Category Archives: FOOD + TRAVEL

COOL OFF THIS SUMMER AT MOODY GARDENS PALM BEACH

Kick off summer with a splash, and keep cool, at Palm Beach. The private beach oasis, complete with white sand, opens daily June 3 and features a 650-foot lazy river, wave pool and two 18-foot tower slides.

Other attractions include beach volleyball on regulation courts and the Aquarium Adventure play area. The splashpad automated aquatic water feature offers interactive dump buckets, spray arches and fountains for a day of fun at the beach.

Palm Beach is open daily June 3-Aug. 20. As the summer season comes to an end, Palm Beach will be open weekends only Aug. 26-Sept. 9, including Labor Day. Admission is $23.95 for adults, $18.95 for children and seniors, or $65 for a season pass. Children age 3 and younger can enter Palm Beach free.

And, don’t miss out on Bands on the Sand, June 9 – Aug. 12. Enjoy this summer concert series Friday and Saturday nights from 6-10 p.m. Each concert features local and regional R&B, rock, country and blues bands. Admission is $15 and children age 3 and younger can enter free. Each show ends with a fireworks display over Offatts Bayou, overlooking the Moody Gardens pyramids.

 

And, don’t miss out on Bands on the Sand, June 9 – Aug. 12. Enjoy this summer concert series Friday and Saturday nights from 6-10 p.m. Each concert features local and regional R&B, rock, country and blues bands. Admission is $15 and children age 3 and younger can enter free. Each show ends with a fireworks display over Offatts Bayou, overlooking the Moody Gardens pyramids.

 

 

 

For more information about Palm Beach and Bands on the Sand, please visit moodygardens.org.

DAT DOG – CREATIVE SAUSAGE AND HOT DOG PURVEYOR TO OPEN IN HOUSTON

The New Orleans-based cult favorite will be first in Texas and first wave of franchisees.

dat dog

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.

FREE Cinco de Mayo Celebration at Killen’s Barbecue

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)

Panama City Beach: Check Out What’s New For 2017

Known for beautiful beaches and pleasant weather, Panama City Beach continues to add to its lineup of fantastic entertainment and accommodation options. In 2017, the destination will celebrate the opening of new hotels and accommodations and the addition of more fun-filled events.

“We are enjoying an uptick in investments in both business and fun,” shares Visit Panama City Beach President and CEO Dan Rowe. “We look forward to the continued growth here in Panama City Beach as family and friends visit from near and far to create new memories at the beach.”

Below is a list of new accommodations, attractions and events coming to Panama City Beach in 2017:

Accommodations

  • Opening under a new flag after a $30 million renovation, the Sheraton Bay Point Resort features luxurious accommodations, reinvented restaurants, and updated meeting spaces as well as favorites such as the on-site Serenity Spa and 36 holes of championship golf, including the only Nicklaus Design course in Northwest Florida.
    4114 Jan Cooley Dr.
    www.sheratonbaypoint.com
  • The newly constructed Gulf-front Hampton Inn & Suites with 182 rooms will open in Summer 2017 with the beach as its backyard, and situated within walking distance to the popular Pier Park shopping and lifestyle center.
    15505 Front Beach Rd.
    http://hamptoninnandsuitespanamacitybeach.com/#LNjRx7
  • The new 156-room Holiday Inn Express on Front Beach Road will open in Spring 2017, offering guests breathtaking views and direct access to the beautiful white sand beaches of Panama City Beach.
    12907 Front Beach Rd.
    https://www.ihg.com/holidayinnexpress/hotels/us/en/panama-city-beach/pfnfb/hoteldetail?cm_mmc=bingMaps-_-EX-_-USA-_-PFNFB

Attractions and Events

  • Host of the PGA Tour Qualifying School, Hombre Golf Club will complete a major renovation to its 27 championship holes – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – in early summer 2017.
    120 Coyote Pass
    http://hombregolfclub.com/
  • The Emerald Coast Boat & Lifestyle Show, taking place March 3-5, will feature boat displays from all major manufacturers and top dealers representing the latest in boats, high-tech engines, electronics and marine accessories. The show will also feature everything for the active, outdoor and beach lifestyle, such as fishing kayaks, Stand Up Paddleboards, outdoor kitchens, dive gear, active wear and more!
    600 Pier Park Dr.
    http://www.visitpanamacitybeach.com/event/emerald-coast-boat-%26-lifestyle-show/21131/
  • UNwineD, a Southern garden party presented by Visit Panama City Beach and Garden & Gun Magazine, will feature superb craft beer, spirits and wine from around the world, plus music and culinary creations by Northwest Florida’s leading chefs during the two-day event taking place March 24-25 at Aaron Bessant Park.
    600 Pier Park Dr.
    http://www.visitpanamacitybeach.com/event/unwined/20926/
  • Already named a top destination for sports, in 2017 Panama City Beach will welcomethe Ironman 70.3 Gulf Coast on May 13.The race begins with a 1.2-mile open water swim in the Gulf of Mexico, followed by a 56-mile bike ride through Bay County and Panama City Beach. The final leg of the race consists of a 13.1-mile run following the beach and looping through St. Andrews State Park.
    http://www.visitpanamacitybeach.com/event/ironman-70-3-gulf-coast/20997/

For more information on Panama City Beach, call 1-800-PCBEACH or visit the official website of the Panama City Beach CVB at http://www.visitpanamacitybeach.com/ .

Seven Mile Beach – Grand Cayman On A Budget With Comfort Suites

COMFORT SUITES GRAND CAYMAN ADDS DELICIOUS SPARKLE

One of the more popular hotels in the Cayman Islands has become even more endearing to guests since a recent upgrade to its common and breakfast areas.
General Manager of Comfort Suites Seven Mile Beach, Tom Mason, said the hotel recently renovated its lobby with the addition of a Marketplace offering sundry items as well as cold and hot food items, including delicious Caribbean roti.
The new kitchen area for preparing the Comfort brand’s signature complimentary hot breakfast and the sparkling new breakfast room were popular upgrades. The welcoming local breakfast team, he reported, has been increased to four full-time staff members who are “thrilled to help guests get a great start to their day in this new, modern and fresh environment.”

Adding to its allure, Mason said the hotel replaced disposable plates, cups and cutlery with china crockery, silver cutlery and glass plates to improve the guest experience and also to

increase the hotel’s environmentally friendly practices.

 

The new Marketplace area

“The new Marketplace in our renovated lobby has also drawn a lot of praise as have the new tile flooring and refresh of all ground floor hallways,” said Mason. “And trading out disposable items at breakfast not only helps protect the island’s delicate environment, it adds a warmer touch of home for travelers when they sit down to eat.”

Guests have more to look forward to, added Mason, as the hotel also premiered its new enclosed screened patio with ceiling fans.

Comfort Suites Seven Mile Beach is on track to end 2016 as one of the best years in its 15-year history.

The Choice Hotels International Caribbean portfolio currently includes hotels in Aruba, The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Guyana, Puerto Rico and St. Maarten. For further information, visit www.caymancomfort.com and www.choicecaribbean.com.

US Virgin Islands Offering Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale!

The US Virgin Islands Department of Tourism has announced a Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale, providing travelers with a value-added getaway to experience St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas in the new year.
Beginning on Friday, November 25 (Black Friday), through Monday, November 28 (Cyber Monday), travelers can save 25 percent off rates at participating hotels and receive $500 in VI Spending Credits that can be used for activities, dining and shopping throughout the destination. A minimum five-night stay is required to take advantage of this special offer.
“Toys and televisions are not the only gifts on holiday wish lists this year – travel experiences are in demand too,” said Beverly Nicholson-Doty, Commissioner of Tourism for the United States Virgin Islands. She explained that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest shopping days in the United States and “we want to offer travelers an opportunity to escape to the U.S. Virgin Islands for a value-added experience.”

 

With no passports required for U.S. Citizens, a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands is affordable and accessible, offering visitors the chance to enjoy great duty-free shopping, award-winning beaches, cultural activities and festivals.
Participating hotels include:
St. Croix
Caravelle Hotel & Casino
Club Comanche Hotel
Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort & Casino
Hotel on the Cay
Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa
Sand Castle on the Beach
Tamarind Reef Resort, Spa &  Marina
The Buccaneer Hotel
The Palms at Pelican Cove
St. John
Caneel Bay
Concordia Eco-Resort
Gallows Point Resort
St. Thomas
At Home In the Tropics
Bellavista Bed & Breakfast
Bolongo Bay Beach Resort
Emerald Beach Resort
Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort
Galleon House
Lindbergh Bay Hotel & Villas
Sugar Bay Resort & Spa
The Green Iguana Hotel
Virgin Islands Campground (Water Island)
Windward Passage Hotel
Airfare is not included in travel packages, and a five-night minimum stay is required to qualify for savings and spending credits. Certificates will be provided upon check in. Valid travel dates vary by property. Offer not valid on pre-existing reservations and cannot be combined with any other promotion. Other restrictions may apply.
 
For more information and to book the Black Friday/Cyber Monday offer, visit: www.visitusvi.com using booking code “BFCM16”.

Frenchy’s Chicken “President Special” Offers 45% off in Honor of the 45th Presidential Election

Hometown favorite, Frenchy’s Chicken is offering a mouthwatering special to celebrate the right to vote and bring the Houston community together.

On Tuesday, Nov. 8, only, the Creuzot family and franchise owners are renaming the “King Special” to the “President Special” in honor of Election Day. When customers ask for the “President Special,” which consists of three wings, two pieces dark, a small drink with dirty rice or fries, they will receive 45 percent off.

“The right to vote allows everyone to have a voice,” says Frenchy’s owner Percy “King” Creuzot, III. “We’re proud residents across the Houston area are using their voices in record numbers. This special is our way of saluting the city.”

In a show of pride for Houston on Election Day, all area customers who mention this promotion will receive a 45 percent discount when ordering from participating area restaurants on Nov. 8. After Tuesday, the special will no longer be offered.

According to the “Houston Chronicle” and the Harris County Clerk’s office, a late surge of new voters helped Harris County achieve record early turnout of more than 977,000 early and mail voters. New voters, people who did not vote here in recent presidential election years, made up 22 percent of Harris County’s total.

 

Veterans Day: Veterans Eat Free At Pluckers

Pluckers Wing Bar will be offering free meals for all veterans on Veterans Day, Friday, November 11.  Veterans can enjoy a complimentary entree, side, and a non-alcoholic beverage from Pluckers’ extensive menu when dining at the restaurant.
pluckers-food-1
Pluckers menu includes their trademark wings with more than 20 housemade sauces; appetizers like fried pickles and macaroni bites; great sandwiches and burgers like the Bypass Burger topped with bacon, cheddar, grilled onions, and jalapeños; signature salads; and epic sides like waffle friesmacaroni and cheese, and homemade potato chips.
For more information on Veterans Day at Pluckers, please visit www.pluckers.com or the Pluckers Wing Bar Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Pluckers.

Plan Your Holiday Getaway to the Beautiful Beaches of the US Virgin Islands [@USVITourism]

Houstonians don’t necessarily look for warmer weather during the holidays; after all, let’s all admit that we’re hoping our 90+ degree-days are over with. Also, while we are luck enough to live near the ocean, I think we can all honestly admit that we wish our beloved Galveston was a myriad of beautiful shades of blue, turquoise, aqua, and so on. Can you picture that clear blue water yet?

Thanks to direct flights from United Airlines to the beautiful U.S. Virgin Islands, days of daydreaming about sipping on a cocktail with toes in the sand, while gazing at amongst crystal clear water are over! With that being said, doesn’t ditching the chaos of the holidays and trading it, instead, for making some great memories with the family or even escaping it all for some beachside r&r sound like a great plan?

Yes, that means get on that laptop or smartphone and start planning your U.S. Virgin Islands getaway! Don’t worry, we have got the where to stay and what to do all planned out for you. And let’s not forget, No Passport Required!

Caneel Bay

Caneel Bay

Following up on our article from August, “US Virgin Islands: No Passport Required”, we suggested staying at the family friendly Bolongo Bay on the island of St. Thomas for those wanting the beautiful scenery and small hotel boutique feel without breaking the bank (we loved this place by the way). However, if you want luxury and have the means to splurge, then Caneel Bay Resort is definitely a must. Just a short scenic ferry ride from Red Hook (St. Thomas) will take you to the island of St John where the 166-room resort is located. Founded by Laurance Rockefeller, Caneel Bay’s tranquil setting which includes seven of the most beautiful pristine beaches offers its guest every possible amenity for relaxation and disconnect. If the resort is out of your budget, a day visit to the resort’s Honeymoon Beach is suggested.

Annaberg Plantation

Annaberg Plantation

With plenty of picturesque beaches, restaurants, bars, and unique boutique shopping, St. John should definitely be on your itinerary as a day trip if staying on one of the other of the U.S. Virgin Islands. For the historian type of traveler, a drive to the Annaberg Plantation while discovering many of the island’s beaches will paint a vivid picture about the labor and equipment used during the 18th century. (The views from the plantation are simply amazing!) Before heading off the island of St. Thomas, head over to Ocean 362 for a one-of-a-kind Caribbean dining experience. The chef-driven innovative menu offers the freshest ingredients combining local flavors with a modern twist.

Ocean 362

Ocean 362

Back on the island of St. Thomas, for those seeking the best views, take a skyride to Paradise Point. Experiencing a beautiful sunset while sipping on a Bushwacker (local drink) while 700ft above the town of Charlotte Amalie is definitely the perfect opportunity for a “selfie” moment. If heights are not your preference, perhaps an evening cocktail at the très chic Havana Blue restaurant will be a great way to wrap up your outing. From a glowing wall of water to the white linen illuminated by a soft blue radiating light and the soft whisper of beach waves, Havana Blue’s Latin Style is simply a grown and sexy feel. May we suggest the mango mojito?

Havana Blue

Havana Blue

Paradise Point

Paradise Point

To sum it up, the U.S. Virgin islands are simply stunning. Although, I do wish my words paint a vivid picture, when it comes to travel, words are just never enough. Direct flights, a plethera of lodging options, and plenty of sights to see (unless you are a complete beach bum like me) the beautiful islands are waiting for you to explore them. So, what are you waiting for?

For more information, visit www.vistiusvi.com

 

The US Virgin Islands, No Passport Required! [@USVITourism]

The connection between Texas & the US Virgin Islands is a bit deeper than you think. It’s not just Tim Duncan being the country’s biggest export to the state, its the vast amount of Texans that travel from the Lone Star state to the beautiful island. Over 30,000 Texans vacation in the US Virgin Islands every year and that number could be expected to grow over time. United Airlines officially has regularly scheduled flights to the island and Houston Style was part of the inaugural flight to one of the Virgin Islands’ most prominent locales: St. Thomas.

St. Thomas is part of a trio of islands that fly under the US Virgin Island umbrella. St. John & also St. Croix have been vacation hubs for couples, traveling singles and passionate travel enthusiasts for years. All of the proper ideas of a beach filter through the mind when thinking of St. John, St. Thomas & St. Croix: picturesque blue water, white, smooth beaches and the occasional mixed drink with a mini-umbrella thrown in to complete the dream. Since all three islands are technically US territory, visitors do not need passports in order to visit there. St. Thomas is the transportation hub of the Virgin Islands; the centerpiece of the V.I. system as one simply cannot leave the islands without gracing its soil. Visitors who maintain a longer stay on the isle may be drawn by the legendary shopping venues, the wide variety of water sports, activities, beaches and other accommodations.

The bustling port of Charlotte Amalie is the main town, while Red Hook sits on the eastern tip. The west end of the island is relatively wild; an open sprawl while hotels and resorts situated along the rim of the southern and eastern shores.

LODGING RECOMMENDATIONS

Style recommends lodging at Bolongo Bay. Located on the island of St. Thomas, Bolongo Bay Resort is the place to reside if you’re not looking to break the bank. With over twenty-five beachfront rooms and 39 ocean view rooms overlooking a secluded palm-lined beach, Bolongo Bay is truly a gem. In 2014, Thrillist ranked it amongst one of the 25 best beaches in America.

What the resort rooms lack in amenities and plushness, the friendly and attentive staff definitely makes up for it. The resort both contains room-only rates as well as an all-inclusive plan to fit your financial needs. Family owned, Bolongo Bay has an amazing history attached to it and detailing the lineage of its past is a story the staff and owners are more than happy to share with you over a drink. Specifically at the resort’s Iggies Beach Bar and Grill, one of the best in the entire Caribbean. Enjoying scenic, turquoise beach views, listening to cool vibes and enjoying your favorite drink while munching on conch fritters was indeed one of our favorite things to do.

The adventure seeker in us all has one thrill to exercise in Bolongo Bay. Want a challenge? Set sail on the resort’s 53’ catamaran Heavenly Days, voted “the best excursion of the year in St. Thomas’. From snorkeling to swimming with sea turtles or just a relaxing cocktail cruise, the Heavily Days is a Caribbean experience one simply cannot miss.

FOODIE RECOMMENDATIONS

Room With A View(www.roomwithaviewvi.com) is a hilltop restaurant serving American cuisine that is located on Bluebeard’s Castle. The restaurant boasts a beautiful view of the island and is considered to be the most romantic restaurant on the entire isle of St. Thomas. The 40-seat dining room is perfect for a special occasion with your sweetheart.

Try one of their specialty martinis – you won’t regret it.

Ocean 362 (ocean362.com) on the island of St. John contains fine eatery with a relaxing and serene environment. Providing a one of a kind Caribbean experience, Ocean 362 hangs its hat on modern “island to table” cuisine and celebrates the idea of eating local. Traditional Caribbean dishes are emphasized and are born strictly from ingredients that are fresh and local thanks to on-site chef Shaun Brian. Outfitted with a third story bar, customary cocktails and unforgettable views, Ocean 362 strives to get you an authentic VI experience.

photo

Gladys’ Bar and Restaurant(www.gladyscafe.com) located in Charlotte Amalie is the go to spot for authentic Caribbean cuisine. The conch fritters and callalo soup are a favorite of both the locals and returning tourists to the island. While trying the authentic island cuisine is highly recommended, trust us when we say to order the chips and guacamole as a starter. True, it’s a dish that most Texans could argue sounds best coming from home but what works with Gladys’ styling of chips & guac are something that couldn’t truly be described. Simply put, they have the best chips I’ve ever had.

What are you waiting for? Book your next beach destination and enjoy the beautiful beaches of the US Virgin Islands.

  • Make sure to visit the tourism board website at www.visitusvi.com for current promotions being offered.

Stay tuned in to Houston Style as we share more about where to stay, what to do, and where to eat on the beautiful islands of St Thomas and St John for your next holiday vacation!