The Italy America Chamber of Commerce will host its First Annual Pizza Contest on November 13th from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The event will take place at the Culinary Institute Le Notre. Seven teams will compete for "Best Pizza of the Night" as voted on by attendees. Participants include Amalfi Ristorante, 006 Pizza, Brio Tuscan Grille, Fork Italian Gourmet Catering, Sud Italia, Mascalzone and Culinary Institute Le Notre. There will be unlimited samples of pizza and drinks will be provided by Prosecco Superiore.
Pizza & Prosecco is part of the "True Italian Taste" campaign to enhance the awareness of authentic Italian products in the USA, Canada and Mexico. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online by clicking here. Tickets will $25 at the door. A portion of the proceeds will be donated in support of Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
Kick up your Halloween party or Dia de los Muertos celebration with these bewitching brews. Each one has a unique label and taste that's sure to please any beer-loving ghouls and goblins.
1. Dragon's Milk (11% ABV) - New Holland Brewing
This Boubon barrel-aged stout will be the hit of any party. Slightly malty with hints of vanilla. You might want to save it all for yourself.
2. Dead Ringer (6% ABV) - Ballast Point Brewing
This Oktoberfest Marzen has an abundance of toasted malt and a dark reddish color. The aroma is loaded with hints caramel and the taste is quite smooth.
3. #9 (5.1% ABV) - Magic Hat Brewing
This not quite pale ale is sorta dry, sorta crisp, but definitely refreshing. Great gateway beer for the hop novice.
4. El Gose (4.5% ABV) - Avery Brewing
This German-style sour ale has a nice burst of lime and sea salt. Dress it up a bit by pouring into a chili-lime rimmed glass.
5. Santo (4.7% ABV) - Saint Arnold Brewing
This Kolsh-style beer has the addition of black malt to give dark color and great taste. It also has a cool calavera on the label.
6. Purple Haze (4.2% ABV) - Abita Brewing
This lager is brewed with raspberries which produces a subtle and fruity beer. It's the perfect party beer that even non-beer drinkers will enjoy.
7. Devil's Backbone (8.10% ABV) - Real Ale Brewing
This Belgian-style tripel may be pale in color, but it packs a punch in taste. Spicy hops and Belgian yeast give it a very unique taste and aroma.
Looking for some ghoulishly good wines for Halloween? Here's a collection of some tasty and affordable wines that are worth getting your claws on. Why should the kiddos have all the fun?
Casillero del Diablo (The Devil's Cellar) has long been known as the official wine of Halloween. This Cabernet has a deep, intense ruby red color and flavors of cherries, plums, and black currants. It pairs nicely with a blood-red steak of course. Zombie Zin is deep purple in color with bursts of berries and just a touch of black pepper on the finish. Pairing suggestions include bloody BBQ and sinister soups.
19 Crimes The Banished is the darkest wine I have ever seen. This wine boasts flavors of chocolate and vanilla with forest fruits on the finish. Be sure to download the 19 Crimes app and watch the label come to life! Stella Rosa Black is out just in time to celebrate Stellaween. This fun and flirty wine will definitely get the party started. Plus, its slight effervescence makes it a great addition to a big bowl of Sangria.
Apothic Inferno will add a splash of heat to any Halloween party. This limited release wine is aged 60 days in whiskey barrels giving it a unique taste that is most definitely a treat and not a trick. For white wine drinking ghouls and goblins, you can't go wrong with Rest In Peace Pinot Grigio.
No matter how you choose to spend the witching hour, be sure to drink responsibly. No hexing while driving, and hire a driver for your hearse if you've had one too many potions.
Drink Pink this October for Breast Cancer Awareness.
Radio Milano will be hosting a special Drink Pink Soiree luncheon on October 21 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Chefs Adrian and Ana Amaya will prepare five courses of small bites to go with Rose wines from around the world. Sommelier Joshua Theis will be on hand to guide guest through the tasting. The cost is $30 plus tax and gratuity and 100% of the profits will benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Space is limited. RSVP with Radio Milano at (713) 827-3545.
Throughout the month of October, Le Colonial will be donating 50% of proceeds from the sale of their signature Saigon 75 cocktail ($12) to the Pink Door. The Saigon 75 is a combination of Blanc de Blanc Champagne, London No. 1 Blue Gin, Violet Extract, Hibiscus and Rose Extract, and Mint.
During the entire month of October, all Rose wines at Royal Sonesta Houston are just $7 a glass. For every glass purchased, $1 will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Hotel Sorella in CITYCENTRE will be offering a special Pink Lady cocktail for just $10.
The Fourth Annual Culinary Stars (rescheduled due to Hurricane Harvey), will take place on October 26th at the Houston Chronicle Event Center. The gourmet food and wine event will feature over 30 restaurants including several of Alison Cooks' 2017 Top 100 list. The event will benefit those impacted by Hurricane Harvey and organizations working to help displaced residents and pets, including: Second Servings, The Ballard House and Golden Beginnings.
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Ritual and talk with Black Hill Ranch founder, Felix Florez. A Jack-of-all-trades, Florez has been a rancher, butcher, chef and even a sommelier. No stranger to the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, Florez lost 108 pigs during the flood at his ranch in Katy - nearly a whole generation of babies, along with a few breeders.
For the Culinary Stars event, Florez will be serving what he calls "The Whole Barn". Simply put, the dish represents all the animals raised on a farm. His demonstration first started with the proper trimming of a beef tenderloin. The loin was then stuffed with a lamb tenderloin rolled in pork belly and then wrapped with caul fat. In what can only described as "meat magic", Florez uses skill, molecular gastronomy and a generous sprinkling of transglutaminase to help all the meat bond together.
After being sous vide for 9 hours, the meat will be seasoned and grilled. The finished product will be served at Culinary Stars with cheddar oatmeal, collard greens and a bone marrow Hollandaise sauce to respresent "The Whole Barn".
Several Houston-area bloggers got the opportunity last week to visit with participating chefs and restaurants to get the scoop on some of the signature dishes being presented at this gourmet food tasting event. Gristle & Gossip chatted with Chef Yamila Castre of Latin Bites to learn about the classic Peruvian dish - Causas. Hangry Woman went to Xochi for a tamale making class with James Beard Award winner Chef Jose Ortega. Hot In Houston Now got some Southern inspiration from Harold in the Heights Executive Chef Antoine Ware.
VIP tickets are sold out, but general admission tickets are still available for $100. Don't miss this opportunity to taste over 30 of the best bites in Houston. Tickets can be purchased at tickets.foodandvinetime.com
Houston Chronicle Culinary Stars
4747 Southwest Freeway, Houston, TX 77027
October 26, 2017
VIP 5:30 to 9 p.m.
General Admission 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Perry's Steakhouse is known for exceptional service and quality, so it stands to reason that only the highest caliber of wine can bear the Perry's label. This month, Perry's unveiled their 10th anniversary Private Label wine in a newly designed etched bottle. At a private "First Pour" event, Corporate Sommelier Susi Zivanovic explained to guests the type of wine Perry's wanted for their private label. According to Zivanovic, they wanted a "Burgundy-style Chardonnay and a Bordeaux-style Cabernet."
Zivanovic has been involved with the wine making process since its inception ten years ago. The grapes are hand-sourced from the Napa/Sonoma region and hand-harvested at night. Perry's works with Amici Cellars to create their own boutique winery where Zivanovic helps oversee the process from start to finish. The 2016 Cabernet contains Mountain and Valley fruit to give it a lush fruit taste with great structure and elegance. The 2015 Chardonnay is from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast producing a wine that has a dense fruit taste with just the right amount of acidity.
In addition to tasting the new vintages, guest were treated to a four-course pairing designed to showcase the flavor profiles of each wine. The Chardonnay was paired with bacon wrapped scallops and lobster tempura. The light touch of oak gave it the perfect amount of butteriness to compliment the scallops, but the winner for me was the tempura lobster with miso butter. The Cabernet was paired with a New York Strip and a Chocolate Crunch dessert to showcase its versatility. Steak and a smooth Cabernet are always a match made in heaven, but the decadent Chocolate Crunch stole the show.
For the 10th anniversary, a new label isn't the only change made by Perry's. They also introduced new large format bottles. The Cabernet is available in a 3L, 6L, and Magnum and the Chardonnay comes in a 3L, 5L, and Magnum. Quantities are limited, so visit a Perry's near you soon to get a taste of these delicious new releases.
By the glass:
Social Hour $16 Social Hour $13
Regular $20 Regular $15
By the bottle:
750 ml - $80 750 ml - $60
1.5 L - $155 1.5 L - $115
3 L - $449 3 L - $389
6 L - $999 5 L - $849
Houston is slowly recovering from Hurricane Harvey. The water has receded and the trash is slowly being picked up. However, it will be a long time before this beautiful city is back to "normal". The damage from Hurricane Harvey affected homes, businesses, schools, restaurants, hotels and theaters. Amid the complete devastation rose heroes from all walks of life. Strangers providing food for one another. Churches sending crews to clean out homes. Race, religion, politics, and status were all swept aside as we became #HoustonStrong.
It's been almost a month since Harvey hit the Texas coast, but there is still much to do. Here are a few ways you can still help.
Donations and volunteers
The following organizations not only need donations, but they could use volunteers:
Houston Food Bank
Houston Furniture Bank
Dining For a Cause
Houston Restaurant Weeks has been extended through September 30th. A portion of lunch and dinners will be donated to the Houston Food Bank. Visit the HRW website for a list of participating restaurants and their menus. houstonrestaurantweeks.com
Wine Above Water fundraiser and online auction at Camerata, in conjunction with Southern Smoke. Funds raised will go to help support members of the hospitality industry that were affected by Hurricane Harvey. Tickets are $100 and includes a $50 donation. Guests will be able taste though an assortment of premium wines donated by the beverage community. Sunday, September 24, 12 to 8 p.m.
Radio Milano will be hosting a five course Hurricane Harvey Wine Dinner Benefit with a 100% of the proceeds benefiting the Houston Hospitality Employee Relief Fund. Chefs from Radio Milano, Amalfi, and Maison Pucha Bistro will be collaborating for this fabulous event. Sunday, September 24, at 6pm for $90.
Riel Restaurant will be hosting a multi-course Hennessy Cognac Tasting Charity Dinner sponsored by Hennessy and Marine Foods Express. 100% of the proceeds will benefit the Houston Food Bank. Monday, September 25, 6:30 p.m. $130 per person.
Cane Rosso Montrose will be joined by 8th Wonder Brewery and Deep Eddy Vodka for Cane Rosso 100% Pies For Harvey Relief on September 27, 5 to 10 p.m. 100% of all sales will go to the Houston Food Bank.
Grab your girlfriends and get ready for a fun night out with MsIndependent! #GirlsNightOut Houston Strong will be held September 28 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Marq31. The evening will include a massage station, food, wine, cocktails and a secret performance. It will also include a donation drive, signing cards for first responders and volunteer opportunities. $30
This month, Grimaldi's announced the addition of liquor and a first-ever cocktail program to their five Houston-area locations. Ten handcrafted cocktails can now be enjoyed with their award-winning coal-fired pizza. I ventured out to my favorite location in The Woodlands Waterway to check it out for myself. The views from the patio overlook the Waterway fountain, but on this warm day I was glad that Grimaldi's offered three different inside dining options.
The cocktail program at Grimaldi's features an assortment of drinks for just about every palate. It includes classic items with and Italian twist to them like the Bloody Mary which uses their famous pizza sauce in the mix or the Paloma which adds a splash of the beloved Italian spirit, Aperol. On a hot day, the Strawberry Basil Smash was quite refreshing. Cocktails are each $10.
Grimaldi's new Stoking Hour runs Monday to Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. During this time guests can get $2 off draft beer, wine, and antipasto or bruschetta. Each month a featured bottle of wine will be available along with a bruschetta trio or small antipasto for just $30. Tuesdays are even tastier at Grimaldi's with half off wine by the glass, carafe, or bottle.
The antipasto was a nice starter for the meal, especially if sharing a bottle of wine with friends. Although it had been quite some time since my last visit to Grimaldi's, they still had the same great pizza I remember. I'm looking forward to cooler weather when I can enjoy an cocktail or two on the patio.
Houston Area Locations:
CityCentre: 12848 Queensbury Lane; 713.463.3730
Cinco Ranch: 2643 Commercial Center Blvd; (281) 574-0070
The Woodlands: 20 Waterway Ave; (281) 465-3500
Sugar Land:16535 Southwest Fwy ; (281) 265-2280
Friendswood:700 Baybrook Mall #117: (281) 286-3942
Blogger disclosure: All food and beverages were provided courtesy of Grimaldi's.
Pei Wei recently launched a $5 lunch menu at 20 of their Houston-area locations. I was invited out to their Woodlands location to give the new menu a try. The menu consists of five different choices: Mango California Roll, Sweet & Sour, Korean Spicy, Thai Dynamite, and Dan Dan Noodles. Each entree comes with your choice of white rice, brown rice, lettuce cups, or salad.
The 8-piece Mango roll was a perfect starter. Crab, mango, cucumbers and scallions were rolled and tossed with sesame seeds for a nice summery treat. Both the Korean Spicy and Thai Dynamite contained a healthy mix of protein and veggies, but next time I will ask for them to be a bit spicier. The pineapple chunks and sugar snap peas in the sweet and sour provided a nice pop of freshness to this classic dish. My favorite overall was the Dan Dan Noodles. It was a filling and hearty bowl with lots of flavor.
Pei Wei's entrees are made to order using freshly chopped ingredients. Almost all of their menu items can be customized for dietary needs including gluten-free and vegetarian. For those in a rush, Pei Wei offers a new app that lets you view the menu, place your order, and even earn My Wei Rewards toward free entrees.
Blogger disclosure: All food and beverages were provided courtesy of Pei Wei.
(Rescheduled to Nov. 24-26)
For some, Labor Day means a three-day weekend, but for me it means that the best craft beer festival in Texas is happening in Galveston. The 8th Annual Brewmasters Craft Beer Festival will take place September 1-3, 2017 at the Moody Gardens Hotel. Five different events will take place over the three day weekend, including the BrewHaHa Grand Tasting featuring over 50 different breweries.
The weekend's festivities kick off Friday night with the Nach-Yo Ordinary Tequila Tasting and a Pub Crawl to some of Galveston's coolest bars. Saturday starts out with a Texas Brewery Tasting Tour, which allows guests to meet local brewery representatives for an up close and personal talk and tasting.
The BrewHaHA Grand Tasting happens Saturday afternoon from 3 p.m.. to 6:30 p.m. Over 400 beers will be available to sample including several Taste It First selections. Tickets are just $35. Upgrade your general admission ticket to VIP for an hour early entry and an exclusive lounge area with food samples for $85.
Sunday wraps up with Brews, BBQ, and a live Band. The $23 Brew-B-Que ticket includes a Stubb's BBQ two-meat plate and a punch card for six 2-ounce samples of beer. Packages are also available for the entire weekend or select multi-events as well as specially priced designated driver tickets.
For tickets visit: brewmastersbeerfest.com
About the Author
I like eating, traveling, and enjoying liquid libations. I'm all about great wines, signature cocktails, and local brews.