Upcoming Events: Iron Forks, Mudbugs and Beer

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Big news first: Our 10th annual 2012 Menu of Menus event is coming up on April 17 from 7 to 10 p.m., and in celebration of its first decade, it'll be like no other Menu of Menus you've ever seen. We will have a line-up of 40 restaurants sampling their best dishes -- including favorites like Radical Eats, Happy Fatz and Portugallia -- as well as the first-ever Iron Fork competition, curated by Houston legend Monica Pope.

Pope will pit two of Houston's most popular up-and-coming chefs against one another in battle, but Iron Fork is much more than just a Kitchen Stadium-style knockoff: The round stage on which the two chefs will be cooking head-to-head will be accessible from all sides, so you can watch the battle in 360 degrees.

Tickets for Menu of Menus just went on sale today, with special VIP pricing through Voice Daily Deals for only $45 (VIP tickets are normally $100 -- this is more than half-off). As anyone who's attended a Menu of Menus event will tell you, VIP access is the way to go: You'll get in an hour earlier than everyone else and receive complimentary valet parking. Just want general admission? We'll have a Voice Daily Deal for those tickets, too, on Wednesday, February 22: Tickets will be $25, instead of the regular $60 price, so keep an eye out!

In case you hadn't heard, Southbound Food is back on the air -- and it's bigger and better than before. This week's guests for this Saturday's broadcast on KTRH 740 at 4 p.m. are Monica Pope, Carlos Rodriguez and none other than Top Chef judge Gail Simmons. Expect the Southbound crew to ask Rodriguez -- executive chef at Vic & Anthony's -- about this past Valentine's Day madness at the steakhouse. And hope that they ask Simmons some tough questions about this season of Top Chef: Texas. I know I would.

Also this Saturday, head out west to the Ashford Pub (13308 Westheimer), where No Label Brewing will be hosting an all-you-can-eat crawfish boil starting at 1 p.m. Tickets are $10, which includes endless crawfish as well as a host of other side items. No Label's brews will be on draft for $4 a beer, which includes a pint glass you get to take home.

There are two Sundays left in February, which means two more chances to catch the Latin Jazz Sunday Brunch at Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen on Woodway. From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. each Sunday, guests can enjoy made-to-order pancakes, chilaquiles, huevos rancheros and more while listening to Lois Albez. Albez is a talented singer and guitarist who plays beautiful samba, bossa nova and salsa music (and I'm not just saying this; I'm a big fan of hers), and the whole brunch is only $14.95 a person. Call 713-334-7295 for reservations.

Coming up on April 5, the Young Texans Against Cancer are once again hosting their popular Kiss My Grits: Gulf Coast Throwdown at The Capitol at St. Germain. Tickets for the event are $85 for YTAC members, which includes entrance to a VIP Reception from 6 to 7 p.m. The public portion of the cooking competition starts at 7 p.m. and costs $100 a person, proceeds for which go to cancer researchers in Houston. Skyrockets will play on the main stage at 8 p.m. and big-name chefs from around the city will throw down their finest grits dishes.

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Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

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