Photo courtesy of Hannah Urie

The Target Hunger Sunset Social includes the Drive Out Hunger experience, the opportunity for 108 golfers to participate in a golf experience on the 9-hole course on the premises, East River 9.

Tickets include savory bites from the RiverHouse menu, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, and activities such as pickleball, yard games, kids’ playscape area, golf driving range, and music on the patio.

The Drive Out Hunger experience includes a golf experience with six-person teams in a scramble format through the 9-hole, par-3 course.


3 Houston golf courses score best in the state title by Texas Monthly

who's your caddy

Anyone who swings a Callaway or TaylorMade in Houston knows our fair city usually boasts 12 months for great golfing. No surprise, then, that three of the best golf courses in the Lone Star State are located in the Houston area, according to a new 2023 guide by Texas Monthly.

Texas owns the fifth-most public golf courses in the country, with about 600 tracks spread out throughout the state. With that in mind, the Texas Monthly team traveled thousands of miles to collect their data about the most unique, reasonably-priced, and accessible golf courses in Texas.

The three Houston courses all fit this criteria, while offering some of the best experiences for players of any skill level.

The first golf course on the lists is BlackHorse in Cypress, a 36-hole complex distinctly designed by Jim Hardy and Peter Jacobsen as an appreciation of East Texas' wetlands. The combined space between the South and North Courses add up to nearly 14,500 yards, with the South Course taking the shorter length but compensating with a more challenging design.

Out of the total three dozen holes, Texas Monthly explains the sixteenth and seventeenth holes are the most memorable.

"The former, a short par 4, dares big hitters to drive over a beautiful marsh, and the following par 3 is effectively an island — a wooden bridge just above the waterline takes you from tee box to green," said senior editor Josh Alvarez. "The spectacular wetland landscape and resident waterfowl provide consolation for any splashed shots."

Next on the list is the oldest 18-hole course in Houston – Gus Wortham – which the Monthly says was just "an afterthought" to the city. It was only after locals expressed disagreement over turning the course into a botanical garden that the Houston City Council decided to revamp the course into what it is today.

"Thanks to some TLC over the past six years, Wortham boasts a freshly rebuilt clubhouse, an all-grass driving range, resplendent fairways, and attractive, constantly beguiling greens," the guide said.

What sets this course apart, according to the Monthly, is how it hasn't lost its edginess through the years, even with the city's reinvestment.

Last, but certainly never the least, Memorial Park has had time in the spotlight before when it earned a title as one of the best municipal courses by Golf.com. So it comes as no surprise that the famed course would be included in Texas Monthly's guide – going so far as to say Bayou City golfers should be counting themselves lucky ("if not downright spoiled") for such a well-maintained, conveniently located, and affordable course.

Since Memorial Park's renovation and reopening in 2019, the course has become only one of two municipally-owned courses on the PGA Tour, in addition to being a formidable host for the Houston Open.

"Those who fear the sand will rejoice at seeing fewer than twenty bunkers during the round, but in exchange players must carefully navigate grass hollows, deep ravines, and thick Bermuda grass that clutches balls when they miss the fairway," Alvarez said. "Make use of the double-decker driving range to get your iron distances dialed in, because the greens can be unkind."

And don't forget to grab a Bill's Burger from Becks Prime after the round is over.

The remaining 15 courses in Texas Monthly's "A Guide to Texas' Best Public Golf Courses" can be found on texasmonthly.com.

Photo courtesy of East River 9 and Riverhouse

New golf course and restaurant launch live music series this summer

Views & Tunes

Unmatched skyline views, a gentle summer breeze, refreshing beverage in-hand, and a scratch-made meal — what's missing?

Live music, and East River 9 and Riverhouse have it. The golf course and restaurant are introducing a new Live Music Summer Series, and the best part is, it's free.

From 7-9 pm each Friday and Saturday night, June through August, grab a table on Riverhouse's beautiful patio and listen to a wide variety of local and regional musicians playing everything from country and blues to classic rock and alternative.

The diverse lineup is posted monthly on Riverhouse's website, but here's what's on tap for June:

  • June 16: Cole Stephens
  • June 17: Western Jelly
  • June 23: Billi Jo Jones Duo
  • June 24: Barditch Hippies
  • June 25: The Cheeney Brothers

“Our new concert series is a laid-back summertime event for the whole family,” says Clayton Freels, founding partner of the concepts. “We are excited to showcase talented, local artists, and we invite everyone to come out and enjoy the free live music, delicious food and drinks, and a fun atmosphere.”

To make the experience even more delicious, Riverhouse recently announced Abhijeet “AJ” Junnarkar as the new event and culinary director.

Prior to founding and operating his own event catering business for the past decade, AJ served as executive chef at the Downtown Aquarium, Hotel Derek, and Intercontinental Hotel.

In his new role at Riverhouse, he's already introduced an elevated private event program that caters to corporate outings, fundraisers, and social gatherings.

He's also helped refine the scratch kitchen’s culinary offerings, curating a new, expanded menu that includes several new Tex-Mex entrees, as well as fine meats and desserts.

Riverhouse is also launching a weekend brunch menu that features breakfast tacos, sweet cream pancakes, and chicken fried steak and eggs. New menu offerings will debut later this month.

For those who haven't experienced Riverhouse yet, the full-service restaurant and patio bar offers plenty of indoor and outdoor seating options for groups of all sizes, as well as a central lawn with a kids playscape and lawn games.

And then there's East River 9, the only public, nine-hole, par-three golf course inside the 610 Loop.

The links-style short course is composed of holes that range from 80-150 yards; a natural grass, 300-yard driving range with a downtown skyline backdrop; a 12,000-square-foot social putting green; and a pro shop featuring merchandise, rental clubs, and refreshments. Two staggered tee boxes play into all nine greens and provide players with the ability to play two unique nine-hole rounds.

The active, outdoor destination also features six pickleball courts. If you haven't succumbed to pickleball mania yet, the easy-to-play mash-up of tennis, badminton and ping-pong is a delight for all ages and skill levels.

Only a mile outside of downtown, East River 9 and Riverhouse are located on the site of Midway’s 150-acre East River development in the Historic Fifth Ward.

For Father's Day weekend, they're doing it up big with coffee, cigars, and cars.

A car show stocked with luxury and classic autos is happening 9 am-12 pm on Sunday, while East River 9 will be rolling custom-made cigars and you can get caffeinated at the gourmet coffee bar inside Riverhouse.

A special Father's Day menu will also be available, with bottomless mimosas and espresso martini flights to really kick it up a notch.

For more info, follow East River 9's Instagram or Riverhouse's Facebook event page.

Riverhouse patio

Photo courtesy of East River 9 and Riverhouse

Grab a table on Riverhouse's beautiful patio.

Photo courtesy of Visit Frisco

Plan a summer play-cation in Frisco for golf, pools, music, and more

The City That Plays

Looking to take a play-cation this summer? Obviously Frisco, The City That Plays, is the perfect fit. It offers so many activities to fit every interest, from sporting events and unique golf activities to kid-friendly attractions and pools.

Summer sports
Watch a Frisco RoughRiders baseball game like never before from the in-stadium lazy river, or tour The Star, the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters, to take in some NFL history and see where the pros call home.

While you are visiting The Star, you’ll find shopping and dining, with everything from sushi at Sushi Marquee to sweets at Cow Tipping Creamery.

Pro tip: if you love America’s team, plan your trip in August to get a pre-season glimpse of the Dallas Cowboys at training camp, open to the public at Ford Center.

PGA Frisco awaits with its two championship courses, a short course and putting green that’s lit at night, an entertainment district full of shops and dining options for the whole family, and the newly opened Omni PGA Frisco Resort, where it’s easy to cool off in one of the four pools.

Frisco offers golfers a range of play options, including The Fazio Course at The Westin Stonebriar Golf Resort & Spa, Frisco Lakes Golf Club, Plantation Golf Club, The Trails of Frisco, and the unique indoor option of the Swing Suite Lounge by Topgolf.

Cool tunes
Now that Frisco is officially designated a Music Friendly Texas Community, there’s plenty of live music to enjoy over the summer.

Friday nights in June are for listening to live music at Frisco Square during the free outdoor Summer Concert Series on the lawn in front of City Hall.

Visitors can get into the groove anytime at one of Frisco’s many venues that host live music and entertainment throughout the summer.

Happy 4th
Frisco celebrates the Fourth of July big, too. Mark your calendar for two major events with food, music, games, and fireworks: Frisco Freedom Fest and The Independence Day Celebration at Omni PGA Frisco Resort.

Kiddo time
Escape the Texas heat with a visit to Frisco’s unbelievable new library. The bright, open design has spaces to inspire, create, innovate, and collaborate, plus you can say hi to Rexy, the 20-foot-tall T-Rex dinosaur skeleton.

Check out the high-tech Makerspace and active learning spaces like Tiny Town, for kids up to age 5, and Kid’s Club, for kinder through 5th graders.

Take a dip
Cool down poolside in Frisco. With rooftop views, cabanas, adults-only, splash pools, and the Frisco Water Park, families, couples, and friends can all find the right place to cool down during your visit.

Whatever your summer style is, rest your head at one of Frisco’s 26 hotels while experiencing a weekend play-cation with things to do for visitors of all ages.

Soak up all Frisco has to offer this summer — visit the website for more vacation ideas.

Lazy River at Riders Field in Frisco

Photo courtesy of Visit Frisco

See a baseball game from the water at Riders Field.

Photo courtesy of Visit Frisco

Sink a hole-in-one with a Frisco golf getaway that's fit for the pros

The New Home of Golf

If you're someone who likes to hit the links and dreams of a vacay where "driving" isn't just a way of getting there, consider Frisco for your next golf getaway.

World-class courses designed by Tom Fazio, Gil Hanse, and Beau Welling, coupled with remarkable golf resorts, make Frisco an unmatched Texas golf destination.

Of course, this North Texas community is also the home of PGA Frisco, a public-private partnership that brings together PGA of America, Omni Hotels & Resorts, the City of Frisco, and the Frisco Independent School District.

Those not ready to get on the golf course will find plenty to love about their Frisco golf getaway. An array of dining options, poolside experiences, luxurious spa treatments, shopping, and more await, along with everything from family-friendly outings to music and art.

Wondering where to stay? Here are two top-notch suggestions:

The Westin Stonebriar Golf Resort & Spa
Renovated in 2020, The Westin Stonebriar Golf Resort & Spa features a WestinWORKOUT fitness studio, pool area with private cabanas, water slide, and splash pad, plus a full-service Well & Being Spa, Westin Family Kids Club, and an activities lawn with games for all ages. Golfers can play the Fazio Course and at the unique Topgolf Swing Suite.

Omni PGA Frisco Resort
The recently opened Omni PGA Frisco Resort is steps away from the new PGA of America headquarters and offers golf for players of all ages and skill level. In addition to the two championship courses, Fields Ranch East and Fields Ranch West, golfers can enjoy a lighted 10-hole par 3 short course, a two-acre putting green, and virtual game experiences.

Omni PGA Frisco Resort has four pools, including an adults-only rooftop infinity pool, plus a full-service Mokara Spa, 13 dining options, a retail village, meeting and event space, 10 four-bedroom ranch houses, and 500 guest rooms.

Itching to play a public course while in town? Reserve a tee time at Frisco Lakes Golf Club, Plantation Golf Club, and The Trails of Frisco Golf Club.

Start planning your golf getaway to Frisco now.

Omni PGA Frisco Resort

Photo courtesy of Visit Frisco

Omni PGA Frisco Resort has two championship courses.

Photo courtesy of Omni

Indulge in the art of ultimate relaxation at Omni PGA Frisco Resort

Endless Experiences

For some people, the definition of relaxation is a serene day spent on the links, perfecting their swing and chasing that elusive hole-in-one. For others, a therapeutic massage, calming facial, or fresh mani-pedi is the ticket to transcendent bliss.

No matter which camp you fall into, Omni PGA Frisco Resort is where you'll find the perfect escape. The eagerly anticipated, $520 million resort is accepting reservations for May 2023 and beyond, while spa bookings and tee times will become available in April.

Couple receiving massage

Photo courtesy of Omni

Indulge in a massage.

Here's what's waiting for you at this dream destination:

The resort boasts two 18-hole championship golf courses, collectively known as Fields Ranch. Fields Ranch East was designed by Gil Hanse, and Fields Ranch West by Beau Welling.

Registered hotel guests can book tee times 120 days in advance of their stay to play Fields Ranch, which will be home to 26 major championships starting in May and continuing through 2034.

More golf goodness
Not ready for the full 18-hole experience? Take a few practice swings at the Fields Ranch Practice Facility, then head to The Swing, a lighted 10-hole, par-3 short course, or The Dance Floor, a two-acre putting course and entertainment area.

This will also be the site of Frisco's first Lounge by Topgolf and PGA of America's new headquarters.

Take advantage of all that expertise at the PGA Coaching Center, which offers a high-tech, data-driven club-fitting and instruction experience.

A variety of retail and dining concepts throughout the mixed-use development, known as the Monument Realty PGA District, are also coming soon.

Say "spaaaa"
Omni’s signature full-service salon and spa, Mokara Spa, boasts 20 private treatment rooms, all dedicated to "The Art" collection.

The Art of Self Care encompasses Swedish techniques, deep therapeutic massages, and couple massages, plus the latest sports massage techniques and pressure point therapy for sports enthusiasts.

The Art of Skin Care offers facials that range from anti-aging and renewing to organic and calming, all blending natural beauty with advanced science and producing personalized results and a transformed feeling.

The Art of Salon Care encourages you to pamper yourself from head to toe with signature manicures and pedicures, specialized hair services, and artistic makeup services.

Guests can also treat their whole mind, body, and spirit at Green Cactus Cafe with wellness-driven foods including lite bites, healthy juices, elixirs, and sweet treats.

For a final indulgent touch, relax at the spa pool with private cabanas or recharge at the 24/7 fitness center and walking trails.

Dive in
Speaking of swimming pools, there are four total from which to choose. Families can post up at either of the two leisure pools, one of which features an attached splash pad.

Adults can gather at the child-free rooftop infinity pool and order up a cocktail from Bluestem Bar, all while enjoying panoramic views of the stunning fairways and Texas sky. Private cabanas are available at all pools for that VIP touch.

Stay a while
There's clearly too much to pack into one day, so you'd better book a room and stay for several. Omni PGA Frisco Resort features 500 luxurious guest rooms and suites with rates starting at $359 per night.

Those seeking a truly luxurious retreat can book one of the 10 four-bedroom private Ranch Houses, each with panoramic golf course views, upgraded amenities, and a 24/7 Experience Concierge for an added VIP service experience.

Explore this one-mile campus and all it has to offer this summer, no matter what type of getaway you're seeking. To book and learn more about the new Omni PGA Frisco Resort, visit OmniPGAFriscoResort.com or connect on Facebook and Instagram.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Superstar singer and 'sentient tuxedo' Michael Bublé hands out his new whiskey in Houston

try this tuxedo's whiskey

A major tenet of journalism is to not bury the lede, meaning, don’t bury the most important info and just get straight to it. So, at risk of doing just that, here’s the top-line info:

Charming singer/actor/pitchman Michael Bublé will host a fan meet-and-greet and tasting event for his Fraser & Thompson Whiskey from 4 pm to 5 pm Thursday, December 7 at Spec’s - Fountain View (2020 Fountain View Dr.).

That means fans should plan for a long line, arrive early, and be ready to sip the Canadian showman’s celebrity spirit at what’s dubbed the Fraser & Thompson “Easy, Now” pop-up lounge within the store. Always one to spread the love to his fans, Bublé is expected to pass out sips only — officially, he’s not slated to sign bottles or pose for photos.

But, knowing his love for fans, there’s no telling if he’ll grab a phone for a selfie — or suddenly start “correcting” certain sparkling water bottles with a Sharpie (as displayed in this ad):

Smooth, subtle, and Bublé-backed — all for a mere 30 bucks!

We mention his love of fans specifically because Bublé’s whiskey retails for a mere $29.99. Hardcore whiskey purists might raise a judge-y eyebrow at the price, which to some, could suggest a rough bottom note. However, the blend, according to press materials, is crafted with “hand-selected aged liquid” to create an “inviting whiskey,” with “sweet fig and blood orange on the nose, and a subtle finish of caramel, vanilla, and a hint of spice.”

Wait…“hand-selected aged liquid?” Ummm...

Ah, further review finds it’s made with“ Canadian Whiskies with Kentucky Bourbon in Bardstown, Kentucky.” And all that crafting comes courtesy of Master Distiller and blender Paul Cirka, who co-founded the brand with Bublé. Whew.

Additionally, Fraser & Thompson also promises “less burn, more Bublé.” Hey, a distilled spirit from a silky-smooth songman has just gotta be smooth, yes?

The greatest press release in the history of Canadian celebrity-backed whiskies for $29.99

Okay, that’s the top-line info; now, let’s talk about this Fraser & Thompson press release. The official press announcement of the brand is very on-brand for the self-effacing superstar. Consider this passage from the release:

This whiskey is a triumph, an achievement, the product of years of hard work and collaborative efforts involving dozens of beverage alcohol professionals, yet we haven’t received much more than a winking emoji from Mr. Bublé when asked how we should advertise it. It strikes us as supremely ironic that a guy with such an extensive catalog of music has mastered radio silence.

We toyed with the idea of constructing an attractive, well-dressed scarecrow stuffed with hay next to a tape recorder playing “Haven’t Met You Yet,” but the coincidental sentiment felt too on-the-nose for our marketing team, whose calls keep getting bounced between assistants.

An attractive scarecrow? CultureMap receives thousands of press releases a week. In this editor’s 20-plus years of experience, this might be the best release...ever.

And it gets better. Bublé, who has his hands full being a superstar, father, husband, bottle editor, and frequent napper, was apparently hard to pin down for marketing. “At some point, from somewhere, he released this very nice statement that we’d like to share with you now,” the release continues:

“I spent many summers with my grandfather at the confluence of the Fraser and Thompson rivers in British Columbia," said Fraser & Thompson founder Michael Bublé. “When I heard Paul’s vision for creating a new kind of whiskey, I knew instantly what I wanted to call it. For the last three years, we worked together to perfect a whiskey blend that is equally elegant and approachable. We can't wait to pour you a glass!”

Meet a “sentient tuxedo of a man”

Well, hey, that sounds earnest enough. But the press team isn’t buying it. The press release responds:

“Isn’t that great? As if Michael is just the salt of the earth, sitting on a porch somewhere talking to the neighbors, and pouring you a glass of his smooth, delicious whiskey? This overbooked, overextended, sentient tuxedo of a man is thousands of miles away telling us, Easy, now,like he’s gone fishin’ instead of playing sold out shows in a new city every night.

(Please excuse us as we steal “sentient tuxedo of a man” for our Instagram bio/description.)

Later, as the release describes the Fraser & Thompson brand launch — all while trying to contact its star founder for comment:

Well, there you have it. I guess we just launched Fraser & Thompson. Tell the concierge at Michael’s hotel to pass along a thumbs up from us so we don’t interrupt his beauty sleep. We wouldn’t want to harsh Mr. Bublé’s mellow.

Sheesh, seems like Michael and the PR team might need to hash things out over a glass of a certain Canadian celebrity-backed blended whiskey, one retailing for a mere $29.99.


Michael Bublé will host the “Easy, Now” Fraser & Thompson pop-up lounge/tasting experience from 4 pm to 5 pm Thursday, December 7 at Spec’s - Fountain View (2020 Fountain View Dr.). Event is free; participants must be 21 years or older.

Michael Bubl\u00e9  Fraser & Thompson tux lawn chair

Photo courtesy of Fraser & Thompson

Superstar and “sentient tuxedo of a man” Bublé will pass out whiskey here in Houston.

Gift experiences this holiday and you might just win Blake Shelton tickets

Celebrate More, Waste Less

What do you get the person who has everything? Hint: It's not another "thing."

This holiday season, consider gifting experiences instead of items — and you won't even have to wrap them.

According to Take Care of Texas, a statewide campaign to conserve and protect our one and only Lone Star State, about 8,000 tons of wrapping paper is used each year. Most wrapping paper contains glitter or metallic materials —which means it can’t be recycled — and ribbons, bows, and gift tags also aren’t recyclable.

To help you get into this new holiday groove of gifting time together instead of stuff, TCOT has a pretty amazing experience to give away.

Sign the Take Care of Texas pledge this winter and you'll be entered to win two tickets to Blake Shelton's Back to the Honky Tonk Tour, presented by Kubota.

Shelton's only stop in Texas is at the world-class Moody Center on March 1, 2024, where he'll be backed by opening acts Dustin Lynch and Emily Ann Roberts. This is your chance to hear Shelton sing "Austin" in Austin!

The prize package also includes a one-night stay at the luxurious Thompson Hotel Austin, so you can return from the Friday night concert and sleep in style.

To enter, simply click here and take the pledge to help keep our air and water clean, conserve water and energy, and reduce waste.

The contest is open through December 31, and you only need one entry per person. The winner will be drawn on January 2, 2024.

Spring Branch sows Wild Oats with opening of Underbelly's Texas tribute restaurant

now sowing in spring branch

A new option for Texas comfort food has arrived in Spring Branch. Wild Oats has started a quiet soft opening ahead of its official opening day of Friday, December 8.

Previously located at the Houston Farmers Market, Wild Oats is Underbelly Hospitality’s restaurant that pays homage to Texas’ various culinary traditions. After closing its original location in September, Wild Oats has relocated to a new development at 1222 Witte Road next to its sister concept, Underbelly Burger, and The Decoy, a new bar from the owners of Wakefield Crowbar with volleyball courts and a high-energy atmosphere.

Underbelly Hospitality culinary director Scott Muns tels CultureMap that the move gave the company an opportunity to make some changes to Wild Oats’ menu, which was developed by his predecessor, chef Nick Fine. He wanted to respect the restaurant's original vision while expanding to include traditional favorites that hadn't appeared on the menu before.

“There’s room for new items and new ideas,” Muns says. “It’s a new team with a new chef. I wanted them to be able to have a voice in the menu also.”

Those new items start with a wild boar shank that’s braised in salsa verde and served with grits that are treated like masa. For Muns, having a wild game dish on the menu feels appropriate for a restaurant devoted to Texas foodways. “If people think of it as pork, they’re going to be surprised by how much more depth of flavor you can get,” he says.

Muns and chef de cuisine Omar Munoz collaborated on a new seafood boil. Currently, it comes with shrimp, blue crab, and snapper, but the flexible format allows the kitchen to utilize whatever comes in from the restaurant’s seafood purveyors. Instead of a large steak, the menu now offers a smoked short rib as its beef option, which more explicitly pays homage to Texas barbecue.

Puffy tacos, a request from Underbelly Hospitality president Nina Quincy, allow the restaurant to put its spin on a dish that’s identified with San Antonio. In this preparation, the grits gets turned into the masa that becomes the tortillas, which are fried until they’re puffy. Diners can choose from beef suadero, smoked chicken, or pastor mushrooms as a filling.

“It takes technique to get a good puff,” Muns says. “Yesterday was the first day we had it on the menu. From one day’s data, it seem to be something people are going to gravitate towards.”

Menu staples have also been reworked. The chicken fried steak now comes with one patty as a default with the option to “Texas size” it by adding a second patty. When Wild Oats opened, the dish, which is made with wagyu beef from Texas-based R-C Ranch, cost more than $40. Now it starts at $18.

“We’ve tried to be mindful of pricing and making sure things don’t get too high,” Muns says. “The idea of a 40-something dollar chicken fried steak can seem ridiculous, even if you’re using wagyu and expensive products. I don’t want to go out and spend that much money on a chicken fried steak.”

The opening of Wild Oats completes a busy 2023 for Underbelly Hospitality. In addition to opening a second location of Underbelly Burger, the company recently welcomed Comalito, a taqueria developed in partnership with acclaimed Mexican chef Luis Robledo Richards, to Wild Oats’ original location at the Houston Farmers Market. Earlier this year, the company opened Pastore, an Italian seafood restaurant, next to its Georgia James steakhouse in the Regent Square mixed-use development.

“We’re thrilled to plant roots for Wild Oats on Witte Road,” Underbelly Hospitality partner Jeff Lindenberger said in a statement. “Community has always been our core vision for the reintroduction of Wild Oats, and we have drawn inspiration from our neighbors to build a space that reflects the warmth and diversity of Texas. This is a concept and menu we all really love and are eager to share it with our newfound neighbors and loyal patrons.”

Wild Oats food spread

Photo by Becca Wright

Wild Oats officially opens this Friday, December 8.