BBQ Festival, Wine-Tasting Mania, and More Must-Hit Events for Foodies

BBQ Festival, Wine-Tasting Mania, and More Must-Hit Events for Foodies

Korean BBQ at Hongdae 33, which is participating in the Houston Barbecue Festival (photo by Jenn Duncan)

OFFERING SOME OF Houston's best weather, it's no surprise that the spring social season is full of al fresco fun. Grab your calendar and read on for some of the most savory soirees, this month and next!

Empire State Jazz Festival

Discovery Green

Mother’s Day Weekend brings a fun festival to Discovery Green. The Empire State Jazz Festival presents smooth-jazz artists from all over America, including Stephen Richard, Pat Williams, Dean James & Friends, and more, on May 11 (12-10pm). Victor Allotey, founder of Houston’s Empire State Jazz Café and its festival, is a veteran of the NFL and founder of Victor’s Victors Foundation, the event’s nonprofit partner that provides aspiring young musicians with new instruments. Expect a soulful lineup of food, too, including Jamaican, Soul, and Creole cuisine from Nyammings Fusion Bistro. ”There is nothing quite like the magic of live jazz in the open air surrounded by the beauty of Discovery Green,” says Allotey. “Between the extraordinary lineup of musical talent, the food, and the vibe, and the cause, festival attendees are in for a very memorable experience.”

Hill Country Wineries Tasting

On April 18, Texas Hill Country Wineries are bringing more than 60 wines from 20-plus different wineries to Houston for a tasting experience. Come meet winery personalities including owners, winemakers, vineyard managers, and more at The Peach Orchard in The Woodlands, with doors opening for consumers at 5:30pm. Tickets, $75 per person, include wine tastings, charcuterie, light appetizers, and an event wine glass to take home.

Houston Barbecue Festival

Houston Barbecue Festival participant Feges BBQ

Don’t miss the 11th annual Houston Barbecue Festival, April 14, at the Humble Civic Center on Will Clayton Parkway. Smoky stalwarts including Gatlin’s and Roegels join newcomers like Hongdae 33, which will dish out its savory Korean barbecue for the hundreds of attendees. The event is expected to sell out; a portion of proceeds will go to the Recovery Houston Foundation. Kids 6 and under are free!

Celebrity Chefs Against Cancer

Live-action stations will serve plenty of meaty favorites

Taking place in the Four Seasons Hotel’s Grand Ballroom, Celebrity Chefs Against Cancer features 21 chefs from some of Houston’s most exciting restaurants. Gaby Jiminez of Bayou & Bottle and Jonathan Esparza from Toro Toro welcome fellow chefs — Richard Sandoval, Uchiko’s Shaun King, Xochi’s Hugo Ortega, Martin Stayer of Nobie’s — to their home turf. Each chef will prepare bites of signature dishes at live-action stations, while hand-crafted cocktails and beverages — courtesy of Wagner Family of Wine, Maestro Dobel Tequila and Bushmills Single Malt Whiskey — flow. Last year’s event set the fundraising record, and this year’s is poised to do it again: The silent auction will tout Four Seasons packages galore, a Formula 1 VIP-experience weekend in Austin, and more. Proceeds will go to Camp H-Town, the summer sleep-away camp at the Four Seasons for kids who have been touched by cancer. They get to enjoy a movie night, pool party, dance night at House of Blues, and more.

Chapman & Kirby Launches Free Concert Series for Spring

Danny Ray and the Atlantic Street Band performs May 31 (photo from

CHAPMAN & KIRBY, THE premier event destination in Houston’s East Village, is thrilled to announce the launch of its Spring Music Series, kicking off on Friday, April 12. Chapman & Kirby has become synonymous with top-tier events and unforgettable experiences, many attended by celebrities both local and worldwide. With concert ticket prices soaring to hundreds and even thousands of dollars in the last year, this eight-week music series promises to be a welcomed opportunity to engage with live music for free, showcasing an eclectic lineup of talented acts.

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IT MAY TAKE a minute, but while seated at the coveted chef’s table that wraps around the busy and fragrant open kitchen, survey Artisans’ new digs on Westheimer and see if you can’t remember what previously occupied the space.

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Denise Reyes and Matthew Healey (photo by Katy Anderson)

THE OPERA BALL, one of Houston’s perennially elegant, must-hit galas among the society set’s top tier, tilted marvelously mod and disco-deluxe this year, with sophisticated Spanish hints, thanks no doubt to ball chairs Isabel and Ignacio “Nacho” Torras. They are, of course, the arts patrons behind two of Houston’s most popular and trendy restaurants — MAD and BCN Taste & Tradition.

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