Saturday Afternoon Tour & Tastings at No Label Brewery

Challenge Your Tastebuds with Some of Houston’s Most Popular Craft Beer

It’s a hot, steamy afternoon in Katy, TX – a suburb of Houston – but at No Label Brewery’s Saturday Tasting & Tour, no one seems to mind. There’s plenty of shade available, the cold beer is flowing and there are plenty of smiles to go around. $8 gets you an 8oz souvenir glass that can be filled four times. The beer line looks long but moves quickly as enthusiasts of the world’s third most consumed beverage get a taste of something new or a refill on one of their favorites. In the gift shop, one can purchase a pint glass that has special refill privileges also.

Cheers to The Little Glass That Could; my sample glass got a nice workout

Cheers to The Little Glass That Could; my sample glass got a nice workout on Saturday

The No Label staff was working hard Saturday as the beer line was going strong for the entire three hours of the tasting. Eleven different beers were on tap and I tried four of them. True brew afficianodos may prefer darker, bolder beers than me but I prefer something lighter and crisper. My favorite was Gilley’s Blonde followed closely by their Pale Horse, which is available year round according to their menu.

An acoustic duo was performing rock classics, a cigar vendor had a tent and two food trucks including Pho-jita Fusion were there serving their tasty selections.

The No Label Brewery Tour & Tasting takes place every Saturday from 12pm – 3pm. It’s dog-friendly and kid-friendly. Everyone must show their ID when purchasing their wrist band and glass. People are encouraged to bring their own chairs and some even bring tents. A good time is had by all.

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With 11 beers on tap and a nice crowd on hand, the No Label staff was working hard to keep the beer line moving

For more information, check out their website:http://nolabelbrew.com

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They Found Him ~ Jazz Artist Chris Mitchell

Solo in the Square or backed by his ensemble in a large concert hall, Chris Mitchell pleases music lovers

Its a warm evening outside Turquoise Grill & Bar in Sugar Land and the smooth tone of jazz artist Chris Mitchell’s saxophone fills the air. Members of the BAC Photography & Design Photography Club, hungry for a subject, converge on the musician and begin snapping away.

Its just another gig for Mitchell who’s played for crowds as small as 6 photographers and as large as thousands, performing the National Anthem at Minute Maid Park.

I'm your biggest fan, I'll follow you until you love me, Papa-Paparazzi. A photography club aims their focus on Chris Mitchell outside Turquoise Grill & Bar, Sugar Land

I’m your biggest fan, I’ll follow you until you love me, Papa-Paparazzi. A photography club aims their focus on Chris Mitchell outside Turquoise Grill & Bar, Sugar Land

Chris Mitchell performs as a solo artist and as the leader of a quintet. He has a DVD, “An Evening with Chris Mitchell Concert Film,” available on his website. He consistently pleases fans with a reportoire that includes jazz standards, big band tunes and R&B hits. Additionally, his set may include Latin jazz tracks, Turkish toe tappers and contemporary pop classics.

Chris Mitchell and his band will be performing a Memorial Day Weekend concert in the Cullen Theater at Wortham Center, downtown Houston, May 24, 2014 at 7:30pm.

You can download Chris Mitchell’s music on iTunes and find more about the popular saxophonist including performance dates and booking information at http://www.ChrisMitchellJazz.com . You can also follow him on Twitter: @ChrisMJazz 

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The Team at Charlie’s Burgers ~ Hospitality Heroes

Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.

This is a sentiment expressed by John Lennon as well as so many other poets, philosophers and artists. Charlie’s Burgers owner, Charles Mousa spent the better part of his life in the restaurant business before illness forced him to put his dreams on hold and take a job working for an employer that offered health coverage.

Now, after a successful kidney transplant, Charles is back pursuing his ambitions as a successful restaurant entrepreneur, opening Charlie’s Burgers at 11271 Richmond Ave #H109. With help and support from his wife, Rebecca, and son, George, Charles is on a mission to bring tasty offerings to customers in the Westchase District of Houston.

The Charlie's Burgers Team:   Rebecca, George, Monica, Barbara & Charles

The Charlie’s Burgers Team: George, Rebecca, Monica, Barbara & Charles

The team at Charlie’s Burgers serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday with a nice selection of grilled sandwiches, salads, tacos and much more. Of course, they specialize in burgers including standard beef patties, turkey burgers and buffalo burgers. They’re also careful not to use seasoning and other items that may bother those with nut or legume allergies.

Charlie's makes a mean chicken sandwich! Pictured is the Dr. J.G.'s Chicken Sandwich, named after Charles doctor.

Charlie’s makes a mean chicken sandwich! Pictured is the Dr. J.G.’s Chicken Sandwich, named after Charles’ doctor.

Hats off to the team at Charlie’s Burgers – all Hospitality Heroes!

You can follow Charlie’s Burgers on Twitter: @Charlie_Burgers 

Can I Get an Amen! Meet Kenneth: Hotel Manager, Minister

He Books Group Hotel Rooms During the Week & Shares God’s Word Nights and Weekends

Kenneth with Tea

Meet Kenneth. As a hotel sales manager, he’ll be happy to assist you if you’d like to book a group of 10 – 24 rooms at the Wyndham Houston West – Energy Corridor, located at Highway 6 and I-10. When he’s not at the hotel, you can find him tending his flock as the Minister at New Creation Body of Christ, located at 6818 Woodrow in Texas City.

And you thought you were busy.

Dedication is one facet of Kenneth’s character that must be called upon daily as he faces both the challenge of sales goals and the responsibility of leading a congregation – not to mention being the father of two young girls.

Kenneth’s love of God, Family and the Hospitality Industry will help guide him down life’s path as he shares joy, comforts parishioners and makes sure his hotel guests are well taken care of.

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We salute Kenneth, a true Hospitality Hero.

Discovering the 2011 A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir

‘We are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it, because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it because in the process we will catch excellence. We are not at all interested in just being good.”

Bold words greet visitors to the website for A to Z Wineworks in Newberg, Oregon.

I was waiting to meet my wife at one of our favorite dining spots, La Vista, in Houston. La Vista serves wine but is also well known for their casual, BYOB attitude. I decided to pop into Fountain View Liquors and Wine, located next door.

Their Wine Consultant, Bart Wallace, came out from behind the counter to greet me and help me find something suitable for tonight’s meal. I told him I was interested in a Pinot Noir but wanted to keep it under $20, if possible. He introduced me to a 2011 A to Z Pinot Noir, explaining that this wine is listed as #55 on Wine Spectators Top 100 Wines of 2013 and the inexpensive price (about $19) belies the excellent quality of the wine.

He was absolutely right. My wife and I enjoyed the wine very much – she with her Lasagna and me with my Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo (the food at La Vista is excellent, by the way.)

Of the 2011 A to Z Pinot Noir, Wine Spectator says, “This sleek red is tightly packed, with delicate layers of cherry, tobacco and cocoa flavors that mingle against refined tannins, persisting pleasantly on the light-stepping finish.” Sounds good, doesn’t it?

I’ll make a point of getting another bottle soon and I’m also really looking forward to picking Bart Wallace’s brain about some more wine. He’s at Fountain View Liquor & Wine Thursdays through Sundays. He also hosts wine tastings at a local HEB.

Discover more about A to Z Wineworks at http://www.atozwineworks.com .

Fountain View Liquor & Wines is located at 1932 Fountain View Dr., Houston, TX 77057. Their phone number is 713-782-6770. Give them a call and ask for Bart.

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Russo’s New York Pizzeria in Greatwood – Check Out Their Special Events

The Houston area has so many fantastic dining options but sometimes you just need a place where you can stay close to home, chat with friends and have a good meal in a casual, friendly setting. One Sugar Land neighborhood restaurant that fits the bill is Russo’s New York Pizzeria in Greatwood.

Russo’s New York Pizzeria is a chain of restaurants, many with individual owners. At this location, local owner Ben Knapp often partners with beverage suppliers to offer special evenings of food and drink. The restaurant has hosted events such as the Karbach Holiday Beer Dinner, the Meet the Man Behind Antonutti Wines Dinner, the Piccini Wine Dinner and the Fort Bend Brewing Co. Beer Dinner.

You can keep up to date by following Russo’s New York Pizzeria on Facebook or by signing up for their email list. Call them at 281-545-8100 for details.

The Restaurant is located in the master planned community of Greatwood. Their address is 6560 Greatwood Parkway, Suite 900, Sugar Land, TX 77479. 

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Gallery: My Food Park HTX Black Saturday Block Party

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  • Saturday, November 30 was Small Business Saturday, encouraging consumers to spend their holiday dollars at “Mom & Pop” establishments after the hustle and bustle of “Black Friday.”

    My Food Park HTX hosted an assortment of food trucks and small retailers – set up in small booths and tents for their own Black Saturday Block Party.

    The park was busy and everyone had a good time as they ate, shopped and enjoyed the beautiful weather. I only had a few minutes to stop by and snap some photos as I had to get back to my wife and the other holiday activities we had planned.

    Here’s a litte bit of what My Food Park HTX’s Black Saturday Block Party had to offer. The park is located on Highway 6, by Memorial Drive in the Energy Corridor.

    Food Trucks & Retailers were on hand for Small Business Saturday's Block Party at My Food Park HTX

    Food Trucks & Retailers were on hand for Small Business Saturday’s Block Party at My Food Park HTX

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    There was a bouncy house for kids and Koagie Hots was servin’ up plenty of food!

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    FlipnPatties had food & karaoke in Da House!

    Plenty of Food Truck Options for everyone

    Plenty of Food Truck Options for everyone

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    People were eatin’, shoppin’ and chillin’ – just enjoying the beautiful weather

    Skratch Food Truck

    Skratch Food Truck

    The Kona Ice Truck

    The Kona Ice Truck

    The Hungry Lumberjack

    The Hungry Lumberjack

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    People lining up for treats from Zeapod Cakery

    People lining up for treats from Zeapod Cakery

    Kona Ice

    Kona Ice

    Aaaa & Bernie's Burger Bus were there

    Angie’s Cake & Bernie’s Burger Bus were there

    There was a lot going on at My Food Park HTX

    There was a lot going on at My Food Park HTX for their Black Saturday Block Party

    For more information on My Food Park HTX, check out their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter @MyFoodParkHTX .

    Photos Copywrite 2013 by Gary Riis

3 Things You Should Know about My Food Park HTX

A Spot to Find New and Delicious Dining Alternatives in Houston’s Energy Corridor

There’s been a lot of buzz about Food Trucks lately. This year, several food truck parks popped up in the Houston area, giving diners easy access to a variety of culinary options.

One of the newest food truck parks, My Food Park HTX, is on my way home so I stopped by last night. The park is on a 3 1/2 acre lot in the Energy Corridor. It was about 7:30pm, already dark and there was just the hint of a chill in the air.

My Food Park HTX Sign 111913

Liz Hale, the owner of the Zeapod Cakery food truck, came out to say hello. It turns out, she also runs the park. I had a nice chat with Liz and I learned a few things about My Food Park HTX.

Located at Highway 6 and Memorial Drive, it has super easy access to I-10

Its just south of the light at Memorial Drive at 800 Highway 6 South, located across the street from a small strip center with Starbucks and The Kolache Factory. Be prepared to go through the stop light and turn right after the Conoco station and an office building when traveling south. If you miss the first entrance, there’s another one right after that.

If you’re coming from I-10 on your way home from work, it’ll probably take you 5 minutes out of your way. That’s not bad at all.

The weather this time of year is perfect for enjoying a gourmet food truck meal

My Food Park HTX has outdoor seating – a luxury at most food truck parks. We’ve reached the time of year when the heat and humidity ease up a little bit so one can actually breathe outside. A little chill in the air can really make you appreciate some hot, gourmet food also. The Holidays are also a great time to pick up some confectionary treats from Zeapod Cakery – which is there almost all the time – to bring home and enjoy with your favorite hot beverage.

Zeapod Cakery makes cakes and confections for big events, too. Liz told me about some heavy hitting corporate functions she was preparing for. You might want to ask Liz if Zeapod Cakery can make something special for your event too.

I couldn't resist bringing home some chocolate chip cookies from Zeapod Cakery and enjoying them with a little egg nog

I couldn’t resist bringing home some chocolate chip cookies from Zeapod Cakery and enjoying them with a little egg nog

The atmosphere is friendly and casual

I had only been out of my car a minute when Liz sprang out of her truck to welcome me to the park. I got the feeling people and food are Liz’s passions and she’s always ready to make new friends.

As mentioned above, they actually have seating so you can enjoy your food there if you don’t want to take it home. They have small plastic chairs too – for the young ‘uns. Obviously, its family friendly. I wonder if anyone brings their pets there? I’ll bet if you’d like to take Fido out with you, they wouldn’t mind as long as he behaved himself. You might want to check with them first though.

The park isn’t paved, its mostly gravel and dirt so don’t wear your high heels. Its better to simply kick ’em off and relax.

The ambience at night is kind of a Christmas Tree stand chic – but that’s not a bad thing. Its just simple, casual and friendly. I’m sure having a little nip in the air didn’t hurt the impression I was getting either.

How many food truck parks have seating? My Food Park HTX does!

How many food truck parks have seating? My Food Park HTX does!

Liz said they stay pretty busy at lunch time and I can’t wait to bring some co-workers back for a bite. They’re still a little slow in the evening – I’m sure getting dark earlier hasn’t helped – but once word really gets out, I’ll bet it picks up.

My Food Park HTX also has occasional entertainment. This past Monday was Karaoke night and this Sunday, they’ll have a live band for their big Food Truck Fundraiser for the Victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

You can follow My Food Park HTX on Twitter at @MyfoodparkHTX and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Food-Park-HTX/1402504259967713 > Their website is www.MYfoodparkHTX.com .

Appetizers at Babaloo International Cafe & Bar, Katy, TX

Babaloo, in Villagio Town Center was a happy discovery during the Wild West Katy BrewFest

Babaloo, in Villagio Town Center, was a happy discovery during the Wild West BrewFest

Diana checks out the Menu at Babaloo.

It was a beautiful day for the BrewFest and to try something new at Babaloo.

Marinated Beef Sliders that melt in your mouth and tasty Bacon Wrapped Scallops.

Marinated Beef Sliders that melt in your mouth and tasty Bacon Wrapped Scallops.

Delicious Mini Beef Wellington

Delicious Mini Beef Wellington

My wife and I made a happy culinary discovery at the first annual Katy Wild West BrewFest (http://www.katybrewfest.com/ .) We were hungry and the crowd was growing. Sitting down at one of the few open restaurants to grab a bite sounded like a good idea.

Enter Babaloo. We ordered some appetizers to sample and found ourselves loving every bite! We’ll definitely be back soon with friends to continue our journey through the rest of the menu.

Babaloo is located in Villagio Town Center in Katy, TX. You can find out more about Babaloo on their website: http://www.babaloocafe.net/