La Table, 1800 Post Oak, is kicking off its annual weekend Brunch with Santa, every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., starting November 26 through December 24. Guests are invited to celebrate the holiday season with food and activities for the whole family, including a family-style brunch ($49 per person) with signature favorites like Orange Brioche French Toast, plus photos with Santa and gingerbread house decorating. Keeping in the holiday spirit, this year La Table has partnered with Casa de Esperanza to donate a portion of proceeds to benefit the Houston-based organization. Casa de Esperanza de los Ninos, The House of Hope for Children, is a safe place for children in crisis due to abuse, neglect or the effects of HIV.
Throughout the month of December, chef/owner Kevin Naderi will celebrate the 5th anniversary of his neighborhood restaurant, Roost, 1972 Fairview. The restaurant is bringing back all-time favorites from over the years, including crab cake niçoise with French bean salad, salt cod fritters with saffron aioli, sweet potato and quinoa stuffed poblano with mole braised greens, chicken n’ dumplings with French gnocchi and herb gravy, and spiced apple empanadas with lavender icing and apple cider sorbet. Naderi has selected three charity organizations (BEAR, The Beacon and Houston Youth Symphony) to partner with, in an effort to give back to the community that has supported him since his restaurant’s opening. The charitable portion of this celebration will take place over three weeks, from Thursday, December 1 to Wednesday, December 21. Roost will offer a three-course prix fixe menu for $50, with $10 from each menu sold benefiting the featured charity that week.
Phoenicia Specialty Foods, 1001 Austin, is inviting guests to go global this holiday season at the second annual YUMMY! Wonderland on Saturday, December 3 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The international holiday festival and brunch will highlight art, music, traditions and customs from around the globe, with family-friendly entertainment, holiday crafts, cookie decorating, cultural performances and live music. The event is open to the public and free of admission, with a buffet-style brunch, house coffee and juice available for purchase. Seating is first come, first served. Reserve your spot at yummywonderland2016.eventbrite.com.
On Saturday, December 3, Brennan's of Houston, 3300 Smith, will host its annual Brunch with Santa from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., featuring a two-course meal from executive chef Danny Trace, plus a dessert buffet filled with North Pole-inspired treats. Families will have the opportunity to take a family photo with Santa, and will receive a keepsake ornament and magnetic picture frame. Alongside a complimentary mimosa and Brennan’s classics like Eggs Brennan and Shrimp & Grits, adults ($55 plus tax and gratuity) can choose from festive courses including Texas Redfish "On the Half Shell," Blue Crab & Mushroom Risotto and Creole Roasted Chicken. Children ages 2 to 12 ($35 plus tax and gratuity) can select from kid-friendly dishes such as Pancakes and Eggs, Cajun Santa’s Mac and Cheese with andouille sausage, Mrs. Claus’s Fried Chicken and Christmas Tree Pasta with broccoli and parmesan.
On Sunday, December 4 at 4 p.m., Bernadine’s, 1801-B North Shepherd, is celebrating its one-year anniversary with a Cochon de Lait Celebration. Guests will be treated to live zydeco music, kid-friendly activities like face-painting and a piñata, and a festive menu from chef Graham Laborde, featuring a whole roast suckling pig, shrimp, fresh oysters, oyster stuffing, rice dressing and roasted sweet potatoes, and pies from pastry chef Julia Doran (food will be served beginning at 5:30 p.m). Tickets are $35 pre-buy and $40 at the door.
Join Pass & Provisions, 807 Taft, for a Wicked Weed & Jester King Collaboration Beer Dinner on Tuesday, December 6 at 6 p.m. The restaurant will pair a six-course meal with seven of some of the country’s very best brews. Tickets are $100, plus tax and tip. Call 713-628-9020 (option 2) to speak with host to purchase tickets.
Anvil Bar & Refuge, 1424 Westheimer, is known for its extensive training program, and for the first time, the bar is opening up its “Blind 50” test to the public. It’s the final step in Anvil’s months-long training program, a grueling right of passage where trainees taste 50 spirits and correctly name 47 of them. For the inaugural, semi-annual Blind Tasting Competition held on Sunday, January 8, the bar will accept 30 entrants at $55 per person, done in traditional Anvil “Break-Even” style—just enough to cover cost of pours and labor for the event. Anyone is welcome, excluding Anvil Bar & Refuge staff members that have completed training and would have an unfair advantage. Entrants will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis in person at the bar. For further details, check out Anvil’s Facebook page.