HOUSTON FOODIES ARE out this month, and those in the know are getting from restaurant to restaurant in the rideshare service that has taken the industry by a storm.
Alto started driving in Houston in late 2020, and it has quickly become a favorite way to get around. The experience is unparalleled. Think luxury SUVs with leather captain chairs, thoughtful amenities like complimentary water and umbrellas, and even curated playlists to choose from in the Alto app. Those who have ridden know that Alto is more than a ride from point A to B, but a journey to be enjoyed — because the recap of every dish on the ride home should be just as good as the dinner.
Community is at the heart of Alto. Rather than hiring independent contractors, Alto has hired W-2 employee drivers who are trained and supported by a local Houston team. The service also offers a Membership that unlocks Alto benefits as well as unique offers from Houston partners. Those who join Alto’s exclusive Membership gain full access to the Alto fleet during the busiest "Members Only" hours, savings on every ride, and Alto’s prescheduling feature for booking rides in advance (Pro tip: Lock in your ride when you lock in your dinner reservation!). Join a community of adventurous, in-the-know Houstonians, at only $12.95 a month.
Alto shared the top pick-up and drop-offs that make up their Members most recommended spots — and also happen to be celebrating Houston Restaurant Week! — so you can plan the perfect night out.
Trattoria Sofia A top drop-off among Alto Members, we recommend Trattoria Sofia for authentic Italian with the perfect atmosphere.
The Annie Cafe Another frequent destination, The Annie Cafe and Bar serves classics, totally reimagined.
MAD Houston A spot as innovative as your Alto. Book a ride to MAD for a night of tapas with a twist that are sure to be a new adventure.
Ouzo Bay The Alto team’s go-to modern Mediterranean spot for a perfect night out.
B&B Butchers and Restaurant This upscale steakhouse and traditional butcher shop is a classic Alto favorite.
FLORA A must try this month — FLORA is a culinary journey through the small towns of Mexico with a Texas touch.
HOUSTON HAS A few favorite playgrounds — the Texas Hill Country, Aspen, Cabo. But none are more beloved than the sultry, always just a bit scandalous Big Easy, whose towering new Four Seasons has been described as a must-hit by H-Town’s travel-savviest. It’s the perfect place to stage CityBook’s annual Sexy Issue fashion shoot highlighting swimwear, lingerie and other racy little numbers right off the runway from Gucci, Versace and much more, oui?
Carved from the historic mid-century skyscraper formerly home to World Trade Center New Orleans, the Four Seasons and Private Residences New Orleans underwent a $450 million renovation and has reopened where Canal Street meets Old Man River. Just steps from the French Quarter and across the way from the Harrah’s casino complex now being expanded and redeveloped by Caesar’s, the hotel is a sparkling, bustling showplace of marble columns and Dom Perignon toasts under a mammoth crystal-dripping lobby chandelier — with a sleek cabana-happy pool deck overlooking the river and touting a delightful herbed frosé. Nobody’s had so much fun on the Mississippi since Huck Finn.
Unique details abound, from the speakers pumping jazzy rock tunes underwater in the pool and the spa’s citrus-scented massage inspired by Sazerac cocktails, to the fabulous Miss River restaurant’s signature chicken that’s buttermilk-marinaded and fried whole. Miss River’s chef Alon Shaya, by the way, is only one of the James Beard-winning chefs under roof; Donald Link presents Chemin à la Mer on floor five, where you can nibble foie gras while watching paddle boats go by.
But, then again, you may never leave your beautiful room, especially if you’re lucky enough to stay in the corner Presidential Suite, which has, among other well considered luxuries, a team shower of Carrera marble and lots of peekaboo glass. Now that’s sexy.
Photography by Jhane Hoang
Styling by Todd Ramos
Art Direction by Patrick Magee
Hair and Makeup by Edward Sanchez
Models: Joao Diniz, Luke Keogh, Ally Rosinsky and Marion Sealy
Styling Assistance by Aldyn Gremillion
Shot on Location at Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences New Orleans
On Luke: Jeans, $189, by Seven for all Mankind at Neiman Marcus. On Marion: Negligée, $40, by Simone Perele at Neiman Marcus.
On Joao: Orange speedo, $19, by Aimpact on Amazon.
On Marion: Swimsuit, $330, by Maygel Coronel, and sunglasses, both at Tootsies.
On Marion and Joao: Custom swimwear by Cesar Galindo.
On Ally: One-piece swimsuit by Versace.
On Ally: Gown by Valentino with diamond necklaces, yellow-gold bangles and a rose gold ring, all at Valobra Master Jewelers.
On Ally: Suit, belt and jewelry, all by Chanel; Bella bralette, $125, by Else at Neiman Marcus.
On Joao: Swim trunks, $22, by Coofandy on Amazon.
On Ally and Marion: Custom one-piece swimsuits by Cesar Galindo.
On Marion: Dress by Gucci with onyx and diamond earrings by Valobra Master Jewelers.
On Luke: Three-piece suit by Gucci with diamond choker and studs by Valobra Master Jewelers.
On Ally: Custom swimwear by Cesar Galindo.
On Marion: Custom lingerie by Cesar Galindo.
On Marion: Dress by Gucci, black onyx earrings from Valobra Master Jewelers
On Joao: Pants by Gucci
FOR THE SECOND installment of our Chill Out series (our first was on ice cream, in case you missed it), we are popping the top on refreshing hard seltzers and spritzers because, well, it’s August. From ranch water to tongue-tingling spritzers and Mom-approved vodka cocktails perfect for the pool, we say, yes we can!
Watertight Cocktail Co.'s new canned drinks (photo courtesy of Dani Parsons)
The founders of Houston’s Yellow Rose Distilling and Austin’s Revolver Brewing have cracked open a cool new collab. Watertight Cocktail Co.’s agave-sweetened canned cocktails launched exclusively in Texas this spring, and will soon go national. Each drink is 130 calories with 6 percent ABV. Try sipping the Beach Margarita, Guava Paloma and Mango Sipper to make August a bit more bearable.
Europe in a Can!
Bright, eye-catching and eco-friendly Lila offers gently sparkling wine in varietals including French rosé, Italian pinot grigio, and Italian sparkling frizzante made with prosecco. The latter is full of refreshing citrus and tropical fruit aromas, mixed with a hint of honeysuckle and juicy nectarine. All wines contain zero added sugar and are low in calories and carbs.
Oh Yes, on Sundays We Brunch
Ohza, “the original canned mimosa,” is an impressive line of sparkling canned wines created for brunch wherever you may wander. Think instant mango mimosas, grapefruit mimosa, fizzy red sangria, fizzy white sangria, and classic bellinis, for the beach, the lake house, the back yard, that outdoor concert or pool party. Note: Classic Bellini was the best we tried due to its true peach and prosecco flavors. Happy Sunday Funday!
This One Is So Cliché
Cliché is a wine-based seltzer for wine lovers seeking a more elevated seltzer option. The new brand is being launched in Houston, Austin and Dallas. Unlike malt-based seltzers, Cliché stars California white wine, sparkling water, and meticulously sourced natural flavors. Renowned Napa winemakers Dave Phinney (creator of the wine brands The Prisoner, Orin Swift and Locations) and Joe Wagner are the team behind the brand. Cliché is available in two flavors: lemon with blueberry and Mirabelle plum and hibiscus.
Roseade Is Summer Aid
She’s svelte, lemony and bubbling with rosé. Roseade spritzer is packaged in (cute!) slim pink cans that are easy to pack, and its flavors of rosé and tart lemonade are spot-on fresh sans the canned taste. To cool down fast, try it over ice. Its four-pack box makes a fun hostess gift!
Karbach Goes Ranch
Texas-based Karbach Brewing Co. is on the hunt for a Karbach Ranch Water Wandererto celebrate the expansion of its Ranch Water Hard Seltzer, an iconic, refreshing Texas beverage that recently debuted. The official Karbach Ranch Water Wanderer will win $10K to travel across Texas and the Southwest spreading the word about the Ranch Water and encouraging folks to do some exploring in their own region. Ice down some Ranch Water and prepare for a thirst-quenching bubbly drink much like beer, but lighter with a hint of lime.
Be a Cool Mom
Mom Water is a ready-to-drink cocktail made with lightly fruit-infused vodka and water. Unlike many hard seltzers, it has zero carbonation, zero sugar and zero carbs, and weighs in at just 90 calories per can. After enjoying a similar drink on vacation and not finding anything else on the market like it, founder (and mom!) Jill Morrison left her lifelong career in healthcare to bring her new drink to life. With several flavors with girl names like Julie, Sandy and Karen, Mom Water is rapidly expanding across the U.S. and just launched in Texas. Find it at major retailers.
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