Here's a look at this week's hottest culinary happenings:
All week through Sunday, April 29
Houston Black Restaurant Week
Houston Black Restaurant Week is back to celebrate the flavors of African-American, African and Caribbean cuisines via a fun event line-up and restaurant menu specials. The lineup of restaurants offering specials includes favorites like Ray’s Real Pit BBQ Shack, Kitchen 713, Houston This Is It Soul Food and Kulture. Special events the Art of Flavor: Exclusive Pop-up Dinner with chef Mark Holley on Tuesday, April 24 and Food Truck Fest on Saturday, April 28.
Monday through Friday
Grand Opening Special at Fresco! Café Italiano
To celebrate its grand opening, Fresco! Café Italiano, 3277 Southwest Freeway, will be offering a to-go pasta special; Guests who purchase ten ounces of executive chef Roberto Crescini’s signature Sauces To-Go will receive 14 ounces of fresh housemade pasta as a gift. Sauce options include alfredo, marinara, pesto and sundried tomato, bolognese, amatriciana and more, with pasta options ranging from bucatini and parpadelle to rigatoni and tagliatelle.
Tuesday, April 24
Outdoor Cooking Series at Eight Row Flint
Eight Row Flint, 1039 Yale, continues its outdoor cooking series for the month of April, featuring the front-of-the-house women of Agricole Hospitality and their Louisiana roots. This week’s Tuesday night event will feature roast beef po’ boys and gumbo from Christina Ramey, general manager of Eight Row Flint. Food is served 5 p.m. until sold out, and each plate is $15.
El Camino Taste of Origin Tasting at Maison Pucha Bistro
Guests are invited to a Mexican-Ecuadorian-Peruvian Tasting at Maison Pucha Bistro, 1001 Studewood, at 7 p.m. Together with chef Humberto Guallpa, chef Manuel Pucha, chef Alex Acosta, chef Juan Carlos Landazuri and pastry chef Victor Pucha, the restaurant will present flavors and textures of its origin in a six-course tasting. Tastes include locro de papa (Ecuadorian potato soup), Peruvian ceviche, roasted suckling pig, sea scallops with huitlacoche (Mexican truffles) and corn, and tres leches with an Ecuadorian chocolate cover. Tickets are $80 ($120 for VIP with drinks included).
A Taste of Oaxaca with Hugo Ortega at Third Coast Restaurant
James Beard Award-winning chef Hugo Ortega will join executive chef Jon Buchanan for a special guest chef dinner featuring the flavors of Oaxaca, Mexico at Third Coast Restaurant, 6550 Bertner, beginning at 7 p.m. Beverage director and sommelier David Cook will pair each course with specialty wines and craft cocktails. The menu for the evening includes passed appetizers of crispy potato tacos and mole beef cheeks, followed by four courses including striped bass mole verde and braised skirt steak with masa dumplings. Tickets are $125 per person, plus tax and service fee, with 20-percent of the evening's proceeds going to the Houston Food Bank.
Wild William Whiskey and Wine Tasting Dinner at Chama Gaúcha
Chama Gaúcha Brazilian Steakhouse, 5865 Westheimer, is hosting an exclusive five-course tasting dinner featuring Wild Turkey Whiskeys and William Hill Wines at 7 p.m. The unique twist on its monthly wine dinner will offer special giveaways, raffle prizes, cigars and the newest dish on the rodizio menu, quail. Cost is $85 per person (plus tax and gratuity) and reservations are required. Tickets can be purchased via EventBrite or by calling 713-244-9500.
La Vie en Rose Wine Dinner at Bistro Provence
Bistro Provence, 13616 Memorial, will host its sixth annual La Vie en Rose, a wine dinner featuring selected rosé wines imported by Houston’s own French Country Wines, beginning at 7 p.m. The dinner will pair five superb wines with a five-course French Provence menu. The cost per person is $69 plus tax and gratuity. A $30 deposit via Paypal is required to secure the reservation, forfeited for failing to show up or cancel at least 48 hours in advance. For required wine dinner reservations, call 713-827-8008 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, April 26
Dining Out For Life
Dining Out For Life 2018 will take place on Thursday, April 26, at participating restaurants around Houston. The annual nationwide fundraiser benefits HIV/AIDS service organizations in participating communities, with Houston’s efforts supporting AIDS Foundation Houston programs and services. Guests are invited to dine out and simply pick up their own tab at spots including BCK: Kitchen & Cocktail Adventures, Songkran Thai Grill, B&B Butchers & Restaurant and FM Kitchen & Bar. See the entire lineup of participating restaurants online.
Spring Fling Tasting at Upstairs
Upstairs bar and lounge, 2356 Rice, is hosting its second annual Spring Fling tasting event. From 5 to 7 p.m., guests can experience live music alongside a diverse selection of bar bites and signature cocktails made with house-infused spirits and fresh-squeezed juices. The tasting is $10 per person (21 and up only). RSVP is required as space is limited.
Buffalo Bayou in Bloom at The Water Works in Buffalo Bayou Park
Bayou Buddies will be hosting a springtime fundraising soirée from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at The Water Works in Buffalo Bayou Park, 105 Sabine Street. Buffalo Bayou in Bloom will benefit BBP’s efforts for continual revitalization of Buffalo Bayou and help keep Buffalo Bayou blooming. Hurricane Harvey damaged hundreds of native plants and trees last August; and though time, help from volunteers and favorable weather has brought life to Buffalo Bayou, the restoration still has quite a way to go. Guests can help out and enjoy light bites from donors like Raising Cane’s, Steel City Pops and Tiff’s Treats, plus live music, giveaways, a silent auction, and libations from Libations from Barefoot Wine, Agricole Hospitality, Saint Arnold Brewery and Bayou Rum. Tickets ($30 for members and $40 for non-members pre-sale) will grant access to all of the above plus the opportunity to tour the historic Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern. A limited number of tickets will be sold at the door, and price increases $10.
Gargiulo Wine Dinner at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse Downtown
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse Downtown,1200 McKinney, will host a Gargiulo Wine Dinner at 7 p.m. Gargiulo Vineyards is iconic Napa Valley winery that has been crafting wines in Oakville (at very limited levels of production) since starting in the early 90s. For $235, guests will enjoy a four-course dinner as proprietor Jeff Gargiulo guides guests through multiple flights of the small-production wines. Courses include Hudson Valley duck magret and confit, braised Kurobuta pork with crispy pork belly, dry-aged bone-in beef tenderloin and a selection of artisan cheeses.
Friday, April 27
Midnight in Paris Wine Tasting at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse Galleria
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Guests are invited to enjoy a Midnight in Paris Wine Tasting at the Galleria location of Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, 5839 Westheimer, beginning at 5:30 p.m. For $75, the Houston Galleria wine team will showcase their favorite French wines ranging from Loire Valley, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhone and more.
Saturday, April 28
Crawfish Fest at Navigation Esplanade
Head to the Esplanade on Navigation, 2600 Navigation, for its inaugural crawfish festival, featuring free admission alongside crawfish, additional food and beverages, and vendor arts and crafts available for purchase. The event will run from noon to 8 p.m. and guests can RSVP online to help with planning (or simply show up).