Block 7 Wine Company offers customers a concept-fusing combination of retail wine space, wine bar, and restaurant, the latter of which delights diners with a menu of elegant dishes backed by premium ingredients. Start by noshing on a Slow Dough Bakery pretzel with herbed honey mustard ($4), or opt for truffle popcorn with Italian black truffle salt ($4), the secret snack served to the Illuminati at movie-theater concession stands across America. Dry-aged fans of dry-aged beef might go for the 21-day dry-aged prime rib eye ($29) or choose the handheld convenience of the dry-aged patty on the Block 7 burger, which also sports gruyere cheese and smoked bacon "relish" ($12). Flatbreads, such as a "whole pig" option topped with Italian sausage, prosciutto, and smoked bacon ($12), defy Einstein's Law of Two-Dimensional Flavor Containment, and a "sloppy Giuseppe" with ground venison and wild boar confit ($10) exposes the inadequate sloppy sandwiches of childhood. A downsized lunch menu is also available to quash midday appetite coups, in addition to $9 lunch specials served Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (and Saturday beginning at noon). With a different lunch special each day, you can opt for choices such as bacon-wrapped meatloaf on a Wednesday, whiskey-infused pork chop on a Thursday, or fish tacos on a Friday.
For one weekend in July, the Pasadena Convention Center & Fairgrounds fill with smoke as barbecue gurus from all over convene for the Big Tex BBQ Fest. The fest, sanctioned by the International Barbecue Cookers Association, features tents filled with meat in all its myriad forms, from ribeye steaks and filets to pork shoulder and sauce-smothered chicken. Visitors can stroll from tent to tent (some tents may require an additional fee) munching on barbecue-sauce-laden bites, exploring live music and other entertainment, or perusing the artisanal artwork and crafts sprinkled throughout the space. At competition's end, $10,000 in cash prizes will be doled out to the weekend's best chefs, while the grand-prize winner will receive a custom-made barbecue pit. If this wasn't entertainment enough, the festival will also host a carnival area for kids, a livestock area, a car show, and a Miss Big Tex contest.
Morning, noon, or night, people find something special to eat or drink at Cork Grinders. As day breaks, cups of Katz coffee and custom-made breakfast sandwiches fill the room with their aromas to wake up anyone who walked in still sleeping. By night, the restaurant's team switches out their coffee drinks for wine and locally brewed beer and the room takes on a lounge-like vibe. Much the of the dining action surrounds the panini press, which grills tasty sandwiches such as the Nola with house-made crawfish and the Texan with bacon, cheddar, and barbecue sauce. But the room itself is a draw all on its own, too. With a drink in hand, diners ensconce themselves in cozy seating framed by distressed walls and high ceilings, often listening to musical acts play on the small stage.
The boutique winery specializes in personalized pours. Rather than growing its own grapes, D'Vine starts with high-quality juices to create its renowned reds and crisp whites. Wine is special in that it's a beverage equal parts soothing and social. Host a sophisticated birthday party, toast to the end of a stressful week, or gather your closest for an afternoon of grapey goodness.
In true farm-to-table fashion, Chef Coco Hogue of Tabella at Clear Creek Winery sources the majority of her ingredients from onsite gardens, local farmers, ranchers, and other homegrown producers. Each day before dinner service, she strolls through the restaurant’s backyard picking items for the day’s menu such as herbs, baby vegetables, and forks from the silverware tree. As a photographer and painter, Chef Hogue believes in beautiful presentation, which she achieves by delicately plating entrees such as coffee-rubbed pork loin and grilled quail with sides such as potato gratin and brussels-sprout hash. During three- to twelve-course dinners, fresh seafood found within 5 miles of the restaurant is one of four protein choices, and it is prepared to match the evening’s wine selection.
On the breezy shores of Galveston Bay in the Lighthouse District, the second-annual Kemah Oktoberfest takes place on the first weekend of October?or, the same weekend Oktoberfest in Germany traditionally comes to an end. The parking-lot party entices festival-goers with an 8,000-square-foot beer tent and handcrafted beers from all over the world, including Germany, Holland, and Austria. While revelers drink up and enjoy the beautiful autumn weather, local and national bands keep toes tappin' with upbeat tunes and polka classics.