Upcoming Houston Food Events: Oyster Month and a New Hopdoddy

March is Oyster Month at Tony Mandola's.EXPAND
March is Oyster Month at Tony Mandola's.
Photo courtesy of Tony Mandola's Gulf Coast Kitchen
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Mark your calendars, because you don’t want to miss these deliciously fun culinary happenings, from a whole hog butchery demo to a Taste of Italy:

H-E-B has launched its 2017 H-E-B Primo Picks: Quest for Texas Best statewide competition — in which local food and beverage innovators are invited to submit their Texas-based products to compete for cash prizes and the opportunity to sell the product shelves across the state. Those interested in entering the competition can submit their product details online through Wednesday, April 5, at HEB.com/quest. H-E-B will award the Grand Prize winner $25,000, the title of “Texas Best” Primo Pick and placement on store shelves; the first place winner $20,000; the second place winner $15,000; and the third place winner $10,000.

Join Pappas Bros. Steakhouse Downtown, 1200 McKinney, and put your blind tasting skills to the test during its first comparative blind tasting challenge, held today, February 24, at 5:30 p.m. Guests will be able to taste five different grape varieties including Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Cost is $75 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

Ritual, 602 Studewood, will be hosting a whole hog butcher demo with Felix Florez of Black Hill Meats on Monday, February 27, beginning at 5 p.m. Florez will demonstrate how to break down a whole hog and how to process the leftovers to make sausage from scratch. Guests will take home three pounds of sausage and receive appetizers. Tickets are $65 per person.

March is Oysters-on-the-Half-Shell Month at Tony Mandola's Gulf Coast Kitchen, 1212 Waugh. Gulf Coast bivalves will be offered on-the-half-shell for $1.50 each during the entire month. In addition, the full oyster menu features oysters Rockefeller (spinach and hollandaise), oysters Bucaniere (crab, cracker crumbs and rémoulade), oysters Damian (fried and topped with pico de gallo), oysters Domenico (grilled with bacon and sun-dried tomato butter) and chargrilled oysters with garlic butter and parmesan, all available by the four, six, eight or dozen.

Hopdoddy's newest location brings with it Hoss’ Hot Chicken.EXPAND
Hopdoddy's newest location brings with it Hoss’ Hot Chicken.
Photo courtesy of Hopdoddy Burger Bar

Hopdoddy Burger will open its second Houston location on Monday, March 6, in Rice Village, 5510 Morningside, Suite 100. In addition to serving the burger bar’s classics, Hopdoddy will introduce a new mainstay menu item, Hoss’ Hot Chicken, a fried Nashville hot chicken breast atop housemade baby kale slaw on a bun. The Rice Village location will also support Houston nonprofit The Periwinkle Foundation through its Goodnight for a Good Cause program, which donates $1 of each Goodnight Burger to the organization. The Periwinkle Foundation is dedicated to developing and providing programs that positively change the lives of children, young adults and families who are challenged by cancer and other life-threatening illnesses and are cared for at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Taste of Italy Houston will be held at the Omni Houston Hotel, 4 Riverway, on Monday, March 6, beginning at 11 a.m. Now in its third year and open to the public for the first time, it’s the largest food and wine fair in the U.S. devoted exclusively to Italian wines and food products, producers and gastronomic traditions. Guests can expect more than 60 Italian winemakers and food producers presenting and offering samples of their products to media (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), wine and food trade and restaurant professionals (noon to 6 p.m.), and consumers (3 to 6 p.m.). For the first time, this year’s event will also feature four break-out events: two wine tastings and seminars organized by the Vinitaly International Academy; a wine tasting to be moderated by celebrity sommelier David Lynch, author of Vino Italiano; and a carbonara seminar moderated by Houston food writers J.C. Reid (Houston Chronicle) and Jeremy Parzen (DoBianchi.com). The carbonara panel will also include Houston chefs Paul Petronella and William Wright, who will be preparing the celebrated dish especially for the occasion. Pre-register and receive updates for the grand tasting and seminars at eventbrite.com.

On Wednesday, March 8, at 6:30 p.m., guests are invited to a Historical Hindenburg – Zeppelin Dinner at Charivari, 2521 Bagby. Chef Johann Schuster and the Traubenhaus team will welcome winemaker Robert Schaetzle from Schloss Neuweier, which had its wines served on board the famed Zeppelin Blibs in the early 1900s. Schuster has re-created the menu served on the last flight of the most famous Zeppelin, “The Hindenburg,” featuring dishes such as turtle consommé and jumbo white asparagus, Westphalian ham and butter sauce. Cost is $119 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Call 713-521-7231 for reservations.

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