Turkey Legs to Go: Texas Bowl Travel Guide, Rice vs. Western Michigan
Overview / Matchup: A 40 point thumping at the hands of Tulsa nearly derailed Rice's season, but a six straight wins over C-USA foes has them headed to a post-Christmas bowl, no small feat for such a small school. Meanwhile, Western Michigan, going to a bowl game for back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history, also looks to make a milestone by winning their first ever bowl game. I wish we were joking about that.
Hotels: The St. Regis is arguably the finest hotel in Houston. The hotel staff is meticulous and the atmosphere manages to be sophisticated and elegant without seeming stuffy. The property is about fifteen minutes from the stadium. It might seem far, but in America's third largest city by area, the distance is actually quite reasonable. Situated within the Astro Village complex, near the Astrodome and Galleria shopping complex, the Houston Grand Plaza Hotel offers the best value for your bowl-game weekend. Although the hotel is on the low end of a four-star rating, the Grand Plaza has hearty buffets and great proximity to the stadium. The Reliant Park Inn & Suites is definitely the bargain of the three. The property has rooms for less than US$100 per night and is located right next to the stadium.
Restaurants: As for dining, Americas features rain-forest-inspired cuisine like spicy ceviche and creamy coconut ice cream. The only downside is it's hard on the wallet. Damian's Cucina Italiana is a local favorite serving top-notch Italian food and wonderful desserts. In Houston, Goode Company is synonymous with barbeque. Make sure to try the jalapeno cheese bread and the pecan pie.
Nightlife: La Carafe is a Houston institution and a friendly hangout for local nine-to-fivers. Last Concert Café is a hip downtown bar and venue dripping with musical history. It's definitely worth a visit, but you'll have to ask a local for directions. The bar is indistinguishable from the buildings around it and there's no sign. Just knock on the plain red door speakeasy-style for admission (if you can't find someone who knows directions, you can usually call the bar itself).