Houston Restaurant Weeks Announces Participating Eateries and Menus

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Photo courtesy HRW
It's the best time of the year for many Houstonians -- Houston Restaurant Weeks!

From August 1 through September 1, Houston restaurants will prepare special multi-course menus that show off some of their best and most popular dishes for a low, fixed price. People wait all year to try out new restaurants during HRW because they know they'll be getting a great value and a portion of the money they spend will be donated to the Houston Food Bank.

Last year, Houston Restaurant Weeks raised more than $1.2 million for the food bank, while the estimated economic impact on the greater Houston area was more than $13 million. It's turned what used to be a slow month for restaurants into one of the busiest months of the year.

The dates for this year's event were announced last month, and just yesterday, HRW revealed the restaurant lineup for 2014.

Get ready, guys. It's gonna be delicious.

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Free Eats in Houston for the Enterprising Souls Among You

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Photo by Catherine Gillespie
Food Samples from H-E-B.

It is tough to complain about the cost of living in Houston. Housing is fairly affordable and there is usually a food truck around the corner willing to sell you a filling taco dinner for $5 or less.

That being said, there are always those days when a meal out -- any meal out anywhere -- is out of your budgetary league. And that's where we step in. It is possible to fill yourself up here (and not by asking your more generous dates or friends to treat) for free. Eating out without your wallet can be a fun exercise too, but especially at the bars we recommend bringing a friend who might actually buy something or leaving before a half-hour is up.

If you have a membership, Costco or Sam's Club should be your first stop. I started my culinary scavenger hunt at the Costco on Richmond, where the portions -- though still served in Dixie cups -- are more generous than at your neighborhood grocery. The range is also staggering. There are food stands around the store promoting everything from frozen empanadas to lemon meringue cookies. I challenge you to make yourself a three-course meal.

This story continues on the next page.


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Eat and Drink Your Tax Day Woes Away With These Offers

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Photo courtesy Boston Market
Winner, winner chicken dinner on Tax Day!
In the United States, April 15 ranks up there as one of the worst days of the year. Tax Day. The day by which everyone must file their individual income tax returns to the federal government. Bye bye, money.

In an effort to lessen the blow, many businesses offer freebies or discounts on and around April 15. They're all chain restaurants, of course, but every little bit helps, right?

Now who wants a cookie?

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Voice Daily Deal: Special-Price Tickets to Menu of MenusĀ® Extravaganza

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Houston Press will host the 12th annual Menu of Menus Extravaganza on Tuesday, April 8, from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. at Silver Street Station. And guess what? Ticket prices have DECREASED and will be available at these prices from today, Friday, March 21, until Tuesday, March 25. So, now is the time to purchase your tickets so you can feast on a bountiful amount of food from more than 40 Houston-area restaurants.

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Zelko Bistro's Anniversary Gift to You: Half-off Your Favorite Comfort Foods

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Zelko Bistro is celebrating its fourth anniversary with an exclusive offer for diners -- enjoy half off ($25 for $50) chef Jamie Zelko's award-winning menu with this Houston Press Voice Daily Deal.

Dive into Zelko Bistro's menu of delicious comfort foods, and enjoy the cozy ambience of its dining room, for half of the (already affordable) regular price and help the restaurant celebrate four years in the Heights. Here's the deal about the deal:

Vouchers cannot be redeemed until the day after the deal closes; limit one per person; redeem one per couple, per table. Dine-in only, vouchers not valid on Mother's Day, Father's Day or Easter; vouchers expire August 18, 2014.

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Cheap & Good Eats: Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Chinatown

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Photo by Groovehouse
The crispy whole catfish at our No. 4 spot is topped with fried pork skin. Need we say more?
We've been rounding up our favorite budget lunch spots in different neighborhoods around town (See the complete list at the end of the post).

This week, we're moving to the dining mecca that is Chinatown. With its huge number of incredible and authentic restaurants -- from family favorites like Fung's Kitchen to younger, hipper joints like Mala Sichuan Bistro (where you'll want to spend more than $10) -- it was hard to narrow the list down. But, of course, we did.

With a focus on fantastic cuisine and even more fantastic prices, here's our list of the best cheap (less than $10) lunch spots that this area has to offer:

Honorable mention: Chicken pho at Pho Ga Dakao and Pho Thai Binh (for dry pho), the two lobster special at Confucius Seafood, sushi lunch specials at Sushi Miyagi.

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$5 Fridays at Randall's: Discounts to Kick Off Your Weekend

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Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Flash just one Abe Lincoln for these deals.

When you hear "$5," you might think immediately of Subway's infamous January campaign for discount footlong subs. But I suggest you redirect your thoughts such that your association becomes "$5 = Randall's," at least on Fridays, when the supermarket chain offers a series of promotions that all cost $5.

The deli and prepared-food deals are particularly appealing, especially at the end of the week, when you do not feel like cooking but don't want to splurge on takeout. For example, on a recent Friday, rotisserie chickens (normally $8 each) were marked down to $5; other $5 options I've observed include family-size portions of meatloaf, fried chicken, and macaroni and cheese. (So far, no $5 lobster deals, but I still have hope.)

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Cheap & Good Eats: Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Clear Lake

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Photo by Dawn M. Simmons
Expect spiced lamb and authentic tandoori chicken at our No. 5 pick.
We've been rounding up our favorite budget lunch spots in different neighborhoods around town (See the complete list at the end of the post).

This week, we're moving toward the shores to the Clear Lake/NASA area. With plenty of old-time favorites and a couple of newer spots in the mix, here's our list of the best cheap (less than $10) lunch spots that this area has to offer:

Honorable Mention: Soups and sliders at Seabrook Classic Cafe and large-enough-to-split wood-fired pizzas at Boondoggles.

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Cheap & Good Eats: Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Lazybrook/Timbergrove

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Photo by Kevin Shalin
Don't be fooled by the plastic wrap; the sandwiches at our No. 5 pick are supreme.
We've been rounding up our favorite budget lunch spots in different neighborhoods around town. (See the complete list at the end of the post.)

This week, we're moving just west of the Heights proper to the adjoining neighborhoods of Lazybrook and Timbergrove Manor. Here's our list of the best cheap (less than $10) lunch spots that this area has to offer:

Note: The boundaries for this list are as seen on this map.

Honorable Mention: Po-boys with chow-chow at Antone's Po-Boys.

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Houston's Top 5 Bike-Friendly Bars & Restaurants

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Photo by Joseph Halloway/td>
Bike sharing program B-Cycle is helping to make tons of bars and restaurants bicycle-accessible.
We must start by saying how much we love this freaking city. Only in Houston can we put out a Bike-Friendly Restaurant list in the middle of January.

We're also happy to say that our fair city has come a long way in terms of bicycling accessibility in recent years. Sure, we have a long way to go, but these pedal-friendly bars and restaurants are helping to lead the cause:

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