The Ultimate Chef's Table: An Evening at Kipper Club Test Kitchen

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Photo by Mai Pham
The community table takes center stage and overlooks the open kitchen at Kipper Club Test Kitchen.
Kipper Club Test Kitchen is housed in what one might call an alternative space. There is no parking, so you have to park offsite and shuttle to your dinner, and once you arrive, you're at a Shell gas station. Literally.

Next to the gas station convenience store, there's a sign that says "Tippy's Soul Food," and it's not until you come close that you see small white window sign displaying the Kipper Club fish logo. As the saying goes, however, "Don't judge a book by it's cover," because waiting inside is a refurbished warehouse space designed for a high-end pop-up dining experience.

For last week's pop-up harvest dinner featuring chef Zachary Ladwig, diners were greeted at the door by Kipper Club's general manager, Graham Laborde. It was open seating, and in the far back of the large rectangular room, the chefs and kitchen staff were already hard at work prepping the amuse bouche.

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UPDATED: This Week In Food Events: The Black Friday/Small Business Saturday Edition

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo by Carla Gomez
You might be thankful to have this place to escape to after Thanksgiving dinner.

Everyone's gearing up for Thanksgiving, so the beginning of this week is quiet, but the holiday season gears up in a big way on Black Friday. Check out this calendar for dining deals, special beer tappings and more.

Tuesday, November 25

Demystifying French Wines

Many people find French wine intimidating and less "friendly" than domestic. James King of the Texas Wine School wants to take the pressure off and is presenting a seminar just in time for Thanksgiving. The combination class and wine party promises to deliver "an exciting new way to speak about French wines that learners will easily 'get.'" It's happening at at French Country Wines. RSVP here. 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 2437 Bartlett. Free.

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First Taste of Ramen Jin with Ramen in Common

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Photo by Mai Pham
Tonkotsu ramen comes with chasu (pork belly), half egg, green onion, wood ears, priced at $9.

Tucked away in a strip mall on the corner of Westheimer and Wilcrest is Ramen Jin, a cute, trendy ramen shop by owner Brian Chen. Chen had no prior experience making ramen, but he did all the homework, reading cookbooks, going online and experimenting in the kitchen until he found the right formula for his prized tonkotsu ramen, which he makes from scratch every day.

Asked how long it takes to prepare the ramen broth, he hesitates, saying that it's very complicated. "Do you want me to start a the beginning of the process and the washing of the bones? Or just from the time of cooking? If you start with just the cooking, it takes 12 to 13 hours."

In Chinese, "Jin" means "King," which is why Chen, who is part Japanese and Taiwanese, named his place Ramen Jin, i.e., Ramen King. He designed his restaurant himself, drawing pictures of what he wanted his furniture to look like, and employing a craftsman to construct each of the stools, tables, and booths in his restaurant. Details, such as the custom napkin, spoon, and chopstick holder -- custom, hand-carved pieces, were also his design.


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The 5 Best Things to Eat or Drink This Weekend: Wine Fest, Tamales and Free Pizza for Life!

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo by Francisco Montes
Last year, Pi Pizza turned away more than 100 people looking to cash in on their tattoo/free pizza for life deal.
Cigar & Whiskey Dinner @ Sullivan's Steakhouse
Friday, 7 p.m.
4608 Westheimer

Enjoy a three-course menu perfectly paired with Herman Marshall whiskey and Padron's signature 1926 cigar this Friday at Sullivan's. The extravagant meal -- featuring whiskey-paired steak tartare and quail over jalapeño polenta -- is $75 per guest (plus tax & tip). Call 713-961-0333 for reservations.

Japan Food Festival @ University of St. Thomas
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
3800 Montrose

Feast beyond raw and rice as you celebrate Japanese culture through tastes from vendors such asKubo's Sushi Bar & Grill, Asahi Beer and Takara Sake alongside live music and dancing. Proceeds benefit the U.S. Japan Studies Initiative at the University of St. Thomas Center for International Studies. Check here for more details.


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Upcoming Events: Christmastime at Texas Ren Fest and More

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo by Molly Dunn
Head to Ren Fest for turkey legs, pumpkin pie, and holiday cheer.
Rice Village's Café Rabelais will be hosting a Burgundy Dinner on Monday, November 24 at 7 p.m. The event will feature an elegant French-inspired meal paired with Burgundy wines from Domaine Manuel Oliver ($95 per person plus tax and gratuity). See caferabelais.com for more details and to make reservations.

It's almost Christmastime at the Texas Renaissance Festival! Every weekend, the fair takes on a new theme and on November 28 through November 30, that theme is the Celtic Christmas. In addition to holiday-inspired costumes, hot spiced mead, and festive fare all weekend long, there will be a Candy Cane Hunt throughout the festival grounds. On Sunday at 4 p.m., there's even a Pumpkin Pie Eating Contest held at the New Market Music Gazebo. Be sure to come hungry if you dare to try!

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This Week In Food Events: It's Beaujolais Time

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo by Molly Dunn
Visit chocolatier Annie Rupani's shop, Cacao & Cardamom, to meet the Houston Texans and help the Chester Pitts Charitable Foundation.

Tuesday, November 18

Chocolate and Charity With The Houston Texans

Cacao & Cardamom, the Galleria-area shop known for its luxurious exotic chocolates, is hosting an event benefiting the Chester Pitts Charitable Foundation. Players for the Houston Texans, as well former Houston Texans player and ambassador Pitts himself, will sell as many of chocolatier Annie Rupani's candies as they can to raise money for the foundation. The Foundation provides musical education for youth through activities such as taking kids to performances of the Houston Symphony. 5000 Westheimer, Suite 602. 7 to 8 p.m.

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The 5 Best Things to Eat or Drink This Weekend: Gumbo, Wine & Whiskey

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo by jeffreyw
Don't miss your chance to get a taste of some of the city's finest gumbo.
2nd Annual Gumbo Smackdown @ Houstonia House
Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.
447 Heights Boulevard

Join Houstonia magazine as the city's finest chef's compete for the title of Best Gumbo. The tough competition includes The Cajun Stop, Fleming's (last year's champion), and more, while the judging panel includes local celebrity Juan Carlos and chef Kevin Naderi (Roost, Lillo & Ella). Get tickets ($25 for one; $23 for two or more) here.

Sip and Stroll Wine Festival @ Kemah Boardwalk
Saturday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
215 Kipp Avenue

Stroll the Kemah Boardwalk as you sip on samples from 24 different wineries and two breweries. With live music, appetizers, and more than 70 wines to taste (with a focus on best of wines of the Pacific Northwest), the day is sure to be entertaining. Tickets ($45 per person; $37/person for Landry's members; $37 with military I.D.) include drink samples, a souvenir glass, and more. Purchase them online or onsite starting at noon.

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Upcoming Events: Celebrate 1 Year With Union Kitchen - Kingwood

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Tell us this Union Kitchen burger doesn't need to be celebrated.
Earlier this week, Julep launched a month-long happy hour featuring classic libations that pay homage to the spirit of the South. From now until Deember 9, get a taste of 30 cocktails -- including Mississippi Punch, which references the popular sport of boxing in the South; and the Meyer Lemon Thunderbolt, a variation of a julep made with Gulf Coast citrus -- for half-price from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Be sure to check out their Facebook, Twitter (@JulepHOU), and Instagram, where they'll be sharing the cocktails' back stories throughout the month.

The Kingwood location of Union Kitchen will be celebrating its 1 year anniversary on Wednesday, November 19. From 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the restaurant will be offering food-and-wine pairings from its new Fall Appetizer Menu, featuring sausage-stuffed creminis, frito pie mac' and cheese, and housemade gnocchi. The event will take place in the private dining area, but the main dining room will be open for regular dinner service as well. All proceeds from the event benefit the Humble Area Assistance Ministries. Tickets are $20 per person and will be sold at the door. Visit their website or call 832-644-9067 for more information.

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UPDATED: This Week in Food Events: A Food Fight Against Cancer

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo by Sam Howzit through Flickr Creative Commons
It's time to start thinking about bubbly for the holidays and Pappas Bros. can help.

Monday, November 10

Drink Some Wine; Save Pets' Lives

This is happening tonight, so jump on this if you want in. Chef Danny Trace of Brennan's of Houston is collaborating with Bruliam Wines for a charitable wine dinner. Bruliam is a unique wine producer--they donate 100 percent of their profits to charity. Houston pet adoption group Friends for Life is the beneficiary for this dinner. A wine magnum will be auctioned, with the profits from that also going to Friends For Life. Winemaker/co-owner Kerith Overstreet will be in attendance, as well as Brennan's sommelier David Anderson. Call 713-522-9711 to reserve. 6:30 p.m. 3300 Smith Street. $125 plus tax and gratuity.

11/10/14 1:08 p.m. We've been informed by Brennan's public relations firm that the above event has been canceled. The reason was not given.

Tuesday, November 11 Added 11/1014 3:34 pm.

Ronnie Killen recently named Joe Cervantez Executive Chef of Killen's Steakhouse and they are collaborating on an Italian wine dinner this week. The Vigna Rionda-Massolino Winery in Piedmont, Italy is known for their spicy Barolos. Diners will have an opportunity to see what happens when these wines are tried alongside chef-driven fare with some hearty Texan twists. A press release promises "an extraordinary dinner not to be missed." Among the delicacies: Braised Rabbit Donut with foie gras ganache, confit cherries, chicory greens and quail egg paired with Serralunga d'Alba 2009. Yes, that sounds like that will work nicely. Call (281) 485-0844 for reservations. 7 p.m. 2804 S Main St, Pearland. $125 per person plus tax and gratuity

Wednesday, November 12

Latin Wine Night at Rainbow Lodge

This is the next in Rainbow Lodge's monthly series of reasonably-priced wine events and it focuses on Latin wines. Four wines, from Spain, Portugal, Argentina and Chile, are each paired with a single dish. Dishes include Smoked Chile Braised Beef Short Ribs (which sound great with a Malbec) and Almond de Touchino Cake Bars and Caramel for dessert. Sounds yummy. The event is casual, "walk-around" style. Call 713-861-8666 to reserve a spot. 5:30 p.m. 2011 Ella. $35


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The 5 Best Things to Eat or Drink This Weekend: Food Trucks & a Christmas Pub Crawl

Categories: Edible Events

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Photo by Dawn McGee
Check out Customer Appreciation Day at Hubcap Grill.
Houston Food Truck Fest @ Stereo Live
Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.
6400 Richmond

Head to Stereo Live to catch local vendors, live music, and art showcases alongside 20 of Houston's baddest food trucks. Look out for Phamily Bites, The Waffle Bus, and more (see the complete lineup here). And did we mention the beer and drink specials that run all day? Yeah. Tickets are $18 per person (or $5 for kids 6 to 12), with family packs available.

Market on the Avenue @ West Ave
Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
2800 Kirby

West Ave merchants will be expanding onto the avenue outside their doors for this open air market and street fest. The afternoon will feature a pop-up cook-book shop and a tasty bites competition from Nara Sushi and Korean Kitchen, Del Frisco's Grille, Eddie V's and CRU (3 p.m.), alongside food and drink specials all day long.

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