Alamo Drafthouse Vintage Park
FEATURED LOCAL ACTIVITY
BY MIKE PUCKETT
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The Alamo Drafthouse can be found at a number of locations across the United States, including two in Houston. One is located off Mason Rd. in Katy and the one we visited in Northwest Houston, is just off the 249 in beautiful Vintage Park.
I began my visit here with the idea that the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema was just a fancy movie theater where you could enjoy great craft beers and cocktails while watching a flick. What I experienced was so much more! Let’s start off by saying it was voted by the Good Eats Houston tribe as a “Cool Houston Activity” and after my visit, I had to agree. The Alamo Drafthouse is now a part of the Good Eats Houston family and not just a cool activity, which gives you an idea of what it brings to the table… literally!
The first thing that catches your eye when you enter the Vintage Park complex is what a beautiful job was done with construction and design. It’s a great place to enjoy a day with the family or to spend an evening with a special someone.
The Alamo Drafthouse has a vintage theater vibe. For true movie lovers like myself, it just doesn’t get any better. It has a patio where I could easily see getting together with colleagues for happy hour, celebrating a special occasion with friends and family or just sitting and watching the people as they go by. All with a nice view of the other businesses in the complex.
As you walk through the entrance to the Drafthouse, the high ceilings and movie star red provide that movie theater feel with a nice modern spin. There’s an arcade for the kids (or adults, in my case) and then there’s the bar, noted for its remarkable shrine of craft beer taps. I love it! You also have a full bar with specialty cocktails, high-definition flat screens and a large video screen that shows what’s playing in the cinema and at what time.
Now one thing to note; The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is kid-friendly, but it’s not a place to let them run wild. They have a strict policy that anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult, so it’s not the place to drop the kids off for the weekend. Furthermore, they have a no texting, talking, cell phone policy while the movies are playing, which is something I totally agree with. They take pride in offering an undisturbed movie watching experience and even have a discreet process which allows other people to tattle on any violators. Seriously though, you will be given a warning, and promptly removed if you don’t comply. Cell phone junkies, consider yourselves warned.
Now, for the unexpected part! Like I said previously, I thought I was coming to The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema for a cool movie experience while enjoying some of my favorite Top Texas Craft Beers. But, once I had a taste of the gourmet goodies, I couldn’t stop ordering! We had arrived a little early so we’d have time to eat before the movie, but you can order from your seat and enjoy your meal during the show!
First up, of course, we ordered a couple of Saint Arnold Lawnmowers, one of my favorites out of the Saint Arnold’s camp. We decided to try the Fried Dill Pickles with Buttermilk Ranch along with an order of Mini Banh Mi Hot Dogs. If you never tried a Fried Pickle, I suggest you do so here, where they do a damn good job. The pickles were fried to perfection while still keeping that crispy crunch inside and served with a creamy ranch dipping sauce. I could have ordered another round, for sure! The Mini Banh Mi Hot Dogs were pretty awesome and a great appetizer for sharing. They were made with Sriracha, mayo, carrot, cucumber, cilantro, and served with fries.
By now, you should know me well enough to know that I order a salad whenever I can, so why stop at the theater, right? I ordered the Greek Salad with Chicken; a delightful combination of mixed greens, baby kale, arugula, feta, red onion, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, fried chickpeas, and lemon-basil vinaigrette. What a beautiful choice! I suggest that if a salad is what you are looking for, then go with the Greek!
We decided to order two entrees and split them so we could get a good feel for what is best. Well, the feeling was mutual… it was a tie!
I highly recommend both the pizza and the burger. The pizza was unbelievable and topped with the finest, freshest ingredients. (Gluten-free crusts are an option for those who care). Our pizza extravaganza consisted of Brussels sprouts, smoked bacon and goat cheese, drizzled with olive oil and topped with mozzarella, black pepper, Parmesan, and sprinkled with Pecorino Romano. Not quite what you would expect at the movie theater, wow!
We also got the Spicy Blue Cheese Burger; ½ Pound Cattleman’s Beef Patty with hot sauce, red onion, mayo and fries. My love for blue cheese was satisfied here and, combined with the great flavors from the hot sauce and red onions, I found it to be an absolute delight!
Now for dessert. Like vacation, I love my desserts and The Alamo Drafthouse did not disappoint. While they have the normal candy selection that we all enjoy, they also obviously take pride in offering a number of homemade specialties. We ordered baked-to-order warm cookies; one of each please! We could smell them coming from the kitchen; chocolate chip, peanut butter banana, and double chocolate. Although they were all great my favorite was the peanut butter banana! Oh, and we washed them all down with a Strawberry Balsamic Shake. Keep in mind, the movie hasn’t even begun yet and it has already been an incredible experience.
The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema brings “Dinner and a Movie” to a whole new level. Once our movie started I couldn’t help but order a couple Karbach Rodeo Clown Double IPA’s to go with the bottomless popcorn we ordered before we left the bar. When I say bottomless, that is exactly what I mean. We certainly never got to see the bottom, however, we enjoyed the melted butter and herbed Parmesan that covered the top!
All in all, this was definitely one of my very best movie experiences. The Alamo Drafthouse is the gift that keeps giving. Like a former California governor once said… “I’ll be back!”
PHOTOGRAPHY: MIKE PUCKETT
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