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This Week in Houston Food Events: Holiday Sweater Day

Raise a toast to happy holidays once again.
Raise a toast to happy holidays once again. Photo by Abbie Arnold

Here's a look at this week's hottest culinary happenings:

Tuesday, December 14

(Ugly) Holiday Sweater Party at The Melting Pot

The Swiss have given the world Rolex watches and multi-use army knives but their best contribution has been, in our opinion, the melty pot of cheese known as fondue. The Melting Pot, 1600 Westheimer, will have plenty of cheese and chocolate for dipping at its annual Ugly Holiday Sweater Party. For $34.95, guests will be offered cheese fondue to start, one per cooktop, then an entree choice of filet mignon, all-natural chicken breast, teriyaki-marinated steak or shrimp plus seasonal vegetables and dipping sauces. The dinner ends with a chocolate fondue.

Guests in festive attire get a complimentary Poinsettia cocktail, a glass of Asti Spumante with cranberry juice and a touch of peach Schnapps. There will be a number of holiday-themed cocktails for $7 including the Christmas Cosmo, Blitzed Blitzen and Santa's Little Helper with tequila. Select glasses of wine will be available for $5.

Wednesday, December 15
click to enlarge Dip a Taco Cabana quesadilla in a tasty birria broth. - PHOTO BY TACO CABANA
Dip a Taco Cabana quesadilla in a tasty birria broth.
Photo by Taco Cabana
New Birria Quesadilla at Taco Cabana

Birria tacos are appearing on Mexican restaurant menus and getting served from food trucks across the city and San Antonio-based Taco Cabana is jumping on the bandwagon with its Birria Quesadilla. Two flour tortillas are filled with seasoned beef, melted Monterrey jack cheese and pico de gallo and served with a side of warm, traditional birria broth. Not only is the Cabana launching the new item but it is also bringing back its seasonal Tortilla Soup, made with shredded chicken, tomatoes, onions and garlic. The soup is topped with crispy corn tortilla strips. cheddar and jack cheeses, cilantro and lime wedges.

Don't forget, Taco Cabana also has 8 flavors of margarita for only $2 each. In these days of high inflation, we need a little cocktail relief.

Saturday, December 18
click to enlarge Santa is pitmaster Vince Boisaubin and he's ready to make your Christmas barbecue dreams come true. - PHOTO BY ERIN SMITH
Santa is pitmaster Vince Boisaubin and he's ready to make your Christmas barbecue dreams come true.
Photo by Erin Smith
A Very Feges Christmas

Patrick Feges and wife Erin Smith opened the Spring Branch location of their popular restaurant, Feges BBQ, this past June, as we reported here in the Houston Press. This will be its newest baby's first Christmas and it will be celebrating with Santa Claus himself, who will be available for photos from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. There will also be holiday drink and food specials plus the Will Farrell film, Elf, will be on the big screens around the restaurant. The restaurant will  be collecting wrapped toys for St. Mark Lutheran Christmas Toy Drive as well. Feges Spring Branch is located at 8217 Long Point.

Guests can also take advantage of the retail wine sale that day. Smith, a former sommelier, will have some excellent varietals for giving or imbibing at 20 percent off December 18.

Breakfast with Santa at Toro Toro

The Four Seasons Hotel Houston recently completed a multi-year renovation with dramatic updates to its guest rooms and suites, lobby, spa and fitness center and recently opened its Toro Toro restaurant, a Pan-Latin steakhouse from prolific chef and restaurateur Richard Sandoval.

With its spectacular Christmas trees and twinkling lights, the hotel is a holiday destination hosting private and public events. Its Breakfast with Santa, December 18, will run from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the third story Toro Toro. Santa Clause will await the Christmas wishes of children as families enjoy a breakfast buffet that includes children's menu options as well. The cost is $75 per adult and children 12 and over.  The breakfast for kids under 12 is $45. To make reservations, call 713-650-1300.

Sunday, December 19

Breakfast with Santa at Neiman Marcus

Santa is a busy, busy elf in December and he will be making a stop at Houston's Neiman Marcus, 2600 Post Oak Boulevard, to have a mid-morning breakfast with guests at the special event beginning at 11 a.m. The menu includes buttermilk pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, fresh fruit, vegetables, potatoes and juice, coffee or tea. For patrons 21 and up, there's a complimentary glass of sparkling wine. The breakfast ticket is $60 and does not include tax or the eventbrite fee.

All Month Long

Holiday Cocktails at Julep
click to enlarge Julep has holiday spirits for a jolly good time. - PHOTO BY ABBIE ARNOLD
Julep has holiday spirits for a jolly good time.
Photo by Abbie Arnold
Julep, 1919 Washington, has decked its pretty walls with holiday cheer and patrons will find a new seasonal menu of tempting cocktails like its Apple Butter Old Fashioned and Mulled Wine Sour to take the edge of the holiday stress. To really escape the chaos, try the Christmas in the Caribbean ($14) with Bacardi Quatro rum, Appleton Rum, spiced syrup, lime juice, grapefruit juice and allspice dram. There's also a Spiked Hot Cocoa ($14) and its own version of eggnog which contains rum, rye, Madeira and bourbon and real nog ingredients instead of high fructose corn syrup.

12 Days of Christmas at Verdine

This vegan restaurant began its 12 days of Christmas December 12 and it runs through December 24. Each day, Verdine, 449 W. 19th, will offer specials such as chances to win a bottle of prosecco or wine and drink and dessert specials. Other giveaways include a $25 gift card Wednesday, December 15 and 22. Check its website or Facebook for details.

The restaurant will also host a Holly Holiday Market December 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on its patio with a complimentary bubbles while guests shop. The restaurant, which is closed on Monday, is taking Christmas catering orders through December 19 for its plant-based menu. Impress your vegan guests and even non-vegans with options like Tempeh Wellington ($32) a braised organic and local tempeh filet wrapped with mushroom pate in a flaky puff pastry and a Pecan Pie ($42) that is not only vegan but gluten-free as well. There are also a number of appetizers and sides available plus a Christmas Morning menu. 
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Lorretta Ruggiero is a Houston Press freelance writer based in Cypress, Texas. She loves entertaining her family and friends with her food and sparkling wit. She is married to Classic Rock Bob and they have two exceptionally smart-aleck children.