Mark your calendars, because you don’t want to miss these deliciously fun culinary happenings, from a swine showdown to a weeklong wine and food festival:
B&B Butchers & Restaurant, 1814 Washington, has added new menu items and a daily “Butcher’s Plate” special to its repertoire of steakhouse stunners. Daily specials include Sunday’s veal chop parmigiana with mozzarella di bufala and Monday’s bone-in swordfish rib eye, smothered with Cajun spice and citrus beurre blanc. The new menu items (most of which are available at lunch and dinner) include chicken-fried pork chop with pork belly confit, sauerkraut and pineapple glaze and mussels marinières with saffron and white wine and served with toasted baguette.
This year, soft-shell crab season has come early, and the rewards can be found at Kata Robata, 3600 Kirby. Chef Manabu "Hori" Horiuchi has received his first orders and is putting them in the lineup of ever-changing daily specials, served crispy with a spicy Singapore dipping sauce. Soft-shell crab season (which usually starts in mid-June) continues through September.
Olivette at The Houstonian, 111 North Post Oak, will be hosting a Staglin Family Wine Tasting ($100++) with sommelier Amber Mihna in its Hearth Room on Wednesday, May 17, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Guests will have the opportunity to taste back vintages and learn the history of the wine alongside light hors d’oeuvres. Call 713-685-6713 for reservations.
On Thursday, May 18, Brennan’s of Houston, 3300 Smith, welcomes Fall Creek Wines for a six-course wine pairing dinner ($99 per person, excluding tax and gratuity). Dubbed the “First Family of Texas Wine,” Ed and Susan Auler founded the Hill Country vineyard in 1975, and more recently were awarded the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo “Best White Wine” for their 2014 Certenburg Vineyards chardonnay. The night starts with a reception beginning at 6:30 p.m., followed by a dinner starting at 7 p.m. Guests can enjoy compressed melon with balsamic fruit vinaigrette and fresh mozzarella; oyster Rockefeller soup with DR Delicacy caviar, toasted brioche and mezcal crema; fried soft shell crab with saffron and crab reduction atop Louisiana crab risotto; braised rabbit ravioli with mushroom cream sauce and grilled summer vegetables; sous vide elk rack with potato and leek au gratin and sherry demi-glace; and Mexican chocolate mousse with dark chocolate crumble, ancho reyes ganache and strawberry preserves.
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Cochon555 is stopping in Houston as part of its 14-city national tour in support of family farmers raising heritage breed pigs, with this year’s event held at Hughes Manor, 2811 Washington, from 4 to 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 21. The centerpiece of the event is a competition in which five chefs are each given one whole, heritage breed pig and one week to prepare a six-dish menu from the 200-plus-pound animal for 450-plus guests. This year’s five competing chefs are Luis Roger of BCN Taste & Tradition, Bobby Matos of State of Grace, Felix Florez of Ritual, Manabu 'Hori' Horiuchi of Kata Robata and Monica Pope of Sparrow Cookshop. Other features include innovative spirit, wine and cocktail experiences, a pop-up bread experience featuring La Brea Bakery; a reserve salami snack bar from Creminelli and Divina; a ramen noodle soup bar paired with the elegant wines of Twomey and Silver Oak Cellars; organic pâté offerings from Les Trois Petits Cochons; a Luxury Butter Bar featuring Sabatino truffle butter, and foie gras; and an innovative take on classic pastry presented by Perfect Puree of Napa Valley. Tickets for general admission start at $125, with VIP tickets (early admission, plus exclusive sommelier and cocktail competition tastings) offered for $200.
Wine & Food Week in The Woodlands is less than a month away. Now in its 13th year and held from Monday, June 5, through Sunday, June 11, the all-inclusive, multifaceted culinary and wine extravaganza will host 75 chefs, hundreds of talented winery representatives, scores of restaurants and thousands of enthusiasts looking to eat, drink, mingle and give back (more than $900,000 has been raised for local charities over the years). This year, the event welcomes Emmy award-winning TV chef, restaurateur and author Lidia Bastianich as its Wizard Gourmet Master of Ceremonies, with a theme of “Inspired! Flavors,” celebrating cuisine from around the globe. Events in the lineup include Thursday’s H-E-B Wine Walk at Market Street and the Platinum Wine Vault Tasting and The Wine Rendezvous Grand Tasting & Chef Showcase, both held on Saturday, June 10. Event pricing ranges from $20 to $250.