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Houston Restaurant Week is here once again, the annual benefit to assist the Houston Food Bank. And this year, "week" is a misnomer: Houston Restaurant Week runs from August 1 through August 21, giving you nearly an entire month to dine out at some of Houston's best restaurants, all while helping to fight hunger.

Another new component this year is the addition of lunch menus to the normally dinner-only lineup. At participating restaurants, not only will three-course dinner menus be on offer for $35, they will also have a two-course lunch menu for only $20. Wondering how this all works? It's simple: All of the participating restaurants will donate $5 of every dinner and $3 of every lunch to the Houston Food Bank.

Right now, the participating restaurant count is up to 115 restaurants. Many of the restaurants are ones that wouldn't normally offer even an entree for only $35, let alone three courses, so the dining deals are as good as ever. From high-end, old guard restaurants like La Colombe d'Or and Ouisie's Table to the hip new kids like Haven and Sushi Raku, there are places to suit every palate. And there are even places to suit every geographical consideration: Cullen's Upscale Americane Grille in Clear Lake, Azuma in Sugar Land, Perry's Steakhouse in The Woodlands and plenty of places on the ever-growing west side of town.

Reservations are strongly recommended (and even required in some cases), so make sure you call the individual restaurants ahead of time to secure your spot. Still trying to decide which restaurants to hit? Check out this complete list of all the lunch and dinner menus.

Even if you don't dine out during Houston Restaurant Week, you can still learn to cook like some of its best chefs. Throughout the month of August, Central Market is hosting a series of cooking classes with some of the city's top chefs: L.J. Wiley of Yelapa Playa Mexicana, David Grossman of Branch Water Tavern, Jesus Lumbreras-Calvo of Fandango Catering, Hugo Ortega of Hugo's and Backstreet Cafe along with Hatch chile expert Curtis Cook and Vanessa O'Donnell of Ooh La La Bakery.

Each evening cooking class will offer up a totally different experience, whether you want to learn how to make summery ice box pies with Vanessa O'Donnell or some of Spain's classic dishes with Jesus Lumbreras-Calvo. Classes start at $45 and seats fill up quickly, so make your reservations now!



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