Upcoming Events: Your Chance to Taste Real Kobe Beef is at Killen's

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It's not too late to order those Valentine's Day sweets for your sweetie -- and if you order from Fluff Bake Bar, you can make the gift even sweeter: A whopping 40 percent of the proceeds from the bake sale will go to benefit Lucky Dog Rescue. Pastry chef Rebecca Masson has put together a menu of Fluff favorites including her homemade Fluffernutters, cupcakes, cookies and gift boxes that let you mix and match. You can even include a pint of special Fat Cat Creamery vanilla-chocolate-covered-cherry ice cream in your order for an extra $7.

Place your order directly at Lucky Dog's website by Monday, February 11 at 5 p.m. for pickup at Kraftsmen Baking. When you order, be sure to indicate which day you want to pick up your goodies -- February 13 or 14.

Can't make it to New Orleans this year for Mardi Gras? You can still laissez les bon temps roulez at Tony Mandola's (and you just may win a trip to the Big Easy while you're at it). Tony Mandola's Mardi Gras celebration runs through Tuesday, February 12 and features a King Cake raffle, oyster-eating contest and live music at the restaurant all weekend long from Yvonne Washington.

While dining at Tony Mandola's, order at $5 slice of King Cake and you'll be entered for a chance to win a trip for two to New Orleans that includes airfare, two nights at the luxurious Audubon Cottages and a $200 gift card for the historic Galatoire's restaurant. And if you win the oyster-eating contest that takes place tomorrow at noon, you'l win a $250 gift card to Tony Mandola's itself. Email katy at onthemark dot com to enter.

The Hay Merchant is turning a year old on February 15, and owner Kevin Floyd has a celebration planned for all the beer geeks who've made the bar such a success in that short time. Floyd is plundering his own cellar to bring out some terrific rare brews next Friday. Look for Sixpoint 3Beans, Stone Vertical Epics 8, 10 and 11, Jester King El Cedro, a cask of Karbach bourbon barrel-aged Rodeo Clown, Harpoon Leviathan Czernobog and the world's very last cask of Southern Star bourbon barrel-aged Buried Hatchet 2010 among many, many others.

In addition to the huge selection of beers, The Hay Merchant is bringing back some old favorites from the kitchen, too. Chef Antoine Ware will be making meat chips, pulled oxtails, blood sausage, chicken and waffles plus more. The party goes all day Friday from from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.

In other Hay Merchant news, the bar is soon launching a new movie night. Each Sunday at 10 p.m., cult classics will be shown on the big screen and the special Fatty Hour menu will roll out. Up first on February 10 is Starship Troopers. Future Sundays will see the bar screening Snatch, Spaceballs and Caddyshack.

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between Kobe, Wagyu and Akaushi beef? Think you've tasted real Kobe beef? Unless you've been to Japan, you likely haven't -- but you can try it here in Texas for a limited time thanks to Killen's Steakhouse.

Meat master Ronnie Killen has started offering Kobe flights at his Pearland steakhouse, which include four three-ounce cuts of Kobe-style beef. The flight begins with true Kobe, which Killen is flying in from Japan. Next, you'll sample Kobe-style beef from Australia, the famed Snake River Ranch in Wyoming and finally Texas' own Strube Ranch beef.

Flights can be ordered as an appetizer or a main course, but cost $120 either way. For a taste of true Kobe, we think this is a pretty beefy bargain.

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