The Houston Insider: October 2011

We have a great, new monthly feature on the Do Houston blog…The Houstonian Insider.  The Houstonian Insider is a quick rundown of some of the best events going on in Houston each month (some we feature on this blog in more detail) including links to get more information.  We want to thank our guest contributor, Shawn Manderscheid for putting it all together!  You can find out more about Shawn on our “About” page.

October To Do’s
Navigate Houston’s October spooky scene with these fun events…
It’s Fall again and finally a break in the weather! There’s plenty to all month long so hope you get out and enjoy our city. // Swing by the Contemporary Arts Museum for their “Champagne and Ribs” on Wednesday Oct. 5th from 6:30-9pm for an evening of crisp bubbles, delicious barbeque, and saucy live jazz on their terrace. Tickets range from $15-$40. // Come out to Southern Star Brewery Co.’s “Open the Taps”, Saturday Oct. 8th from 1-3 pm to drink some awesome, local craft beer and chat with them about the movement to make Texas more craft beer friendly! // The 40th Annual Bayou City Arts Festival hits Houston Saturday and Sunday Oct. 8-9th and opens its gates at 10 am each day. // Some tickets are still left for the Bayou City Art Festival’s “Houdini’s Heist” after party on the steps of City Hall, Saturday Oct. 8th featuring magical delectables, spell-casting cocktails, enchanted works of art and supernatural entertainment. // The 45th Annual Original Greek Festival runs from Thursday Oct. 6th through Sunday Oct. 9th at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral and includes food, shopping, dancing and entertainment for the entire family. // Looking for something different to do outdoors? Then join CultureMap for happy hour and “Painting in the Park” on Oct. 11th from 5:30-7:30 pm at Discovery Green. Be inspired by the lush gardens as you create your own painted masterpiece on canvases provided by Pinot’s Palette, sip on libations and nibble on bites. Tickets are $10. // Join Houston Pavilions and Pup Squad Rescue for Barkitecture 2011 Oct. 14-15th. Houston’s best architects, designers, builders and artists have been selected to create dog houses to be auctioned off to benefit Pup Squad. // Explore historic downtown by joining your friends and neighbors and sampling bites and beverages from the area’s diverse assortment of eclectic bars and restaurants at “A Night at Market Square”, Saturday Oct. 15th from 6 pm to 10 pm. Enjoy Saint Arnold brew plus live music at Market Square Park from swing/rock band, The Jitterbug Vipers. Blankets, chairs and picnics welcome. // Houston Arboretum’s “Night Woods Mystery” is Oct. 28th at 7 pm. Learn about night animals as you work your way through a scavenger hunt and then wind down with a relaxed wine and cheese mixer. // Catch one of Houston’s many Halloween festivities including the Annual Emerging Leaders “Reds Whites and Boos!” on Oct. 22nd at Advantage BMW Midtown , the Annual Halloween Party benefiting Bering Omega Community Services on Oct. 22nd at 2212 Woodhead, Discovery Green Park’s annual family-friendly “Scream on the Green” is Saturday Oct. 29th from 6-10 pm//

Pet Lovers: Support our canine troops at The Boneyard Pints for Pups event!

Let’s not forget a very special group of US Military veterans:  our K-9 troops!  Please join us for the Pints for Pups event at The Boneyard (yes…it’s a pet friendly spot) on September 16 from 6pm to 9pm.  We’ll be serving up some great beer, and the only cost is your donation to benefit the Military Working Dog Adoptions which seeks to find loving homes for our retired heros and the K-9 Military Fund who uses funds raised to purchase care packages for military K-9s overseas and their soldiers/handlers.

There will be free food provided by Firehouse Subs and you will get to meet Bino, a retired service dog who is one of eight finalists for the American Hero Dog Award through the American Humane Association.  There will also be prizes and give aways!  You must be 21 or older to attend this event.

This event was created by Pasha Cook, owner of All Natural Pet Delivery.  Pasha has a passion for dogs and works tirelessly to raise awareness on pet related issues as well as providing her customers with valuable knowledge on keeping their pets healthy and happy.  Other sponsors for the event include The Pet’s Play Palace, Bark Buster’s, and Houston Mobile Vet.

Upcoming Events: Houston BestFest Live Music, Art, Awesome Food in Midtown

For the last 22 years, the Houston Press has been sharing with Houstonians all of the deets on places to eat, live music, the arts and more.  If you’re already familiar with Houston Press then you know about their  “Best of Houston” which is a list of what Houston Press readers say are their favorite things in Houston.  “Best of” categories range from best school principle to the best bloody mary and everything in between.  Naturally, there are plenty of “Best of” categories for food and drink as well as shopping and retail services.

The Tontons

The Tontons

So finally, we have an event to celebrate some of the best of Houston in one of the liveliest spots in town.  Join us for the first ever Best Fest, September 24-25 in Midtown.  This is the inaugural event with an expected turn out of 20,000.  Revelers will enjoy live music from 2 stages including Cake, Bun B, and my favorite the Tontons (think Mazzy Star with a more upbeat edge).  New acts are being added daily so be sure to check out the BestFest site for updates.  Be sure to come hungry too, as there will be several of Houston’s favorites at the event.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of Houston’s awesome food trucks show up as well, although none have been confirmed as of yet.

Cake

Houston BestFest will take place at the Midtown Superblock, 2800 Main.  The Superblock is between Travis and Main, and McGowen and Anita.  There will be street parking available.  Another great option to get to the event is to ride the MetroRAIL to the McGowen stop and walk across the street to BestFest.

Early bird tickets are on sale now at the BestFest website.  Full weekend passes are currently available for $25 (free for kids 10 and under).  Regular price is $40.  There will also be a VIP option including free appetizer buffet, non-alcoholic drinks, and VIP covered pavilion with lounge seating near the stage.  VIP 2 day passes are on sale now for $95 ($150 regular price).

Important to note:  this is NOT a dog-friendly event, so please leave Fido at home.

Upcoming Events: Houston Jazz Festival 2011

Rachelle Farrell

Yet another shining star for the arts in Houston, the 2011 Houston Jazz Festival is just around the corner.  This will be the fourth year for the event hosted by Jazz Education Inc., a 501 C3 non-profit whose mission is to educate and instill a passion for jazz to Houston youth.

21st Annual Houston International Jazz Festival
Schedule

Friday, August 5, 2011
House of Blues – 1204 Caroline
8:00 pm Kick-off Party
Featuring: Kyle Turner w/ Joe Carmouche
Advance Tickets $20/Door $25Saturday, August 6, 2011
Discovery Green Park – 1500 McKinney
4:00 pm Gate Open
5:00 pm SJW
6:45 pm Texas Brass Band w/ Frank Lacy
8:30 pm Four PlaySunday, August 7, 2011
Wortham Theater – 610 Preston
11:00 am – Kroger Mayor’s Scholarship Jazz Brunch
Featuring: The Summer Jazz Workshop All-Stars w/Special Guest

Discovery Green Park – 1500 McKinney
4:00 pm Gate Open
5:00 pm Theresa Grayson
6:45 pm Mindy Abair
8:30 pm Will Downing

Discovery Green Advance Tickets:
General Admission $25.00/Reserved Seating $35.00

Discovery Green Gate Tickets:
General Admission $30.00/Reserved Seating $40.00

Food Truck Tours: It’s A Wrap!

No, our series on food trucks is not over….we’re talking about the name of another great gourmet truck in the city called “It’s A Wrap!”  I found them today at Inversion Coffee House.  The only standing date they seem to have is Saturdays at Inversion on Montrose from 11-2, so if you’re trying to find them on any given day, just check out their Facebook or their Tweets at ItsAWrapTruck.

OK, so here’s the skinny….I tried the Jerk Chicken wrap.  The chicken was perfectly seasoned and cooked, and no “funky chicken pieces” were to be found…yeah!!!  They highlight this wrap with a tangy and fresh mango salsa, a little cilantro and a spicy mayo with an excellent kick to it.  I don’t like lettuce on my hot sandwiches as it grosses me out to eat hot, wilted lettuce and forgot to tell them to hold the lettuce.  I don’t know how they did it, but the lettuce was nice and crunchy adding a great crisp to the texture.  Overall, I give “The Jerk” a perfect score.  I also tried the fried Mac ‘n Cheese ball.  I would call it the perfect carb nugget, even though I’m not typically a Mac ‘n Cheese fan.

The menu selection was a bit slim as compared to some of the other trucks:  only four wraps being offered, plus the Mac ‘n Cheese ball.  It looks like the change around the daily menu some as their card shows about six options and two other “appetizers.”

Spring is here! Join us, Thirsty Thursdays at Market Square Park!

Come join the fun at Market Square Park’s Thirsty Thursdays outdoor concert series, kicking off March 25!  Bring the blankets and lawn chairs, kick back, enjoy great food and drinks from Niko Niko’s, and listen to the sounds!  “Austin Rock” RULES with native Patrice Pike (Patrice Pike Trio) kicking off one of Houstonians’ favorite spring traditions.

Check out the full calendar of events for Market Square Park here.

Here’s the 411 on parking:

There is an abundance of on-street parking in downtown.  Metered on-street parking is available Monday-Saturday and is free after 6 pm and all day Sunday.  Make sure you feed the meter when applicable and always pay close attention to City signage.  Never park at a red meter or if the street  has red markings.  Milam and Travis streets along the park are also considered mobility lanes so you cannot park there from 7-9 am or 4-6 pm.

$5 parking is available daily at Market Square Garage at 300 Milam which is conveniently located across the street from the park.

This is a dog-friendly, family friendly, get-out-and-enjoy-Houston place to be!   Come catch the buzz….

Wabash Feed Store-“A Little Bit of Country in the Heart of the City”

I LOVE a good dichotomy.  When you see this place, you won’t believe you’re in the heart of Houston.  Living in the area of the Wabash myself, I had driven by so many times without even knowing it was there.  The Wabash Feed Store has been in business since the turn of the century (20th, that is…not 21st).  Don’t let the name fool you…you need to drop by and just experience this quirky little place located in the booming Washington corridor, across the street from El Tiempo Mexican Restaurant.  Even if you don’t have cattle or horses to feed, or don’t really dig on garden art, there are lots of things to see and buy.

This is such a great place to take the kiddos, too.  They have a huge array of animals from standard fare dogs and cats, to chickens, turkeys, rabbits, and more!  Personally, I love the chickens and miss hanging out with them like I used to on my sister’s farm, so Wabash is a great place for me to spend time with my poultry pals.  The Wabash also features a farmer’s market every Sunday from 11 to 3 and a good enough reason to go to the market is that Slow Dough Bread Co. sells their wares there!

ASIDE:  If you’ve had to-die for bread at a Houston restaurant, there is a good chance it came from Slow Dough.  They DON’T have a retail storefront, so your only chance to buy it direct is at one of the Farmer’s Markets that Slow Dough participates in…like the Wabash on Sundays.

With all of the great restaurants now in the Washington area, you should swing by after your meal and just take a look-see.   Once again, I manage to tie in food to a blog….surprise, surprise.