Here's a look at this week's hottest culinary happenings:
Mondays through December 18
Wine Bar Mondays at Helen Greek Food & Wine
Every Monday through December 18, the usually closed Helen Greek Food & Wine, 2429 Rice, will open its doors to holiday shoppers looking to take a break with a few sips. Guests can purchase and create their own wine baskets and enjoy Helen’s thoughtful list of Greek wines and light bites like marinated feta, nuts and olives. Doors open at 4:30 p.m.
Monday and Tuesday
Post-Thanksgiving $5 specials at Bowl & Barrel
To help everyone get into the swing of things after Thanksgiving, Bowl & Barrel, 797 Sorella, is offering burgers, beer and bowling for $5 all day this Monday and Tuesday. Endless rounds of bowling can be played for $5 per lane, per half hour (up to eight people); any canned, bottled or half-liter beer is $5 a pop; and the iconic Burgers in a Bag – three sliders topped with bacon mayo and cheddar cheese, served with a side of fries – are also just $5.
Monday through Saturday
Austrian Wine Week at 13 Celsius
13 Celsius, 3000 Caroline, will conduct a week-long celebration highlighting some of the classic styles and more iconic winemakers of Austria. Beginning at 4 p.m. each day, the wine bar will be featuring a page of highly-allocated Austrian wines by the glass, half glass, bottle and a few wine flights, all sought after by the world's top sommeliers. As usual, the featured wines will be offered for retail purchase at extremely handsome pricing.
Tuesday, November 28
Beer Dinner with 8th Wonder at Uchi
8th Wonder Brewery is teaming up with the culinary staff of Uchi to create a perfectly paired beer and food menu, available at Uchi, 904 Westheimer, from 7 to 10 p.m. The details of the eats are being kept under wraps, but some of the beers you can expect include AstroTurf Cream Ale, Cougar Paw Red Ale, Haterade Sour Wheat and Rocket Fuel Vietnamese Porter. Tickets are $80 per person not including tax & gratuity. Call 713-522-4808 to reserve a spot (a credit card will be required to hold the reservation).
Wednesday, November 29
Southern-Inspired Dim Sum Dinner and Benefit at Lucille’s
Lucille’s, 5512 La Branch, is hosting another Southern-inspired Dim Sum Dinner, this on benefiting Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Efforts. The evening will take place from 5 to 10 p.m., with dim sum style service and courses featuring bite-sized portions and small plates — think buffalo chicken feet, miso-marinated quail and grits, and whole sucking pig with porcini mushroom dumplings (the regular dinner menu will not be served). Soju (a Korean liquor) cocktail flights will also be available for purchase. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 713-568-2505. In addition, Lucille’s is hosting a Puerto Rico toy drive from Wednesday, November 29 through Saturday, December 9. If any guests bring a toy (gender neutral and nothing larger than a tissue box), they will receive 10-percent off their meal that day.
Friday through Tuesday, December 12
The 12 Days of Mole at Arnaldo Richards’ Picos
Arnaldo Richards’ Picos, 3601 Kirby, will bring back its holiday tradition, 12 Days of Mole, kicking off on Friday, December 1. The 12-day event will feature a different mole and dish each evening.
Saturday, December 2
Holiday Brunch with Santa at Brennan's of Houston
Brennan’s of Houston, 3300 Smith, will be hosting its annual Holiday Brunch with Santa on Saturday, December 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will include a two-course brunch with a dessert bar, photos with Santa, a keepsake ornament for the adults and an interactive ornament for children. Cost is $55 per adult (includes one mimosa) and $35 per child. Seating is limited and reservations are required.
Tamale Festival Houston at Navigation Esplanade
Head to EaDo's Navigation Esplanade, 2800 Navigation, to kick off the holiday season with a fun-filled tamale festival from noon to 10 p.m. The day will feature plenty of festival bites, beverages and Tex-Mex fare, plus a tamale eating contest and live music throughout the event. Tickets are $10 pre-sale ($20 day of), with VIP tickets available for $85. Kids 12 and under enter for free with a paid adult admission.
Saint Arnold at Sonoma Wine Bar & Restaurant
Give yourself the gift of beer, wine and cheese with the Saint Arnold at Sonoma tasting event, held at Sonoma Wine Bar & Restaurant, 801 Studewood, from 2 to 5 p.m. Guests will sip Christmas Ale, Bishops 12 (Christmas Ale aged in Sauvignon Blanc barrels), Bishops 19 (Christmas Ale aged in Chardonnay barrels), Raspberry AF (Beer made with raspberries), Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, all alongside cheese pairings from the Houston Dairymaids. Tickets are $25.
Sunday, December 3
Wines of Veneto at 13 Celsius
Adele Corrigan and Mike Sammons will hold a wine class exploring wines of the Veneto region at 13 Celsius, 3000 Caroline, from 1 to 3 p.m. The tasting and class will showcase a few classic styles, producers and stellar vintages; and cost is $75 per person, plus tax and gratuity. As always, the bar will offer the wines from the class at a super low, one-day-only price. Reservations are required. Call 713-529-8466.
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Houston versus Austin BBQ Throwdown at Saint Arnold Brewery
Some of Texas’ finest pitmasters will compete in a Houston versus Austin BBQ Throwdown, held at Saint Arnold Brewery, 2000 Lyons, from 1 to 4 p.m. The Houston lineup includes Beaver’s, The Brisket House, El Burro & the Bull, Ellis Brothers BBQ, Gatlin’s BBQ, Killen’s BBQ, The Pit Room and Tin Roof BBQ, while Brotherton’s Black Iron Barbecue, LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue, Micklethwait Craft Meats and Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ will come in from Austin. Each individual participant will present their vision of the perfect Texas barbecue dish. Tickets (limited) are $80 and include Saint Arnold beer and samples of each barbecue joint’s competition dish. VIP tickets are $130 and also include access to the private Saint Arnold Investor’s Pub for viewing of the judge’s panel.
Kitchen Takeover with chef Cuc Lam at Wooster’s Garden
Chef Cuc Lam is taking over the kitchen at Wooster’s Garden, 3315 Milam, from 4 to 10 p.m. The pop-up event will be inspired by the bold, spicy tastes of Southeast Asia and the upcoming fast-casual concept, SING (opening in Spring 2018). Get $5 to $12 dishes, including dan dan noodle bowls, lemongrass riblets with jasmine rice, spicy coconut curry soup, Vietnamese fruit cocktail and satay trios featuring turmeric chicken, tiger cry beef and lemongrass prawn.