Hotel Galvez Annual Wedding Vow Renewal

May 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Events

Saturday, June 10, 2017

2024 Seawall, Galveston, TX
Couples are invited to renew their vows at the only historic beachfront hotel on the Texas Gulf Coast. Since its Centennial Anniversary in 2011, Hotel Galvez & Spa has hosted an Annual Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony for couples. The mass vow renewal is scheduled in June to coincide with the hotel’s 106th anniversary and to celebrate the most popular month for weddings. Couples renew their vows as part of ceremony held on hotel grounds and officiated by a Galveston Justice of the Peace. Following the ceremony, couples are invited to a reception hosted by the hotel. Participating couples have the option to book a romantic weekend getaway or simply participate in the courtesy ceremony. Advance reservations are required. The package is available to book online at www.HotelGalvez.com (see special offers) or call (409) 765-7721.

Suite Summer Escape Package: Honua Kai Resort & Spa

There’s no sweeter time than summer to escape to the poi-fect Maui destination,Honua Kai Resort & Spa!  Invite your readers to give their summer a suite Hawaiian punch, with the resort’s new Suite Summer Escape Package.Including huge savings on the resort’s spacious suites, daily breakfast at Duke’s Beach House, a rental car for island exploration and more, the package makes planning a family vacation to Maui a breeze!

 

Honua Kai Resort & Spa’s idyllic beachfront location gives travelers easy access to the best island activities. Enter a state of indentured surfitude with family surf lessons, explore the island’s natural wonders during an afternoon of snorkeling or zip-lining, or simply bask in the sun on beautiful-Kaanapali Beach.

Are you working on any summer travel stories where this Suite Summer Escape Package would be a fit? I have outlined full package details below and look forward to hearing from you.

Suite Summer Escape at Honua Kai Resort & Spa

  • Complimentary Breakfast for two at Duke’s Beach House – Studio & One Bedroom Suites OR …
  • … Complimentary Breakfast for four at Duke’s Beach House – Two & Three Bedroom Suites
  • A Full Size Car Rental
  • A $20 MCS Activity Credit
  • Complimentary Professional Family Photoshoot with Forever Maui & A 8×10 keepsake photo

Booking Window: April 05, 2017 – June 30, 2017

Stay Dates: June 07, 2017 – August 20, 2017

Rates start at $453.00 per night for a one-bedroom suite.

Restrictions: promotion is applicable to new bookings only. Studio Resort View Suites do not apply

To book this package, call 855-674-1522. Visit HonuaKai.com for more information.

About Honua Kai Resort & Spa

Honua Kai offers a uniquely contemporary Maui experience. Nestled on 38 oceanfront acres of Kaanapali’s pristine North Beach, the resort is designed as two U-shaped buildings with ocean and mountain views, lush landscaping and expansive open spaces. This openness is mirrored in each of the 628 guest suites (one-, two-, and three-bedroom) with the largest lanais on Maui, professionally equipped kitchens, spacious and homelike floor plans, and luxury resort services. An imaginative aqua network of pools, hot tubs, natural pond bridges, waterslide, waterfalls and fountains allows for privacy and play. Dining options include Duke’s Beach House and ‘Aina Gourmet Market. Find out more at http://www.honuakai.com/.

 

Escape to Riviera Maya

May 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Events

‘Escape to Riviera Maya’ event attendees will enjoy a happy hour complete with expertly curated wine from Jackson Family Wines, gourmet bites reflective of what will be served at the resort during the Lone Star Food, Art & Music Festival, and meet and greets with Executive Chefs as well as Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ personalities.  The schedule of Houston events is as follows:

May 16, 6-8pm: Chef Hugo Ortega at Caracol Restaurant

May 17, 6-8pm: Chef Austin Simmons at Bubbell and Hudson Bistro

June 27, 6-8pm: Chef Hugo Ortega at Hugo’s Restaurant

Robert Levinthal, MD, DABNS, FACS

Spine Surgery

As one of Houston’s foremost neurosurgeons, Dr. Levinthal believes in the importance of honest and transparent communication to obtain optimal results. Dr. Levinthal has extensive experience, and evaluates new and exciting treatment options to select the best and safest course for each patient. He strongly encourages efforts at nonsurgical treatments, but if necessary, will help the patient choose the most appropriate surgical procedure. Dr. Levinthal is a fellow of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and American College of Surgeons. He is a native Houstonian who has been married for 48 years, and has four children and seven grandchildren.

 

 

 

 

Robert Levinthal, MD, DABNS, FACS
Houston Neuro and Spine Surgery Center
1200 Binz St., Ste. 970B
Houston, TX 77004
713-533-0100
robertlevinthal@gmail.com

The Allergy Clinic

The Allergy Clinic
Alnoor Malick MD, David Engler MD & Sunil Saraf MD

Allergy-Clinic-WebDust mite allergies, mold allergies, cat and dog allergies, pollen allergies. There is no end to the number of things that can cause allergies, making you sneeze, wheeze, cough and feel miserable. Relief comes in the form of Houston’s Top Docs at The Allergy Clinic.

Dr. David B. Engler, Dr. Alnoor A. Malick and Dr. Sunil K. Saraf are the medical minds behind The Allergy Clinic. They specialize in the treatment of allergies, asthma and immunology. Each is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. While many allergists remain stagnant in their approach, using treatments that date back 20 to 30 years, The Allergy Clinic employs the latest advances in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies and asthma.

“We perform RUSH immunotherapy which allows patients to get the first 6 months of allergy shots all in one day. This provides relief much faster,” says Dr. Engler.

The Allergy Clinic has four locations, including the Texas Medical Center, Pasadena, Pearland and the Museum District.

“We often hear ‘these shots have changed my life.’ There is enormous variability in how allergy shots are formulated and dosed,” Dr. Engler says.

“We base our recipes on the latest published guidelines and balance that with the common sense that comes from years of experience. No one ‘nose’ allergies like we do.™”


Watch the Video!

THE ALLERGY CLINIC
MALICK MD, ENGLER MD, SARAF MD

7707 Fannin, Ste. 100
Houston, TX 77054
281-991-6750
www.AllergyClinic.com

HOUSTON ALLERGY & ASTHMA CLINIC
MALICK MD, ENGLER MD, SARAF MD

1200 Binz Ste. 180
Houston, TX 77004
713-522-9911
www.HoustonAllergyClinic.com

Haresh Yalamanchili, MD

Haresh Yalamanchili, M.D.

 

With so many options for facial enhancement, it can seem overwhelming just picking which procedure is right for you, let alone which doctor. Double board certified in Facial Plastic Surgery and Head and Neck Surgery, Dr. Yalamanchili is one of a select few cosmetic surgeons who has chosen to focus solely on treating the face and neck. With a critical eye for detail, Dr. Yalamanchili strives to educate his patients about the numerous options available today. He strongly believes that by understanding his patients goals and motivations he will be able to guide them toward their best treatment option.

“When you make an emotional and financial investment in cosmetic enhancement, you’re putting your faith in the surgeon and his team,” says Dr. Yalamanchili. “At the Belage Center, our philosophy is to provide natural-looking results while ensuring the safety and well-being of our patients.”

At the Belage Center, Dr. Yalamanchili offers a full spectrum of cutting edge surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures and treatments to enhance the natural beauty of the face. In addition to specializing in nasal reshaping, Dr. Yalamanchili has extensive experience in advanced facial rejuvenation techniques. A member of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, Dr. Yalamanchili also offers the latest techniques in medical hair restoration and hair transplant surgery.

“Here at the Belage Center, our mission is to be able to provide comprehensive care to all cosmetic issues regarding your face, neck, skin and hair. We are dedicated to helping you look your very best,” says Dr. Yalamanchili.


Watch the video!

Haresh Yalamanchili, MD
Belage Center for Facial Plastic Surgery
7700 San Felipe, Ste. 280
Houston, TX 77063
www.belagecenter.com
713-978-7878

Monarch Beach Resort

May 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

Monarch Beach Resort’s spectacular golf views

California Dreaming

Monarch Beach Resort offers luxurious surroundings and stunning views

Photography and story by Laurette Veres

Nestled along the coast of Dana Point, California is the Monarch Beach Resort. A quick flight from John Wayne airport, where lines are short and luggage arrives seamlessly, the Monarch is a perfect wedding or honeymoon destination. The property prides itself on its rich history of celebrity weddings, special events, and golf trips. Fans of reality TV might recognize the Monarch as the site of Jade Roper and Tanner Tolbert’s wedding on “The Bachelor.”

All 400 guest rooms and suites were recently updated. Each room features sea grass textured wallpaper, luxurious chaise lounges, flexible headboard reading lamps, ocean-inspired artwork, and marble top armoires to complement the full marble baths.

 

Every room and suite includes a balcony, each adorned with modern patio furniture. All of the first-floor balconies also have built-in fire pits so you can spend cozy nights enjoying the panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean. Nestled hillside, you’ll love the coastal paths leading to seaside bluffs as well as the private beach.

We started our trip with the scenic walk to the Monarch Bay Club. (If you don’t want to walk, a quick jitney will take you to the ocean). Impressive California, Pacific Rim style food is served with casual elegance at Monarch Bay Club’s one-of-a-kind oceanfront restaurant. Here we had tasty flat bread and wine before our Stand Up Paddle Board class. Following that, we hurry back to make our spa appointments.

An exclusive spa partnership with Miraval Group focuses on a “Life in Balance” philosophy with their innovative programs and activities. New treatments at the spa are inspired by the coastal location, holistic movement and mediation programing. The program also gives you access to nutrition specialists, healthful culinary workshops, and an expert speaker series as well as a lap pool. Get ready for dinner with a “blow out” at DryBar.

Speaking of dinner, the many options on property will satisfy even the pickiest eater. Stonehill Tavern at Monarch Beach Resort is Michael Mina’s acclaimed restaurant concept— offering tavern fare in an elegant and sophisticated setting. AVEO Table + Bar features a Mediterranean concept showcasing the seasonal bounty of the Californian coastline.

Designed by the renowned Robert Trent Jones, Jr., the Monarch Beach Golf Links is an award-winning, championship 18-hole golf course. Modeled in the traditional Scottish links style, and set along the peerless backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, this challenging 6,600-yard course features rolling greens and tight fairways to entice all golfers. This is also a great location for an Ocean view wedding.

End your weekend on a high note at AVEO Table + Bar’s Sunday brunch. The view of the pools and ocean alone make this a must-attend event— but be sure to request outside seating. The food choices go on and on. Start with vegetarian eggplant or asparagus and Brie soup. Or, for the carnivores, lamb lollipops, flat bread, omelets, eggs benedict, sausage and seafood stew. Huge displays of salmon, shrimp, crab and ceviche satisfy seafood lovers. And for dessert, try white chocolate dipped strawberries, praline encrusted marshmallow, and macaroons at Tres Leches.

Whether it’s for a destination wedding or honeymoon, Monarch Beach Resort is the ideal romantic location.

 

Monarchbeachresort.com

3rd Annual “All-Star Bowling Benefit” June 11th

April 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Events

Houston Astros’ George Springer to Host
3rd Annual “All-Star Bowling Benefit”
for Camp SAY – the Summer Camp for Young People Who Stutter
Sunday, June 11, 2017
The 3rd Annual George Springer All-Star Bowling Benefit will be held Sunday, June 11, 2017 from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at Lucky Strike Houston, located at 1201 San Jacinto St., Houston 77002.

This Bowling Benefit is being hosted by George Springer, a Houston Astros outfielder and Sports Illustrated cover athlete, and is a fundraiser to send young people who stutter to Camp SAY. The Stuttering Association for the Young (SAY) invites guests to attend the benefit alongside Honorary Chair Dr. Carolyn Farb. Co-chairs Lara Bell and Melissa DeAyala along with Junior Chair Matthew DeAyala will welcome guests to an inspiring and memorable evening of bowling with celebrities.

The George Springer All-Star Bowling Benefit is a fundraiser for The George Springer Kids Fund, which was established to offer financial aid to young people of all socio-economic backgrounds, helping them attend Camp SAY.

Springer is the national spokesperson for Camp SAY, a 2-week, ACA-accredited summer camp for kids & teens who stutter, ages 8-18. Camp SAY blends a traditional summer camp experience, with programs and activities that empower young people who stutter. This camp also helps campers build confidence, communication skills and friendships to last a lifetime. Camp SAY is a program of SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that offers comprehensive and innovative programs that address the physical, social and emotional impacts of stuttering.

This Bowling Benefit will begin with a cocktail reception, followed by bowling fun with fellow Astros and celebrity lane captains, with an open bar and dinner. The event will also feature sport themed items, experiences, and memorabilia in a silent auction. All event and auction proceeds will send children and teens to Camp SAY.

WHEN:
Sunday, June 11, 2017
7:30 – 10 p.m.

WHERE:
Lucky Strike Houston
1201 San Jacinto St.
Houston, TX  77002

PRICE:
Benefit Tickets: $200 – $500
Sponsorship levels: $1,000 – $25,000
Program ads: $500 – $2,500

To purchase a sponsorship, tickets, or program ad, please contact Noah Cornman at 212-414-9696, ext. 201 or at Noah@SAY.org. Tickets and sponsorships may also be purchased online at SAY.org/Springer.

About George Springer
George Springer is a celebrated Houston Astros rookie outfielder, recent Sports Illustrated cover athlete, and a person who stutters. Springer was selected by the Houston Astros out of the University of Connecticut in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft. As the 11th overall selection, Springer became the highest selection in the MLB Draft in Connecticut baseball history. Springer played his first MLB game in April 2014. In 2013, Springer joined the 30-30 club, recording more than 30 home runs and stolen bases. Springer was also named MVP in the Texas League All-Star Game, the Texas League Player of the Year, a Baseball America Minor League All-Star, an MLB.com Organization All-Star, and was a finalist for USA Today’s Minor League Player of the Year Award. Springer was raised in New Britain, CT. Learn more at houston.astros.mlb.com.

About SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young
The Stuttering Association for the Young is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that believes every voice matters, and offers: Camp SAY, a summer camp for young people who stutter, Confident Voices after-school & weekend programs, and Speech Therapy. Young people from all socioeconomic backgrounds have access to SAY programs, and this year alone, more than $400,000 in financial aid is being awarded to families in need. www.SAY.org

About Camp SAY
Camp SAY is an American Camp Association (ACA)-accredited summer camp where everything seems possible for a young person who stutters, and where they develop the skills they need to communicate more effectively, build self-confidence and forge friendships. This sleep-away camp welcomes children and teens that stutter, ages 8-18, and their young family members and friends who want to share an incredible camp experience together. Young people from across the country, and beyond, attend Camp SAY year-after-year. www.CampSAY.org

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Dining Out 4 Life: April 27, 2017

March 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Dining

For one day in April – Thursday, April 27, 2017 – Houston-area restaurants are donating a percentage of sales to AIDS Foundation Houston (AFH)through their participation in the annual nationwide event, Dining Out for Life. Gillman Subaru is the presenting sponsor for this year’s event, which is hosted by chairs Michael Pearce, Jessica Rossman and Travis Torrence. Guests can support AIDS Foundation Houston by enjoying breakfast, lunch or dinner throughout the day at one of more than 40 participating restaurants (and counting). A portion of the proceeds support AFH’s programs and services that help thousands of Houstonians living with HIV/AIDS and reduce the number of new HIV infections.“Every year we’re humbled by the outpouring of support that we receive from chefs, restaurants and diners in our community,” said Kelly Young, Chief Executive Officer of AIDS Foundation Houston. “We’re working to end HIV/AIDS, and Dining Out for Life helps raise funds and awareness that push us closer to our goal.”In 1991, an ActionAIDS volunteer in Philadelphia created Dining Out for Life. Now the event is produced in 60 cities throughout the United States and Canada, with more than 3,000 restaurants donating a portion of their proceeds from their designated day of dining. AIDS Foundation Houston has participated in the event since the inaugural year, raising thousands of dollars in support thanks to a mandate that ensures funds raised locally stay local. The 2017 participating restaurants offer something for everyone.

 

As of March 27, 2017, participating restaurants include:

America’s – River Oaks (2040 West Gray)

B&B Butchers & Restaurant

Barnaby’s Cafe – Downtown (801 Congress) Barnaby’s Cafe – Heights (2802 White Oak) Barnaby’s Cafe – River Oaks (1701 S. Shepherd)  Barnaby’s Cafe – Memorial (5750 Woodway) Barnaby’s Cafe – Midtown (414 West Gray) Barnaby’s Cafe – Museum District (1801 Binz) The Original Barnaby’s (604 Fairview) Baby Barnaby’s

Beck’s Prime – Memorial Park  Beck’s Prime – the Heights

Bollo Woodfired Pizza Canopy

Charivari Restaurant

El Real El Tiempo – Montrose (1308 Montrose) El Tiempo – Westheimer (322 Westheimer) El Tiempo – Navigation (2814 Navigation)

EQ Heights

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse – River Oaks (2405 W Alabama)

Ginger & Fork

Harold’s Restaurant

Bar & Terrace Krisp Bird & Batter L

aurenzo’s Bar & Grill Laurenzo’s Restaurant

Le Colonial Houston

Lucille’s

Niko Niko’s – Montrose (2520 Montrose) Niko Niko’s – Memorial (1040 W Sam Houston Parkway)

Pi Pizza

Rainbow Lodge

Reef

Shade

Songkran Thai Kitchen

Starfish

State Fare

Tacos A Go Go – Oak Forest (3401 W TC Jester) Tacos A Go Go – Midtown (3704 Main) Tacos A Go Go – Heights (2912 White Oak)

The Raven Grill

Tony Mandola’s

For more information and the current restaurant list, visit www.AIDSHelp.org.

Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair

March 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Dining, Events

Located in Fort Bend County, which is the most ethnically diverse county in America, the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair focuses 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.
Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair includes:

1) Dinners & Events – from unique seated dinner experiences to a meat-lovers lunch, these new dinners and events will educate, entertain and delight attendees:
·         The Boiling Point – Thursday, April 6 | 7:30pm

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.
·         The Italian Invasion: Italy and the Rest of the World – Thursday, April 6 | 7:30pm

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!”
·         Cured & Fermented Lunch at Bacon Bros. Public House – Friday, April 7 | 12:00pm – 2:00pm

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
·         Experience entertaining and delectable tastings of cocktails, wines as well as food and beverage pairings, all led by award-winning chefs, mixologists, distillers and sommeliers.

4) The Grand Tasting – Friday, April 7 | 7:30pm – 10:00pm
·         Delight in mouthwatering creations from top culinary superstars from both near and far, perfectly paired with the most delightful libations. Beverage-focused, the offerings will showcase Roses, Killer B’s (Boudreaux, Burgundy, Brunello, etc.), Bubbles and Crafts (spirits and beers). Held in the elegant ballroom of the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square, this exquisite tasting is a night not to be missed. Meanwhile, The Grand Auction, benefiting the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management, will offer guests the chance to bid on exclusive items as they indulge.
3) Sip & Stroll – Saturday, April 8 | 3:00pm – 6:00pm and Sunday, April 9 | 11:00am – 2:00pm

·         Eat, drink, savor and stroll at this all-you-can-indulge experience, the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair’s popular Sip & Stroll is back again with an expanded schedule and a deliciously curated experience. Eat, drink and enjoy fantastic bites from the area’s best restaurants, carefully crafted cocktails and a great selection of wines. Ale aficionados won’t want to miss the exciting beer garden. Cheers to that!

Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair was founded and produced in 2003 by the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce and benefits the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. For tickets, the full lineup and more information, please visit SugarLandWineandFood Affair.com.

Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team (WWAFT) vs. NFL Alumni

February 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Events

Ryder System, Inc. was a title sponsor of Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team (WWAFT) vs. NFL Alumni at Delmar Stadium in Houston, Tex. WWAFT–composed of service members who have served and are now using a prosthetic devices to engage in everyday activities–beat the NFL Alumni of Houston 42-14.
Over the past five years, Ryder has hired more than 4,800 veterans. Veterans possess special skills and proven leadership capabilities that translate well into the Company’s business–from roles as maintenance technicians, to professional drivers, and logistics engineers. To find out how you can match your veteran skills with open positions at Ryder, visit ryder.com/military.

Humana was also a title sponsor of the game. In fact, this is the tenth Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team game that Humana has sponsored, the fifth during a Super Bowl.

The star-studded event, held just days before Super Bowl LI, featured notable attendees including NFL Alumni Michael Vick, Kailee Wong, Rocky Bleier, Steve McKinney, Bob Golic, and Nate Boyer; five-time Olympic medalist Simone Biles; and 1984 Olympic champion Mary Lou Retton.

Aramark’s Super Bowl LI Menu

February 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Dining, Events

Celebrating the taste of Houston, the culinary team from Aramark unveiled some of the food available during Super Bowl Week.

 

To celebrate the many flavors the great state of Texas has to offer and Houston’s thriving culinary scene, Aramark offers a plentiful menu.

 

Students from the culinary program at Westside High School unveiled their specialty item: The Bayou City Banh Mi 51.

 

 

 

 

 

The ATL Fried Chicken Stak — Crisp waffles fries, topped with Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Peach Marmalade BBQ Sauce, Sour Cream and Green Onions.

Beantown Griller — slow cooked Tri Pot Roast, Sweet Carmelized Onions, Cabot Cheddar Cheese on Whole Grain Bread. Served with a side of Bacon Infused Baked Beans.

Destination Bucket List: Machu Picchu

January 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

By Laurette Veres

“It’s really hard to get to, and when you get there the altitude will get you.” Mom

The incredible view from Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, a 15th-century Incan citadel, is the best-known archaeological site in South America. This bucket list destination was built around 1450 AD and abandoned a century later when Spanish conquistadors invaded the region. The Spaniards marched inland from the Pacific destroying most significant Incan settlements, but never discovered Machu Picchu. Hidden nearly 8000 feet up in the Andes, it was unknown to the outside world until American historian and explorer Hiram Bingham set out to confirm a myth about the lost city of the Incas in 1911.

 

Getting here is a planes, trains and automobiles adventure. LATAM Airlines out of JFK to Peru, change planes and fly to Lima then Cusco. LATAM’s premium business experience makes the plane trip bearable: seats recline into beds, gourmet meals are created by renowned chefs and wines selected by an award winning sommelier. In Cusco we hop into one of Viajes Pacifico’s automobiles and transfer to the Ollantaytambo train station, and ride PeruRail’s Vistadome train, with 90% panoramic views so we can appreciate the beauty, to Aguas Calientes.

 

As we roll out of Ollantaytambo the famous Inca Trail is nearby and we see backpackers crossing the scenic Urubamba River, embarking upon a four-day athletic adventure. Our adventure is different, we step off PeruRail’s Vistadome in Aguas Calientes and hike four short minutes to the town’s only five star resort: Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel.

 

My introduction to the Incan culture is magical and mystical thanks to the Peruvian and Andean cultural immersion at the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel, spectacularly located on the banks of the Vilcanota River in Aguas Calientes. I left my Houston home nearly twenty-four hours ago, but I’m not tired, I’m invigorated. The luxury 62-room property has recently renovated guest rooms and public spaces featuring historic Peruvian and Andean themes and symbols while featuring world-class modern amenities. The best amenity is Sumaq’s location. Most people visit Machu Picchu from Cusco and spend a big part of their day in transit. The bus ride up to Machu Picchu from Sumaq is less than 20 minutes and you can spend your day taking in the historic sights.

 

Food is a big part of our adventure. We learn to prepare Peruvian Ceviche and Peru’s flagship cocktail, the Pisco Sour at a cooking demonstration before heading to Qunuq for a six-course degustation tasting meal. Qunuq creates innovative dishes with ancient Peruvian culinary traditions and exciting flavors. Salmon trout cubes, lamb shank and avocado risotto are menu standouts.

 

Finally, Machu Picchu. Early morning hikers head up Hiram Bingham Highway. We bought tickets days ago and were lucky to get some of the limited seats on the bus. We stand in line in the center of town on Av. Hermanos.

 

Machu Picchu is considered the heart of the Incan culture. Built with polished dry-stone walls, many buildings have been restored to their original glory. We join the crowds to enter the site and quickly make a dramatic turn around a bend to reveal the first of many terraced landscapes. The landscape is simply breathtaking and quite unbelievable. These terraces were used to grow crops at various temperatures and seem to go on forever. Even though we are 7972 feet up, there are two other hills that are much higher; I see hikers on one of them. A member of my group tells me has has hiked there. Gulp. Our group entered the site at the main entrance. Others enter at the Sun Gate, (a higher point) have made the four-day trek. We walk carefully on the narrow and steep stone steps and winding trails to look down upon the main city where the Incas lived and worshipped. It’s symmetrical and green. As you stare at all the stone, it’s impossible to understand how the Incas got it up here.

 

Shaman Willko Apaza leads “Mystical Machu Picchu Experience,” exploring the spiritual side of the legendary site. Using his natural gifts, and traditions from ancestors, he introduces us to his Andean beliefs and the Incan culture. His message is one of a new beginning. As he chants and dances around us clearing negative energy, we are invited to imagine all the peace and love in the world, feel the weight of the sacred rock, absorb the sun’s rays and connect to each other in a new way. Going beyond a historical lesson and sight seeing excursion, Willko also reveals the mystery of Machu Picchu and the magical connections with the Pachamama (Mother Earth) and sacred temples.

 

Rituals and ceremonies are part of the Incan culture. Offerings to Mother Earth are part of daily life for locals in the regions around Machu Picchu. Shaman lead them to a realm beyond the physical world where they are open to emotional and spiritual healing. Coca is a Peruvian symbol of community and respect and plays a significant role in these ceremonies. We participate in the ceremonies; some of us have our Coca leaves read.

 

Arac Masin is a traditional Andean wedding. We witness the magic as one is performed on the hotel’s terrace. With the terrace draped in greenery and flowers, a shaman calls upon the Incan gods to guide relationships to last eternally. Available to engaged as well as married couples, guests immerse in the Andean culture with this ceremony.

 

Overall, the trip to Machu Picchu is worth every minute. There are crowds, but they all seem to be in awe, as I am, and very respectful. Plan to take your time and take it in. You’ll be glad you did.

 

It’s a long way to Machu Picchu. Here are some helpful hints:

 

Dress:

Temperatures vary greatly due to altitude. Dress in layers.

 

Luggage Restrictions:

We highly recommend traveling as light as possible. Some of the trains have luggage restrictions.

 

Altitude:

Elevations vary and altitude sickness can be an issue. Here are the elevations:

Machu Picchu: 7,972 ft.

Cusco: 11,152 ft.

Lima: 505 ft.

 

NOTE: Coca is widely used throughout Peru as a treatment for altitude sickness. Drinking coca tea is highly recommended, especially if you find yourself suffering any of the symptoms of altitude sickness – dizziness, headaches, nausea or vomiting.

 

 

Electricity:

The electrical current is 220 volts throughout Peru.

 

Currency:

The Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN) is the national currency. Locally, people say “Sol” or “Soles” – plural.

 

Language:

The official language is Spanish, with Quechua also widely spoken (the language of the Incan empire).

 

Essentials: latam.com, viajespacifico.com, perurail.com, sumaqhotelperu.com

The eight-hour Mystical Machu Picchu Tour costs $400 per person, including transportation, entrance ticket to Machu Picchu, private guide and authentic Peruvian shaman. For further information and reservations: reservations@sumaqhotelperu.com or toll-free 866-682-0645.   www.sumaqhotelperu.com

 

 

 

Luxury hotels arrive in Bryan College Station

November 19, 2016 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

the-george-3

The George

Bryan-College Station is quickly becoming one of the state’s top emerging leisure destinations. Who would have thought? But with the opening of not one, but three boutique hotels by March 2017, along with new leisure amenities including a lake, hiking trails, and restaurants and retail, Bryan-College Station is poised to be more than just Texas A&M.

The leisure boom starts with The Stella, a sleek 4-star property opening in March 2017. The Stella will offer amenities such as a seasonally driven restaurant, hip craft cocktail bar, specialty coffee roaster, outdoor pool and poolside cabanas. The hotel, which is just minutes away from the acclaimed Traditions Club and Community, is surrounded by an abundance of new restaurants and retail stores, as well as a new 5-acre lake, waterfront park, various health/wellness activities and over two miles of hiking trails.

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Calvary Court

In addition to the The Stella, Houston-based Valencia Group is opening two new properties in the coming months; Calvary Court, a 141-room new vintage inspired property and The George, a 162-room boutique hotel that will bring an authentic, refined experience to the area.

 

 

Thanksgiving at Tony Mandola’s

November 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Blogs, Dining, Events

Leave the Cooking to Tony Mandola’s this Thanksgiving
Houston, Texas. November 11, 2016. Owners Phyllis and Tony Mandola are doing the shopping and chopping so you don’t have to this Thanksgiving.  Place your orders between November 1st to November 18th,  secured with a credit card with option to pay with the card or other forms of payment at pick up. Orders will be ready for pickup on Wednesday November the 23rd. between 9:00 am to 6:00 pm at the restaurant. Heating instructions for Turkeys and sides will be provided.

For more information or reservations, please call 713-528-3474, or visitwww.TonyMandolas.com
A la Carte Menu (feeds 6-8 people)
Cajun Fried Turkey $64.99
Roasted Turkey $56.99
Broccoli Casserole $16.99
Candied Yams $16.99
Cornbread Dressing $14.99
Creamed Spinach Casserole $16.99
Fresh Cranberry Sauce $13.99
Green Bean Casserole $16.99
Parmesan Potatoes $16.99
Quart of Gravy $9.50
Banana Key Lime Pie $32.00
Bread Pudding $20.00
Pumpkin Pie $20.00
1 full pan of Grandmas Meat Lasagna $72.00

“Make it a meal” options: (feeds 6-8 people)

1 Cajun Fried Turkey with 3 sides and a choice of Bread Pudding or Pumpkin Pie $150
Or
1 Roasted Turkey with 3 sides and a choice of Bread pudding or Pumpkin Pie $145

Tony Mandola’s Gulf Coast Kitchen is a New Orleans style Oyster Bar and Seafood House, with an Italian flair. Known for its fresh Texas Gulf Seafood – shrimp, oysters, fish, and home-made pastas, red beans and rice, Mama’s Gumbo, and Mama’s Bourbon Bread Pudding.
Hours of Operation:
Sunday-Tuesday: 11am – 9pm
Wednesday-Thursday: 11am – 9:30pm
Friday-Saturday: 11am – 10:30pm
Tony Mandola’s Gulf Coast Kitchen, 1212 Waugh Drive, Houston, TX 77019. For more information please visit www.TonyMandolas.com or call 713-528-3474.

Thanksgiving at the Granduca

November 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Blogs, Dining, Events

Leave the Holiday Cooking to Hotel Granduca Houston

with a Thanksgiving Day Brunch Featuring Italian Accents

At Ristorante Cavour

Round up family and friends on Thanksgiving Day to kick off the holiday season with an extravagant buffet prepared by Chef Enrico Glaudo 

November, 2016 (Houston, Texas) – It’s everyone’s favorite time of year and Hotel Granduca Houstonis celebrating in distinctive style with a Thanksgiving Day Brunch like no other. Round up family and friends for a festive feast with rich Italian flavors within the beauty of Ristorante Cavour, a serene setting for fine dining and one of the “Best Brunches” in Houston.

Combining the traditional ambiance of an Italian Palazzo with rustic Texas charm, Hotel Granduca Houston is the premier destination for locals and out-of-town guests alike in one of the city’s most exclusive neighborhoods. Thanksgiving Day Brunch at Ristorante Cavour will unfold on Thursday, November 24, from 11am-3pm. Cost: $85 per person, $40 for children 5 to 12 years of age, plus tax and service.

Highlights of Executive Chef Enrico Glaudo‘s holiday brunch menu include:

  • Seafood – Octopus, potato, mixed olive salad, lemon dressing / Seared tuna, spicy cous cous salad / Fried bay scallops, spinach salad, apple shallot dressing / Smoked salmon, spaghetti, fennel salad, lemon-truffle yogurt dressing / Fresh blue point oysters / King crab legs
  • Vegetables – Roasted carrots, honey-chianti dressing, toasted hazelnuts / Eggplant funghetto, with garlic and oregano / Taggiasca olive tapenade tomato bruschetta / Roasted button mushroom / saffron cauliflower, curry aioli
  • Cheese and Charcuterie – Dry salami / Smoked and spiced speck / Cacio al tartufo / Pecorino toscano / Goat cheese in salsa verde
  • Pasta and Risotto – Green pea and scallop risotto / Asparagus and porcini risotto / Ricotta zucchini, pomegranate lasagna
  • Thanksgiving Traditions – Carved herb-roasted turkey breast / Chestnuts and focaccia stuffing / Green beans Amandine / Cranberry sauce / Butternut Casserole with Amaretto and almonds
  • Carving – Roasted prime rib / au jus / Creamy prepared horseradish sauce / Red onion jam / Pistachio crusted salmon / Lemon beurre blanc / Whipped potatoes
  • Eggs & More – Create your own omelet from a wide selection of condiments / Eggs Benedict
  • Breakfast Corner – Waffles with mascarpone cheese & berries / Thick cut Applewood smoked bacon, pork sausage, turkey bacon / Pancakes / Bread pudding
  • The Sweet Corner – Pecan pie / Pumpkin pie / Tiramisu / Almond ricotta cheese tart / Triple chocolate mousse / Cranberry pannacotta / Create your own parfait

With the long Thanksgiving weekend, Hotel Granduca Houston invites guests to stay awhile at their residential-style retreat. Enjoy good times and holiday shopping in the city and make family memories that last a lifetime with the Reconnect with … Your Family package, which includes:

  • Two-bedroom suite
  • Milk and cookies on arrival
  • Four tickets to Houston Zoo or Children’s Museum
  • Family Movie Night in your suite with popcorn and candy
  • Full family breakfast on Veranda or in your suite (up to four guests)
  • Free daily ice cream treat for kids
  • Package priced at $1,130

For more information or to make reservations at Hotel Granduca Houston, please call 1(888)472-6382 or visit www.granducahouston.com.

 

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TOP OF THE ROCK

November 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

Top of the Top of the Rock is a nature-based heritage preserve and majestic extension of the award-winning resort experience at Big Cedar Lodge. A true celebration of the land, animals, and people that came before us, Top of the Rock honors the alluring landscape and rich history of southwest Missouri. The preserve offers two award-winning golf experiences, adventures through ancient limestone canyons, remarkable restaurants with awe-inspiring views, and at the heart of it all, a 35,000-square-foot history museum featuring the foremost collection of Native American art and artifacts ever assembled making Top of the Rock a landmark first for the region.

Singapore Airlines launches new services

October 31, 2016 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

NEW YORK, October 31, 2016 – Singapore Airlines has launched new services from Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport and Manchester, U.K., continuing to Singapore, from October 30, 2016.  The new Houston-Manchester flight represents SIA’s first-ever U.S. to U.K. operation.

 

SIA will operate the route using a 278-passenger Boeing B777-300Extended Range aircraft, configured with 8 seats in First Class, 42 in Business Class, and 228 in Economy Class.

 

“We are excited to offer Texans the only nonstop flights from Houston to Manchester,” said Mr. Sek Eng Lee, regional vice president for Singapore Airlines at the company’s festive gatehold send-off for the first flight yesterday.  “Houstonians now have the option of the industry’s most awarded inflight experience, not only to Singapore and Southeast Asia, but also to Northern England for the first time.”  The company’s previous flight operated from Houston to Singapore via Moscow, which was discontinued on October 29.

 

SIA offers five weekly flights from Houston to Manchester, each with continuing service to Singapore Changi Airport, where travelers have convenient connection options to more than 50 destinations throughout Asia.  Travelers flying SIA to Manchester can also take advantage of new connections to Paris, Milan and Amsterdam via the carrier’s partnership with Flybe, providing seamless single-ticketing to these three popular European destinations.

 

The new Houston-to-Manchester service is being launched concurrently with SIA’s resumption of nonstop flights from the U.S. to Singapore and expanded operations in Los Angeles.   SQ31, a new Airbus A350-900 aircraft and the 10,000th delivery from the manufacturer, debuted on October 23 with a nonstop, daily flight from San Francisco to Singapore.  The company’s new Los Angeles-to-Seoul flight also launched on October 23 utilizing Boeing 777-300 Extended Range aircraft.

 

Consistently rated the world’s best airline by the readers of both Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure magazines in their annual surveys, Singapore Airlines strives for industry-leading excellence in passenger service.

 

Visit SingaporeAir.com for more details. Join us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/singaporeair and follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/singaporeair.

 

 

HOUSTONIAN THANKSGIVING

October 19, 2016 by  
Filed under Events

Celebrate the holidays at the Houstonian

Celebrate the holidays at the Houstonian

On November 24th, let the Thanksgiving festivities begin by dining in the elegant Grande Ballroom at The Houstonian Hotel, with selections such as Sweet Herb Roasted Turkey, Prime Rib, Bourbon and Brown Sugar Glazed Ham, Smoked Salmon and Caviar Service, Hill Country Benedict, Marshmallow-Stuffed French Toast w/ Chocolate Banana Caramel and more Classic Brunch Selections. Top off your bountiful meal with Delectable Bourbon Bread Pudding, Pumpkin and Pecan Tarts, Banana Foster, Tiramisu, and other treats from The Houstonian’s Pastry Shop. So many choices, plus Complimentary Champagne and Signature Mimosas, all for $79 for Adults and $35 for Children ages 5 to 12. Children 4 and under are complimentary. Brunch prices are subject sales tax and service charge. To make reservations in the Grande Ballroom, call 713-812-6932, or visit www.Houstonian.com.

SANTA’S FIRST STOP IS AT THE OMNI HOUSTON HOTEL

October 13, 2016 by  
Filed under Events

 

Join Santa for photos and gingerbread house decorating

 

What:                    Santa Claus is coming to town and one of his first stops is the Omni Houston Hotel in Uptown.  Santa will bring his gingerbread houses for party-goers to decorate while enjoying holiday refreshments                          and festive fun. And don’t forget to take a picture with Santa before you head home with your freshly decorated gingerbread house!

Where:                 Omni Houston Hotel – 4 Riverway, Houston, Texas 77056

Date:                     Saturday, December 10, 2016

Time:                     10:00 AM until 12:00 PM

Extra:                    Complimentary photos with Santa, opportunity to decorate gingerbread house, holiday refreshments, complimentary self-parking, $10 valet.

Cost:                      $30 per child and available at http://omni-santaparty2016.eventbrite.com

Parents are free.  

 

For more information about the Omni Houston Hotel, please call (713) 871-8181or visit omnihotels.com.

 

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