Upcoming Events: Not Too Late for New Year's Plans

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Next week, we'll have a complete round-up of New Year's Eve dinners and dining events. But this week, we're spotlighting three favorites to include in Upcoming Events -- make your reservations now!

Jasper's in The Woodlands is hosting a prix-fixe feast created by Chef Kent Rathbun featuring the restaurant's "gourmet backyard cuisine." The first course includes options like "bacon and eggs" with Niman Ranch chipotle bacon and truffle scrambled eggs or an entirely appropriate dish of champagne wood-fired oysters with mango caviar. For your second course, choose among several soups and salads before an intermezzo of champagne-raspberry sorbet with vanilla-vodka foam. Choices for your third course are immense, including rotisserie prime rib with French onion au jus or an apple cider-infused rotisserie pork rack.

The Woodlands is a great choice for Houstonians looking to avoid the traffic on New Year's Eve. Jasper's is offering two seatings for the night, with adjusted costs for each: from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. for only $55 per person or from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. for $85 per person. Reservations are required; call 281-298-6600.

Back in town, Haven is making sure you won't want to leave for the night: Luther and the Healers will be playing all evening long starting at 8 p.m. The New Year's seating begins at 8:25 p.m. and features a three-course prix fixe menu with amuse for $85 per person.

If you decide to venture downtown, try something different this year at the brand-new MKT Bar in Phoenicia, which is hosting a Black and White Ball. Black-and-white silent films will play while DJ G.K.S. spins classic dance beats, and in keeping with the theme, you're expected to come in your best black and white attire. The admission price is $20 and includes heavy hors d'oeuvres and a champagne toast at midnight, but the party itself runs from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Looking forward to the new year, one of our favorite mixologists is back with a new wine cocktail dinner -- this time at Plonk. After successful wine cocktail dinners at Pondicheri and Giacomo's, Chris Frankel is now teaming up with Chef Erin Smith on Sunday, January 29. The meal showcases Spanish and Portuguese dishes with cocktails featuring corresponding wines: sherry, Madeira and Port. Although there are only 24 seats available, there are two seatings: one at 4 p.m. and another at 7 p.m. for a cost of $85 per person.

Last but not least, make sure you've marked your calendar for Valentines For Soldiers on Monday, January 16, at the Saint Arnold Brewery. Even if you can't craft or bake, you can still help make care packages for our troops in Afghanistan at this fun, food-filled event.

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