Smackdowns, showdowns, throwdowns. There's food violence aplenty coming up for your voyeuristic pleasure. Bread and circuses, served up daily by your Houston food community.
This Sunday, of course, is our very own Cupcake Smackdown at Block 7 Wine Company (720 Shepherd) from 4 to 6 p.m. You may have heard about it already. The judges have been chosen, the cupcakes ordered, the blindfolds purchased and the ballots printed. All that's left is for you to show up. Although the event is free, we're asking guests to bring at least two cans of food for the Houston Food Bank (which will get you an Eating Our Words T-shirt). Bring ten cans and you get a special surprise! And don't forget to sign in at the door so you're entered for the fabulous prizes we're giving away.
On Saturday, head over to Coffee Groundz (2503 Bagby) at 3 p.m. for a competition of another kind: the Texas Tequila Throwdown, organized by Bite Me Houston. Our photographer will be there capturing all the action as tequila companies like the local Riazul, Republic Tequila from Austin and Tequila Don Valente from Dallas put their tequilas to the test. Like the Cupcake Smackdown, the event is free and open to the public. And guess who's judging? You. To participate in the tasting and help choose the Tequila King, just bring a new or gently used blanket for the Star of Hope Mission. It goes without saying that this event is 21 and up only.
On a more non-violent note, Cafe Brasil (2604 Dunlavy) is having a fundraiser this weekend for employee Abbas Rachaman. The always cheerful barista is having to get his hip replaced with titanium, which -- while very cool in a Bionic Man sort of way -- is also very expensive. All tips and proceeds from coffee sales will go directly to help Rachaman out all day Saturday, January 23, so come get a cinnamon-y house blend and tip well.
And we're back to the bloody thrill of sport... Saint Arnold is hosting its annual One Pot Showdown on Sunday, January 31, from 1 to 4 p.m. The heavily-attended and notoriously competitive showdown will be the first event hosted at the brand-new brewery (2000 Lyons), although you're out of luck if you didn't already buy a ticket -- the showdown sold out almost as quickly as it was announced. As with last year, we'll be judging and will bring you a full report with photos the next day.
Last but certainly not least, mark your calendars now for the next Houston Chowhounds culinary competition: the Mushroom Throwdown, taking place on February 1 from 5 to 9:30 p.m. at Vic & Anthony's (1510 Texas). As with previous throwdowns, chefs from around the city will compete to see who can create the best dish around the central ingredient: mushrooms. Chefs participating this round include newcomers Grant Hunter, Cunninghame West, and L.J. Wiley and heavyweights like Mark Cox and Robert Del Grande. The judging panel will be headed up by Texas Monthly's Pat Sharpe, with our own Ruthie Johnson on board as well. If you've never been to a Chowhound throwdown, this is the one you won't want to miss. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased online.