Things To Do

Upcoming Houston Food Events: It's Going to Be a Great Banh Mi Cook-Off

Tickets for the highly anticipated Southern Smoke go on sale this Monday, August 24. The one-of-a-kind event, which plans to raise $100,000 for the MS Society, will be held on Sunday, October 11. Chef Chris Shepherd has invited his friends Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue; Sean Brock of Husk, McCrady’s and Minero; and Rodney Scott of Scott’s Barbecue to Houston for an event that will turn Underbelly, Hay Merchant and Blacksmith, 1018 and 1100 Westheimer, into a massive street party. Shepherd has already started talking menus with the participating chefs, and we can expect brisket, whole hog, local seafood and in-season produce. Matt Pridgen, Antonio Gianola and David Keck of Camerata have secured some incredible wine donations, and Houston's local breweries are always ready to help. Tickets can be purchased for $200 for general admission and $350 for VIP at at or

Karbach Brewery, 2032 Karbach, is nearly four years old. To celebrate, the brewery is holding an open-house showcase and Grand Tasting on Monday, August 31. From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., guests can enjoy the very best food from the brand-new restaurant and the very best beer from the brand-new brewery. There will be educational demonstrations and plenty of special tappings. Proceeds of this event will be donated to The Houston Food Bank and The Robert Garner Firefighter Foundation. Tickets ($65) are on sale now and can be purchased at the host stand of the restaurant or online. Admission includes a souvenir tasting glass; food and beer pairings; access to many rare barrel-aged and specialty beers; two classic pints and one specialty pint; and access to the brewery open house. 

Starting September 1 and for one month only, award-winning chef Hugo Ortega will offer fresh corn tamales ($9) at Hugo's, 1600 Westheimer. Corn is a star ingredient at Hugo's and has historically been the staple food for Mexicans. For the season, Chef Hugo is once again creating a fluffy and delicious tamal honoring the flavors, traditions and culture of central Mexico, his homeland and where most of the corn harvest takes place year after year.

Every day this September, owner and executive chef Domenic Laurenzo will be sharing the Italian side of his family’s culinary traditions by offering his grandmother’s Sunday Gravy Pasta at Laurenzo’s Restaurant, 4412 Washington Avenue. Mama Ninfa Laurenzo’s Sunday Gravy features a slow-cooked meat gravy over house-made linguine pasta, topped with two meatballs. Served with a side salad and garlic bread, the dish costs $12.99 for adults and $6.99 for children under ten years of age (meat gravy over spaghetti and one meat ball). 

BPSOS Houston’s 2nd Annual Great Banh Mi Cook-Off will be held on Wednesday, September 16 at Lambo Ballroom, 6159 Westheimer. Local chefs from 14 top spots, including Les Ba'get, Songkran Thai Bistro and Table 57, will face off to see who makes the best Vietnamese sandwich in Houston. Our own Houston Press food writer Phaedra Cook will be among the judges. Tickets, which include unlimited food and drinks, music, and photo booth pics, are on sale for $30 (or $25 group discount) through Tuesday, September 1.

The team at Pass & Provisions, 807 Taft, believes that Jared & Tracey Brand of Donkey & Goat Winery in Berkeley, California, make some of the most interesting and delicious wines out there. As such, on Wednesday, September 2 at 7 p.m., they're welcoming Brand home (she grew up in Clear Lake) for a six-course wine-paired dinner. Tickets are $110/person (not including tax and gratuity). Call 713-628-9020 to get your seats. 

Finally, don't forget that early bird tickets for our inaugural Houston Press Tacolandia are on sale now! The event – held on Saturday, October 24 from 4 to 7 p.m. at The Water Works at Buffalo Bayou Park, 105 Sabine – will feature live music, booze and a massive taco sampling curated by former Houston Press writer and all-around taco maniac Robb Walsh. Prices start at $25 for general admission (entry to event, unlimited food samples) and $65 for VIP (one-hour early entry at 3 p.m., unlimited food samples, access to VIP lounge with complimentary beer and cocktails, and access to VIP restrooms). Restaurants already committed to the event include El Real, Gerardo's, Moderno Tacos & Tex Mex, Tacos A Go-Go, Chilosos Taco House, Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen and Los Tios, with more being added every day.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano