Bowling is the one sport that your score seems to improve proportionally to the amount of alcoholic beverages you imbibe. If that holds true then get prepped to roll high scores at Bowl & Barrel. The new venue opened its third Texas location in City Centre on the west side of Houston after its success in Dallas and San Antonio.
Fifteen bowling lanes featuring the newest QubicaAMF bowling equipment welcome bowlers of all sizes. The electronic scoring machine is one of the simplest ones I have used that takes just a few seconds to enter names to allow for a quick start. Lanes are rented by the hour with prices from $32 per hour Monday-Thursday and $44 per hour Friday-Sunday (they can also be rented in half-hour increments). Shoes can be rented for $6 per person. I suggest bringing socks.
Beyond the bowling comes good food and drink. I remember when bowling alleys served nothing but greasy burgers and fries. Bowl & Barrel goes for a modern, upscale tavern menu with hot fried quail appetizers, buffalo chicken meatballs, a six-pack of mini hot dogs and 18″ pizza pies. It’s a full-service place with a friendly waitstaff bringing food right to your bowling. My only suggestion for them as of now is to put a bottle of hand cleaning gel on each table so you can grab snacks in between rolling your bowling ball.
The barrel part is abundant with several local beers on tap and a nice selection of wine served by the glass or bottle (why not?). I recommend the Bloody Mary with sriracha and curry (hint: order before 3pm and they’re only 3 bucks) and the Lebowski. This aptly named cocktail is pretty a White Russian but goes down nicely.
Bowl & Barrel is located at 797 Sorella Ct., Suite 118, next to its sister restaurant, The General Public. Hours of operation are 11a-12a Sunday-Thursday and 11a-2a Friday-Saturday. This is one of the properties run by Dallas-based FreeRange Concepts. Founder Kyle Noonan is originally from Houston and earned his chops in the business inside the Pappas restaurant chain.
Here is my conversation with Kyle at the VIP opening.
If a company sells custom-made suits online then why would they need physical stores? I posed that question to Knot Standard co-founder John Ballay at the grand opening of their newest shop in Houston.
Ballay is a University of Texas graduate which is reason enough to check out his company. They combine a high-tech approach to classic tailoring which appeals to me on several levels. I love tech and I live for fashion (or is it the other way around?). Customer measurements are digitized and a 3D image of their measurements are created and stored in their database. Once an order is placed their tailors use lasers to cut pieces directly from the cloth. The process takes 3-4 weeks from order placement to delivery.
Placing an order can be fun as you can customize everything from the jacket lapel style (the Peak Lapel is classy), to the number of buttons, pocket style, and jacket lining. You can even have your name embroidered on the inside jacket pocket in one of 18 thread colors. Blazers start at $375 while suits have a beginning price point at $595. Shirts and slacks can also be ordered in the same manner.
The Houston showroom is located at 2439 Bissonnet and is the company’s third Texas location after Austin and Dallas. Other showroom locations include New York, DC, Chicago and Dubai.
WATCH my interview with Knot Standard co-founder John Ballay:
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The Nissan Sentra has a 34 year history of being a solid, compact sedan. 2016 is not the year Nissan will introduce an “all new” model but they are releasing a mid-cycle refresh (aka “facelift”).
On a recent trip to Orange County, California, Nissan offered a group of automotive journalists and enthusiasts the opportunity to put the car through paces up-and-down the Pacific Coast Highway. The smooth-rolling Sentra carried me past some of the most beautiful scenery in the country including a quick ride on a ferry boat.
Several new safety features debut on the car include rear cross-traffic alerts, blind-spot warning system, and NissanConnect emergency telematics with vehicle monitoring. A thicker windshield, new engine mounts and more insulation make the car quiet – potentially a good spot to broadcast one of my radio shows from.
Competition in this segment include the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, and Toyota Corolla.
It’s a nice vehicle and with a starting price of $16,780, this could be a smart choice for a first car purchase and certainly a first family vehicle.
Check out my video review here:
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A convertible from Buick? Yessir. I got a sneak preview of the car back in March 2015 at the Dallas Auto Show. It looked cool but then I didn’t hear much about it. Until a few weeks ago.
The Buick peeps invited a select group of media to take the new ragtop on a drive from Miami Beach to Key West. My hair was flying during the leisurely ride-and-drive as we hit the hot spots from Ocean Drive to Duval Street.
You’ll hear a lot more about the Cascada in the coming weeks as Buick will air an ad during the Super Bowl featuring NFL baller Odell Beckham, Jr. His hair is much tighter than mine and won’t flow as freely as mine did. But he will be smiling.
Check out my video review here:
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A home beer-on-tap machine? Who doesn’t want that? And check out some of my fave Bluetooth earphones that are guaranteed to stay on your noggin. I got some ideas for everyone so run out to the store or – even better – just go online.
One great thing about living in Texas is our close proximity to Mexico. This allows for quick flights to some of the best resorts in the world. Pack your passport, some sunscreen, flip flops, and maybe a hat, and then head down south for fun in the sun.
My crew and I did just that over Labor Day weekend as we partied it up and do a live radio show from Sandos Caracol Eco Resort. Sandos has four resorts in Mexico spread out from Cabo San Lucas to Cancun to Playa Del Carmen. Working with the great Sandos staff we flew to Cancun and then took a short bus trip down to the Eco Resort in Playa.
Getting to Cancun (or most anywhere on Earth, for that matter) was simple as we booked travel through United Vacations. With United Vacations’ low deposit payment plans, the guaranteed best prices on United Airlines flights, you know you’re getting a great deal.
United Vacations has a great feature called Premier Vacation Protection. It gives you extra piece of mind before and during your vacation. Benefits include baggage protection, medical coverage, cancellation for any reason and more.
I also like the fact that you don’t have to worry about waiting around for a lower price. If the price of your hotel stay goes down, you can be refunded the difference if you’re covered by Premier Vacation Protection.
It was less than four hours travel from the time we departed IAH to the time we checked in at Sandos Caracol. We were greeted at the resort with a frozen concoction of tequila or rum (does it really matter when on vacation?) and the most important item of our stay – a wristband that allowed for all the food, drinks and fun across the sprawling property.
The resort has 956 guest rooms with access to an all-inclusive food and beverage program featuring 3 buffets, 6 a la carte restaurants, 8 bars and 24-hour room service. We hit every bar and restaurant during our stay with our favorites being Las Mascaras (Mexican), La Riviera (Mediterranean), and La Toscana (Italian). Fresh food and friendly service was abundant. And did I mention tequila and rum?
This particular resort in the Sandos family is eco-focused to promote sustainable practices to their guests and suppliers. Guest rooms are “green” by using certified materials, LED lighting, and a system for recycling gray and soapy water.
The property is family-friendly with an Adults Only section and several areas for kids and teens. Even though I didn’t bring my kids on this trip I still found myself splashing around the Aquapark. You just can’t keep me off a water slide. There are 17 slides and a splash zone here.
The adults section features an exclusive guest reception, beach club house with private bar service, private pool and an adults only restaurant for breakfast and lunch. This area was nice and quiet for lounging around during the late afternoons however we spent most of the day on the beautiful, palm tree-lined beach.
White sand and clear blue water borders the large property. Beach chairs and day beds are pristinely lined up waiting for guests to do nothing but sit back, lie down and relax. Beachside bars are no more than a few yards away and the large, main pool is nearby if you want a chlorinated dip and inviting party music.
Fans of water sports have many options to choose from with kayaks, boogie boards, snorkel gear and sailboats included in some of the guest packages. SCUBA dives and deep-sea fishing trips can also be planned.
And what is a resort vacation without a trip to the spa? Spa Sandos has luxurious facilities with 16 treatment rooms, saunas and steam baths, gym and spinning room and a beachfront massage palapa overlooking views of the Caribbean Sea.
Sandos Caracol offers some unique things that I you must check out when visiting. I partook in a unique Mayan therapy called Temazcal. This ancient tradition guides guests to different levels of heat and steam generated by volcanic rocks and medicinal herbs in a spiritual atmosphere. My body, mind and soul were purified…at least until I found the bar later that night.
The Xcalacoco Experience allows guests to learn more about Mayan and Mexican culture with different daily activities. Each day of the week is set aside to honor a different element. Four live theatrical shows are performed on the property each week. Make sure to catch at least one during your stay.
Our trip went by quickly before we hopped back on the short flight from Cancun to Houston. The radio show went well with one of the most gorgeous backdrops we’ve ever had. Our suntans should last a few weeks which will serve as a conversation starter with friends back home. And I now have a top-of-mind recommendation when I’m asked where to escape for a nearby vacation, incentive or wedding: Sandos Caracol Eco Resort!
Click HERE to hear the radio show podcast from beachside at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort
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