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downtown WINTER 2012-13

connecting you to the center of houston

The

J UICY FOOD Issue

BREAKFAST, BURGERS & BEYOND


inside.

WINTER 2012-13

VOL. 5, NO. 2

holiday rom com / p. 37

SCAN downtown Managing Editor/ Creative Director Angie Bertinot, Downtown District Copy Editor Barbara Linkin Mendel, Mendel Creative Solutions

4 LOOKING AHEAD

Design ph Design Shop

For more than 10 years, Emerging Leaders has been providing business networking opportunities for Houston’s young professionals. Now with new leadership, new programming and a new outlook, the organization is looking at an exciting new tomorrow as well.

Photography Katya Horner, Slight Clutter Photography

by MELISSA FITZGERALD

Contributing Writers Amber Ambrose, Holly Beretto, Sandra Cook, Melissa Fitzgerald, Barbara Linkin Mendel, Melissa Seuffert, Doris Ting

16 CHARITY BEGINS IN THE KITCHEN

Advertising Information Angie Bertinot, 713.650.3022/ dtmagazine@downtowndistrict.org

by SANDRA COOK

Organized Kollaboration on Restaurant Affairs (OKRA) is way more than a cool acronym. This group of dedicated restaurateurs and bar owners supports each other as well as those new to the business and are committed to charitable giving through their Original OKRA Charity Saloon.

20 CHOW DOWN

Questions or comments? Drop us a line at dtmagazine@ downtowndistrict.org

Downtown magazine is published quarterly and is free of charge. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Downtown District, 909 Fannin, Suite 1650, Houston, Texas 77010. Published by:

Downtown Houston is simply the place to be if you want to experience Houston’s food scene at its best. Looking for the juiciest burger? We’ve got it. The freshest sushi? It’s here too. Our roundup of dining options is most definitely a keeper. by AMBER AMBROSE

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publishers’ note We’re not ashamed to say it’s an embarrassment of riches when it comes to Houston’s restaurant scene.

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Ballet principal dancer Amy Fote talks about new beginnings and happy endings.

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FOODIE TIPS

Brookfield Office Properties puts client needs first, and it’s paid off with happy tenants and an impressive portfolio of properties.

by doris ting

backstage Holiday faves like The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol share the Theater District calendar with Lily Tomlin and Itzhak Perlman this season. And retiring Houston

hot companies

by holly beretto

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THE MUST LIST It’s the NBA All-Star Weekend. With this issue’s must haves, we shoot and we most definitely score.

datebook Theater, concerts, tours, festivals, special events and much more.

by MELISSA SEUFFERT

Phoenicia Specialty Foods shares their hints for a flavorful holiday.

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plate/sip Woof ! Barnaby’s brings their easy vibe and yummy comfort food to a new, downtown location.

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destination downtown map


Pucker up—Texas’ biggest mistletoe ball is coming to downtown this holiday season!

The 150-inch ball of kiss-inducing greenery hanging from a 15-foot giant candy cane, will be located at five festive downtown destinations for a tour of holiday cheer. Nov 26-Dec 2 Dec 3-9

City Hall

Market Square Park

Dec 10-16 Dec 17-23

TUTS’ Peter Pan at Hobby Center Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker at Wortham Theater

Dec 24-Jan 1

Discovery Green

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Pucker up! Passersby are invited to stand under the massive ball and kiss—for a cause.

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Post your photo to Facebook.com/VisitDowntownHouston

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For every photo posted Macy’s will generously donate $1 to Make-A-Wish Foundation, a non-profit that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions (maximum of $5,000).

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re For mo bout n atio a inform -Wish Make-A sit tion, vi Founda

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Plus you’ve just got the perfect photo for this year’s holiday card!

A special thanks to our Mistletoe on the Go! partners For weekly Macy’s Mistletoe on the Go! specials and discounts, visit www.downtownhouston.org or Facebook.com/VisitDowntownHouston


FALALALALATTE-final.pdf

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11/14/12

PUBLISHERs' NOTE

A Dig in

As Houstonians we sometimes still find ourselves trying

to convince the rest of the country that our city is, well, pretty darn amazing. But when it comes to dining, Houston has most certainly arrived. Who doesn’t know by now that America’s fourth-largest city is a foodie’s paradise? Even better, much of our dynamic restaurant scene is right in the heart of downtown. Whether it’s the juicy gourmet burgers and duck-fat infused fries from The Burger Guys, the incomprehensibly delicious pies at Bombay Pizza or the refined tasting menus at Oxheart, Houston is the standard bearer. Starting on page 20, we’ve gathered all of our favorites and put them in one easy place for the next time you’re trying to decide where to dine. Who doesn’t know by We’re also happy to share now that America’s the story of OKRA in this issue. Houston’s heart is big, fourth-largest city and this organization of is a foodie’s paradise? restaurant and bar owners is committed not only to supporting others who want to grow their own businesses but also to philanthropy through their Original OKRA Charity Saloon. Read all about it starting on page 16. Winter is such a beautiful time in downtown Houston. Discovery Green is decked out for the holidays, and families flock to take a spin on The Ice. The Theater District’s performing arts organizations have something for everyone, including blockbuster musicals and celebrity appearances, and as always, downtown is home to the best in sports. We’ve wrapped all the excitement up in our datebook staring on page 31. And don’t forget to mark your calendars for the NBA All-Star Weekend Feb. 14-17. Our Must List on page 30 has everything a basketball fan wants and needs for the big event. Make sure you keep this issue handy for whatever fun you might be planning. Be sure to check us out online at downtownhouston.org. And, please, let us know what you think about downtown. We’re always happy to hear your comments and suggestions.

Bob Eury

Andrew Huang

Downtown District

Houston Downtown Alliance

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ON THE COVER In the few years since The Burger Guys first came on the Houston food scene, they have managed to wow just about everyone who walks through their doors. Their juicy All-American Burger stacks a beautifully seared Akaushi beef patty with your choice of cheese, fresh lettuce, ripe tomato, pickles, ale mustard and aioli on a lightly toasted challah bun. Don't forget to order the insanely good fries, finished in duck fat, and a rich, creamy shake. Yum!

winter 2012-13

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7:03


Emerging

Leaders Young professionals group, Emerging Leaders, make downtown their playground / By Melissa Fitzgerald

One of Houston’s original and longest-running young professionals groups, Emerging Leaders, has taken 2012 by storm with its rebirth, including a new look, new leadership and new programming. The 500+ member group was founded more than 10 years ago under the parent umbrella of the Houston Downtown Alliance. It began as a business networking group geared toward creating opportunities for downtown 20- and 30-somethings who wanted to gain leadership skills and propel their careers upward. Over time, the group evolved into the multifaceted organization it is today. While the emphasis is still primarily on networking and professional development, its purpose has expanded to include community outreach initiatives and special event programming in the downtown area. At a time when young professionals groups seem to be a dime a dozen, Emerging Leaders sets itself apart by creating programming no one else is doing. One of these initiatives is their monthly Integrating Industries Networking Happy Hours. While at first glance the concept of a happy hour may not appear to offer anything particularly special, this event invites professionals from two unrelated industries to co-mingle, allowing for networking beyond their career field. The combination is different for every event, and attendance by people of all industries, not only the highlighted fields of the month, is encouraged. “When we looked at the programming that existed downtown, we noticed that there were lots of opportunities for people to network within their specified industry, but not a lot of events that intentionally sought to bring professionals from different fields together,” said Melissa Seuffert, Emerging Leaders’ liaison. “We feel that relationship building is so important to making downtown a cohesive community. Bringing people together who wouldn’t likely meet organically due to their differing industries, makes this event unique and exciting.” And the downtown community has emphatically agreed. Since the event debuted in March, the group has seen a steady increase in attendance and membership. Past industry combinations included Arts & Science and Marketing & Energy. Upcoming events for 2013 will feature law, medicine, communications and finance. EL’s first intern-geared event, Networking 101: Step into Houston’s Real World, made the city just a little bit smaller for new residents and interns hoping to make Houston their future home. Young professionals groups were invited to a YP open house of sorts, allowing the attendees to meet representatives from a variety of groups in the city and learn more about what Houston has to offer. Break-out, 15-minute mini sessions covered professional development topics such as how to

Programming

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network, how to make a great first impression and how to be remembered after the networking is done. The second annual event will be held next summer. Professional development is taken beyond the office walls at EL’s popular, annual Business Etiquette Dinner. The event is a fun-filled evening featuring a delicious meal, wine pairings and step-by-step instruction on how to make it through even the most stressful of business dinners with charm, grace and, of course, good manners. The event draws a crowd ranging from fresh-faced college graduates to seasoned business veterans looking for a brush up on their dinner skills. And everyone walks away having learned something they didn’t know before. This group plays just as hard as it works. The crowd took the night off from professional growth at their first ever Emerging Leaders Gala, The BIG Party, which encouraged attendees to tap into their inner child. The fun-filled fete, inspired by the movie Big, boasted cotton candy, a caricaturist, carnival games, a giant piano you could play with your feet and a working Zoltar machine.

Community outreach Emerging Leaders has a long history

of understanding the importance of giving back to the city that has given them so much. This giving back has taken multiple forms over the past decade. Projects have included monthly volunteering at the downtown soup kitchen, Loaves and Fishes, numerous marathon water stations, volunteering at the Buffalo Bayou Regatta Gala with the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, recreational activities with the children of DePelchin Children’s Center and many more. This year the group formed a new partnership with the Houston Food Bank and is planning many exciting volunAt a time when young teer opportunities in professionals groups the months ahead. The first of these will seem to be a dime take place over the a dozen, Emerging holiday season with Leaders sets itself valuable behind-theapart by creating scenes work in the programming no one Food Bank’s massive else is doing. warehouse. Art lovers can get their philanthropic fix at the Bayou City Art Festival, happening in the spring. Emerging Leaders will be on deck lending a hand to artists from all over the country and beyond as they participate in this celebrated event.


While Emerging Leaders is a part of the parent company, Houston Downtown Alliance, the goal of the group is to foster opportunities for leadership in the execution of events and activities. The group is largely governed by its steering committee with help from the HDA office liaison. Steering Committee members take turns holding leadership roles at the various events throughout the year giving them ownership in the success and well-being of the organization. The EL chair has the privilege of an official seat on the Houston Downtown Alliance board alongside other top executives in the downtown area.

Leadership opportunities

One of the greatest parts of this group is that there is no norm when it comes to the types of people it attracts. The membership consists of professionals from corporate and nonprofit organizations alike, spanning a variety of careers and bringing their own personal network to the events. This means consistent fresh faces and new networking opportunities. While the age range is primarily 25- 40, people of all ages are welcome to attend. A common thread is a desire to make downtown not only a place to work, but a place in which to feel invested and have fun. Longtime downtown resident and 2012 Emerging Leaders chair, Jill VanZelfden, remembers joining the group several years ago and the difference it made for her experience in Houston. “When I first came to Houston in 2005 I didn’t know a soul, so I started building my group of “grown-up friends” or “professional network” from scratch,” she says. “When I became a member of the Houston Downtown Alliance in 2010, the entire city seemed to open up. There are so many great things to do here and talented people to know. Emerging Leaders and [sister organization] Houston Young People for the Arts definitely offer a means of truly being connected to Houston.” The overarching goal is to make downtown a more vibrant place to live, work and play for young people and beyond. Emerging Leaders measures everything they do with this purpose in mind. If you’re someone who has a vested interest in making downtown an even brighter place to be, or simply want to meet some new people, joining Emerging Leaders is an excellent way to do so. Membership perks include your first drink free at every happy hour and discounted ticket prices to EL events. At a low yearly membership rate of $20, you almost can’t afford not to join this dynamic group.

Who should join?

To learn more about volunteering or becoming a member of Emerging Leaders, visit houstondowntownalliance.com/el.

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P H O E N I C I A’S

FAB FOODIE TIps

By Doris Ting

FO R T H E H O L I D AYS

When I’m not traveling, I like to visit my local Phoenicia Specialty Foods, where they help to put together a yummy list of flavorful favorites. S p i c es

A p p et i z e rs

d ess e rts

S pa r kl in g w ines

“The deep, crimson Aleppo pepper is a great way to add a mild, tangy, smoky zest to any kind of salad, like the Lebanese potato salad at Phoenicia’s MKT BAR,” confides co-owner Ann-Marie Tcholakian. Her brother, Raffi Tcholakian, a jack of many trades, crafted their house blend of ras el hanout, a terrific Middle Eastern spice rub for meats such as lamb, with spices like cumin, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, white pepper and cloves.

In the market, choose from an outstanding selection of cured meats, cheeses, olives, preserves and nuts to create your own charcuterie board. Try the Armenian string cheese marinated in Zorab’s Italian spices, basterma (a cut of meat dried and cured with spices like crushed cumin, fenugreek, garlic, hot paprika and salt), cooked fig jam and Turkish pistachios.

This holiday, delight guests with apple baklava, which has rich, juicy apple chunks tucked into layers of crispy, buttery phyllo. Another treat is panettone, an airy, cake-like creation often baked with plump raisins and candied citrus peels. Enjoy it with mascarpone cheese, in bread pudding or to make the perfect French toast.

Haig Tcholakian, co-owner and master wine purveyor at Phoenicia, suggests a great selection of sparkling wines. “The Canard-Duchêne Champagne Brut from France has fruit aromas intermingling with notes of brioche. Italy’s Clara C extra dry prosecco has delicate notes of acacia and rose.”

king cake is a favorite with the kids!

Matt Johnson, Phoenicia’s humble executive chef, highlights use of the ras el hanout in the Lamb Tagine with Chickpeas and Apricot recipe below... Lamb Tagine with Chickpeas & Apricot 3 lbs lamb shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes 2 Tbs olive oil 1 lg onion, diced 3 garlic cloves, peeled + chopped 2 tsp ras el hanout spice blend 1 Tbs ginger, peeled and chopped 1 cup canned diced tomatoes (with juices) 2 ½ cups (or more) low salt chicken stock ½ cup halved dried apricots handful of fresh cilantro, chopped 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

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Season lamb with salt and pepper. In a large heavy pot, like a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Working in batches, sear lamb on all sides until well browned (not grayish). Transfer lamb to a medium bowl. Add onion to the pot; reduce heat to medium, season with salt and pepper and sauté until soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ras el hanout and ginger. After stirring for a minute, add tomatoes and

lamb with any accumulated juices. Bring to boil. Add 2 ½ cups stock. Return to a boil and then reduce to low. Cover partially and simmer, stirring occasionally until lamb is tender, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Stir in chickpeas and simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes. Repeat with apricots. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve over couscous or rice pilaf. Garnish with fresh cilantro.


arts & entertainment

b a c k s ta g e .

2012 2013

winter

amitava sarkar

by Melissa Seuffert

Emily Bowen in Ben Slevenson's The Nutcracker.

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It wouldn’t be the holidays if we didn’t mention Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker – the story of Clara and her colorful, magical journey through The Land of Sweets. Join her and the Nutcracker prince as she encounters the Snow Queen, Sugar Plum Fairy and more. The Nutcracker runs through Dec. 30. From Feb. 21-March 3, get your classical ballet fix with a touch of Bollywood. Stanton Welch’s beautiful and seductive La Bayadère returns to rule the stage. La Bayadère is the lively story of Nikiya the temple dancer, her lover Solor, and the vengeance that keeps them apart – at least in this life. Da Camera of Houston continues Eliot Fisk its 25th anniversary celebration by bringing Guitar Masters: Eliot Fisk and Bill Frisell to the stage on Jan. 26. They come from opposite ends of the spectrum – Fisk is classical, Frisell, jazz – but together they will unite for an evening of everything from Bach to American standards. Also not to be missed – Grammy Award-winner Christian McBride and Inside Straight on Feb. 8. The premier bassist on today’s jazz and pop scene, McBride comes to Houston with his quintet for one night only. Houston Grand Opera enters 2013 with a Jan. 18-Feb. 9 run of Show Boat – Jeremy Kern’s English opera set to tunes by Oscar Hammerstein II. Show Boat follows the theatrical family of The Cotton Blossom as it sails the Mississippi providing musical entertainment at

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towns along the river. Alongside its performances of Show Boat, HGO takes on Mozart’s Don Giovanni Jan. 25-Feb. 10. Don Giovanni is the tale of a man who charms and abandons women at will until arrogance kindles the fires of his own demise. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts

Be like Cathy Rigby and don’t grow up. The Tony Award nominee takes flight with Theatre Under The Stars’ all new production of Peter Pan Dec. 11-23, and it’s sure to be a Kelly Myernick in La Bayadére. hit with adults and kids alike. TUTS also is offering special Peter Pan-themed experiences in the month of December to get audiences ready for (and to enhance) the performance, including a free screening of the 1953 Disney classic at Sundance Cinemas on Dec. 3. For more information, visit tuts.com. Gexa Energy Broadway at the Hobby Center presents the story of the infamous Frank W. Abagnale, Jr., in Catch Me If You Can Feb. 5-10. The musical is based on the true story of Abangale, a teenager who ran away from home in search of a glamorous life. Along his journey, Frank lived the life of a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer, landing himself in some

Houston Grand Opera's Showboat.

kobert kusel / Lyric opera of chicago

junichi takahshi

Wortham Theater Center

amitava sarkar

I

t’s sugar and spice and everything nice this winter in the Houston Theater District. If you’re looking for some entertaining performances for the family or just for yourself, look no further than downtown Houston. From family favorites like The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol and Peter Pan to Don Giovanni and the songs of Simon and Garfunkel, there’s something for every taste. So get out your calendars and start planning your winter.


janichi takahashi

isaac James

TUTS' Peter Pan

STOMP

jan whaley

Catch Me If You Can

Todd Waite in The Santaland Diaries

deep trouble along the way. Ring in the New Year with Ars Lyrica, as they bring A Viennese New Year to Zilka Hall. Hear enchanting instrumental works by Johann Schmeltzer, Johann Fux, and Johann Strauss, along with two rising stars of the opera stage – soprano Lauren Snouffer and countertenor John Holiday. Jones Hall

The Society for the Performing Arts has a stellar lineup this winter, beginning with a jampacked few weeks that include the Houston favorite, STOMP Jan.25-27. STOMP’s eightmember troupe uses everything but conventional percussion instruments – matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters, hubcaps – to fill the stage with magnificent rhythms. SPA also brings violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman to Jones Hall for a recital concert alongside pianist Rohan DeSilva on Feb. 7 and comedienne Lily Tomlin to the stage on Feb. 9. The Houston Symphony brings the songs of Simon and Garfunkel to the Theater District with the help of AJ Swearingen and Jonathan Beedle, who have been performing songs like Bridge Over Troubled Water to sold-out audiences for more than a decade. On the

classical side, don’t miss Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet over Valentine’s Day weekend Feb. 14, 16-17. In addition to making your heart pitter-patter, the program will feature violinist Vilde Frang performing Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5. Alley Theatre

Whatever you do – make sure you catch the Alley Theatre’s holiday productions. Company actor Todd Waite brings to life the scrooge-esque Crumpet the Elf in the oneman show, The Santaland Diaries through Dec. 30. The hilarious cult classic is based on author David Sedaris’ time working at a Macy’s Santaland display. Then, get a dose of the original Scrooge during A Christmas Carol A Ghost Story of Christmas Nov. 16-Dec. 24. The classic play follows Ebenezer Scrooge on his journey with the three ghostly spirits who visit him on Christmas Eve. And to all a good night …

There are many more exciting performances happening this winter in the Theater District. For a full lineup of what’s going on where, as well as to get tickets to any of the performances listed above, please visit houstontheaterdistrict.org.

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arts & entertainment: p r o f i l e

A f o n d fa r e w e l l t o H o u s t o n B a l l e t P r i n c i pa l Da n c e r A m y F o t e

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ince starting with Houston Ballet in 2005, principal dancer Amy Fote has established herself as a fan favorite whose roles in ballets like Madame Butterfly, Marie and Swan Lake have left audiences spellbound. In December, after seven years with the company (and six years in her role as principal), Fote will take her final bow for Houston audiences, leaving a hole in the hearts of ballet-goers.

valerie reeves, AIH north

Fote took the time to answer a few questions about her time here in Houston, her decision to retire (she hates that word), and what the future looks like.

What is a day in the life of a Houston Ballet principal dancer like? We begin each day at 10 a.m. with an hour-and-a-half technique class Tuesday through Saturday. During this time we stretch and strengthen our muscles, first at barre and then in the center, where we perfect our adagio, turns and jumps. Whether we are in the theater performing or setting ourselves up for a day of rehearsals, there is something so therapeutic about beginning each day with this timeless routine. Class is followed by a 20-minute break before our “real work” begins. The next three hours are spent rehearsing and learning numerous ballets for our upcoming performances, followed by an hour lunch break and another three hours in the studio. We finish our days by 6:45 p.m. unless we are in the theater performing. On that schedule we flip our days to begin at 12:30 p.m. and work nights, ultimately finishing by 10:30 p.m. As a principal dancer, early on in the rehearsal process we often find ourselves in a studio with just our partner and a ballet master/mistress. We are taught the choreography, which in the beginning can be quite mind taxing and is often when your body feels the most sore from the constant repetition of steps. We are coached and attention is given to every detail. At this point we join the others and put the ballet together. This process involves a lot of stopping and starting as we work through the piece. From here on out it is imperative to have stamina, as we are now into the stage of running the ballet. With numerous ballets being rehearsed at once it is a lot to keep organized for both the body and mind. Our job is very demanding, but so fulfilling!

Your last performances with the Houston Ballet will be this season’s production of The Nutcracker. What made you decide to retire in the middle of the season?

I went in last October (2011) to speak with our artistic director Stanton Welch about my decision to “take the next step” (I found it difficult to say the words retire). My thoughts were to finish at the end of last season, but through our conversation we thought it would be wonderful to revisit some special ballets again this season. Although dance has always been a part of my life, in reflecting on my career I am satisfied and feel completely fulfilled with all that I have danced. I have given all that I can to this beautiful art form and know that there are other ways for me to contribute. I have been performing in The Nutcracker since I was a Bon Bon at 8 years old and to finish with this holiday tradition at such a festive time of year will be wonderful. I still find it important to perform, as it is an introduction for so many balletgoers, and over the years has been where some of the best memories have been made.

What is your most memorable role with the Houston Ballet? Without hesitation, I would have to say that the most memorable role I have danced has been Cio Cio San, in Stanton Welch's Madame Butterfly. For me that ballet has so many wonderful experiences wrapped up in it. The first time I was introduced to the work, I was guesting with The Royal New Zealand Ballet for three months, performing in both the north and south islands. As a dancer it is so fulfilling to portray a

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amitava sarkar

Amy Fote and artists of Houston Ballet in Stanton Welch's The Four Seasons.

character with such an emotional arc; and to have the opportunity with numerous performances to grow with a ballet like that is rare. Each time I have revisited the ballet I find myself in a different stage in my life, and ultimately make different artistic choices. I love that, and that I continue to learn and push myself to be better. That being said, I also have fond memories of dancing Tatiana in (John) Cranko’s Onegin. I remember it not only being an amazing role and ballet, but in 2005 was the first time I was introduced to the Houston audience. A favorite memory was after my partner, Andrew Murphy, and I had finished our first studio run-through and finding the company so receptive. I felt like I had their approval and the feeling was priceless, and one I will never forget.

is ok to be ugly.” This went against everything that I had ever been taught, as we are always striving to be graceful and beautiful. This demanding work required crazy stamina too (the kind where you feel as if you could not do another step, even if your life depended on it). It was also the first time that I was paired with James Gotesky for a full-length ballet. Not only were we learning difficult partnering, but we were sorting out how to work, trust and communicate with one another. It was a challenging rehearsal process, but I remember having the best time on stage together. On our last show just before the final pas de deux, he said to me "Whatever happens, I've enjoyed working with you on this ballet. Let's go out and have fun!" Upon hearing that I felt even more free to dance. It was wonderful and I will always remember it as one of my most favorite performances.

When I think of the most challenging role I have ever danced, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake comes to mind straight away. Apart from wearing a tutu, where your line and technique are completely exposed, this role requires tremendous stamina. A different challenge came however with the ballet Taming of the Shrew in dancing the role of Kate. This character did not come naturally to me with all the stomping, pushing and fighting. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out her walk and temperament. I remember the staff saying to me “Be ugly. It

What are your plans post-retirement? Do you plan on staying in Houston?

What role did you find most challenging?

Dance has always been a part of my life and is something that I feel very passionate about. For years to come I hope to continue contributing to this art form, however I am also looking forward to exploring my other interests. I love decorating, fashion and cooking and have ideas involving those, as well as an interest in communications. I am also planning on taking some college courses to add to my skill set. I still own my home in Wisconsin and would

need to sort things with that before I were to put down roots. Although my family is there, I love the city of Houston and all it has to offer. Not only for our mild winters, but we have a thriving art scene, amazing restaurants and endless shopping. If I were not to return to this city I would miss it immensely – especially all the wonderful people I have come to know and adore in my time here.

On Nov. 30, the Houston Ballet paid tribute to Fote during its annual Jubilee of Dance celebration. Of the honor (which hadn’t yet taken place at the time of the interview), Fote noted how humbled and honored she was to have this special opportunity – especially as it would be a time for her and her fellow dances to say goodbye. “Having this year's Jubilee of Dance as a tribute to me is a most amazing gift! I feel completely honored and blessed to be recognized in this special way. I was so touched by a conversation I had with Stanton about the evening. He shared with me that this gala would be a time for the audience to say goodbye, a time for me to say goodbye to special ballets and a time for my fellow dancers to say goodbye, as we would be sharing the stage for one of the last times together. In thinking of it now, it can easily move me to tears. The evening I know will be bitter sweet. We are a big family, and there is a lot of love.”

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hot co.

d o w n to w n's m o v e r s a n d s h a ke r s

b y h o l ly b e r e t to

A story of space Brookfield Office Properties Makes Its Clients Feel At Home

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a Brookfield building. Maybe it’s achieved by renting additional floor space, or possibly by moving shop to a larger floor plan in another tower. If a client needs conference room space, but doesn’t want the upkeep of an office conference room, Hendrix says her buildings have spaces those tenants can use that are state of the art, including classy furnishings, audio/visual needs and Internet access. “We also offer 24/7 security,” she says. “And we have a team of emergency responders. We understand that downtown business happens day and night, and we place a premium on our clients’ security and safety.” Hendrix says her company understands its primary focus is on customer service, and it strives to exceed expectations. “We have been in the Allen Center Complex for over 25 years. First in Two Allen Center, then in Three Allen Center,” says Keith Ann Schaffner, an administrator with Thompson & Knight, LLP, one of Brookfield’s clients. Schaffner handles all the relations between her firm and the property group and she says she’s consistently impressed with the company’s level of service to clients, citing in particular the “professional manner in which tenants are treated by Brookfield personnel. From Brookfield's manage-

below: Sky lobby at Heritage Plaza

photos courtesy of brookfield office properties

W

hen you think about office space down-

town, it’s easy to think of a collection of concrete skyscrapers, reaching ever upward, sprawling across the cityscape, block after block of bricks and windows – without ever considering that the space within can be anything other than some Orwellian fantasy of corner offices and cubicle farms. But for anyone who knows downtown Houston, that image is far from the truth. The city’s office towers are alive with natural light, offer endless amenities and are places to behold. And many of those are managed by Brookfield Office Properties, one of the largest commercial real estate operations in North America and Australia. The group owns, manages and develops an array of office spaces in some of the most dynamic markets in the world: New York, Los Angeles, Sydney. In Houston, all of Brookfield’s assets are downtown. It manages or owns nine office towers, clustered in the city’s southwest corner and including all four Allen Center imprints and the KBR Tower on Pease and Smith streets. Brookfield vice president of operations for the Houston region Tammy Gorr Hendrix says being downtown is excellent for her company. “For us, downtown is an amalgamation of all that’s good about Houston,” she says. “We’re really at the crossroads of everything there.” She cites downtown’s diversity of spaces to live, work and play as part of what makes the city so vibrant. And that vibrancy is something that’s carried over into Brookfield’s managing style when it comes to how it treats its clients and offices. Hendrix joined the company in 1996 and says she’s always been impressed with how Brookfield places a premium on customer service. “We really challenge ourselves to provide value to our clients,” she says. The organization manages that in a number of ways, not only offering a tremendous amenity package within its buildings, including options like dry cleaners and car washes, but also taking a hands-on approach to its clients needs. Perhaps a business wants to expand out of its current space. Brookfield liaisons work with the business representatives to discover how that can happen without having to leave


A: One Allen Center B: Three & Two Allen Center C: Total Plaza D: 1600 Smith E: Heritage Plaza F: KBR Tower

A

B

C

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winter 2012-13

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stats: : houston office Two Allen Center 1200 Smith : properties in new york washington d.c. los angeles denver boston minneapolis seattle toronto calgary ottowa sydney perth melbourne london : known as a publicly held commercial real estate corporation that owns, develops and manages premier office properties. : web site brookfieldproperties.com

ABOVE LEFT: The food court at Allen Center ABOVE RIGHT: Art exhibit at Total Plaza

14 winter 2012-13

ment to the people in their maintenance department, they are always timely, helpful, and pleasant to deal with. It's nice to know that any concerns you might have are immediately addressed.” In addition to being responsive to clients’ needs, Hendrix shares that Brookfield also takes care to be mindful of how the company’s footprint pertains to the sustainability of the downtown landscape. All Brookfield’s properties have the designation of being on the Houston Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) LEED certification list. That means the properties pay particular attention to how they can save energy, whether it’s using more natural light or determining how to better circulate air. Brookfield also takes seriously its role as a steward of downtown, and the group helps maintain Antioch Park and the green spaces along 1600 Smith Street. “I can look out my window and see people working out or enjoying lunch in the parks and spaces around our buildings,” says Hendrix. “And it’s a great feeling to know we’re here in this space, and we’re doing what we can to make sure it’s well cared for for our clients.” That sentiment is echoed by Brookfield senior vice president for Houston, Paul Frazier, a native Houstonian, who says he’s impressed with the way downtown has grown over the last decade. “Downtown is really having a renaissance right now,” he says, crediting the city’s leaders and members of both Central Houston and the Downtown Management District with their championing of policies and projects that encourage people to live, work and play in the area. Frazier is a member of both organizations and he says it’s important to him personally – and his company professionally – to be involved with making the city better. “A lot of what’s happened in terms of

downtownhouston.org

Hendrix says her company understands its primary focus is on customer service, and it strives to exceed expectations. building downtown has led to attracting new employers, and new employees who are looking for spaces where they can live and work. Downtown has been fantastic about setting goals to make itself a premier business and lifestyle destination, and we share that same vision.” Hendrix says that contributing to the life of downtown is a cornerstone of how Brookfield does business. While she says the tangible amenities like exceptional parking and having buildings that are close to transit hubs, and offering services like dry cleaning for clients are helpful for day-to-day living, she realizes that intangibles matter as well. Brookfield manages a program that showcases the work of artists in its building, hosting exhibits. Brookfield buildings have served as sites for FotoFest, and partnered with area arts groups to bring in art work. The group also hosts an annual Go Texan day for its tenants as part of the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. “We don’t think of the companies who use us as tenants,” she says. “We see them as clients, as customers, and we look to partner with them to make sure their needs are being met. It’s a long term relationship for us.” That long-term relationship also extends to the city itself. Frazier says Brookfield’s downtown locations mean the company is at the crossroads for a diverse, dynamic space. He relishes being part of the living and working culture that’s ever-growing in the city. “Downtown’s future is really bright,” he says.


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G r o w i n g OKRA D o w n t o w n Restaurant and bar owners join forces, benefiting their industry, local charities and all Houstonians

PHOTO BY KENNON EVETT

Sandra Cook

16 winter 2012-13


a group of 12 restaurant and bar owners gathered in Bobby Heugel’s 600-square-foot garage apartment to pool their strengths for the good of independent restaurants and bars in Houston – and for the good of all who enjoy visiting these establishments. This determined dozen named themselves OKRA – an Organized Kollaboration on Restaurant Affairs. Heugel had been entertaining the idea of forming such a group for some months after collaborating with multiple chefs, bar owners and coffee shop owners to find locations for new business and figure out how to conquer other hurdles to getting their businesses going. Heugel, who is an owner at Anvil Bar & Refuge, Blacksmith Coffee, Hay Merchant, Underbelly and the soon-to-open Julep, is no doubt committed to unique food and Heugel says he had to move most of his furniture out beverage experiences in Houston. of the way to make room for everyone, which may have helped open the gates of creativity for those atThe like-minded individuals who tending. “There was this friendly vibe and sort of an attended that first OKRA gathadolescent spirit to the discussion that night. I think with all of us in that small space it actually freed up ering included Heugel’s business ideas,” says Heugel. Burnett, who walked away from his career in the partners Kevin Floyd, Steve Flippo advertising industry in 2011 to go into business with and Michael Burnett, along with Heugel, Floyd, Flippo and Chris Shepherd as they were starting up Underbelly and Hay Merchant, recalls Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence the energy in the tiny apartment that night. “Coming from the creative atmosphere of the advertising/ Gallivan, of Pass & Provisions, Dadesign industry, it was exciting to be in the room for vid Buehrer and Ecky Prabanto that first OKRA meeting with all these people from the restaurant and bar industry passionately throwing out of Blacksmith Coffee & Greenway ideas for this cause,” says Burnett. “It was incredible to see everyone so motivated to do good things for the Coffee & Tea, Justin Yu and Justin people of Houston – not just the benefit of one client Vann of Oxheart, Morgan Weber or company.” In short order, Heugel and Siegel-Gardner recruited and Ryan Pera of Revival Market others to join the effort, including Scott Repass and Dawn Callaway of Poison Girl, Antidote and Black and the forthcoming Coltivare. November 2011,

IN

winter 2012-13

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Grow OKRA, not parking lots Hole; their business partners Scott Walcott and Miriam Carillo, plus The essence of OKRA is much more than seeking fair parking requireBrad Moore of Big Star Bar and Grand Prize Bar; Ryan Rouse of ments. OKRA’s mission is to highlight the value of the diversity and Grand Prize Bar; and Joshua Martinez of The Modular food truck. individualist attitudes of Houston’s food culture – from the food and Intense discussions with Houston City Council during the fall of drink to the atmosphere and experience conveyed by those establish2011 over proposed amendments to Article VIII, Chapter 26, which ments. They hope Houstonians see that a local restaurant, bar or coffee would have increased parking requirements for restaurants, bars and shop, is more than a place to eat or drink, that each of these independessert shops, shed a bright light on the vulnerability of independent dent establishments is a cultural asset that brings people together. businesses in Houston. These places provide the backdrop for many of our memories – Rouse explains that the genesis of OKRA came about quite organivictory celebrations, first dates, marriage proposals, reunions with old cally. “Several of us had already worked well together in the past – friends and other festive moments. Such establishments are where many sharing the phone number of a decent plumber, getting advice on projof us go for job interviews, client schmoozing and business meetings. ects we were working on, etc.,” says Rouse. When Dawn Callaway and Scott Repass opened Poison Girl in Walcott, agrees, citing similar neighborly attitudes in the industry. 2004, Repass recalls “there were a lot of clubby places and music ven“We have shared freely our method, business plan and receipts with ues at the time. We saw a lack of casual, low-key bars. We wanted to employees and community members who have expressed interest in have an off-beat, neighborhood place that was a change of pace for opening their own businesses,” says Walcott. “Most recently, we helped most of the nearby residents. We wanted to open a bar where a woman Robin Berwick and Robin Whalan when they were opening Double could feel comfortable going by herself to have a drink.” Trouble Coffee and Cocktails.”  For years Poison Girl has hosted Drink Houston Better, where profits “The major catalyst for OKRA was the proposed change in the from the first Sunday of each month are donated to a local charity. city parking ordinance though, we realized it affected all of us and we “We always wanted our businesses to be community driven and for needed to unify to form a single voice to react,” says Rouse. them to be an asset to the community,” says Callaway. “We always had “We noticed that many of us from the restaurant and bar industry that in us and now, with this collective group, it’s nice to be doing it were already going up to City Hall, trying to meet with council memtogether. It gives bers,” says Heugel. “We ended up with this cooperative scheduling the concept more effort that involved about 20 people working to get in to see the various resonance.” council members.” OKRA gives Heugel rounded up many of those individuals and several others for a unified voice to the first OKRA meeting. The proposed parking regulations would have these often small, greatly increased the number of parking spaces required for all restaubut significant rants and bars in the City of Houston’s vast 640-square-mile city limits. businesses that These broad-stroke regulations would have applied to establishments in are a tremendous dense urban neighborhoods, such as Oxheart and Last Concert Café in part of our city’s the historic Fifth Ward, as well as every Luby’s and Macaroni Grill in famously innovamore suburban areas, such as Westchase and Champions. tive, collaborative, The business owners who came together to form OKRA realized capable, fascinatthat if those proposed regulations were passed, they would incur drastic real estate costs, and many restaurant and bar owners would potentially be bidding against each other for the same precious pieces of land for additional parking. The Original OKRA Charity Saloon 924 Congress | Expected to open: December 2012

OKRA’s mission is to highlight the value of the diversity and individualist attitudes of Houston’s food culture 18 winter 2012-13

OKRA members named the charity bar, located at 924 Congress (initially known as 72 Congress), after the Original Casino Saloon. The Original Casino Saloon was the first occupant of the space, which opened in 1882 and remained open until Prohibition. The concept for the Charity Saloon is a simple, neighborhood bar that allows Houstonians to support local causes by buying a drink. Anvil bartender Mike Criss will serve as the general manager, while the bar staff will include personalities from Anvil, Hay Merchant, Poison Girl, Grand Prize and others. Patrons can expect a modest selection of classic cocktails, craft beer, wine and a small food menu. Each month, a featured charity will receive 100 percent of the bar’s profits. Yes, 100

percent. Guests will be able to influence which charity receives those dollars by voting for one of four nominees for the month, with casino chips given with every drink purchase. Starting one month before the Charity Saloon opens, OKRA will begin accepting official applications from local charities. Charities must be Houston based to be eligible for the each month’s voting lineup. To find out which charities are selected each month and stay current on OKRA’s activities, be sure to: • Sign up as an OKRA supporter at friedokra.org • Like the OKRA Facebook page • Follow @OKRAFried on Twitter


ing and unpretentious culture. Collectively, these unique establishments provide an atmosphere that helps sustain what Houstonians identify with as being authentically Houston. “Our industry engages the recreational side of people’s lives,” says Heugel. “When we discuss how the structural nature of urban planning impacts us, we begin to talk about it in a greater context. We start a conversation about what kind of city we want to have.” A Great Convergence “We are living a really exciting time in Houston, where the city is actualizing at this moment,” says Heugel. “Maybe like San Francisco in the ’60s or Austin in the ’70s, we are in the midst of this transformation where people are trying to develop a sense of community that will influence what it’s like to live here for the next 200 years. Even with opening a restaurant or a bar or coffee shop, you’re creating structures for social interaction. You’re shaping the social interaction that will follow for decades, and I don’t think people always realize that restaurants and bars contribute to their lives as much as those places do.” “Now might be the best time in Houston’s history to ever say that you lived in Houston – and that’s really cool,” says Heugel with a big smile. “There’s a time and an energy that happens, and you can’t make it happen, can’t force it. It just happens.” “The members of OKRA are a new breed of Houston entrepreneurs who look at things differently than past generations,” says Burnett. “The world is a lot smaller than it used to be. The members of this group think quicker, are more creative, and pursue more interesting concepts than what this city has seen in the past.” Brad Moore of Big Star Bar and Grand Prize Bar says he’s excited about this new unity within the industry. “Past generations didn’t get along necessarily,” says Moore. A lot of people either kept to themselves or had a lot of animosity for their competition.” “All the people in OKRA are very unique individuals with different backgrounds – no one’s the same,” says Burnett. “We are a melting pot just like Houston. We draw from different cultures, regions, educations and experience levels. The common thread is how this group thinks. The OKRA members have the ability to see possibilities, rather than barriers.” Houston has a history of daring individuality and audacity – think Allen Brothers, Jesse Jones, Ima Hogg. “I love the fearless nature of this city,” says Moore, who moved to Houston from South Carolina in the late ‘80s to go to college. “Houston’s always been that way. And Houstonians don’t always have to have a bunch of credentials – just show up and do it.”

Jesse Jones, for example, only had an 8th grade education. Doing Good Downtown “Last year, Bobby tells us this idea for a charity bar,” says Brad Moore. “I thought ‘What? That’s amazing! What can I do to help?’ ” Moore says downtown was the obvious choice for the charity bar location. “It’s so ripe – there are so many spaces available. This is a big opportunity to make downtown what it should be.” The concept for the charity bar, named the Original OKRA Charity Saloon, is a comfortable neighborhood bar that allows Houstonians to support their community by buying a drink. The Charity Saloon donates all of its profits to charity each month. The idea came to Heugel almost five years ago while he and Floyd were working at Beaver’s in the Historic Sixth Ward. While the charity bar idea predates all of Heugel’s existing establishments, the founding of OKRA gave the idea a natural support system and momentum. “It was instantly a unanimous agreement,” says Ryan Rouse. “Many of us had talked about wanting a presence downtown for years. I love being downtown. The building is one of the most beautiful bar spaces in the city and its location – next to such legendary bars as La Carafe & Warren’s – is an enormous plus.” “The charity bar, in my eyes, can be a beacon for more businesses to come downtown in the coming months,” says Joshua Martinez, owner of The Modular. “Opening the Charity Saloon provides us with the means by which we get to do a lot of different things,” says Repass. “It gives us a space, which can function like a headquarters for seminars, meetings and outreach events for the community.” OKRA hopes their efforts will help to rehabilitate the core of the city for the long term. By building a more cohesive, collaborative downtown there is greater potential for longevity and sustainability for a thriving downtown. Like diversifying the city’s economy so it’s not dependent on one thing, but, rather, ensuring there are several complementary drivers that keep it going and thriving. “We always wanted a better downtown, a lot of us have felt that way,” says Repass of Poison Girl. “We could never do that alone, but, now, as a group, we have an opportunity to make that happen. This city deserves a better downtown.” Culture of Collaboration “I recently went to a luncheon put on by Central Houston, Inc. where Bruce Katz of The Brookings Institute was the keynote speaker,” say Rouse. “Katz said during his speech collaboration is the new competition. I think our group really exemplifies that sentiment – ex

Permitting Progress

A

primary goal of OKRA is to preserve the gateway for independence into the industry, something we see as closing all the time,” says Heugel. “Add to that the rising cost of permit fees, increases in real estate costs due to parking requirements, limitations on food trucks and all these different obstacles. It’s clear we need more education so that people can keep up with the way the industry evolves and the changes in laws and regulations.” Members of OKRA have been working with the City Planning Department to set up classes on how to successfully navigate through the permitting process to open their own restaurant or bar. “We want to do more how-to classes oriented on the pathway to ownership,” says Heugel. OKRA members also plan to host monthly events, such tastings, food pairings and dinners to engage the public with their collaborative ideas and purpose. “And we’d like to have a broader interaction and involvement with more independent restaurants and businesses across the city,” says Heugel.

cept we spell it with ‘K’.” “Bobby deserves so much credit,” says Moore. “Being involved with OKRA proves it’s possible to be generous and have fun doing it.” “There’s a certain energy with this group. We haven’t even gotten started yet, perhaps we don’t even realize what all we can accomplish,” says Burnett.

*Sandra Cook is married to OKRA’s Michael Burnett

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spindletop

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oxheart

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the grove

minuti coffee


d ow n t ow n f e at u r e

From

Dawn to dinner

EAT AND DRINK YOUR WAY THROUGH DOWNTOWN MORNING, NOON AND NIGHT By a m b e r a m b r o s e / / Photos by K a t ya h o r n e r & g a r y w i s e

Dining and drinking in downtown is an

all-day (and all-night) affair. Whether breakfast is the favored meal, lunch a sacred tradition, happy hour a needed midweek pick-me-up or date night a special occasion, downtown is one of Houston’s most happening locales from the wee hours to the witching hour. Plan out your epicurean adventures for every time of day with this definitive guide to all things food and drink in downtown.


Morning

Fuel up downtown That all-important jolt of productivity can come in many forms, and here are just a few places to find your next fix.

Georgia’s Market 420 Main

This spacious market/cafe/bar/coffeehouse has a little bit of everything, and their selection is extensive when it comes to that coveted caffeine buzz. Between the exotic teas and barista-prepared options like lattes, mochas and macchiatos, there’s something for everyone, including fresh-squeezed juices and Italian sodas.

M-F, 7 am-9 pm Sat 8 am-9 pm Sun 9 am-5 pm

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Ben’s Beans 1302 Dallas

Roasted coffees, artwork and music - all local - are found inside this cozy, hip coffee shop turned art gallery turned performance space. In addition to “normal” coffee, Ben’s ups the creativity and fun factors with libations such as the s’mores latte and frappe.

M-Th, 6:30 am-10 pm F-Sun, 6:30 am-midnight


a tale of two

Breakfast Plates The Place Macondo Latin Bistro, 208 Travis The Dish Perico Colombiano The Price $8.25 The Components Eggs scrambled with

Caffe Cafe 1100 Texas

Bright and cheery and full of caffeinated beverages, this aptly named spot is not only a great place for coffee, but for a sweet treat as well. Serving fresh pastries and gelato from Gelato Blu, Caffe Café ups the possibility for a sugar rush right along with that caffeine buzz.

M-F, 6:30 am-10 pm Sat-Sun, 8 am-11:30 pm

Minuti Coffee

tomatoes and scallions, rice, queso blanco (a mild, white cheese), maduros (sweet, fried plantains), arepa (a griddle cake made with ground corn) The Highlights The sweet, fried plantains are caramelized on the outside, soft and luscious on the inside. They sweetly accent the breakfast plate and go great with Macondo’s Colombian coffee. The interior of Macondo is full of bright colors, from the red tablecloths to the flowers on each table, making breakfast here a cheerful affair.

909 Texas

With a bit of European flair, Italian to be specific, Minuti is a welcome respite with plenty of strong espresso to keep your wheels turning morning, noon and night. Want that espresso to go? Check out the perfectly sized disposable cups.

M-Th, 6 am-10 pm F, 6 am-midnight Sat, 7 am-midnight Sun, 7 am – 10 pm

The Place Table 7 Bistro, 720 Fannin The Dish Migas Plate The Price $9 The Components Eggs scrambled with crispy

tortilla strips, smothered in mozzarella cheese, pico de gallo, country potatoes, sausage, bacon The Highlights Make sure to mix the cheeseladen eggs with the uber-fresh pico de gallo. The heat of the jalapenos, the freshness of the cilantro and the acid from the tomatoes provide the perfect balance. Get the corner table in the back, which faces a giant window where it’s fun to people watch as you sip your morning coffee.


noon Adventure seeking Go exploring at Bouray’s Burrito Bar [609 Clay]. Not the typical giant burrito fast food spot — although they’ve got plenty of those to choose from — Bouray’s has a hidden side, one with Vietnamese dishes like pho (traditional rice noodle soup), vermicelli bowls topped with char-grilled pork or chicken, spring rolls and even a chicken curry. Marrying pizza with Indian cuisine to make some of the best critically acclaimed pies in the city, and even the country, Bombay Pizza [914 Main] is an adventure for the senses. Crowd favorites here include the Gateway of India with tandoori chicken, crabmeat, artichoke hearts, cilantro and cilantro-mint chutney toppings as well as the Saag Paneer pizza smothered in a mixture of braised collards and spinach mixed with the traditional Indian cheese known as paneer.

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Food for every mood

Celebration stations With one of the most unique views and locations in all of Houston, The Grove [1611 Lamar] is a great place if the mood to celebrate strikes during the lunch hour. The menu is a sophisticated mix of new American and Texan flair with exciting lunch dishes like the House Corned Beef Salad with fingerling potatoes, onions, chipotle ranch and bleu cheese. Enjoy al fresco dining at its best. A celebratory lunch requires noontime margaritas. Guadalajara del Centro [1201 San Jacinto] is the place for both margaritas and fajitas and everything else Tex-Mex. Creative dishes like the South Texas Quail, which is stuffed with chorizo, spinach and cheese or the Rainbow Trout Isabel, grilled and topped with lump crab pico de gallo, will have your taste buds celebrating no matter what.


Pick me ups When comfort is in order, there’s plenty to be found downtown. Treebeards’ [multiple locations] is the place for a down-home plate lunch of red beans and rice, shrimp étouffée, chili, or meatloaf and sides. Zydeco Louisiana Diner [1119 Pease] isn’t big on fuss, but it is big on flavor. Lots and lots of Cajun flavor in dishes like the crawfish étouffée, baked chicken, various po’boys and smothered pork chops will help melt any blues away. If the food at The Downtown Aquarium [410 Bagby] isn’t enough to get you going, the scenery will. With almost as many exhibits as a zoo and a giant aquarium as the centerpiece of the dining room, just an hour under the sea could be enough for some rejuvenation.

a tale of two

Burgers

The Place The Original

Hubcap Grill, 1111 Prairie The Dish Greek Burger The Price $6.99 (cash only) The Components Bun, medium-sized fresh ground beef patty, feta cheese, large chunks of onion and bell pepper, tomato, lettuce, special mayo sauce The Highlights The bun is simultaneously soft yet substantial, holding together to the bitter end of the burger. The chunks of bell pepper give a good crunch, the onions a good bite, the feta a little tang, the special mayo moistens it all up, and the olives are salty and savory. The meat itself is mostly unadorned, with the beefy flavor shining through like a lighthouse in a hurricane. Bonus Points The “hidden gem” atmosphere of this tiny little dive somehow makes their burgers taste even better. Don’t miss the freshcut, skin-on fries.

The Place The Burger Guys,

Exotic locales Feeling a bit of wanderlust? Red Lantern [917 Franklin] offers banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches), pho, spring rolls and other Vietnamese staples in a cozy, sit-down restaurant setting. Take a trip to Spain by way of Andalucia [1201 San Jacinto], a tapas restaurant with a gorgeous interior. Choose between small plates of hot and cold tapas or sandwiches, wraps and entrees, depending on your appetite. There’s no mistaking what to order at Falafel Factory [914 Prairie]. Not surprisingly, falafel is on the menu, but so are gyros, shawarma, kebobs and more for a very modest price. Creativity and fresh ingredients make Azuma Sushi & Robata Bar [909 Texas] a favorite lunching roost for downtowners in the mood for Japanese cuisine. To really get an escape, try the Crazy Irishman Roll, a bright and wild looking roll with salmon, tuna and avocado inside, wrapped in soy paper that is then flash fried and topped with spicy mayo, unagi sauce and masago.

706 Main The Dish The Lancaster Burger The Price $10 The Components Sautéed mushrooms, onion and bacon, challah bun toasted on the griddle, large patty cooked to order and house made “dijonaise,” a mixture of their mustard and mayonnaise, both of which are made in-store The Highlights The crust on the patty is like no other burger in town. The meat was oozing with juices, but the thick bun held its own. The cheese, which wasn’t fully melted on the grill is blow torched inside the kitchen so that it melts evenly on top of the burger. The mushrooms, bacon and onion all meld together with the potent dijonaise, which is flavorful enough to add a little kick. In terms of napkins (where more is better), this one’s going to take at least four. Bonus Points All of the ice creams that go into the milkshakes (but are also available by the scoop) are homemade as well. The soda fountain holds a myriad of real sugar sodas that are hard to find elsewhere in the city. The fresh cut fries are double fried in duck fat, making them crispy and irresistible. Make sure to dip them in one of their homemade sauces, including the specialty ketchup.

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after work Massa’s Seafood Grill

Mia Bella Trattoria

When M-F, 4-7 pm Drinks $1 off well liquors, wines Food Special happy hour menu

When M, 4-close; T-F, 4-7 pm Drinks $3 Bellinis, house wines,

1331 Lamar, #114

with cheap eats like quesadillas, crab fritters, pita pizzas and more

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320 Main

mimosas, house martinis and well drinks Food $3 bar bites of antipasto like shrimp pomodoro, mushroom strudel, calamari and roasted eggplant

c’mon get happy hours

Morton’s 1001 McKinney

When M, 5-10 pm; T-F, 11 am- 10 pm Drinks $5 beers, $7 wines and $8 martini cocktails Food Bar bites start at $6 with goodies like iceberg wedge bites, mini crabcake BLTs and Parmesan truffle matchstick fries.

Lucky Strike

Sambuca

1201 San Jacinto

909 Texas

MKT Bar

When M-F, 3-7 pm Drinks $5 classic cosmos and

When M-F, 4:30-6:30 pm Drinks Half off select cocktails,

When M-F, 4- 7 pm Drinks $5 fselect wines, $4

1001 Austin

lemontinis, $4 wines by the glass, $3 draft beer Food Half off regular menu price on certain dishes

wine and beer Food Half off all appetizers like chicken samosas (vegetables encased in puff pastry), seared tuna, escargot en croute and others, including pizzas

select craft brews on draft and $3 select craft bottles Food Satisfy Mediterranean cravings with $6 MKT dips, plantain chips and house za’atar fries.

Quattro

Reserve 101

When M-F, 4-7 pm Drinks $4 Bianco (white) and

When M-F, 2-6 pm Drinks $1 off beer, wine and

The Capitol at St. Germain

1300 Lamar

Rosso (red) wines by the glass, draft and bottled beers, selected cocktails Food Small bites $4 each: various bruschettas, olives and crostini Bonus Complimentary valet

1201 Caroline

signature cocktails made from the largest whiskey selection in town

705 Main

When M-F, 4- 7 pm Drinks $3.50 domestics, $4

imports, $6 specialty cocktails and $6 martinis Food Shared bites are $6, and include favorites like pork tacos, bison bites, roasted veggie pizza and truffle chips.


a tale of two

Signature Cocktails The Place Hearsay Gastro Lounge, 218 Travis The Drink Manfiggen The Price $14 The Components In-house infused fig bourbon, scotch, Punt

e Mes vermouth, Fee Brother’s bitters, garnished with a flamed lemon peel and cherry The Highlights According to the drink’s menu description, Houston was the chief fig exporter of the late 1800s, hence the inspiration for this twist on the traditional Manhattan. Sitting at the bar of this historic building built around the time Houston would have been the fig king of the world, drinking such a lovely looking and tasting cocktail is just the cherry on top of the whole experience. Bonus points for their extensive original cocktail list with plenty of creativity and variety.

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The Place Line & Lariat, 220 Main The Drink By Any Other Name The Price $11 The Components An intriguing combination of rose-

infused gin, cabernet sauvignon, honey syrup, lemon juice and garnished with a lemon peel The Highlights Sidle up to one of downtown’s most beautiful spaces, the lobby, bar and restaurant inside Hotel Icon, for this very unique cocktail. The round bar in the center, surrounded by cowhide-covered barstools, is lit from within to give it a mellow, laidback vibe. As far as the cocktail itself – it drinks like a sophisticated sangria, but with less sugar and more oomph as the floral notes, honey and wine all play against one another for a sip that makes you say, “aaah.”


evening

elegant extravagance Where to splurge in downtown and what to order when you do.

Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse 1510 Texas

From the second you enter the front door, there’s no mistaking it – Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse is pure, unadulterated and unapologetically old school. Dark wood, white tablecloths and impeccable service are hallmarks of the restaurant, as are the over-thetop steaks, decadent desserts and the all-around feeling that your meal was worth every last penny.

Sample dinner for two: $175.50

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Jumbo lump crab cake served with a chive beurre blanc (an emulsified butter sauce) Steakhouse chopped salad made with mixed greens, white and yellow cheddar, salami and the house vinaigrette Roasted beet salad with creamy goat cheese dressing and micro greens Porterhouse for two Topped with a bone marrow bordelaise (red wine sauce) Side of wild, sautéed mushrooms Side of steamed asparagus Vanilla bean creme brulee Croissant bread pudding with bourbon sauce

Oxheart

1302 Nance

Unassuming on the outside, this little restaurant packs quite a critical punch when it comes to all the wonderful things going on inside. In its short lifetime (it opened less than a year ago), Oxheart’s team has garnered a four-star review from Houston Chronicle critic Alison Cook, along with plenty of national and regional attention. The restaurant serves tasting menus that change with the produce from each season. The sample dishes below were from several iterations of their menu and give an idea of the creativity and intricacy that goes into each and every bite.

Sample dinner for two: $150 Persimmon with delicata squash, marcona almonds, oregano and malt Slow roasted okra, marinated okra seeds, sweet Italian peppers, sweet corn and salsa maro Steamed barrelfish, smoked pine nuts, sofrito of preserved shellfish Gulf oyster with green tomato water and herbs Crawfish tails in butter over local rice with coriander and fermented carrot Rosa bianca eggplant cooked in mushroom jus with quinoa, citrus and purple shiso Frozen chocolate mousse, chocolate dacquoise (a cake made with almond and hazelnut meringue), sable breton (French butter cookie)


Spindletop 1200 Louisiana

Situated on top of the Hyatt Regency is Houston’s only rotating rooftop restaurant, Spindletop. One full revolution every 45 minutes ensures diners see the city’s gorgeous skyline at least once during their meal.

Sample dinner for two: $122

Other favorites

Roasted corn and crab bisque Signature avocado dome filled with jumbo lump crabmeat and salsa cruda Southwest chopped salad with shaved Parmesan and spiced pumpkin seeds Signature paella made with lobster, mussels, clams, shrimp, chorizo and corn Filet mignon with caramelized onion demi glaze, sweet potato cake and Texas blue cheese Chilled chocolate soufflé Ginger chocolate trifle with caramelized figs

Artista 800 Bagby

One of Houston’s legendary chefs, Michael Cordúa, is the name behind this Theater District beacon, so it’s no surprise to see a quite a bit of Latin influence on the menu. With an incredible view of downtown Houston and located inside the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, its location is one of the most enviable in town. Whether you’re dining to celebrate a special event, taking your night at the theater to a stratospheric level or looking for some amazing food, Artista meets all criteria.

a tale of two

*17 1117 Prairie

Located inside the boutique Alden hotel, *17 lives up to the originality of its host with seasonal, creative dishes and a beautiful, bright interior. Modern, elegant and almost whimsical with bright hues of red contrasting with black and white, *17’s menu matches the restaurant’s interior design in theme. Teetering between the lines of comfort food and sophistication, *17 strikes a balance that is rare in the world of hotel cuisine.

Pitas

Bistro Lancaster 701 Texas

With the feeling of an intimate French brasserie, Bistro Lancaster is yet another downtown gem hidden behind the facade of a boutique hotel. Whether it’s date night with the significant other, a pre-theater meal, a business meeting or simply a meal to treat yourself, the cozy atmosphere, simple decor and service make it a great place for downtown dining.

The Place Niko Niko’s, 301 Milam The Dish Gyros Sandwich The Price $8.95 (served with one side) The Components Thick, fluffy pita stuffed with a mixture of lamb and

beef, thick chunks of tomato and onion, rich yogurt with cucumbers and garlicky tzatziki sauce The Highlights The meat is intensely flavorful with tender shavings mixed alongside crispy, caramelized pieces. The thick tomato slices and tzatziki sauce provide an acidic, and creamy counterpoint to the richness of the meat and combined make for a gloriously messy affair. But messy isn’t a problem when the food tastes this good and the dining is set in the middle of newly renovated Market Square Park.

The Place Phoenicia Specialty Foods, 1001 Austin The Dish Lamb Shawarma Wrap The Price $6.95 The Components Thin pita (choice of white or wheat) made in-house,

seasoned lamb, tomatoes, flavorful red sauce, tangy yogurt sauce, thinly sliced pickle, onions The Highlights The lamb is shaved right off the spit and put onto your pita. The pita itself holds together well and keeps all the ingredients inside without making a huge mess. Make sure to grab a shopping basket after lunch and pick up some exotic cheeses, cured meats and wines for dinner.

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NBA All-Star Weekend Feb. 14-17, 2013 Slam dunk

With Houston playing host to the NBA All-Star Game for the first time in six years, we thought it only right to gather up our favorite courtside accessories and events. Celebrities, games, activities and more are all on tap for the weekend. For a full listing of everything All-Star, visit nba.com/allstar2013 oundu B -b a l l r

p

Rockets fever

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Fan favorites such as Jeremy Lin and James Harden have ignited excitement at Toyota Center. Game packages are still available and start at just $59. While you’re there, pick up some super-fun Rockets gear. You’ll find the Rockets store is stocked with T-shirts, plush toys (Clutch is especially cute), caps, jewelry and more to satisfy even the most rabid basketball fan.

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Get the gear

If you’re looking for the edgiest street wear in the city, look no further than The Tipping Point. This downtown shop specializes in urban chic and carries sneakers, caps, T-shirts and accessories from the hottest names such as Puma, Vans, Stussy and more. A shopping spree at their store on Main will have you ready for every All-Star event. The Tipping Point 1212 Main thetippingpointstore.com

Toyota Center 1510 Polk rockets.com

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Show stoppers

Whether you have tickets for the big Sunday night game Toyota Center or not, you won’t want to Feb. 16, 2013 miss NBA All-Star Saturday Night at Toyota 7 p.m. Center. The event includes four competitions featuring some of the NBA’s best players. The Shooting Stars competition features NBA and WNBA players and NBA legends in a shooting contest. In the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, the top guards work against the clock to compete in an obstacle course, consisting of a series of passes, free throws, layups and agility drills. You’ll love the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest and the event’s grand finale, the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest.

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The perfect pick-up

There’s no better way to celebrate one of America’s favorite sports than with a quick game at Root Memorial Square. Located in the shadow of Toyota Center, Root Memorial Square features a shade pavilion, public art, a water fountain and, of course, a basketball court. Grab a ball, call some buddies and get your game on. Root Memorial Square La Branch and Clay houstonfirsttheaters.com


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Performing Arts 32 Festivals & Special Events 37 Market Square Park 37 Discovery Green 38 and more

Edited by Angie Bertinot

Craft Brew Whether you want to tour the tank farm or just drink some brewskies in the beer hall, Saint Arnold Brewing Company is a must-stop when visiting downtown Houston.

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datebook.

PERFORMING ARTS

Da Camera’s free lunchtime concerts on the first Wednesday of each month. Tickets free. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. Noon. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com JOY – AN IRISH CHRISTMAS Dec 6 Join acclaimed Irish singer/songwriters and recording artists Keith and Kristyn Getty for an unforgettable celebration of Christmas. Among the pre-eminent modern hymn composers of this generation, the husband-wife team presents a spectacular evening of beloved carols, modern hymns and spirited Irish reels and jigs that capture the wonder and beauty of Christmas. Tickets $25$55. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.222.5400. worthamcenter.org

THE SANTALAND DIARIES Through Dec 30 Company Artist Todd Waite reprises his role as Crumpet the Elf in the outlandish and true chronicles of David Sedaris’ experience as a worker in Macy’s SantaLand display. This compact, one-character comedy is a hilarious cult classic, featuring comic encounters during the height of the holiday crunch. Tickets start at $33. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org THE NUTCRACKER Through Dec 30 For mom, for dad, for brother and sis, The Nutcracker is a family tradition you don’t want to miss. Join Clara on her colorful, magical journey. You’ll travel through the Land of the Sweets to Spain, Russia, China and France. You’ll see a Christmas tree that grows to enormous heights, flying cooks, dancing flowers and plenty of snow. It just wouldn’t be the holidays without The Nutcracker. Recommended age: 3 and older. Tickets start at $25. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS. houstonballet.org AMBROSE AKINMUSIRE QUINTET Dec 1 Ambrose Akinmusire is one of the most acclaimed young artists in jazz. His Blue Note debut, When the Heart Emerges Glistening, appeared on multiple

mike mccormick

A CHRISTMAS CAROL – A GHOST STORY OF CHRISTMAS Through Dec 24 Houston’s seasonal favorite described by the Houston Press as having “Spectacular London sets ... the inimitable Dickens’ tale – spiced with the usual fog and an unusual twist on the ghosts past, present and future.” A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story of Christmas returns this year with a re-telling of Charles Dickens’ classic story, which follows Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey with the three ghostly spirits who visit him on Christmas Eve. Tickets start at $25. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org

Best of 2011 lists and he was named Trumpeter of the Year in the 2012 Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards. Tickets $35-$65. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 8 pm. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com SCHUMANN PLUS BRUCKNER’S 6TH Dec 1-2 Hans Graf introduces Houston audiences to rising star Martin Helmchen. The Berkshire Eagle raved, “Helmchen lit the Schumann Piano Concerto with an inner glow” referring to the young German virtuoso’s performance with the Boston Symphony. Tickets $20-$111. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org A LITTLE DAY MUSIC Dec 5, Jan 2, Feb 6 A Little Day Music concerts fulfill an important aspect of Da Camera’s mission to develop the audience for chamber music and jazz by making it accessible to everyone and part of everyday life. Downtown workers, schools, seniors and day care centers are among the many who enjoy

BRIAN REGAN Dec 6 The Onion, Wall Street Journal and Comedy Central praise Regan’s ability to cut up crowds with his clean, off-center humor. Tickets $53.29$59.83. Bayou Music Center, 520 Texas. 8 pm. 800.745.3000. livenation.com THE RAT PACK IS BACK Dec 7 Celebrate the holidays with the swingin’, freewheeling sounds of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin and Joey Bishop. The Rat Pack is Back recreates one of the famous Summit at the Sands nights, when the ring-a-ding group known as “The Rat Pack” was creating hipster legend with a noholds-barred nightclub act. The show’s unbridled humor and live 12-piece orchestra sends audiences straight back to the coolest time in history. Yuletide will be especially cool this year. Tickets $35-$80. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 8 pm. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org A BAROQUE CHRISTMAS! Dec 7-8 Mercury favorite Lauren Snouffer joins Mercury in presenting a program of seasonal Baroque delights. A fresh new way to celebrate the holiday season. Tickets $10-$61. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.533.0080. mercuryhouston.org HIP HOPPIN’ NUTCRACKER Dec 8 Celebrate the holidays with a hip to the hop. The INERTIA Dance Company joins the Houston Symphony orchestra to add their characteristically fun and explosive dance routines to the festivities. Enjoy Duke Ellington’s hoppin’ Nutcracker Suite and Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride. A visit from Santa and an audience sing-along will complete this holiday celebration. Tickets $18-$26. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org PETER PAN Dec 11-23 Tony Award-nominee Cathy Rigby takes flight in an all-new production of Peter Pan. Discover once again the magic of this two-time Emmy Awardwinning and two-time Tony Award-nominated production. Peter Pan is filled with timeless magical moments and a captivating hook. The legend you thought you knew is now the adventure you never dreamed possible! Tickets start at $24. Hobby Center. 800 Bagby. 800.745.3000. tuts.com VERY MERRY POPS Dec 14-16 One of Houston’s beloved holiday musical traditions, this year’s concert features Broadway star Ashley Brown. The entire family will enjoy thrilling

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new versions of favorite holiday classics. Tickets $25-$122. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org

HANDEL’S MESSIAH Dec 20-23 Behold the power of the music and words of Handel’s masterpiece. This Houston Symphony tradition will get you and your family in the true spirit of Christmas. Hear beloved solos and choruses, from Rejoice Greatly to the Hallelujah Chorus. Tickets $12-$114. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org SHEN YUN Dec 24-Jan 1 Shen Yun brings 5,000 years of Chinese civilization to life through classical Chinese dance and music in an exhilarating and unforgettable show. Shen Yun captures the spirit of a culture long lost. The show moves quickly through regions, dynasties, and legends. Ethnic and folk dances fill the stage with color and energy. Tickets $70-$200. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 800.380.8165. shenyunperformingarts.org A VIENNESE NEW YEAR Dec 31 The magical charms of New Year’s Eve in Vienna are brought to life with festive music by the legendary composers of the Viennese royal court. Ring in the New Year with two rising stars of the opera stage – soprano Lauren Snouffer and countertenor John Holiday – in arias and duets by Mozart and Gluck. Hear enchanting instrumental works by Schmeltzer, Fux, and Johann Strauss. The holiday gala and silent auction follow in the Sarofim Hall Grand Lobby. Tickets start at $35. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 9 pm. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org STEPHEN PETRONIO COMPANY: UNDERLAND Jan 11 Regarded by critics as one of the leading dance-makers of his generation, Stephen Petronio often creates works that stage a collision of new music, visual art and fashion. Audiences are left breathless. For the Company’s Houston debut, we’ll enjoy his extraordinary evening-length work, Underland, which presents a dark and brooding world inspired by the bittersweet songs of pop balladeer Nick Cave. Adult content. Tickets $30-$65. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 8 pm. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org DVORAK’S NEW WORLD SYMPHONY Jan 11-13 Composed and premiered during his visit to the United States as an embodiment of the American experience, the New World Symphony is Dvorák’s most popular work. It was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and premiered 120 years ago at Carnegie Hall to the public’s absolute delight. Tickets $25-$121. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org

craig schwartz

HOLIDAY MEMORIES Dec 15-16 A beautiful and uplifting holiday show for everyone. Bayou City Performing Arts will make classics such as The Nutcracker and the Messiah shine like stars, as well as presenting proven holiday favorites. This will be a big show with dancers, musicians and guest performers. Tickets $20$50. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.521.7464. bayoucityperformingarts.org

THE MOUNTAINTOP Jan 11-Feb 3 Taking place on April 3, 1968, The Mountaintop is a gripping re-imagining of events the night before the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The show received the 2010 Olivier Award for Best Play and playwright Katori Hall won the 2011 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Tickets start at $25. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org SCHUBERT’S DEATH AND THE MAIDEN Jan 12 Experience some of the cornerstones of chamber music. Originally written for string quartets, Mercury will perform these works arranged for string orchestra. Tickets $10-$61. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 8 pm. 713.533.0080. mercuryhouston.org PERCUSSIVE ILLUSIONS Jan 12 Musiqa’s first 2013 concert will feature works by Musiqa’s artistic board and highlight a performance by the award-winning University of Houston Percussion Ensemble. The concert includes Marcus Maroney’s dynamic work Pantheon and a world premiere by artistic director Anthony Brandt, in addition to music by Lukas Ligeti and Anders Koppel. The concert also features contemporary films curated by Aurora Picture Show. Tickets $20-$40. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 7:30 pm. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD Jan 18-20 Hear renowned trumpeter and singer Byron Stripling perform your favorites. Enjoy the sounds of Satchmo with an evening dedicated to the great Louis Armstrong. Trumpeter and singer Byron Stripling will join Mike and the orchestra for classics such as St. Louis Blues, Ain’t Misbehavin and Alexander’s Ragtime Band. Tickets $25-$122. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 8 pm. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org SHOW BOAT Jan 18-Feb 9 Ol’ Man River – he just keeps rolling along. Show Boat follows the theatrical family of The Cotton Blossom as it sails the Mississippi providing musical entertainment at towns along the river. A magical score and epic story make Show Boat a seminal work of the musical theater

with a uniquely American accent. Tickets $15$322. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.228.6737. houstongrandopera.org CLYBOURNE PARK Jan 18-Feb 17 The powerfully provocative Clybourne Park, the 2012 Tony Award winner for Best Play and 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner, is the most talked-about show of the 2012 Broadway season and “the funniest play of the year” (London Evening Standard). Bruce Norris’ Olivier Award winner for Best Play pits race against real estate. Two different generations of characters delicately dance around social politics as a white community in the 1950s splinters over the black family about to move in, and the roles reverse 50 years later with the start of gentrification. Tickets start at $25. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org ALADDIN & THE ARABIAN NIGHTS Jan 19 Take a magic carpet ride as we tour music inspired by Arabia. From the land of enchantment to 1,001 tales, hear music from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, Adventures of Sinbad and Disney’s Aladdin. Tickets $16-$24. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org UNIVERSITY ST. THOMAS BENEFIT CONCERT Jan 22 In this exciting benefit concert event, the Houston Symphony performs Ravel’s arrangement of Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Based on drawings and paintings created by artist Victor Hartman, the 10-movement suite is considered one of Mussorgsky’s most famous compositions. The evening also will feature University of St. Thomas student musicians and singers, performing during, pre- and post-concert. Tickets $35-$75. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 7:30 pm. 713.224-7575. houstonsymphony.org CAMELOT Jan 22-Feb 3 Rediscover the grandeur of one of history’s greatest love stories in Lerner and Loewe’s timeless masterpiece, Camelot. A sumptuous tale set in a land where honor and chivalry reign, Camelot follows the love triangle of King Arthur, his Queen Guinevere and the young Lancelot. With one of Broadway’s most enchanting scores featuring the hauntingly romantic If Ever I Would Leave You, I

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datebook. Pinnock, making his HGO debut. Tickets $15$350. Wortham Theater Center, 510 Preston Street. 713.228.6737. houstongrandopera.org

JACK HANNA’S INTO THE WILD LIVE Jan 25 Take a trip to the wild side with America’s favorite zookeeper. Jungle Jack’s live show features many of his favorite exotic animal friends, as well as fascinating and humorous stories and footage from his adventures around the world. Tickets $35.8359.08. Bayou Music Center, 520 Texas. 7 pm. 800.745.3000. livenation.com

GUITAR MASTERS: ELIOT FISK AND BILL FRISELL Jan 26 Two masters of their instrument – one from the classical music world and one from jazz – come together for an adventurous evening of solo sets and duets. From Bach and Villa-Lobos to American standards and Frisell’s original works, these two virtuosos bring their distinctive voices to a fascinating variety of music. Tickets $35-$65. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 8 pm. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com

STOMP Jan 25-27 Explosive, provocative, sophisticated, sexy and like nothing else, STOMP is beating a path back to town to make some wonderful, powerful, memorable noise that will appeal to anyone. While commanding the most famous stages and filling the most refined music halls across the country with unforgettable rhythms, the eight-member troupe “plays” the likes of matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters, hubcaps – just about anything but conventional percussion instruments. Tickets $35-$75. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org DON GIOVANNI Jan 25-Feb 10 Houston Grand Opera’s 2012 winter season continues with one of Mozart’s masterpieces, Don Giovanni. Based on the story of Don Juan, Göran Järvefelt’s much-loved production is designed by Carl Freidrich Oberle and will feature the HGO debuts of a number of internationally acclaimed artists led by distinguished British conductor Trevor

MAHLER & MENDELSSOHN Jan 31-Feb 3 Mahler’s 1st Symphony is filled with some of the young composer’s most brilliant and contrasting musical ideas. You will hear folk melodies, a chilling funeral march and even a minor-key version of the familiar Frère Jacques melody. Tickets $20-$111. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.575. houstonsymphony.org SMOKEY ROBINSON Feb 1 Once pronounced America’s “greatest living poet” by Bob Dylan, acclaimed singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson’s career spans four decades of hits. With numerous awards, including the Grammy Living Legend Award, the National Medal of Arts Award from the President of the United States, induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Robinson should not be missed. Tickets $29-$139.

SPOTLIGHT

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN Feb 5-10 Based on the hit DreamWorks film and the incredible true story that inspired it, Catch Me If You Can is the high-flying, splashy new Broadway musical that tells the story of Frank W. Abagnale, Jr., a teenager who runs away from home in search of the glamorous life. With nothing more than his boyish charm, a big imagination and millions of dollars in forged checks, Frank successfully poses as a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer – living the high life and winning the girl of his dreams. But when Frank’s lies catch the attention of FBI agent Carl Hanratty, Carl chases Frank to the end ... and finds something he never expected. Tickets start at $25. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 800.745.3000. thehobbycenter.org

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Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 7:30 pm. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org LES GRANDS BALLETS CANADIENS Feb 1-2 Get your passports ready for transport to Italy, via Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal. This dynamic ballet company will present two works by choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti, a native of Rome. Set to the familiar and always stirring music of Vivaldi, Four Seasons is among Bigonzetti’s newest works, created specifically for the Canadian company. The program is co-presented with Society for the Performing Arts. Tickets $19-$65. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 7:30 pm. 713.227.ARTS. houstonballet.org CONCERT OF ARIAS Feb 7 The 25th Annual Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers takes the Cullen Theater stage at the Wortham Theater Center. Watch and be entertained as some of the best emerging operatic talent compete head to head for top honors at this prestigious competition – and don’t forget to cast your vote for the coveted Audience Choice Award. Tickets start at $40. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 7 pm. 713.228.6737. houstongrandopera.org ITZHAK PERLMAN, VIOLIN WITH ROHAN DESILVA, PIANO Feb 7 What else can you say about Itzhak Perlman? He is undeniably the reigning virtuoso of the violin. His impact and influence has transcended classical music. He is beloved for his charm and humanity and is treasured by audiences who

Carol rosegg

Loved You Once in Silence, and Follow Me, Camelot is the definitive musical theater fable. Tickets start at $24. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 800.745.3000. tuts.com


HOUSTON Winter PUBLIC Calendar LIBRARY All events free and open to the public. Central Library, 500 McKinney. 832.393.1313. houstonlibrary.org

NOTE

The Houston Public Library’s Central Library will be closed on Saturday, Dec. 24, Monday, Dec. 26 and Monday, Jan. 2. POPCORN KIDS: CHILDREN’S FILM FESTIVAL Dec 15 Enjoy a colorful collection of short films from around the world, hand picked as audience and jury favorites from the 2012 New York International Children’s Film Festival, brought to the Houston Public Library by the Aurora Picture Show. Kids and kids at heart will love this collection of short films that includes a sweet film adapted from the enormously popular Gruffalo picture books by British author Julia Donaldson. After the screening there will be a special reading of Gruffalo and related crafts. 3 pm. Julia Ideson Building. THE GINGERBREAD MAN Dec 22 This hilarious new holiday musical from Express Children’s Theatre is about a Gingerbread Man who suddenly comes to life, jumps out of the oven and runs out of the house yelling “Run, run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man.”

He leads everyone on a merry chase, but when the sly fox comes along the holiday magic begins. 11 am. Houston Central Library.

AN EVENING WITH ... AUTHOR GWENDOLYN ZEPEDA Jan 9 Bestselling author Gwendolyn Zepeda will discuss and sign copies of her latest novel, Better with You Here. Zepeda is from Houston and attended the University of Texas at Austin. She was the first Latina blogger and began her Internet writing career in 1997 as one of the founding writers of the entertainment site Television Without Pity. 6 pm. Julia Ideson Building. EMMA RICHARDSON CHERRY: HOUSTON’S FIRST MODERN ARTIST EXHIBIT Feb 1-May 2 A collection of various

works by the Texas artist from the late 1800s to early-mid 1900s. In conjunction with the William Reeves Gallery and The Heritage Society, the Houston Public Library will be exhibiting Cherry’s portrait, flower, and landscape works as well as several murals done on the interior of the building. Julia Ideson Building. AN EVENING WITH... AUTHOR ATTICA LOCKE Feb 13 Author Attica Locke will discuss and sign copies of her latest novel, The Cutting Season. Locke’s criticallyacclaimed first novel, Black Water Rising, was nominated for an Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. 6 pm. Julia Ideson Building. EXPRESS CHILDREN’S THEATRE - DREAM OF DOORS Feb 16 This new Black History Month production focuses on the struggle of some of the most iconic figures from the Civil Rights era who are engaged in opening doors of opportunity for everyone. Four doors on stage symbolize equality, justice, education and jobs. The story is the journey to open each door, which will test

their endurance and self determination. A musical odyssey written by Thomas Meloncon. 11 am. Houston Central Library. FAMILY FUN Mondays Baby Time, 10:30 am. Toddler Time, 11:30 am. Tuesdays Toddler Yoga, 10:30 am. Toddler Playtime, 11:30 am. Wednesdays Legos & Duplos @ The

Library, 3 pm. Thursdays Baby Yoga, 2 pm. Pajama Time, 7 pm. Saturdays Fun with Science Experiments, 3 pm. ART THING! Dec 8, Jan 5 and 18, Feb 2 and 16 Learn about art and artists and make your own creation to take home. 3 pm. HOLIDAY CRAFT Dec 15, 20, 22. Make an ornament to help

decorate our tree! All day. All ages. VALENTINE’S DAY CRAFT Feb 9 Join us for a seasonal craft celebrating Valentine’s Day. 11 am-3 pm. All ages.

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respond not only to his remarkable artistry, but also to the irrepressible joy so present in his playing. Tickets $30-$85. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 8 pm. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE AND INSIDE STRAIGHT Feb 8 2011 Grammy Award-winner Christian McBride returns with his Inside Straight quintet. Simply without peer on his instrument, McBride is the premier bassist on today’s jazz and pop scene. Christian McBride was named Bassist of the Year for 2012 in the Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards. Tickets $35-$65. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 8 pm. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com BENJAMIN GROSVENOR, PIANO Feb 13 19-year-old British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, now in his third year at the Royal Academy of Music, chose his instrument at age 6, and by age 11 he had won the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition as the youngestever finalist in the competition. Tickets $20-$35.

Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.4SPA. 7:30 pm. spahouston.org LOVE SONGS WITH ANA MARIA MARTINEZ Feb 14-15 Mercury performs works by Handel and his contemporaries with one of the world’s most sought-after sopranos. What better way to celebrate love than with Ana María Martínez. Tickets $10$61. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.533.0080. mercuryhouston.org PROKOFIEV’S ROMEO AND JULIET Feb 14-17 Relive the stories of William Shakespeare’s most cherished characters. Romeo and Juliet’s romantic encounters will populate your imagination as you hear Prokofiev’s riveting score based on the story of the ill-fated lovers. Plus, hear Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, written as a present to his wife Cosima and performed the morning of her birthday by a small ensemble as his beloved awoke from her sleep. Tickets $25-$116. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org THE CHIEFTAINS Feb 15 Celebrating their 50th anniversary, Paddy Moloney and The Chieftains triumphantly return to Jones Hall. They will be joined by the famous dancing Pilatzke Brothers as they perform The Galician Overture, the hilarious send-up Planxty Mozart, the title song from their most celebrated album, Long Journey Home and more. Tickets $29-$129. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 7:30 pm. 713.22.7575. houstonsymphony.org THE KNIGHTS WITH WU MAN Feb 20 The Knights are composers, arrangers, singer-songwriters and improvisers evolved from late-night chamber music reading parties

SPOTLIGHT

LILY TOMLIN Feb 9 An actress, comedienne, writer and producer, Lily Tomlin has managed to keep us in stitches throughout a career that has spanned the entertainment landscape, collecting Tony and Emmy Awards, a Grammy and an Oscar nomination along the way. Her razor sharp wit and unforgettable characters – Ernestine, Edith Ann, you know who we’re talking about – continue to entertain and enlighten. Tickets $45-$90. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 8 pm. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org

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with friends at the home of violinist Colin Jacobsen and cellist Eric Jacobsen. Joined for this concert by Chinese pipa virtuoso, Wu Man, the group performs a fascinating program including Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Pipa and Orchestra, works by French masters Debussy and Milhaud, Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks, and a new work written and arranged by Wu Man. Tickets $20-$35. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 7:30 pm. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org LA BAYADÈRE Feb 21-Mar 3 A brilliant fire god, opium dreams and a crashing temple. This is Stanton Welch’s La Bayadère, classical ballet with a touch of Bollywood. A colorful version of the Russian classic, La Bayadère is the lively story of Nikiya the temple dancer, her lover Solor, and the vengeance that keeps them apart – at least in this life. Tickets $19-$180. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 7:30 pm. 713.227. ARTS. houstonballet.org MOTIONHOUSE Feb 22 Motionhouse is one of the leading dance theater companies in the UK, and for an indication of how fantastic its newest production Scattered is, the work has been touring venues across the UK, Europe and China since October 2009. Now Motionhouse makes its Houston debut. Performed on a giant curved floor like a snowboard half-pipe, Scattered explores the human relationship with water, delving into its majesty and savagery, as seven dancers plunge into an ocean, wrestle a raging tide and slide on an avalanche to a frozen landscape of arctic beauty. Tickets $30-$65. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 8 pm. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org SONGS OF SIMON AND GARFUNKEL Feb 22-24 AJ Swearingen and Jonathan Beedle have been performing a remarkable tribute to the iconic duo Simon and Garfunkel to sold-out audiences for more than a decade. Now hear them perform The Sound of Silence, Bridge Over Troubled Water and Mrs. Robinson with your Houston Symphony. Tickets $25-$122. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org EXPERIENCE ENERGY Feb 24 To hear the Texas Medical Center Orchestra of Houston is to know that this group of health professionals


MARKET SQUARE PARK DESIGNCRAFT MARKET Dec 1 Formerly CTR+ART+CREATE, AIGA presents DesignCraft Market, focusing on handmade design goods from local designers and boutiques, on-site letterpress and silk-screening as well as live music and DJs. The perfect place to

Winter Calendar

pick up a one-of-a-kind holiday gift. 10 am-7 pm. houston.aiga.org

a very “marry” special surprise! 5 pm (movie begins at 7:30).

BAYOU BIKERS Dec 1, Jan 5, Feb 2 Bayou Bikers meet at Market Square Park for 25- to 40-mile bike rides exploring the bayous of Houston. These rides are open to all. Mountain bikes or bikes with fat tires are necessary. This is an informal group whose purpose is to show Houstonians and visitors the beauty of Houston’s waterways. 8 am.

CRITICAL MASS Dec 28, Jan 25, Feb 22 Critical mass is an informal bike group that meets the last month of every Friday to ride around the city to raise awareness and advocate a bicycle-friendly urban environment. All bikes are welcome. 7:15 pm.

SAINT ARNOLD PRESENTS MISTLETOE MADNESS Dec 8 Featuring live music from the Lords of Kool, beer (of course) , chick-flick Love Actually (rated R) and

is playing for the love of the music. Composed of physicians, dentists, nurses, medical students, biomedical scientists, social workers, and other allied health professionals, this orchestra plays with passion and reveals the surprisingly strong link between careers in the medical professions and musical talent. Invited to play Carnegie Hall, the Texas Medical Center Orchestra gives consistently outstanding and fresh interpretation to the most beautiful symphonic music in the world. Tickets $20-$40. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 5 pm. 713.222.5400. worthamcenter.org MAN OF LA MANCHA Feb 26-Mar 10 Windmills beware as the whimsical, fabled Don Quixote once again aims for The Impossible Dream in his quest to become a legend in his own mind. Drama ensues as our hero, Don Quixote, embarks on a noble quest to win the favor of his lovely muse, Dulcinea. Beloved on Broadway to the tune of five revivals and five Tony Awards, this “play within a play” is an actor’s dream of expression, moving audiences to laugh, lust and love, along with the classic, larger-than-life characters. Tickets start at $24. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 800.745.3000. tuts.com

Please note There will be a small construction project at the park from January through February. A covering is being added to the dining trellis (so no more worries if a pesky rain shower hits while hanging out or dining in the park). Niko Niko’s hours will be the same as always!

Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics are welcome; food, beer and wine are available for purchase at Niko Niko’s Market Square. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages are allowed, please. Metered on-street parking is available and free after 6 pm. $5 parking is available across the street at Market Square Garage. 301 Milam. marketsquarepark.com Be sure to visit Market Square Park’s Facebook page for info on special deals and happenings at the neighborhood’s eclectic dining and bar scene.

FESTIVALS & SPECIAL EVENTS CITY HALL FARMERS MARKET Through Dec 19 The market hosts more than 40 vendors around the City Hall Reflection Pool and features an array of locally grown fruits and vegetables, as well as a variety of prepared lunch items made from local ingredients. Free. 11 am1:30 pm. City Hall, 901 Bagby. 832.393.1010. greenhoustontx.org MACY’S MISTLETOE ON THE GO! Through Jan 1 Pucker-up! Texas’ biggest mistletoe ball is coming to downtown this holiday season as the newest addition to the Downtown District’s annual Downtown Holiday Spectacular. Macy’s Mistletoe on the Go! will be located at five festive downtown destinations for a tour of holiday cheer. The 150-inch ball of kiss-inducing greenery hanging from a 15-foot giant candy cane will travel

to City Hall, Market Square Park, Hobby Center, Wortham Center and Discovery Green, spending one week at each downtown destination. Passersby are invited to stand under the massive ball and kiss—for a cause. For every lip lock shared at Facebook.com/VisitDowntownHouston, Macy’s will generously donate $1 (up to $5,000) to Make-AWish-Foundation, a nonprofit that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. downtownhouston.org. S’MORE FUN FOR THE WINTER HAPPY HOUR Thursdays through Feb Enjoy the hottest venue downtown this season.Every Thursday evening the Four Seasons’ fourth floor Splash bar has the fire pit flamin’, the chiminea smokin’ and the festive cocktails flowin’. And the sweetest part? Guests

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datebook. receive two complimentary s’mores ready to roast to their liking. Four Seasons, 1300 Lamar. Thursdays 5-8 pm, excluding holidays. fourseasons.com/ houston

DISCOVERY Winter GREEN

BUFFALO BAYOU CHRISTMAS CRUISES December 1, 8, 15 Join Buffalo Bayou Partnership in celebrating the holiday season with 30-minute pontoon boat rides along Buffalo Bayou served up with plenty of decorations, music and cheer. $7 adults, $5 children 4-12. Cash only. Meet at Allen’s Landing, next to Spaghetti Warehouse at Commerce and Main Streets. 5-8 pm. 713.752.0314 ext. 4 buffalobayou.org

Calendar

Please note: The events listed in this document are confirmed at time of printing. For a full listing of Discovery Green winter 2012-2013 programming, please visit the events calendar at discoverygreen.com.

SPECIAL EVENTS

DISTRICT I FAMILY DAY Dec 1 Council member James Rodriquez unites families as they celebrate the school holidays. Learn about education and career paths, with a focus on green jobs. Event ends with an evening movie. 2-10 pm.

The ICE AT DISCOVERY GREEN PRESENTED BY HOUSTON CHRONICLE Through Jan 27 Ice skating returns to Downtown Houston this holiday season! Lace up your skates and get ready for a memorable winter experience! Maintaining a chilly 22 degrees using recycled water and powered by renewable energy, the 7,200-square-foot ice skating rink gives friends and families the chance to experience a holiday tradition while being eco-friendly. Admission for the event is $12 (includes skate rental and tax). Holiday-themed attractions will include a toddler-friendly rink, visits from Santa Claus and holiday art exhibits such as David Graeve’s illuminated globes and the Andy Mann Video Tree.

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WEEKLY EVENTS AT THE ICE Mondays 4-10 pm– Cheap Skate Nights presented by Megabus.com Tuesdays 7- 9 pm– Jazz on Ice Wednesdays 6:30-7:30 pm– Zumba on Ice Thursdays 6:30 pm– IKEA Houston Silver Screen Fridays 7-10 pm– Chill at the Igloo Lounge Saturdays Dec 22 from 4-5 pm– Skate with Santa presented by KUHF YOUNG WRITERS WORKSHOP Saturdays, Nov 17– Jan 26 Writers in the Schools, Discovery Green and HPL Express with funding from the Lewis and Joan Lowenstein Foundation offer the only free writing workshop in Houston for kids. 10:30-11:30 am.

DISCOVERY GREEN FLEA Dec 15, Jan 19 Truly unique holiday shopping. Scour vendors selling vintage clothing, antiques, collectibles, jewelry and more for that perfect gift. Plus, there will be kids activities and a bicycle repair workshop. Live music by Invincible Czars presented by Houston Public Media at the December Flea. Noon-5 pm. MACY’S MISTLETOE ON THE GO! Dec 24-Jan 1 Texas’ biggest traveling mistletoe ball makes a stop at Discovery Green. Don’t miss your kiss! DATE Night at Discovery Green Dec 27 Lock lips before the IKEA Houston Silver Screen’s presentation of When Harry Met Sally for your chance to win a one night hotel stay with one of our downtown hotel partners, plus a pair of free tickets to

downtownhouston.org

skate on The Ice. Free. 6:30 pm. MAGNIFICENT 7 Jan 5 Join Reverend Butter of DLG Ice Factory for the 5th Annual Ice Sculpting Competition where acclaimed ice artists from around the country transform blocks of ice into masterpieces using chainsaws and razor sharp chisels. Official beer provided by Stella Artois and music by Downfall 2012 and DJ CapsOne. 10 am-5 pm. HOUSTON AEROS FAN SKATE Jan 9 Skate with your favorite Houston Aeros players and get a photo with Chilly the mascot. 7-9 pm. HOUSTON MARATHON COMMITTEE FAN ZONE Jan 12 Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon and Bank of Texas Team Challenge Post Race Festival. 7-11 am.

CHILDREN’S GINGERBREAD HOUSE WORKSHOP Dec 1, 8, 15, 22 A festive twist on traditional tea time – parents can relax with an elegant afternoon tea as the Four Seasons team leads a gingerbread building workshop for children. $42 for children under 12, $42 afternoon tea for adults. Four Seasons, 1300 Lamar. 2-4 pm. 713.276.4700. fourseasons.com/ houston BREAKFAST WITH SANTA Dec 1, 8-9, 15-16, 20-24 Have a delicious breakfast buffet with Santa and Sharkey. Don’t miss out – you may see Santa and his Elves swimming with the fish! Photo opps also available. Adults $15.99, kids (312) $9.99, 2 and under free. Reservations required. Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby. 8-10 am. 713.223.3474. downtownaquarium.com GOLDEN CANDLELIGHT TEA Dec 2 Pull out your hats and gloves if you wish and enjoy a wonderful 19th-century tradition with family and friends – tea time. Tickets $35-$50. The Heritage Society Tea Room, 1100 Bagby Street. 3-5 pm. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org ArCH’S 4th ANNUAL GINGERBREAD BUILD-OFF Dec 8 Supplied with gingerbread, icing, gumdrops, candy canes and other holiday treats, watch teams of artistically and architecturally talented individuals compete for the ultimate prize – best in show. Free. Hermann Square, 900 Bagby. 10 am4pm. aiahouston.org

Most public events are free, unless noted otherwise. discoverygreen.com

50th ANNUAL CANDLELIGHT TOUR Dec 7-9 This year’s Candlelight Tour will have decorated buildings, historic characters relating stories of the past, carolers, Houston Boychoir in


SHARKEY’S NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY Dec 31 Join Sharkey for a wonderful buffet and celebrate the New Year in the Nautilus Ballroom. Activities for the family include a balloon drop, Sharkey & Nero photo opportunities, contests, giveaways and more. All Day Adventure Pass for all rides and exhibit is included. Adults $22.99, Kids (3-12) $14.99, 2 and under free. Reservations required. Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby. 11 am-2 pm; 3:306:30 pm. 713.223.3474. downtownaquarium.com

St. John Church, Santa Claus and his Workshop, HGOco, family entertainment and holiday fare at the Candlelight Café. Adults $10, seniors (65+) $8, students (ages 6-18) $5, children 5 and under are free. The Heritage Society at Sam Houston Park, 1100 Bagby Street. Times vary. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org 2012 TOTAL JINGLE BELL RUN AND WALK Dec 9 Get in shape and support a great cause during the 2012 Total Jingle Bell Run and Walk. The event, which includes more than 5,000 participants of all ages, benefits the Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA Partners Campaign. Participants in the event are encouraged to wear holiday costumes as they make their way through the city streets. A kids’ fun run for children 13 and under, a three-mile family walk and a five-mile adult run will be offered. The Tellepsen Family YMCA, 808 Pease. 1 pm. ymcahouston.org NEW YEAR’S EVE HOUSTON Dec 31 New Year’s Eve Live returns for an illuminated, power-packed night that will light up your world. Broadcast live on television, this event offers a free, family-friendly community celebration. The night’s activities will include an illuminated art car parade, live performances and spectacular light show and fireworks display. Free. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney and George R. Brown, 1001 Avenida las Americas. newyearsevehouston.org

NEW YEAR’S EVE DINNER & GALA Dec 31 Indulge in a fivecourse gala dinner featuring live music from Ira Perez, with dancing and a sparkling arrival or midnight champagne toast. Book to stay the night after your dinner and receive a celebration rate for a Four Seasons executive suite. $155 per person /$200 with wine. Quattro at Four Seasons, 1300 Lamar. 713.276.2700. quattrorestauranthouston.com 2012 CHEVRON HOUSTON MARATHON & ARAMCO HALF MARATHON Jan 13 Watch the excitement at Discovery Green, where the races begin and end or stake-out a place along the route to cheer on the participants. chevronhoustonmarathon.com BOOTLEGGER’S BALL: A 1920s PROHIBITION RENDITION Feb 2 Houston Young People for the Arts’ 2013 Gala is taking a 1920s twist, in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Houston’s premiere jazz and chamber music organization – Da Camera of Houston. houstonarts.org

SPEAKER SERIES INPRINT ZADIE SMITH READING Jan 28 The 2012-2013 Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series presents fiction writer Zadie Smith, winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award

roderick field

NEW YEAR’S EVE AT SPINDLETOP Dec 31 Now in its 35th year, Houston’s longestrunning New Year’s Eve party spans four floors and features two live bands, a DJ, party favors and the famous 50,000-balloon cascade at midnight. $89 per person. Hyatt Regency Houston,1200 Louisiana Street. Hotel packages available. 7 pm-1 am. 713.654.1234. hyatt.com/ gallery/spindletop

and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for White Teeth and winner of the Orange Prize for On Beauty, reading from her new novel NW. The reading will be followed by an on-stage interview, book sale and signing. Tickets $5. Mon 7:30 pm. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Avenue. 713.521.2026. inprinthouston.org

CONCERTS BAYOU MUSIC CENTER Dec 6 Lamb of God with Flames, Hellyeah, Sylosis Jan 17 Ed Sheeran Feb 13 Fun. Feb 28 Sarah Brightman Bayou Music Center’s concert calendar is regularly updated. Check online for more info and to purchase tickets. Bayou Music Center, 520 Texas. 713.230.1600. bayoumusiccenter.com TOYOTA CENTER Dec 2 Rush Dec 21 Trans-Siberian Orchestra Jan 31 Lady Gaga Feb 21 Pink Toyota Center’s concert calendar is regularly updated. Check online for more info and to purchase tickets. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.4HOUTIX. toyotacentertix.com HOUSE OF BLUES Dec 2 Metalocalypse: Dethklok Dec 4 Odd Future Dec 5 James Fortune and Jessica Reedy celebrate Christmas Dec 6 Jason Boland, Cody Canada and Chris Knight Dec 15 The Molly Ringwalds Dec 20 Better Than Ezra Dec 21 Boyz Noize Live

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datebook. Dec 22 Los Lonely Boys with Alejandro Escovedo Dec 27 Robert Earl Keen Merry Christmas from the Fam-O-Lee Dec 28 Hayes Carll’s Burlesque Circus & Sideshow Freakout Dec 31 Reckless Kelly Jan 12 Tyler Hilton, Teddy Geiger and Ryan Cabrera Jan 16 Keane Jan 23 Underoath Jan 25 Badfish Feb 9 The xx HOB’s concert calendar is regularly updated. Check online for more info and to purchase tickets. House of Blues, Houston Pavilions, 1204 Caroline. 888.402.5837. hob.com

EXPOS HIGH CALIBER GUN & KNIFE SHOW Dec 1-2, 15-16, 29-30, Jan 26-27 See hundreds of displays of new and old guns, ammo, gun parts, books, knives, knife-sharpening tools, coins, camouflage and related items at discount prices. Tickets $8. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 281.331.5969. highcalibergunshow.com HOUSTON CAT CLUB Jan 5-6 The Houston Cat Club celebrates it Diamond Jubilee with the 60th Annual Charity Cat Show. Tickets $4-10. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 281.331.5969. BRIDAL EXTRAVAGANZA Jan 5-6 The Bridal Extravaganza is a one-stop shop for brides, grooms and their families. All of Houston’s top wedding vendors come together in one location for this two-day extravaganza. Tickets $12. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. Sat 10-5, Sun 11-5. bridalextravaganzashow.com

TOURS LOOKING BACK HISTORY TOURS WITH LOUIS AULBACH Dec 1 Learn about Houston’s rich history from local historian Louis Aulbach while cruising down the bayou. Tickets $40, reservations required. 10 amnoon. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org KAYAK TOURS Dec 15 Celebrate Houston in a whole new way and join the Buffalo Bayou Partnership for a kayak adventure through Houston’s stunning urban wilderness. All equipment is supplied for you including the tandem sit-on top kayaks. $60 per person, reservations required. Start: I-610 and Woodway Drive, End: Allen’s Landing. 9 am-noon. 713.752.0314 ext. 3. buffalobayou.org DISCOVER HOUSTON TOURS Ghost tours, tunnel walks and rail tours, architecture tours and more are available. Tour guide Sandra Lord is the resident expert and has been conducting

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downtown and Houston tours since 1988. Ticket prices vary. 713.222.9255. discoverhoustontours.com HERITAGE SOCIETY HISTORIC HOMES TOUR Nestled among 19 acres in the heart of downtown Houston, the Heritage Society boasts eight historic structures dating from 1823 to 1905. Each historic structure is authentically restored to reflect its original magnificence. Tickets $10 adults, $8 seniors and free for 5 years and younger. Sam Houston Park, 1100 Bagby. Times vary. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org MINUTE MAID PARK TOUR Get a behind-the-scenes look at Minute Maid Park, including historic Union Station, broadcasting booth or press boxes, Astros’ or visitors’ dugout, luxury suites and much more. Tickets $9 adults, $7 seniors and $5 for kids 3-14. Mon-Sat 10 am, noon, 2 pm. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. 713.259.8687. astros.com SAINT ARNOLD BREWING COMPANY TOURS Come visit Texas’ oldest craft brewery in their new location. Every Saturday, the doors open at 11 am and groups will rotate in and out of the facility in an open-house format until 2 pm. If Saturdays don’t work for you, check out their weekday open house at 3 pm. After the tour, guests are welcome to stay for a free tasting. Tickets $7, no reservations required. All minors under the age of 21 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. 2000 Lyons at I-10. saintarnold.com

SPORTS HOUSTON AEROS For schedule info and tickets, call or check the website. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.947.7821. aeros.com

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HOUSTON DYNAMO For schedule info and tickets, call or check the website. University of Houston Robertson Stadium, 4800 Calhoun. 713.276.7600. houstondynamo.com HOUSTON ROCKETS For schedule info and tickets, call or check the website. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 866.4HOUTIX. rockets.com INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S RUGBY SEVENS WORLD SERIES Feb 1-2 Watch several international women’s teams compete during the 2012 International Rugby Women’s Sevens World Series. The twoday International Series, the first of its kind for women, will take place annually in Houston through 2015, leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, where rugby will debut as one of the new Olympic sports. Two-day passes start at $15. 888.929.7849. bbvacompassstadium.com NBA ALL-STAR JAM SESSION Feb 14-17 Wall-to-wall basketball fun for all ages! Fans can shoot, slam, dribble and drive all day, compete against their friends and collect free autographs from NBA players and legends. Young fans can hang out in the Kids Zone, with hoops and interactive activities that are the perfect size for kids’ slam dunks, three pointers and jump shots. Tickets start at $12. George R. Brown Convention Center. nba.com/allstar2013 NBA ALL-STAR GAME Feb 17 The NBA brings one of basketball’s most entertaining events back to Houston for the first time since 2006. The NBA All-Star Game is a unique experience that celebrates the NBA’s greatest athletes. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. nba.com/allstar2013 *For a complete listing of NBA All-Star events, visit nba.com/allstar2013


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plate.

the guide to eating downtown

Edited by Angie Bertinot & L auren Covington

A Dog’s Life

melissa fitzgerald

Barnaby’s has long been a Houston favorite. Now you can feast on their downhome specialties downtown. Their Market Square location serves up breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday.

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plate. L17 Restaurant New American Found in the lobby of the luxurious Alden Hotel, this lush and lavish destination oozes elegance. Detailed American cuisine and smart service make this a restaurant of note. aldenhotels.com. Alden Hotel, 1117 Prairie, 832.200.8800. L by reservation only; D Daily. $$$$

L Benihana of Tokyo Japanese While some restaurants allow their guests to view the kitchen, this Japanese grill brings the kitchen to you. Benihana chefs set up shop right in front of your table. The meal is made from scratch, and you can witness the entire show. benihana.com. 1318 Louisiana, 713.659.8231. L & D Daily. $$$

L Andalucia Restaurant & Bar Tapas/Spanish Dim lighting, large wooden tables and heavy iron accents provide for a cozy, rustic atmosphere. The menu features large dishes, such as paella for up to 16 people, and tapas that range from the traditional such as gambas al ajillo (shrimp cooked in olive oil and garlic) and empanadas, to veal tongue and oxtail. andaluciatapas.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.6675. L Mon-Fri, D Mon-Sat. $$

new! Biba’s Diner Pizza Enjoy fresh Greek-style pizzas, calzones, salads and more in this Historic District hot spot near Preston Station. Try the breakfast pizza, Mr. Biba’s hearty love letter to the most important meal of the day. 223 Main. B, L, D & Daily. $

L Artista American Artista offers inspirational contemporary American cuisine and theatrical ambiance with high ceilings, glass walls and sweeping views of the Houston downtown skyline. cordua.com. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby, 713.278.4782. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat (Open for L & D on Sunday only if a theater performance is scheduled). $$$

Birraporetti’s Italian This Italian restaurant/Irish bar is a Theater District staple. Their delicious pizzas continue to hit the spot, while items such as the chicken picatta and La Dolce Vita have become standouts. Enjoy a signature dessert to finish the meal. birrarestaurant.com. 500 Louisiana, 713.224.9494. L, D & LN Daily. $$ The Bistro American The Bistro is a full-service restaurant serving up breakfast and dinner in a casual atmosphere. Courtyard by Marriott, 916 Dallas, 832.366.1600. B & D Daily. $

Atrium Lobby Lounge Contemporary Located inside the Doubletree Hotel overlooking Allen Center courtyard. Relax after a busy day and enjoy your favorite beverage or a bite to eat while you catch up on the day’s news on the wide screen TV. Doubletree Hotel, 400 Dallas, 713.759.0202. L, D & LN Daily. $$

L Bistro Lancaster New American Located in the historic Lancaster Hotel, this cozy getaway is a great place to dine before catching a show in the Theater District. You’ll find hearty soups, sizzling steaks and savory seafood. thelancaster.com. Lancaster Hotel, 701 Texas, 713.228.9502. B, L & D Daily. $$$$

L Azuma Sushi & Robata Bar Japanese/Sushi Voted “Best Sushi in Houston” by Citysearch. com, this new-age Japanese restaurant is anything but typical. The ambience is terrific, the sushi is innovative and fresh and the outside seating area provides great people watching. azumajapanese. com. 909 Texas, 713.223.0909. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sun; LN Fri & Sat. $$

Blue Fish Sushi Japanese Not your typical Japanese restaurant. Don’t expect small, minimal décor. Be prepared for innovative sushi in a high-energy atmosphere at Bayou Place. thebluefishsushi.com. 550 Texas, 713.225.3474. D Mon-Sat; L Mon Fri. $$

Ballpark Café American Enjoy the all-American cuisine and a nostalgic atmosphere for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just across the street from Minute Maid Park, Ballpark Café is a great place to have a pre/post-game meal. innattheballpark.com. Inn at the Ballpark, 1520 Texas, 713.228.1520. B & L Daily. $

L Bombay Pizza Co. Indian Fusion Fusing the cuisines of India with pizza, innovative creations are served on a homemade, dense, thin and crispy crust. Try the Saag Paneer, which is topped with fresh spinach and four cheeses or the Gateway to India topped with cilantro, tandoori chicken, garlic and artichoke hearts. bombaypizzaco.com. 914 Main, 713.654.4444. L Mon-Fri, D Mon- Sat. $ Bon Jour Café Deli Offering soups, sandwiches and salads. 945 Capitol , 713.237.0419. B & L Mon-Fri. $

Bangkok Chef Thai A casual Thai joint that keeps booths packed with hungry downtowners looking for eclectic dishes to satisfy their spice cravings. And there’s a pretty tempting happy hour for drinks and nibbles under $5. bkchef.com. Inn at the Ballpark, 914 Main Street, #125, 713.659.1600. L & D Mon-Sat. $$

Bouray’s Burrito Bar Fast Food A burrito bar with tons of ingredients and sides that allow you to create the burrito of your dreams. bourays.com. 609 Clay, 713.652.5999. L Mon-Fri. $

new! Barnaby’s at Market Square American A local favorite, Barnaby’s serves up oversized sandwiches, salads and burgers, putting a southwest spin on traditional deli dishes. Colorful murals are splashed on the walls that aren’t graced with large windows for perfect park views. barnabyscafe.com. 801 Congress, 713.226.8787. B,L M-F. $

Brazos Restaurant American Upscale seafood and casual American fare come together in a Texaschic atmosphere. Newly refurbished, black booths and white tablecloths offer elegance and décor not typically found in hotel restaurants. Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1700 Smith, 713.495.7854. B, L & D Daily. $$$

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Brown Bag Deli Fast Casual Located in the Houston Club building, Brown Bag Deli serves up tasty, fresh sandwiches “just like you like it.” Known for its fluffy, soft bread you won’t be disappointed and neither will your wallet. thebrownbagdeli.net. 810 Capitol, 713.224.7000. L Mon-Fri. $ new! The Burger Guys American The guys are known for stellar burgers, made with 100% pure Akaushi beef, hand-cut fries, fried with duck fat, in-house sauces, cane-sugar fountain drinks and home-spun milkshakes. The best part? You can add a fried egg on anything! theburgerguys.com. 706 Main, 123.123.1234. L M-F. $ The Cafe American Located in the lobby of the Hilton Americas. An elaborate buffet is offered for breakfast, with a la carte selections from the menu available for lunch and dinner. Hilton Americas, 1600 Lamar, 713.739.8000. B, L, D & LN Daily. $$ L Cafe Express Fast Casual Need to grab a quick lunch? Cafe Express is an informal yet sophisticated choice. You can always find a variety of delicious entrees, salads and sandwiches. cafe-express.com. 650 Main, 713.237.9222. B & L Mon-Sat. $ L The Capitol at St. Germain New American Executive Chef Kevin Bryant puts forward an impressive dinner menu of seafood and steaks at this renovated turn-of-the-century space. Lunch offers gourmet sandwiches, salads and shared bites. More than just food, The Capitol also serves as a backdrop for live music and special

key to symbols These listings are not reviews but are a guide to downtown dining spots. "Recommended" restaurants are selected by Downtown Magazine editors and are based on food quality, menu selection, service, ambiance and value.

L recommended new! just opened average price of an entrée $ - $10 or less $$ - $11-$19 $$$ - $20-$29 $$$$ - $30+ B: Breakfast L: Lunch D: Dinner LN: Late Night

For a searchable database of downtown Houston restaurants by cuisine, location and price, visit downtownhouston.org and click on Dining.


events. thecapitolhouston.com. 705 Main at Capitol, 713.492.2454. L, D Daily. $$$

course falafel. 914 Prairie, 713.237.8987. L MonFri. $

China Garden Chinese A popular Chinese restaurant, China Garden has been serving downtown for more than 30 years. Their egg rolls and lemon chicken have become favorites. 1602 Leeland, 713.652.0745. L Mon-Fri; D Daily. $

L Flying Saucer Pub Fare Offering more than 200 beers, almost half on draft, Flying Saucer is a beer drinker’s paradise. Excellent staff and tasty eats give the place an identity all its own. beerknurd.com. 705 Main, 713.228.7468. L, D & LN Daily. $

Chipotle Mexican Known for its large portions, this Mexican fast casual spot offers a variety of wholesome menu items. chipotle.com. 909 Texas, 713.225.6633. L & Early D Mon-Fri. $ L Corner Bakery Fast Casual A bakery cafe, offering fresh breads, salads, sandwiches, soups and sweets in a casual atmosphere. Located right on Main Street Square, you can’t beat the people watching or just relax and watch the rail line and Main Street Square’s jumping fountains. cornerbakery.com. 1000 Main, 713.651.0673. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Domino’s Pizza 975 McKinney, 713.227.3030. $ Don Patron Bar & Grill Mexican Good Mexican food and margaritas, Don Patron is great for lunch and a good spot for an after-work happy hour. Available on weekends for private parties. donpatron.com. 500 Dallas, One Allen Center.B, L & D Mon-Fri. $$ L The Downtown Aquarium Seafood The menu features a huge variety and offers something for everyone. While dining, guests are surrounded by a 150,000-gallon aquarium. Enjoy the sights and a great meal at this family-friendly spot. aquariumrestaurants.com. 410 Bagby, 713.223.3474. L & D Daily. $$ Downtown Hunan Café Chinese Fast casual spot offering all your Asian favorites. 613 Clay, 713.759.0515. L Mon-Fri. $ L Droubi Bro. Mediterranean Grill Mediterranean This authentic Mediterranean grill offers up a quick and satisfying spot for lunch. Pita sandwiches are popular. 507 Dallas, 713.652.0058. L Mon-Fri. $ Eats Mesquite Grill Classic American Craving a burger downtown? Popular for its juicy burgers and great-tasting fries, Eats makes for a great lunchtime stop. Guests can make their burgers exactly how they like them. 804 Milam, 713.223.3287. L Mon-Fri. $ L Einstein’s Bagels Deli Known as great place to grab freshly-baked bagels and coffee for breakfast, they also serve up delectable lunch choices that include paninis, melts and pizza bagels. Be an office hero and use the catering service to treat your work pals. einsteinbros.com. 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4775. Mon-Sun B, L & LN. $ Falafel Frenzy Mediterranean This quaint spot serves up all your Mediterranean favorites, including beef and chicken kabobs, hummus and of

L Frank’s Pizza Pizza Home of the “late-night slice,” Frank’s Pizza has built a quality reputation for itself serving up delicious food in a great atmosphere. Not only can you grab a slice of pizza, Frank’s also serves up darn good hamburgers, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, Buffalo wings, lasagna and salads. frankspizza.com. 417 Travis, 713.225.5656. L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $ Gelato Blu Gelato/Coffeehouse Brought to you by the masterminds behind Bombay, this Italian-style shop serves up gelato, sorbetto and caffe Italiano that will satisfy your sweet cravings with any of its delicious flavors. 914 Main, Ste. 115, 713.655.1400. Daily. $ L Georgia’s Market Downtown American The market is stocked with fresh organic produce, grass-fed meats, prepared foods and snacks and home basics while the cafe offers breakfast, lunch and dinner from its organic buffet and a bistro menu. Don’t miss the underground cellar – the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine or craft beer with friends. georgiasdowntown.com. 420 Main at Prairie, 713.225.0990 B,L, D Daily. $ L The Grove American Rustic This two-story, ultra-urban restaurant is found at Discovery Green, downtown Houston’s newest park. The menu features rustic American cuisine such as Gulf Coast seafood, steaks and signature rotisserie dishes. grovehouston.com. Discovery Green, 1611 Lamar, 713.337.7321. L & D Daily. $$$ L Guadalajara del Centro Mexican This familyowned restaurant consistently serves up tasty food in a new, very cool environment. It’s the perfect place to bring the family or a large group of co-workers or friends. Great happy hour specials. guadalajarahacienda.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, 713.650.0101. L & D Daily. $$ Hard Rock Café Classic American What do you get when you mix a music-themed diner with an all-American menu? Hard Rock is a great familyfriendly spot serving up items such as burgers, nachos and chicken varieties. hardrock.com. Bayou Place, 570 Texas, 713.227.1392. L, D & LN Daily. $$ L Hearsay Gastro Lounge New American Located in a beautifully refurbished historic building, this upscale restaurant and lounge serves up delicious sandwiches, salads and entrees. They feature an extensive wine list, numerous beers on draft and bottle and premium liquors with a focus on Scotch whisky. hearsayhouston.com. 218 Travis, 713.225.8079. L Daily; D Mon-Sat; LN Fri–Sat. $$

Home Plate Bar & Grill Classic American A great hangout spot before or after an Astros ballgame. Enjoy American food with all menu items (except for sampler platters) less than $10. homeplategrill.com. 1800 Texas, 713.222.1993. L & D Daily (may close earlier during off-season so call first). $ � L House of Blues Southern Classic HOB serves Southern-inspired signature classic dishes such as voodoo shrimp, Tennessee baby back ribs and the Cajun classic, Creole jambalaya. Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits, you can’t miss House of Blues’ famous Sunday Gospel Brunch. hob.com. Houston Pavilions, 1204 Caroline, 888.402.5837. L & D Daily. $$ L Hubcap Grill American Classic Small but quaint burger joint. 1111 Prairie, 713.223.5885. L Mon-Sat. $ L Irma’s Mexican Irma Galvan has been crowned Houston’s Tex-Mex goddess. This authentic spot is a longtime favorite among Houston politicos and downtown business people. Traditional, homecooked Mexican cuisine is served for breakfast and lunch on weekdays. 22 North Chenevert, 713.222.0767. B & L Mon-Fri; D Thu-Sat. $$ L Irma’s New Southwest Grill Mexican Irma’s second location is a hip spot to satisfy a Mexican food craving. Enjoy tasty foods and great drinks for lunch or dinner. Only a few short blocks from Minute Maid Park. irmassouthwest.com. 1314 Texas, 713.247.9651. B & L Mon-Fri. Open on Astros baseball game days and nights three hours before first pitch. $$ Jason’s Deli Deli Order to please, Jason’s will make your sandwich or salad exactly how you like it. jasonsdeli.com. 901 McKinney, 713.650.1500. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches Deli All subs are served on your choice of fresh-baked French bread or thick-sliced 7-grain bread or try the low-carb lettuce wrap: all the regular sandwich ingredients without the bread. jimmyjohns.com. 820 Main, 713.222.9995. L Mon-Sat. $ The Lake House Fast Casual The Lake House offers family-friendly food, featuring burgers, Kobe beef hot dogs, salads, shakes, wine and beer. Located on Kinder Lake, there is a large patio where you can watch model boats race across the water or listen to some live music from the nearby amphitheater stage. thelakehousehouston.com. Discovery Green, 1611 Lamar. Tue-Wed 11-3; Thu-Sun 11-8. $ L La Palapa Fast Food A Courthouse District favorite, there’s always a line at this free-standing pink concession stand for breakfast tacos and hamburgers. 1110 Preston, 713.228.9620. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Lacey’s Deli Deli The sandwiches are fresh, tasty, and affordable. We recommend the Italian Stallion which has homemade meatballs and marinara with sliced beef and sausage. laceysdeli.com. 416 Caroline, 713.237.0000. L Mon-Fri. $

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plate.

NEIGHBORHOOD NOSHING Barnaby’s finds a downtown home By Holly Beretto

It’s easy to feel at home when you walk through the door at the newly opened Barnaby’s

Cafe in Market Square. The casual-fare favorite opened its doors downtown in September, offering its signature combination of comfort food and friendliness. Barnaby’s team members greet you as you walk in, welcoming you like a regular, even if it’s your first time in the place. The classic rock and ‘80s tunes jamming from the sound system, and the vibrant swirls on the wall make it clear this is a fun, funky place. “We’ve always wanted a downtown presence,” says general manager Juan Hazle, a bear of a guy with an easy laugh and quick smile. “We’ve been building our business since we opened the Fairview location in 1992 and being here was just the natural next step.” From its vantage point close to the corner of Congress and Milam, Barnaby’s offers views of the world going by – workers hurrying along the streets, musicians in Market Square Park and all the hustle and bustle of a city on the move. Inside the restaurant, that energy is carried along by a menu boasting everything from a killer eight-ounce tuna burger served with remoulade sauce and a monstrous pile of seasoned French fries, to heaping salads and home-cooked favorites like meatloaf and mashed potatoes. A note on the menu tells you the chicken and beef were raised humanely, with no added hormones or antibiotics. Barnaby’s has always been the kind of place that cares about the quality of its food, but the café’s management also knows it can bring some-

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thing to the quality of life of its locations. “We take pride in being part of the neighborhoods we’re in,” says Hazle. “And we’re so excited to be here in downtown, because we’re looking at ways to extend our hours when there are performances or movies in Market Square. And, of course, we have a bowl of water out there for all the dogs.” Hazle says he loves the eclectic mix of people downtown and watching the 24/7 vibe of live/work/play taking place outside his door. He recently changed the hours of the café from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. - 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, so he can serve up breakfast as well as lunch. Look for a bacon waffle, a waffle with bacon baked right into it, as a highlight on the menu, as well as the Buffalo Scramble, a filling combination named after the bayou that frames downtown. Lunch diners will love the interactive feature on the menu: use your smart phone to scan the QR code to bring up full descriptions of every item. Hazle says the Lebanese Chicken Fattoush, a blend of Romaine lettuce tossed with diced cucumbers, campari tomatoes, diced red onions, kalamata olives, feta cheese, pita chips, and house vinaigrette topped with grilled chicken breast and an herb mix is a treat. For heartier fare, check out the Hawaiian Pork Chops, marinated in ginger, soy and garlic for 24 hours before being grilled and topped with a pineapple, served alongside fries and cinnamon apples. “We’re proud of all our food,” Hazle smiles. Barnaby’s is also proud to be the newest downtown neighbor. Owner Jeff Gale is enthusiastic about the café’s latest adventure. “Oh, it’s great being here among the skyscrapers and the greenery of the park,” he says, gesturing to the street scene going by outside the large, plate-glass windows. “We love this vibe.” He waves as two guests with corporate name badges come in through the door. “It’s all good.”


L Last Concert Cafe Mexican Tucked away in the Warehouse District, this Tex-Mex cafe was born in 1949 and still supplies tasty food and local music today. Spend some time on the leafy back patio and you’ll swear you’re in your neighbor’s backyard throwing back a cold one. lastconcert. com. 1403 Nance, 713.226.8563. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sun; LN Fri-Sat; Bar & live music Tue-Sat. $ L Les Givral’s Kahve Vietnamese Winner of the 2006 “City’s Best” award for Vietnamese restaurants in Houston, Les Givral’s offers up a delicious menu and great service. Located in downtown’s historic Market Square. lesgivrals.com. 801 Congress, 713.547.0444. B Mon-Fri; L Mon-Sat; D Fri & Sat. $ new! Line & Lariat Modern American An award-winning dining experience located in the historic lobby of Hotel Icon’s landmark bank building. The intimate dining room is extravagant, and the exquisite dishes from the Gulf Coast and South Texas emphasize fresh ingredients. A contemporary lounge with a modern setting for cocktails and an elegant after-work meeting place. hotelicon.com. Hotel Icon, 220 Main, 832.667.4470. B Daily; D Mon-Sat. $$$ new location! Little Napoli Italian Theater and movie goers can now enjoy these southern Italian dishes before the big show! The healthy options, such as whole wheat pizza crust and low-fat cheeses, are a nice touch. littlenapoli.net. 540 Texas, 713.225.3900. $$ Luby’s, etc. American Enjoy an incredible view of downtown along with 10 food stations offering a wide variety of goodies: a build-your-own salad bar, made-to-order grill, pizza by-the-slice, delightful deli, global café and traditional Luby’s cafeteria line with all the classic dishes.  lubysetc.com. 1301 Fannin, 13th Floor, 713.759.9954. B & L Mon–Fri. $

L Market Square Bar & Grill American This Chicago-style neighborhood hangout is a local favorite. Boasting a handful of “fire-powered” burgers, Market Square offers plenty of reasons to stop by for a meal or drink. The backyard patio, friendly staff and full bar add flavor. marketsquarehouston.com. 311 Travis, 713.224.6133. L, D & LN Mon-Sat. $ L Massa’s Restaurant Seafood An upscale and elegant restaurant offering a fine selection of American and seafood cuisine. Superior service and a great dining atmosphere allow guests to enjoy a memorable experience. massas.com. 1160 Smith, 713.650.0837. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat. $$ L Massa’s Seafood Grill Seafood Like its sister restaurant, you can count on superior service and a great dining atmosphere. Conveniently located close to the convention center and Toyota Center, it’s a prime spot for lunch and dinner. massas.com. The Shops at Houston Center, 1331 Lamar, 713.655.9100. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat. $$ L McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood The extensive menu changes daily depending on each day’s fresh seafood deliveries. With more than 80 preparations on the menu each day, every guest is sure to find something to satisfy their palate. mccormickandschmicks.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 Fannin. 713.658.8100. L & D Daily. $$$ McDonald’s Fast Food 808 Dallas @ Milam, 713.651.9449. B & L Daily; D Mon-Fri. $ L Mia Bella Italian You’ll enjoy an eclectic variety of Italian cuisine blended with a Mediterranean feel. A longtime favorite, this intimate little bistro’s simple, yet appealing décor, makes it a downtown standout. bellarestaurants.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.6675. 320 Main, 713.237.0505 L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $$

L Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge American Bowlers and patrons relax on sleek leather couches and enjoy floor-to-ceiling video screens that flash movie clips and music videos as DJs deliver danceable grooves. Delectable munchies are available lane-side and in the lounge. bowlluckystrike.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, Level 3, 713.343.3300. L, D & LN Daily. $$

L Minuti Coffee Coffehouse The coffee is created by a roast master in Italy, before making its way into the hands of talented baristas. This is the perfect place to bring the laptop and take advantage of Minuti’s free Wi-Fi.  They also have beer and wine, which makes it a great pre/post theater spot.  Be sure to sample some of the fresh-baked pastries and smoothies, too. minuticoffee.com. 909 Texas, 281.265.3344. B, L, D, LN Sun–Sat. $

L Macondo Latin Bistro Latin The menu is a tasty fusion of Latin dishes with a strong influence of Colombian cuisine. Try the migas on an English muffin for breakfast. Macondo has a full coffee bar and juice bar, featuring delicious Colombian coffee. BYOB! macondobistro.com. 208 Travis, 713.229.8323. B, L & D Daily. $

new! MKT Bar Mediterranean Part of Phoenicia Specialty Foods, it's the perfect place to stop when you need a chill moment. The bar offers coffee, pastries, wine, beer, gourmet pizza and other yummy nibbles for which Phoenicia is known. phoeniciafoods.com. 1001 Austin, 832.360.2222. B, L, D, Daily. $

Mandarin Hunan Restaurant Chinese This upscale eatery gives its guests an engaging experience in Chinese cuisine. Located in the Skyline District, Mandarin’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows provide a great view of the streetscape. 777 Walker, 713.224.1212. L & D Mon-Fri. $

Molly’s Pub Pub Fare A good ol’ Irish bar with tasty food to soak up the beer. Your standard pub fare – sandwiches, dogs and pretty much anything that’s not good for you. mollyspubs.com. 509 Main, 713.222.1033. L, D & LN Daily. $

L Morton’s Steakhouse This award-winning steakhouse offers an outstanding menu. The downtown location features its new bar concept, Bar 12•21, which includes an impressive wine and martini menu along with its specially priced “bar bites.” mortons.com. 1001 McKinney, 713.659.3700. D Mon-Sun. $$$$ Murphy’s Deli Deli Indulge in a variety of sandwiches and salads. Hot or cold, Murphy’s specializes in creating your sandwich any way it’s ordered. murphysdeli.com 601 Jefferson, 713.652.4939. 1021 Main, 713.275.1912. 440 Louisiana, 713.247.9122. B & L Mon-Fri all locations. $ L Niko Niko’s Greek & American Houston icon Dimitri Fetokakis opened his cafe last fall at Market Square Park. Favorties such as the gyro and kebob are on the menu along with new items such as the breakfast pita. Specialty coffee drinks, beer and wine also available. nikonikos.com. Market Square Park, 301 Milam. B, L, D daily. $ Nit Noi Cafe Thai Head Chef Mama Alice has a secret sauce that has made this Thai gem successful for more than 20 years. Diners can go light with fresh cucumber salads or fill up on classic noodle dishes with a choice of beef, chicken, pork tofu or shrimp. nitnoithai.com. 301 Main, 713.225.1069. L Mon-Fri. $$ L Pappas BBQ Barbecue Voted one of Houston’s best year after year, this barbecue joint offers an excellent selection with Texas-sized portions. Traditional favorites such as brisket, ribs, sausage and ham are served with Pappas’ flare. Delivery and take-out are available. pappasbbq.com. 1217 Pierce, 713.659.1245. L & D Daily. 1100 Smith, 713.759.0018. L & D Mon-Fri. $ Paul’s Snack Shop Deli Sandwiches, salads and snacks to-go.1213 Prairie, 713.224.4701. B & L Mon-Fri. $ L Perbacco Italian An adorable little spot located at street level of one of Houston’s skyscrapers, Perbacco serves up Italian cuisine in a modern and fresh atmosphere. Catering to downtown workers and the theater crowd, you always get quick and friendly service and tasty food. 700 Milam, 713.224.2422. L Mon-Fri; D Thu-Sat. $ Popeye’s Fast Food 1116 Travis, 713.571.8600. L & D Mon-Sat. $ L Quattro Contemporary Italian Vivid colors, creative lighting and a unique design create a sophisticated and inviting ambience for guests. Located in the Four Seasons Hotel, Quattro is one of downtown’s best restaurants. Four Seasons Hotel, 1300 Lamar, 713.652.6250. B, L & D Daily. $$$ Quizno’s Fast Food 811 Rusk, 713.227.7702. L & D Mon-Fri. 1119 Commerce, 713.228.9000. L & D Mon-Sun. $ Rachel’s Sandwich Shop Deli A good little sandwich shop. 421 San Jacinto, 713.223.3913. B & L Mon-Fri. $

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plate. new! Red Lantern Vietnamese A small café hiding in the historic district, Red Lantern packs a punch. Known for its delicious bahn mi and pho. The lunch crowd can’t get enough of the pork egg rolls and vermicelli bowls. 917 Franklin, 713.237.0360 L, D Mon-Fri. $ The Sam Bar American Casual The Alden Hotel's relaxed dining option where you'll find a breakfast buffet and a great bar menu with tasty appetizers, salads, burgers and sandwiches every day of the week. A good spot for a fast lunch or a bite before the ballgame, you'll also love the happy hour and cocktail offerings. aldenhotels.com. Alden Hotel, 1117 Prairie, 832.200.8800. B, L & D Daily. $$ L Sambuca New American A hip, trendy and upscale restaurant right in the mix of Main Street. The menu includes a wide variety of favorites and combined with the live music, Sambuca is Houston’s ultimate supper club. sambucarestaurant.com. 909 Texas, 713.224.5299. L Mon-Fri; D & LN Daily. $$$ Shay McElroy’s Pub Fare This authentic Irish pub offers up a menu of appetizers, sandwiches, salads and soups. mcelroyspub.com. 909 Texas, 713.223.2444. L Mon–Fri. $ The Shops at Houston Center Food Court Au Bon Pain, Captain D's, Chick-Fil-A, Chicken Kitchen, d’lish, Doozo Dumpling & Noodles, Droubi Bros. Grill, Freshii, Great American Cookies, Mediterranean Grill, Murphy’s Deli, Ninfa’s, Otto’s Barbeque, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Quizno’s, Robek’s Juice, Roman Delight, Salata, Simon’s Homestyle Café, Starbucks, Subway, Teppanyaki, Treebeards, Wall Street Deli, Wok & Roll. shopsathc.com. 1200 McKinney, 713.759.1442. Mon-Sat, hours vary. $ L Shula’s Steakhouse Dark wood, sports memorabilia and menus hand-painted on official NFL game footballs makes Pro Hall-of-Famer Don Shula’s Steak House stand out from the rest. Become a member of the 48oz Club by finishing a 48-ounce Shula Cut. donshula.com. Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4777. B, L & D Daily. $$$ Skyline Deli Deli With their freshly baked bread, Skyline makes a great deli sandwich. 717 Texas, 713.571.0509. B & L Mon-Fri. $ L Spaghetti Warehouse Italian Making its home in an old warehouse, this Italian-American eatery offers up large portions for lunch and dinner. Traditional menu items such as spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna and pizza allow the Spaghetti Warehouse to cater to all ages and appetites. meatballs.com 901 Commerce, 713.229.0009. L & D Daily. $$ L Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops Steakhouse An ideal location to enjoy a great steak, Spencer’s offers top-quality beef and boasts an extensive wine list. The atmosphere is light, engaging and conducive to conversation. spencersforsteaksandchops.com. Hilton Americas,

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1600 Lamar, 713.577.8325. L & D Daily. $$$$ L Spindletop Seafood A favorite Houston seafood restaurant and fine dining experience ideal for birthday parties, family reunions, anniversaries and engagements. Perched on the 34th floor of Hyatt Regency Downtown, this glass-walled restaurant makes one revolution every 45 minutes, ensuring you'll enjoy 360-degree views of the city and all of its famous landmarks. houstonregency.hyatt.com. Hyatt Regency, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4775. D Tue-Sat. $$$ The State Bar Pub Fare Located on the second floor of Post Rice Lofts with a beautiful balcony overlooking Texas Ave., this upscale lounge also serves appetizers and hearty sandwiches with your martinis and margaritas. thestatebar.com. 909 Texas, Suite 2A, 713.229.8888. Mon-Sat. $ Subway Fast Food 405 Main, 713.227.4700. 805 Dallas, 713.651.1331. Daily. $ L Table 7 Bistro American Table 7 Bistro is a combination of an upscale, yet casual atmosphere. The bistro serves a selection of artistically and generously presented cuisine. Happy hour weekdays offer $4 well drinks and $2 domestic beers, and its happy hour all weekend with $2 mimosas all day on Saturdays and Sundays. district7grill.com. 720 Fannin @ The Club Quarters, 713.227.4800. B, L & D Daily. $ Tejas Grill & Sports Bar American Downtown’s newest spot for sports fans with large appetites and an arsenal of high fives. Located at The Shops at Houston Center, Tejas offers the perfect tailgate menu and full-service bar. tejasgrillandsportsbar.com. 1201 Lamar at The Shops at Houston Center, 713.739.8352. L Mon-Fri, D Mon-Sat. $$ Thepthidaa Thai Thai A traditional Thai restaurant located at the ground level of the loft residence Hogg Palace. The warm and cozy atmosphere offers a great setting for a dinner escape and is a local favorite. 401 Louisiana, 713.225.4900. D Daily. $ L III Forks American Upscale, warm atmosphere and impeccable service sets the stage for this sophisticated steakhouse. New York strip and filet mignon, bone-in ribeye, porterhouse, young rack of lamb and veal chop are served with duchess potatoes, off-the-cob cream corn, and perfectly cooked vegetables.  Seafood items include Chilean sea bass, Ahi tuna, salmon, halibut, scallops and lobster tails, which are flown in daily. iiiforks.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, Level 1, 713.658.9457. L Tue–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$$$ L Treebeards Southern A downtown institution for more than 30 years, Treebeards offers tasty Cajun dishes that are sure to satisfy. Favorite menu items include the chicken and shrimp gumbo, red beans and rice and étouffée. For dessert, try the famous butter bar. treebeards.com. 315 Travis, 713.228.2622. Cloisters at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas, 713.229.8248. L Mon-Fri. $

downtownhouston.org

Trofi Restaurant Continental Trofi’s menu is described as Continental with a Mediterranean and Latin flair and the ambience is simple, yet sophisticated. Lunch buffets are available Monday through Friday. 400 Dallas, Doubletree Hotel, 713.759.0202. B, L & D Daily. $$ L Vic & Anthony’s Steak House This world-class steak house is one of the most elegant dining locations in Houston. It boasts rich mahogany woodwork and one-of-a-kind hospitality. Located in the heart of the Ballpark District and across from Minute Maid Park, Vic & Anthony’s is the ideal spot for entertaining business clients, a special celebration or a pre/post-game dinner. vicandanthonys.com. 1510 Texas, 713.228.1111. L Fri; D Daily. $$$$ Warren’s Inn Fast Casual Let the good times roll with a killer jukebox, excellent drinks and a fun, bohemian environment. Quick sandwiches and other items are served during the day; you can order in from nearby restaurants at night if you have the munchies. 307 Travis, 713.247.9207. L Mon-Fri; LN Daily. $ Wimpy’s Hamburgers Fast Food Wimpy’s serves up a pretty good burger but they also have many other down-home favorites. 632 Polk, 713.652.0123. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Zero’s Sandwich Shop Deli A great little spot for a freshly made deli sandwich. zerossandwichshop.com. 809 Dallas, 713.650.3333. 1110 Lamar, 713.655.7722. 507 Dallas, 713.739.9955. B & L Mon-Fri. $ L Zydeco Louisiana Diner Cajun This cafeteriastyle Cajun joint brings Louisiana dishes to the Hospital District of downtown Houston. Traditional Cajun items such as po-boys, jambalaya and gumbo make Zydeco a great lunch stop. A casual atmosphere adds to the enjoyment. 1119 Pease, 713.759.2001. L Mon-Fri. $

For a searchable database of downtown Houston restaurants by cuisine, location and price, visit downtownhouston.org and click on Dining.


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sip.

Looking for a spot to go after a long day or for a fun night out with friends? Check out some of our favorites— from the quintessential dive to swanky lounges, you’re sure to find something that will quench your thirst!

like us at facebook.com/visitdowntownhouston The Brewery Tap | 717 Franklin Sit at one of the long wooden picnic tables (think biergarten) and chill with one of the 35 beers on tap. Laid-back and friendly, a great place to catch a soccer game and play some darts. Mon-Thu 4-10 pm; Fri & Sat 4 pm-1 am; Sun 4-11 p.m. The Capitol at St. Germain | 705 B Main St. The Capitol brings a new dimension to live music, dining and cocktails in the heart of the city. From touring acts to local favorites, there's something for everyone in a majestic, turn-of-the-century venue. Mon 11 am-9 pm, Tue-Thu 11 am-midnight, Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat 5 pm-2 am. thecapitolhouston.com The Cellar at Georgia’s Market | 420 Main @ Prairie Georgia’s underground cellar offers a wide selection of organic and biodynamic wines and local brews. The newly renovated space mixes modern and vintage for a cozy place to spend happy hour or host your next event. Mon-Fri noon9 pm, Sun 9 am-5 pm. georgiasdowntown.com/cellar

Chapel Spirits | 534 Texas @ Live! at Bayou Place Chapel Spirits is a sophisticated bar, ideal for happy hour, an engagement party, a bachelor party or late nite VIP experience. Great balcony seating for scenic views of downtown and people watching. Fri & Sat 10 pm-2 am. chapelspirits.com Char Bar | 305 Travis Char Bar offers stiff drinks alongside custom suits. Drenched in nostalgia, Char Bar is proud of its history, as reflected in the old photos of family members who have worked in the space since the 1930s. Enjoy the second floor balcony or chat it up with Weldon Renfro, who has a permanent shoe shine booth at the entrance. Mon-Wed 10 am–midnight, Thu-Sat 10 am-2 am. Dean’s | 316 Main Much of the original building was preserved when the 30s department store was converted into a bar. If you’re lucky, you can snag the table in Houston’s first electric elevator tucked away in the corner. Listen to live music by local artists, buy the local art on the walls, and drink frozen cosmos while taking in the ever-changing downtown scene. Sun-Wed 8 pm-2 am, Thu-Sat 5 pm-2 am. The Dirt Bar | 1209 Caroline The non-venue rock 'n' roll lounge is a popular pre- and post-show destination spot that has become famous for its performer patronage. Drawing crowds and artists from every venue in the city has allowed The Dirt to host hundreds of memorable after-show events, including Lady Gaga, Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon. Daily 6 pm-2 am. dirtbar.com 1820 Bar | 1820 Franklin Located just one block north of Minute Maid Park. Small flat-screen TVs dot the bar, allowing patrons to keep tabs on games while not being the center of attention. On the first and last Friday of every month Joystix Classic Games and Pinball next door is open, and $15 gets you all night to practice your Ms. Pac-Man skills. Daily 4 pm-2 am. Flying Saucer | 705 Main Offering more than 200 beers, with nearly half on draft, Flying Saucer is a great place to hang out and enjoy a cold one. A cool and relaxed atmosphere along with a hip crowd gives downtown visitors a great place to enjoy the night. Check out the website for information on beer tastings, trivia night and specials. Mon-Wed, 11 am-1 am, Thu & Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat noon-2 am, Sun noon-midnight. beerknurd.com House of Blues | 1204 Caroline Street @ Houston Pavilions A well-known national franchise with a lively, fun atmosphere. A 1,500-person concert venue is onsite and some of the best

touring shows in the country come through on a weekly basis. The members-only Foundation Room is available for VIPs. Show times and events vary nightly. hob.com La Carafe | 813 Congress The oldest building in Houston, this dark and cozy hideaway boasts a great jukebox, moody atmosphere and an extensive beer and wine selection. Sit on the outside patio or balcony and look up in awe at the amazing downtown skyline. Cash only. Mon-Fri noon-2 am, Sat & Sun 1 pm-2 am. Last Concert Café | 403 Nance One of Houston’s best-kept secret treasures! You have to knock three times on the red door to gain entry to the unmarked house in the Warehouse District (well, not anymore). With a backyard stage and sandpit, hoola-hooping and tiki bar, Last Concert has live music most nights. Tue-Fri 11 am2 am, Sat 5 pm-2 am, Sun 3-9 pm. lastconcert.com

Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar | 1201 Fannin @ Houston Pavilions Two dueling pianos and a sing-along, clap-along, drink-along, have-one-helluva-good-time-along bar! Wed-Sat, 7 pm-2 am Wed-Sat 7 pm-2 am, showtime @ 8 pm. petesduelingpianobar.com Phul Court | 1311 Leeland You can’t miss the street murals covering this festive space. Downtown’s newest sports bar features live music, Texas wines, local brews and gourmet food trucks. phulcourt.com Reserve 101 | 1201 Caroline A whiskey and martini bar touting more than 220 specialty liquors that will make any cocktail aficionados mouth water. Stop by on Tuesday for complimentary tastings of special selections. Sun 5 pm - 2 am, Mon-Sat 2 pm - 2 am. reserve101.com

Lone Star Saloon | 1900 Travis The Lone Star Saloon is a true classic Texas dive bar that seems misplaced in its urban setting. The crowd, half aging townies and half world-weary road dogs, are always willing to share have-been-to-hell-and-back stories. Daily noon-2 am.

The Sam Bar | 1117 Prairie Street @ Alden Hotel Located in the Alden Hotel. This upscale bar is furnished with dark leather banquettes and a menu of 30 cocktails, both classic and new mixologist creations. Sun-Thu 11 am-midnight, Fri & Sat 11 am-1 am. aldenhotels.com

Lucie’s Liquors | 534 Texas @ Live! at Bayou Place Go to Lucie’s for taste of vintage Vegas, quality drinks and a night to remember. The attitude at this place recalls a time when the Rat Pack was at the top and the ladies called the shots. Great balcony seating for scenic views of downtown and people watching! Tue & Thu 8 pm–2 am. Fri & Sat 9 pm–2 am. luciesliquors.com

Sambuca | 909 Texas @ Post Rice Lofts Guests can enjoy live music most nights of the week in this upscale and eclectic environment. The plush interior and elegant design make for an amazing location. Enjoy your favorite drink inside or hang outside on the patio with the locals. Sun-Wed 11 am-midnight, Thu 11 am-1 am, Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat 4:30 pm-2 am. sambucarestaurant.com

Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge | 1201 San Jacinto @ Houston Pavilions Swanky upscale bowling alley with a separate restaurant/ lounge area. Bowlers and patrons relax on sleek leather couches and enjoy floor-to-ceiling video screens that flash movie clips and music videos as DJs deliver danceable grooves. Great lunchtime and Sunday brunch bowling specials. Sun-Thu 11 am-midnight, Fri & Sat 11 am-2 am. bowlluckystrike.com

Shark Bar | 534 Texas @ Live! at Bayou Place No need to drive to Galveston to get to the beach. This surf bar is an endless party with pail punch, pina coladas and retro dance music that will take you to the North Shore. Great balcony seating for scenic views of downtown and people watching. Fri & Sat 9 pm-2 am. sharkbartx.com

MKT Bar | 1001 Austin Phoenicia’s MKT bar, located at the first floor of One Park Place, is the perfect place to stop when you need a chill moment. The bar offers coffee, pastries, wine, beer, gourmet pizza and other yummy nibbles for which Phoenicia is known. Mon -Wed 7 am-9 pm, Thu 7 am-2 am, Fri-Sat 9 am-2 am, Sun 9 am-8 pm. phoeniciafoods.com

Shay McElroy’s Pub | 909 Texas @ Post Rice Lofts Dublin native and owner John McElroy created this space around a richly detailed, 19th-century bar he had shipped from Ireland. The crowd is an inviting collection of young professionals and not-so-young merrymakers who enjoy colorful dialogue and witty conversation. Mon-Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat & Sun 1 pm-2 am. mcelroyspub.com

Molly’s Pub | 509 Main This classic Irish pub offers a variety of Irish whiskeys and international beers. Tables and coves lead you to the back, where pool and darts can be found and a second-floor balcony provides excellent views of Main Street and downtown. Daily 11 am-2 am. mollyspubs.com

State Bar | 909 Texas @ Post Rice Lofts Located on the second floor of the Post Rice Lofts, this upscale bar presents a classic richness all its own. Much of the furniture and memorabilia are from the old Rice Hotel’s Capitol Club. Leather couches make for great seating and conversation, while a grand veranda overlooks the city outside. Mon-Fri 3 pm-2 am, Sat 6 pm-2 am. thestatebar.com

Notsuoh | 314 Main The name is Houston spelled backwards. A bar full of random weirdness: Think grunge lounge and artsy. You’ll find people playing chess, and drinking beer, live music, lots of crazy, weird artwork and maybe walk in on a night of punkrock karaoke. Live bands on weekends. Daily 8 pm-2 am.

Sunny’s Bar | 901 Capitol @ Main Laid-back place with a friendly atmosphere and great prices that keep the regulars coming back. Sunny will likely be behind the bar serving up the beer and cocktails and great conversation. Foosball, darts and shuffleboard are in the back of the house to keep you entertained. Mon-Sat 2 pm-2 am.

PBR Houston | 534 Texas @ Live! at Bayou Place Cowboy cool meets urban chic in this country bar in the city. Grab a cold beer, hard drinks and try your hand at a little bull riding. This is the place when you want to two-step, hang low, or just meet a pretty little lady or urban cowboy. Great balcony seating for scenic views of downtown and people watching. Wed, Fri & Sat 9 pm–2 am. pbrhouston.com

Warren’s Inn | 307 Travis This tavern is long known for its top-notch jukebox full of American classics, strong mixed drinks and its diverse crowd of customers. Mon-Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat noon-2 pm, Sun 2 pm-2 am.

winter 2012-13

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Downtown Winter 2012  

The Food Issue - Downtown Houston

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