Here's a look at this week's hottest culinary happenings:
Holiday-inspired sweets at CRAVE
Houston favorite Crave Cupcakes, 5600 Kirby, 1151 Uptown Park, 2501 Research Forest, is now offering holiday-inspired cupcakes and bakeshop treats, available for a limited time only this holiday season. Treat yourself or others to cupcake flavors such as eggnog, peppermint chocolate, and maple pecan vanilla bean cupcake filled with bourbon pecan pie surprise. The bakeshop also offers holiday classics like the iconic Gingerbread Man cookie, Hanukkah cookies, breads, holiday spice coffee, fudge brownies, snickerdoodles, peppermint bar and even doggy treats. The special holiday cupcakes and treats will be available through Christmas Eve, with gift box options ranging from $30 to $50, cookie boxes starting at $15 and cupcake boxes ranging from $24/dozen for cupcake minis and $60/dozen for handcrafted holiday cupcakes. To place orders, call 713-622-7283, order online at cravecupcakes.com, or visit your nearest location.
New Seasonal Desserts at Killen’s Steakhouse and Killen’s STQ
After a recent three-day workshop with Parisian pastry master David Bonet, pastry chef Samantha Mendoza has been busy incorporating what she learned during into her latest creations for both Killen’s Steakhouse, 6425 Broadway, and Killen’s STQ, 2231 South Voss. Guests can look forward to Pear Four Ways, with mascarpone creme, cinnamon pear cake and sugar cookie crumb; Plum & Almond Galette, spiked with rum, buttermilk and dulce de leche ice cream and an almond filling; and Banana & Passion Fruit Chocolate Mousse, with banana and pecan cake and passion fruit toffee.
Holiday-inspired treats at Ooh La La Dessert Boutique
This December, Ooh La La Dessert Boutique, 23920 Westheimer, 20155 Park Row, 770 West Sam Houston Parkway North, rolls out its holiday-inspired treats, including but not limited to decked out Christmas cookies and cupcakes, holiday macarons and truffles, a full stocking’s worth of pie varieties, and the December Cupcake of the Month: the Banoffee Pie Cupcake, featuring banana cake filled with house dulce de leche and topped with toffee buttercream and a toffee crumble. To make things super easy, Ooh La La’s Cinco Ranch location has a drive-thru window. Pre-orders require 48 hours advance notice. Visit oohlalasweets.com to view galleries, pricing and contact info for your nearest bakery.
All week long
The 12 Days of Mole at Arnaldo Richards’ Picos
Arnaldo Richards’ Picos, 3601 Kirby, will bring back its holiday tradition, 12 Days of Mole, has kicked off. The 12-day event will feature a different mole and dish each evening.
Tuesday, December 5
Pupusa Lab at Liberty Station
Pop Ups by Chef Evelyn is bringing a Pupusa Lab to Liberty Station, 2101 Washington, from 6 to 9 p.m. Try a spin on the traditional El Salvadorian dish, with varieties including brisket with cilantro crema, chicken and Thai green curry, and spinach, shiitake mushroom and cheese ($5 each). There will also be tres leches cupcakes ($3 each).
Thursday, December 7
Houston Humane Society fundraiser at Chipotle
All day from 10:45 a.m. to 10 p.m., customers can tell their Chipotle cashier that they are dining to support the Houston Humane Society, and half of all fundraiser sales will help the organization end animal cruelty, abuse and overpopulation. The fundraiser will run at all Houston-area Chipotle location.
Macarons for the Holidays at Central Market
Central Market, 3815 Westheimer, will host a Macarons for the Holidays cooking class from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Guests can learn to create delectable French treats in flavors like "everything bagel" with cream cheese and smoked salmon, Christmas cookie with vanilla buttercream, gingerbread with gingerbread buttercream and Mexican hot chocolate with marshmallow fluff. Cost is $60 per person.
Friday through Sunday
Tomball German Christmas Market & Festival at Old Town Tomball
Held in Old Town Tomball, 201 South Elm, hit this Texas-style Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) to find live music and entertainment, over 200 vendors, a wine garden and petting zoo and festive German food and drink, including brats, strudels, Christmas stollen, kennel corn, and drinks like dark Dunkles Bier and warm cups of Glühwein. Hours are Friday from 6 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, December 9
Breakfast with Santa at Hotel Derek
Bring your little ones to a festive morning with Santa Claus at Hotel Derek, 2525 West Loop South, featuring a buffet inspired by Mrs. Claus and dishes like gingerbread waffles and a hot cocoa bar. There will be Christmas movies playing and photo opportunities with Santa. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and cost is $45 for adults and $35 for children age three to 14 (children under 2 are free). Email RSVP@LadyDerek.com to reserve a spot.
La Piccola Cucina: Holiday Edition at The Italian Cultural & Community Center
The Italian Cultural & Community Center, 1101 Milford, is hosting a special holiday edition cooking class for children from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The hands-on cooking class will teach kids ages three to ten how to make mezzelune alla vaniglia, traditional moon-shaped almond and vanilla cookies that are found in Europe around Christmas time. The registration deadline is Thursday, December 7 and cost is $30 for ICCC members and $45 for non-members.
Holiday Afternoon Tea at Four Seasons Hotel Houston
The Four Seasons Hotel Houston, 1300 Lamar, will be hosting a gingerbread-themed afternoon tea on December 9, 16, and 23 between noon and 4 p.m. Guests can also expect Christmas carolers, arts and crafts and gingerbread house decorating. Cost is $64 for adults and $45 for children (free for children under five).
Houston Margarita Festival at The Water Works
The sixth annual Houston Margarita Festival will be the held at The Water Works at Buffalo Bayou Park, 105 Sabine, from noon to 10 p.m. The event brings together the finest local mixologists to concoct some seriously good and stiff margaritas in an outdoor margarita wonderland under the Houston skyline. Get flavors from green apple and peach mango to chocolate and pumpkin spice. Tickets start at $20 and include admission and one margarita, with VIP, value and group passes available.
A Taste of Winter Dinner at Finca Tres Robles
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Finca Tres Robles, 257 North Greenwood, invites guests to join it under the oaks for A Taste of Winter dinner, from 5 to 10 p.m. The unique dining experience will feature farm fresh produce and beer from Town in City Brewing Co, plus live music, dancing and good company. Farm tours will run from 5 to 6 p.m., with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and drinks and dancing until 10 p.m. Tickets are $65 each.
Sunday, December 10
Holiday Children’s Tea at Hotel Granduca
Kick off the Christmas season with the entire family at a Holiday Children’s Tea, held in Hotel Granduca’s Ristorante Cavour, 1080 Uptown Park, on Sundays, December 10 and 17 from 3 to 5 p.m. The afternoons will feature a festive riff on the hotel’s signature tea service with special tea menus for both children ($29) and adults ($59). Reservations are required and can be made by calling 713-418-1000.