Downtown Winter 2010

Page 1

downtown } s i p : f r o m t h e s wa n k y c o c k ta i l t o t h e be s t brew

connecting you to the center of houston

winter 2010 - 2011

Inside Fe

stive Ho li Happeni day ngs! page 33



Explore the natural 18 beauty of Buffalo Bayou page

get fit! Backstage

a roundup of healthy living options for the new year

the grinch, the scrooge, the elf, the sugarplum fairy & more

F U N + G A M E S

III Forks steakhouse XXI Forever andalucia tapas Restaurant & Bar BCBGMaXaZRIa Books-a-Million Clique salon Foundation Room at House of Blues Guadalajara del Centro House of Blues lucky strike lanes McCormick & schmick’s seafood Restaurant Mia Bella trattoria Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar Polk street Pub Qatar airways Unity national Bank Yao Restaurant & Bar

S H O P P I N G | D I N I N G | E N T E R TA I N M E N T

| 832.320.1200 | FREE WI-FI

CoRnER oF Dallas & MaIn stREEts | oPEn 7 DaYs a WEEK Valet parking available on Fannin, san Jacinto and Caroline. attached parking garage on Clay between Main & Fannin.

downtown houston winter 2010 - 11


volume 3 number 2

Inside 10 Literary lion

departments Downtown is clearly maturing into its own distinct neighborhood – complete with the kinds of amenities that both visitors and residents alike demand.

3 must list

An over-the-top art car parade, down-home cooking, kittens and more. by barbara mendel

5 arts + culture

Holiday fun, family classics and exciting new works for an exciting new year. by heather pray

12 hot companies

A healthy business climate and plenty of support make downtown desirable for anyone from the small local firm to the international conglomerate .


2 publishers’ note

Iconic author Salman Rushdie tells it like it is as he prepares for his Houston appearance to celebrate Inprint’s Margarett Root Brown Reading Series’ 30th anniversary. by nancy wozny

18 Down on the bayou Buffalo Bayou dominates much of Houston’s landscape, yet for many it remains hidden in plain site. New revitalization efforts could change all that. by nancy hogstrom

24 Downtown shapes up

Jogging trails, beautifully fresh produce, an utterly modern new YMCA and one of the biggest marathons in the world are all part of a downtown that is making huge strides in its evolution from dynamic business hub to vibrant city center. by sandra cook, holly beretto and barbara mendel

by sandra cook

16 greenworks

Mayor Annise Parker challenges Houston’s business community to get more environmentally responsible – and they seem to be answering the call.


33 datebook

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

41 plate/sip

Ziggy’s Bar & Grill takes healthy to a whole new level. Find the perfect spot to just chill with our new listing – sip.

48 destination downtown map


the y factor

Downtown’s sparkling new fitness facility opens its doors.

Questions or comments? Drop us a line at Managing Editor/Creative Director Angie Bertinot, Downtown District

Photography Katya Horner, Slight Clutter Photography

Arts and Culture Editor Heather Pray, Houston Downtown Alliance

Contributing Writers Holly Beretto, Sandra Cook, Nancy Hogstrom, Barbara Mendel, Heather Pray, Nancy Wozny

Copy Editor Barbara Mendel, Mendel Creative Solutions Design ph Design Shop

Advertising Information Angie Bertinot, 713.650.3022/

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.

Publishers' Note

A healthy outlook


We’re watching downtown Houston transform from an undoubtedly dynamic business hub into something more. It’s an ongoing, ever-evolving process, but it is undeniable. New restaurants, loft apartments, markets, gathering spaces, pubs and parks are slowly but definitely turning our urban center into an urban neighborhood. And while it’s exciting to watch, we also know that part of downtown’s evolution has to be providing people with the ability to live fully without leaving downtown. That is undoubtedly happening. Today if you live or work downtown, it’s relatively easy to pick up some fresh produce for the week, catch a free yoga or Pilates class or go for a run along Buffalo Bayou. In fact, it’s now possible to fill every day with some type of healthy activity. So we asked our writers to round up some of the obvious (and not so obvious) ways to keep fit downtown. You can read their findings on page 24. We’re also adding something different to our listings with a new nightlife component. We’ve gathered up all the great bars and pubs that make downtown unique and put them together starting on page 46. And of course, you’ll find all the great holiday and winter events in our calendar, which is jam-packed with downtown activities, festivals and theater productions. As always, keep your issue handy for whatever leisure activity you might be planning. And please be sure to send your comments and suggestions our way.

it’s now possible to fill every day with some type of healthy activity.

Bob Eury

Andrew Huang

Downtown District

Houston Downtown Alliance

ON THE COVER It was one of those perfect fall days. The sky was blue, the air was crisp and the bayou sparkled before us. A perfect reminder that Houstonians have plenty to treasure and appreciate downtown.


winter 2010-11


the X Winter's Must-Dos



TO Fun

George R. Brown Convention Center 1001 Avenida de las Americas



Got family in town? Show them Houston in a whole different way with the Downtown District’s free, self-guided audio walking tours. You’ll find the tours ready for download to your iPod or MP3 player at their website. Then it’s supereasy to put on your headphones, hit play and let local insiders take you on three different tours – the Ultimate Downtown Tour, the Museum District Walk & Roll and A Walk in the Park: Discovery Green Walking Tour. No need to worry about which way to go or what to look for, the tour points out everything along the way. You can even download a map to help you on your way.

Downtown District



Southern-fried chicken, cheddar cheese grits, herb-crusted top round and banana bread pudding are just a few of the downhome favorites found at the House of Blues at the Houston Pavilions every Sunday. Feed your soul along with your body from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at their world-famous Gospel Brunch. Even better, your $27 ticket ($12 kids 5-12) includes bottomless mimosas.

House of Blues, 1204 Caroline



For two years, the Home for the Holidays Pet Adoption Center has been placing dogs and cats in forever homes. Now Pup Squad and Houston Pavilions will host the center all year long. Stop by the center any Saturday (weather permitting) between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. You’ll find it next to Books-AMillion on the corner of Fannin and Polk. Pup Squad is an animal rescue group that takes in orphaned puppies, kittens and nursing litters and matches them with permanent adoptive families.

pitter PATTER

Houston Pavilions, 1201 Fannin


Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney



Kick your New Year’s Eve celebration into high gear with Gloworama. A fabulously funky art car parade will fill the night with lights and fireballs as it rolls down Avenida de las Americas to set up for a spectacular 3D light show on the walls of the George R. Brown Convention Center. Even better, Gloworama is free and family-friendly so don’t worry about trying to find a sitter. Bring the whole family downtown on Friday, December 31 for fireworks and a countdown to 2011.


Backstage by heathe r pray

art s & cultur e

It’s winter, which means it is holiday show time. If you’re feeling a bit humbug, come down to the Houston Theater District and pick any of the fabulous holiday shows. They’ll help you spread cheer to all you know. Winter also means a new year and the Theater District will be filled with favorite classics, new productions and performers from around the world.

paul kolnik

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas! The Musical, Broadway and National Tours Casts 2006-2008

{ Holidays are here again }


olidays are synonymous with family, and the Houston Theater District gives you a myriad of choices to enjoy together. Alley Theatre’s family favorite A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story of Christmas opens up the holiday show floodgates on Nov. 19 through Dec. 27. Theatre Under The Stars presents more yuletide family time when Who-ville comes to Houston in Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical. Holiday magic erupts on stage when The Grinch discovers there’s

more to the Yuletide season than he bargained for in this heartwarming holiday classic perfect for the entire family. It will leave you bursting with holiday spirit, Nov. 24 through Dec. 5. Stories don’t come more classic than Ben Stevenson’s breathtaking production of The Nutcracker with Houston Ballet, Nov. 26-Dec. 26. The Snowman pays a visit to younger audiences with the Houston Symphony in the classic children’s story by Raymond Brigg on Dec. 4. Singing along is encouraged as Snowman’s friend Santa pays a visit. Another much-loved

holiday outing for the entire family is Very Merry Pops, Dec. 10-12. Comic relief arrives by way of Alley Theatre company actor Todd Waite when he 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 in The Santaland Diaries, Nov. 21 through Dec. 31. The holiday season is not the same without Handel’s Messiah and the Houston Theater District brings you multiple ways to experience it. Broadway meets rock-‘n’-roll and baroque music when Society for the


Andrea Bocelli returns to Houston after nearly 10 years with a Houston Symphony debut on Dec. 8 at Toyota Center. His concert will celebrate much of the repertoire the classical crossover singer has made famous over his incredible career, and will include music from his latest release My Christmas, giving his fans a stirring evening of world famous arias with a truly heart-warming and captivating welcome to the holidays.

don't miss

Performing Arts presents Handel’s Messiah Rock one-night-only on Dec. 1. Stunning visual effects, an orchestra, a rock band, local Houston choirs and soloists will definitely make this one for the ages. For a more classical version, Rejoice Greatly with Houston Symphony musicians, chorus and guest soloists Dec. 17, 18 and 19.

champion dancers sizzle with dances from Harlem’s hot nights at The Savoy (Lindy, Foxtrot, Charleston), to the Latin Quarter (Cha-Cha, Rumba and Salsa). Also expect to see the elegance of the Viennese Waltz, the exuberance of the Jive, the intensity of the Paso Doble, Tango, Samba, Mambo, Quick Step and Swing in a true theatrical experience at the Hobby Center.

Bur n The Floo r

the opposite side of the emotional spectrum, West Side Story, will mesmerize Houston audiences with the greatest love story of all time, Jan. 12-23 at Hobby Center. Enjoy a snowy journey through the Russian countryside in Tchaikovsky’s Winter Daydreams with the Houston Symphony, Jan. 14-16. Houston Symphony and Chorus and world-renowned soloists perform Berdi’s Requiem with great sweep and grandeur at Jones Hall, Jan. 20, 22 and 23. Jake Heggie’s story Dead Man Walking, a story

joan marcus

{ Beyond the twinkling lights }

{ New year, new tales }

a Camera of Houston brings worldrenowned Marcel Pérès and his Ensemble Organum for a rare U.S. appearance and Houston debut singing Guillaume de Machaut’s 14th-century Meesse de Notre Dame. Don’t miss out on this definite must-hear treat on Dec. 1 and 2. Houston Ballet celebrates seasons past, present and future every year with Jubilee of Dance. This year it’s Dec. 3. Always on the scene with amazing artists, Da Camera of Houston presents Anat Cohen Quartet’s Clarinetwork, on Dec. 4. Cohen exploded on the global jazz scene with two simultaneously released, critically acclaimed records and has established herself as one of the primary voices of her generation. Gexa Energy Broadway Across America brings grace, athleticism and what The New York Times calls, “dazzling!” to the stage with Burn The Floor, Dec. 14-19. Twenty gorgeous

efore you know it, the new year will roll in and take you by storm … much like God of Carnage did to Broadway by taking home the Tony Award for Best Play and earning rave reviews. Two seemingly courteous and civilized couples meet as a result of their boys’ fistfight. They plan to settle things and civility crumbles. This “gleefully nasty fun” (New York Post) runs Jan. 7-30 at Alley Theatre. Another Broadway fave on


winter 2010 - 11



jann whaley


A Chr istm as Car ol - A Gho st Sto ry of Chr istm as, Jeff rey Bea n as Ebe nez er Scr oog e

Bill y Ellio t The Mus ical






Houston on Jan. 22 bringing the rhythms and melodies of R&B, pop, hip-hop and funk. The story of fabled songstress Ella Fitzgerald, as she prepares for one of the most important concerts of her career, is told in an exhilarating musical called Ella with SPA for two nights only, Feb. 17 and 18. “Spellbinding,” said The Wall Street Journal. “Fascinating ... incandescent,” raved The New York Times. Da Camera of Houston’s own Sarah Rothenberg’s newest production, The Blue Rider: Kandinsky and Music, comes to Houston on Jan. 29 following its critically acclaimed, sold-out premier performances in New York. Everyone will be ready for a sunny, warm holiday by the time Feb. 3, 5, and 6 roll around. Gil Shaham will bathe us in a Mediterranean glow with Gil Shaham Plus Beethoven 7 with the Houston Symphony. And flavor is added to wintry

days with some of the world’s most recognizable music from Maurice Ravel. The Houston Symphony will collaborate with Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music on Ravel’s comedic one-act opera, The Spanish Hour, and will continue to lead you on a journey of some of Ravel’s most popular works including Bolero. If winning 10 Tony Awards in 2009, including Best Musical isn’t enough reason to see Billy Elliott The Musical with TUTS and Gexa Energy Broadway Across America, then the joyous, exciting and feel-good celebration of one young boy’s triumph against the odds will surely send you to Hobby Center Feb. 23 through March 13.

{ An international affair }


pellbinding, powerful and daring are perfect words to describe The Peking Acrobats, who will be celebrating their silver anniversary tour in Houston with SPA, Jan. 27 and 28. This troupe of China’s most gifted tumblers, jugglers, cyclists and gymnasts, paired with live music, present a hair-raising event for the entire family. gus powell

of compassion and redemption, comes to Houston Jan. 22 through Feb. 6. Patrick Summers, who conducted the opera’s world premiere a decade ago as well as the acclaimed recording on Erato, conducts Houston Grand Opera’s performances while Leonard Foglia directs. Vibraphonist Stefon Harris and his scintillating ensemble Blackout visit Cullen Theater with Da Camera of

The Blu e Rid er


Chi na' s The Pek ing Acr oba ts

brittany app

don lee

Ladysmith Black Mambazo


Expect great music and dance from Argentina with Tango Buenos Aires for two performances on Jan. 29. A five-piece music ensemble accompanies this great cultural export defined by elements of love, passion and seduction. A co-production with Opera Australia and Teatro La Fenice, Venice sends a new production to Houston Grand Opera with Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Jan. 28-Feb. 11. Since Paul Simon’s Graceland album catapulted South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo to worldwide fame, the Grammy-Award winning a cappella group has remained true to melding the tradition of Zulu harmony singing with gospel and reggae for an unforgettable musical and spiritual alchemy. Hear their rich, uplifting 8

winter 2010 - 11


harmonies with SPA at Jones Hall on Feb. 4. Originally from the West African nation of Benin, guitarist Lionel Loueke has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past several years. Praised by his mentor Herbie Hancock as “a musical painter,” he has appeared on numerous standout recordings such as Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters and Terence Blanchard’s Flow. Loueke arrives in the Houston arts scene with Da Camera of Houston on Feb. 5. Positive energy and ingenious creativity will radiate throughout the Cullen Theater when SPA hosts ScrapArtsMusic on Feb. 25. ScrapArtsMusic is a Canadian quintet that tours the world transforming stages into eco-friendly musical realms. Each musical invention is

hand built from recycled materials ranging from accordion parts to aluminum scraps, and even artillery shells. Transcending language, culture and age, ScrapArtsMusic offers a highly physical, wildly theatrical and thoroughly entertaining taste of the musical vanguard on Feb. 25. Arriving direct from Lyon, France, Compagnie La Baraka brings a new work choreographed by Abou Lagraa and featuring seven dancers and live music played by the Debussy Quartet to the stage with SPA on Feb. 26. From holiday favorites to new tales in the new year, the Houston Theater District brings the best performers in the world to the stage for you. Resolve to make the arts a part of the rest of this year and the next.

Anthony Freud, General Director Patrick Summers, Music Director

January 22 - February 6, 2011

Music by Jake Heggie Libretto by Terrence McNally Based on a novel by Sister Helen Prejean Adult content: contains strong language, nudity, and depictions of sexual activity and violence.

Houston Grand Opera Orchestra & Chorus — Richard Bado, Chorus Master

Also playing: Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor January 28 - February 11, 2011

Call 713-228-OPERA (6737) or visit Bill and Sara Morgan Franci and Jim Crane

Official Vehicle of Houston Grand Opera

SeaSon SponSor

A Hilarious Backstage Murder Mystery Musical

“iMpOSSiBle TO reSiST!” – The New York Times

May 31 – june 12 PG13


March 29 – april 10

“BeST ShOw OF The DecaDe” – Time Magazine

FeB. 23 – March 13 PG13



GROUPS OF 15+ CALL 713.558.8888

Alberto Conti


Sir Salman Rushdie celebrates Inprint’s Margarett Root Brown Reading Series’ 30th Anniversary by Nancy Wozny


tories make trouble,” insists Khattam-Shud, the evildoer determined to silence the storyteller in Salman Rushdie’s magical novel Haroun and the Sea of Stories.

Rushdie knows a thing or two about the trouble a story can make, having a fatwa declared against him in 1989 by Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini for his so-called insults to Islam in The Satanic Verses. The power of the imagination, freedom of speech and literature itself form ongoing currents in the iconic author’s work. Rushdie burst on the literary scene with Midnight’s Children, which tells the tale of Saleem Sinai, born the exact moment of


winter 2010 -11


India’s independence. The novel went on to win the Booker Prize in 1981, the Booker of Bookers in 1993 and the Best of the Bookers in 2008. The book, now being turned into a film, mixes surrealism and history, establishing Rushdie as a writer with a hyperbolic imagination. He’s the author of 10 novels and four works of nonfiction, and was knighted in 2007 by Queen Elizabeth II. Currently, he’s at work on his memoirs, slated for publication in 2012. The subject of tabloid fodder, Rushdie has popped up in popular culture in some unsuspecting places. He appeared as himself in the 2001 film Bridget Jones’ Diary, then as Helen Hunt’s gynecologist in Then She Found Me. He also penned the lyrics to the U2 song, The Ground Beneath Her Feet. Rushdie relishes the chance jump out of author persona from time to time. “I was offered a chance to be an absurd Nascar driver in what became Talladega Nights, to have a quarrel with Russell Brand on The Today Show in Get Him to the Greek, and also to be a futuristic

pundit in a forthcoming movie by the Wachowskis,” he says. “I wasn’t free to accept any of these offers, but I’d be happy to receive more.” On Dec. 3, as part of the 30th anniversary year of Imprint’s Margarett Root Brown Reading Series, Rushdie will read from his newest novel, Luka and the Fire of Life, written as a birthday present for his 13-year-old son Milan. The new book is a companion to Haroun and the Sea of Stories, written for his older son Zafar in 1989. Inprint, the city’s most prominent literary arts organization, brings the world’s top authors to Houston. So far this year, Amy Tan and Carlos Fuentes have brought their work to life, while Peter Carey, Major Jackson, Alicia Ostriker, Chitra Divakaruni, Gish Jen and Kay Ryan complete the 2011 season. Tickets for Rushdie’s reading sold out so quickly, Inprint switched the venue to Jones Hall, where reading transforms from a private to a collective experience. “Some writers do this well, others should never do it,” Rushdie says. “I haven’t given many readings, yet the book is still so new, but I have done one or two, and they were lots of fun. I like reading aloud.” Haroun and the Sea of Stories concludes with a miraculous wrap-up that feels almost too perfect. Surely, something else will go wrong for Rashid, the storyteller and father to Haroun and Luka. There’s a generative quality present, following in the tradition of J. M. Barrie, Kipling, and Lewis Carroll. One can just imagine a youngster nudging on the sleeve of a parent, asking, “Read me another.” At the time Rushdie did not imagine a second book. “The moment I had another son, I started thinking about an adventure for him,” he says. “I suspected that the father’s general uselessness might again be a problem.” In Luka and the Fire of Life, the trouble-prone Rashid falls into a sleep so deep nothing can wake him. Rashid’s younger son Luka, along with his oddly named companions, Bear the dog and Dog the bear, face fierce obstacles to save the storyteller and restore safety to Rushdie’s mythical land of Alifbay. The author turned to video games for a thematic structure, where layers upon layers of harrowing adventures keep the anxiety flowing. “This is exactly what happens in the ancient hero and quest myths. No sooner has the hero Beowulf slain the monster Grendel than he has to face an even larger and scarier monster, Grendel’s mother,” Rushdie says. “So here, I thought, was a way of using very contemporary language and imagery in the service of an ancient form, the myth of the quest for fire.” Rushdie invents a ghost father doppelganger known as “Nobodaddy,” who starts as a shadow and grows increasing present as Luka’s own father fades. “It’s as Nobodaddy explains to Luka. We do not die generic deaths, we each die specific deaths. I thought it would be powerful to have a

death that exactly mirrored the living being and filled up with his ebbing life,” he says. “I worried that this might be too disturbing for younger readers, but Nobodaddy turned out to be my son Milan’s favorite character, so I guess kids today are darker than we think.” Haroun and the Sea of Stories proved the author as a master of humor, whimsical language and the ability to tell a tale that exists for children and adults simultaneously. “The movies do this all the time, from Star Wars to Avatar, from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? to Ratatouille,” says Rushdie. “When we watch James Bond or Indiana Jones or a Pixar movie or Despicable Me, we don’t bother to ask what age the audience is supposed to be. I have always believed this can be done in literature too. Peter Pan and the Alice books are old examples, and, nowadays, some of the most interesting work is being placed on this blurred border between the younger reader and the adult, the work, for example, of Philip Pullman, Mark Haddon and yes, even J.K. Rowling.” Following a style similar to the first book, Luka and the Fire of Life contains a virtual feast for the tongue, with language as intoxicating as it is fantastical. Wordplay, fanciful puns, clever syntax run amok through the pages. A school bully named “Ratshit,” the tip of South America mistaken for Hawaii, a storyteller who also goes by the “Shah of Blah,” are all proof that Rushdie is one funny guy. “This is just the stuff that pours out of my twisted mind, I’m sorry to say,” quips the author. Rushdie last spoke as part of the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series on a fateful September 10, 2001 while on a book tour for his novel Fury. A jam-packed crowd showed up along with 300 peaceful protesters. Rushdie, like everyone else, found himself stranded and made time to explore some of Houston’s cultural institutions. “On that strangest and saddest of days, both the Menil Collection and the Rothko Chapel were comforting places to be,” remembers Rushdie. There’s no doubt Rushdie’s life reveals an extraordinary drama as a literary giant. Yet the power of story and preserving the freedom to tell them remains central. There may have been a period when people thought of him more as a political figure. The author gives us the long view. “There was a time before that time when people thought of me as a literary figure, and I think for readers of books that never changed. It’s good to be back full-time in the world of books.” In much of his work, Rushdie speaks to survival of the symbolic imagination. “The world of the imagination nourishes and sustains us, but it’s a good idea to remain aware of its imaginative status, though things do cross over the boundary. Before you invent a wheel, you must imagine a wheel,” he says. “Before you can have the Internet, you must envisage the hyperlink. And to save a dying father, you can, if you are very clever, skip across into that magical world and steal and bring back the fire of life itself.”

The author turned to video games for a thematic structure, where layers upon layers of harrowing adventures keep the anxiety flowing.



hot companies


The Business Capital of Houston

Downtown is just that for companies ranging from multi-national corporations to small local firms

O By Sandra Cook

Over the past 15 years, downtown has become a more attractive, perpetually active and diverse place, offering the vibrant work environment and image desired by many corporate employers. Companies large and small are taking note and taking action to move their offices to downtown Houston. And here’s why: proximity. Companies have found that a downtown address puts them within walking distance of the region’s most powerful public accounting firms, legal firms, energy firms and bankers. Employees have access to hundreds of nearby restaurants and shops within walking distance, many in the 6.5-mile, air-conditioned pedestrian tunnel system. And downtown is at the center of Houston’s transportation and transit networks. No other business district in the Houston region can offer that type of access. About 50 percent of the downtown workforce uses Park & Ride bus service directly from the suburbs, rides local buses or light rail, carpools, bikes or even walks to work.

A natural fit for a natural gas leader Making recent news, international natural gas company BG Group, has leased 164,000 square feet (six floors) at Hines’ cutting-edge, pre-certified Platinum LEED office tower at 811 Main, which is being renamed BG Group Place. BG Group plans to relocate its U.S. headquarters to the new 46-story building in mid- to late 2011. “We’ve expanded as much as we can at our current location in the Galleria area and needed to find a much larger location,” says David Keane, vice president of policy & corporate affairs for BG Americas and Global LNG. “Houston is the center of our operations in this region, which includes North America and South America.” BG Group employs more than 400 at the Galleria-area location and plans to expand its workforce with recent major investments in projects in northwest Louisiana and the Appalachian Basin. “We started looking at downtown and saw a lot of benefits,” says Keane. “The ease of commuting and having mass transit are important to our employees. Also, there’s a lot to do with restaurants and businesses co-located nearby, so

Fast facts about downtown Houston: 1.8 square miles; 140,000-person workforce; 44 million square feet of office space; 70 percent of METRO’s bus lines lead to and from downtown, including all of METRO’s Park and Ride services and METRORail.


winter 2010 - 11


Left: Main Street Square METRORail station is located in the heart of downtown. Above: Accenture’s new innovative workplace concept has transformed its 1301 Fannin location into an “office of the future.”

people can run errands and take care of other things. It just makes it much easier.” Being located in a major metropolitan area has proven a strong draw for BG Group’s recruiting efforts on college campuses. Keane also points out that downtown offers BG Group the advantage of being near its competitors and peers in the industry. “We have a very diverse workforce in terms of age and nationality. Downtown really offers enough for anyone and everyone to find exciting,” says Keane. A small firm with big ideas “We chose downtown because we wanted a central location,” says Michael D. Morton, AIA, principal at mARCHITECTS. “Our current projects are downtown and all over the metro area. Downtown is THE central location, with access to everything.” Two years after establishing mARCHITECTS, his firm leased a 121-year-old commercial building, the former Fifth Ward Hotel, built in 1882, which is just south of I-10 on the north side of downtown. Morton’s firm purchased the building in 2009 and has established part of its first floor as an art gallery. M Gallery hosts exhibits throughout the year as a way of contributing

to the artistic nature of the neighborhood and to inspire the firm’s own work. “We were a small and relatively young firm – we weren’t looking for a high-rise tower,” says Morton. “As architects, we appreciate that this portion of downtown is known for creativity. It has such character and history. And for us, just starting out, the cost was affordable compared to the more corporate areas. It was the right fit for us among the range of options downtown.” “We have the benefits of being centrally located,” says Morton. “We can walk to lunch and we’re close to the rail.” Eighty percent of the firm’s employees live within a few miles of the unique office building. Morton says employees, who range in age from 28 to 52, see the location as a plus. “It’s great for attracting and retaining the young, dynamic professionals who like to be in the center of the city,” says Morton. “I have one employee who moved here from San Antonio and liked the area so much that he bought a downtown condo.” “Sustainability is big for us. We are repurposing an existing structure, have reduced the number of miles traveled by employees, and reduced vehicle trips at lunchtime and for client meetings. And we’re in the midst of downtown, which is leading the way in green architecture. We also appreciate the downtown community’s efforts at recycling and energy reduction district-wide,” says Morton. “And we like that downtown is becoming more pedestrian friendly. Now that the bike paths are more connected, there are other ways to get around.” Ideal for a workplace innovator In 2009, Accenture moved from offices on Allen Parkway to 1301 Fannin. The global company, with offices and operations in more than 200 cities in 53 countries, collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses. Accenture’s Houston office services many of the area’s largest companies. “When considering the location of our new Houston office, we looked for convenience, flexibility and accessibility to meet the needs of our largely commuting work force,” says Bill Mearse, Houston managing director, Accenture. “By relocating to downtown Houston we now have better access to public transportation, our clients, as well as restaurants, shopping and entertainment – all within walking distance.” “The move to downtown also marked the start of a new way of working and demonstrates Accenture’s willingness to drive change and be a high-performance business,” says Mearse. “In addition to enjoying the conveniences of downtown, our employees also enjoy a newly designed interactive, efficient and cost-effective work environment which embraces the changing demographics and new work style preferences of today’s workforce.” “Our younger employees also enjoy all the social alternatives that our new location offers – from shopping to food to music to sports – they now have a wide variety of entertainment options just steps from the office.”


Companies large and small are taking note and taking action to move their offices to downtown Houston. Here’s why: proximity . Major Discovery for Energy Company Houston is one of five key regional headquarters for Hess Corporation, a global integrated energy company engaged in the exploration, production, purchase, transportation and sale of crude oil and natural gas, as well as the production and sale of refined petroleum products. Hess outgrew its space and began looking at its options. Hess, which now occupies 500,000 square feet in two downtown buildings, chose to relocate and occupy all of a new, 30-story, 845,000-square-foot building, the name of which is being changed from Discovery Tower to Hess Tower. The building, which Hess will occupy by spring 2011, is expected to be LEED Gold certified, complete with wind turbines on top of the building to generate a portion of the building’s electrical requirement. With Hess’ expanded commitment to downtown, its workforce will be located in a highly sustainable office building, have many restaurants in immediate proximity, and be able to walk across the street and enjoy downtown’s 12-acre, $120 million park, Discovery Green. still the center of business “With the major re-commitment that Hess, Reliant, and others are making in downtown, with BG Group, Accenture, mArchitects and others moving to downtown, and with recent expansions such as EnerVest, businesses are telling and showing us that a cosmopolitan, vibrant and central urban location is important to them,” says Laura Van Ness, director-business development for Central Houston. “They value what downtown has to offer.”

mARCHITECTS’ location in the Warehouse District acts as both workspace and gallery space.

downtowns’ Revival of Market Square Park

custom wedding invitations

Downtown is Houston’s Best neighborhood . . .

Terry STanfield Downtown’s #1 Realtor


214 Travis • Houston, Texas 77002 14

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We’re here when you need us,


Proudly serving the Houston Community for over a century. Specialists are available in every major area of expertise. Among these are: • Obstetrics • Gynecology • Ophthalmology • Nephrology • Neurology • Neurosurgery • Surgery • Internal Medicine • Family Practice • Neonatology • Emergency • Gastroenterology • Cardiology • Psychiatry • Genetics • Orthopaedics • Plastic Surgery • Pathology • Rheumatology • Urology • Cardiothoracic • Anesthesia • Maternal Fetal Medicine • Endocrinology • Hemotology • Otolaryngology • Radiation • Pulmonology • Dermatology • Allergy • Podiatry.

Call 713.757.7575 to find a physician to meet your needs.

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1401 St. Joseph Parkway, Houston, TX 77002 • 713.757.1000 • Physician Referral 713.757.7575 •

Taking on a challenge


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The City of Houston is taking green to a whole new level with “The City of Houston is eighth in the country for the number of LEED Mayor Annise Parker’s first annual Green Office Challenge. The program kicked off in September with a call to action for office building owners, property managers, management districts and tenants – reduce energy consumption, waste and water use. The city will provide the education, training and resources – giving participants the tools and incentives they need to bring about change on their own over the next year. “The Houston Green Office Challenge is an unprecedented opportunity to bring citizens into the citywide sustainability strategy – to make Houston a greener, cleaner and healthier place for ourselves and the future Houstonians who will inherit our great city,” said Parker.

Property managers and owners who

participate in the challenge are asked to demonstrate achievement in four areas – energy reduction, waste reduction, water reduction and tenant engagement. They’ll receive recognition for accomplishing base or higher “stretch” goals. Downtown in particular has already made huge strides in its efforts toward sustainability. One impressive statistic – all of downtown’s Class A buildings have a recycling program that includes everything from paper and cardboard to plastic and metal cans. Downtown also has 30 Energy Star buildings, nearly a quarter of all such buildings in the Greater Houston area, along with more than a dozen LEED buildings and projects. For the challenge, office tenants will be asked to focus on areas such as outreach, energy conservation, waste reduction, cleaner transportation choices and property management engagement. A scorecard will outline 50 specific actions that can be taken to make an office greener. With approximately 300 partici-

certified buildings and sixth in the country for the number of Energy Star buildings. We want to be No. 1 in both. The Green Office Challenge will help us get there.” Laura Spanjian, director of sustainability for the city, says the program, which is in partnership with ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, is designed to engage everyone from individual office employees to major commercial property owners and managers. It’s a program that came from Chicago but has been tailored to suit Houston. “I got the idea from there and really worked with Houston building owners and managers to make it Houston specific,” she says. “It’s very much our own Houston challenge.”

pants, Spanjian sees the possibility of a real culture shift when it comes to sustainability. She cites one major company that already has more than half of its employees getting to work in ways other than their personal vehicles. Behavior changes will be measured in concrete ways, says Spanjian. And the City of Houston is providing the means needed to make that happen. In addition to educating participants, financial resources will be available for

How does it work? them to make energy efficiency improvements in their buildings. And that sort of effort makes a difference in people’s lives. “Green buildings typically have superior ventilation, better indoor air quality and increased occupant comfort and control,” says Spanjian. “People want the tools and resources and help to not only improve what they do, but work in places that are more sustainable and inviting,” she says.

Sponsors Centerpoint Energy Choice Energy Services Greenstar North America Hines HOK Houston METRO Shell Siemens Calpine Crescent NRG EV Services Waste Management Xerox Downtown participants AIA Houston CB Richard Ellis CenterPoint Energy Central Houston, Inc. Chevron Crescent Real Estate Equities ExxonMobil Gensler Hilton Americas – Houston Hines Houston Astros Baseball Club Houston Downtown Management District Morris Architects NRG Energy Perkins+Will PM Realty Group, LP Shell Oil Company Smart Office Energy Solutions Teekay Shipping USA Transwestern Commercial Services Waste Management Wells Real Estate Funds YMCA of Greater Houston (Participants at time of printing)



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The Rosemont Bridge spans Memorial Drive and Buffalo Bayou and connects the two sides of Buffalo Bayou Park, west of Eleanor Tinsley Park and east of the StudemontMontrose Boulevard Bridge. The new bridge will also connect to a new trail being built along Memorial Drive.

B There are few who will argue that the view looking east from Allen Parkway is breathtaking. Here, the city of Houston can be seen rising upward to the sky from the pastoral beauty of Buffalo Bayou Park. Our brick-and-mortar mountains blend beautifully with the park’s pristine meadows and trim, tidy ribbon of water. The sight seems to beckon us to the very doorstep of all that’s great about urban American life. It’s an iconic picture: a modern metropolis and Mother Nature in perfect harmony. Or are they?

a river


through it

by nancy hogstrom


Everything we do regarding Buffalo Bayou Park, everything, must be able to sustain floods and survive. Ours is a living, functioning watershed.

A living watershed Starting as a small stream just west of Katy, Buffalo Bayou travels 30 miles east to meet White Oak Bayou on the northern edge of downtown Houston. As most know, this confluence of waterways is called Allen’s Landing and acted as the birthplace of our city in the 1830s. From Allen’s Landing, the bayou continues east, gaining size, and eventually empties into the Port of Houston’s turning basin. Today, Buffalo Bayou is a functioning watershed 52 miles in length and

Buffalo Bayou Park. Shepherd to Studemont master plan.


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absolutely critical to water runoff control. All the rainwater in Harris County makes its way to our bayous one way or another – about 2,000 miles of them. Some areas of the county do not support the amounts of pavement and construction that Buffalo Bayou does, allowing the earth to absorb runoff. As Buffalo Bayou cuts through a large metropolitan area, it’s function as a host for rainwater is magnified. “Buffalo Bayou floods several times a year,” explains Anne Olson, president of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, a nonprofit

agency dedicated to the revitalization of Houston’s precious natural resource. “There are challenges specific to our bayou. Everything we do regarding Buffalo Bayou Park, everything, must be able to sustain floods and survive. Ours is a living, functioning watershed,” she concludes. Olson knows what she is talking about. For more than a decade this soft-spoken woman has spearheaded the revitalization of the bayou. In the last seven years, the partnership has raised more than $45 million to improve the 10-mile distance of waterway running from Shepherd Drive,

east to the bay. Now, in a stunning public concert of cooperation, Buffalo Bayou Partnership has joined with the City of Houston and the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD), in a public-private effort to revitalize the bayou from Shepherd Drive to Sabine Street, and all 172 acres that it encompasses.

The park comes back to life “What we are dealing with here, is a couple of hundred acres of very precious central city parkland,” said Guy Hagstette, consultant and project manger for the partnership. Hagstette was critical to the development of Discovery Green and is now lending his extensive know-how to the bayou park project. “The area needs to remain green and natural and access to it from the surrounding neighborhood must be improved. The city owns the land; it’s city parkland. And HCFCD has agreed to investigate restoring the waterway with flood control as its core mission. It’s a wonderful coalition,” Hagstette concluded. Recent developments include the first stage of building the Rosemont Bridge, a pedestrian bridge that will span both the bayou and Memorial Drive just east of Studemont-Montrose Boulevard. Using old, existing train trestles, the bridge has been designed to compliment the landscape and will allow pedestrians access to both sides of the bayou and Memorial Parkway without risking life and limb crossing through traffic on the streets. Completion is expected in 2011, and there are many citizens anxiously awaiting its use. Another feature currently in process is the restoration of the jogging paths. Thanks to private donations, federal funds and help from the Texas Department of Transportation, the park’s aging bike and jogging trails will be fully reconstructed. Designs for six miles of paths are in the final stages of approval and slated for construction starting in 2011. Presently the paths are about the width

this page and opposite left: Recreation opportuni-


ties along Buffalo Bayou are abundant—from running and hiking to biking and kayaking. Buffalo Bayou Partnership supports these activities along with monthly tours and pontoon boat rides. Sabine Promenade improvements were completed in 2006.


of a standard sidewalk; the new paths will be 10 feet wide, allowing joggers and bicyclists enough space to enjoy them simultaneously. Through careful planning, many of the trails also will host resting spots or cool-down stations and connect with pedestrian bridges, encouraging use of the park’s additional features. “The development of Buffalo Bayou Park is an amazing project,” stated Joe Turner, director of the City of Houston’s Parks and Recreation Department. “Thanks to the close cooperation of several agencies, we’re in the process of creating a tremendous asset for downtown and our neighborhoods. Even our visitors will enjoy it. It’s just so cool.”

Still, there are challenges “A river is a living thing,” says Kevin Shanley, CEO of the SWA Group and passionate student of natural waterways. Shanley is the landscape architect actually designing the park. SWA Group is worldrenowned for urban design and planning, due in large part to the insight the group brings to revitalization. “In the 1940s and 1950s,” said Shanley, “people thought rivers should be straight. As a result, much of Buffalo Bayou has been altered from its original path, but rivers are curved in nature for a reason, so we’re going to put some of them back.”

Mike Talbott, director of the Harris County Flood Control District. “Back to the way it wants to be,” he smiled. According to the plans as they stand now, the park will be replanted with native flora, allowing it to thrive again. There will be fields, meadows, basins and special attention has been paid to the “Zen” of the space, creating spots of light, combined with areas of shade. And there are many proposed new features. The long-range, first-draft renderings include two dog parks with ponds, at least one small lake, several areas dedicated to art, restrooms, sandy beaches for boat launching, look-out points, a playground, native gardens, benches, water fountains and significantly, additional parking.

The brass tacks on the bayou Estimates suggest that more than half a million Houstonians can conveniently walk,

A courtesy houston parks and recreation department

s Shanley explains it, the bayou’s natural ability to cleanse itself, manage floods and maintain life-sustaining oxygen levels, have been impaired. Here, Harris County is helping. HCFCD will return the bayou to it original form, including removing years of silt and tons of invasive, non-native plant life. “We’re dedicated to restoring the waterway to its natural capacity in an environmentally sensitive manner,” said


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bike or travel a short distance by car to enjoy the proposed park. Special consideration is given to both the youngest and oldest among us in the designs. “That’s important,” Hagstette stated. ”The success of a public space is determined by its ability to meet the needs of multi-generational use.” So, how much are these improvements costing the tax payer? Thanks to the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, a lot less than one might think. The City of Houston is planning to invest approximately $6 million in construction improvements. The Harris County Flood Control District is adding another approximately $4 million in channel revitalization, but the Buffalo Bayou Partnership is planning to raise another $50 million in private donations for most of the assets, with about $30 million potentially committed already. It’s an ambitious project, but one that will contribute to the quality of life for thousands of Houstonians for years to come. Our park will have art, nature, recreation and function. Our children and grandparents will enjoy it. Even our canines were taken into consideration. In the impressive list of features, could there possibly be anything missing? “Well,” smiles Shanley, “so far no one has requested a cat park.” For more information, to view the plans, or to help with the project, please go to

A quarter of a million Mexican Freetailed bats live under Waugh Street Bridge and come out to feed at dusk, an amazing sight. below left: Installation of the Rosemont Bridge. below: Sabine Promendade. left:







How to do the bayou You think you’re pretty plugged in to Houston, right? You’ve been to the Orange Show, the Art Car Parade, and even the basement of the Julia Ideson Library, but did you know about all the cool things you can do on the bayou that winds its way through downtown?


hanks to the efforts of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership and the passion of many professional and private citizens, there’s a growing list of new views of our city from its natural waterway – sights previously reserved for a lucky few. A glimpse of the Waugh Bridge bats hanging beneath the structure. Turtles and egrets spied from just an arm’s length. A look at the “real” Port of Houston from 150 years ago. It’s all there. Who knew?

▸ Kayak Buffalo Bayou

When you think you know the city like the back of your hand, try looking at it from the middle of the bayou. See Houston as the first settlers must have, with all the magnificent flora and fauna that ruled the territory before the introduction of pavement and parking lots. The last kayak trip of the season is scheduled for Dec. 4. Paddlers launch at Woodway Drive and the tour winds down the waterway to Allen’s Landing. The guide and all equipment are provided, as well as a shuttle that takes boaters back to the launch. The three-hour trip is $60 per person and is limited to 10-yearolds and up. Reservations are required and space is limited so don’t wait. Tours resume in spring.

▸ Waugh Bridge Bat Tours

On the second and fourth Friday of each month, from March through October, the Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s pontoon boat offers 25 Hous-

tonians the opportunity to watch more than a quarter-million bats fly into the sunset from beneath the Waugh Street Bridge. Rest assured, 250,000 bats leave quite an impression, rivaled only by the city’s nighttime skyline as the boat makes the return trip. The Bat Tour launches at the Sabine Street Bridge, one hour before dusk. The 90-minute tour costs $35 for an adult, $25 for children, 4 through 12. Parking is free on Sabine Street in City Lot H near Houston Street. Reservations are required.

▸ Saturday boat rides on the bayou The Buffalo Bayou Partnership also offers a 30-minute boat ride on the waterway. Launching every half-hour, on the second Saturday of the month, the boat glides along the water for a leisurely look at our city. Tours start at 10 am and run though 2 p.m.. No reservations are taken and capacity is limited, but until now, it has been a well-kept secret – no waiting! The ride starts at the Sabine

Street Bridge and costs $7 for adults and $5 for children, 4 through 12. Parking is free on Sabine Street in City Lot H near Houston Street. It’s recommended that riders check the website for weather and holiday cancellations.

▸ History Boat Tours on the Bayou

Few would argue that Houston has a colorful history. The people, families and businesses that first settled here left their marks, and many of these can best be seen from the middle of Buffalo Bayou. Floating east tells one story. A lazy trip west tells another. Louis Aulbach, local historian and author, is the host of this fascinating tour, guiding us as we drift back in time to the 1800s and the birth of our city. The History Tour meets at Allen’s Landing, 1001 Commerce Street (at Main Street) and costs $40 per person. Reservations are required and, while this tour has ceased for 2010, it resumes in March.

▸ Foodie Floats

Throughout the year, the Buffalo Bayou Partnership offers a creative way to enjoy the sights and flavors of Houston through their foodie cruises. This unusual tour offers boating combined with food and beverages. Sometimes prepared by a notable local chef, sometimes produced by a local brewery or farm, you’ll enjoy all things Houston, including our stunning

skyline, from the middle of the waterway. Foodie Floats cost $50 a person, launch from the Sabine Promenade and vary in scheduling.

▸ Christmas Cruises

In December the Buffalo Bayou Partnership celebrates the happiest time of the year with 30-minute pontoon boat rides and plenty of holiday merriment. Both children and adults enjoy the lights, decorations and memories made on this special, seasonal trip. The cost is $7 for adults and $5 for children, 4 through 12, and the boat launches on Dec. 4 and 18 at Downtown’s Sabine Promenade at 8 p.m.

▸ Buffalo Bayou New Year’s Eve Tour

Glide gently down the waterway of our city on Dec. 31 from 6-8 p.m. as the last day of 2010 slips away, and a night of celebration beckons. Bubbly champagne is served as the nighttime skyline sparkles in the background. It’s a great way to end one year and start another, and you’ll be home in time to beat the crazy drivers. Seating is limited and costs $50 per person. Reservations are required. 713.752.0314 ext. 4. For more information, reservations and schedules on the above tours, or to learn more about the bayou itself, please call 713.752.0314 or visit


Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA’s aquatic area. 24

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A Healthy Perspective


owntown is making huge strides as it continues growing into more than just a dynamic business hub for Houston. It is also developing into its own unique urban neighborhood, and healthy living is one area in which it has been unexpectedly successful. From the fabulously fresh produce at the Wednesday farmers market at City Hall to the picturesque running trails along Buffalo Bayou, it’s become much easier for downtown residents and workers to focus on their well-being. Traditional health clubs and an outstanding new YMCA facility are certainly available if you want to take advantage of them. There are also plenty of unconventional choices for the fitness minded. Flip through the following pages for a roundup of some surprising options – including free outdoor Pilates and yoga classes, squash lessons, even a sleep clinic. To your health!

21st Century Community Center

The new Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA provides a haven for wellness, fitness and togetherness. By Sandra Cook


ith almost 125 years of history in downtown Houston, the Downtown YMCA entered a new era in October 2010 with the opening of an incredible new facility. Houston’s first Downtown YMCA was built in 1886. Fiftyfive years later, in 1941, the YMCA building at 1600 Louisiana opened and served the downtown community for 69 years. The new Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA was named after the Tellepsen family, who has been involved with the YMCA since 1910, with four generations serving on the board. The shiny new $47 million facility at 808 Pease offers an art deco-inspired lobby, complete with chrome and neon. While the new facility offers a multitude of 21st century amenities, it maintains many of its predecessor’s building blocks – literally. Fans of the previous building will recognize the old cornerstone and sconces, which were incorporated into the new LEED Goldcertified structure. The new Downtown YMCA is also participating in the mayor’s newly announced Green Office Challenge, initiated this past October to encourage offices to conserve energy and water and reduce waste. Revamping the previous YMCA was first conceived in 2001, and by 2005 the Downtown Y began conducting surveys to determine what would go into the future YMCA and to determine the path to take – renovate the 1940s building or build a new facility. “The surveys helped reveal who we needed to serve,” says Mandy Stelzer,


DOWNTOWN State-of-the-art equipment with FitLinxx computers to track your workouts.

executive director of the Downtown YMCA. “We discovered that was largely people who work downtown and live in the suburbs and people who live in or near downtown. It was obvious we needed a pool and rec center, but exciting new needs developed, such as warm water therapy, the wellness center and the Child Watch program.” The Child Watch program, which offers childcare for infants 6-weeks-old up to kids age 11, is unprecedented in the history of Houston’s Downtown YMCA. “It just wasn’t needed in the past,” says Stelzer.

Gathering place Every YMCA is open to men, women and children. People of all races, religions and income levels are welcomed. The Downtown Y serves more than 4,200 families and individuals and hopes to serve even more in the future. “Now we have a nice community room for meetings and events and tons of natural light,” says Stelzer. “We hope downtown will see us as their community center. We’re now one block from the METRORail and have our own parking garage, so the Downtown YMCA is more accessible than ever.” The Tellepsen Downtown YMCA has 26

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“We have so much glass now. You can see all areas of downtown..." become a model for other Ys, with groups from other YMCAs frequently touring the facility and learning from its recent metamorphosis. “Which is exactly what we did,” says Stelzer. One of Stelzer’s favorite things about the new YMCA, which had its grand opening Oct. 4, is the abundance of natural light. “I love the natural light,” she raves. “We have so much glass now. You can see all areas of downtown – the George R. Brown, Toyota Center, First United Methodist Church, even the Medical Center.” Many members congregate along the grand staircase. “People don’t seem to use the elevator. The flow makes it easy for people to mingle and access the whole facility.”

Fit your lifestyle The track in the new facility is also popular with members. The elevated loop overlooks the wellness center, so walkers and joggers can observe their fellow fitness enthusiasts

as they log their laps (10 laps = one mile) on the climate-controlled track. Many gyms in Houston do not offer swimming programs. At the Downtown Y, two pools feature a variety of swim lessons and water exercise classes for kids and adults. The aquatics area includes a large whirlpool, 25-meter lap pool and a warmwater therapy pool. The wellness center offers personal trainers, wellness coaches and computerized FitLinxx to demystify workout machines. The vastly expanded group exercise program now offers more than 100 classes a week. There’s also a women’s-only wellness center on the second floor, which offers a variety of workout equipment, such as cardio machines, free weights, stretching area and private lounge just for women. Another exciting and unprecedented addition is the Power House Deli. Here, members can enjoy healthy snacks and beverages such as smoothies, coffees, salads and sandwiches. Additional amenities at the Y include a computer lab, food pantry, clothing pantry and counseling services for people trying to get back on their feet.

For more information / 713.758.9229 Hours: 5 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday; 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday

up Serve’s

Looking for a new way to get in shape this year? Squash is the answer B y h o lly be r ett o

Get Fresh, Eat Local

Urban Harvest’s two downtown farmers markets serve up homegrown health food


By Sandra Cook

hat started in 1994 as a small organization working to educate Houstonians about growing produce has launched a homegrown produce movement across the region. Today, Urban Harvest’s 130 community gardens, countless classes and school programs fuel the produce passion. Through farmers markets, Houstonians can bring the joys of local produce into their own kitchens. “The healthiest produce is what is grown locally and organically,” says Mark Bowen, executive director of Urban Harvest. “A farmers market is where you find the freshest produce – often picked that morning or the afternoon before – which offers the best taste and the most nutrients.”

“Squash is like chess,” says Muhammed Sadiq. “Only you’re running around all the time.” Sadiq should know. The champion squash player was the Asian squash champion in team competition in 1994 and was ranked #82 in the world in 1996 by the Professional Squash Association. Today, he coaches beginners and enthusiasts, working with them at the Downtown Club at the Met. He started playing the game as a 5-year-old, nearly 30 years ago. While his whole family was into tennis, Sadiq says he selected squash to be different. That decision changed his life. “Squash gave me something to work on,” he says. “It gave me the discipline to

Urban Harvest Farmers Market at Discovery Green

Sundays noon to 4 p.m. “The Urban Harvest Farmers Market at Discovery Green brings local food to a wide audience,” says Bowen. “The market reaches a more diverse range of customers than our Eastside market.” “Urban Harvest is a wonderful partner,” says Susanne Theis, programming director for the Discovery Green Conservancy. “We have more produce, grass-fed beef, fresh eggs, free-range chicken, and wonderful prepared foods such as the Indian food and freshly made crepes to order. In June, for the first time at our market, I was able to purchase everything here needed for a meal.” “We hope it helps people see downtown as a neighborhood,” says Bowen. “Every Sunday is like a community festival, which makes it popular. So much is free at Discovery Green – it’s great for these lean times. With so many activities in the park, it makes it easy to achieve a fit lifestyle,” says Bowen.

City Hall Farmers Market

Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “The new City Hall market is a great educational tool that fits well with the mayor’s local food initiative,” says Bowen. “It’s great that it was their idea. Laura Spanjian, the mayor’s sustainability director, had the idea and it was immediately approved by Mayor Parker, who felt it was important to lead by example.” The City Hall Farmers Market boasts 40 vendors located around the Hermann Square reflection pool. Downtowners will find local produce and foodstuffs such as salad mixes, fresh fruit, cheese, yogurt, locally roasted coffee, and a variety of prepared and hot foods for savory, sustainable lunches. The market also features a Chef’s Corner, where chefs conduct cooking demos using local products. For more information, contact Urban Harvest at 713.880.5540 or visit

stick to it, to learn about timing and aim, to set goals for myself.” Sadiq says that squash helped him focus on challenges at hand, a skill he’s used throughout his life, whether on or off the court. “There are so many ups and down in life,” he says. “And having this competitive drive instilled in me helped me understand how to cope with them.” He says the benefits of squash go far beyond fitness. “It pushes your mental agility,” he says. “Having to follow the ball, to hit it where you need it to be to earn the point. There’s a lot going on. People might pick up squash because they’re curious, but they stay because it’s a fantastic game.”

-Continued on page 30

Shape Up on the Cheap

Free Fitness Options in Downtown Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions


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

f you’re like most people, one of your top New Year’s resolutions is either to lose weight or get in shape. You’re not alone.According to the Franklin Covey Survey for 2010, getting in shape took second place, right after improving finances. In fact, improving physical fitness has been one of the top five New Year’s resolutions for decades. And if it’s one of yours, 2011 is your year. With all the free fitness options available to you downtown, there’s no excuse for continued couch potato behavior. If you’re already someone who fits exercise into your schedule, check out the array of classes and opportunities around downtown. You might just find a new favorite.

Discovering activity

When free fitness classes were first offered at Discovery Green in 2008, park programmers thought they’d be delighted if 35 people showed up. “Now, we’re looking at 200-300 people a week taking part in classes,” says Susanne Theis, the park’s programming director. “It’s been wonderful.” Part of Discovery Green’s mission has always been to be a place where Houston residents can gather and enjoy themselves. But a deeper part of the park’s philosophy has been to encourage people to spend time outdoors and engage in physical activity. Theis says the park offers a variety of classes designed for all levels of fitness, from beginner to expert. Take the Saturday morning yoga class that meets at 9:30, for example. It’s led by Jerry Randall, who works with Theatre Under the Stars, teaching movement at the organization’s Humphreys School. It’s a gentle class, designed to help participants stretch and improve fitness, while connecting breath with movement. One of the most popular classes on the Discovery Green roster, Theis says it’s not unusual to have 200 people show up to work out. Those looking for something more actionoriented can check out Zumba!, presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors. Zumba! is a combination of dance and movement set to Latin and world music beats. Routines 28

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generally combine interval training to both fast and slow rhythms, as well as resistance portions that help sculpt and tone. Offered on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m., the class has been a hit from the beginning. “Anyone who wants to can take a class,” says Theis. “All they have to do is show up.” The park does have a few fitness items, such as yoga mats, available for participants, but Theis encourages people to bring their own, as the park’s supplies can go fast. All Discovery Green instructors are certified to teach their classes, and the park asks that class members sign a waiver to participate in the activity. (The full schedule of classes is available under the Events tab.)

Fitness happy hour

A new twist on working out can be found at Houston Pavilions. Not only can you achieve the ultimate workout during Reggie’s Boot Camp Wednesday mornings from 6:45-7:30 a.m. but now you can also “tone up” your social skills at his Fun & Fit Happy Hour Thursday afternoons from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Workout for one hour, then enjoy happy hour drink specials the other hour! “Fun & Fit at Houston Pavilions is a fantastic workout, and it’s good for all fitness levels,” said Phil Hudson, director of marketing at Houston Pavilions. “We have parents who bring their kids with them…you can really take it at your own pace. That said, I have done the workouts from the beginning and the results are great.” All classes at the Houston Pavilions are outdoors and free plus parking validation is provided. (For more information, visit

Pick it up

The structure of a class might not be your thing. You might just want to come and go as you please. You’re welcome to sign out shuffleboard, bocce and golf putting equipment at Discovery Green and set up your own game. And a few streets over at Root Memorial Square, you’ll likely be able to find a pick-up basketball game going on. Operated by Houston’s Convention and Entertainment Facilities Department, Root Memorial Square is open from 6 a.m.-11 p.m., and

you’re welcome to bring a ball of your own or borrow one of theirs from the concierge shed. Playing ball on your own doesn’t require a reservation, but if you want to rent the space for a home-grown tournament, you’ll have to contact CEF. ( Likewise, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department’s Fonde Recreation Center, located on Sabine Street, has long been a magnet for pick-up games and an overflowing schedule of other activities. Six days a week this downtown landmark offers adult basketball play, as well as access to the center’s weight rooms. (See a full class schedule or call Fonde at 713.226.4466). Just steps away from Fonde Recreation Center is the Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark where you’ll find a 30,000-square-foot, topnotch, in-ground public skating facility. The skateboarding facility has launched Houston to the head of American venues for the progressive, dynamic sport. But don’t be intimidated because the park has areas for all skill levels, from pro to beginner. (For up-to-the-minute skatepark info, call 713.222.5500 for more information.)

Waterway workouts

Nearly everyone in Houston knows the story of how the Allen brothers built a city on the banks of Buffalo Bayou and convinced the world to come work and play here. Our city is still going strong – and the area where the city began is home to some of the most picturesque jogging trails in Houston. “The Sabine to Bagby leg of the trails is two miles long,” says Buffalo Bayou Partnership director of PR and events Trudi Smith. “And if people want to go further than that, there’s the north and south side trails from Bagby to the University of Houston Downtown and you can go the other direction all the way to Shepherd Drive.” Walkers and runners can enter the trails at various places along the bayou and work out at their own pace. Additionally, the more adventurous can canoe or kayak on the bayou. This is free if you have your own equipment; a nominal fee applies if you need to rent. (For full details and a listing of organized trips, visit


Jeff fitlow

Root Memorial Square public basketball court.

Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark.

Running the steps along Buffalo Bayou at Sabine Street.

Skaters will be impressed by one of the largest cradles in the nation. But don’t be intimidated because the park has areas for all skill levels



Going the Distance

-Continued from page 27

By Sandra Cook


unning a marathon – it’s one of those iconic fitness endeavors that changes lives and astounds not only the runners who attempt these feats, but also their families, friends and coworkers. Ask any Houstonian if they themselves or someone they know has run or is running in the Chevron Houston Marathon and the answer is almost always yes. A marathon runner embodies the word endurance. To these determined heroes among us, finishing a marathon means an average of 41,000 repetitions of “taking it one step at a time” to complete the 26.2 miles.

victor sailor , photorun

Played by two or four players with racquets and a small, hollow rubber ball in a four-wall, indoor court, the object is to score 11 points. Points are awarded based on who’s serving the ball, and where the ball lands within the court. In order to score a point, a player must either have – or gain – the serve. A match usually consists of five games. Whoever takes the best of the five is the winner. The game is known for its fast pace. “A half hour playing squash can burn around 500 calories,” says Sadiq. Squash is played all over the world, and it’s always been played in the U.S., although it has a stereotype of being played mostly by prep school kids and yuppie businessmen. But Sadiq says those stereotypes aren’t right, and that the game has really taken off in popularity over the last five or six years, being played by everyone from businessmen to curious kids to women looking for a more challenging workout. “It has completely taken off,” he says, offering up as evidence the increased enrollments in his classes. There are five international singles courts at the Downtown Club, and one of them, the glass-walled show court, is called “the flagship squash facility in Houston” by Squash Magazine. Sadiq coaches and teaches here, and he directs an annual squash tournament, which attracts top Professional Squash Association talent. From his sixth-floor perch overlooking Allen Center, Sadiq works with squash students of all ages, helping them understand not only the basic concepts of the game, but helping to instill in them why squash can be an essential part of a healthy fitness routine. “Everyone benefits from playing squash,” says Sadiq. “In addition to being this intense cardio workout, you have to work on hand-eye coordination and aim. It’s a complete physical and mental workout. And because it’s an individual game, you can stay with it your whole life.”

Bodies in Motion


ur city’s nationally ranked marathon logged more than 30,000 participants in its four running events in 2010 – the Chevron Houston Marathon, the Aramco Half Marathon, El Paso Corporation 5K and Texas Children’s Hospital Kids’ Fun Run – with even more expected to turn out for the 38th annual edition on Jan. 30, 2011. A maximum of 22,000 determined athletes will attempt the 26.2-mile course, which traverses Houston’s central core, starting and finishing downtown. The wellrespected race draws elite runners from all 50 states and at least 20 countries. The city’s largest single-day sporting event is widely DOWNTOWN FITNESS CLUBS recognized for its excellence in coordination and execution. Each marathon day features a massive, mobile symphony of runners, The Houston Club Curves 811 Rusk 1001 McKinney (McKinney Tunnel) security personnel and medical and support staff, made possible 713.225.1661 713.655.7770 by dedicated committee members and some 7,500 volunteers. And every bit of that effort is made possible through financial support and Houstonian Lite The Downtown Club at the Met Pennzoil Place, 711 Louisiana, One Allen Center cooperation from the local community. Ste. 200 713.652.0700 713.224.5990 This level of commitment not only has helped the Chevron Houston Marathon become the nation’s premier winter marathon, The Downtown Club at Houston Houstonian Lite Center but also put it in the running for U.S. Olympic Trials. This past March, Wells Fargo Plaza, 1000 Louisiana, 1100 Caroline 14th Floor 713.654'0877 your local marathon was selected as the site for both the men’s 713.654.2100 and women’s 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, to be held here The Downtown Fitness Center Jan. 14, 2012, one day prior to the 40th anniversary run of the Larry North Fitness 806 Main, Suite 701 1200 McKinney, Ste. 380, 713.223.3800 Houston Marathon. The Shops at Houston Center These special half-marathon races will determine the runners 713.650.1001 Downtown YMCA 808 Pease 713.758.9233

Fun facts

Participants in both the marathon and half marathon must maintain a pace of 13:45 per mile in order to stay ahead of the streets being reopened to vehicular traffic. The marathon finish line closes after six hours. The half marathon finish line will close after four hours. The course is a 50/50 mix of concrete and asphalt/blacktop, similar to the course composition of the Boston or Chicago Marathon.

victor sailor , photorun

Water stations are located every 1.5 miles along the course. Medical aid stations are located every other mile beginning at mile 5, and every mile from mile 19 to the finish. Port-a-cans are located every mile starting at mile 2. Winners are named for 16 age groups ranging from 11 and under up to 80+.

who will represent the United States in the marathon at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. This will mark the first time in the history of the U.S. Olympic Trials, that one city will host the marathon for both men and women in the same year. Marathon historians may recall that Houston hosted the women’s Olympic Marathon Trials in 1992. With more than 250 elite runners competing, hosting the Trials will draw a multitude of industry leaders, media representatives, families and friends of the competitors and other fans and will create a big economic impact.

collective energies


rom its humble beginnings in 1972, when a daring 138 runners turned out to tackle the five-loop tour of Memorial Park, the marathon had grown to 10,000 participants by 2002. With the number of runners expected to surpass 30,000 for all four events in 2011, it’s clear the organization is doing a few things right. Among those right things is the Run for a Reason program. This charity drive encourages runners to donate to an official Chevron Houston Marathon charity during the registration process or donate by visiting

the Run for a Reason page to select a charity and make a donation. In September 2010, the Houston Marathon Committee topped $11 million in donations for official charities, which number 52 this year. Fundraising for the 2010 event totaled some $1.8 million.

marathon man


ust a few weeks after the Olympic Trials announcement, the Houston Marathon Committee announced Wade Morehead as its executive director – he is the first in the nonprofit organization’s 38-year history. “The dedication and commitment of the board of directors, staff, and volunteer members of the Houston Marathon Committee are amazing,” says Morehead. “This event has grown significantly this decade and the amount of work that the HMC has done over the years is truly admirable. This community should be very proud of this group who collectively dedicate their time and efforts to conducting one of the most highly respected running events in the nation.” “The biggest surprise for me personally is that virtually every person I have met in the greater Houston region and at running

events nationwide have either participated in or knows someone who has participated in one of our races and they have nothing but compliments and positive memories of their experiences,” says Morehead. “Additionally, I have lived in several large markets over the years and I have never seen a more active and passionate running community.” “One of our current strategies is to focus on a strategic business plan to contain costs and generate income to conduct the finest U.S. Olympic Team Trials ever and to be viable in 2013 and beyond,” says Morehead.

coordinated effort


r. John Cianca, medical director for the Chevron Houston Marathon, leads the marathon’s medical brigade, which he estimates numbers “several hundred” on race day. The medical team, comprised of physicians, EMTs and other medical personnel, covers the entire course at lookout points, on bikes, in roving ambulances and at the race-day clinic inside the George R. Brown Convention Center. “We strive to have a response time of two minutes or less on the course,” says Dr. Cianca. “Our ultimate goal is to keep


DOWNTOWN runners safe while minimizing the impact on our area’s medical infrastructure.” Dr. Cianca works year-round on marathon projects, such as evaluating the medical team’s execution and runners’ health data from previous races, recruiting medical staff and organizing the next year’s effort. “Weather is our biggest variable – when it’s hot, we’re busy,” says Dr. Cianca. “We stay on the lookout for symptoms of hydration and over-hydration, also heat exhaustion, marked by sloppiness in running, feeling tired, achy and sick.” Dr. Cianca works with the popular Houston Fit Marathon Training programs to educate runners, especially novice runners, about the health issues involved, including understanding your body’s tendencies and recognizing symptoms. For more information, call 713.957.3453 or visit

The Spectator Spectacular As runners of all ages and experience levels take on the highly touted Houston course, they’ll be cheered on by more than 200,000 supporters and spectators. And we’re not just talking about people in clever T-shirts holding up posters and shouting encouraging phrases. Those guys are there for sure (and in droves), but the truly Houston aspect of the crowd is the scattered cast of characters known as the Hoopla Brigade. Think rock bands, belly dancers, Elvis impersonators, random tuba players, full-on marching bands, radio stations, cheerleaders, bag pipers and any other boisterous personifications of enthusiasm imaginable.

Sleep tight


Best places to watch on Jan. 30 Mile 2 - The Elysian Viaduct Miles 3 & 4 - White Oak Drive Mile 10 - Main Street Mile 12 - University Boulevard in West University Place Mile 13 - University and Wesleyan Mile 16 - Post Oak and San Felipe Mile 17 - Tanglewood Road Miles 20 & 21 - Memorial Park The start line, finish line and all water stations. Download the course map at

By St. Joseph Medical Center’s Center for Sleep Disorders

Stay on schedule. As much as n the early history of possible, go to bed and get our country, workdays Some helpful up at the same time each revolved around suggestions day. Limit naps. daylight. Days were for getting a long and, for many Exercise – but not people, filled with within three hours of manual labor. Sleep was not only bedtime. restorative, it was welcome.. Caffeine and alcohol Today workdays are often disrupt sleep; don’t drink just as long. Cell phones, pagers them near bedtime. and BlackBerries, allow the office to follow us. When we aren’t working, we’re Don’t eat a heavy meal prior to bedtime; grabbing food on the go and running all the if you must eat, consider a small snack, errands we didn’t accomplish during the yogurt for instance. workday or attending evening meetings. Then we get home and fall in front of the TV Find your routine. Some activities, like listening to music, reading, journaling, to relax a bit and catch up with the news. signal it’s time to wind down. Instead of manual labor, we’re dealing with stress and information overload. Plan your entertainment carefully. The Good sleep is harder to come by but still 10 o’clock news isn’t a good idea for some key to good health. It’s important to give people; an action-packed novel may not our bodies time to rest and restore. be good bedtime reading material. 32

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better night’s sleep


Make your bedroom just that, a place to sleep. Watch TV in another room. Environment is important – the right temperature, noise level, number of blankets. Learn what works for you. Choose the mattress and pillow that’s right for you. Don’t agonize. If you can’t fall asleep, turn on the light and find something to do. Worrying about not falling asleep can create more stress. Talk with your doctor before taking sleep aids.

If you have trouble sleeping, you should contact your physician. It could be a sign of other health problems. To learn more about The Center for Sleep Disorders, go to or call 713.356.7835.

Edited by



Angie Bertinot

datebook Theater 34 : Festivals & Special Events 37 : Concerts 40 : Tours 41

and more

Downtown Macy’s comes alive this holiday season with five spectacular window displays. Santa approved!



A CHRISTMAS CAROL – A GHOST STORY OF CHRISTMAS Through Dec 27 A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story of Christmas returns this year with a re-telling of Charles Dickens’ classic story. Follow Ebenezer Scrooge on his journeys with the three ghostly spirits who visit him on Christmas Eve. Recommended for general audiences. Tickets $21-$100. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700.

HOLIDAY SHOPPING EVENTS LETTERS TO SANTA Through Dec 24 Bring your stamped letter to Macy’s, addressed to Santa at the North Pole, and drop it into their special Santa letterbox. For each letter received, Macy’s will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, up to $1 million. 1110 Main Street. DOWNTOWN MACY’S HOLIDAY WINDOW SPECTACULAR Through Jan 2 Five amazing holiday happenings, five amazing Macy’s windows come alive this holiday season at Macy’s with scenes from Theatre Under the Stars’ Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker, Alley Theatre’s The Santaland Diaries and A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas. 1110 Main Street.

THE SANTALAND DIARIES Through Dec 31 Company actor Todd Waite will reprise 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. Recommended for mature audiences due to language and subject matter. Tickets $21-$100. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700.


$26-$70. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. REAL AND IMAGINED Jan 8 Musiqa and Aurora Picture Show present an inspiring night of music and film. The program includes Pierre Jalbert’s Visual Abstract, performed live to a film by Jean Detheux; Theo Loevendie’s Six Turkish Folk Songs and Evan Chambers’ Love Dogs. Conducted by Brett Mitchell. Tickets $20-$40. 7:30 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. WEST SIDE STORY Jan 12-23 More than 50 years ago one musical changed theater forever. Now it’s mesmerizing audiences once again. From the first note to the final breath, West Side Story soars as the greatest love story of all time. Directed by Tony Award-winner Arthur Laurents, West Side Story remains as powerful, poignant and timely as ever. Tickets $35.80-$77. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 800.745.3000. DEAD MAN WALKING Jan 22-Feb 6 A story of compassion and redemption, Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking has played to sold-out houses across the U.S. and Europe in the decade since its premiere. Joseph De Rocher (Philip Cutlip) leads a lonely life on death row until Sister Helen Prejean (Joyce DiDonato) arrives as his spiritual advisor. Legendary mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade marks her farewell to the operatic stage with these appearances as De

art by Pattina Siryhalaka

BLUEFINGER: THE RISE AND FALL OF HERMAN BROOD Through Dec 18 The Catastrophic Theatre presents the world premiere of the new Black Francis rock opera inspired by the critically acclaimed 2007 album of the same name. The album focuses entirely on the life and death of Herman Brood, a Dutch artist, rocker and junkie who leapt to his death from the roof of the Amsterdam Hilton in 2001 at the age of 54. Tickets pay-what-you-can. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. 713.223.8346.

THE SHOPS AT HOUSTON CENTER Through Dec Power shopping has never been easier thanks to The Shops at Houston Center. While you’re at it, grab some lunch at the best food court in town. Live entertainment daily during lunch. 1200 McKinney. WHAM DOWNTOWN PRESENTED BY AMEGY BANK Dec 7-10 Spacetaker’s Winter Holiday Art Market comes to The Shops at Houston Center for four days of great shopping. The event will feature handcrafted items by more than 25 local artists including jewelry, sculpture, photography, paintings, clothing and more. Doors will be open Tue-Fri 11 am-2 pm with happy hour Thu from 5-8 pm with food, wine and beer, live entertainment and bonus artists. 1200 McKinney. SNOW IN THE CITY Through Jan 1 Houston Pavilions celebrates the season with Snow in the City in its Center Court twice a day at lunch (11 am-1 pm) and at happy hour (5-7 pm). It’s snow … but better. It’s not wet, cold or messy. It’s actually tiny bubbles that look just like the real thing. 1201 Fannin. 832.320.1200. THREE-NIGHT GETAWAY GIVEAWAY Through Dec 24 Houston Pavilions will send one lucky winner and a guest to Taos Ski Resort. Spend more than $150 at great stores like BCBGMAXAZRIA, XXI Forever, Books-A-Million and more between Nov 27 and Dec 24 and you can enter into the drawing for a three-night getaway to Taos Ski Valley with complimentary airfare, lodging, lift tickets, ski rentals and more. Just bring your receipts to the third floor Management Office at Houston Pavilions Mon-Fri from 8:30 am to 5 pm. 1201 Fannin. 832.320.1200. THEATER DR. SEUSS’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! THE MUSICAL Through Dec 5 The Grinch discovers there’s more to Christmas then he bargained for in this heart-warming holiday classic perfect for the entire family. Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming Grinch (whose heart is “two sizes too small”) decides to steal Christmas away from the Whos, an endlessly cheerful bunch bursting with holiday spirit. Tickets start at $24. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.558.TUTS.


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Jan 28–Feb 11 The volatile religious and political conflicts of two ancient Scottish clans fuel the drama of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. Enrico Ashton (Scott Hendricks) forces his sister Lucia (Albina Shagimuratova) to marry a powerful man despite her love for Edgardo (Dimitri Pittas), the scion of the Ravenswood. Drama Desk and Tony Award-winning director John Doyle (Sweeney Todd – Broadway, 2006) and designer Liz Ascroft create intense drama in this new Houston Grand Opera production, while Italian conductor Antonino Fogliani makes his HGO debut. Tickets $30-$313. Wortham Center. 501 Texas. 713.228.6737. BURN THE FLOOR Dec 14-19 The international ballroom dance sensation Burn the Floor comes to the Hobby Center direct from its record-breaking run on Broadway. Feel all the passion, the drama and the sizzling excitement of 20 champion dancers, in a true theatrical experience. Tickets $32.75-$66.65. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 800.745.3000. GOD OF CARNAGE Jan 7-30 Grown-ups behaving badly. That’s what happens when a schoolyard scuffle leads four civilized adults to congregate in an affluent New York home. God of Carnage took New York by storm, winning the 2009 Tony Award for Best Play, and its Alley premiere promises equally delicious devastation. Recommended for mature audiences due to strong language. Tickets

Rocher’s mother and Measha Brueggergosman makes her HGO debut as Sister Rose. Patrick Summers – who conducted the opera’s world premiere a decade ago as well as the acclaimed recording on Erato – conducts. Leonard Foglia directs. Tickets $30-$313. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.228.6737. A WEEKEND WITH PABLO PICASSO Jan 28–Feb 27 Acclaimed actor-writer Herbert Siguenza (¡Cantinflas! and Culture Clash in AmeriCCa) returns to the Alley with a new play. Delving into the creative mind and work of one of the most inspiring artists of modern history, this play explores Picasso’s proclamations about ambition, destruction, creativity and art as an agent of social change. Recommended for mature audiences due to strong language and brief nudity. Tickets $40-$55. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700.

SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE Feb 18-27 Stephen Sondheim’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece is the third musical of Masquerade Theatre’s 2010-2011 season. Inspired by the painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat, the show explores the balance between art and life, and the true nature of both. Sondheim and book writer James Lapine fictionalize Seurat’s story and imagine his life and state of mind as he creates his masterpiece. Tickets $36.25-$66.25. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY Feb 18–Mar 13 Winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play, Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County is a grand, gripping new play that tells the story of the Westons, a large extended clan that comes together at their Oklahoma home when the alcoholic patriarch disappears. Forced to confront unspoken truths and astonishing secrets, the family must also contend with Violet, a pill-popping, deeply unsettled woman at the center of this storm. Recommended for mature audiences due to strong language and adult situations. Tickets $26-$70. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. BILLY ELLIOT – THE MUSICAL Feb 23–Mar 13 A joyous celebration of one young boy’s journey to make his dreams come true, Billy discovers a passion that inspires his family and his whole community. With its award-winning creative team and music by Elton John, Billy Elliot enchants the dreamer in all of us. Tickets start at $45. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 800.745.3000. PERFORMING ARTS THE NUTCRACKER Through Dec 26 Featuring glorious scenery and costumes by Tony Award-winning designer Desmond Heeley, Ben Stevenson’s breathtaking production of The Nutcracker is, in the words of the Houston Chronicle, “the crown jewel of holiday entertainment.” Set in 19th-century Germany, the ballet opens at a charming Christmas party at which the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer gives his little niece Clara a magical toy that takes her on an unforgettable journey. From the Christmas tree that grows to a towering 40 feet in the first act to the cooks who fly magically through the air in the second act, The Nutcracker enchants audiences of all ages. Tickets $19-$98. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS. A LITTLE DAY MUSIC Dec 1 Downtown workers, schools, seniors and day care centers are among the many who enjoy Da Camera’s free lunchtime concerts on the first Wednesday of each month, October through May, in the lobby of the Wortham Theater Center. Bring your lunch and enjoy the wide variety of artists and ensembles presented this

Alexandra corraza

CONCERT OF ARIAS Feb 3 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. Following the competition, the evening reaches its pinnacle with the Celebration Dinner in the Grand Foyer. Don’t miss this special opportunity to see and discover the emerging stars of tomorrow. Tickets $36-$76. 7 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.228.6737.

season. Tickets free. Noon. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050.

Tickets $20-$55. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.533.0080.

MESSIAH ROCKS Dec 1 Broadway meets rock-‘n’-roll and baroque music. Handel’s Messiah Rocks brings the Western world’s most famous oratorio and one of the most beloved musical compositions of all time to contemporary audiences with rock music at its center. Tickets $24-$64. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4SPA.

VERY MERRY POPS Dec 10-12 Back again is this much-loved holiday tradition featuring Mike Krajewski, the Houston Symphony and Chorus. This year, Very Merry Pops promises to be the highlight of your holiday. Bring the whole family to celebrate the season. Tickets $25-$122. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.

7th ANNUAL JUBILEE OF DANCE Dec 3 A special one-night-only performance showcasing the talent and artistry of company dancers in a program of high-energy excerpts from signature works and beloved classics. From the opening act, a fast-paced tour of seasons past and seasons yet to come, the momentum of the annual Jubilee of Dance builds at a breathtaking pace. If tradition holds true, the finale will be a showstopper that allows each of the dancers to shine. Tickets $42-$160. 7:30 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS. THE SNOWMAN Dec 4 Raymond Brigg’s classic children’s story The Snowman will enchant young and old. Join in for a sing-along of seasonal favorites and a visit from the Snowman’s friend, Santa. Tickets $16-$25. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. ANAT COHEN QUARTET Dec 4 In her first Houston appearance, clarinetist and saxophonist Anat Cohen celebrates the music of The King of Swing. Cohen exploded on the jazz scene with two critically acclaimed records and multiple Downbeat critics’ poll awards. A Jazz Journalists Association Up and Coming Musician of the Year, Cohen has established herself as one of the primary voices of her generation. Tickets $30-$50. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. HANDEL’S MESSIAH Dec 10-11 No holiday season is complete without Handel’s Messiah. This season, Mercury Baroque brings you two performances of the masterpiece – a sing-along version on Dec 10 and the rarely performed Dublin version of the Messiah on Dec 11. The Dublin version was the original version of the work, first premiered in Dublin in 1741. Handel frequently revised the piece until 1754, when its most familiar version was established.

HEAR THE BELLS: A HOLIDAY CARD FROM HOUSTON Dec 14 Featuring the Gay Men’s Chorus of Houston, the Bayou City Women’s Chorus, and the Bayou City Chorale. Enjoy a classic holiday concert featuring the Texas Medical Center Orchestra, KIPP SHARP Singers (children’s chorus), United Nations Association International Chorus and other special guests. The program includes Christmas Oratorio by Camille Saint-Saëns and other jewels of the holiday season. Tickets $24-$55. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.521.7464. HANDEL’S MESSIAH IN CANDLELIGHT Dec 17-19 The holidays wouldn’t be the same without a performance of Handel’s Messiah with the Houston Symphony and Chorus and guest soloists. Every year this holiday favorite is refreshed by the interpretation of a new guest conductor. You’ll hear your favorite arias and choruses from For Unto Us A Child Is Born to the majestic Hallelujah Chorus. Enhanced lighting creates an ambiance invoking the candle-lit style of Handel’s 1700s. Tickets $25-$100. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. AMAHL & THE NIGHT VISITORS Dec 18-19 Sandra Organ Dance Company presents the heartwarming story of Amahl, a poor lame shepherd boy who, along with his mother, is visited one night by three wise men seeking lodging during their star-led journey. The magi tell Amahl of the remarkable child they have set out to see. Choreographed by James Sewell, Amahl also includes American Sign Language to tell Amahl’s story and share the themes of hope, healing, and compassion. Tickets $10-$32. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. SHEN YUN PERFORMING ARTS Dec 21-24 Brilliant, inspiring, glorious, a global phenomenon! Shen Yun Performing Arts is the world’s premier Chinese music company. They have performed to acclaim in more than 100 cities around the world, bringing classical Chinese dance and music to life in a


datebook gloriously colorful and exhilarating show. Its masterful choreography and graceful routines range from grand classical processions to ethnic and folk dances, with gorgeously costumed dancers moving in stunning synchronized patterns. Based on ancient heroic legends and modern courageous tales, Shen Yun and its breathtaking beauty are not to be missed. Tickets $90-$235.75. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 800.745.3000.


MUSICAL RESOLUTIONS Dec 31 This festive program mixes concerti and suites by Bach and Telemann with Handel’s sublime dramatic cantata Apollo e Dafne. Featured soloists include a number of Ars Lyrica favorites: soprano Melissa Givens, bass-baritone Timothy Jones, plus Kathryn Montoya on recorder and Colin St Martin on Baroque flute. A gala reception with champagne and delectable hors-d’oeuvres follows, so make your plans now to spend New Year’s Eve 2010 with Ars Lyrica! Tickets $21.25-$41.25. 8:30 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. MUSIC OF FRANK SINATRA Jan 7-9 In the words of Frank Sinatra, The Best is Yet to Come. Join us for Sinatra favorites and more with swinging sensation, Matt Dusk. Matt will feature songs such as As Time Goes By and That’s Life. Tickets $25-$112. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. TCHAIKOVSKY’S WINTER DAYDREAMS Jan 14-16 Experience the richness of Tchaikovsky’s music on a snowy journey through the Russian countryside. Tickets $25-$101. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. NEW ORLEANS Jan 15 From Buddy Bolden and Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet and Jelly Roll Morton, there’s a reason New Orleans was the birthplace of jazz. Explore the rump-shaking street beat, traditional swing and modern day funk that can only be … the Crescent City. Tickets $25-$35. 7:30 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. VERDI’S REQUIEM Jan 20-23 Written in memory of two of Giuseppe Verdi’s greatest idols, Messa da Requiem begins with a delicate melody that quickly blossoms into music of great sweep and grandeur. Hear your Houston Symphony and Chorus and world-renowned soloists recreate the tempestuous Dies irae and the powerful Confutatis. Experience the ever-growing sorrow of Lacrimosa, and find comfort in the words and music of Libera me. Tickets $25-$126. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. STEFON HARRIS AND BLACKOUT Jan 22 Vibraphonist Stefon Harris’ passionate artistry, energetic stage presence and astonishing virtuosity have propelled him into the forefront of the current jazz scene. Harris’ latest CD Urbanus features Blackout, a scintillating ensemble as versed in modern jazz as it is in the rhythms, melodies and soundscapes of R&B, pop, hip-hop and funk. Tickets $30-$50. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. THE PEKING ACROBATS Jan 27-28 The Peking Acrobats return to Houston as part of their Silver Anniversary Tour. The performance will feature daring maneuvers, powerful precision and spellbinding contortion, as well as new surprises and live music performed by the eight-member Women’s Peace Orchestra of China. This troupe of China’s most gifted tumblers, jugglers, cyclists and gymnasts, complemented by the live music on stage, make for a breathtaking, often hair-raising event for the entire family. Tickets $20-$45. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4SPA. TANGO BUENOS AIRES Jan 29 Known as one of Argentina’s great cultural exports, Tango Buenos Aires returns to Houston for two performances of Fire and Passion of Tango. Incorporating the key elements of love, passion and seduction, this piece introduces audience members to the many ways tango has evolved into modern times through the precise movement of its dancers, and its five-piece music ensemble performing the music of Astor Piazzolla among other South American composers. Tickets $24-$54. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4SPA.


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LIONEL LOUEKE TRIO Feb 5 Originally from the West African nation of Benin, guitarist Lionel Loueke (pictured) has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past several years. Praised by his mentor Herbie Hancock as “a musical painter,” he has appeared on numerous standout recordings such as Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters and Terence Blanchard’s Flow. Loueke combines harmonic sophistication, soaring melody, a deep knowledge of African music, and conventional and extended guitar techniques to create a warm and evocative sound of his own. Tickets $30-$50. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. WINTER MIXED REP Feb 10-12 The highlight of this mixed rep program is the U.S. premiere of Swedish choreographer Mats Ek’s Pas de Dans. Ek has been hailed as one of Europe’s most creative and influential dance-makers and DWDT is the first American company to obtain the right to perform his work. They pair the charming Pas de Dans with the world premiere of Walsh’s Victor Frankenstein based on Mary Shelley’s classic novel and co-conceived by local writer Addie Tsai. Tickets $25-$54. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525.

GEXA ENERGY BROADWAY AT THE HOBBY CENTER FILM SERIES Jan 8 West Side Story (1961, 152 min. NR) Free. 6:30 pm. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. 713.400.7336. Feb 19 Billy Elliott (2000, 110 min. PG-13). Free. 6:30 pm. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. 713.400.7336.

SARAH ROTHERNBERG’S THE BLUE RIDER: KANDINSKY AND MUSIC Jan 29 Sarah Rothenberg’s newest production, The Blue Rider, comes to Houston following its critically acclaimed, sold-out premiere performances in New York. The Blue Rider evokes a pivotal moment when artists and composers broke free from old ways of seeing and hearing, inventing new worlds in music and art. Rothenberg and her team of designers use lighting, projections and video to create stunning visual partners for groundbreaking music that changed the century. Tickets $25-$45. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. A LITTLE DAY MUSIC Feb 2 Downtown workers, schools, seniors and day care centers are among the many who enjoy Da Camera’s free lunchtime concerts on the first Wednesday of each month, October through May, in the lobby of the Wortham Theater Center. Bring your lunch and enjoy the wide variety of artists and ensembles presented this season. Tickets free. Noon. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. GIL SHAHAM PLUS BEETHOVEN 7 Feb 3-6 Violinist Gil Shaham, internationally recognized by audiences and critics alike as one of today’s most virtuosic and engaging classical artists, returns to perform Walton’s Violin Concerto, which bathes the listener in a sunny Mediterranean glow. Tickets $25-$116. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO Feb 4 Since Paul Simon’s Graceland album catapulted South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo to worldwide fame, the Grammy Award-winning a cappella group has remained true to melding the tradition of Zulu harmony singing with gospel and reggae for an unforgettable musical and spiritual alchemy. Their rich, uplifting harmonies and effortlessly synchronized dancing convey universal themes of faith, hope and peace, yielding performances of pure, uninhibited joy. Tickets $24-$54. 8 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4SPA.

RAVEL’S SPAIN WITH BOLERO Feb 11-13 Delight in Maurice Ravel’s most flavorful music. The Houston Symphony, in collaboration with Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, will perform Ravel’s comedic one-act opera, The Spanish Hour and close the evening with one of the most popular works ever written, Ravel’s Bolero. Tickets $25-$126. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. 8 SEASONS Feb 12-14 This Valentine’s, join Mercury Baroque for an exciting performance of Vivaldi’s famed Four Seasons and the Four Seasons by Argentinean Tango composer Astor Piazzolla. Recorded by Mercury Baroque in 2003, this program features violinist Jonathan Godfrey and Antoine Plante on bandoneon. Tickets $20-$55. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.533.0080. ELLA Feb 17-18 It is a life lived out loud in this exhilarating musical about The First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald. This theatrical event weaves myth, memory and music as it tells the uplifting and poignant story of one of the greatest jazz/pop vocalists of the 20th century. Featuring more than a dozen of her most famous hits, including A Tisket, A Tasket, How High the Moon, That Old Black Magic and They Can’t Take that Away from Me, this swinging musical invites audiences to fall in love all over again with the magic and soul of Ella Fitzgerald. Tickets $24-$54. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.4SPA. KENNY LOGGINS Feb 18-20 With hits from the big screen like I’m Alright from Caddyshack and Footloose to major success with the group Loggins and Messina, Kenny Loggins has done it all. Hear him perform music from Loggins and Messina and hits from his solo career like Conviction of the Heart, and This is It. Tickets $25-$116. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. MUSIC FROM THE LION KING Feb 19 It takes courage whether you are a young lion taking on a villain or a young boy taking on a wolf. Both chances for bravery will take place on stage. In addition to the wonderfully familiar hits from The Lion King, hear the all-time orchestral favorite Peter and the Wolf. Tickets $14-$22. Jones Hall. 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. CELEBRATION OF SPIRIT Feb 20 Celebrating the Houston spirit, this program will include an overture by Wagner, Beethoven’s beloved 5th symphony, and Chopin’s beautiful piano concerto in E minor. The Chopin concerto will feature the University of Houston’s great professor of piano, Abbey Simon, described in the press as one of the “last of the great romantics” Tickets $15-$35. 5 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. MARIE Feb 24–Mar 6 Villain or victim? Haughty queen or impetuous girl? In his full-length Marie, artistic director Stanton Welch offers a new perspective on the often controversial and always fascinating life of Marie Antoinette. Choreographed specifically for Houston Ballet, Marie makes tremendous use of the company’s acting abilities and dancing talent. Stylized sets by

Kandis Cook and a sumptuous score by the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich add depth to this absorbing tale of pomp and circumstance. Tickets $18-$168. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS.

BEETHOVEN’S PIANO CONCERTO NO. 3 Feb 24-27 Regarded by the Baltimore Sun as “a huge talent,” Jonathan Biss returns to Houston to perform Beethoven’s stormy third piano concerto. Tickets $25-$116. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. SCRAPARTSMUSIC Feb 25 ScrapArtsMusic is a Canadian quintet that tours the world transforming stages into eco-friendly musical realms vibrant with ingenious creativity and positive energy. Led by Gregory Kozak, an inspired instrument inventor and 21st century Renaissance man, ScrapArtsMusic performs original, beats-driven music using more than 145 mobile sculptural instruments. Transcending language, culture and age, ScrapArtsMusic offers a highly physical, wildly theatrical and thoroughly entertaining taste of the musical vanguard. Tickets $24-$44. 7:30 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.4SPA. COMPAGNIE LA BARAKA Feb 26 Direct from Lyon, France, Compagnie La Baraka, led by Artistic Director Abou Lagraa, will perform A World in Itself, a new work choreographed by Lagraa featuring seven dancers and live music played by the Debussy Quartet. French-born, but of Algerian descent, Lagraa founded his truly multicultural Compagnie La Barak in 1997 with many of his dancers originating from countries and cultures other than France. The Debussy Quartet is well known for its passionate devotion to the French repertoire. Tickets $24-$49. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.4SPA. SPEAKER SERIES INPRINT SALMAN RUSHDIE READING Dec 3 Salman Rushdie, author Midnight’s Children and The Satanic Verses, will read from and talk about his new book Luka and the Fire of Life, a sequel to Haroun and the Sea of Stories, as part of the 30th anniversary season of the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series. Tickets, $5. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.521.2026. INPRINT PETER CAREY READING Jan 24 Peter Carey, two-time Man Booker Prize winner for his novels Oscar and Lucinda and True History of the Kelly Gang, will read from his novel Peter and Olivier in America, as part of the 30th anniversary season of the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series. Tickets, $5. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Avenue. 713.521.2026. INPRINT MAJOR JACKSON & PATRICIA OSTRIKER READING Feb 14 Poets Major Jackson and Alicia Ostriker will read from their collections, Holding Company and The Book of Seventy, followed by an onstage interview and book sale and signing, as part of the 30th anniversary season of the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series. Tickets, $5. . Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Avenue. 713.521.2026. FESTIVALS AND SPECIAL EVENTS S’MORE FUN FOR THE HOLIDAYS Dec 2 & 9 Have some holiday fun at the hottest venue downtown this season where from 5-8 pm, the Four Seasons’ fourth floor pool bar has the fire pit flamin’, the chiminea smokin’ and the festive cocktails flowin’. But there’s s’more! Come warm up with your favorite toddy as you make s’mores and take in the incredible skyline views! Take advantage of happy hour pricing with half off domestic beers and wines by the glass. And while you’re there, check out their elevator, which has been

converted into a gingerbread house. Four Seasons, 1300 Lamar. ST. JOSEPH MEDICAL CENTER’S ICE AT DISCOVERY GREEN Through Jan 17 From Thanksgiving Day to MLK Day, St. Joseph Medical Center’s ICE at Discovery Green presented by the Houston Chronicle and Land Rover offers you the chance to go ice skating downtown no matter what the temperature. 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 is $10 with tax, (includes skate rental). Holiday-themed attractions 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. Special skate nights include: Mondays at 6 pm Skating with the Stars Tuesdays 7-9 pm Jazz on Ice Wednesdays at 6:30 pm Zumba on Ice Thursdays at 6:30 pm IKEA Houston’s Silver Screen at Discovery Green with Mix 96.5 Fridays 6-8 pm Cool Tunes Hot Ice Saturdays through Dec 18 at 5 pm Land Rover Skate with Santa presented by KUHF Dec 1 & 8, Jan 5 & 12 Show your YMCA membership card and skate for $8! Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. For skating hours, please visit MAYOR’S HOLIDAY CELEBRATION Dec 3 Mayor Parker will host her first official Holiday Celebration at City Hall’s Hermann Square. The annual event will include the Mayor’s Official Tree Lighting Ceremony, music, a fireworks extravaganza and more. Free. 6 pm. City Hall, 901 Bagby. BREAKFAST WITH SANTA Dec 4-5, 11-12 & 18-24 Mingle with Santa Claus and enjoy a delicious meal during Breakfast with Santa. The event will include multiple photo opportunities, a breakfast of pastries, omelets, waffles and other goodies, live music and activities for the kids. Tickets $21.95 for adults, $16.95 for children 11 and under. Seatings at 8:30 and 10 am. Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby. BUFFALO BAYOU CHRISTMAS CRUISES Dec 4 & 18 Join Buffalo Bayou Partnership in celebrating the holiday season with 30-minute pontoon boat rides from 5-8 pm along Buffalo Bayou. The rides are served up with plenty of decorations, music and cheer! Capacity is 20 per ride; first come, first serve. $7 adults and $5 children (4-12). Cash only. Meet at Downtown’s Sabine Promenade. GINGERBREAD HOUSE WORKSHOP FOR KIDS Dec 4-5, 11-12 & 18-19 Bring the family to the Four Seasons each weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas for some festive fun with our pastry kitchen. Chefs lead a gingerbread-building workshop for children with loads of specialty candies to decorate their personal gingerbread house to take home and enjoy for the duration of the season. After the houses are made, families can walk over to Discovery Green Park and enjoy ice-skating on the park’s outdoor ice rink. $45 (ticket price includes one Discovery Green ice-skating ticket and skate rental). 2-4 pm. Four Seasons, 1300 Lamar. URBAN HARVEST HOLIDAY FARMERS MARKET Dec 5, 12 & 19, Jan 2 The Urban Harvest Farmers Market at Discovery Green expands to include holiday products from resident artists and craftsmen, using local and sustainable materials. Pick up unique gifts as well as your weekly veggies. Noon- 4 pm. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. ARCHITECTURE CENTER HOUSTON’S GINGERBREAD BUILD-OFF Dec 11 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! Sponsored by ArCH and the Downtown District. Free. 10 am-4 pm. Market Square Park, 301 Milam (rain location Architecture Center Houston, 315 Capitol, Suite 120).


datebook 2010 ANNUAL CANDLELIGHT TOUR Dec 10-11 Share in the excitement as costumed re-enactors at Sam Houston Park participate in historical vignettes portraying past holiday celebrations and skilled crafters demonstrate long-forgotten skills. Visit the gingerbread tent to create holiday crafts or have your photo taken with St. Nick. Thrill to the experience of an unexpected downtown snowfall. Tickets $10 (adults 19–65), $5 (seniors 65+), $5 (students/children 16–18), and children (5 & under) free. 6:30-9:30 pm. Sam Houston Park, 1100 Bagby.

33rd ANNUAL “ORIGINAL” MLK DAY PARADE Jan 17 Presented by the Black Heritage Society. Celebrate this year’s theme, Dreamkeepers 2010. Parade begins at 10 am, concert at 1 pm. Minute Maid Park and surrounding streets. 17TH ANNUAL MLK GRANDE PARADE & HOUSTON MLK UNITY FESTIVAL Jan 17 The official Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Celebration raises the awareness of commonalities through differences that culminates each year on the Third Monday in January. Free. Noon-9 pm. Allen Parkway, Taft to Bagby. CHEVRON HOUSTON MARATHON Jan 30 Established in 1972, the Chevron Houston Marathon is the nation’s premier winter marathon. The four race-weekend events annually attract more than 30,000 participants from 50 U.S. states and 20 foreign countries. More than 7,500 volunteers help organize the races, which is Houston’s largest single-day sporting event. 7 am. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. HOUSTON LIVESTOCK SHOW & RODEO PARADE Feb 26 Downtown Houston is transformed into a down-home celebration of Western heritage. Decorative floats intermingle with thousands of men and women on horseback and fill the streets with hoof beats and marching bands. 10 am.

H-E-B FEAST OF SHARING Dec 12 Join the festivities and experience the joy at the 21st annual H-E-B Feast of Sharing. In addition to a holiday meal, participants enjoy music, arts and crafts, and kids activities – even an appearance by Santa himself. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. BUFFALO BAYOU NEW YEAR’S EVE CRUISE Dec 31 Celebrate in style on New Year’s Eve with a champagne tour aboard Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s pontoon boat. Enjoy the downtown night views with sparkling skyline lights. Limited seating. 6-8 pm. Tickets $50 per person (reservations required). MAGNIFICENT SEVEN ICE SCULPTING COMPETITION Jan 8 The 3rd Annual Ice Sculpting competition features acclaimed ice artists from around the country using chainsaws and blowtorches to transform ice into masterpieces. Thousands will watch the carvers battle for the grand prize. Reverend Butter of DLG Ice Factory tops off the evening with an ice carving set to live music. 10 am-5 pm. Free. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney.


Dec 12 Get in shape and support a great cause during the 2010 Chevron Jingle Bell Run and Walk in downtown Houston. 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, a 3-mile family walk, a 5-mile adult run and a run for children 13 and under will be offered. The Tellepsen Family YMCA, 808 Pease.


winter 2010-11


EXHIBITS & VISUAL ARTS BRENT GREEN: GRAVITY WAS EVERYWHERE BACK THEN Through Dec 18 Pennsylvania-based filmmaker Brent Green returns to Houston with his latest project Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then, a major video and sculpture installation that is based on the true story of Leonard Wood, an eccentric yet extremely driven man from Louisville, Kentucky, who built an elaborate house as a sort of healing machine he hoped would cure his terminally ill wife. Free. Wed-Sat noon-6. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. 713.223.8346. PUBLIC SERVICE: ARCHITECTURE FOR EVERYONE Through Jan 14 This exhibition celebrates and raises awareness of the remarkable level of recent architectural activity by the public sector and applauds projects with the opportunity for significant positive public interaction over many decades. Mon-Thu 9 am-5 pm, Fri 9 am-3 pm. Free. 315 Capitol, Suite 120. MORE THAN A TOY: DOLLS FROM THE VICTORIAN ERA Through Apr 10 A wonderful variety of dolls, doll furniture and children’s books popular between the 1850s through 1920. The exhibit is on view in the

museum gallery. Tue-Sat 10 am-4 pm, Sun 1-4 pm. Free. Heritage Society Museum, 1100 Bagby, 713.655.1912. CONCERTS TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA Dec 5 The famous rock orchestra known for its elaborate concerts and pyrotechnics is back in Houston for two holiday shows. The group includes an orchestral string section, full rock band, multiple vocalists, extensive pyrotechnics, laser and light show, and a stunning snowfall. TOYOTA CENTER Dec 4 Chayanne Dec 5 Trans Siberian Orchestra (2 shows) Dec 8 Andrea Bocelli performing with the Houston Symphony Orchestra & Choir Dec 19 WWE Pay-Per-View “Tables, Ladders & Chairs” – TLC Jan 2 Disney Live Mickey’s Magic Show Jan 18 Ozzy Osbourne Jan 29 The Harlem Globetrotters (2 shows) Feb 19 Nuclear Cowboyz Toyota Center’s concert calendar is continuously being updated. Check online for more info and to purchase tickets. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.4HOUTIX. VERIZON WIRELESS THEATER Dec 4 IXFA- Extreme Fighting Dec 5 Buzzfestivus w/The Smashing Pumpkins and Jimmy Eat World Dec 7 Buzzfestivus w/Acoustic Shinedown Dec 18 Robert Earl Keen Feb 11 Imagination Movers In A Big Warehouse Tour Feb 12 Imagination Movers In A Big Warehouse Tour Feb 18 Gabriel Iglesias Verizon’s concert calendar is continuously being updated. Check online for more info and to purchase tickets. Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas. 713.230.1600. HOUSE OF BLUES Every Sunday Gospel Brunch Dec 1 Belanova Dec 2 Attack Attack! w/Emmure, Pierce The Veil, Of Mice & Men and In Fear & Faith Dec 6 Sam Adams w/LA Riots Dec 7 Dimmu Borgic Dec 13 Allstar Weekend Dec 14 Trapt Dec 15 Apocalyptica Dec 16 Soulfly w/Straight Line Stitch, Incite and Desperate Union Dec 17 Bruce Robison Dec 26 Rad bromance - The 1 All Male Lady Gaga Tribute Band Dec 28 Frontiers - A Tribute to Journey

Special Events

Dec 29 Better Than Ezra Road to Mardi Gras Tour Dec 31 Reckless Kelly, Sarah Pierce and Rich O’Toole Jan 8 High School Band Challenge Jan 13 Girl Talk Jan 14 Jud Johnson Band & Strings w/Dimitri’s Rail & The 71’s Jan 20 Joe Satriani The Wormhole Tour 2010 w/Ned Evett and Triple Double Jan 22 NOFX & The Bouncing Souls w/Cobra Skulls & Old Man Markley Jan 22 Gaelic Storm Jan 26 Led Zeppelin 2 - A Tribute to Led Zeppelin Jan 27 JJ Grey & Mofro Feb 11 Robin Trower Feb 12 Amos Lee HOB’s concert calendar is continuously being updated. Check online for more info and to purchase tickets. House of Blues, Houston Pavilions, 1204 Caroline. 888.402.5837.

Special Events

SPORTS HOUSTON AEROS For schedule info and tickets, call or check the website. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.974.7825. HOUSTON DYNAMO For schedule info and tickets, call or check the website. University of Houston Robertson Stadium, 4800 Calhoun. 713.276.7500. HOUSTON ROCKETS For schedule info and tickets, call or check the website. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 866.4HOU.TIX. EXPOS THE MONEY SHOW OF THE SOUTHWEST Dec 2-4 Find out what your old coins and paper money are worth. Meet 400+ dealers, specializing in U.S., world and ancient coins & paper money, medals, tokens, stamps, gems and jewelry from across the globe. Tickets $2, 13 and under free. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 281.586.9727. HIGH CALIBER GUN & KNIFE SHOW Dec 4-5 See hundreds of displays of new and old guns, ammo, gun parts, books, knives, knifes, 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. CHEERSPORT GRAND CHAMPIONSHIP Dec 12 Game on! Get fired up at this major cheer competition. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 888.732.3965. HIGH CALIBER GUN & KNIFE SHOW Jan 1-2 See hundreds of displays of new and old guns, ammo, gun parts, books, knives, knifes, sharpening tools, coins, camouflage and related items at discount prices. Tickets $8. GRB Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 281.331.5969. HIGH CALIBER GUN & KNIFE SHOW Feb 5-6 See hundreds of displays of new and old guns, ammo, gun parts, books, knives, knifes, sharpening tools, coins, camouflage and related items at discount prices. Tickets $8. GRB Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 281.331.5969. TOURS SECOND SATURDAY BOAT RIDES Dec 11, Jan 8, Feb 12 These 30-minute pontoon boat cruises are a great way to spend the afternoon with your family and friends. Capacity is 20 per ride. First come, first serve, no reservations. 10 am-2 pm. $7 adults and $5 children (4-12). Cash only. Meet at downtown’s Sabine Promenade. 713.752.0314 ext. 4. BUFFALO BAYOU WALKING TOURS Dec 4, Jan 8, Feb 5 & Mar 5 Architecture Center Houston


Dec 31 A New Year’s Eve extravaganza that will light up your world. Highlights include a fabulously funky Illuminated Art Car Parade, live music and a spectacular light show that will usher in the New Year. A parade of lighted cars, scooters and contraptions fill the night with lights and fireballs as it rolls down Avenida de las Americas to set up for a spectacular 3D light show on the walls of the George R. Brown Convention Center. Gloworama is a free, family-friendly event. 7 pm Ice skating demonstrations (the ICE will be open until midnight) 7:30 pm Live music on Discovery Green’s Anheuser Busch Stage 8:45 pm An electrifying performance by ArcAttack 9:30 pm Illuminated Art Car Parade rolls 11 pm ArcAttack is back 11:30 pm 3D light show with fireworks and countdown to 2011 Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney and George R. Brown, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. (ArCH) docents lead you on an architectural stroll along Buffalo Bayou Parkway for an overview of downtown Houston’s history and architecture from its beginnings in 1836 to the central city today. $20 per person, $10 for AIA, Architypes and Bayou Buddies members. 10 am-noon. Tour meets at Market Square Park, 301 Milam. 713.520.0155.

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. $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.

KAYAK TOURS Dec 4 A kayak adventure through Houston’s stunning urban wilderness. Reservations and payment for tours must be made in advance. Cancellations must take place 48 hours prior to the tour. All equipment is supplied, including the tandem (two-person) sit-on-top kayaks. $60 per person. 9 am-1 p.m. 713.752.0314.

TOYOTA CENTER’S BACKSTAGE TOUR The one-hour backstage tour will take you behind the scenes of Houston’s premier destination for sports and entertainment. $7 adults, $5 for kids 12 and under and seniors. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.758.7715.

DISCOVER HOUSTON TOURS Ongoing 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 downtown and Houston tours since 1988. Ticket prices vary. 713.222.9255. 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. $6 adults, $4 seniors and free for kids under 18. Tue-Sat 10 am, 11:30 am, 1 pm, 2:30 pm and Sun 1 pm, 2:30 pm. 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912.

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 the final group is allowed in at 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. $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. FREE SELF-GUIDED AUDIO WALKING TOURS Put on your headphones, hit play and let local insiders, captivating voices and an original soundtrack envelop you in stories of Houston’s past and present. No need to worry about which way to go or what to look for, we’ll point out everything along the way. Three tours are available: The Ultimate Downtown Tour, Museum District Walk & Roll and A Walk in the Park: Discovery Green Walking Tour. Tours are free and available to download to your iPod or MP3 player at or as a podcast on iTunes. Be sure to also download the accompanying map for reference.


plate WINTER


The Guide to eating downtown

Edited by

Angie Bertinot & Heather Hinzie

Have your cake Cap off a completely healthy, delicious meal at Ziggy’s Bar & Grill with their sugar-free chocolate cake cookie. Rich and gooey - it’s all of the yummy and absolutely none of the guilt. 702 Main at Capitol >>



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. Alden Hotel, 1117 Prairie, 832.200.8800. L by reservation only; D Daily. $$$$ a+ bar and grille American Casual The Alden Hotel's relaxed dining option where you'll find a breakfast buffet and a great bar menu with tasty appetizers, salads, burgers and sandwiches every day of the week. A good spot for a fast lunch or a bite before the ballgame, you'll also love their happy hour and cocktail offerings. Alden Hotel, 1117 Prairie, 832.200.8800. B, L & D Daily. $$ 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. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.1200. L Mon-Fri, D Mon-Sat. $$ L Artista American Artista offers inspirational contemporary American cuisine and theatrical ambiance with high ceilings, glass walls and sweeping views of the Houston downtown skyline. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby, 713.278.4782. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat (Open for L & D on Sunday only if a theater performance is scheduled). $$$ 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. $$ L Azuma Sushi & Robata Bar Japanese/Sushi Voted “Best sushi in Houston” by, this new-age Japanese restaurant is anything but typical. The ambience is terrific, the sushi is innovative and fresh and the outside seating area provides great people watching. 909 Texas, 713.223.0909. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sun; LN Fri & Sat. $$ new! BB’s Café Cajun A relaxed café atmosphere with a menu of “Tex-Orleans” fusion food, which includes nearly two dozen overstuffed signature po’ boys, mouth-watering Mexico City-style tacos, homemade gumbo and more. They are open until 3 am on Friday and Saturday nights to satisfy those late night crawfish po’boy cravings! 509 Louisiana, 713-2368269.L, D, LN Daily. $ 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. Inn at the Ballpark, 1520 Texas Avenue, 713.228.1520. B & L Daily. $ Banzai Sushi Japanese/Sushi Count on Banzai Sushi at Bayou Place for the freshest sushi, sashimi and specialty rolls. If sushi isn’t your thing, try their vegetable tempura, Chilean sea bass, Korean ribs or chicken teriyaki. Bayou Place, 550 Texas, 713.225.1167. L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $$ L Benihana of Tokyo Japanese While some restaurants allow their guests to view the kitchen, this Japanese grill brings the kitchen to you. Benihana chefs set up shop right in front of your table. The meal is made from scratch, and you can witness the entire show. benihana. com. 1318 Louisiana, 713.659.8231. L & D Daily. $$$ 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. 500 Louisiana, 713.224.9494. L, D & LN Daily. $$ L Bistro Lancaster New American Located in the historic Lancaster Hotel, this cozy getaway is a great place to dine before catching a show in the Theater District. You’ll find hearty soups, sizzling steaks and savory seafood. Lancaster Hotel, 701 Texas Ave, 713.228.9502. B, L & D Daily. $$$$ L Bombay Pizza Co. Indian Fusion Fusing the cuisines of


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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. 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. $ 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. 609 Clay, 713.652.5999. L Mon-Fri. $ Brazos Restaurant American Upscale seafood and casual American fare come together in a Texas-chic 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. $$$ L Brown Bag Deli Fast Casual Located in the Houston Club building, Brown Bag Deli serves up tasty, fresh sandwiches “just like you like it.” Known for their fluffy, soft bread you won’t be disappointed and neither will your wallet. 810 Capitol, 713.224.7000. L Mon-Fri. $ Burger King Fast Food 810 Capitol, 713.223.4114. B & D Mon-Sat; L Daily. $ B.U.S. Sports Grill and Bar American The ultimate hangout spot before or after a ballgame. Come and enjoy your favorite cold beverage or bite to eat while cheering the home team to victory. B.U.S. is also a great place to catch the latest sporting event on the big screen! Two locations. Before/after Rockets games, 1410 Bell. Before/after Astros games, 1800 Texas. $ L Byrd’s Market & Cafe American Byrd's features a chefdriven, casual dining restaurant. Also, a prepared food market where you can find freshly baked breads and pastries and a limited selection of wines, grocercy essentials and basic household necessitates. Grab a seat on the mezzanine level, overlooking Main Street and enjoy a butternut squash roasted pork sandwich with sweet potato fries! 420 Main, 713.225.0100. B & L Daily; D Mon-Fri. $ Cabo Mexican The “Mix-Mex” grill is a spicy blend of South and Central American flavors. A fun downtown spot with the ultimate outdoor balcony for dining overlooking the streets of downtown. 419 Travis, 713.225.2060. L & D Mon-Sun; LN Mon-Sat. $$ 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. $$ L Cafe Express Fast Casual Need to grab a quick lunch? Cafe Express is an informal yet sophisticated choice. One of the originals in the fast casual restaurant category, you can always find a variety of delicious entrees, salads and sandwiches. 650 Main, 713.237.9222. B & L Mon-Sat; D Mon–Fri. $ L Cava Bistro American Bistro Enjoy a diverse menu when dining at this rustic eatery situated on Main Street in downtown’s Historic District. Menu items include escargot, leek tart, ahi tuna, short ribs, gnocchi and whole red snapper. An impressive wine list, great service and affordable prices make this bistro unique. 300 Main, 713.229.9504. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat. $$ 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. $ Chipotle Mexican Known for their large portions, this Mexican fast casual spot offers a variety of wholesome menu items. 909 Texas, 713.225.6633. L & Early D Mon-Fri. $ L Cielo Mexican This new upscale Mexican bistro offers patrons Latin American favorites in a sophisticated, urban setting. Cielo has a fantastic bar and happy hour menu for late nights, also a large patio for al fresco

dining. Tequila and wine tasting dinners will be offered monthly. 300 Main, 713.229.9500. L & D Mon-Sat; LN Fri & Sat. $$ L Corner Bakery Fast Casual A bakery cafe, offering fresh breads, salads, sandwiches, soups and sweets in a casual atmosphere. Located right on Main Street Square, you can’t beat the people watching or just relax and watch the rail line and Main Street Square’s jumping fountains. 1000 Main, 713.651.0673. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Decafe Fast Casual Located in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency, visit this marketplace cafe anytime, day or night, when you are craving something delicious. Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana, 713.654.1234 x 4088. B, L, D & LN Daily. $ Domino’s Pizza 804 Main, 713.227.3030. $ Don Patron Bar & Grill Mexican Good Mexican food and margaritas, Don Patron is great for lunch and a good spot for an after-work happy hour. Available on weekends for private parties. 500 Dallas, One Allen Center.B, L & D Mon-Fri. $$ 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. 410 Bagby, 713.223.3474. L & D Daily. $$ Downtown Donuts Bakery This little shop puts out a large assortment of breakfast goodies. Daily fresh baked choices include glazed, iced or filled donuts, bear claws, cinnamon rolls and turnovers and they also have kolaches—be sure to try the spicy boudin kolache. 1207 Prairie, 713.236.0500. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Downtown Hunan Café Chinese Fast casual spot offering all your Asian favorites. 613 Clay, 713.759.0515. L MonFri. $ 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 their juicy burgers and greattasting 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 El Rey Taqueria Cuban/Mexican This fast casual Cuban and Mexican eatery is home to tasty plantains and juicy roasted chicken. El Rey opens early for those craving breakfast tacos and is open late on weekend nights for

} 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

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Houston restaurants by cuisine, location and price, visit and click on Dining.


eat up

Ziggy’s Bar & Grill 702 Main, 713.527.8588. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and happy hour.

ziggy’s with it a modern take on the healthy plate By HOLLY BERETTO

“People love comfort foods – meatloaf, chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes – because it tastes great,” says Kevin Stickland, owner of Ziggy’s Bar & Grill. “But it tastes great because it’s loaded with fat.” That’s not the case at Ziggy’s, where comfort food favorites get a healthy makeover, without losing an ounce of flavor. Consider the pork chop. It’s dusted with pepper and spices, then tossed on a grill with a little oil. The result? All flavor. No guilt. It’s served with a big cup of steamed spinach and mushrooms, and a little scoop of mashed potatoes.

“There’s no butter and no cream in the mashed potatoes,” says Strickland. “It’s just the potatoes and a little roasted garlic.” Strickland says many people get turned off by the idea of healthy eating because they associate it with all these don’ts: don’t eat a lot of fat; don’t eat a lot of calories; don’t eat things you like. Ziggy’s has always been about the dos of healthy eating: do bake or grill, not fry; do eat whole grains; do have lots of taste. When the original Ziggy founded the grill back in the early 1990s, he was looking for a way to make sure that people could have great flavor without clogging arteries or drowning food in fats and heavy oils. Ziggy’s menu reflects these concerns. Appetizers include baked whole-wheat tortilla chips with hummus, a sublime and crunchy combination that’s portioned just right as a start to the meal. You also can select edamame, lightly salted soybeans served in the pod that deliver an earthy, yummy punch. The queso is done with low-fat cheese and kicked up with some spiced ground turkey and the whole affair is a treat to the taste buds. For a main course, don’t overlook the above-mentioned pork chop. But if the fish tacos are one of the daily specials, check them out. Grilled tilapia, dusted with hot spices, is laid out on corn or wheat tortillas, topped with crunchy red cabbage and served with a side of mango salsa. Ziggy’s forgoes a traditional sauce on the tacos, but you’ll love the way sweet mango alternates with the hot kick on the fish. Looking for a little sweetness to end the meal? The sugar-free chocolate cake cookie is wonderfully brownie-like with a soft cookie surrounding a delightful chocolate cream. Eating healthy was never so good.


plate night owls craving a Cuban sandwich. 233 Main, 713.225.1895. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Falafel Frenzy Mediterranean This quaint spot serves up all your Mediterranean favorites, including beef and chicken kabobs, hummus and of course falafel. 914 Prairie, 713.237.8987. L Mon-Fri. $ 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. 705 Main, 713.228.7468. L, D & LN Daily. $ 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. 417 Travis, 713.225.5656. L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $ 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. The Tree House roof deck bar features casual bar snacks and a see-and-be-seen atmosphere for cocktails. Discovery Green, 1611 Lamar, 713.337.7321. L & D Daily. $$$ L Guadalajara del Centro Mexican This family-owned restaurant consistently serves up tasty food in a new, very cool environment. It’s the perfect place to bring the family or a large group of co-workers or friends. Great happy hour specials. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, 713.650.0101. L & D Daily. $$ 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 family-friendly spot serving up items such as burgers, nachos and chicken varieties. Bayou Place, 570 Texas, 713.227.1392. L, D & LN Daily. $$ L Hearsay Gastro Lounge New American Located in a beautifully refurbished historic building, this upscale restaurant and lounge serves up delicious sandwiches, salads and entrees. They feature an extensive wine list, numerous beers on draft and bottle and premium liquors with a focus on Scotch whisky. 218 Travis, 713.225.8079. L Daily; D Mon-Sat; LN Fri–Sat. $$ 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. 1800 Texas, 713.222.1993. L & D Daily (may close earlier during offseason so call first). $ Hong Kong Diner Chinese A favorite of downtown locals, Hong Kong Diner will not disappoint with its expansive menu and delicious chef’s specials. Be sure to try their dumplings. 909 Franklin, 713.236.1688. L & D Mon-Sat. $ 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. Houston Pavilions, 1204 Caroline, 888.402.5837. L & D Daily. $$ Houston Tamales Factory Mexican Family recipes made with fresh ingredients. Great breakfast tacos and of course the tamales are the specialty of the house. 1205 Travis. B & L Mon-Sat. $ L Hubcap Burger Grill American Classic Small but quaint burger joint. 1111 Prairie, 713.223.5885. L Mon-Sat. $ Humble Cafe American The Humble Cafe is a full-service restaurant serving up breakfast and dinner in a casual atmosphere. Courtyard by Marriott, 916 Dallas, 832.366.1600. B & D Daily. $ L Hunan Downtown Chinese You’ll be impressed by the elegant décor, and their Chinese cuisine is as impeccable as the restaurant itself. Guests can indulge in traditional favorites or try new creations. 812 Capitol, 713.227.8999. L & D Mon-Sat. $$


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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, home-cooked Mexican cuisine is served for breakfast and lunch on weekdays. 22 North Chenevert, 713.222.0767. B & L Mon-Fri. $$ L Irma’s New Southwest Grill Mexican Irma’s second location is a hip spot to satisfy a Mexican food craving. Enjoy tasty foods and great drinks for lunch or dinner. Only a few short blocks from Minute Maid Park. 1314 Texas, 713.247.9651. B & L Mon-Fri. Open on Astros baseball game days and nights three hours before first pitch. $$ L James Coney Island Fast Food This local favorite has been serving delicious hot dogs to downtown Houston patrons since 1923. The chili recipe has stayed the same, but new menu additions include Polish sausage, a Chicago-style dog and a New York-style dog. 815 Dallas, 713.652.3819.B, L & D Mon-Sat. $ Jason’s Deli Deli Order to please, Jason’s will make your sandwich or salad exactly how you like it. 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. 820 Main, 713.222.9995. L Mon-Sat. $ Josephine’s Ristorante Italian Enjoy traditional favorites made from scratch at this family-owned eatery. Great service and a cozy, casual atmosphere make you feel right at home. 1209 Caroline, 713.759.9323. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat. $$ new! Korma Sutra Indian The name comes from the chef’s love affair with fine Indian cuisine. The fine Indian establishment takes a menu-less approach were every dish can be custom ordered to your liking. Wait staff will let you know the daily specials, but if your palate is set of Chicken Masala or Lamb Curry, they will happily oblige. We also recommend trying the cilantro-mintlimeade! 706 Main, 832-721-9977. L & D Mon- Sat. $$ L 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. 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. 1403 Nance, 713.226.8563. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sun; LN Fri-Sat; Bar & Live Music Tue-Sat. $ 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. 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. 801 Congress, 713.547.0444. B Mon-Fri; L Mon-Sat; D Fri & Sat. $ Little Napoli Italian Offering southern Italian items in a casual setting, you can opt for indoor seating or take a spot on their large patio right on Main Street. Their healthy options, such as whole wheat pizza crust and low-fat cheeses, are a nice touch. 1001

Texas, 713.225.3900. L, D & LN Daily. $$ Luby’s, etc. American Enjoy an incredible view of downtown along with 10 food stations offering a wide variety of goodies: a build-your-own salad bar, made-to-order grill, pizza by-the-slice, delightful deli, global café and traditional Luby’s cafeteria line with all the classic dishes. 1301 Fannin, 13th Floor, 713.759.9954. B & L Mon–Fri. $ L Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge American Bowlers and patrons relax on sleek leather couches and enjoy floor-to-ceiling video screens that flash movie clips and music videos as DJs deliver danceable grooves. Delectable munchies are available lane-side and in the lounge. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto Street, Level 3, 713.343.3300. L, D & LN Daily. $$ Mandarin Hunan Restaurant Chinese This upscale eatery gives its guests an engaging experience in Chinesecuisine. 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. $ 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. 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. 1160 Smith, 713.6500.0837. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat. $$ L Massa’s Seafood Grill Seafood Like its sister restaurant, you can count on superior service and a great dining atmosphere. Conveniently located close to the convention center and Toyota Center, it’s a great spot for lunch and dinner. The Shops at Houston Center, 1331 Lamar, 713.655.9100. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat. $$ 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. Houston Pavilions, 1201 Fannin. 713.658.8100. L & D Daily. $$$ McDonald’s Fast Food 808 Dallas @ Milam, 713.651.9449. B & L Daily; D Mon-Fri. $ L Mia Bella Italian You’ll enjoy an eclectic variety of Italian cuisine blended with a Mediterranean feel. A longtime favorite, this intimate little bistro’s simple, yet appealing décor, makes it a downtown standout. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.6675. 320 Main, 713.237.0505 L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $$ Mingalone Italian Bar & Grill Italian A dedication to authentic Italian cuisine makes Mingalone a special place. Just seconds away from all the major theaters, Mingalone is the perfect spot to enjoy dinner before or after a show. Bayou Place, 540 Texas, 713.223.0088. L & D Mon-Sun. $$ new! 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 perfect pre/post theater spot. Be sure to sample some of the fresh-baked pastries and smoothies, too. 909 Texas St., 281.265.3344. B, L, D, LN Sun–Sat. $ new! 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 also has a full coffee bar, featuring delicious Colombian coffee, a juice bar and a great selection of affordable wines and beers. macondobistro. com. 509 Main, 713.222.1033. L, D & LN Daily. $ Molly’s Pub Pub Fare A good ol’ Irish bar with tasty food to soak up the beer. Your standard pub fare—sand-

wiches, dogs and pretty much anything that’s not good for you. 509 Main, 713.222.1033. L, D & LN Daily. $

ambiance, cuisine and sounds offered at this laid-back spot. Live music nightly. 924 Congress, 713.226.7870. D & LN Daily. $$

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 Morton’s The Steakhouse Steak House This awardwinning steakhouse offers an outstanding menu. The downtown location features their new bar concept, Bar 12•21, which includes an impressive wine and martini menu along with their specially priced “bar bites.” 1001 McKinney, 713.659.3700. D Mon-Sun. $$$$

new Samba Grille South American Samba Grille offers a vast lunch selection of appetizers, home-made soups, fresh salads and choice meats and seafood. At dinner service, gauchos weave their way through the dining room to bring the most exquisite churrascaria service, from their meat-loaded rotisserie spears, directly to the plate. 530 Texas at Bayou Place, 713.343.1180. L Mon-Fri & Sun; 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. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto Street, Level 1, 713.658.9457. L Tue–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$$$

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. 601 Jefferson, 713.652.4939. 1021 Main, 713.275.1912. 440 Louisiana, 713.247.9122. B & L Mon-Fri all locations. $ New Orleans Cajun Po-Boy Fast Food A great place to grab a fried shrimp or crawfish po-boy. 648 Polk, 713.750.0007. L Mon-Fri. $ new Niko Niko’s Greek & American Houston icon Dimitri Fetokakis opens his second cafe this 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. Market Square Park, 301 Milam. B, L, D daily.$ 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. 601 Jefferson, 713.652.4939. 1021 Main, 713.275.1912. 440 Louisiana, 713.247.9122. B & L Mon-Fri all locations. $ 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. 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. $ Polk Street Pub American Upscale put that offers plenty of pub favorites like burgers and Reubens, with amazing sweet potato waffle fries and pub fries. Perfect place to go for after work happy hour or pre or post an event to Toyota Center. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, 713-652-4044.L, D & LN Mon – Sat. $$ Ponte Vecchio Ristorante Italiano Italian Don’t let the cafeteria-style service at Ponte Vecchio fool you, everything is prepared from scratch. You’ll find many delicious, healthy selections on the menu at this luncheon eatery, all at a reasonable price. 507 Dallas, 713.659.9400. L Mon-Fri. $ Popeye’s Fast Food 1116 Travis, 713.571.8600. L & D Mon-Sat. $ L Quattro Contemporary Italian Vivid colors, creative lighting and a unique design create a sophisticated and inviting ambience for guests. Located in the Four Seasons Hotel, Quattro is one of downtown’s best restaurants. Four Seasons Hotel, 1300 Lamar, 713.652.6250. B, L & D Daily. $$$ 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. $

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. 909 Texas, 713.224.5299. L Mon-Fri ; D & LN Daily. $$$ SG’s Express Vietnamese Vietnamese You’ll find all your Vietnamese favorites here: vermicelli bowl, the sandwich, egg drop soup, egg rolls and many different smoothie flavors. 1225 Travis, 713.659.0200. L Mon-Fri. $ Shay McElroy’s Pub Fare This authentic Irish pub offers up a menu of appetizers, sandwiches, salads and soups. 909 Texas, 713.223.2444. L Mon–Fri. $ The Shops at Houston Center Food Court Au Bon Pain, Chick-Fil-A, Chicken Kitchen, Doozo Dumpling & Noodles, Droubi Bros. Grill, Great American Cookies, Longhorn Uptown Café, Mediterranean Grill, Murphy’s Deli, Ninfa’s, Otto’s Barbeque, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Quizno’s, Robeks, Roman Delight, Salata, Simon’s Homestyle Café, Starbucks, Subway, Teppanyaki, Wall Street Deli, Wok & Roll. 1200 McKinney, 713.759.1442. Mon-Sat, hours vary. $ L Shula’s American Steak House Steak House Dark wood, sports memorabilia and menus hand-painted on official NFL game footballs makes Pro Hall of Famer Don Shula’s Steak House stand out from the rest. Become a member of the 48oz Club by finishing a 48-ounce Shula Cut. Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4777. B, L & D Daily. $$$ 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. 901 Commerce, 713.229.0009. L & D Daily. $$ L Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops Steak House An ideal location to enjoy a great steak, Spencer’s offers top-quality beef and boasts an extensive wine list. The atmosphere is light, engaging and conducive to conversation. Hilton Americas, 1600 Lamar, 713.577.8325. L & D Daily. $$$$ State Bar Pub Fare Located on the second floor of Post Rice Lofts with a beautiful balcony overlooking Texas Ave., this upscale lounge also serves appetizers and hearty sandwiches with your martinis and margaritas. 909 Texas, Suite 2A, 713.229.8888. Mon-Sat. $ L Strip House Steak House Only minutes from the convention center and Toyota Center, Strip House’s mouth-watering steaks are accompanied by a seductive ambiance. Red walls and carpet give this steak palace a unique interior. An international collection of wines puts the finishing touches on the restaurant. The Shops at Houston Center, 1200 McKinney, 713.659.6000. L Mon-Fri; D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $$$$ Subway Fast Food 405 Main, 713.227.4700. 805 Dallas, 713.651.1331. Daily. $

Red & White Bistro International A Chef’s Table buffet features a variety of world cuisines and an assortment of delectable desserts. Compliment your meal with a selection from Red & White’s two 1,500 bottle wine towers. 1510 Polk, 713.758.7534. Open 90 minutes prior to the start of Toyota Center events; call ahead for reservations. $$$

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. $

L Red Cat Jazz Café Cajun Cajun style blends with Houston flavor at the Red Cat. Indulge in the distinct

Thepthidaa Thai Thai A traditional Thai restaurant located at the ground level of the loft residence Hogg Palace. The

Travis Chinese Restaurant Chinese All your favorites at affordable prices. 1122 Travis, 713.655.8787. L Daily. $ L Treebeards Cajun Homestyle 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 their famous butter bar. 315 Travis, 713.228.2622. Cloisters at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas, 713.229.8248. L Mon-Fri. $ Trofi Restaurant Continental Trofi’s menu is described as Continental with a Mediterranean and Latin flair and the ambience is casual simple yet sophisticated. Lunch buffets are available Monday through Friday. 400 Dallas, Doubletree Hotel, 713.759.0202. B, L & D Daily. $$ L Vic & Anthony’s Steak House This world-class steak house is one of the most elegant dining locations in Houston. It boasts rich mahogany woodwork and one-of-a-kind hospitality. Located in the heart of the Ballpark District and across from Minute Maid Park, Vic & Anthony’s is the ideal spot for entertaining business clients, a special celebration or a pre/post-game dinner. 1510 Texas, 713.228.1111. L Fri; D Daily. $$$$ L Voice Restaurant & Lounge Modern American A fine-dining experience located in the historic lobby of Hotel Icon’s landmark bank building. The intimate dining room is extravagant, and the exquisite dishes from the Gulf Coast and South Texas emphasize fresh ingredients. A contemporary lounge with a modern setting for cocktails and an elegant after-work meeting place. Hotel Icon, 220 Main, 832.667.4470. B Daily; D Mon-Sat. $$$$ Warren’s Inn Fast Casual The good times roll with a killer jukebox, excellent drinks, and a fun, bohemian environment. Quick sandwiches and other items are served during the day; you can order in from nearby restaurants at night if you have the munchies. 307 Travis, 713.247.9207. L Mon-Fri; LN Daily. $ Wimpy’s Hamburgers Fast Food Wimpy’s serves up a pretty good burger but they also have many other down-home favorites. 632 Polk, 713.652.0123. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Yao Restaurant and Bar Asian The menu at Yao’s is a mix of standard American Chinese fare, like sesame chicken and kung pao chicken, along with more exotic dishes like braised abalone. Sushi rolls include the Yao Roll, with snow crab and black caviar topped with lobster. Houston Pavilions, 1201 Main, 713.739.9267. L Mon-Fri, D Mon – Sat. $$ Zero’s Sandwich Shop Deli A great little spot for a freshly made deli sandwich. 809 Dallas, 713.650.3333. 1110 Lamar, 713.655.7722. 507 Dallas, 713.739.9955. B & L Mon-Fri. $ new! Ziggy's Bar & Grill American Ziggy’s offers healthy comfort food in their new Main Street location. Counter service is offered during the day and table service at night. Happy hour specials include pomegranate martinis and Ziggyritas made with fresh citrus juice. The location is conveniently located along the light rail line and just a few short blocks from the Theater District. Brunch Sat and Sun 9-3. 702 Main, 713.527.8588. B, L & D Daily. $ Zydeco Louisiana Diner Cajun This cafeteria-style 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. $


sip. 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.

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. Strike up a conversation with gregarious Weldon Renfro, who has a permanent shoe shine booth at the entrance; he’s never met a stranger. Mon-Wed 10 am–midnight, Thu-Sat 10 am-2 am

Dean’s | 316 Main Part vintage clothing store and part bar. 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 every night, buy the local art on the walls, sift through vintage clothes, and drink frozen cosmos while taking in the ever-changing downtown scene. Sun-Wed 8 pm-2 am, Thu-Sat 5 pm-2 am

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. This isn’t the place for screaming sports nuts, this is more the place for friends to kick back in the black leather chairs and discuss the game in a civil manner. On the first and last Friday of every month Joystix Classic Games and Pinball next door is opened up and $15 gets you all night to practice your Ms. Pac-man skills. Daily 4 pm-2 am

Flying Saucer | 705 Main Offering over 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 their website for information on beer tastings, trivia night and specials. Mon-Wed, 11am-1am, Thu & Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat noon-2 am, Sun noon-midnight.

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. A members-only Foundation Room is available for VIPs. Show times and events vary nightly. Call or check out the website for details.

La Carafe | 813 Congress The oldest building in Houston, this little wine and beer boasts a great jukebox, romantic atmosphere and an extensive 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 really


winter 2010-11


plate WINTER 2010-11

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!

anyore). With a backyard stage and sandpit, hoola-hooping and tiki bar, Last Concert has live music Tue through Sun nights. Tue-Fri 1 am-2 am, Sat 5 pm-2 am, Sun 3-9 pm.

Lone Star Saloon | 1900 Travis Located across the street from the main Metro bus station and a few blocks from the Greyhound hub, 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 havebeen-to-hell-and-back stories. Daily noon-2 am

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.

Shadow Bar and Lounge | 213 Milam Dance, drink and lounge is the theme at this club that is host to a diverse crowd and upbeat playlist. Don’t miss Sunday night’s Poetry Lounge, with an improv poetry jam session. Thu-Sat 10 pm-2 am, Sun 6 pm-midnight

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.

State Bar | 909 Texas @ Post Rice Lofts Located on the second floor of the Rice Lofts, this upscale bar presents a classic richness all its own. Much of the

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.

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 punk rock karaoke. Live bands on weekends. Daily 8 pm-2 am

Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar | 1201 Fannin @ Houston Pavilions Two dueling pianos and a sing-along, clap-along, drinkalong, have-one-helluva-good-time-along bar! Wed-Sat, 7 pm-2 am Wed-Sat 7 pm-2 am, showtime @ 8 pm.

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.

The Sam Bar | 1117 Prairie Street @ Alden Hotel

Sunny’s Bar | 901 Capitol @ Main

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 ammidnight, Fri & Sat 11 am-1 am.

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. MonSat 2 pm-2 am

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-2am, Sat 4:30 pm-2 am.

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

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Buffalo Bayou Discovery Green Downtown Aquarium George Bush & James A. Baker, III Monuments George R. Brown Convention Center Historic District JP Morgan Chase Observation Deck Main Street Square Southern Pacific Steam Engine 982 Union Station at Minute Maid Park Wells Fargo Plaza Observation Deck















Dog Parks

Public garages, surface lots and metered on-street parking are abundant in downtown. Reminder: on-street parking is free after 6 pm Monday - Saturday and all day Sunday.

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58. Byrd’s Market 59. CVS 60. Phoenecia Specialty Foods (Coming March 2011) 61. Wolfe’s Cleaners

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1200 mckinney 713.759.1442

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