Instead of chugging crappy green beer for St. Patrick's Day (which is tomorrow, in case you missed the memo), here are three other suggestions that don't suck:
Barbecue guru Neil "Bigmista" Strawder is returning home to Galveston tomorrow for a charity barbecue at St. Augustine of Hippo, the oldest African-American Episcopal church in Texas. Strawder is best known as the Long Beach, California pitmaster who impressed Jonathan Gold enough to be included on Gold's list of "99 Essential LA Restaurants" and as a contestant on TLC's BBQ Pitmasters. Tickets for the big BBQ -- all cooked by Strawder and his crew -- are $10 for a one-meat plate with two sides, bread and dessert or $13 for a two-meat plate. Money will go toward much-needed repairs for the church, which is now 128 years old.
Plonk is having its own St. Patrick's Day celebration tomorrow and will be offering Irish beers Guinness and Bass Ale on draft. They'll also have a special Shenanigans Pizza, made with -- wait for it -- Irish bangers, roasted potato coins, caramelized onions, Dubliner Cheddar cheese and pesto.
You can also head over to Karbach Brewing for its weekly Saturday brewery tour from noon to 3 p.m., and drink some seriously good local beer instead of the green stuff. In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, food truck Zubs Brats will be serving its homemade brats during the tour.
Next weekend, Wes Anderson fans will want to hit the Alamo Drafthouse when it screens The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou on March 25. The 7:30 p.m. screening is $10 a person and includes a Team Zissou red knit hat. A special food deal will be offered on that Saturday night only: battered and fried fish and chips.
That same night, you can also sign up to help kick ass at the Kicking Cancer's Ass fundraiser from 4 to 8 p.m. at Ralph Smith Photography at 5226 Elm Street. It will be followed by an after-party at Anvil Bar & Refuge, where patrons can enjoy "The Bond Buddha," a cocktail created in honor of Jonathan Platon, a huge supporter of Houston's food community who passed away last October.
The March 25 fundraiser in his honor will feature chefs from across the city, including: Joshua Martinez's food truck, The Modular; Justin Yu (Oxheart); Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan (both of Pilot Light RG); Mark Parmley (The Capitol at St. Germain); Lyle Bento (Underbelly); and baker Jody Stevens (Jodycakes). Plates will be available for purchase a la carte. Tickets may be purchased online or at the door; $15 for admission and $5 per food ticket.
Silent auction items will also be up for grabs, including a signed copy of the highly sought-after Modernist Cuisine book set, wine from Jonathan Platon's own collection, a Jeroboam (double magnum) from Bandol Wines, gift certificates for popular restaurants such as Underbelly, Hay Merchant, Reef, Vic & Anthony's, and La Mexicana, as well as many more items. The silent auction grand prize is a vacation package that includes four nights at the Fiesta Americana Grand Vacation Resort in Los Cabos, Baja California, Mexico along with coach airfare, valued at $2,500.
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Coming up on April 5 is another fundraiser to help fund cancer research: 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.
And on April 1, stay tuned for a good, old-fashioned food truck throwdown. Phamily Bites will be celebrating its one-year anniversary party at Soundwaves along with fellow food trucks Stick It Truck and Happy Endings. The party gets started at noon.