O2 Bistro: Great Food In a Casual Setting

June 1st, 2019

By Rick Clapp

The new O2 Bistro is the creation of maven and restaurant extraordinaire John Schaefer. He was the mastermind of Outriggers on the Kemah Channel where locals, as well as tourists, relished the great view and awesome fresh, fried seafood, burgers and cold beer.

The dynamic General Manager Tina Philepot was selected personally by Schaefer to run and operate O2 Bistro because of her vast knowledge and creativity in the kitchen. Philepot hails from some of Houston’s best establishments and fine eateries. Schaefer has taken a different and unique approach with O2 Bistro. This fine but casual eatery and bar offers the best in good fresh seafood, steaks, chops and superb delicious appetizers and mouthwatering decadent house-made desserts. The bar is fully loaded with premium call liquors, cold beers and a nice wine list. The friendly and knowledgeable bartenders Audra and Sierra put a nice face to the place. The bar is always lively and a great place to mingle, hangout or just have a drink and enjoy their renowned appetizers.

O2 Bistro knows appetizers. Some of the Bay’s best starters include the filet bites, which are so tender they just melt in your mouth and served with crispy fried onion strings. The charcuterie board is a real winner and feeds up to four as an appetizer. This delicious assorted platter offers artisan meats, cheeses, olives, mango chutney and fresh baked toast points.

Deviled eggs go well with your favorite drink, wine or cold beer. This southern favorite is simple but good and filling. The eggs are topped with tobiko, which gives them an epicurean taste liked by all. A must is the O2 mussels. These little delicacies are sake steamed with kaffir lime and green mango sunken into a coconut curry.

They also offer the largest list of affordable appetizers in the Galveston Bay area, including fresh oysters on the half shell or Rockefeller, snapper ceviche, calamari, and ahi poke just to name a few.

For the soup and salad lover, the jumbo lump crab bisque is sumptuous and served with lots of lump crab in a cream based soup. They have fresh salads such as the caprese salad, the wedge and a favorite is the house salad with seared ahi tuna, served with sesame seeds, fresh mango, and avocado in an incredible ginger citrus soy vinaigrette. O2 Bistro’s salads are complete meals in themselves.

All entrees served at O2 Bistro score extremely high marks, starting with Snapper Schaefer. This epicurean delight is served with a large fresh snapper filet with crabmeat, pasta, asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms and with lime chervil butter.

O2 Bistro’s regulars love these items. The blackened redfish Louisiana style with rice pilaf and vegetable medley as well as their authentic shrimp and grits with andouille sausage. Another choice of the locals is the shrimp and scallops pasta, served in an incredibly good garlic and white wine sauce. The double rack pork chop served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus in a unique cider blend – pepper glaze is incredible.

This pork chop rivals “you-know-who’s” at Baybrook Mall. For the salmon fans, a definite choice is the citrus glazed salmon, which is made to perfection and not overcooked. It comes with jasmine rice and a vegetable medley.

O2 caters to its meat lovers and offers all certified Black Angus cuts from Filet Mignon to Ribeye, New York Strip and a nice Top Sirloin. The quality of the steaks and price are right. For the best deal try their steak night, you will not believe the prices. You can even order a nice bottle of wine and not break the bank.

The popular O2 steak night also offers Mediterranean kebabs, shaking beef 8 oz. Vietnamese wok seared top sirloin, ribeyes, pork chop, ahi tuna and filet mignon. All served with sides at no extra cost! The steak night favorite is the filet mignon topped with fresh chimichurri sauce.

Your dessert finale with dinner, or just by itself, includes the best Crème brûlée, served with fresh berries, apple and blueberry crisp with pecan streusel and buttermilk-like ice cream. Simply delicious!

O2 Bistro’s happy hour is all day Wednesday at the bar and offered Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

O2 Bistro offers special themed wine dinners as well. The upstairs O2 private room seats up to 60 people and is perfect for your corporate receptions, dinners, special events, wedding showers, family reunions, holiday or birthday parties and more. There is no extra charge for the room.

The culinary dynamic duo, John Schaefer and Tina Philepot, have created a winning combination of great food at affordable prices, perfect for families and your choice of indoor or outdoor dining in a casual setting. You can come by land or by sea. Boat slips are available. O2 Bistro is conveniently located at 1002 Aspen Road at the entrance of Clear Lake Shores on the water.

Reservations not required but a good idea on Friday and Saturday nights. Call (281) 532-6860.

Come as you are to O2 Bistro and enjoy the view, great food in a most relaxed, casual, family-friendly setting. Tell John and Tina that Rick sent ya! Bon appetite!

CHEERS: Great views, friends, food and drinks in a relaxed, casual atmosphere

HYC celebrates new pool complex and Ragnot reunion

June 1st, 2019

By Rick Clapp

The esteemed Houston Yacht Club celebration and Ragnot reunion was simply awesome. This legendary yacht club had much to revel over such as its rich history, sailing, community involvement, fundraisers and noteworthy world class sailors and members.

All who attended this outstanding outdoor event enjoyed great weather on Galveston Bay and were greeted with tropical drinks and champagne. It was festivities galore and a colorful opening ceremony with flag draped sailboats, white tents, and the beautiful renovated club grounds and pool area.

The party was majestic with ice cold drinks, hand passed appetizers, a wonderful selection of hors d’oeuvres such as oyster shooters, jumbo shrimp on ice, fruit and cheese platters. Live music and dancing was thoroughly enjoyed by members and guests.

Again, thank you HYC for a wonderful celebration!

Anchors away.

Oceanus Hosted Greek Ambassador Visit to Bay Area Houston

May 2nd, 2019

Pictured from left, Tony and Emily Panagiotareas, Ambassador Haris Lalacos, Sumer Loggins, Anna Michalopoulou and Rick Clapp.

The Ambassador of Greece to the United States, Harris Lalacos, made his first official visit to Houston. Bay Group Media CEO Rick Clapp and I graciously accepted the invitation to attend the honorary celebration. The commemorative dinner reception on March 24 at Lakewood Yacht Club included distinguished guests Rear Adm. Paul Thomas commander of the Eighth Coast Guard District, Houston mayoral candidate Bill King, Col. Michael Fossum former American astronaut and COO of Texas A&M University at Galveston, League City Mayor Pat Hallisey, R.W. Bray Southeast Texas Deputy Regional Director for Sen. Ted Cruz, the Consul of Greece Ioannis Stamatekos, the Hellenic Attaché for Maritime Affairs Koutsodontis Nikolaos, Admiral Mike Rodriguez, superintendent of the Texas Maritime Academy, and Port of Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther and Senior Director Charlie Jenkins. Ambassador Lalacos succinctly presented the importance of Greek-American relationships which focuses on energy, maritime shipping, and tourism. Greeks are leading pioneers of the sea for the last 3,500 years with the largest merchant marine fleets in the world, comprising 20% of all merchant vessels. Ambassador Lalacos said, “I’m glad I represent a country which is recognized as a stability provider in our region, as a reliable ally in NATO, a friend of the United States, and a country which has never had a conflict with the United States ever since our respective independence.”

International trade is dependent on Greek-owned ships which provides security, research, and resources that connect people around the world. “Greece is the champion of energy diversification in our part of the world,” says Lalacos. Greece has one of the largest terminals for LNG and plans to build a second terminal in Northern Greece. LNG is cleaner, safer, and takes up about 1/600th the volume of natural gas in the gaseous state. Liquified natural gas is non-toxic, non-corrosive, and more efficient to transport. Greece has managed to secure a major pipeline that brings Azari natural gas from the Caspian sea, passing through land bordering Turkey and transported to Northern Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea, to Southern Italy and on to Europe. “We have very solid plans and strong American support to enrich amounts of this pipeline and to build vertical interconnectors going from Greece Northbound. This will revolutionize gas flows in our part of the world.” asserts Lalacos. Their newest project, the Eastern Mediterranean Pipeline, with help from the United States and European Union, will bring through Italy a deepwater pipeline with natural gas from Israel, Cyprus, Egypt, and Greece. Israel has already found natural gas reserves but they need more pipelines to distribute it to the world market. Recently ExxonMobil had positive results with exploratory drilling offshore South of Cyprus, and Egypt discovered natural gas in the Mediterranean. Next, ExxonMobil will be drilling South of Crete while multinational companies drill on and offshore in the Western Part of Greece. “We are hopeful to diversify energy flow and production in the Eastern Mediterranean Basin. This may take place in the next decade.” says Lalacos.

Texas is the largest natural gas producer globally and a world leader in the chemical and petrochemical industry. Houston is an international hub for shipping and energy, which are two areas of primary importance to Greece. We are one of eight cities in the United States with a Greek Consulate, and one of two with a Coast Guard Consulate. Private-owned companies with sustainable solutions take the lead in global partnerships to expand energy sources. Oceanus Maritime Services LLC is a Greek-owned company with headquarters in League City. Oceanus started as an idea between business partners Tony Panagiotareas and Kent Dangtran, and now represents a fleet of 500 vessels belonging to 40 shipping companies. They are one of few companies in Texas to hold an International Ship Management Certificate to operate commercial vessels. Oceanus Maritime leads efforts to assist Greece in developing their energy reserves. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) addresses the human health and environmental impact of the oil and gas industry. In 2020 new regulations will implement that all ships must reduce sulphur fuel content to 0.5% 200 nautical miles from the shoreline. This demonstrates a clear commitment by IMO to ensure shipping meets environmental obligations.

Greece celebrated Greek Embassy’s Official Independence Day at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Houston for the first time in history. On March 25 1821, Greek revolutionaries fought for their freedom and victoriously won against the Ottoman Empire. They established hard-earned independence in 1830. The festivities were hosted by the Consul of Greece Ioannis Stamatekos and over 200 Houstonians. The Pappas family graciously donated beautiful selections of wines and Nikos Nikos provided an elegant dinner. It was quite a traditional Greek experience. Besides the exciting opportunities for energy development, Ambassador Lalacos says, “The help that we need is not grants, it’s investment; mutually advantageous, profitable investment. When it comes to investment, the greatest asset [of Greece] is its well-educated workforce.”

This three day weekend of Greek hospitality and festivities elucidates the importance of working together. We have common goals of peace, prosperity, and positive international relationships. We all want independence, security, and a safe, diverse supply of energy. Greece and America are always friends, always allies. Investing in each other is paramount to success and building long lasting friendships. We can work together to overcome challenges as well as preserve liberty, freedom, and sovereignty. It was a symbolic moment to visit with Ambassador Lalacos and maritime officials. We encourage more Greek-owned businesses to come to the Houston Bay Area. We’d like to see more Greek-American collaboration to establish energy independence and a robust economy in both countries.

Remembering Simone M. Clapp

February 1st, 2019

By Rick Clapp

My dear mother Simone Clapp passed away this holiday season. She lived a good, long life of 89 years. Her early teen years were not so easy as she and her family survived World War II in Europe.

My mother, my grandmother and aunt were great story tellers. They told many tales of sadness, happiness and joy just to have something to eat and a meal to share was so appreciated. Even during the most difficult times and horrendous conditions of war they found joy because of their faith in God. No doubt that carried them and continued to comfort my mother up until her recent death.

Simone Clapp was a part of the “Greatest Generation” that lived and survived through World War II. The experience made my mother and others strong, stubborn, emotional, caring and loving, but most of all giving.

She would say many times that her mother learned the real gift of giving. She passed it on to all her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Was Simone perfect? Close. She was good – real good and taught all of us the importance of being full of grace and helping your fellow man. We were taught to treat our neighbors and friends as family.

She shared her secrets on how to survive. The importance of never giving up and always being thankful and grateful for the large and small things in life. The best gift she gave us was the gift of giving and doing that unconditionally.

Simone taught us to pack our own parachute, not to rely on others. My mother was married to our loving father, Rodger Clapp, for over 35 years, she is survived by my brother Arthur, my sister Diane, and myself. Two grandchildren, Alisa and Mollie and four great grandchildren Niko, Neely, Alexa and her sister Marlene Leddick.

Mom, you were the perfect mother for all of us. We thank you and praise you for all you did on this earth. Rest in peace Simone. Shalom.

Armand Bayou – ‘The Jewel on the Bay’

June 1st, 2018

John Collier, from right, and other guests welcome Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner as retiring Armand Bayou Executive Director Tom Kortrude looks on in the background.

Rick Clapp and Jackie Young of THEA

By Rick Clapp

One of Bay Area’s most precious jewels is the Armand Bayou Nature Center in Pasadena. The Annual Earth Day Party for the Planet was held on Saturday, April 28 and was another big success — raising thousands of dollars and was a total sellout. The annual Spring Celebration and fundraiser included a lavish silent auction featuring Astros tickets, feeding the Bison, nature paintings, Yeti Coolers, signature Audubon style bird dinner plates and more. Hors d’oeuvres galore were hand passed and served by an attentive wait staff from Melange Catering.

The highlight each year is the incredible buffet dinner and drinks served under the big white tent. It was again provided by the Kessler’s of One Stop Tents and Events. Dinner included tender grilled Airline chicken, mouthwatering beef tenderloin Au Poivre, mixed green salad, roasted basil, new and Peruvian purple potatoes, oven roasted Brussel sprouts and a vegetable medley. The dessert was divine — a Tiramisu trifle or a strawberry shortcake trifle. It not only looked great, it tasted d’lish. The Crème de la Crème was provided at the events end which was a decadent late night snack, a farm table s’mores station.

The live auction was well bid on, and all went for great value. It included Astros memorabilia, a fishing trip, pontoon boat tour for 80, an evening of art and cheese at Disegno Studio in Houston, a round of golf at the premier Golf Club of Houston for four with caddies and a trip to Florida’s Disney World. There was also a guided private canoe trip for six on Armand Bayou with Mark Kramer. Evening entertainment was live music by Andy and the Dreamsicles.

The evening honored the hardworking, dynamic Tom Kortrude, who celebrated his 10 years as the executive director of ABNC and will graciously retire this summer. Congratulations Tom, and best wishes in your new ventures. A job more than well done. Bravo. Special thanks goes to David Rante, Laurel Williamson, Garry McMahan, Linda Retherford, all the sponsors and people at ABNC.

Mark your calendar for next year’s Armand Bayou Nature Center Party for the Planet. Your funds will protect our Jewel on the Bayou, and I personally guarantee you a grand ole time on the bayou.

Armand Bayou Nature Center extends it gratitude to everyone who made the 2018 Earth Celebration another huge success. For more information call 281-474-2551.

Don’t make Americanism something of the past

January 1st, 2017

“One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. “

“In God We Trust.”

These words were written by our forefathers many years ago. These phrases are a part of our Americanism which separates us from the rest of the world. By God, we should not lose it. Furthermore, we do our daily monetary transactions “In God We Trust.” Why is the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer time taken out of our schools?

Our country was founded by three major principles: freedom, order and justice. As Americans we are free to do anything that is legal and follows an order. Then we have a justice system that at times seems unjust but is the best in the world. However, we are slowly losing many of our freedoms. The order and justice system is becoming more enforcing. A country that is too secure is a country with less freedom.

We wonder why politicians are pro-immigration. It is simply to buy votes. It has been done for decades. If we are the party that lets the borders down and has unlimited entry by hundreds and thousands of people from countries we are at war with, guess which party they vote for.

Employing a selective immigration would work. Those that can support themselves and a family for a minimum of two years; professionals, people who have a talent that there is a need for; bright students and people that are suffering a particular hardship. They must all be willing to work and legally apply for citizenship. If they fit the criteria, then welcome to the greatest country, “The Land of Opportunity.”  Let’s not sell America cheap.

Other countries in the world are very strict and careful about who immigrates into their country.  Countries such as Switzerland, Japan, China and Korea.  Many of these countries have been around longer than America.  Why don’t we look at these countries and implement what they do right? If these countries allow immigration, it is to fill a serious need. They must have financial means, and they do not let the people that may cause trouble filter into their country.

It is great that our country is known all over the world for being creative innovators and leaders in industry.  That did not happen overnight.  It took generations of talent, discernment, education, trial and error, sacrifice, government’s laissez faire policies and our ability to get along with our allies and other countries in trade and commerce.

Change and immigration is wonderful, but if you have owned or built a successful business, you know the right time to grow and when to pull back and slow things down.

Furthermore, if your new ideas and programs are not working, you know to reflect on your past.  Like they say “sometimes you just need to take two steps back to get a step ahead.”  If the screen door is not broken, then do not fix it. New ideas and innovations require more money out of your business, resources or bank. It may not be the right time. Timing is everything.  Success begins with going out and finding what your elite customers want and fulfilling their wants and needs.
It is time that we put God back into our country, government and business. Also, we should regulate our immigration, if we value America. We should place a high value and price tag on it.  Many have sacrificed, suffered and paid the ultimate price for America.

We need all of our politicians to act like sales managers. Get out of their offices and visit the people and businesses and find out what their wants and needs are – not just what their political party wants. Needless to say, politicians should be working for us, not vice versa.

Finally, let’s do not sell this “Greatest Country” cheap.   It has a higher price tag paid by many.

To be an American is something special!

Rick Clapp, President
Bay Group Media