Where the Chefs Are Eating: Culinary Tours of Houston

Want to know where Houston’s best chefs eat their food?  Sign up for a “Where the Chefs Eat” culinary tour.  This is a great way to learn about spots not everyone knows about, rub elbows with some of Houston’s top chefs and other fellow food lovers, all in the comfort (read: designated driver) of a cozy bus that will take you and the rest of the crew on a true Houston adventure.  You’ll also get to enjoy the fare at each stop, and beverages are provided by our local St. Arnold’s Brewery (note:  another great place to see/do while in Houston).

Plus, the proceeds of these events benefit the Houston Food Bank so you can feel good twice!

Tours fill up quickly, as each is limited to 16 participants.  Check out the schedule of upcoming tours for 2011 and sign up to get alerts on more upcoming events and ticket sales information.

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Date Night at Pinot’s Palette

Getting the gals together for a fun night out, but you’re over the bar scene?  Or if you’re a guy looking for a clever way to impress your date, planning a night out here could earn you HUGE points.  Check out Pinot’s Palette for something totally different.  At Pinot’s local artists instruct you and your friends (or very impressed date) on painting your own masterpiece.  You can channel your own inner-VanGogh, Klimt, Degas and more.  Bring your own wine and snacks and Pinot’s takes care of the rest.  Makes for an awesome team-building event as well.

Check out their website for upcoming class offerings at their three convenient Houston/Katy locations.  Spaces fill up fast, so get it on your calendar now!  Send us a pic of your finished masterpiece, too!

Hou-nique: Texas Junk Company

THE TEXAS JUNK COMPANY

With Rodeo season just around the corner, we thought it only appropriate to start off our series on unique things to see and do in Houston with a good pair of worn in cowboy boots.  Seriously…you really can’t go to the Rodeo if you aren’t wearing cowboy boots.  I swear….they won’t let you in!  So, if you’re like a lot of Houstonians and are not really from Houston or anywhere near it, you may want to check out the Texas Junk Company.  Unless you are a “used-shoe-a -phobe” you can likely find the perfect pair of cowboy kicks…the used look of the boots only giving your attire a little more credibility.  The place in general is a bit like the refuge of all the “free stuff” you leave on the curb after a garage sale.  The folks inside are down-home Texan with LOTS of personality so its worth the trip just to hang out with them.  The organized chaos resides in a corner “warehouse”  located at 215 Welch.

Get your fresh here! Houston’s best Farmer’s Markets

As the City’s culture and mindset is rapidly becoming greener, one of the best and tastiest ways for residents to really “go green” is to check out some of our fabulous Farmer’s Markets.  Plus, you don’t have to travel outside of the City to get to some of the best fresh produce our area has to offer.

Probably Houston’s most established market (since 1958) is the Canino Produce Company.  This is my number one favorite, not just because of the crazy huge selection and convenient hours, but because of the other great stuff across the street.  Located at 2520 Airline just north of The Heights, (super convenient to the Midtown, River Oaks, Montrose, Allen Parkway, and Washington areas)  the market is open every day from 6 AM to 8PM. They also offer food tastings on the second Saturday of every month from 10 AM to 12 PM.  This market is huge….over 20,000 square feet!

Important TIP:  Make sure you go through the grocery-store-style section and on to the back.  Out back is the REAL market with several produce vendors lined up on each side.  The best produce is back here and it feels a little more like a real “market.”

The added bonuses:  across the street is the El Bolillo Bakery (Panaderia) which is a “muy” authentic Mexican bakery.  They have every type of pan dulce (Mexican pastry) imaginable and a rockin’ tres leches cake.  Hungry after buying tons of food?  Go to Tampico’s Restaurant and order the huachinango (grilled whole snapper).  Wash it down with a michelada (kind of like a spicy bloody mary made with beer).   Triple bonus!!!

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Waugh Bridge Bats

One of the best “free live shows” in Houston is the display of the Waugh Street bridge bat colony.  Every evening, as the sun sets behind Buffalo Bayou, the colony which is estimated to have somewhere between 250,000 and 300,000 bats leaves the shelter of their home under the bridge.  The flurry and flourish of their departure is witnessed just about every evening by watchers who typically gather on the bridge.  Fear not…the bats are gentle and harmless although you should not try to touch the bats as they may carry disease.  Houstonians love the bats since their favorite meal is mosquitos, which we also have in abundance.  The colony population is at its peak in late August so if you can bare the heat and humidity this time of year you will see the most dramatic display.  It’s impressive at any time, though so get out to the bridge and check it out!  I’ve included a Youtube clip to give you an idea, but video just can’t do the experience justice.  If you find the experience incredible and moving, then the next time you’re in Austin be sure to check out the bat colony at Travis Lake which blows Houston away with a colony population of over 1.5 million!

Hou-nique: A Series on Some of Houston’s Most Unique Things to See and Do

The Art Car Parade

Let us tell you some of the coolest, often unknown places to go and things to see  in our City.  The next time you have guests in from out of town, impress them with your in-depth “insider” knowledge this blog series will give you.  And by all means, if you have a favorite, unique “haunt” around town, let us know!  The city of Austin thinks they have cornered the market on weird, quirky, unique, and otherwise so Austinites love ribbing “conservative, old Houston.”  But trust me…we  have a lot of great things going on around town that I am SURE those Austinites roll in to see.