Visit the Galleria. The...
Visit the Galleria. The shopping area across from the Galleria allows mink to mingle with fleece in the name of shopping. It feels like an extension of the Galleria, except with a laid-back atmosphere, fresh air and sunshine. The Post Oak Centre and its surrounding streets define the Galleria Area and offer a mix of stores, including upscale Sakowitz Furs and Old Navy. Plenty of parking allows you to zip in and grab what you need, whether it's a new putter at American Pro Line Golf, or a snappy new pair of black crocodile cowboy boots -- with the pointed toes -- at Boot Town. Get them in time for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Don't worry, you don't have to look like a million bucks to hit these stores, as you might in the Galleria. Jeans and a T-shirt will bring a pleasant smile and no sneers at Marshalls or Tall-E-Ho. There are a plethora of shops for clothing, dining, novelty, & sport. There is a very nice ice-skating rink there and across the street (south) you'll find the Transco tower, the tallest building in that area of town. Like any other mall, there are many food courts to choose from, some of which include Chili's, Bennigan's, & Masraff's on 1025 Post Oak Lane (they serve a Euro-American Cuisine). My fondest memory of Houston would have to be 1999's 4th of July. The festival was enormous and the bands and people were a lot of fun! I took a lot of pictures.
Montrose. If you have an open...
Montrose. If you have an open mind, then visit Montrose. It is the 'strange' part of town, filled with tattoo and piercing shops, vintage stores, gay bars, and junk stores. The yuppies have begun to invade it though, so a lot of the charm has been drowned out by Townhomes and uppity restaurants. But the 'strange' people are still prevalent. And you will still shake your head in disbelief at some of the stuff you will see. It is by far the BEST part of Houston (minus those stupid yuppies).
The Landry's Restaurant Empire!
Landry's Restaurants is a huge American corporation that owns and operates several different chains of restaurants across the United States. The company has it's beginnings here in Houston and surrounding areas, when in 1980 CEO Tilman Fertitta bought his first restaurant in Katy, a suburb just west of Houston. Being raised in Galveston along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, Fertitta initially focused the company mainly on seafood cuisine. But as the years went by and his business grew, he branched out into several different types of food. He opened up many different restaurants in and around Houston, including Landry's Seafood, Joe's Crab Shack, Willie G's, and Saltgrass Steakhouse just to name a few. Since then, the Landry's corp. has grown into one of the biggest companies in the country, now not only focusing on the restaurant buisness, but also the entertainment industry as well. Places like the Kemah Boardwalk, the Downtown Aquarium, and the Rainforest Cafe not only serve up food for patrons to eat, but also have entertaining and fun things to see and do at their respective locations. Many Landry's establishments can be a little over-the-top in trying to create an authentic atmosphere for whatever the style or type of cuisine a particular place specializes in. But generally speaking, most Landry's spots provide a good atmosphere, fresh food, and in many cases, good fun. I have my opinions about every place I have visited, both good and bad. But one thing is certain, Mr. Fertitta has a great company on his hands, and can be proud of the corporation that he has created. With locations now all over the United States, it is indeed a "restaurant empire"! :)
Caribbean Food with a Twist!
This small, local chain of restaurants here in Houston bills itself as serving a "Latino Fusion" type of cuisine. Well, whatever you want to call it, it is good! The decor is very modern and chic, with many Latin American and Caribbean items adorning the walls. For starters, the tortilla chips they give you are some of the best in town, not to greasy or salty. The salsa is excellent, and they also give you some ground up chilled pineapple sauce for the chips, which is very simple, but one of my favorite things about the restaurant. Great appetizers, the empanadas are really good! Many of the entrees have an obvious Mexican feel, but here they add a little tropical twist that livens up the meal. Most dishes are of chicken or beef, and include black beans, plantains, papaya, or eggplant. They also have some strictly Tex-Mex meals, i.e. quesadillas, enchiladas, tacos. A variety of soups and salads as well. Add an extensive wine list and a latino inspired desert menu, and you got yourself 1 good "Latino Fusion" restaurant. Chicken Tikal. Grilled chicken with black beans, queso, sour cream and sweet onions. Plaintains, grilled squash and zucchini on the side.
Sam Houston Park, an outdoor museum
Sam Houston park is the oldest park in Houston, having opened in 1899. It is located downtown (NW part of it) right next to the skyscrapers. Beside being a pleasant park to stroll though, have lunch and relax, it is the location of a wonderful outdoor museum. The Heritage Society of Houston had several old Texan buildings from the region brought here for preservation, restauration and display. There are about 8 houses (and still more being brought in!) ranging from 1823 (a wood cabin of the pioneers) to 1905 ("Staiti House"). Little signs by each house detail the different styles of houses built in the pioneer days of Texas.
The picture shows you the little St John's church, built by german immigrants in 1891, dwarfed by the downtown skyscrapers.
Visit is free, and the houses and the associated museum are opened Mon-Sat 10 am-4 pm. Sun 1pm-5 pm. Hourly guided tours are available for a fee by the Heritage Society of Houston.
Park in the Heritage Society's lot between Clay street and Allen Parkway (best entrance is heading East on Allen parkway, turn right right after going under I45). On week-ends, yu can also park for free in the streets of downtown.