Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Birthday America and Happy 4th of July to Everyone

Hello everyone.  I want to take this opportunity to wish America a very happy birthday and to wish everyone a happy 4th of July.  I also want to take just a moment to reflect on the events of the past several weeks and give what I like to call a lesson from the barber shop.

Capone's is a very diverse shop.  Not only do we have a diverse selection of barbers, which is by design, not by accident.  We have customers from all over the world.  All of us have very different upbringings, cultural traditions, religious traditions and life experiences.  But you know what?  We all get along remarkably well.  I can honestly say that I consider every barber at Capone's a member of my family.  We may not all look alike, but we all stand side by side everyday, working in unison and harmony.  Do we always agree on everything?  Absolutely not.  Do we scream at each other, point fingers of blame at each other, resort to name calling or walk out on each other?  Absolutely not.

Topics of conversation inside the shop are just as diverse as our barbers and customers.  We have discussed everything from the Greek debt crisis to Tiger Wood's struggles on the golf course.  From a nuclear Iran to the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana and literally everything in between.  I will admit that early on some of these conversations made me uncomfortable.  Not because of the topics being discussed, but because I was worried that someone would become offended and begin lashing out.  It never happened. 

This goes to show that when done respectfully, people will listen and engage in discussions although they may not agree with anything you are saying.  Of course you have to give them the same opportunity to speak their opinion, and you should listen with the same intensity that you speak.

The lesson I have learned from this is simple:  You do not have to abandon your beliefs in order to be respectful and tolerant of people who believe differently.  We can all get along, and we prove this everyday at the shop. 

Have a great 4th of July everyone and be safe.

Until next time, Cheers. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Product Review: Dr. Jon's Shaving Soap Company; Arctic Hydra Shave Soap

Hello everyone and welcome to my second product review.  Today I will be reviewing Dr. Jon's Shaving Soap Company's Arctic Hydra shave soap.  Before I begin this review, I would like to explain a bit about how I decide on what products to carry in the shop.

First and foremost, I will not sell any product in my shop that I would not use myself.  I stake not only my name and reputation, but that of the shop's as well, on every product I carry.  Therefore, I will not offer any product for sale until I have personally used it and approved it.  Unfortunately I learned this lesson the hard way, but learn I did. 

Several of the products I carry in the shop, I have personally used for years.  However, since I am a small business, I have decided to try my best to promote other small businesses that produce high quality products.  The first three producers I have chosen are Dr. Jon's Shaving Soap Company, Fine Accoutrements Shaving Products and Beard and Company beard oils.  I have already done a review of Fine Accoutrements Shaving Mug and reviews of other products from these three companies are coming soon. 

Before deciding on a new line of products to try in the shop, I do a lot of online research.  Once I find a product I am interested in, I read everything I can find about it on multiple websites.  If I decide to try a product, I usually make a small initial order, try it myself, and then decide if I should carry it in the shop.  That was not the case with Dr. Jon's Shaving Soap Company.

I originally discovered Dr. Jon's Shaving Soap Company on Instagram.  I then began researching the company online.  After scouring numerous websites devoted to wet shaving, I did not find a single negative review on any of Dr. Jon's products.  So when I placed my initial order, I ordered the complete line of shaving soaps.  And you know what?  I was not disappointed. 

I chose the Arctic Hydra for my first Dr. Jon's review for one reason, it is hot and humid in Houston, Texas.  Anything that can cool you off is a great relief, and this stuff really does the trick.  I love citrus scents in the summer because they are light, fresh and clean.  This shave soap combines six different citrus scents with the added kick of menthol.  WOW!
First off let's talk packaging.  All of the Dr. Jon's soaps I carry in the shop come in four ounce tins.  The lid of these tins has a colorful sticker with the name of the soap, a colorful picture, and the ingredients listed around the round edge of the lid.  The lid is then taped onto the base of the tin with color-coded electrical tape, ensuring that the lid stays in place until you decide to open it.  I absolutely love these colorful tins.
Before I go any further I want to say one thing with all due respect to the producer of this product.  Dr. Jon's calls this a shaving soap.  Maybe I'm old school, but to me, a shaving soap is a hard puck.  That is not true for this product.  To me, this is a thick, rich and dense shaving cream. 
While this product smells good while in the tin, once whipped into a lather, the scent explodes into a fresh, clean citrusy combination and the added menthol tingles and cools your skin.  I could pick up scents of the orange, lime, lemon and grapefruit.  I could also pick up the menthol, but it was not overpowering as it is in some shaving creams I have tried.  Instead, the menthol is an extra treat on top of the citrus notes. 
The lather was rich, creamy and wonderful.  I did have to use a bit more water with this product, but that is not a bad thing.  I have found that many of the higher end shaving creams require more water.  This usually means that the product is dense and rich, which is very true of this product.  It also usually means that you only have to use a small amount of the product to produce a luxurious lather.  That is very true for Arctic Hydra.  The lather is very slick, but also provides a very nice cushion between your skin and the razor.   
The above is a terrible photo, but the lather is thick and dense, with a very high sheen.  It only takes a very small amount of the cream in your mug or bowl to produce a lot of high quality lather, making it a very efficient product. 
After using this product, my face felt moist and taut for the entire day.  The taut part of this statement is no small feat, since I am no youngster.  I must say the moisturizing properties of this product are amazing. 
A lot of reviews list price and quality as different categories.  I combine these two into value.  I would compare this product favorably to several other shaving creams I have used that are double the cost of Dr. Jon's.  I believe this product is a tremendous value. 
I can't wait to try the other Dr. Jon's shaving soaps. 
Until next time, cheers.   

Sunday, June 21, 2015

1st Product Review: Fine Accoutrements Shaving Mug

Hello everyone and welcome to my first product review.  If you are wondering why I chose a shaving mug for my first product review, I don't blame you, but give me a chance to explain.  Earlier this week I received my first order of Fine Accoutrements shaving products.  I was immediately impressed with the quality of the aftershaves.  I will save a complete review for later, but I will say this:  for the price, you cannot beat these aftershaves.  The scents are incredible. 

I was also impressed with the quality of the shave brushes I ordered.  I only ordered the badger brushes, but I must say that for the price, they are top notch.  And then I opened the case of shaving mugs, and I must say that I was initially very underwhelmed. 

The shaving mugs looked very shallow with an overly large circumference.  The mugs taper inward toward the bottom and it just looked odd compared to the other shaving mugs I have in my collection.  Since I will not sell anything in my shop that I would not use myself, I took one home to give it a try.  WOW!  Spoiler Alert:  I love this shaving mug!

Before I begin, I intentionally did not use the Fine Accoutrements shaving brush for this review.  I used a brush from my collection that I am very familiar with.  This way I knew I would only be testing the bowl, not the brush.

The same thing with the lather.  I always make what is called uberlather, which is a combination of shaving soap, shaving cream and glycerin. For this review, I used a very familiar shaving soap and shaving cream so that I would be testing the bowl, not the lather.  
 Please note the raised ribs in the interior of the mug in the above photo.  These ribs are nothing new.  I have a vintage Old Spice shaving mug that has these same raised ribs.  However, the Old Spice mug is deep with a narrow circumference, which limits the motion of the brush.  This mug, as previously stated, is a bit more shallow with a much wider circumference.  This wider circumference lets you whip the brush around to create a great lather.  The raised ribs add resistance to the brush motion to really create a great lather.

I also love the way Fine incorporated a brush rest into the handle.  This too is nothing new, but this brush rest actually works.  I used the largest brush in my collection for this test, and it held it with no problem.  And the handle fits very comfortably into your hand.
Although this picture does not do justice, this is how your lather should look.  It should look like pie meringue prior to being baked.  I will do an upcoming post describing how to make uberlather. 
Although I was initially very underwhelmed by the looks of this mug, it has quickly become my favorite.  Fine Accoutrements has done a very Fine job of making a very Fine shaving mug.
Until next time, Cheers.       


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday's Lunch (June 14, 2015)

For today's lunch I went to Churrascos in Sugar Land.  It is located at U. S. 59 and State Highway 6, in the same center as Whole Foods.  It is on the opposite end of the shopping center from Whole Foods. 

As always I sat at the bar.  My bartender and server was Jose, who did an excellent job of taking care of me.  For my appetizer I had the Copacabana Ceviche.  It contains Peruvian blue tilapia, gulf shrimp and calamari with jalapeno, red onions and cilantro.

As you can see, it is served in a hollowed section of pineapple.  It may be hard to believe, but it tasted just as wonderful as it looks.  The tilapia was not the least bit fishy tasting.  The shrimp was tender and the small pieces of fried calamari really set it off.  It also had slices of avocado and small cubes of pineapple.  Absolutely delicious.

For my entrée I had the Filete en Salsa Jalapena.  This is grilled beef steak with onion jalapeno cream, avocado mousse and a poblano cheese stuffed flauta.

As you can see, the steak is also topped with avocado and pico.  The steak was tender and prepared just as I ordered it.  The jalapeno cream gave it an extra kick, and the avocado mousse was whipped to perfection.  The flautas were fresh and crisp.

On top of this they gave me a complimentary sample plate which included plantains, yucca puffs, pickled onions and a rice and bean combination that I did not catch the name of.  It was all very good.

I would highly recommend Churrascos to anyone.  I will definitely be back. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Houston A-List Award

We were informed yesterday by Houston A-List, that Capone's Barber Shop was voted the best Barber Shop in Houston.  We are all very honored by this and I want to thank all of our customers and supporters who made this happen.  Everyone at the shop greatly appreciates the loyalty of our customers and I assure you we will continue to work just as hard to ensure we earn that loyalty. 

I also want to thank four people in particular:  Chris McGruder, Marchell Jones, Luis Villegas III, and Bill Forte.  These are the people who make Capone's what it is.  It has been almost three years since I bought the shop, and I only agreed to do so when Chris and Marchell agreed to stay on and help me revive the shop.  And help they did.  They have worked tirelessly, skipping vacations, doing whatever it took to make the shop a success.  Marchell even cut hair while standing on crutches both before and after having ankle surgery.  Mr. Bill and Luis came in a little while later, but they too have made major contributions to making the shop a success.

It has been my honor and privilege to work with these four men over the past three years, and it is my sincere hope that we have many more years together. 

Thanks again from all of us at Capone's. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday's Lunch (June 7, 2015)


For those of you who are regulars in the barber shop, you have certainly heard us talk about our love of food.  Everyone in the shop loves food and we frequently talk about our favorite places to eat.  Since my girlfriend works on Sundays, I always treat myself to a wonderful late lunch on Sunday afternoons.  Since I always eat alone, I always sit at the bar for lunch.  As promised, here is my first restaurant review. 
One thing before I start.  Since I am not a professional food critic, I will never post a negative restaurant review on my blog. If I eat somewhere and I like it, you will read about it here.  If I eat somewhere and I do not like it, I simply will not have a blog post for that day.  With that in mind, let's get to it.
Today, Sunday June 7th, I had lunch at Veritas Steak and Seafood in Sugarland, Texas.  Veritas is located in the same shopping center as Whole Foods at Highway 6 and U. S. 59.  It is at the opposite end of the center from Whole Foods.  I usually would be hesitant to eat at a place that claims to do steaks and seafood, because usually if you try to do too much, you don't do any of it very well.  That is not the case with Veritas.
My bartender and waiter was Ryan.  Not only did Ryan have to make drinks for the entire restaurant as well as wait on the customers seated at the bar, he also was taking care of a private party in the wine room in addition to waiting on tables in the restaurant.  I think it is a bit ridiculous that the bartender in a restaurant of this size and caliber should have to wait tables, but Ryan handled it all very well.
I started off as usual with a dirty Kettle One Vodka martini.  It was delicious, not too briny, just right.  Veritas has calamari on their appetizer menu, but with a twist.  You can order the calamari with the usual marinara sauce, but Veritas also offers it with a spicy Thai peanut sauce and peanuts.  This calamari is absolutely incredible.  The calamari was cooked perfectly, not the slightest bit chewy.  The creamy richness of the peanut sauce along with the crunchiness of the peanuts, made it heavenly.  This was absolutely the best calamari I have ever had, and I have had a lot of calamari.
For the entrée I chose the Seared Ahi Tuna steak served with rice and asparagus, along with a glass of Benvolio Pinot Grigio wine.  I ordered the Ahi tuna rare, and it was wonderful.  It was so tender it almost melted in your mouth without chewing.  The rice was fluffy and the asparagus was crisp and tender. 
My Sunday lunches are my weekly treat to myself and I will definitely be coming back to
Veritas.  I would recommend this place to anyone.  Whether you are looking for a great place for date night with your wife or girlfriend, or a lunch or dinner by yourself or with friends, you won't go wrong at Veritas.  Highly recommended. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Hello and welcome to my blog.  First of all I would like to thank Matt Reily for building our new website.  Matt did a great job and all of us at Capone's are very happy with the new website.  Secondly, I want to apologize for the delay in getting the blog started.  The delay is my fault and mine alone. 

It is my intention to make this blog fun and informative for everyone.  I will be posting funny happenings from the barber shop, product reviews, as well as talking about haircuts, fashion, and where to get great meals in the Houston area.  If any of you would like to see something here, please let me know and I will try my best to make it happen. 

Lastly I want to thank our wonderful customers for making Capone's Barber Shop a success. 
Without our customers, we would be nothing but a room full of chairs.