Upcoming Events: Dia de los Muertos at Malo

El Gran Malo is hosting a big, bad Dia de los Muertos party on Saturday, November 3 -- all day long. In addition to a giant Dia de los Muertos shrine on the patio, the gastrocantina will have crafts to make your own veladoras (Mexican saint candles), papel picado and more.

In the early evening, mariachis will hit the patio and so will a roasted pig and a huge cauldron of Mexican hot chocolate (to which you can add a shot of El Gran Malo's famous infused tequilas, such as cinnamon vanilla or triple chili). And at 6 p.m., the bar will be tapping a cask of Saint Arnold Divine Reserve 12. Don't want to drive? El Gran Malo is offering 10 percent off your tab if you catch The Wave. Call 713-863-WAVE (9283) to hitch a ride.

Teresa Tadeo Wittman, owner and executive chef at Fratelli's Authentic Italian Cuisine Restaurant, is extending her Fall Pumpkin Festival that features pumpkin-stuffed pastas each Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings in November from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Dine on house-made ravioli stuffed with wood roasted pumpkin or cappelachi with pumpkin in a brown-butter sage and roasted garlic sauce. Each entrée includes a house salad, and house wines are just $3.50 each.

It's hard to believe that Backstreet Cafe has been around for nearly three decades, but the River Oaks hotspot -- that's stayed hot all these years -- is throwing a wine dinner this coming Tuesday, October 30, to celebrate its 29th anniversary. The theme is an exploration of the often confusing and intimidating language of wine, led by talented sommelier Sean Beck.

The evening includes a reception followed by a five-course dinner paired with wines from the far corners of the world, which represent the best from the Loire Valley, South Africa, Germany, California and Northern Italy's famous Piemonte region. Courses include tamarind-glazed shrimp over curry parsnip puree and braised beef short ribs with butternut squash hash and sage pan jus. The cost is $125 a person (before tax and tip); reservations can be made at 713-302-9087.

Speaking of anniversaries, The Bird & The Bear is celebrating its first anniversary all throughout this week and the next with a specially-priced, multi-course anniversary lunch and dinner menu. At dinner, The Bird & The Bear is offering a three-course dinner for for $35 plus tax and gratuity, with choices like sautéed calamari, grilled lamb chops or Moroccan chicken -- with the very popular banana chocolate cake for dessert.

And at lunch, The Bird & The Bear is offering a two-course anniversary menu with crispy chicken and pecan salad or snapper and a choice between pear tart or passion fruit cheese cake for dessert. This meal is just $20 plus tax and gratuity. And nope -- reservations aren't required for this one.

Caymus Vineyards is headed to Houston for a wine dinner at Strata, in northwest Houston's Vintage Park. Starting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 1, guests will enjoy a six-course dinner including fall-inspired dishes such as pumpkin seed-crusted halibut and a seared rack of lamb with roasted acorn squash, grilled pancetta and brussels sprouts and cranberry demi-glace along with pairings from Caymus for each course. The cost is $125 a person (before tax and tip); reservations can be made at 281-379-2889.

Fans of Bond and bubbly won't want to miss the upcoming Bollinger Cocktail Party at The Tasting Room at Uptown Park on November 9. From 6 to 8 p.m., guests are invited to suit up in their favorite Bond or Bond Girl attire and enjoy a glass of Bollinger Cuvée Champagne - 007's favorite bubbly - along with hors d'oeuvres. The cost is $20 a person, which includes a pass to see Skyfall for the first 20 guests. There will also be special-edition Bollinger James Bond 007 2002 Brut bottles to take home (at a fair price), but the supply is limited.

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