Moody Gardens is offering guests their first glimpse inside the Aquarium Pyramid Saturday with a Grand Reveal celebration. The aquarium has been closed off and on for the past two years while new exhibits were added and existing exhibits were enhanced. New additions include a two-story, 30,000-gallon Gulf of Mexico Rig Exhibit, Humboldt penguins, Jellyfish Gallery, Mangrove Lagoon and Caribbean touch tanks and a shipwreck replica based loosely on Galveston pirate Jean Lafitte’s ship, The Pride.
There will be live music and face painting 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Houston Rockets legend Allen Leavell will make an appearance from 11 a.m.-noon on Saturday.
For more information, visit www.moodygardens.com.
Photo Credit: Moody Gardens
A federal judge in San Francisco has blocked a Trump administration order to withhold funding from communities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities.
U.S. District Judge William Orrick issued the temporary ruling Tuesday in a lawsuit over the executive order targeting so-called sanctuary cities. The decision will stay in place while the lawsuit moves through court.
Read more at Statesman.com
[Photo credit: EPA/TRACIE VAN AUKEN]
He’s back! And honestly, there aren’t enough words, emojis, etc. to express how I feel on hearing what a real President sounds like; one that speaks TO the audience and not AT them.
So in case you need a fix of #StillMyPresident, here’s video of him speaking today at he Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago. (those lucky students!)
(photo credit: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
The New Orleans-based cult favorite will be first in Texas and first wave of franchisees.
Foodie favorite Dat Dog, a New Orleans-based hot dog and sausage restaurant, will open 25 restaurants in Houston through franchisee group B&G Food Enterprises, LLC. The first restaurant is scheduled to open in 2018 and will be the first Dat Dog in Texas. There are no set locations at this time.
Dat Dog uses recipes developed by its Executive Chef, Alex Ventura, as well as craft cocktails developed by its Beverage Director, Alexa Ballard. The restaurant is known for its unique, quirky combinations, with sausages made from crawfish, alligator, duck, in addition to the traditional beef wiener. Dat Dog features more than 30 toppings, including unconventional options like blackberry sauce, guacamole, and crawfish etouffee. The restaurant also offers vegetarian and vegan sausage options, in addition to the “Greenie Weenie”—a dog wrapped in lettuce instead of a toasted sourdough bun. To keep putting a smile on the faces of its guests, Dat Dog regularly features art markets, trivia nights, fundraisers, special events and more.
Led by restauranteur Greg Hamer Sr., B&G Foods operates over 100 Yum brand locations across Texas and Louisiana. Hamer is an Emeritus Director of the National Restaurant Association and a trustee of the NRA Education Foundation. His long tenure with the Louisiana Restaurant Association has seen him honored as President in 2000, a member of the LRA Hall of Fame, Active Member of the Year and Chapter President of the Year.
During his due diligence of the restaurant, Hamer admits he and his son ate “just about everything on the menu”—landing on the Duck Sausage as his favorite.
“Dat Dog’s different. It’s a fresh concept, and we’re very excited to bring a little bit of offbeat New Orleans to Houston,” Hamer said. “We couldn’t be more excited to be opening in Texas,” said Bill DiPaola, President & COO of Dat Dog Enterprises and a Certified Franchise Executive. “I know Houstonians will love our quirky, Hawaiian-shirt wearing culture— along with our crazy delicious dogs.”
Dat Dog’s popularity can be seen in its critical acclaim and awards: The restaurant has been touted by The New York Times, Gayot, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The Food Network. The restaurant has also been awarded honors such as, “Top 10 Hot Dogs in the U.S.” (USA Today College), “Best Hot Dogs in America”(Thrillist & The Daily Meal), and the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Neighbor Award for Louisiana.
Philanthropic giving and social good are built into Dat Dog’s DNA. The company regularly hosts fundraising events on- and off-site for causes of all kinds, especially those related to animal welfare, at-risk youth, and education. Dat Dog’s Houston locations will regularly host charitable events and fundraisers, in addition to responding directly to people in need.
For franchisees, Dat Dog will offer flexible concepts for restaurants, including indoor/outdoor dining, areas for live music, biergartens or art markets, endcaps, free-standing buildings, universities, or other retail environments. Dat Dog is looking to further expand in the Gulf South region, focusing on Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and the Florida panhandle, in addition to already planned locations in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, La.
From the production companies of Viola Davis and Julius Tennon of JuVee Productions and Lemuel Plummer of L. Plummer Media comes the landmark limited series, Two Sides of the Truth, which will focus on four high profile cases that have been watershed moments for law enforcement and the Black community.
Produced for the TV One network by L. Plummer Media in partnership with JuVee Productions, ‘Two Sides’ will dissect and present both points of view of these highly charged cases so the audience can draw their own conclusions after hearing both sides of the story. Davis also narrates the limited series.
“Every other week we hear about these horrific incidences and many of them go unsolved and unresolved. We hope that this show can take those headlines and humanize them,” said Davis. “We want to give an unbiased approach to digging into what really happened on those fateful days and in doing so, hopefully shed some light and bring some awareness to such an important issue,” said Tennon.
Two Sides of the Truth is executive produced by Davis, Tennon and Andrew T. Wang of JuVee Productions, Plummer and Jason L. Tolbert of L. Plummer Media (LPM) with LPM overseeing production.
Free family event at MacGregor Park showcases transformational Bayou Greenways 2020 Project
Houston Parks Board announces the third annual Bayou Greenway Day, an outdoor festival and celebration of the Bayou Greenways, which connect Houstonians to parks and greenspaces – and one another. All are invited to participate in this free, day-long community event presented by Noble Energy on Saturday, April 29 along Brays Bayou Greenway at MacGregor Park in southeast Houston, 5225 Calhoun Road.
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., families will be able to walk, bike, run, stroll and play along Brays Greenway – the star of this year’s event – during the Bayou Greenway Day 2017 celebration. Attendees will enjoy free family activities while exploring the hike-and-bike trails along the bayou. Event programming provided by nonprofits, neighborhood organizations and local businesses will include an obstacle course, face painting, a guided children’s bike ride, music and food trucks, along with kite flying, origami, soccer drills and more.
“Bayou Greenway Day is an ideal way to celebrate this unique collaborative project enhancing access to greenspace and bringing people together all over Houston,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner, honorary chairman of Bayou Greenway Day. “Bayou Greenways 2020 is unlike any other parks project in the country, and I’m so proud to see Houston leading the way with this inspired plan.”
“Houston doesn’t have mountains or beaches, but we do have an incredible natural resource: our bayous,” said Carter Stern, event co-chair and a board member of the Houston Parks Board. “On Bayou Greenway Day, we invite everyone to get to know Houston’s bayous as destinations for recreation and as greenspaces that connect our parks and neighborhoods.”
Bayou Greenway Day is a chance for Houstonians to experience the transformation happening along Houston’s bayous as part of the Bayou Greenways 2020 project, which will create a continuous parks system along Houston’s major waterways within the city limits, transform more than 3,000 acres along the bayous into public greenspace and connect 150 miles of hike and bike trails.
“This year’s Bayou Greenway Day will be a wonderful day for Houstonians to visit MacGregor Park and enjoy how the park now connects with Brays Bayou” said Lisa Johnson, Interim Director Houston Parks and Recreation Department. “We look forward to welcoming the public and the many sponsors and non-profits who will be part of this year’s festivities.”
Attendees are encouraged to bicycle or walk to Bayou Greenway Day along the Brays Bayou Greenway Trail in keeping with the spirit of the event. Public transportation to Bayou Greenway Day is available via METRO bus routes 28 (OST / Wayside), 29 (Cullen / Hirsch) and 80 (MLK Lockwood) and the METRORail Purple Line. Plan your trip now at RideMetro.org
Parking will be limited. Carpooling is encouraged if car travel is necessary.
Did someone say FREE???!!!
This Cinco de Mayo weekend, pay homage to the margarita while sticking to a Houston staple.
Nationally renowned Killen’s Barbecue is teaming up with Cayman Jack, a handcrafted margarita, to bring a Cinco de Mayo celebration to Houston by handing out complimentary pairings of Cayman Jack margaritas and lime brisket tacos on Saturday, May 6, from 11 AM to 3 PM.
Ronnie Killen, chef and owner of Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland, is known for his high-quality smoked meats and down-home side dishes. The combination of the smoky brisket, Pico de Gallo and cilantro in Chef Ronnie’s brisket tacos pair perfectly with the refreshing taste of the limes and blue agave nectar in Cayman Jack margaritas.
Handcrafted with 100 percent blue agave nectar from Mexico, pure cane sugar and organic limes, Cayman Jack margaritas are premium prepared cocktails combining authentic flavor with the perfect balance of refreshment and bite.
Don’t let the historically long lines at Killen’s Barbecue deter you from celebrating – Cayman Jack will be sampled to those aged 21+ waiting in line, so everyone can enjoy.
(Photo credit: Killen’s Barbeque Facebook)
This is Who We Are
This past Saturday, I was very honored to speak at the #NoBanNoWall rally on behalf of those that feel as they have no voice and for those that are currently in fear of the policies enacted by the current administration.
Thousands gathered at the front steps of the Texas capital to protest the current ICE Raids, Trump’s border wall and the refugee ban. U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) and Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) headlined the rally organized by Muslim and immigrant rights groups. Some of the speakers included immigration attorneys and activists, DREAMERS, and refugees from Muslim communities.
To honor my family and to those that have suffered and continue to suffer under the policies of the current administration, I hope that my words spoken at the rally made a difference (if even a small one).
“This Is Who We Are”
“Many if not all of us here today have recited the pledge of allegiance, giving our thanks to a piece of fabric stitched in identity that speaks to many of the slogans that have echoed throughout time: Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness. As a Latina, I have witnessed how those words have turned into something so out of reach for us. But still, we hope and we strive, not only for ourselves but for our families as well. BECAUSE THIS IS WHO WE ARE!
Every success we have achieved and every contribution we’ve made in this America, OUR America, is being overshadowed being by the current policies in place that have made us out to be the enemy.
We are the enemy when we’re condemned to the belief of being rapists and murders. We are the enemy because much like any minority, the actions of a few become representative of a whole. We have become the target of ICE raids because it has been determined that because we are brown, we are committing a crime just by being here. Because we are brown, we are to be feared. But indeed, they should be scared, because we are tired – tired of being ignored, tired of being stereotyped, tired of being marginalized and tired of being treated like second-class citizens. And today, you WILL hear us!
We are not illegal. The Declaration of Independence, the very document that is the foundation for this country determined that all men are created equal. And that includes us Latinos. We’re the fighters, we’re the persecuted, and we’re the survivors who have only wanted one thing – the opportunity for a better quality of life. THIS IS WHO WE ARE!
I am the child of a migrant farm worker. My mother spent the majority of her childhood working the fields from sun up to sun down. Although she did not graduate high school, my mother elevated herself from working for minimum wage cleaning offices at night to the successful career woman she is today – a self-taught, resilient woman.
As a child, my father worked the cotton fields. And throughout his entire adult life, has worked outdoor construction, laying the foundation for the highways and roads we use day in and day out. At the age of 62 he was diagnosed with cancer. At 63, he beat cancer. And at 64, he once again put on those work boots and headed back to work, waking up at 4am to go to a job that no one else wants to work. Why? Because all he wants to do is earn his living, respectfully, and in peace. Because THIS IS WHO WE ARE
I am the mother of two beautiful biracial young men – one of them is gay. And although many out there spew their hate against their race, their nationality, their sexual orientation – they stand strong and I stand with them because THIS IS WHO WE ARE
I have watched as Aleni, a young woman I met 8 years ago while she was in high school endure the struggle of wanting a higher education, wanting to become successful, all while fearing her undocumented status. A high academic achiever, decorated high school soccer player, homecoming queen – all that and she couldn’t qualify for scholarships or financial aid because of her status. Today, because of DACA, she works full time and pays for her college education herself with no assistance. In spite of it all, in spite of EVERY obstacle and set back she’s had to face, her determination has never faltered. THIS IS WHO WE ARE.
You often here from the opposition, those who hate, those who don’t care to understand, “why don’t you get your papers”? They know nothing of the struggle. They know nothing about someone like Aleni enduring a Twenty-year fight just to be a naturalized citizen.
When you see people who look like me in you in the fields, on the construction sites, in restaurants working to provide a better life despite a pitiful wage, we stand strong and proud. Because THIS IS WHO WE ARE. We are not rapists, we are not thieves. And we will NOT be used as talking points for political gain. We Are Providers. We Are Fighters. We Are Survivors.
And that, is who we are.
WE STAND STRONG. THIS IS WHO WE ARE. “
14th Annual Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair April 6-9
Epicureans to celebrate the region’s diverse food and drink culture
On April 6, Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair will officially kick off, celebrating the region’s diverse food and drink culture while telling the untold story of its epicurean traditions. The four-day festival is gearing up for its biggest year to date with award winning chefs, sommeliers and mixologists via dinners, events, learning experiences, the Grand Tasting and a two-day Sip & Stroll.
Tickets will go on sale for this unique event on January 20, 2017 via SugarLandWineandFood Affair.com.
Located in Fort Bend County, which is the most ethnically diverse county in America, the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair will focus on the untold stories of the region’s melting pot of African, Asian, Latino, European and Southwestern flavors that are drawing attention from food and drink lovers from around the country. By partnering with leading regional and national culinary talent, expanding the weekend’s educational programming and adding curated dinners and events, Sugar Land is poised to showcase why the region is gaining a reputation as the next global food mecca.
In 2017, Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair partnered with IWSC Group North America, a globally-recognized events company dedicated to delighting, inspiring and connecting people and brands through great experiences. “We are thrilled to have IWSC spearhead this year’s affair. The elevated level of talent, programming and consumer options will excite and delight guests. We look forward to Sugar Land providing the stage to tell the stories of our region and to welcoming food and drink lovers from around the country,” said Keri Schmidt, president of the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce.
Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair will include:
1) Dinners & Events – from unique seated dinner experiences to a meat-lovers lunch, these new dinners and events will educate, entertain and delight attendees:
Double, Double Boil and Bubble … seafood lovers delight! The seafood boil is a long-standing southern tradition that showcases the freshest local shellfish and ingredients while bringing together community. Most notable are the Cajun crawfish boils from Louisiana and the shrimp boils of the Low Country, but boil fever has taken over most coastal towns throughout the South. Join Chefs David Bancroft (AL), Bryan Caswell (TX), and Edward Lee (KY), as they put their own spin on the boil, including Bryan’s hit Texan BBQ blue crabs. No boil is complete without refreshing libations specially selected to tame the spice … so guests can “Keep Calm & Boil On!” But there’s more ya’ll! The evening will boil down with Texas’ own “Sugar Fairy,” Rebecca Masson, and her magical confectionaries. Adding to the sweetness, a portion of proceeds from this dinner will benefit the Southern Salt Foundation.
Prepare for your palate to be blitzed by bold and vigorous Italian wine served alongside equally exhilarating wines from the rest of the world in this ultimate oenophile’s match up. Guests will play judge as these wines (identities concealed) battle course by course on a culinary tour showcasing Italian regional specialties prepared by Chef Andrew Curren (TX). In true “dolce vita” fashion, we’ll dine alfresco in the Piazza (aka: Sugar Land Town Square). Hosted by Master Sommeliers, Craig Collins and Drew Hendricks, you are sure to leave feeling that “La Vita e Bella!”
Explore the art and science of curing and fermentation which began long before refrigeration to preserve food.. To this day, hunters, gatherers, chefs and cooks around the globe use salt, brine, smoke and mold in everything from salumi and charcuterie to kimchi, kraut, yogurt, cheese and pickles. Chefs Kevin Ouzts (GA) and Joseph Zerwas (TX) will educate and enchant you at a family-style lunch showcasing this age-old art! Author and Sommelier, Jason Tesauro (VA), will host and select the perfect beverage pairings.
2) Learning Experiences – Friday, April 7 | 3:00pm-4:15pm, Saturday, April 8 | 10:00am – 11:00am and 11:30am – 12:30pm
3) The Grand Tasting – Friday, April 7 | 7:30pm – 10:00pm
4) Sip & Stroll – Saturday, April 8 | 3:00pm – 6:00pm and Sunday, April 9 | 11:00am – 2:00pm
or tickets, the full lineup and more information, please visit SugarLandWineandFood Affair.com.