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Sylvia’s Pardon Our French Wine Dinner

May 04, 2021 06:30 PM

19thCentury Foes Come to the table for Mexican food, French Wines May 4

HOUSTON… What a difference 159 years make!

That’s exactly how many years it’s been since more than 8,000 men making up a well-trained and battle-seasoned French army invading Mexico encountered an ill-trained, poorly-equipped Mexican army of less than 4,000 soldiers and volunteers at the battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

The French, to their surprise, were forced to retreat. The conquest of Mexico by Napoleon III was delayed for a year, and, most importantly, the annual celebration of Cinco de Mayo was born.

The celebration, pretty much a North American thing, is traditionally all about tequila, but considering what the world has been going through since this time last year, Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen owner/chef Sylvia Casares decided this year needs to be all about coming back together.

For that reason, she’s starting the celebration a day earlier with a six-course dinner paired with six Liberation de Paris wines, a family of French-made wines owned by Houstonians Jean-Francois and Nathalie Bonnete, owners of the national high-end beverage importer, BCI. The dinner will be held at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 4, at the Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen located at 6401 Woodway. The cost is$75 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are required.

The dinner, from an appetizer course to dessert, includes a number of Sylvia’s signature dishes such as mesquite-grilled quail and chocolate tres leches cake, but it also incorporates a number of dishes made especially for the event. One course, for example includes petite (that’s French) enchilaldas, one with chicken and one with carnitas, topped with Sylvia’s famed mole sauce. Mole sauce was first created in Puebla near where the battle was fought.

The Bonnete’s wines also have roots in another famous battle, this one on June 6, 1944, also know as Word War II’s D-Day. Shortly after the landing, American troops moving inland in France came across a near-starved young boy outside his recently-liberated town. They stopped to give the emaciated child chocolate and chewing gum, an act which made him forever a fan of the United States. That boy is Jean-Francois Bonnete’s father. When he and Nathalie began producing their wines nearly 70 years after D-Day, they named it Liberation de Paris in honor of that roadside incident involving the senior Bonnete.

Reservations for this Cinco de Mayo French Wine Dinner are required as space is limited due to precautions being followed because of the COVID pandemic. Call 713-334-7295.

As for that tequila and the actual day of Cinco de Mayo? Plan on visiting either restaurant that Wednesday for lots of Margarita specials and other treats.

Oooo la la, as the French would say. This is how wars are ended!




and special guests

Wine owners Jean-Francois and Nathalie Bonnete


Ceviche tostada

Liberation de Paris Chardonnay


Sopa de Almeja

Liberation de Paris Sauvignon Blanc


Two Petite Mole Enchiladas

Puebla (chicken)

Seguin (carnitas)

Liberation de Paris Cotes du Rhône AOC


Mesquite grilled quail & poblano grits

Liberation de Paris Pinot Noir

FOURTH COURSE (petite enchiladas)

Cheese Enchilada/Refugio

Mexican Squash/Sarita

LdP Malbec


Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

Liberation de Paris Bordeaux AOC

Reservations required. Cost is $75 per person plus tax and gratuity