Top 10 Food & Drink Events This Month: January 2018

Photo courtesy of Yaga's Chili Quest & Beer Fest

The New Year is upon us, and with the lineup of culinary happenings January brings, we’d say 2018 is looking mighty fine.

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This month, 20 of the country’s hottest young chefs will come together for a 3-night tasting menu bonanza, as locals can get a taste of what’s hot and new in the culinary world. The city also welcomes the awesome chili-and-beer-fueled festival that hits Galveston every January, a sure-to-be-tasty one pot cook-off, and an annual fruit tree sale. And that’s just a taste of what’s to come, see all the details below.

Top 10 Food & Drink events in Houston: January 2018

  • Two-Millionth Matzo Ball at Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen Restaurant | TBD in January – Sometime in mid-to-late January, someone is going to place an order for a bowl of matzo ball soup at one of the two Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen Restaurant locations, and all missuga (craziness) is going to break loose. That’s because during one of those weeks, the 18-year-old deli is predicted to sell its 2,000,000th matzo ball. When it happens at one of the two locations, the lucky ball-buyer will be presented with noise, hoopla, gifts and a Kenny & Ziggy’s gift certificate worth $100.
  • Slightly Stoopid Burger and Brunch at Liberty Kitchen | Monday, January 1 – The team over at Liberty Kitchen think that New Year’s resolutions are so 1999, so they are inviting people to live life on their own terms, starting with devouring an over-the-top Slightly Stoopid “Commitment” Burger on New Year’s Day. The massive burger begins with a Meats by Linz prime-rib/brisket grind patty and is stacked with chicken-fried sugar cured bacon, American cheese, pimento cheese dip, a deviled egg, BRC’s burger sauce, Eddie’s mustard pickle jalapeño sizzle, onion, lettuce, avocado, and marinated tomato on Kaiser onion-poppy bun. At $39.18, it comes with a side of Kona Town pork belly, chicken-fried Spam, and lobster tempura gravy fries, plus a 6 ounce Lush Lunch Infamous Brewing draft pull. Each location will also be serving a post-New Year’s Eve brunch. All day.
  • Indie Chefs Week at 3201 Louisiana | Friday, January 5 through Sunday, January 7 – Beginning as a way to bring together the country’s best young and aspiring chefs (and see what they’re up to), Indie Chefs Week is now in its fourth year, and it’s coming to Houston. At each dinner, 10 chefs will feature one dish per chef to show off what they do in their own kitchens. Participating chefs include Jillian Bartolome (Aqui), Ryan Lachaine (Riel), Erin Smith and Patrick Feges (Feges BBQ) and Lyle Bento (Southern Goods) on Night 1 and Justin Yu (Theodore Rex, BLT, Public Services Wine & Whisky) on Night 2, among others. At the grand finale on Sunday, all 20 chefs will collaborate in pairs on a blowout, 10-course tasting menu. Tickets (starting at $150) include the meal, a glass of sparkling wine and canapes at arrival, and 4+ glasses of wines for pairing. Friday and Saturday 7:30pm; Sunday 7pm.
  • Curries Cooking Class at Pondicheri | Saturday, January 6 and Wednesday, January 17 – Pondicheri’s first class of the year will feature recipes from its modern recipe hub, The classes will explore the nuances of how to spice curries (both vegetable and meat) and create complex layers of flavor. Cost is $110 per person and space is limited. 5pm to 7pm.
  • Sunday Brunch Launch at The Pass & Provisions | Sunday, January 7 – Provisions will begin opening its doors on Sundays, adding a Sunday brunch to its weekend brunch offerings. Guests can dine on everything from bloody marys and short rib hash with mustard béarnaise to butternut squash pizza and Mexican chocolate cinnamon rolls. Provisions and the bar will also be open for happy hour and dinner on Sundays, and the restaurant will now be closed on Mondays. Sunday 11am to 2:30pm (Saturday 11am to 2:30pm).
  • Urban Harvest Fruit Tree Sale at Houston Community College West Loop| Saturday, January 13 – Urban Harvest’s annual fruit sale offers an opportunity for gardeners of all skill levels to shop for more than 100 varieties of fruit trees that are acclimated to Houston’s climate and soil. 9am to 1pm.
  • Marathon Watch Party at Urban Eats | Sunday, January 14 – The Washington eatery will open its restaurant, patio, and terrace early this year, serving a menu of artisan breakfast sandwiches, pastries, and free coffee refills to help those cheering on the marathon runners watchers stay warm. 7am; full brunch menu at 10am.
  • 9th Annual YAGA Chili Quest & Beer Fest | Friday, January 19 through Saturday, January 20 – Galveston’s annual Chili & Beer Fest is coming back, with a kick-off party at Yaga’s Café on Friday, and plenty of Downtown events on Saturday. Festival-goers can get in on the action when vendors start opening at 10am, and at noon, the public chili-sampling begins. The day also features beer tasting (1pm), live music, a washers tournament (11am), 5K Fun Run/Walk (9am), a Jackpot Margarita Contest (noon) and a merchant walk-about on the Historic Strand. Tickets are $10 for the chili tasting, $12 for a Frito pie and beer combo, $30 for beer tasting, $40 for the VIP early beer tasting, and $37 for the beer and chili tasting combo. Friday 8pm to 10pm; Saturday 10am to 4:30pm.
  • One Pot Showdown at Saint Arnold Brewing Company | Sunday, January 28 – Whether you think you can use Saint Arnold beer and your secret ingredients to make a dish better than anybody else’s or you just want to taste the dishes of people who think they can, this 11th annual culinary showdown is one event you won’t want to miss. The One Pot Showdown combines a traditional chili, gumbo, and stew cookoff with ten parts Saint Arnold goodness. Look out for the ticket sale announcement and more details to come. 1pm to 4pm.
  • Truffle Masters 2018 at The Astorian | Monday, January 29 – Indulge in decadent dishes using fresh black truffles as top chefs compete for the title of the “2018 Truffle Master.” This year’s lineup includes Luis Roger from BCN Taste & Tradition, Robert Del Grande from Cafe Annie, Austin Simmons from Hubbell & Hudson and Ho Chee Boon from Yauatcha, to name a few. Tickets are $175 for general admission and $275 for VIP. 7pm to 10pm; 6pm for VIP.

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Brooke Viggiano is a food and lifestyle writer residing in Houston. When she's not contributing to publications like 365 Things to Do in Houston, Thrillist Houston and the Houston Press, she's on the hunt for the coolest happenings in the city. You can follow her musings on Twitter @BrookeViggiano .