets must be purchased -- TABC rules -- for $12 each, which get you $1 of food or a two-ounce pour of beer.
Michael and David Cordúa will help kick off the 9th annual Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair on Wednesday, April 18, with a very special meal: a preview of their upcoming James Beard dinner at Churrascos in Sugar Land. Starting at 6:30 p.m., the father-and-son chef team will be serving a special five-course menu that includes not only South American wine pairings, but also postprandial cigars and Flor De Cana Rum cocktails on Churrascos' lake-front patio. Tickets for their Buen Provecho! dinner are $125 a person, $750 for a table of six or $1,000 for a reserved table of eight and may be purchased online.
The Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair itself will run from April 18 to 22, with the 2nd annual On the Rocks Bartenders Contest on Thursday, April 19 from 6:30 pm to 9 pm at Blu featuring some of Houston's best bartenders and food from Blu's chef, Junnajet "Jett" Hurapan.
You can purchase a three-day pass to the rest of the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair events, which include The Grand Tasting on Friday, April 20, from 7 to 9:30 p.m.; the Sip & Stroll at Imperial on Saturday, April 21, from 1 to 4 p.m. (including round trip shuttle transportation from the Sugar Land Marriott); and the Bistro Brunch on Sunday, April 22, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The VIP three-day pass is $200, and can be purchased online.
Coming up in May, find out what Pilot Light chefs Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan do on their day off. The latest Houston Culinary Tour will take a group along with the pair as they knock back brews and barbacoa tacos at the West Alabama Ice House, then head to Central Market to pick up supplies for a backyard pig roast. Don't be surprised if a few of their chef friends join in the pig roast, too. The "day off" takes place on Sunday, May 20, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and costs $180 per person, which includes tastings at each stop, complimentary Saint Arnold's beer, limo-bus transportation and gift bag. Proceeds will go to benefit Foodways Texas.
Throughout both April and May, the Houston Chronicle's Ronnie Crocker will be out in support of his new book, which should be a must-buy for any Bayou City beer fans. Houston Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Bayou City is on shelves now, but you can also pick up a copy at one of Crocker's upcoming book signings:
- The Flying Saucer - April 12, 6 p.m.
- The Flying Saucer Sugar Land - April 20th, 6 p.m.
- Kaboom Books - April 26, 7 p.m.
- Texas Beer Festival - April 28, 1 to 7 p.m.
- Blue Willow Bookstore - May 5, 3 p.m.
- Brazos Bookstore - May 10, 7 p.m.