Cool Bus Houston Crawfish Crawl!

On Saturday, April 28th, we hosted our first ever Houston Crawfish Crawl as we visited 5 top spots that are usually on everyone's list when it comes to "Best Crawfish in Houston".  Each place had it's own unique flavor and offered something the other one didn't.  You really can't go wrong at any of these places,  Below is our recap of each stop, so sit back and enjoy the "ride"...get it?!  Because of the Cool Bus ☺   

1.       The Boot – We started our trip by meeting at The Boot when they opened at 11am.  Needless to say, we didn’t have any issues getting a table as we had our pick of the place haha!  The crawfish had a good taste and they were a large size…think tiny lobsters. They were cooked Cajun style which meant they didn’t have a bunch of spices or additional seasonings on the outside.  They soak in the seasonings in the water allowing for the spices to get in to the crawfish. You will hear about Viet-Cajun crawfish in the next few stops. The spice level did leave our lips burning for a while after we were done.  There is also a 2lb minimum on their orders FYI. - www.thecajunboot.com - 1206 W. 20th St, Houston, TX 77008

2.       Hanks Cajun Crawfish – Next stop was Hank’s Cajun Crawfish in Chinatown.   This is one of my favorite places! They have 5 flavors – Mild, Medium, Spicy, X-Spicy and New Orleans Spicy.   We ordered X-Spicy and Mild for the table. The mild is a good taste with a small, subtle kick, but the X-Spicy is where it’s at!  The spice is a slow burn as it doesn’t really kick in till crawfish number 8-10. It will definitely make you sweat and your nose run, so get the napkins ready!  Our lips were definitely burning by the end! Highly recommend to order a side of garlic bread with your order so you can soak up the juices at the bottom of the tray.   The venue is pretty small (can only accommodate approx. 40-50 people) so be prepared to wait if you decide to go on a Friday or Saturday night. hankscajuncrawfish.com - 10800 Bellaire Blvd G, Houston, TX 77072

3.       LA Crawfish Shack – Our 3rd stop was another popular crawfish stop in Houston, LA Crawfish Shack located at Harwin and Gessner.  This venue was definitely bigger than Hanks, but the crawfish were noticeably smaller. They offered multiple flavors and spice levels.  We went with the spicy lemon pepper, spicy cajun and mild traditional. Of the 3 flavors + spice combos we got, we all agreed that the spicy lemon pepper was the best.  They made us sweat and gave us all a runny nose too. There was a pretty thick sauce on top of the crawfish, most likely from tossing them in seasonings post cooking.  lacrawfishshack.com - 5858 S. Gessner, Houston, TX 77036

4.       LA Crawfish - We ventured over to the corner of Richmond & Weslayan for stop #4 at LA Crawfish – no relation to LA Crawfish Shack…at least I don’t think so.  LA Crawfish serves viet-cajun crawfish. This is a relatively new style that has been taking over Houston and has a different flavor than the normal Cajun style you might be used to at your neighborhood backyard crawfish boil.   Viet-Cajun crawfish have spices and herbs added after the actual boil. Each restaurant has it’s own unique recipe but most places use melted butter, A LOT of garlic, cayenne pepper and other Asian ingredients like ginger and lemongrass. We ordered the 3 flavors that are offered – Garlic Butter, Cajun Run and Hot & Sour.  We all thought that the Garlic Butter flavor was the best of the 3 flavors. Overall we thought they had the best offering of the restaurants thus far, granted they weren’t the spiciest, but still a good burn on your lips.  thelacrawfish.com - 3957 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77027

5.       BB’s Café Houston Heights – Our final stop was one of the most popular places in Houston to get crawfish – BB’s Café on White Oak Dr in the Heights.  This place is always full and definitely be expected to wait for a table if you want to dine on Saturday night or Sunday afternoon during crawfish season.  Their crawfish are some of the best in Houston and they didn’t disappoint when we showed up. The crawfish were large in size and had great flavor, but they were even better if, after you peeled them, you dipped the meat in the sauce at the bottom of the tray.   If that didn’t do it for you, they also offer multiple types of dipping sauces.  bbscafe.com2701 White Oak Dr, Houston, TX 77009

Giving Back at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo

On Friday, March 24th, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo held the Annual Junior Market Barrow Auction at NRG Arena.  The annual auction is one of seven auctions that the Houston Livestock Show hosts that totaled over $15 million in sales in 2017.  The money raised at the auction helped award over $14 Million in scholarships to Texas high school graduates. 

Cool Bus Houston participated in the Annual Junior Market Barrow Auction for the first time in our first year of operation.  This was an event that we were looking forward to for some time.  We want to ingrain ourselves in the city of Houston and give back to the community that has already given us so much. 

Now we didn’t get to purchase the Grand Champion Barrow that went for a world record $212,000 this year, but we were part of a group that raised over $6,000 toward our purchase of Lot 39.  That was Lot 39 out of over 600 lots. 

Here we are pictured with our buying group (The 1500 Club) and the young lady in the middle holding the bronze bowlegged “H” trophy, was the one who raised and showed the pig that we wound up buying.

Cool Bus Houston - HLSR Swine Auction

While we are constantly working on growing our business and trying to book more parties, we will always have time to give back to Houston and especially the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. 

For those that don’t know a lot about the “The world’s largest celebration of agriculture, education, entertainment and Western heritage”, the 85th annual Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo drew a record-breaking 2,611,176 visitors during the 3 week span from March 7 – 26, 2017.  Over 33,000 volunteers take time out of their day year-round to help ensure that the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo is a world-class entertainment experience.

Big Review TV visits Cool Bus Houston!

We reserved Cinco de Mayo, Friday, May 5th, for our filming session with Big Review TV, an online TV series that features the greatest places to shop, eat, stay and play.   Big Review TV was filming various aspects of Houston and thought that Cool Bus Houston would be a great addition to the overall video.  They said that the feature on us would only last about 1-2 min in their 15-20 minute video.  The film crew thought it would be a good idea to ride with on the bus during a normal night out on Cool Bus Houston as we bar-hopped around the city.  So not to intrude on a customer’s party, I enlisted the help of a handful of friends, whom I knew would show the film crew a good time.

Before we met up with the group of friends, the film crew asked if they could do an interview with me, so I met them at a location in downtown Houston that had a great backdrop of the skyline.  This was also the same location that we filmed the time lapse for the promo video last July.  

After a brief interview, we picked up our partying volunteers and hit the road.  For the first hour or so, we just drove around hot spots in Houston like The Heights, Washington Ave, Downtown Houston and Midtown.  We finally made our first stop, and only, stop at Bovine & Barley which has a very cool lit up “HTX” on the wall. 

After a few drinks for the group inside, we loaded the bus back up and made a few passes around a block so the film crew could get some outside shots of the bus passing through downtown. 

After about another hour or so of driving around, we dropped the film crew back off at their vehicles and eventually the rest of the party group. 

The feedback I got from the film crew over the next few days was great!  They said that the footage they shot was just what they were looking for and that they thought it would be a great addition to their Houston feature. 

I can’t wait to see it!

Cool Bus Houston - Houston Party Bus

Its Wedding Season!!!

As Spring in Texas arrives, wedding season is upon us! 

Not only can Cool Bus Houston take you from bar to bar or brewery to brewery, but we can provide transportation for your wedding day in a very unique party bus!  

We can do this in a number of ways!  Here are just a few ideas:

1.  Bridal Party Transportation:  We arranged transportation for the Bride and her bridesmaids only from their house in Rice Military to their wedding venue at Ashton Gardens.  All of the girls got their hair and makeup done at their house beforehand.  When we picked them up, they boarded the bus wearing their "pre-game" attire of flannel shirts and yoga pants and carried their dresses on hangers in plastic bags to not get dirtied.  They were able to hang their dresses from the handrails across the ceiling of the bus so they wouldn't get wrinkled.  Once on board, the crew enjoyed a glass of champagne while jamming out to some of their favorite party tunes.  The venue was roughly 30 minutes away from the house, which was just enough time to relax before things got crazy with the ceremony and reception.  

Cool Bus Houston Bridal Party Transportation

2.  Wedding Party Transportation:  We met the wedding party (minus for the Bride) at the Lakeside Country Club and transported them Memorial Drive United Methodist Church.   The Bride arranged for her own transportation to the church so that she and the groom wouldn't see each other before she walked down the aisle.  We waited in the parking lot until the ceremony was over and picked up the full wedding party (Bride included!) for transportation back to Lakeside Country Club to kick off the celebration!  

These are just a couple of options that we have done to give you some ideas.  However, Cool Bus Houston can customize a wedding package to suit all of your needs! 

Cool Bus Houston at the Bridal Extravaganza!

2017 started off with a very busy weekend as we had our first experience set up at the Bridal Extravaganza, but definitely not our last! 

This was a good way to see just how beneficial a trade show like this could be for our business as well as a way to directly see the return on our financial investment to reserve a space and decorate our booth.

The Bridal Extravaganza was held Saturday, January 6th and Sunday, January 7th at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Downtown Houston, TX.  Over 10,000 Brides and their entourages attended the event and it felt like just about every one of them stopped by our booth! 

Cool Bus Houston at the Bridal Extravaganza in Houston, TX

As you can see we had the Cool Bus set up with a couple of tables in front.  One with a "Register to Win a FREE Ride" and the other with a TV with our promo video (Click HERE to watch it again!) running on a loop.  

It was an awesome & fun experience being able to meet and interact with so many people!  People always say that it doesn't feel like when you love what you are doing, and that couldnt be more true for me after this weekend.   Where it might have felt like work to stand for 6+ hours each day, on a weekend, and talk to people, for me, I don't think I ever got tired of talking to people.  I was so excited to talk about the bus and the services we offered.  I was even more excited to see them actually get on board the bus and watch and hear their reactions.   

Throughout each day, we snapped quite a few pictures of the guests in front of the bus and with our fancy Instagram frame that we made especially for this event.  Check them out below...

A few brides definitely had their acts together and knew exactly what they wanted as their wedding was only a few months away.  Other brides seemed like they were getting "Information Overload" as they were still in the early stages of their wedding planning.   The closest wedding we had was literally 2 weeks away on 1/21/17.  The wedding that was the furthest away was set for October 2019!!!

When it was all said and done we collected over 1,400 email addresses!  Even more importantly, we have booked 4 rides to-date and are in negotiation with a few more customers!   

The Bridal Extravaganza was a fun & eye-opening experience that I am very anxious to participate in again!  Can't Wait! 

 

December was a good month

After the 3 rides in 3 days, things didnt slow down.  I completed 3 more rides through the rest of the month of December and all were successful.  

The first was Friday, December 16th for an Ugly Christmas Sweater & Christmas Lights Tour of Houston.  I picked up the group of 14 out in Katy and we started by stopping by one of the more intricate Christmas Lights setups in town.  The house was off of Pin Oak and has now celebrated 10 years of synchronized lights around their house.  In fact, the whole block participates in the synchronized lights! 

After we drove around Katy, we made our way to dinner at El Tiempo on Richmond Ave.  Once dinner was finished we visited the River Oaks area to look at more Christmas lights.  River Oaks is  known for their extravagant displays and is a must if you want to view Christmas Lights in Houston, TX. 

About an hour later, it was time for some bar hopping!  We visited Clutch & Kung Fu Saloon on Washington Ave as well as Irish Cowboy in Midtown.  

Our final stops were in The Heights as we took in some of the lights in that area before we made a quick pit stop at Little Woodrows.  Finally we called it a night and wrapped up by 1:45am.  I think I finally got the bus back by 2:45am.  

For those looking to check out Christmas Lights, I would recommend this site - http://www.houstononthecheap.com/best-christmas-lights-in-houston.

Our next ride was on Thursday, December 22nd, as we continued the Ugly Sweater theme.  We picked everyone up at the Club Quarters Hotel in Downtown Houston before venturing to Chuy's Mexican Restaurant.  After dinner we went back through River Oaks to look at Christmas Lights and cruise around.  

We wound up going to the Gingerman in Rice Village and following it up by going to Clutch on Washington Ave.  The group didnt stay too long there before they wanted to go ahead and head back to their hotel and call it a night.  We ended the night around 12:30pm.  

Our 3rd and final ride of December came on Friday, December 30th.  This was for Windsor's 30th Birthday Party in Galveston, TX.  We picked the group up around 9:45pm and made our 1st stop at the Tremont Rooftop Bar.  After about an hour, we picked the group up, drove up and down the seawall for about 30 minutes before heading back to The Strand and making our 2nd stop at Yaga's.  

The night ended at Bubba's Sports Bar on Tiki Island before we dropped everyone back off  

Its been a while...

Its been a while and a lot has happened since I last posted.  So lets get started...

Thursday, 9/15/16 - Official launch date of Cool Bus Houston!  This is the day that I finally publicized The Cool Bus and got my name out to the public through all of my social media outlets.  I used the promo video that we filmed back in July and got some great reviews!  To date (11/1), it now has reached 24,265 people and has been viewed over 8.6k times! 

I guess you could say that one negative to being not only the owner of the company, but also the only driver, is that the Cool Bus availability goes with my person availability.  Therefore, the next 3 weekends would not be available for rent as I had already planned on going out of town.  Therefore, the next available weekend to rent out the Cool Bus wouldn't come until October 15th.  

Sunday, 10/9/16 - We spent the afternoon with Alyssa Johnson Conklin and Hickory Lane Photography getting pictures of The Cool Bus in front of landmarks around Houston.  We first hit up NRG Stadium and the Astrodome.  Got a few pictures in front of each and even got some pictures of the Super Bowl LI sign that is counting down the days to the big game in Houston in 2017.  Next we took some pictures in front of Toyota Center and Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston.  We also got some pictures in front of the wall painting "Houston is Inspired" in Market Square.  We finished up our "on-site pictures" by taking a few pictures by The Grove in Discovery Green.  After all of our location-based photograph was complete, Alyssa took a few shots of the interior of the bus and some of the Cool Bus swag that I've had produced (sunglasses, koozies, and women's tank tops).  The pictures turned out great and Alyssa was so great to work with!  

Promo Video Night Out

Tonight we worked with Golden Arm Media out of Austin, TX to film our Cool Bus promotional video and at first glance, I'd have to say it was a success!!!  

We started off by filming a time lapse video with the bus in front of the skyline as the sun was setting over Houston.  We found a great location just outside of downtown on Memorial Pkwy that was perfect!  We did this for about an hour before we went to pick up our "models".  

Cool Bus Houston Video Shoot

We finally arrived at our meeting location by 9:00 PM and were on the road by 9:30 PM after a few shots of the bus pulling up and the group boarding.  We took off around town with the music bumping and lights a flashing.  Our photographer wanted to get some shots outside of the bus as it was driving around town so one of my buddies, Matt Kogler, helped out by driving his car and following the bus around while the photographer got some footage.  

We drove around downtown and decided to drive by Minute Maid Park to get a few shots in front of the ballpark and it just so happened that they were conducting their post game Friday Night Fireworks show after the Houston Astros game.  We were able to get some great shots of the bus driving in front of Minute Maid Park while the fireworks were going off!

After all of our exterior shots of the bus, the photographer boarded the bus and started filming shots of our crew signing and dancing around the bus as we drove through Midtown and Downtown Houston.  As we were waiting on our photographer to get the cameras set up on the bus, our crew made a quick pit stop at the legendary Sunny's Bar.  

Once everyone was back on board and after driving around for about 45 minutes, we made our final stop at Irish Cowboy in Midtown.  As everyone got off the bus, our photographer joined them and was able to get some shots inside the bar as well.  

We finally returned home around 1:30 AM and just when I thought we were finished, the photographer asked to get a few more shots of the interior of the bus with out people in it.  So we went back to our original location of filming the time lapse to finish the last few shots.  

Once it was all said and done, my night ended around 3:30 AM.  I was le tired.  But I am very glad I was finally able get the video filmed and can't wait to see the finished product!