Karaoke change up with a live band to back you up

karoke-at-the-alley-kat-4Your heart’s pumping, the music is thumping and it’s time for your moment in the spotlight!! Nope you are not really a star but for a couple of minutes when your song is up in karaoke, with a live band backing you up, you sure may feel like one.  I will never claim to be a great singer, but with karaoke being a cherished holiday past time for my family I have learned to perform and make the most of my karaoke selection.  On a random Friday night I wandered unto karaoke at The Alley Kat Bar with a twist!  As opposed to playing to recorded music, you get the chance to sing your karaoke with a live band, making the experience all more surreal.

Karaoke with a live band may not seem like much different than regular karaoke or even from the shower concert that you might put on every morning. This, however, does not give credit to the feel, timing, and even back up that a live band provides.  When I needed it they tried to harmonize, when I missed words they were there to pick me up, and just the natural feeling of getting amped up by musicians perhaps far more talented than you provides an extra boost of confidence that allows you to really hop into your karaoke character!

karoke-at-the-alley-kat-2 karoke-at-the-alley-kat-1 karoke-at-the-alley-kat-3karoke-at-the-alley-kat-liquid-courageSo regular me was lost for a moment, as the band began to play and the words began to stream upward I channeled my shower voice and my mirror dance moves and began to belt out the Eurthrmnics. Oh yes, Sweet Dreams were made of me once I got rolling and to the amusement or delight of the crowd I settled into an awesome night of fun.  Funny thing how much music came connect you with others and even yourself and as I wound down my time in the spotlight I realized that with the band included karaoke would never be the same.

Sunday Brunch at Weights and Measures

IMG_0454What better way on a beautiful Sunday in Midtown Houston, to kick off your R & R than a great brunch? Ask and you shall receive when you head over to Caroline St. and visit Weights and Measures.  This new restaurant combines an eclectic kitchen, with a vibrant bar, and a bakeshop to deliver on the hard to attain claim to fame something for everyone.

IMG_0455 IMG_0443As usual I was a little backwards and ended up coming in through the back patio.  Although this confusion did not deliver me to the hostess, it did let me make instant contact with the bar.  Filled with fun bartenders and eclectic recipes this restaurant pours up more than great drinks, they are giving fun in a bottle.  First with the Smallest Room and then with their take on the Bellini you can quickly tell their attention to detail and passion for mixology.  The Smallest Room takes bourbon for a spin by adding their own maple favoring while the Bellini gives the traditional Bellini flavor in a fun new twist that is more like a Bellini snow cone.  Amanda and the other bar staff take the drinks way more serious than they take themselves, making the drinks and the mood light and easy.

Once we took our seats outside we were able to enjoy the beautiful day and prepare our stomachs for the feast demanded of us.  To help smooth our stomach pain while we waited we received an assortment of freshly baked bread with butter and jam.  Honestly it was so good it could have been my meal.  For the main course, while my friends went with some of their egg sandwich variations I opted for something new and tried their Donuts and Fried Chicken. The egg sandwiches were the winners in this rounded each delivering on the delicate balance of toasted bread, smoky bacon, and fried eggs.  By adding mushrooms or house made sauces to the different sandwiches the taste packed entirely different punches despite being built on the same foundation.

IMG_0448 IMG_0447Once the food is devoured and drinks are a wrap you still can walk out with your head held high of avoiding gluttony by taking your desert to go.  My friend walked in and immediately tempted me with her sighting of cookies “as big as her head”.  Fresh backed baked goods are always a favorite for me and with tastes as good as these the restaurant will have you peaking your head in during the week too to grab your favorites.  With a great mix of eclectic fun and soul Weights and Measures is a great way to step out of the ordinary in Midtown Houston eateries.



The Great Banh Mi Cookoff Recap

The Great Banh Mi cookoff photobooth funWhen I was first introduced to the Bánh mìsandwich by a co-worker I thought that a sandwich with carrots, cilantro and cucumbers was a strange mix. At first bite, however, there was no words for the deliciousness.  Honestly it was because I was busy stuffing my face but once I took a break for air I realized it was love at first bite.  The Bánh mìis a foodie’s delight as this Vietnamese staple’s followers are spreading like wildfire in Houston and shops popping up all over. With a great mix of fresh baked bread, veggies, and herbs giving it a great freshness and even jalapenos to add a little kick this quick eat offers a little bit of action to almost any palette. The Great Banh Mi cookoff (2)

The First Annual Bánh mìCookoff celebrated all things Bánh mìin a challenge to some of the best restaurants and chefs in Houston on how could make the best twist to this beloved sandwich. The Cook Off was the brainchild of BPSOS as a fundraising event but also as a way to share in the comradery and culture in celebrating something that is universal… A love for great food!   Throughout the event you had a great opportunity to sample the sandwich with different twists from the traditional to the gourmet and even to the big Texas version.  Each competitor specially finding a way to highlight their meat ingredient with their own take on the simple sandwich.  Combinations went in all directions, from pork with a pork rinds crunch, to seared Tuna and even to slow cooked brisket, the sandwich was completely reimagined and celebrated through the cook off. The Great Banh Mi cookoff (1) The Great Banh Mi cookoff (4)

The Great Banh Mi cookoff (3)Outside the awesome food, even a rainy day and a venue change could not cast a cloud over such a festive event for such an awesome cause. From the coffee samples to the great music from 97.9 the Box to a photo booth that ensured smiles filled the room the event emphasized the sharing and caring that makes every community special.  At the end of the day R&D BBQ went away as winners and as a great reminder that in this melting pot we call America there is always room to mix things up and honor tradition at the same time.  If you are interested in learning more about BPSOS check them out at www.bpsos.org.  All of the fun for me was possible due to an invite from the great judge and food critic Renia Butler.  Check out her blog Gristle and Gossip for more highlights of great eats and awesome events!The Great Banh Mi cookoff winners R and BBQ The Great Banh Mi cookoff (6)



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