Things To Do

Upcoming Events: Real Life Is for March

Leap Day William is coming to town next week! Valentino Vin Bar is celebrating the quadrennial Leap Day on February 29 with a $29 all-inclusive lunch. That $29 will get you three courses -- soup, pizza and dessert -- and even includes tax, tip and valet. Just remember to wear yellow and blue. (Not really.)

If you've already worked your way through our list of Top 10 Crawfish Restaurants in town (as well as the suggestions of our helpful commenters), then buy your tickets for the big boil that's going down on the landscaped grounds of Vargo's on Sunday, March 11. Why? Here are the only three reasons you need:

  1. It's a fundraiser for Foodways Texas, the new organization committed to preserving and promoting Texas food culture.
  2. It's also a book release party for former Houston Press food critic Robb Walsh's new book, Texas Eats
  3. The crawfish will be boiled by the Cajun king himself, Jim Gossen.

The boil is being hosted by the Houston Chowhounds, who are selling tickets for $20 -- and the tickets include much more than just all-you-can-eat mudbugs. Your $20 admission ticket will grant you either a $25 discount for a one-year membership to Foodways Texas, or a ticket to its 2nd Annual symposium in Austin on March 23 to 25.

Why is this such a big deal? Because memberships to Foodways Texas are regularly $75 for an individual and $100 for a family. And symposium tickets are $225 for members and $250 for non-members. What are you waiting for? Get your ticket today before they sell out.


Next weekend, put on your platforms and your polyester pants (granted you still have some) and head down to Jenni's Noodle House on Post Oak, where owners Scott and Jenni Tran-Weaver will be celebrating their restaurant's 10th anniversary.

Saturday, March 3, from 6 to 11 p.m., Jenni's will have a DJ, a disco ball, dumplings and lots of other snacks on hand as well as an open bar. And at the end of the night, the noodle house will be giving back to the community that's supported it for the last 10 years by donating $10,000 to four area charities: KPFT 90.1 FM, The Houston Area Women's Center, Ben Taub Hospital, and The Joan Schwartz Spaw Scholarship fund for Commonweal Cancer Help Program. Everything is free, but guests are encouraged to donate to their choice of charities either before or after Disco Ducking.

The next day, the Houston Beer Experiment goes down on March 4 at Fitzgerald's. As reported by Christina Uticone a few weeks ago, the grand experiment pits amateur chefs against one another in a professional-level cooking competition, judged by Chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly, Chef Adam Dorris of Stella Sola and Jenny Wang (lead Houston Chowhound and producer of Southbound Food). The winner gets a mean prize package and it's open to the public, so get your $10 tickets to see which home cook makes the best dish with the key ingredient: beer.

El Real Tex-Mex Cafe isn't the only restaurant in town offering discounts to its neighbors: Giacomo's Cibo e Vino is giving River Oaks residents 30 percent off their tabs every Tuesday night in March from 6 to 10 p.m. As long as someone at the table has a Texas driver's license with a 77098 ZIP code, the entire table will receive 30 percent off their food bill.

Lastly, the first Crispin Cider dinner in Houston is taking place next Wednesday, February 29, at Sorrel Urban Bistro from 6 to 8 p.m. I love Crispin ciders -- especially its Honey Crisp -- and apparently so does Chef Soren Pedersen, who's pairing five courses with Crispin's hard cider. (Including an appetizer of pork tournedos with house-cured bacon and cranberry chutney to go with that Honey Crisp.) It's $65 a person (plus tax and tip); call 713-677-0391 for reservations.

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Katharine Shilcutt