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Going out to eat? Need something to do tonight? A place to stay? Publish or learn of a Public Service? or simply just want to take advantage of the giveaways? You're on the right website!! McAllen is growing, becoming more metropolitan and we want you to keep up.  We want tourists to visit McAllen for vacation and for  McAllen citizens to enjoy their staycation as much as possible.

We are Lizbeth and Carlos Muriel.

"McAllen, a small town with a big city feel"

Let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.

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Take a Sip Out of Hunger


           Pepper’s at Uptown has had a free wine tasting every Wednesday for a while, it is an educational experience for you to attend,  you learn just about every detail about the wine, as I had mentioned before, Bert (the bar manager) will explain to you where it came from, the temperature of storage, the type of wine it is, about the company of the wine, if it’s a family operated business… ok, I’ll stop here.. you get the point.. he knows it all… and he will make sure you do to.
           So Pepper’s loves to give back, and I (Lizbeth Muriel) love to organize events.. so that’s how this event was created “TAKE A SIP OUT OF HUNGER" an event with in partnership with Pepper’s at Uptown, benefiting Food Bank RGV.

              The first Take a Sip Out of Hunger took place at Pepper’s Wednesday August 26, 2009 from 6pm to 8pm.  So what’s  up with this event anyways? You how this event went about..  let me walk you through this event…  You show up.. between the hours of 6pm and 8pm.. you take a seat, tell the hostess or a staff from Pepper’s that you want to participate in the event, so then they inform me.. and I go over, I introduce myself, over your table with a paper table cover, give you your bag with a wine glass that comes in a brown little baggy with the infamous mini mini-bumper sticker, it also comes with a box that is full of goodies such as rhinestones, ribbons googlie eyes for you to decorate your wine glass, then I take your $10 in cash or check,  then I will come back and give you a table kit.. which is a baggie full of crayons, sharpies, a paint palette, and a little cup of water for you to clean your brush.

               The first event was wonderful! I appreciate all of the support that was given to the Food Bank. On behalf of the Food Bank, I would like to thank you for participating, and I want to invite you to joins us to the next TAKE A SIP OUT OF HUNGER, it was fun, and ask anyone who was there they had a blast!!  I saw soo many creative people, and the cups.. ohh.. the guys were gorgeous!! Enjoy the pictures!! And See you next Wednesday.





Two women and a man dressed in black stood outside amidst a cluster of red vinyl couches, smoking and laughing. I assumed they worked there. I love it when I’m right.




I must admit that when I pulled up to Cine El Rey—early, as I tend to be everywhere exaggeratedly early—I was just a little skeptical of what I was getting myself into. Comedy night? Really? In McAllen?

But as soon as I climbed the elegant winding staircase to the balcony seating area, my opinion was instantly transformed.

“Ever since 1947, we’ve had live entertainment here at Cine El Rey,” boomed a loud, commanding voice.

“Over 200 comedians have graced this stage.” 

The balcony where I sat was divided into three levels on a sloping plane, the bar in the back, alluring with its mellow lighting and colorful bottles of liquor. But this was not your typical balcony seating. Where else can you sit on stylish red and beige couches, surrounded by a marble-topped rail lit from the inside with soft light? No other theater in the Valley that I have ever been too.

Cine El Rey doesn’t just have one bar and one plush seating area though: it has three bars and plenty of comfortable seating. And if couches aren’t your thing, there are table downstairs near the stage, and regular theater seating on the sides of all levels. And the three people dressed in black I saw when I first arrived? Two cocktail waitresses and a bartender, all three extremely willing to help with whatever you need from the moment you walk in front doors.

As far as the comedians themselves, I don’t know what I expected. I certainly didn’t expect to hear the venues “Comedy Central” and “30 Rock” being announced in the lineup of performances for two of the evening’s performers.

I settled into my spot on the red couch, munching on my free popcorn and awaiting the first performance.

“I’m one of those guys always stuck in the friend frame. Anybody out there relate to me?”

“Sweets.” That was the name the wiry guy with a ponytail gave as he bounded out onto the stage with enough energy to power all of McAllen’s 17th Street. But this was no sugar-coated comedy routine.  It was gutsy.  Raw.  Sexual.  It may have just been the anticipation of the evening and what was to come, or maybe the nervousness of the audience because of the explicit subject matter, but I noticed at the end of the night that everyone seemed to laugh the loudest with “Sweets” from the RGV. 

It was an R-rated romp of a routine. And though Sweets was by far the raunchiest of the three, the sex and profanity continued through the night—and the audience ate it up. 

Enter Jade Esteban Estrada, ( stage right. If the audience wasn’tready for the racism and sex humorin the first routine, they certainly weren’t ready for the gay humor in the second routine. 

“I didn’t come out of the closet. Oh, no. I was chased out…by the cockroaches!”

I was impressed when the emcee announced that Jade had been on 30 Rock, Friday Night Lights, and Comedy Central. And I have to admit that I found some of his stuff funny. But the majority of his routine revolved around gay humor, a comedy form somewhat lost on Valley residents whose leaning is generally socially democratic and otherwise conservative.

It was the times that he pulled from his Hispanic background and tapped into the Latino culture that the audience really seemed to connect with him and respond positively.

“I overheard someone saying that President Obama needs to come up with a better plan for what to do with Mexicans. ‘We should have an isolated place to keep all the Mexicans,’ they said. ‘We do. It’s called McAllen,Texas.’” The crowd erupted with laughter. They knew exactly what he was talking about. What we didn’t know is what he revealed later: this was only his first time inMcAllen! He obviously did his research before coming up with his material. Smart guy. Made for better comedy. 

Intermission time. More drinks were in order for the people around me. I managed to run into a friend and talk for a bit before sitting back down. I was beginning to notice, after having run into to a couple other people I knew, that McAllen was a smaller town than I had once thought, and that Cine El Rey was a more diverse spot than I ever anticipated.

The last act was touted to be the best. As Jay LaFarr took the stage, Dos Equis in hand, I wondered how this was going to go. Never had I seen a comedian try to drink while performing. Somehow he kept his composure as best as a large white man dropping f-bombs and bashing Hispanic culture can.

I was surprised that he wasn’t too well-received. But it may have been because of his thick accent and slightly slurred speech. Or it may have been that people were already tired. It was nearing 11-o-clock.

But he wasn’t giving up. He shocked us by pulling out a guitar, telling us he would sing us some songs he had written.

“I bought this guitar at a pawn shop,” he said. “Everytime I play it I hear the failed dreams of another man.” I giggled a little, thinking about the poor guy who had to sell his guitar for cash, never knowing he’d be made fun of by a drunken white guy on a stage in McAllen—a comedian not afraid to touch any subject, from barbacoa to family issues. 

When he finished, people rushed for the bars again for one last drink, and I had one last thought: relation, relation, relation. If you’re going to go put on a comedy show somewhereyou’ve never been, you should get to know your audience first, that way they will be able to relate to your comedy. I always find that the things I laugh the loudest at are those I can honestly think about and say, “Oh, my! Yes! I have done the exact same thing!”


Rebecca Ward
Free Lance Writer
Blog Editor


Free wine tasting Wednesday at Peppers

We arrived around 7:30p.m., Eliud Hernandez (a guitar player that sings at Pepper’s every day at 6p.m., who has an amazing voice) was jamming out to his guitar, and singing one of the best versions I have ever heard of Hotel California , by the Eagles… and continued by playing a song by the Beatles. GREAT MUSIC, to say the least.

Our waitress (Summer) then took our beverage order and gave us suggestions for the appetizer, we had fried calamari. It was amazing, it came with this sweet sauce that you dipped your calamari in.

While our appetizer came, the bar manager Bert Villalon came to our table and gave us this little tray of prosciutto, cheese and strawberries... Here are two pictures of how it looked like.

Here is a close up of our bottle & glasses of wine.

Bert than told us just about everything there was to know about the wine, where it came from, how it was made, the year, how long it took for the crop to mature, he even told us the name of the family that owns the wine and how that company is a family operated business, you can tell he knew his wine.. he was a walking wine encyclopedia.. mind you, we got to taste 2 different wines.. and after that we cut ourselves off. The first glass of wine that we tried had 14% alcohol so we cut off with the 2nd.

Let me tell you more about the wine there at Peppers, before I go about my meal. They have this amazing dessert wine named Inniskillin, it is a riesling wine from Canada, and they have a wine club, it's $25 to join but you get a $25 gift card AND 20% off your wine. How great is that? Oh! and on Saturdays, all of the wine is 50% off, but you won't be able to use your Wine Club discount there, or it would be as if you were stealing it.. j/k

So my food came in.. I had the Caprese which is basically a tower of fresh sliced beefsteak tomatoes with mozzarella in between each slice.. sitting on a bed of olive oil and balsamic reduction... and this is a picture of my food. (I also had the soup of the day which was broccoli and cheese, but I forgot to take a picture)

The food is just as delicious as it is pretty, the presentation is amazing, and the taste of EVERYTHING that you have is fresh. The environment is relaxing and I was blown away by the customer service.

(left to right) Shawn Parker, Chris Lash, Jon Bennet & Bert Villalon

Good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)


McAllen, the beautiful... 

One of the most beautiful things about McAllen is the culture. You can’t get it anywhere else but the Valley. Some people may argue that it is boring, that there is nothing to do here, no Cheesecake Factory (yummm…)no Fiesta Texas, that our mall is too small (I do complain about the parking lot though, have they not realized that they could make a profit from making it at least 2 stories tall?)

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