Block 7 Wine Company offers customers a concept-fusing combination of retail wine space, wine bar, and restaurant, the latter of which delights diners with a menu of elegant dishes backed by premium ingredients. Start by noshing on a Slow Dough Bakery pretzel with herbed honey mustard ($4), or opt for truffle popcorn with Italian black truffle salt ($4), the secret snack served to the Illuminati at movie-theater concession stands across America. Dry-aged fans of dry-aged beef might go for the 21-day dry-aged prime rib eye ($29) or choose the handheld convenience of the dry-aged patty on the Block 7 burger, which also sports gruyere cheese and smoked bacon "relish" ($12). Flatbreads, such as a "whole pig" option topped with Italian sausage, prosciutto, and smoked bacon ($12), defy Einstein's Law of Two-Dimensional Flavor Containment, and a "sloppy Giuseppe" with ground venison and wild boar confit ($10) exposes the inadequate sloppy sandwiches of childhood. A downsized lunch menu is also available to quash midday appetite coups, in addition to $9 lunch specials served Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (and Saturday beginning at noon). With a different lunch special each day, you can opt for choices such as bacon-wrapped meatloaf on a Wednesday, whiskey-infused pork chop on a Thursday, or fish tacos on a Friday.
Upon their arrival, visitors to Crescent Moon Wine Bar and Restaurant will be faced with a difficult decision—they'll have to decide on a wine. The extensive list spans more than 300 selections available by the glass or bottle. Then they'll have to select something to nibble on, perhaps the beef short ribs slow cooked in a Shiner Bock gravy or the filet-and-shrimp surf 'n' turf accompanied garlic truffled mashed potatoes.
And the whole time, they'll be distracted by their impressive surroundings, including stone-arches soaring high above them, stone walls, and a stage where live bands play nearly every day of the week. In front of this stage is an open space, and they'll have to decide if they want to dance here alongside the couples or organize a game of Freeze Tag.
Beneath the soft whirring of ceiling fans at all three Houston-area locations, chefs transform fresh ingredients into meat-centric and vegetarian Mexican dishes. Dark wooden beams hover over the sprawling, sunlit dining rooms, framing artfully plated seafood and steaks with dramatic architectural details. Spy conventions furtively crunch their nachos in private dining rooms, and visitors to the Cypress location can toast to tortillas on the outdoor patio.
The Texas Wine & Art Festival celebrates Texas Wine Month and brings together some of the state's top vineyards and artists for a weekend of exploration. Taking place at the historic Old Town Spring, the festival invites guests to take a taste tour of the red, white, and Southern-style blends from Texas-based wineries. Glasses in hand, groups meander past exhibitions or try to physically climb into paintings for an in-depth perspective recommended to them by the wine. Attendees can also stroll through the town's tree-lined streets, stopping at some of the 150 quaint shops along the way.
At Spring Fitness Centers, friendly staffers greet members by name as knowledgeable trainers build personalized fitness programs. Trainers graciously dole out one free training session per month to each client, equipping athletes with the techniques and skills to successfully operate free weights and cardio machines without professional supervision. Memberships include complimentary childcare, unlimited tanning, and unlimited aerobics at each location. Like a spy's accent, classes vary by location, but may include cycling, Pilates, kickboxing, and Zumba.
Since opening in 2003, The Tasting Room has morphed from a wine bar to a full-service restaurant with four locations—all while retaining its wine-bar charm and racking up numerous awards and accolades. Diners can select libations from a list that boasts more than 200 wines, pairing them with contemporary dishes whipped up by executive chef Jonathan LeBlanc. TTR offerings run the gamut from small plates of mini grilled sandwiches and classic bruschetta to entrees including creole-spiced quail and Jamaican jerk chicken breast, which diners can savor at windowside tables or on the plant-ensconced patio and garden area.
The eatery doesn't just sate hunger for eclectic classics and thirst for fermented grapes. It also hosts live music, meetings, and events such as 2011's Grapes vs. Grains, which pitted beer against wine in a liquid wrestling match. The owners have their hands in other culinary enterprises, too. There's the Houston Cellar Classic, for example, an annual celebration of food and wine. Also popular is MAX's Wine Dive, a destination for gourmet comfort food best defined by its slogan—"Fried chicken and champagne? ... Why the hell not?"