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Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Learn all about tequila in TQLA's free monthly tequila classes.
As you know, today is New Year's Eve. Huzzah! And those of you without plans for tonight need look no further than our great New Year's Eve guide and Lauren Marmaduke's suggestions for where to eat out tonight (although you'll have to steer clear of the ones that require reservations, natch).

If I didn't already have plans, I'd be heading to Cafe TH (2108 Pease, 713-225-4766) tonight starting at 6 p.m. for its "After Dark" dinner service that only runs on Thursdays and Fridays. Tonight, Minh Nguyen will be serving his standard three-course prix-fixe menu along with free spiked punch (for those over 21, of course). Last week's prix-fixe menu saw courses like stir fried flat rice noodles with sliced, marinated beef and baby bok choy, and Nguyen's wonderful fried bananas with vanilla bean ice cream. What will tonight hold? That's half the fun of eating After Dark -- you won't know till you get there!

Next year (which is tomorrow!), TQLA (4601 Washington, 281-501-3237) will be hosting a monthly series of tequila classes designed for those interested in learning more about the oft-maligned spirit. Led by TQLA's own tequilier Scott Lindsey and Jorge Raptas of Don Julio Tequila, the classes will be held on the first Wednesday of every month. The first class takes place on Wednesday, January 5, at the restaurant from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. And best of all? It's totally free. Just call 281-501-3237 to make your reservation.

Down on Galveston, they'll be ringing in the New Year with the 2nd Annual Chili Quest & Beer Fest, held all weekend long starting on Friday, January 14, and running through Sunday, January 16. There are still spots left for seven teams to compete in the chili cookoff portion of the weekend, so circle your wagons now if you think you and your friends have what it takes. The Beer Fest portion of the weekend costs $35 for VIP tickets and $25 for regular tickets, which gets you a sampling mug and 24 drink tickets. That's a pretty good way to spend a Saturday, if you ask me.

In case you haven't noticed, Israeli wine is gaining an impressive foothold in the United States. To celebrate and spotlight the growing selection of offerings from the Holy Land (we think Jesus would have approved of this somehow), Kenny & Ziggy's (2327 Post Oak Boulevard, 713-679-8453) is starting up a series of wine dinners. The 1st Annual Yiddish Whine Dinner will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 20, and will feature six Israeli wines paired with six traditional Yiddish courses, like Romanian sausage and goulash. The cost is $65 per person and reservations can be made by calling 713-679-8453.


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