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Shopping Party

Foodies, fashionistas and celebrity bartenders mix up a good time at CityCentre shopping party

CityCentre night out
Mix 96.5's Lauren Finkelstein, from left, KHOU's Rekha Muddaraj and CultureMap contributor Marcy de Luna bartending at Straits Restaurant. Photo by Joel Luks

Much needed retail therapy was the excuse for a shopping soirée that had Houstonians flocking to the west side for "CityCentre's Night Out" presented by CultureMap Thursday, a day when not even the threat of rainfall would dispirit foodies and fashionistas from checking out goodies at this mixed-use destination.

No need to feel guilty about dropping some green, though, as a group of participating restaurants and boutiques offered enticing night-only specials.

Dryden Kreps, for example, lured consumers with a $50 gift card with each $250 spent, a deal that roused CultureMap editor in chief Clifford Pugh, while dishing style advise to shoppers, to score a vintage-inspired blazer with a zip out vest designed by Circle of Gentlemen. The retro look was complete with a sparkle of lime green in the zipper brooch.

 Proceeds from this bev plus Sandler's burger benefited Victory, the nonprofit that won CultureMap's Charity Challenge.

With a map on hand that detailed all the special sales, guests meandered from Elaine Turner — where fashion contributor Heather Staible, with a flute of bubbly on hand, was busy styling gals with spring attire that included pieces in citrus colors — to Grub Burger Bar, where food authority Eric Sandler had crafted a sinful concoction he called the Texas Legend burger. Grilled jalapenos, cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce, pulled pork and one onion ring on a toasted bun . . . not for faint of heart.

Brio Tuscan Grille, Jamba Juice, J. Crew, Muir Fine Art Gallery, Olive and Vine, Salata, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille and The Tasting Room got in the action. But it seemed that the final stop for the evening was Straits Restaurant, where contributor Marcy de Luna had assembled a lineup of celebrity bartenders that included. KHOU Ch. 11's Lily Jang and Rekha Muddaraj, Mix 96.5's Lauren Finkelstein, Urban Swank girls Felice Simmons and Shanna Jones plus this happy reporter.

Shaking nonstop for hours to pour the signature drink, a pear infused libation, this sextet gained new respect for the real mixologists who keep partiers lubricated night after night. Proceeds from this bev plus Sandler's burger benefited Victory, the nonprofit that won CultureMap's Charity Challenge.

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