Inside Houston Spring 2024

Page 1

Plus: Where to have Crawfish Now! Food Truck Frenzy: Top 8 Food Trucks

Host a Garden Party

Meet Houston’s Ernie Manouse

Plan Your Family Escape: Mayan Ranch Vista Verde Ranch
Garden of the Gods Miraval Austin Resort & Spa


D E K A L A S H . C O M
INSIDE HOUSTON 1 TABLE OF CONTENTS 36 26 Feature Food Truck Frenzy 21 Houston’s Crawfish Craze 26 In Every Issue Editors Letter 4 Community 6 Charity 9 Arts 13 Personality 14 Spa 17 Travel Vista Verde: Family Escape into the Rockies 31 Garden of the Gods: Magic in Colorado Springs 36 Road Trip Unwind and Unleash Your Inner Cowboy at Mayan Ranch 25 Entertaining Welcome to the Land of Enchantment 40 How to Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries 45 21

Plan the wedding of your dreams at Houston’s Biggest Bridal Show.

Now celebrating more than 40 years of bringing couples and bridal businesses together!

July 13-14

Photography by WDR Imagery

As Soon as Spring Rolls Around


Marisa Byers, Vicki Hernandez, Sondra Sneed, photo by Carlos Roberto Nevarez


Laurette M. Veres



Elisa Irish


Nicholas Nguyen


Annalisa Cheek

Elisa Irish

©Copyright 2023-2024

When spring hits, all I can think about is crawfish season. I get so excited thinking about the new catch, the yummy sides, and hanging out with my friends. But this year isn’t looking too good for us crawfish lovers. When we thought we were done with supply chain dramas, it turns out the crawfish folks in Louisiana are having a tough time because of the crazy weather - too much drought and cold. That means we’re getting fewer and smaller crawfish, and they’re costing more. But don’t worry. Annalisa Cheek has some tips for finding the right stuff. You’ll find her advice on page 28.

I’m also excited to talk about one of Houston’s stars in this issue: Ernie Manouse. He’s always out there helping with charity events, rushing from one fundraiser to another. He’s the guy who brings fun and laughter wherever he goes. Ernie’s one of those journalists who knows exactly how to get to the heart of any story, whether he’s on the radio, TV, or online. Want to know more about this Houston legend? Head over to page 14.

And hey, it’s also time to start dreaming about summer vacation. Take a look at our travel section for some major inspiration. Here’s to a fantastic spring, and go Astros!

Host a Garden Party MeetHouston’sErnieManouse Plan Your Family Escape: MayanRanch VistaVerdeRanch GardenoftheGods MiravalAustinResort&Spa Plus: Where to have Crawfish Now! Food Truck Frenzy: Top8FoodTrucks EDITOR’S LETTER

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The 13th annual Houston Sweethearts Tea at Saks Fifth Avenue was a spectacular affair, filled with red and pink attire and a sense of appreciation for community service. Co-hosted by Anne Carl, Deborah Duncan, Sylvia Forsythe, Kim Moody, Warner Roberts, and Alicia Smith, the event aimed to honor those who serve others selflessly with their time, talent, energy, creativity, resources, and love. The Mission of Yahweh, benefiting from the event, has aided homeless women and children since 1961, with Sister Helen Gay’s granddaughter, Charly Gay, distributing symbolic hearts. Their mission is to restore hope, transform lives, and end homelessness.

Heidi Parkhurst Turney, Saks’s VP and General Manager, expressed her joy at returning to Houston and shared news of her recent marriage to Barry Turney. Deborah Duncan, host of KHOU Great Day Houston, introduced the honorees: Elsie Eckert, Scott Evans, Stacey Lindseth, and Tara and Lance McCullers. Lance, an Astros pitcher, was excited about his growing family and upcoming spring training after recovering from an injury. The event featured kisses, hugs, champagne, and donations for a good cause, with approximately 100 attendees feeling the love. Among those celebrated were Saula Valente, Betty Tutor, and many others who contribute to their community. Overall, the Sweethearts Tea served as a heartfelt acknowledgment of those who dedicate themselves to serving others, creating a memorable and uplifting occasion at Saks Fifth Avenue. —Elisa Irish



The 11th Annual Wags and Whiskers Brunch, held at Hotel ZaZaMuseum District, gathered over 265 philanthropic animal lovers in Western attire, raising more than $113,000 for Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s Animeals program. The themed event, “Bow Wow West,” featured a celebrity pet fashion show, silent auction, and lunch hosted by event Co-Chairs

Shirin and Saied Alavi, Dr. Vasant Garg, and Dr. Kim Tran. Emceed by Casey Curry, the program honored Greater Good Charities, while Interfaith President and CEO Martin Cominsky and Board Chair Dr. Kathy C. Flanagan provided insights into the Animeals program. Guests were moved by a participant’s testimonial, highlighting the program’s impact.

Sponsors included Fred G. Marshall, Susan and Dan Boggio, and Ann and Ronald Kaesermann, among others. Notable attendees included Lara Bell, Deborah Duncan, Jeff Gremillion, and Joy Sewing, alongside a diverse array of supporters.. —E.I.



Growing up in a family full of avid rodeo-goers was one of the highlights of my childhood. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo comes to town annually during the end of February through mid-March and takes place at NRG Arena. It is meant to promote agriculture by hosting a family-friendly experience that educates and entertains the public, supports Texas youth, showcases Western heritage, and provides year-round educational support within the community.

Without a doubt, you could find my entire family at the Houston Rodeo from sun-up to sun-down. After an early wake up call to make it there before crowds, we would all get decked out in our best country attire and head to the rodeo. Knowing that I was on my way to immerse myself in the heart of Texas tradition was an unbeatable feeling. I was about to

explore exhilarating rodeo events, see world-class entertainment where top-notch artists and competitors showcase their skills in various events, and experience educational exhibits.

Of course, we would always hit the carnival first and stay there for hours. A core memory for me was the Houston carnival coupon books my dad would always manage to somehow have multiple of. These would include 150 tickets, lots of deals on food and drinks, a free ride on any ferris wheel, a buy one game and get one free pass, a free ride on any funhouse, and $5 off any merchandise when $25 or more is purchased pass.

For a family of five with three kids who wanted to go on absolutely every carnival ride and try every type of food possible, these coupon books were ideal. I remember loving the

rollercoasters, water rides, and the fun houses!

One year, when my family and I were on the ferris wheel, the ride stopped when we were perfectly situated at the very top. We were so excited, as this had been something we had wanted to happen for so long. One could say “I peaked”, quite literally. I remember looking down and seeing huge crowds of people that looked so tiny from far above and hearing screams of excitement from children on rides echoing in the distance. We all had smiles painted across our faces and were just so happy to be there all together. This was a moment I will never forget.

After a mandatory turkey leg, fresh squeezed lemonade, and funnel cake feast, my family and I would make our way inside NRG Arena to the livestock show exhibits. Lining the front of these exhibits were many western shops, which I always loved browsing through. I have a custom cowboy hat and found some of


my favorite jeans that I still wear to this day at these shops.

At the livestock show and exhibits, I would get to witness bareback riding, heart-pounding bull riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, team roping, thrilling barrel racing, and breakaway roping. I really loved walking around the different pens and seeing the animals, especially the baby ones. They show live births on screens throughout the venue, and I got to see a baby calf enter the world. It was then that I realized the Houston Rodeo truly has it all.

`The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was truly an essential part of my life where some of my fondest life memories took place. I was exposed to an environment where people of many backgrounds come from all over the city, experienced the thrill of carnival rides, and got to gain a deeper understanding of livestock. I cannot wait to carry on this tradition in my life and implement it when I have a family one day! —E.I.


The Sale, Houston’s premier shopping event, raised over $400,000 for pediatric cancer research at The University of Texas MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital, doubling last year’s fundraising efforts. The three-day event at Bayou City Event Center was presented by Houston Tri Delta Philanthropies, Inc. and featured 50+ premier boutiques offering heavily discounted merchandise. The deals ranged from 20% to 90% off. The Sale also included a luxury raffle, with notable items including a diamond pendant necklace and a wool cape with a fox collar and cuffs.

The event, led and organized by volunteers, attracted 1,600 shoppers over three days. Since its establishment in 2015, The Sale has raised over $2 million alternating between MD Anderson and Texas Children’s hospitals every two years. Funds support various pediatric cancer research initiatives, including sarcoma studies and stem cell transplantation. The 2024 event marked its 10th anniversary, drawing in notable local attendees and MD Anderson representatives, as well as raising awareness for the cause through community support. —E.I.



The Social Book 2024 “Houston Treasures” Awards Gala, themed “An Emerald Evening,” marked its twentieth anniversary at the Omni Houston Hotel. Hosted by The Social Book team, including Scott Evans, Jeff Henry, Sami Shbeeb, and Warner Roberts, along with Omni Houston Hotel’s Blanche C. Morris and Georgia Graugnard, the event honored individuals and couples across various fields for their contributions to Houston. The gala, attended by 260 guests, featured a Champagne reception followed by a four-course dinner prepared by Executive Chef Blake Scott, complemented by estate wines.

The event’s emerald theme, celebrating the 20th anniversary, was reflected in the décor by 360AV Design, Flowers by Nino, Kirksey Gregg Productions, and EB, Inc. A highlight of the evening was the introduction of the 2024 honorees, including notable figures like J.P. Bryan, Cheryl Byington, and Kara & Lance McCullers Jr. Guests were treated to tributes and presentations by past honorees and community leaders, emphasizing the significance of their contributions.

Throughout the evening, guests enjoyed entertainment by Richard Brown Music quartet and indulged in a sumptuous dinner, featuring Cream of Asparagus Soup en Crôute, a festive salad, dual filet mignon and salmon entrée, and decadent desserts by Cakes by Gina. Honorees received a treasure trove of gifts from various sponsors, and attendees were graciously provided with valet parking by Porsche River Oaks and Porsche West Houston. The event not only celebrated the accomplishments of the honorees, but also showcased The Social Book’s dedication to supporting the charitable and non-profit community in Houston through its comprehensive calendar and resources. —E.I.



The 7th Annual Women of Substance Luncheon, held at the Post Oak Hotel, successfully raised over $500,000 for charity. The event, orchestrated by Creator and Producer Paul-David Van Atta, saw more than 420 guests gathered to honor Reverend Mary Gracely, the 2022 Spirit of Substance Honoree. Notable contributions included valet parking underwritten by the Gregg Harrison Law Firm and Compass Real Estate, allowing attendees more time for activities like the Champagne Raffle Reception. Co-emceed by Deborah Duncan and Ernie Manouse, the event highlighted top donors and esteemed honorees such as Cora Sue Mach and Eileen Lawal. Funds raised supported Houston reVision, a nonprofit aiding justice-involved and unstably housed youth. Testimonials from beneficiaries like Kimberly Palma underscored the organization’s impact. A lively appeal led by Sippi Khurana and Amy Pierce garnered significant donations, culminating in a successful live auction featuring luxurious items. Guests enjoyed a delicious meal and elegant décor, all in support of Houston reVision’s mission to empower disconnected youth in the community. —E.I.



Celebrating Houston area women doing brave things to make a difference in their community is one our magazine’s greatest pleasures! Strength can come in many forms. And as the saying goes, “you never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice”.

When the unthinkable happened to Summer Willis one fateful college night almost a decade ago, she did what most victims of sexual assault do: repress it. She pushed it as far down as she could, hoping to never have to relive, retell, or remember the trauma. And that worked, but only for so long. Summer admits she did bury this secret deep inside for a while, until she refused to allow it to define her any longer. That’s when Summer’s “Strength through Strides” initiative was born.

Summer Willis grew up outside of Houston, in Beaumont, Texas. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and became a Title I teacher in lower socio-economic districts. Her motive was simple, to try and make a difference. This led her to join the Peace Corps where she met her now husband and father to her two young sons, Alfred and August. Summer was happy in her new role as a wife and a mother, yet as most victims of trauma understand, there was something lurking, hiding, and waiting to be released.

In July 2023, when Summer embarked on her first marathon, she couldn’t even run one mile. She even attempted her first triathlon where she ended up coming in last place. Did any of these setbacks

deter Summer from her ultimate goal? Hardly. Summer double downed and committed to running 29 marathons for her 29 years of life. You heard that right, the girl who couldn’t even run one mile 6 months ago was now running marathons all over the country.

Summer began her quest in October. She completed the Tahoe Triple in California and Nevada, which is three full marathons in three days. You read that correctly, three complete marathons in only three days. She is scheduled to run the large marathons in Los Angeles and New York later this year. In Los Angeles, she plans to dress like a Barbie and run the last miles in heels. In New York, she plans to carry a twin mattress on her back while running the marathon. The mattress, a visual representation of the same size bed used in her assault, will no longer weigh her down.

But to be clear, it isn’t just about the running for Summer. Summer is breaking free of the often told lies that tell women they are weak, less-than, or victimized. “Strength through Strides” was created to offer a place of support to women doing extraordinary, physical feats. This community rallies to empower and embrace women who have been through unimaginable hardships, yet are determined to not let one moment define them.

While the stigma associated with sexual assault is still heavy and dark, the future is bright for this transformative organization. With the funds donated and raised, Summer intends to provide support both individually and through her community. This support will include coaching and counseling for women healing from trauma, as well as provide emergency funds for women fleeing domestic violence. Summer’s ultimate goal and vision is to create a women’s retreat where they can focus on community building and holistic healing. These retreats will be 4 day immersive events in various cities around the United States.

You can follow Summer Willis on various social media platforms to learn more about her cause and why she is embarking on this healing journey. She’s been sharing her story through her podcast, “Strength through Strides” and her docuseries on YouTube, “Strength through Strides”. Listening to Summer explain her mission and dedication to helping others will shift your mindset about trauma. Through Summer’s healing journey, she is teaching people how to help those we love affected by assault and showcasing a light on how to turn pain into purpose! —Marisa Byers



Prominent Houstonians, including Philamena & Arthur Baird and Karen & Roland Garcia, have collaborated to bring the world’s largest sundial, the Arch of Time, to Houston. Chaired by Philamena and vicechaired by Roland, the project welcomed esteemed guests and Land Art Generator Co-Founders, Robert Ferry and Elizabeth Monoian, who presented the innovative sculpture. Set to adorn Houston's landscape in 2025, the Arch of Time, created by Berlin-based artist Riccardo Mariano, functions as a 100-foot-tall triumphal arch and an interactive time-measuring device.

Designed for sustainability, this renewable energy power plant incorporates solar modules, generating 400,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. The project, a result of the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI), aims to promote climate solutions through art and design. It is expected to generate 12 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy over its lifetime. Originally conceived for Abu Dhabi, the Arch of Time emphasizes art's role in the energy transition. It is expected to offset its carbon footprint and contribute positively to environmental sustainability. This groundbreaking sculpture symbolizes artistic and technological synergy while serving as a regenerative force for the climate and community. —E.I.



For nearly three decades, Ernie Manouse has been a familiar presence in Houston, gracing local PBS and NPR stations with his engaging shows and serving as a beloved emcee for countless nonprofit events. However, his influence extends far beyond the confines of Houston. His PBS specials and NPR programs have captivated audiences in hundreds of cities across the nation, steadily expanding his reach.

Originally from Binghamton, NY, and a graduate of Loyola University Chicago, Manouse began his broadcasting journey with NBC News and Chicago’s WLS-AM radio. Since moving to Houston in 1996, he has become deeply rooted in the city’s cultural landscape. Manouse’s accomplishments include 5 KATIE Awards, 11 Emmy Awards, a Houston Press Club Lone Star Award, and “Viewer’s Choice”

recognition from multiple local and regional publications. Some of these include the “Ultimate Interviewer” from the Houston Chronicle and a remarkable 20 years as Outsmart Magazine ’s readers choice for “Favorite TV Guy.”

Manouse’s diverse projects include the Emmynominated interview series InnerVIEWS with Ernie Manouse and the nationally syndicated talk show Manor of Speaking. He’s also produced awardwinning specials and documentaries, showcasing his versatility as a storyteller and moderator.

Over a career spanning nearly four decades, Manouse has earned recognition for his powerful storytelling, which amplifies the voices of everyday individuals and celebrities alike. Particularly noteworthy is his radio show on Houston Public Media/NPR, Town Square with Ernie Manouse, which played a crucial role during the COVID-19 pandemic. It features discussions with medical experts that likely saved countless lives. Additionally, he produced and hosted one of PBS’s highest-earning national fundraising specials, The Great American After Show.


Beyond creating compelling programming, Manouse actively supports public media, serving as a spokesperson and helping raise millions of dollars for Houston Public Media and PBS affiliates nationwide. He’s also engaged in philanthropic endeavors, supporting arts, education, and equality initiatives.

In September, Ernie Manouse achieved a remarkable double-header of recognition. Firstly, he moderated a panel at the United Nations focusing on democracy and the current dynamics of U.S./Pakistan relations. This showcased his versatility and expertise on an international platform.

Subsequently, he was honored with the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gulf Coast Film and Video Festival. These accolades underscored his significant contributions to broadcasting and storytelling.

Throughout his career, Manouse has conducted memorable interviews with a wide array of figures, from entertainers and authors to political leaders and journalists. His experiences include encounters

with influential figures such as Julie Andrews, John Cusack, Al Pacino, Dan Rather, and many others.

His journey is marked by numerous highlights, including conducting Paul Monette’s final interview, moderating national coverage of George Floyd’s Houston funeral, and being directed by Wes Anderson. His dedication to storytelling and public service continues to inspire audiences nationwide.

Manouse is slated for onstage interviews with iconic performers such as Kristin Chenoweth, Rita Moreno, and Cary Elwes in various events this fall and spring.

Reflecting on his career, Manouse has emphasized the responsibility journalists hold in using their platform wisely. He cherishes the opportunity to engage with diverse audiences and hopes his work has made a positive impact on their lives.

As his journey continues, Manouse remains dedicated to his craft. Through his work, Manouse exemplifies the power of storytelling and the profound effect it can have, both locally and globally.

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Escape life’s busyness and indulge into a world of relaxation and bliss at the Miraval Austin Resort and Spa! Tucked away in the rolling hills of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, Miraval Austin exudes the vibrant culture of Austin through its architecture, designs, and chefs.

The luxurious wellness destination is designed to help individuals create a balanced, mindful lifestyle. Miraval Austin is a digital-free environment with the intention to help their guests unplug and soak up every moment they encounter. Additionally, while tipping is custom in most places one could go, it is non-existent at the Miraval Austin. This allows for not a worry in the world!

Jemma Irish, a previous guest of the Miraval Austin, claims that “the resort truly feels like a bubble, I felt an unexplainable sense of peace during my stay there.”

From pioneering programs to premium spa treatments to nourishing cuisine to world-class wellness specialists, anyone who steps onto this resort is sure to have an exceptional experience! There are various packages and exclusive deals that Miraval Austin offers to make this experience something that anyone can do.

Some of the many activities included with the price of a guest’s stay range from yoga, pilates, horseback riding, hikes, therapy sessions, beautiful pools that overlook Lake Travis, workout classes, photography, dancing, a ropes course, cooking classes to gain culinary skills from a registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist, and so much more!

Miraval Austin Resort and Spa has it all directly on their property, so there is no need to even step foot off this safe haven. Grab family, siblings, your significant other, or even go solo and enjoy a getaway that is sure to be one to remember!



Where “horsepitality” reins

If you're looking for a getaway that combines outdoor adventure with classic Texan hospitality, then Mayan Ranch in Bandera, Texas, is the place for you. This family-owned dude ranch has been run by the Hicks family since 1951, and it's clear that they know how to show guests a good time.

At Mayan Ranch, your day starts with a trail ride that leaves promptly at 8:00 am. Don't worry if you're not an experienced rider – the cowboys are on hand to help you find the perfect horse for you. After about a thirty-minute ride, you'll arrive at the chuck wagon, where a full cowboy breakfast awaits. Feast on biscuits, bacon, potatoes, eggs, beans, and sausage, and fuel up for a day of activities that will help you burn off those calories.

There's something for everyone at Mayan Ranch, whether you're a fan of water volleyball, cornhole tournaments, or egg toss. Cowboy Olympics, checkers, cards, cowboy hat toss, and Western bingo are just a few of the other activities on offer. If you prefer to cool off in the water, head down to the Medina River for hours of refreshing fun. Alternatively, take a dip in the Texas-sized swimming pool or try your hand at fishing, tennis, or basketball.

If you've always wanted to learn how to rope, you're in luck – world champion trick roper Kevin Fitzpatrick offers roping lessons for all ages. And for the little ones, there are daily lessons to learn to love and respect horses. Special events for children include dinosaur track hikes and a weekly BB gun shooting contest.

Each evening at Mayan Ranch has its own theme and fun events. Meet in the pavilion for pre-dinner

entertainment – perhaps Fitzpatrick the roper will rope your kids! Fiesta a la Maya is a camp favorite, thanks to the delicious enchiladas they offer. And, of course, there's plenty of meat, including Texassized steaks, BBQ plates, pork, ribs, chicken, sausage, smoked turkey, and all the fixin’s. You can also enjoy complimentary beer and wine daily in the pavilion while watching the free-roaming peacocks.

On several evenings, you'll take a short jaunt to a part of the ranch called "Hicksville." Here, you'll find the Mayan Carnival, which includes games, popcorn, animal rides, live music, and more. Relax under the stately oak trees as you enjoy steak and chicken kabobs and sizzling corn on the cob. And if you don't feel like walking or driving, grab a seat on the hayride and see plenty of deer on the way to dinner.

Throughout your stay at Mayan Ranch, you'll get to know the Hicks family and their extended family. The Mighty Mayan Players perform "Mayan Music," a comedy show that spoofs classic songs and encourages guest participation. You might even be the butt of a joke! And don't miss the chance to take a photo with a longhorn, as Longhorn man arrives with his steer for the ultimate Texas photo opp.


At Mayan Ranch, family values are emphasized along with sportsmanship and a focus on Christian values. Whether you're playing Western bingo or relaxing on a hayride, you'll have plenty of opportunities to bond with your loved ones and make memories that will last a lifetime. With 60 individual cottages and allinclusive packages that include food, beer, and wine, Mayan Ranch is the perfect place to unwind, relax, and spend quality time with your family.

It's no surprise that holidays book years in advance at Mayan Ranch. So why not give the friendly staff a call today and see if there is room for you to park your horse? Visit for more information.

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story by Elisa Irish photos by Carlos Roberto Nevarez

Food trucks have truly revolutionized the culinary landscape, providing convenience, creativity, and creative delights to street corners, festivals, and events worldwide. These kitchens on wheels offer a unique dining experience that transcends traditional restaurant dining, drawing in foodies with their delicious menus and vibrant atmospheres.

Why are food trucks so captivating one might ask? The appeal lies not only in the delicious food being served, but also in the sense of discovery and adventure they can evoke. Food trucks can expand one’s taste buds with a richly diverse range of cuisines and flavors. Each truck differs and offers a fresh and exciting menu that will alter with the seasons or even on the daily. This dynamic nature entices customers to keep coming back for more with an eagerness to try new dishes and savor authentic, familiar favorites.

Houston, Texas is home to many amazing urban food trucks, having one of the most distinguished food truck scenes in the world. Nevertheless, some people may not know about them or realize where they are located. That is why Inside Houston has compiled a list of our Top 8 favorite food trucks (in no particular order) around town so that you can go try them on your own food truck frenzy.


Combine the thrill of sweet and savory by brunching it up at the Brunch Bus. It features hearty, scrumptious dishes including chicken and waffles, honey biscuits, and grits. The brunch entrees are also hard to beat. Some customer favorites are the “Bayou”, which is fried chicken topped with a red velvet waffle and the “Bourbon”, which is a ginormous portion of both fried catfish and crawfish etouffee over grits.

The Brunch Bus is always on the move, so the locations and hours are posted weekly on their Instagram (@the.brunchbus).


Calling all cheesesteak lovers! Jody Grills Cheesesteaks are heaven between two slices of bread. The steak sandwiches are made with quality and quantity, stuffed with so much meat and priced at only $9. To top off your cheesesteaks, this food truck has mouthwatering fried cheese sticks or traditional French fries. If you aren’t in the mood for a cheesesteak, grab a fantastic burger or chicken sandwich. The customer service and hospitality are top-notch because Mr. Jody capitalizes on the power that food has to unite people.

Jody Grills Cheesesteaks is located at 1914 N Gessner Road, Houston, TX 77080. The hours are Monday through Thursday 11:30am-9:00pm, Friday through Saturday 11:00am-9:00pm. It is closed on Sundays.


If you are a true Texan, it’s inevitable that you crave tacos. Thankfully, Texas is home to some of the most eclectic offerings of flavorful, fusion tacos. And while there are many places to get your taco fix, Tacos Tierra Caliente serves some of the best traditional tacos in town. With corn tortillas, scrumptious marinated meats, and fresh homemade salsas, you are sure to leave satisfied. Your tacos will be piled high with your choice of meat, ranging from chicken to barbacoa to even beef tongue.

Tacos Tierra Caliente is permanently situated outside of West Alabama Icehouse and located at 2003 W Alabama St, Houston, TX 77098. The hours are Sunday through Thursday 7:30 AM - 10:00 PM, Friday through Saturday 7:30 AM - 11:00 PM.



Fries do not just have to be something you get as a side to your main course. Heck, they can be your whole entire meal. The Fry Guys would have to agree. Voted one of the best food trucks in 2022 and winning the Black Plate Award for being the best food truck in the city, this food truck is delectable. They specialize in homemade French fries topped off with delicious toppings and they even have vegan options available. The featured item on their menu is the loaded fries, with almost every type of flavor a foodie could imagine. Made with fresh ingredients and seasoned well, these fries are sure to be some of the best you have ever tasted.

The Fry Guys is located at 8586 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77063. The hours are Tuesday through Wednesday 11:00 AM- 9:00 PM, Thursday 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM, Friday through Saturday 11:00 AM - 1:00 AM, Sunday 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM. It is closed on Mondays.


Established in 2015 and now one of Houston’s most popular food trucks, Chitalian Pizzeria brings a taste of Chicago to Houston by serving authentic Chicago-style pizza. The name Chitalian comes from the combination of Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza and perfected crispy, thin crust with party cut pies, hand-tossed in Italian tradition. A must-try dish is “Chitalian’s Own”, a specialty pie that delivers both spicy and sweet flavors and is topped with jalapeños, Italian sausage, and pineapple. Indulge in a world of cheesy goodness, your tastebuds will be thanking you later.

Chitalian Pizzeria is located at 3323 B Cypress Creek Pkwy, Houston, TX 77068. The hours are Sunday through Wednesday 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM, Thursday through Saturday 11:00 AM - 12:00 AM.


For all Cajun food lovers, Stick Talk Cajun-Hibachi is a unique fusion of Japanese hibachi and a Cajun cuisine. This food truck truly reflects Houston’s unique blend of cultures. Its portion sizes are substantial, with combo plates that consist of shrimp, crawfish, lobster, rib-eye, chicken, fried rice, and veggies. Stick Talk has mouthwatering sauces that complete every bowl, such as the creamy yum yum sauce or the spicy sweet heat sauce. To quench their customers’ thirst, Stick Talk has flavorful drinks including lemonades, slushies, punches, margaritas, and more. This food truck knows late night cravings are all too real, so it stays open late on the weekends until 3:00 AM which is a huge bonus.

Stick Talk Cajun-Hibachi is located at 5819 Richmond Ave. Houston, TX 77057. The hours are Monday through Thursday 11AM - 12AM, Friday through Sunday 11AM - 3AM.



Satisfaction in the great state of Texas can come in a small package, specifically in the form of bite size sandwiches and burgers. That is why, in 2017, Chef Orlando established the Southern Slider Company of Texas. This family-owned, Houston mobile food truck has an energetic vibe as it offers a large menu of highquality, reasonably priced beef, chicken, or vegan patty sliders. These sliders are topped with only the freshest quality ingredients and served with a side of southern hospitality. Chef Orlando has been grilling for over 20 years and finally decided to bring his secret slider recipes to the streets of Houston through his food truck. He picked up some skills firsthand from lots of years in the hospitality industry and by graduating from the Art Institute of Houston with a culinary degree. Representing Texas with all the southern flavors by providing simple, yet fun food, the Southern Slider Company of Texas continues to raise the Texas standard of deliciousness to a whole new level. A good burger is a man’s guilty pleasure, and this is a burger you must try.

Southern Slider Company of Texas is mobile, so follow him on Instagram (@southernslidercotx) for updated locations or search for it on the website “Street Food Finder”. The hours are Sunday through Saturday 12:00 PM - 11:00 PM.


They say everything is bigger and better in Texas, and by that they absolutely mean the mind-blowing Texas Barbeque. Sweet, spicy, and saucy meats are a specialty here in Texas, especially at Pit King BBQ . Dennis Cerf Jr. is the owner of this food truck and has a deep love for cooking. He specializes in low and slow smoked premium cuts of meats and homemade side dishes. Serving up barbeque of the highest kingly stature in Houston is not an easy feat, but with a big menu and big portion sizes, Pit King BBQ can guarantee that your appetite is sure to be big time satisfied. Each savory meat is put through the fire to create a smoky taste. From tender beef brisket and fall off the bone ribs to mouthwatering chicken, sausage, and pulled pork, they are cooked to perfection. Just slather them up in homemade BBQ sauce and you are doing it the Texan way.

Pit King BBQ is located at 16540 Kuykendahl Rd. Houston, TX 77068. The hours are Wednesday through Saturday 11:00-8:00 PM.

All of these food trucks listed embody the essence of culinary adventure, offering a delightful combination of flavor, creativity, and community. Whether you are grabbing a quick bite to eat on your lunch break or indulging in an evening of exploring various street foods, the excitement of food trucks lies in their ability to surprise and satisfy individuals’ appetites for both good food and good fun.

Inside Houston encourages you to let your mind be transformed in the way you think about dining out by these mobile restaurants and let these gourmet dishes capture your taste buds. We hope that you will delve into the exciting world of food trucks and give these a try!




Crawfish holds a place in the seafood lover’s heart. The popular mudbug is usually correlated with Louisianan cuisine. However, Houstonians adopted the cuisine and it has become a favorite.

The crawfish craze started in Port Arthur and eventually made its way to Houston. In the 90s, crabs were one of the most popular seafood in Houston, but the cost for crab increased. As a result, crawfish became an economically efficient and delicious replacement. That’s when crawfish sales skyrocketed and became one of the most popular seafood.


Some of Houston’s top spots for crawfish are BB's Tex Orleans, Ragin’ Cajun Crawfish, Boil House, LA Crawfish Co., and The Pit Room.

BB’s Tex Orleans brings an authentic taste of Louisiana to Texas. Here you can enjoy awardwinning crawfish po boys as well. The bread on these delicious po boys is shipped straight from New Orleans!

Established in 1974, Ragin’ Cajun Crawfish was the first cajun restaurant in Houston. The original owner and his son continue to serve families across Houston. Here you can enjoy delicious cajun-style crawfish.

Boil House in Houston offers crawfish for dine-in or to-go. Their crawfish is shipped daily, so freshness is never questioned at Boil House. The owners opened the restaurant because one of their favorite childhood memories growing up in Louisiana was attending crawfish boils. Now, they serve Houstonians perfectly seasoned crawfish that mirrors the dish that they grew up with.

LA Crawfish Co. is the oldest crawfish shipper in Houston. Their live deliveries have made a name for them and they can be utilized for the most fun crawfish boils that the whole family will enjoy.

The Pit Room BBQ joint offers delicious crawfish dining options at their bar from Thursday through Sunday. Here you can order many incredible side dishes to pair with the crawfish. They also offer various sizes for crawfish platters, such as a single serving or family size.

Whether you’re a crawfish foodie or haven’t tried it yet, Houston has many options for you.


Family Escape in the Rockies


As a travel writer, I rarely return to the same location. There are just too many places to visit and oh so little time. However, the opportunity arose to return to Vista Verde Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. I jumped at the chance. With the pandemic in our rear-view mirror, the simplicity and escape provided by this dreamy location is appreciated now more than ever. I highly recommend this property as the family vacation, couple’s escape, or honeymoon.

This family-owned ranch sits on 540 acres of pristine Colorado heaven and is surrounded by the 1.1 million-acre Routt National Forest. The view of the mountains as you drive from the airport will immediately reduce your stress. Since the founding in the 1900s, each owner has expanded and upgraded the offerings. Today, this luxury guest lodge is one of the country’s best dude ranches as evidenced by these awards: Triple A Four Diamond Award, Trip Advisor certificate of excellence, and Wine Spectator Certificate of Excellence.

Horses make their way from the barn to the pasture at 3:30 daily. From the main lodge, you can watch as these beautiful black, white, and brown creatures meander their way to hay and sweet alfalfa; a scene that never gets old. Soon after, you’ll see a trailer load of “volunteers” who push the hay off the trailer and into the pasture. Take time to sit by the fire, make a s’more, enjoy happy hour, and mix and mingle with the staff and other guests. Regale your stories from the day as you look to tomorrow.

While you are relaxing, it’s time to plan the next day. Every day is an adventure, and each guest has the choice of two activities per day. Here are some of the standouts:



Like a scene from the movie Grumpy Old Men, you too can ice fish on Steamboat Lake. Join a skilled guide on an adventure at Steamboat Lake State Park. Find the perfect location, pop a tent if the weather demands it, drill a hole, and start to fish. All fishermen know patience is a virtue and you just might be lucky enough to spot a bald eagle and catch some trout.


Horses are the stars here and each day, you can join a group as you tour the property and enjoy the scenic mountain views.


Those who want to learn more about horses or take their skills to the next level will enjoy the classes here. Many guests return year after year and become quite skilled.


Yes, the ranch has its own tubing hill and you can take as many runs as you wish.


Jump on a trailer full of hay and head over to the pasture where the horses are waiting to be fed. You are in the middle of all the action as you toss a dinner of hay and alfalfa to the heard.

In the summer, the activities change to warm weather fun, and all are weather dependent and change due to varying conditions. You can also enjoy beer tastings, cooking classes, a photography workshop, and leatherworking.


Vista Verde is a culinary destination, and the intimate dining room is where the magic happens. Breakfast is a sit-down feast overflowing with omelets, pancakes, avocado toast, waffles, and a wonderful sticky bun cinnamon roll. Lunch is a buffet: bar-b-que, upscale sandwiches, and pastas are typically on the lunch menu. Speaking of sandwiches, how does a croque madame (ham and cheese) topped with a fried egg sound? Or perhaps you’ll enjoy the Saturday lunch: shepherd’s pie, chicken pot pie, or New England lobster roll. After a long day on the ranch, dinner is a highlight. “Formal night” is code for three course meal. Iberico bacon was a treat to see on the menu. The night we dined, it was part of the truffle, scallop appetizer. Entrees such as rack of lamb, red fish and airline chicken are all offered with an expert wine pairing. The finest ingredients are served here and you’re likely to find items like organic vegetables, hormone and antibiotic-free beef, pork, chicken, and fish from both coasts.

There are various accommodations to fit most groups, individuals, and families. Choose from 12 private cabins or three lodge rooms. The rooms are stylishly ranch-chic and designed with luxury in mind. We were lucky enough to stay in the Lost Ranger, an actual house with full kitchen, stocked refrigerator, and washer and dryer. The best part of our house was the view of the pasture. Watching the horses come in, eat, and sleep just offers the perfect sense of peace.

You’ll feel right at home here with the friendly staff who treat you like family. Whether you are a horseperson, or first time rider, this ranch is the perfect place to hone your skills. And feel free to spend a little too much time on your balcony in the jacuzzi!




MARCH 23-24 2024

10 AM TO 6 PM



n 250 National & International Artists

n 19 Disciplines of Art

n Live Music & Entertainment

n Active Imagination Zone

n Frost Bank VIP Hospitality Lounge

n Art Installations & Exhibits

n Food Truck Park

n Craft Beer Garden

n Culinary Arts Stage



Magic in Colorado Springs

Garden of the Gods offers new wellness options


When Texan Al Hill saw the magnificent view, he knew he’d found his paradise. He and his wife founded Garden of the Gods Resort and Club in 1949. Today, owners Brenda Smith and Judy Mackey continue to share the breathtaking vista with the world.

Perched atop a mesa in Colorado Springs, the newly renovated Garden of the Gods Resort and Club is a premier retreat offering a world-class resort and wellness experience with an array of amenities including: championship golf and tennis, pickleball courts, an award-winning med spa, three outdoor swimming pools, two hot tubs, and impeccable dining.

It's all about the view at this resort and the Mountain front guest rooms and suites in the resort lodge offer breathtaking views of the Garden of the Gods national landmark. Garden of the Gods Resort and Club is a timeless mid-20th century legacy, blending generational traditions with bespoke culture, that celebrates life well-lived. The red rock sandstone formations set against Pikes Peak have long been revered for their natural beauty. Upon my arrival, the spectacular red rock formations kept changing shades of red, orange, and yellow. I woke to a light snow flurry and the red rocks were lightly dusted in mystical, magical white.

Speaking of a spectacular view, the Grand View Restaurant serves globally inspired food with a locally sourced menu. Grand View’s namesake stunning views of Garden of the Gods can be admired through floorto-ceiling windows, offering a dining experience enriched and enveloped by nature. Weekend brunch is a treat.


New ownership has led to a reimagined view of wellness. With this new outlook, Strata Med at Garden of the Gods Resort and Club is comprised of a 10,000 square foot medical center, 10,000 square foot spa, and 11,000 square foot event center for fitness and cooking demonstrations, educational lectures, and more. According to Tania McCorkle, director of wellness, the focus here is to find a healthy path to wellness.

Like the layers of a rock formation, the staff here helps you look for the root cause of your problems. Strata redefines patient care by integrating the personalized focus of concierge medicine with the

holistic approach of integrative and functional medicine. Strata Med offers memberships tailored for those seeking an integrated and holistic approach to health and wellbeing. Concierge Medicine Memberships represent a new era of personalized healthcare and unparalleled access to a comprehensive range of health services, both in-person and virtually. There are four available memberships: Women’s Lifestyle, Cardiology, Men’s Lifestyle, and Premium VIP. Put Garden of the Gods on the top of your vacation list because it is a must visit!

See for more information.


“Bring the bling” & dress in pink for a champagne lunch that will include: Six Bingo games with fabulous prizes

Amazing luxury silent auction items

Delicious cuisine courtesy of renowned Chef Bryan Caswell

Emcee Sarah Pepper from The Mix 96.5 will call the bingo games

Monkee's of Houston presents Spring fashions with raffle to win Chairs Lori and Martin Shellist PostScript HTX 2800 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX 77098

Tables: $2500-$20,000

Individual Tickets: $250

For tickets and sponsorships visit:

Join The Pink Bows Foundation Friday, April 19, 2024 10:30 Doors Open 12:00 Luncheon



This evening was inspired by The Succulent Bar’s unique, interactive party favor. As soon as we knew we would offer succulents, the garden party theme sprouted. Greens and golds with a pop of red set the stage for an electrifying evening. The surprise hit was the “champagne wall.”

Simply ring the bell and champagne appears! Savory food, a dessert bar, and mirror photobooth created an atmosphere of fun.

Story by Laurette Veres Images by Ivan Garcia Studios Drink Wall by Beyond the Boxwood Styling by Nealisha French and Karen Garcia Dessert Table by Nealisha French


Whether it’s celebrating your best friends or your Valentine, giving chocolate covered strawberries can be such a fun and unique treat. The only thing better than giving chocolate covered strawberries is giving homemade chocolate covered strawberries!

Here is our favorite delicious and surprisingly quick recipe for decadent and rich chocolate covered strawberries:

Ingredients: Strawberries, melting chocolate (white and/or milk/dark chocolate), sprinkles and toppings, fork, plate, and parchment paper.


1. Wash and rinse your strawberries. Set aside in a bowl to dry while you begin to prepare your chocolate.

2. Take the top wrapper off of your melting chocolate(s). Place in the microwave and set it for 10 second increments. Be sure to take out the chocolate, stir in between each increment so as to not burn the chocolate, and make sure that it is melted all the way through.

3. Place parchment paper over a plate to place the strawberries on so that they won’t stick to the plate.

4. Take the strawberry leaves and use them to dip the strawberries into the chocolate. Once coated generously, place on the parchment paper.

5. When the strawberries are coated in chocolate, feel free to decorate them as you please! Coat them in sprinkles or drizzle excess chocolate over the berries using the fork.

6. Place in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes or however long you desire.

7. Enjoy!

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