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.
In Houston, September beats out July and August for the hottest month of the year—it has nothing to do with the weather, however. The culprit behind the elevated heat level is the Houston Hot Sauce Festival. This annual event brings together exhibitors from across the country to sell and hand out samples of their signature hot sauces, salsas, jams, dips, and other spicy foods. Luckily, vendors also supply plenty of cool beverages, thus eliminating the need for bite-size fire extinguishers.
Live entertainment complements the spicy goods. Blues artists, jazz bands, and other musician play throughout the festival, and each day brings special events, such as salsa eating competitions or fire eating performances.
At the Latin Dance Factory, Christian Franco Gutierrez teaches students rather than a set of rigid moves. A native of Peru, Gutierrez emphasizes the importance of personal flair when dancing?but he also emphasizes the importance of repetition. Instead of teaching entire routines to beginners, he builds their dance repertoires with simple drills, ensuring that his footloose charges master the basic steps of their chosen style.
The studio's dance styles run the gamut from salsa and merengue to cumbia and kizomba. The lesson formats are similarly eclectic. Students can hone their skills in hour-long group lessons, four-hour intensives, or private lessons. For a more social atmosphere, newly minted two-steppers can practice at "date nights," candlelit dance lessons with wine and cheese spreads.
Visitors to the Dionsio Winery Wine Festival sample the award-winning rich reds, crisp whites, and sweet fruit wines from a selection of local wineries. Local restaurants and vendors whip up delectable dinners and food pairings, while merchants peddle memorable keepsakes and handmade jewelry. Energetic classic rock outfit Thermal Fusion fills the air with a catchy live soundtrack, as staff fill commemorative wine glasses with endless samples of Dionisio's delicious wines. With food, wine, and tunes provided by Houston-based bands and businesses, the fest is a better way to celebrate the local culture than nibbling sandwichs into the shape of the Astro's stadium.
Though King's Biergarten describes itself as the place "where it's Oktoberfest all year round," once a year the brew haven really goes all out recreating the traditional German beer and food festival. The restaurant transforms its parking lot into a colorful 400-person bier tent decked out with bells, ribbons, and servers dressed in lederhosen who shoulder drinks throughout the rows of beer hall-style benches and tables. Aside from sipping golden suds, crowds can also help themselves to a variety of traditional Oktoberfest foods. Bands will play live sets throughout the fest as attendees try their hand at challenging each other with the Bavarian strongman competition, festival jousting, and much more. VIP ticket-holders will be able to camp out inside the restaurant, where they can take advantage of three-hour table reservations.
The three-day event will kick off on Friday, September 26, when local politicians including Pearland Mayor Tom Reed and Friendswood Mayor Keving Holland will lead the ceremonial 100-year-old wooden keg tapping. From there on out, the German brews will flow for the remainder of the weekend, with attendees trading in beer tickets for half-liters of Hofbrau Oktoberfest, Hofbrau Dunkel, Hofbrau Hefeweizen, Stiegl Radler, and Staropramen Lager.
Painting with a Twist adultizes the group art class by pairing expert instruction with the option to sip libations and socialize with other classmates. Check the schedule online to view available classes. Each two- or three-hour session will teach you step-by-step how to replicate the featured design (upcoming classes capture everything from flowers to crawfish, cafés, and the rugged masculinity of Burton Gilliam). Canvas, paints, and brushes are all provided, along with a handy stock of wine cups and openers to promote the creative flow. Upon the conclusion of your BYOB painting class, you'll have a 16”x20” painting to hang proudly atop your mantle.