Best Virtual Events in Houston for September 9 – 26, 2020

Restaurateur Shanon Scott of ROMA in Rice Village

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced some restaurants to host virtual events in order to ensure guest and employee safety. Fortunately, platforms such as Zoom and Facebook have made the transition easier. Some restaurants, bars, breweries, and even wineries are hosting virtual events occasionally, while others have had such success that they’re hosting these types of events weekly.

Virtual Host Spotlight: Roma

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Roma – An Italian Eatery, located at 2347 University Blvd  in Rice Village, hosted a weekly wine tasting which grew a consistent following. Like other Texas restaurants, Roma was forced to adapt to the state regulations meant to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Understanding that not all diners were ready to sit in a dining room, even one with plenty of distance between tables, Scott converted his in-person tasting into a virtual experience.

Roma coordinates with Houston-based wine writer and consultant, Jeremy Parzen, who arranges for a different winemaker each week to lead the virtual tasting. “It gives guests a chance to interact with some of the top people working in Italian wine as they enjoy chef Angelo’s wonderful food,” said Parzen.

ROMA virtual wine dinner
A recent Roma virtual wine dinner hosted over Zoom. Photo by Jeremy Parzen.

These weekly events provide fun for diners in their own homes and revenue for small, independent restaurant Roma, but those are not the only benefits. The online discussions have proven to be more relaxed and open than in a traditional setting. “The ROMA virtual wine dinners have been such an amazing and rewarding experience,” said Parzen, “So many people, including my wife Tracie and I, have made new friends among this simpatico group that joins us each week.”

This week’s Virtual Wine Dinner is on Thursday, September 10 at 7:30 p.m. and showcases Prelius Wines from Tuscany. For $119 per couple or $89 for individuals, participants receive three courses, including skin-on classic roasted pork and gnocchetti. Each course is paired with an Italian wine. For more information or to reserve a spot, email Jeremy Parzen or call (713) 664-7581.

Other Houston Virtual Events September 5 through 26

Sean Beck
Sean Beck, beverage director of H Town Restaurant Group is hosting virtual Whiskey Wednesdays at Backstreet Cafe. Photo courtesy of H Town Restaurant Group.

Wednesday, September 9 

Backstreet Café, 1103 South Shepherd: Each week Sean Beck of Backstreet Cafe hosts an online beverage tasting and discussion. The upcoming event on September 9 is “Whiskey Wednesday”  and focuses on the Jack Daniel’s product line. It includes a Zoom discussion with master distiller Jeff Arnett, and Brand Ambassador Eric “ET” Tecosky. The event cost is $37 and includes a gift bag along with a sampling of the company’s products, as well as your choice of entrée. To learn more about this experience, email Sean Beck for more details.

El Meson, 2425 University: The Spanish and Latin restaurant is hosting a Sake in September Virtual Wine Dinner on Wednesday, September 9 at 6:30 p.m. A change-up from the virtual wine dinner series the restaurant previously hosted, Sake Ambassador Monica Samuels of Vine Connections joins chef Pedro Garcia and sommelier Jessica Garcia as they discuss sake from Japan. For $85, you get a three-course dinner and a flight of sake. For purchasing and pickup information, visit the sign-up form online..

Thursday, September 10 

Bayou City Art Festival: Originally scheduled for Thursday, August 27 at 6 p.m., the Bayou City Art Festival postponed its second virtual happy hour as a safety measure in preparation for Hurricane Laura. New Orleans artist Amanda Bennett is now hosting the event on Thursday, September 10 at 6 p.m. This continues the buildup to this year’s virtual festival that runs from October 5 to 11. The hour-long event features art trivia and a Q&A session. There is a suggested $10 donation. For more information, visit the festival’s happy hour page.

Friday, September 11

Photo provided by DumplingDudez
Photo provided by DumplingDudez

Saint Arnold’s Brewing Company and Dumpling Dudez, 2000 Lyons: This Friday, September 11 at 7 p.m., the Houston brewery is teaming with Chih and Mike of the Dumpling Dudez for a Virtual Beer & Dumpling Pairing. For $55, you receive two each of six different dumplings and a beer pairing for each. Participants can pick up their orders for the event at the Saint Arnold’s Beer Garden and Restaurant. Visit the online information page to reserve your order. 

Saturday, September 12

Backstreet Café, 1103 South Shepherd:  Details aren’t available just yet, but we do know a Texas winery is featured for this virtual wine dinner on Saturday, September 12 at 7:30 p.m. Check back with us or the restaurant soon for details.

Photo provided by French Country Wines

French Country Wines, 2433 Bartlett: Long known for its Saturday wine tastings, this wine importer and retailer located in the Rice Village is going virtual. The at-home tasting kits come with six different wine samples and cost $12, or can get a complimentary kit with a mere $20 purchase. The virtual tasting experiences start at 6 p.m. Pick up the tasting kits on Saturday between noon and 5 p.m. Visit French Country Wine’s Saturday tastings page for more information.

Sylvia's South of the Border Enchilada Sampler
Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen’s “South of the Border” enchilada sampler. Photo by Paula Murphy.

Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen, 1140 Eldridge: On Saturday, September 12 from 1 to 4 p.m., chef Sylvia Casares is hosting a Zoom class on her South-of-the-Border Enchiladas. For $55, participants get access to the Zoom class and all of the ingredients necessary to make four different enchiladas at home. Don’t feel like cooking? You can also watch, learn and get a $25 gift card to the restaurant for a later date. The deadline to sign up for this cooking class is September 11, and for more information, visit the class description page..

Saturday, September 19

Underbelly Hospitality: For this Zoom class, chefs Chris Shepherd and Matt Staph team up with spice expert Lior Lev Sercarz to present Mediterranean dishes featuring Sercarz’s spices. For $150 per couple, participants receive access to the class, the ingredients to make four courses, including watermelon and feta salad and lamb meatballs with whipped labneh, and a mini spice set from Lior’s spice shop, La Boite. Visit the class information page for details.

Underbelly Hospitality: This is the second installment in Chris Shepherd’s virtual “cook the book” series. (The first one sold out.) He is joined by award-winning chef Ashley Christensen (featured on more than one occasion at the Souther Smoke Festival), and they’ll prepare recipes from Christensen’s cookbook. The class includes dishes such as Cornbread Crab Cakes and Sour Cream Panna Cotta. For $150 per couple, the virtual event fee covers all of the needed ingredients necessary for the dishes, a copy of Poole’s book and a $20 donation to the Southern Smoke Foundation. Visit the class information page for details.  

 

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