Largest Food and Wine Fest in Texas Returns to Sugar Land Next Week

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo courtesy Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair
In just a few days, indulge in Sugar Land at the 11th annual event.
The 11th Annual Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair is back with a slew of events sure to tickle your taste buds and whet your whistle. As always, the event, which organizers describe as a "celebration of all that is good, gooey, sweet, savory, bubbly, hoppy and simply irresistible," will feature numerous food and wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, seminars, cookbook signings and a bartending competition.

Check out the schedule of events, and get your tickets fast. The kickoff dinner is already sold out, but there are plenty of other opportunities to sip and sup in Sugar Land.

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The 5 Best Things to Eat or Drink This Weekend: Easter Egg Hunts & A Bunny Bar Hop

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo by Joshua Justice
Saint Arnold Pub Night features a special cask of Icon Blue.
Pub Night @ Saint Arnold Brewery
Friday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
2000 Lyons

Pub Night is back at Saint Arnold Brewery! During this month's Pub Night the brewery will serve Bishop's Barrel No. 5, Divine Reserve No. 11, Pumpkinator 2013 and a special cask of Icon Blue, which is Brown Porter with hints of toasted coconut and vanilla. Pair any of these brews with some scrumptious bites from the kitchen, including the Jerk chicken sandwich and pulled pork nachos -- you know, greasy food. Along with the beer and food, you'll have the chance to purchase a Santo T-shirt directly from the T-shirt press; Burning Bones Press makes them for Saint Arnold and will be on-site to make a custom one for each guest. Remember, there's no entry fee for Pub Nights; drinks and food are purchased as individual items, just like you would do so at a bar.

Crawfish Cajun Friday @ Kemah Boardwalk
Friday, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
215 Kipp Ave., Kemah

Hit up the Kemah Boardwalk tonight for some crawfish and live Zydeco music during Crawfish Cajun Friday. Landry's Inc.'s new crawfish food wagon will be serving up the mudbugs and boudin while Rusty Metoyer & Zydeco Krush provide the rockin' tunes for the evening. Purchase a pound and a half of crawfish for $11, then grab a beer from one of the concession stands for an excellent way to kick off the weekend.

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Upcoming Events: Take A Culinary Trip to Italy & the 3rd Coast

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo by hedvigs
Get your pancakes at Ouisie's Table every Tuesday.
Start your Tuesday mornings off right with pancakes at Ouisie's Table. Every Tuesday from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m., Ouisie's Table will offer a multitude of pancake choices paired with two eggs made however you prefer, bacon, fruit, coffee and juice for $17; pancakes are available a la carte for $6. Satisfy that sweet tooth with the chocolate chip flapjacks topped with whipped cream or the banana pancakes with Nutella; some fruit options include blueberry buttermilk and mixed berry with whipped cream; and of course there are traditional pancakes like the buttermilk and Ouisie's Table's special, Lucy's cornmeal.

The Galveston Wine & Food Festival begins on Thursday, April 24, and lasts until Sunday, April 27. One of the major events is The Grand Tasting, which takes place on Saturday, April 26, from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. Guests will receive a wine passport to be stamped at each station where they sample wines from around the world; guests will also taste food from various restaurants, and craft beer (a new addition to this event) at the Craft Beer Bar. Each guest will receive a souvenir glass, and an event program listing the wines and foods available to sample; tickets to The Grand Tasting cost $65 per person.

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Recap: The 2nd Annual Big Taste of Houston

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Photo by Mai Pham
Uchi Houston took home the grand prize for presentation and best dish overall at Big Taste of Houston. Pictured here, "Machi cure."

"This is such a great event -- so many of Houston's best chefs all in one place!" said Matthew Lovelace, a sous chef at Osteria Mazzantini, as he offered me a sample of their Blackhill Meats lamb meatball and chicken liver mousse. His was one of the first booths I encountered at the 2nd Annual Big Taste of Houston this weekend at The Corinthian, a premier food event and charity fundraiser for the Houston chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Indeed, though the inaugural event last year was fantastic, the lineup of chefs and restaurants this year was quite amazing. "I felt like the entrants this year were much stronger than last year," said celebrity judge and blogger Adam Goldberg (Twitter: @LifeWorthEating). For the second year in a row, Goldberg had flown in from New York City to take part in the event, live-tweeting each dish (check out his awesome Twitter feed!) as it was presented at the judge's table for all the world to see.

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2014 International Festival Celebrates Australia...But Hold the Vegemite, Please

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Image courtesy International Festival
This year's poster was designed by local artist Carlos Hernandez. You can buy one online!
I'm excited about this year's International Festival highlighting Australia for two reasons: One, it gives me an excuse to post the music video for Men At Work's brilliant 1980 song "Land Down Under" (see the next page), and two, I honestly don't know much about Australian food.

Being that the festival is hosted here in Houston, a number of local chefs will be coming out to showcase their cuisine, but there will also be Australian chefs and vendors introducing Texas to the wonders of food from Down Under.

Hot on the heels of Houston's Second Annual BBQ Festival, the International Festival is hosting a "Texas vs. Barbie Cook-Off" competition on May 1 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Hermann Square Park featuring local chefs and restaurants. The festival will also have a concession area with food from more than 40 restaurants, some of whom will be trying their hand at Australian cuisine.

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Adam Goldberg Returns as Judge for Big Taste of Houston

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Photo by PinqShueDesigns
From left : BBBS Houston President Ron Hadley, John Sikhattana of Straits Asian Bistro (last year's winner), Adam Goldberg and KPRC's Rachel McNeill

On April 13, the second annual Big Taste of Houston benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Houston will take place at The Corinthian downtown. The annual food extravaganza will feature live music, dancing, free-flowing alcohol and tasting samples from more than 20 of Houston's best restaurants.

Last year's event was a such a success that the title sponsor, Audi Central Houston, donated an Audi Q5 (valued at more than $40,000) to be raffled off in support of this year's fundraising efforts. Raffle tickets are still available for purchase on the BBBS website, and will be available for sale until the raffle is drawn at 6:30 p.m. on the night of the event.

Additionally, for the second year in a row, the event is bringing back Adam Goldberg, author of the wildly popular blog A Life Worth Eating, as one of its celebrity judges. Master Chef 2012 winner Christine Ha; Greg Morago, food editor of the Houston Chronicle; and Courtney Bond, associate editor of Texas Monthly, round out the judges' panel.

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The 5 Best Things to Eat or Drink This Weekend: Dunk Eric Sandler

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo courtesy of Cooking up Change
Houston ISD culinary students will compete for a trip to Washington D.C. this weekend.
Mixers & Elixirs @ Houston Museum of Natural Science
Friday, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
5555 Hermann Park Drive

The Houston Museum of Natural Science will host another Mixers & Elixirs event tonight from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. Tonight's theme revolves around the final frontier -- space. Listen to live music by Bagheera while munching on scrumptious bites and treats from H-Town StrEATs, Mr. Sizzles Curbside and Miso Yummy. The museum will also provide a cash bar serving various libations throughout the evening.

Cooking up Change @ Rice University, West Servery
Saturday, 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
6100 Main Sreet

Seven teams of students from four HISD schools will compete in Cooking up Change on Saturday at Rice University. The competition challenges high school students to create tasty and healthy school lunch meals costing about $1 per meal; they must also follow the national nutrition guidelines. From noon until 1 p.m. you will have the chance to taste the various creations from the seven teams; a panel of judges consisting of Dr. Terry Grier, Houston ISD superintendent; Mark Cornish, senior executive chef at Reliant Park with Aramark; Beth Thorson, director for Nutrition, Education & Outreach with Texas Department of Agriculture; and Ray Danilowicz, executive general manager of Houston ISD Food Services with Aramark, will judge the culinary students' entries. The winning team will win an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C. to compete in the Cooking up Change National Competition in June.

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Upcoming Events: Weekday Lunch Menu at Saint Arnold Brewery

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo courtesy of Orange Leaf Yogurt
Purchase a cup of the new banana flavor at Orange Leaf and get a coupon for a free child's admission to the Houston Zoo.
Saint Arnold Brewery now has a lunch menu , and it's offered Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Visit the brewery and order the Saint Arnold Daily Lunch Special for $17.55, which includes the lunch special of the day, two extra courses and beer. Order the Meat and Texas Cheese Plate featuring Saaz hop-cured salmon, sopresatta, salami, Houston Dairymaids cheeses, house-made pickles and duck liver pate for $12. If you're feeling super-hungry, nosh on the duck BLT served on Slow Dough wheat bread for $10, or order the Bishop's Burger (half pound beef or quarter pound veggie patty) served on a Slow Dough challah bun for $9 -- add some blue cheese, Swiss, Cheddar or provolone for 50 cents, and bacon or mushrooms for $1 each. The Saint Arnold kitchen will also serve entrees like the marinated skirt steak with hominy, roasted peppers, sweet corn and avocado for $15, and jerk chicken with fried plantains and collard greens for $14. Of course, you can't go wrong ending your meal with a Saint Arnold root beer float made with Fat Cat Creamery vanilla ice cream for $5. Oh yeah, you should also add the daily brews to your meal.

Summer is just around the corner, and the kiddies are going to need some day-time activities. Head to Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt to snag a coupon for a free child's admission ticket to the Houston Zoo (with the purchase of an adult ticket) when you purchase a cup of the new banana flavor frozen yogurt ,which is made with real bananas. Try mixing the banana flavor with chopped bananas, crushed graham crackers and caramel syrup for a cup of banana cream pie, or simply pair it with the peanut butter frozen yogurt. Pretty simple, right? The coupons are redeemable for a free child's admission to the Houston Zoo beginning April 15 through August 31.

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Houston Bands Together to Aid Woman Injured at SXSW

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Photo courtesy Mark's American Cuisine
Come out on April 13 to raise money for Gracie Nguyen's medical expenses.
On March 13, pastry chef Gracie Nguyen, 23, was badly injured in the crash at the SXSW music festival in Austin that left four people dead and another 21 people hurt. Nguyen was in the hospital in Austin for about a week, until she was able to be moved out of the ICU and back to Houston for rehabilitation and recovery.

Nguyen is a single mother, student and pastry chef at Mark's American Cuisine, and because of her bubbly personality, she's made a lot of friends in the Houston restaurant industry. These fine folks are banding together to host a fundraiser at Big Star Bar on Sunday, April 13, with all of the proceeds going directly to Nguyen's medical care.

The event is spearheaded by Joshua Martinez of Goro & Gun and Adam Dorris, formerly of Revival Market, who are bringing back the "Ghetto Dinner Series" for one night only. The hugely popular pop-up dinners, which took place a few years back at Grand Prize, were served on paper plates with plastic utensils, but featured interesting, quality ingredients prepared by local chefs.

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Inaugural Rice Village Food & Wine Festival Kicks Off

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo courtesy Village Food & Wine Festival
Enjoy some great eats in Rice Village all this week.
If you've ever driven around Rice Village in circles looking for a parking space, you know it's home to dozens of great restaurants and bars, so it makes sense for the neighborhood to celebrate itself. This year, for the first time, the Rice Village Alliance is hosting the Village Food & Wine Festival to show off all that the neighborhood has to offer.

Every evening this week (Monday through Thursday), different restaurants in Rice Village will be welcoming sommeliers to host food and wine pairings. Guest wine experts will include Guy Stout, corporate director of beverage education for Glazer's Family of Companies and a master sommelier, as well as Christian Varas, sommelier and wine director at the River Oaks Country Club. Alba Huerta, Imbibe Magazine's Bartender of the Year for 2014, will also make an appearance.

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