Upcoming Events: Charity Brunches and Breakfasts and Even a Charity Banh Mi

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A round of applause for the Money Cat Brunch, please: It's having an encore performance this Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Paulie's. Says the press release: "All of your favorite delicious Money Cat shenanigans from the original limited service put on by Justin Yu, Justin Vann, Ecky Parabanto, David Buehrer, and others at Umai in Chinatown will be brought inside the loop."

The brunch is a fundraiser for OKRA: An Organized Kollaboration of Restaurant Affairs, with all proceeds going to benefit the organization. After brunch, Poison Girl and Anvil will be open and offering cocktails for the rest of the day, with all proceeds from the entire night (until 2 a.m.) going to OKRA as well. If you want to help small bars and restaurants battle the city's proposed parking regulations, this is one way to do it.

Anita Jaisinghani isn't just trying to lessen her impact on the environment by offering Meatless Mondays at her restaurant, Pondicheri; she's also trying to give back to the community. Starting this year, Pondicheri will host a charity breakfast on the second Saturday of each month, with 50 percent of the morning's proceeds going to charity. This month's breakfast will fall on January 14, with proceeds going to benefit Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. Next Saturday's charity breakfast will run from 7:30 a.m. to noon.

The next day, Sunday, January 15, head to Rice Village favorite Under the Volcano for the Soul Food Cook-Off. From 3 to 9 p.m., teams will compete to cook the best soul food to the sweet sounds of The Rev. KM Williams's gospel and blues. For $30, you get drinks and all the soul food you can eat. All proceeds go to benefit College Memorial Park Cemetery, one of three remaining African-American cemeteries established in Houston in the era of racial segregation.

The following Saturday, January 21, Cafe TH will close at 7 p.m. for a special media event in which five celebrities compete to see who can finish "The Zombie Walk Challenge," a three-foot long banh mi loaded with most everything on the menu. The competitors range from big boys like super heavyweight bodybuilding champion John Fish and University of Houston defensive tackle Ameen Behbahani to dark horses like Pulitzer Prize-winning artist Nick Anderson and a few of Cafe TH's regular customers.

After the Zombie Walk Challenge, any customer will be able to come to Cafe TH and take the challenge for themselves. There will be a "Wall of Fame" with a photo for those who finish and -- of course -- a "Wall of Shame" for those who don't. Although the Zombie Walk Challenge is closed to the public, EOW will be there covering it and we promise to provide lots of great photos and video from the event.

If you've been wondering what the Pilot Light guys are up to, wonder no more. Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan have been busy securing a space to host a series of intimate dinners this month. Each nightly service seats only eight people and there are eight dates available this month for a cost of $88 a person. (Think the guys are hoping for some good luck with those numbers?)

Speaking of chefs without a current home, Randy Rucker is keeping busy while his Restaurant conāt with pastry chef Chris Leung gets up and running: Rucker is hosting a Mid-Winter Repast dinner with Leung on Sunday, January 22, at Paulie's and a Tapas on the Trails evening on Saturday, February 11, at the Houston Arboretum.

The Mid-Winter Repast dinner with Leung is $75 a person and features a "multi-course degustation" of "natural bounties & true luxuries of the 3rd Coast." In other words, the dinner will feature foraged items including, but not limited to:

sow thistle, wood sorrel, flowering chickweed, spiderwort, wild onion, kale, cabbage, black walnuts, cocks combs, duck eggs, hen eggs, striped mullet, mullet roe, louisiana bowfin caviar, barrelfish, cobia, king mackerel, gulf fish & shrimp by-catch, oyster mushroom, bolete mushrooms, woodear mushrooms, birch, young pine, wild violets, sunchokes, parsnips, citrus, celery root, wild lettuce, axis venison, whitetail, wild duck, garlic flowers, samphire, dandelion greens, steel-cut oats, lichen & brassica

You may have had a few of these things, but I doubt you've had them all, and certainly not in one meal. The Tapas on the Trails event will also showcase Rucker's foraging interests as he leads a group through the Arboretum's trails with tastings along the way. The cost is $75 for Arboretum members, $85 for non-members and features an endcap of sparkling wine, coffees and desserts prepared by Chef Dan Budd.

Chris Frankel's two dinners at Plonk with Chef Erin Smith are nearly sold out, but there are a few seats left for the 4:30 p.m. seating. The meal showcases Spanish and Portuguese dishes with cocktails featuring corresponding wines -- sherry, Madeira and Port -- and costs $85 a person.

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