The Great Banh Mi Cook-Off Was Really Great

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo by Mai Pham
The winning banh mi: R&D Bar BQ's brisket banh mi on Vietnamese banh mi roll by Common Bond.

Creativity was on display in abundance Wednesday night at The Great Banh Mi Cook-Off competition organized by non-profit Vietnamese organization, Boat People SOS (BPSOS), as a fundraiser for their domestic violence programs.

It started with the organizers, who successfully pulled off a change of venue at the nth hour due to inclement weather. The event had originally been scheduled to take place on the rooftop parking garage of Khon's in Midtown, but by 3:30 p.m., organizer Mitchell Lam made an executive decision to switch venues to Kim Son Restaurant (one of the cook-off participants). Facebook notices, tweets, and no doubt several phone calls and texts later, everything had been moved and the threat of bad weather successfully sidestepped.

Close to 300 attendees turned out to sample creative banh mi sandwiches created by 11 Houston-area chefs and restaurants, many of whom were competing for the first time. Favorites emerged quickly as Greg Morago of the Houston Chronicle, Lily Jang of KHOU, Renia Butler of the blog Gristle and Gossip, and myself sat down to perform the serious job of judging each of the entries.


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The 5 Best Things to Eat or Drink This Weekend: Spice Things Up at the 14th Annual Hot Sauce Festival

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo by Molly Dunn
Karbach Brewing Co. will offer Karbachtoberfest at the Untapped Festival on Saturday.
Mixers & Elixirs @ Houston Museum of Natural Science
Friday, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
5555 Hermann Park Drive

Don't you just love Talk Like A Pirate Day? The Houston Museum of Natural Science sure does because that's the theme for this Mixers & Elixirs event. From 7 p.m. until 10 p.m., embrace your inner pirate and enjoy a variety of spirits from the cash bar while listening to live music from Mango Punch. H-Town StrEATs and Sticky Chicken food trucks will be on-site to fill up your tummies with some scrumptious grub. Tickets cost is $20 per person.

Saint Arnold Brewery Beer Pairing Dinner @ NOE Grill
Friday, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
4 Riverway

NOE Grill, located inside the Omni Houston Galleria Hotel will host a special beer pairing dinner featuring brews from Saint Arnold for $78 per person. Guests will be greeted with a reception of passed hors 'doeuvres of braised pork belly and enoki mushroom summer roll pinwheels with miso emulsion. The first course pairs Santo with ricotta and Spanish chorizo beignets, charred fresh onions and ghost-piquillo pepper aioli. Next, sip on Weedwacker with a green papaya salad including lemon-ginger shrimp and crushed salted peanuts. The third course features a coriander-crusted Bandera quail with green curried grits and pork belly lardons paired with Elissa IPA. The final savory course pairs the 20th Anniversary Ale with seared Texas antelope loin with Saint Arnold's Root Beer-rhubarb compote and black garlic buttered tri-color potato hash. Dessert includes Bishop's Barrel No. 6 and dark rum-poached raisin bread pudding with a vanilla meringue, caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream quenelle (beautiful oval-shaped ice cream).


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Upcoming Events: Taco Tuesday Special at Skeeter's Mesquite Grill

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo courtesy of The Epicurean Publicist
Pair this fried avocado taco on Tuesdays at Skeeter's Mesquite Grill with another taco, plus chips and salsa, for just $7.
Taco Tuesdays have arrived at Skeeter's Mesquite Grill. Each location is participating in this special where you get two tacos with chips and salsa for $7. You can pair any two tacos off the menu together, which normally cost $3.25 to $4.75 each. Make a meal with the fried avocado taco topped with green cabbage, pico de gallo, cheddar cheese and poblano sauce, and the tempura-fried Baja shrimp taco with avocado, green cabbage and creamy chipotle sauce for one filling meal. If you visit during happy hour (Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. and all day Thursday), then you can throw in a $3 Jose Cuervo house marg or beer.

You don't have to be a member of Bayou City Outdoors to attend this meet and greet on Thursday, September 25. Head to Warehouse Bar & Chill at 6:30 p.m. to socialize with new friends and enjoy some scrumptious grub during happy hour. The Heights bar and restaurant offers a selection of local craft beers plus $4 happy hour items, such as fried cheese curds, grilled cheese bites, nachos topped with beef, cheese and pico de gallo, plus BLT Sliders with jalapeno jam. This event is open to the public.


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A Wine Competition For A Cause:
Iron Sommelier 2014

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Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Iron Sommelier 2014 is just a few weeks away!
Iron Sommelier, the annual wine competition and fundraiser, returns on October 2nd from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at The Houstonian. The event benefits The Periwinkle Foundation, a non-profit organization which helps seriously ill children and their families. It's also an opportunity for Houston's top sommeliers to go out and demonstrate their deep knowledge of wine.

The somms come up with a theme and present wines for attendees to taste that best represents it. The theme may be about a particular grape, region or style of wine. There are also plenty of small bites and snacks, overseen by The Houstonian's executive chef, Neal Cox.

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Sweet Sarriette Pop-Up Dinner To Spotlight Four Talented Young Pastry Chefs

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Photos credited to each chef
From top left, clockwise: Samantha Mendoza, Christina Au, Johnny Wesley, Andrew Musico

On the surface, it might seem like just another pop-up at Paulie's, but this Sunday's "Sweet Sarriette" pop-up dinner -- an eight-course with wine pairing gourmet dinner prepared by Christina Au, Samantha Mendoza, Andrew Musico and Johnny Wesley -- promises to be extraordinary.

The collaborating chefs represent some of Houston's most gifted up-and-coming young culinary talent. The youngest of the bunch, Au, is just 22. Straight out of culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Austin, she landed a job as pastry cook at Rainbow Lodge. While working full time there, she performed stages (unpaid internships) at Uchi Houston and Kata Robata in her spare time. She was then hired to be part of the opening crew at The Pass and Provisions, where she worked as a pastry cook under Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan, before joining the opening team at Cloud 10 Creamery under dessert wunderkind Chris Leung.

Mendoza, 25, graduated from the Art Institute of Houston and is the current executive pastry chef at Triniti and the soon-to-open FM 903 Bakery. Mendoza started her career at Bedford under Robert Gadsby. Her vacations are spent traveling through Europe to gain inspiration. She has competed in national competitions such as Star Chefs in New York, bringing home two silver and two bronze medals from ACF Competitions in Houston, Dallas, Conroe, and Las Vegas. Just last week, she completed a one-week stage at Eleven Madison Park.

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The 5 Best Things to Eat or Drink This Weekend: Fielding's Wood Grill Celebrates Its First Year Anniversary

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo courtesy of Brennan's of Houston
Commander's Palace's executive chef Tory McPhail will cook alongside Brennan's executive chef Danny Trace during a collaborate Creole dinner.
Cooking Class with Tory McPhail @ Brennan's of Houston
Friday, 6:30 p.m.
3300 Smith

Brennan's of Houston will host Tory McPhail, executive chef of Commander's Palace, tonight at 6:30 p.m. for a special cooking class demonstration along with Brennan's executive chef Danny Trace. The duo will prepare a three-course meal for $150 per couple. For the first course, guests will watch McPhail and Trace prepare barbecued Vegetable Salad complete with a tasting of slow-smoked and grilled vegetables atop spicy farm greens and goat cheese all tossed in barbecued lemon vinaigrette. Next, guests will savor in Louisiana Tur-duck-hen featuring layers of turkey, duck and chicken with smoky tasso and brie; it's all encased in a crispy crust. For dessert, both chefs will prepare Candied Texas Tomato Galette featuring MoonDog Farm tomatoes with strawberry sangria, balsamic caramel and elote ice cream.

Bayou City Outdoors Farmers Market Bike Ride @
Onion Creek

Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon
3106 White Oak

Hop on your bike and ride around Houston this Saturday with the Bayou City Outdoors crew and visit local farmers markets. Everyone meets at Onion Creek by 8 a.m., then the group of bikers will start peddling down to the first stop. Bring a backpack to fill up with all of the items you buy at the markets (you will visit two or three) and don't forget a bottle of water because this is a 12-15 mile bike ride that lasts for approximately three hours. But, don't worry, you won't be racing around town; it's a leisurely ride to get produce and local products at the farmers markets. After the ride, stick around for lunch at Onion Creek.


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Upcoming Events: Corn Tamales Are Now at Hugo's

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo courtesy of Paula Murphy
The corn tamales at Hugo's are made fresh in-house.
Hugo's now has corn tamales, but it's only for the month of September. Chef Hugo Ortega is using fresh corn from Mexico, where it is harvested every year, to make these traditional tamales. Each order is made with masa, rajas (sliced poblano peppers), queso fresco, crema and tomatillo salsa and costs $9. These corn tamales will be gone as soon as October 1 arrives.

Your last chance to get a 91-cent Original Coney at James Coney Island and JCI Grills will be Thursday, September 18, as it is the last offering during the 91st anniversary of the Houston hot dog establishment. Get your Original Coney topped with mustard, chili and onions all day at any location in Houston; you can even upgrade to a Cheese Coney for 30 cents more if you so please. Next year, the coney special will be 92 cents due to it being the 92nd anniversary.

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Dinner Lab: Curated, Members-Only Experiences Arrive In Houston

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
The first Dinner Lab in Houston was held in the Maker Space warehouse on the East side.

Pop-ups are fairly common events in Houston, where a variety of chefs (often in conjunction with bartenders and sommeliers) band together to throw a one-time meal. Pop-ups have been used as fundraisers, helped chefs launch restaurants and functioned as creative outlets that allow chefs to cook different meals than what is normally served at their own restaurants.

Dinner Lab puts a few twists on the pop-up idea, bringing in out-of-town chefs to execute meals based on personal stories and backgrounds. (Local chefs may be featured as well and then invited to show off their talents in other cities.)

The meals are not held inside traditional restaurants. Dinner Lab instead opts for eclectic venues. In other cities, dinners have been hosted in abandoned churches, museums, motorcycle dealerships and boxing gyms. One dinner was held on a helipad.

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Put On Your Lederhosen, It's Oktoberfest Time at King's Biergarten and Restaurant

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo by Troy Fields
King's Biergarten will celebrate Oktoberfest for the fourth time this year.
King's Oktoberfest is right around the corner. So put on your lederhosen and head down to King's Biergarten & Restaurant for the fourth annual celebration on September 26 through September 28 at the Pearland restaurant.

During the first year of King's Oktoberfest, the restaurant only had seating for 45 people and the festival was held outside on the patio. The second year, folks gathered at the patio again, and then last year, they opened up the parking lot to its guests. Now, the restaurant has expanded to seating 350 guests and co-owner Philipp Sitter says nearly 9,000 people will attend Oktoberfest this year. Sitter filled us in on some of the happenings at this year's celebration. Hint: There will be lots of German beer, sausage and sauerkraut.

The weekend kicks off on Friday at 7 p.m. with a ceremonial keg tapping with the mayors of Friendswood and Pearland.

"We base it off just like they do in Munich, Germany, where the mayor of Friendswood and Pearland - over there it is the mayor of Munich - but we are right on the border of Friendswood and Pearland, so we have the mayor of Friendswood come out, we have the mayor of Pearland come out and they tap the wooden keg," Sitter says. "It's a 100-year-old wooden keg and the beer comes out, and we drink the beer out of there. The beer is not 100 years old, of course. It's a classic wooden keg."

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The 5 Best Things to Eat or Drink This Weekend: Fluff Bake Bar Hosts Saturday Pop-Up Bake Sale at Southside Espresso

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo courtesy of Fluff Bake Bar
This weekend's pop-up bake sale features pastry chef Amanda Rockman.
EaDo Pub Crawl @ 8th Wonder Brewery
Friday, 5 p.m.
2202 Dallas

Head to 8th Wonder Brewery on Friday for a pub crawl through East Downtown. Registration costs $15 and begins at the brewery at 5 p.m., but you must pick up your wristband (which gets you into the participating venues and drink specials on 8th Wonder brews) and pint glass by 7:30 p.m. Begin the event with a tour of the brewery and tastings of two beers, then enjoy some grub from food trucks and enjoy $3 8th Wonder brews plus ten percent off your tab at Lucky's Pub, free entrance into Warehouse Live for the Ashbury Keys concert plus $3 8th Wonder brews, and beer specials at Little Woodrow's. Other participating bars include Neil's Bahr and Mojeaux's. Proceeds from the event will benefit Air Alliance Houston and future East Downtown projects.

Dinner on Bourbon Street @ Well Done Cooking Classes
Friday, 6:30 p.m.
1208 East 29th

Want to eat on Bourbon Street tonight? Sign up for the Well Done Cooking Class at 6:30 p.m. and you can learn how make a Louisiana meal. For two and a half to three hours, the class will get to cook four courses, then sit down together and gobble it all up. First, you will make mini shrimp po-boys and a quick remoulade, followed by blackened salmon. Then, you'll make jambalaya with spicy chicken and sausage. For dessert, you will learn how to make a Louisiana classic -- beignets. These are served with chocolate, caramel and vanilla cream sauces. The class is BYOB and costs $79 per person.

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