Mark your calendars, because you don’t want to miss these deliciously fun culinary happenings, from a "sweets cocktail hour" to an epic barbecue fundraiser:
Michael’s Cookie Jar’s Michael Savino and Fluff Bake Bar’s Rebecca Masson are hosting Houston's first ever "Sweet Week" from Sunday, November 6 through Sunday, November 13, when participating sweet shops will donate 15 percent of sales of one signature item to No Kid Hungry. But first, to kick things off, the duo will be hosting a “Sweets Cocktail Hour” at Fluff Bake Bar, 314 Gray, on Tuesday, November 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. A $15 donation will get guests samplings from a lineup of sweet spots including Dessert Gallery, Red Dive, Araya Chocolate and Three Brothers Bakery.
Charivari, 2521 Bagby, will be celebrating Halloween weekend — Friday, October 27 through Monday, October 31 — with a special menu from the mind of Transylvania-born chef Johann Schuster. Feast on dishes such as Dracula’s Favorite Bone Marrow Soup, Black Angus Spooky Spiced Short Ribs and Bloody Red Beet Sorbet. The five-course meal costs $45 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
Kata Robata, 3600 Kirby, has just received its first shipment of white truffles — a.k.a. “diamonds of the kitchen” — and they join a supply of black truffles already in house. For at least the next month, chef Manabu “Hori” Horiuchi will showcase the bits of Italian black and white gold with specials such as seared salmon served wrapped around a quail egg and topped with Italian black truffles or white Alba truffle chawanmushi with foie gras, oyster mushrooms and Japanese ginkgo, all topped with a coat of white truffle shavings.
Berryhill’s November taco of the month is The South for Your Mouth, a shrimp and grits number with a Texas kick. Created by corporate chef Alvin Schultz, the taco is made with sautéed shrimp dressed in chile and lime over a bed of cheesy queso grits, then topped with pickled corn relish and crispy cheese and served in a warm flour tortilla. The taco is available at all locations and sells for $4.95.
Houston Black Restaurant Week kicks off its first annual fall series, Harvest the Block, on Friday, November 4 through Sunday, November 6. The inaugural affair aims to stimulate growth between black-owned farms and the local Houston economy, as African-American farmers make up less than 2 percent of the nation’s agricultural community, and only account for less than 1 percent of total agricultural sales. The three-day event commences with “Kitchen Konversations: Cooking Experience,” a culinary demonstration at the grand opening of Etta’s Table, 4212 Dowling, led by chef Shakti Baum. Guests will learn how to prepare a Mediterranean meal and old-fashioned cocktails, then dine on a three-course, farm-to-table meal ($80). On Saturday, “Harvest the Block” begins with a classic farmer’s market and ends with a community-centric block party in Houston’s historic Third Ward neighborhood. The afternoon continues with a heated food challenge, as patrons can sample bites from various culinary vendors (Cajun, barbecue, food trucks, desserts and more), then cast their vote for the best of the block ($25). The weekend concludes with a Reunion Community Dinner at the Blue Triangle Community Center, 3005 McGowen, where chefs Yolanda Henry and Javani King prepare a family-style feast utilizing select ingredients from local farmers ($40). Proceeds from the Harvest the Block fall series will benefit the renovation of the Blue Triangle communal kitchen.
The Oceanaire Seafood Room, 5061 Westheimer, will host an oyster bash on Sunday, November 6 from 2 to 8 p.m. Guests are invited to celebrate with a variety of oysters, shrimp, lobster and hors d’oeuvres while enjoying live entertainment, wines from Francis Ford Coppola and Oyster Bay wineries, local spirits from Railean, Rebecca Creek, Yellow Rose, Titanium and Texas Ranger and Independence Brewing Company craft beer. Tickets are available for $85, excluding tax and gratuity.
On Sunday, November 6 from 4 to 8 p.m., the second annual Southern Smoke event will be held in the streets near Underbelly, 1100 Westheimer. Hosted by chef Chris Shepherd and the HOUBBQ Collective, the day will bring together a dream team of Southern chefs and pitmasters with the goal of raising $200,000 for the MS Society in honor of Antonio Gianola. The lineup includes brisket from Aaron Franklin, beer can chicken from Ashley Christensen, and smoked Vietnamese-style bologna with nuoc mam slaw from Tandy Wilson, all of whom are James Beard Award winners. And that's just a taste. There will be even more 'cue and a stellar roster of grapes and grains. Tickets are $200 for general admission and $350 for VIP.