Photo courtesy of BB's Tex-Orleans

A brand-new menu has hit the table at BB's Tex-Orleans, the Cajun eatery with 12 Houston-area locations serving up traditional Southern Louisiana-style cooking with a Texas twist.

Just in time for summer, the new dishes span fresh fish ceviche to Nashville hot chicken, with plenty of po' boys, seafood, and Southern staples like gumbo and shrimp and grits to round it all out.

Explore the pastabilities with the Morgan City Crawfish Fettuccine Pasta or get spicy with the chimichurri-drenched Steak South America.

Dig into combos like the El Tejaneaux, which includes three empanadas, one boudin flauta with verde cream sauce, red beans and rice, and choice of one side. Or order Da Cray Cajun, crawfish étouffée over white rice with fried fish.

Even the salads got expanded. Welcome the Kale Steak Salad, which not only features tenderized skirt steak but also Honeycrisp apples, candied pecans, tomato, and a blue cheese vinaigrette.

And don't worry: The best boiled seafood in town is still happening daily. Choose from snow crab, Dungeness crab, or shrimp and then build your tray just how you like it, whether that means the Tex-Orleans or Louisiana way. Fill it up with your choice of button mushrooms, corn, red potatoes, edamame, Brussels sprouts, greens, and four kinds of sausage (including spicy alligator andouille).

Or let BB's make the choices for you, with boil experiences served family-style. Grab your family, friends, or even your neighbors to help tuck into a mountain of shrimp, crab, or combo of both, all the trimmings and extras included.

BB's Tex-Orleans seafood boil

Photo courtesy of BB's Tex-Orleans

Tuck into a Boil Experience at BB's Tex-Orleans.

You can even add Loaded Pollo Bullets to your boil. If you're not familiar with these little bursts of flavor, it's chicken stuffed with cream cheese and jalapeños and wrapped in bacon. Order them to start your meal, and they also come with a side of Cajun cream sauce.

"We are excited to launch a more expansive menu that extends beyond our Cajun roots and continues building upon our culinary legacy," says Brooks Bassler, founder and CEO of BB's Tex-Orleans." We've unveiled a fresh perspective on Tex-Orleans cooking, while staying true to our Cajun with a Texas twist roots."

Tempted to pick a new favorite? You'll have to come and try each dish to narrow down the choices, and even then it might feel impossible to crown a winner.

Don't forget that Houston Restaurant Weeks is coming up, and BB's Tex-Orleans is featuring a few of its new, expanded menu items on the course list. It's a great reason to dine out to do good, and taste-test your new favorite dishes.

Follow BB's Tex-Orleans on Instagram and Facebook to stay on top of all the yummy news, and find your nearest location here.

Photo by Jenn Duncan

20 exciting new Houston Restaurant Week options serve up global fare and lively entertainment

20 HRW first timers

Over the weekend, Houston Restaurant Weeks released its initial lineup of participants. The event, which takes from August 1 through Labor Day (Monday, September 4), will feature more than 200 Houston restaurants serving prix-fixe menus at lunch, brunch, and dinner.

For 2023, prices remain the same as last year: with lunch and brunch priced at $25 for a two or three-course meal and dinner priced at $39 or $55 for a three or four-course meal (prices do not include beverages, tax, or tip). In turn, the restaurants will donate $3 for a $25 meal, $5 for a $39 meal, or $7 for a $55 meal to the Cleverley Stone Foundation, the non-profit that operates HRW. In turn, the foundation will make a donation to the Houston Food Bank.

HRW’s founder, the late Cleverley Stone, liked to tout the event as a win-win-win. Restaurants win by turning the formerly slow month of August into a busy one. Diners win by getting to try some of Houston’s most upscale restaurants at a fixed, discounted price. The food bank wins by securing a donation of more than $1 million.

The last 12 months have been a particularly dynamic time for new restaurant openings, and many have elected to participate in HRW for the first time. The list below isn’t a comprehensive guide to every new establishment taking the HRW plunge, but it does give diners a head start on making their plans.

Located in The Woodlands’ Waterway, this Indian fine dining restaurant is serving a three-course, $55 menu. Its six appetizer options include jackfruit samosas, chicken meatballs, and pork belly. The entree options — all of which are served with garlic naan and dal makhani — include butter chicken, prawn curry, and lamb chops ($20 supplement). Finish with one of three desserts.

Bari Ristorante
River Oaks District’s new Italian restaurant will observe its first HRW with a three-course, $55 dinner menu. The five appetizer choices include caprese salad, frito misto, and charred octopus ($7 supplement). Entree options include braised short ribs with polenta, grilled branzino with roasted vegetables, or, for an extra $7, mushroom risotto. Bari’s menu has four dessert options, but go with the mango cheesecake.

Ostia roast chicken
Photo by Jenn Duncan

Ostia's signature roast chicken is on its HRW menu.

Caps Supper Club & Bar
At this restaurant in Briargrove that features live music from 9:30 pm - 1 am every Thursday - Saturday, the three-course, $39 menu features some tempting choices. Options include deviled eggs, berry beet salad, hanger steak, and chicken paillard with rice pilaf. Finish with one of three desserts.

Ciel Restaurant & Bar
Speaking of entertainment, restaurants don’t get much more lively than this establishment near River Oaks District that features pop ups performers by singers and dancers throughout the evening. The three-course, $55 menu starts with options such as calamari tempura, king salmon maki roll, and a salad that can be upgraded with shrimp, chicken, or filet. Entree options include roasted branzino, spaghetti with shrimp (add king crab for $30), or a 10-ounce ribeye for a $35 supplement. Finish with vacherin, a chocolate eclair, or raspberry sorbet that can be upgraded with a dollop of caviar for an additional $15.

This Vietnamese restaurant’s three-course, $39 dinner menu offers all savory courses. Start with summer rolls, egg rolls, or braised pork belly. Next, choose from snow mushroom salad, brown clams in sweet chili fish sauce, and pho nachos. Finish with tofu and mushroom curry, surf and turf fried rice, or whole fried branzino.

Eau Tour
Benjy Levit’s French restaurant in Rice Village will serve a three-course, $55 dinner menu. Start with choice of soup or salad before selecting duck confit, scallop lyonnaise, roasted vegetable panisse, or grilled branzino. We suggest selecting the profiteroles for dessert.

This Southern-inspired restaurant in Rice Village will serve a three-course, $39 dinner menu. Selections include buttermilk fried chicken tenders, wagyu sliders, chicken meatballs, cacio e pepe, and shrimp skewers with a coconut curry marinade.

Graffiti Raw
At this California-inspired restaurant in the Montrose Collective development, diners will find a number of choices on the four-course, $55 dinner menu. Start with dishes such as crispy rice and tuna, caviar and chips, red snapper ceviche, and crab and shrimp fried rice. Entree options consist of linguini with claims, roasted chicken, roasted salmon, and the popular cheeseburger. Beet cake, tres leches, or chocolate tart finish the meal.

This Israeli restaurant in Rice Village is also offering diners a four-course, $55 dinner menu along with a three-course lunch menu. At dinner, start with signature dishes such as lamb hummus, felafel, cauliflower couscous, or any three salatim. Entree options at dinner include one of four skewers: chicken, tenderloin, shrimp, or King Oyster mushroom, while lunch features both a felafel sandwich and chicken thigh served with rice or salad. Both menus finish with one of three desserts.

Karne Korean Steakhouse
This Heights restaurant will serve a three-course, $55 menu. Start with favorites like Black Sesame K.F.C., cured pork belly, or tuna tartare ($10 supplement). Entree choices include hanger steak, chuck flap, and fish; all are served with banchan, and sides are available for $8 each. The meal concludes with one of three desserts.

The luxurious Italian steakhouse in the Montrose Collective development with will both a two-course lunch and a three-course, $55 dinner. At lunch, the menu features dishes such as Caesar salad, Tuscan fried chicken, chicken parm, and spaghetti with meatballs. At dinner, the entree choices include a dry-aged NY strip, Texas redfish, and the signature squid ink campanelle with blue crab and uni cream.

The East End’s buzz-worthy new Italian restaurant will serve both a three-course lunch and a four-course, $55 dinner. At lunch, the offerings center around Mimo’s sandwiches and pastas. Dinner features both a pasta course with three selections and entree choices of filet, eggplant or Cornish game hen.

Money Cat
Find a three-course, $55 dinner menu at this Upper Kirby restaurant. Start with chutoro toast, hamachi with compressed melon, or king crab taraba. Entree options include miso cured sea bass, short rib, or sashimi. The meal ends with three dessert choices.

Ojo de Agua
This Mexico City-based restaurant will serve two-course lunch and brunch menus as well as a three-course, $39 dinner. Both lunch and brunch have similar menus with dishes such as tropical ceviche, fruit cup, chilaquiles, and quesadillas. Dinner includes choice of salad to start followed by one of three entrees: tacos (chicken or tofu); tostada with sweet potato and choice of tuna or salmon; and sirloin stuffed with cheese. Finish with guava pancake, peanut butter açaí sorbet scoop, or a chocolate chip cookie.

Travis McShane’s Italian restaurant will serve both a two-course lunch and a three-course, $55 dinner. At lunch, the menu includes a chicken salad sandwich, bucatini carbonara, and arguably Houston’s best Caesar salad. At dinner, the choices include the same starters as long, along with gnocchi, bucatini al’Amatriciana, and the signature roast chicken with salsa verde. Finish with chocolate budino, cookies, or Basque cheesecake.

Pacha Nikkei
Located in West Houston, the restaurant’s Nikkei cuisine will be available as both a two-course lunch and a three-course, $55 dinner. Lunch options include spicy salmon maki, pork gyoza, a sashimi bento box, and a pork katsu bento. At dinner, start with ceviche or a kampachi tiradito. Entree choices include lomo saltado with beef tenderloin, vegan saltado with mushrooms, and shrimp mac and cheese. Churros, ice cream, and bread pudding constitute the dessert choices.

Underbelly Hospitality’s new Italian restaurant will serve a three-course, $55 dinner. The menu includes two salads, shrimp in XO sauce, buccatini cacio e pepe, short rib risotto, and pan seared snapper. Finish with one of three desserts.

The Upper Kirby French restaurant will serve a two-course lunch and a three-course, $55 dinner. At lunch, chef Philippe Schmit’s offerings include onion soup, tarte flambe, steak frites, and Flash Cooked Salmon. The dinner menu has similar starters to lunch along with entrees such as bouillabaisse, beef short rib, and crispy salmon. Choose either of the classic French desserts — crepe suzette or floating island — over the bread pudding.

The Lymbar
Chef David Cordua’s restaurant in the Ion building in Midtown will serve an impressive four-course lunch and a three-course, $39 dinner. Lunch includes an empanada, a salad, five different entree choices, and dessert. At dinner, the menu includes Cordua signatures such as truffle twinkies and ceviche. Entree options include empanadas, chicken shawarma or beef tacos, chicken and mushroom pasta, and churrasco bites. The restaurant offers three desserts, but the tres leche stands out.

Triola’s Kitchen
This favorite of Houston’s foodie Facebook groups will serve a two-course lunch and a three-course, $55 dinner. At lunch, start with choice of soup or salad before selecting one of three entrees: penne with sausage, grilled chicken with sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese, or lasagna. The dinner entrees consist of lasagna, grilled salmon, or breaded, baked chicken. Finish with cheesecake, key lime pie, or flourless chocolate cake.

Photo courtesy of Children at Risk

Children At Risk presents The Big Brunch: A Celebration of Texas Pediatric Advocates

Guests of Children At Risk The Big Brunch: A Celebration of Texas Pediatric Advocates will enjoy a brunch prepared by some of Houston’s best chefs, wine tastings, contests, and more.

The event will highlight the great work being done by pediatrics across the state to support and advocate for the health and well-being of our most vulnerable children and families.

Houston Botanic Garden

Houston Botanic Garden presents Go Bananas! Brunch

The Go Bananas! experience will get off to a tasty start with an upscale mid-morning brunch, with coffee and mimosas followed by four courses of curated banana and plantain dishes.

Photo courtesy of Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe

Mom’s the word at Margaritaville Lake Resort in Conroe this May

A Toast to Moms

If you want to gift any special mamas in your life with something a little zippier than flowers this Mother’s Day, there’s a lakeside paradise right around the corner with every mom’s name written all over it.

For Mother’s Day weekend, Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe is showering moms with love through three special experiences, including the ultimate brunch, a beautiful spa day, and a get-away-from-it-all weekend staycay.

For the moms who love a good menu
There’s an endless array of indulgences at Margaritaville’s Mother’s Day Brunch — the Texas-sized French toast with whiskey-infused syrup and blueberry compote, brisket Benedict with chipotle hollandaise, and roasted tomato and feta frittatas are only just the beginning.

Don’t sleep on carving stations with tenderloin, smoked pork, and roast chicken, not to mention all the charcuterie, veggie sides, and freshly baked sweet and savory pastries you can handle. Naturally, there’s a Bloody Mary, mimosa, and bellini bar, too.

View the full menu here, and leave plenty of room on Sunday, May 14, from 10:30 am-3:30 pm for this brunch.

For the moms who love a massage
At the St. Somewhere Spa, the resort’s 18,000-square-foot wellness retreat, mom can have some much-needed rest and rejuvenation — with special pricing for three mom-perfect packages.

The Mommy “Me Time” Spa Package includes a 25-minute neck, back, and shoulder massage and a 25-minute express facial.

The Super Mom Spa Package delivers a 50-minute signature massage and a 50-minute South Beach Anti-Aging Facial.

And the Sweet Mama Spa Package features a 50-minute Milk & Honey body scrub and a 50-minute Sunny Beach Bright Skin Facial. Plus, each package comes with a rose and a glass of champagne.

For the moms who love a staycay
With that decadent brunch already on the menu, you might as well make a weekend out of it at Margaritaville. Grab the License to Chill Overnight Spa Package for a getaway for mom.

In addition to overnight accommodations in a suite that boasts a private furnished balcony or patio, you’ll get two complimentary cocktails from the License to Chill Bar and a $125 spa credit per night of your stay.


Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe is located at 600 Margaritaville Pkwy. in Montgomery, just an hour from Houston. Learn more and plan the perfect Mother’s Day here.

Mom brunch pancakes

Photo courtesy of Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe

You won't want to miss the Mother's Day brunch.

Photo courtesy of The Post Oak Hotel

Celebrate chic moms at The Post Oak Hotel's Parisian Mother's Day brunch

Cheers to Mom

Show the mothers in your life how much you j'adore them with a Springtime in Paris Mother's Day Brunch at The Post Oak Hotel.

On Sunday, May 14, step into Houston's version of Rue Cler, Paris' renowned market street of charming cafes, pastry shops, and retail boutiques.

It helps that the hotel's award-winning executive chef, Jean Luc Royere, is originally from France. His menu is the backdrop for this unique Mother's Day experience that's happening on the hotel's mezzanine level.

On this Parisian food tour, enjoy bites from the butcher shop, or boucherie, offering delights like carved domestic lamb with tarragon beluga lentils and slow-cooked filet mignon with corn and sauce vierge.

The poissonerie is the ultimate destination for fresh fish, offering smoked salmon tartar as well as roasted Alaskan salmon with warm tomato-garbanzo salad and jerez vinaigrette.

The culinary journey continues with fresh-rolled sushi and nigiri at the sushi bar, shucked oysters with caviar at the brasserie, and a wide assortment of local and imported cheeses at the fromagerie alongside a variety of cured meats and sausages at the nearby charcuterie.

In true brunch fashion, traditional breakfast will also be offered and includes an omelet station, assorted individual breakfast quiches, and a sourdough pain perdu bar.

The hotel’s exceptional executive pastry chef Oralia Perez will spoil all at the boulangerie filled with decadent housemade breakfast pastries and breads.

Don’t forget to save room for dessert — Perez’s patisserie is filled with delicate yet refined miniature desserts and macarons, and the creperiewill provide delicious sweet crepes made a la minute.

Beverage options include classics such as freshly squeezed mimosas and traditional Bellinis as well as a champagne Bubble Bar created by the hotel’s esteemed mixologist Judith Piotrowski and inspired by a variety of French fragrances.

Favorites will surely include the Mademoiselle, made with infused Martini and Rossi Fiero, pink bubbles, and vanilla cedar aromatics, as well as the Je T’adore, which blends elderflower and cassis with bubbles and rose water aromatics.

Of course, guests will also have access to the hotel’s incredible Grand Award-winning Cellar at The Post Oak to treat Mom to that rare vintage or treasured bottle.

The celebratory brunch will also offer a Toy Boutique for kids to enjoy fun games and activities, face painting, a balloon artist, and a candy bar while adults can get their shopping fix from 29 North’s on-property retail boutique.

Before departure, family photos to commemorate this special day will be available in front of a floral wall, while mothers will receive lavender bouquets and piped floral “spring garden” cupcakes to take home.

The Springtime in Paris Mother’s Day Brunch will take place from 10 am-4 pm on Sunday, May 14, in the Post Oak Ballroom.

Adult tickets are $160 per person, inclusive of non-alcoholic beverages and one welcome drink from the Parfum Bubble Bar. Children ages 5-12 are $68 per person, while children under five are complimentary.

Reservations are required and should be made through The Post Oak Hotel’s website. For more information or to book a Mother’s Day celebration of 11 or more, please contact 346-227-5041.

Mother's Day brunch

Photo courtesy of The Post Oak Hotel

Travel to Paris for this Mother's Day brunch.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Mega-celebrity photographer of Beyoncé's all-time favorite portrait holds court in Houston to honor Queen Bey

royal portraits

Only a select few humans — ever — have been photographed as often as pop culture’s undisputed queen, Beyoncé, over her illustrious, 26-year career. Even at her young age, Houston’s queen possesses a singular trait that elevates her above even the most apex celebrities: immortality.

Just how do the ultra-famous unlock the loftiest achievement of immortality? For many, it’s often through a single, transcendent photograph, which can transform a performer into an icon — and rocket a mere mortal into immortal status. And few photographers on the planet can bestow immortality on the globally famous like A-list artisan Markus Klinko.

To celebrate Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour homecoming — and his now legendary photos of her over the years — Klinko will meet fans from 1 pm to 3 pm Saturday, September 23 at Tootsies for a showcase of some of his most famed works — including the ultra-rare Beyoncé “Diamond Dust” series, on view at Nicole Longnecker Gallery.

A statuesque, towering presence (he’s six-foot-four) with chiseled features and a flair for fashion, the Swiss-born Klinko looks every part a celeb himself. That star quality has no doubt helped him break the ice when photographing superstars like our Beyoncé, David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Kanye West, Anne Hathaway, Kate Winslet, Naomi Campbell, and Iman — to name a few. Not a bad resume for a former professional classical harp soloist who — sort of amazingly — only fell into photography after a hand injury (more on that later).

Before she became a one-word brand, Beyoncé Knowles was just 22 when she experienced Klinko’s wizardry firsthand in 2003. Already drawing It Girl attention as a member of Destiny’s Child, the young Houstonian had met Klinko during a Destiny’s Child photo shoot for Vibe magazine in 2000. With his trademark, sixth-sense for superstardom, Klinko pointed to Beyoncé while she was lounging with the group and told her mother, Tina Knowles, “Her, she’s going to be huge.” Tina’s response: “We know.”

Three years later, Sony reunited Beyoncé and Klinko to shoot the cover of Dangerously in Love, Beyoncé’s now legendary 2003 debut solo album. The match, now, seems predestined: both Beyoncé and Knowles were in the early stages of their careers. Beyoncé and Klinko vibed immediately, and in a simple snap of his Fuji camera, Klinko shot the stunning and shimmering photo that Queen Bey recently told French newspaper Le Figaro is her most favorite of any portrait taken of her.

Staying true to his organic, in-the-moment approach, Klinko flawlessly captured Beyoncé’s effortless pose in her now-famed diamond top and created one of music’s most iconic celebrity photos and yes, helped cement Beyoncé’s immortal status. And it only cost him his pants. (More on that later, too.)

CultureMap caught up with Klinko ahead of his Houston appearance and fresh off the opening of his latest installation: His celebrity images are on display at the legendary Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino in, naturally, the vaunted Elvis Presley Suite. Perfect timing, then, for Klinko to star as a cover model in the familiar Tootsies window displays.

CultureMap: Congratulations on landing the Tootsies window display. It looks gorgeous.

Markus Klinko: Oh yeah, it’s spectacular, isn’t it?

CM: Quite! So, what’s it like seeing yourself as one of the main features of an exhibit — as opposed to being behind the camera?

MK: You know, I’ve never been in the window of a major fashion department store, so this is pretty fun.

CM: Never in the window, but you’ve certainly been the focal point of attention as an acclaimed harpist.

MK: Yes, I started my life on the ‘other’ side, and as you say, as a classical concert harpist. I was signed to EMI Classics and represented by Colombia Artists and traveling around the world making recordings. I was on television very often and on magazine covers and all that throughout my 20s and early 30s — everything from Italian Vogue and Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar and GQ and all those fashion magazines for which I later worked as a photographer. So it’s not completely. new. But this is sort of a different twist.

CM: You clearly had an understanding of being in the spotlight, and the butterflies-in-the-stomach pressure to put on a great performance and give of yourself to an audience. Did that experience help you relate to your celebrity performer subjects in a way that just maybe a Mark Seliger or an Annie Leibovitz — not disparaging either — could not? Do you have a window into these performers’ worlds where they relate to you, and you to them?

MK: You know, that’s an amazing question and I’m glad you’re asking me this.

I switched from my classical music career, which was very successful at that time, to becoming a photographer at 33 under dramatic circumstances. It was tragic; basically a hand injury forced me to abandon my career at the height of my success in the summer of 1994.

I was forced to cancel recording sessions, touring engagements and all of that. I had no clue where my income would be coming from, so it was not like the happiest moment in my life. It was actually sort of a panic-stricken time.

CM: And then came the moment.

MK: Yes, I had this epiphany that I will become a fashion photographer, actually had no intention at all to ever become a celebrity photographer. In the beginning of my photo career, I was 100-percent interested only in shooting models — mainly female models to be honest. I would have liked to be a Playboy magazine photographer or something.

So in other words, I just wanted to have fun. It was the last thought on my mind to help other musicians succeed.

CM: You almost seem like you were dragged into fashion and celebrity photography.

MK: A few years into my photo career, around 1999, I was still completely focused on shooting models, models, models. I wasconfronted with proposals from record labels and magazines to shoot covers for them. And I distinctly remember telling my agent at the time that I was not interested and that why would I shoot musicians, when I could just shoot models who are more beautiful in general. And that was that.

CM: And how did that go over?

MK: At some point my agent picked up the phone and screamed at me and said, ‘Markus, you’re an idiot! We have record companies wanting to pay you $100,000 a day and you would rather shoot some girl.’ And I said, ‘Okay, fine, I’ll try it.’ My first record cover shoot was Vitamin C; at that moment she had the biggest hit of the year.

I asked my friends from Interview magazine to style it and she was lovely and I had no problem with it. But about a month later, I got up in the morning and I went to the gym. As I walked through the streets of New York, there were thousands and thousands of posters of Vitamin. I saw my image of Vitamin C a million times on the way to the gym. And I was like, ‘Hmm, that’s not so bad.’

A couple of months later, GQ called me from the UK and wanted me to shoot these different celebrities. And I told GQ — it was very funny — I said under one condition, I’ll shoot the celebrity you want me to shoot, but I want you to let me shoot some nude girl for the centerfold of GQ. And they just said, ‘Okay, whatever you want.’ So I invented the GQ Pin Up 2000 and for a whole year as a reward of shooting some British pop star girl for them — who I couldn’t care less but whatever, I did it. But then I shot Little Kim and Molly Sims and a bunch of really big models and supermodels.

CM: And then you shoot the world’s biggest supermodel, Iman, for her book, which leads to shooting a rock god David Bowie — her husband — for his now-famous album cover [Heathens, 2002] in 2001. Talk about a word-of-mouth reference.

MK: By that time, I was already inundated with. requests from labels. I shot nonstop for different labels and then Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez. That all came as a reaction basically to that first celebrity shoot with Vitamin C, and I guess just my style. The way I shot models was very different from what was in fashion at the time. I just sort of did my own thing. And that really appealed to major advertising record covers, iconic photo shoots, big comeback shoots for artists like Mariah. Mariah really needed a big comeback shoot in 2005 when she launched The Emancipation of Mimi.

CM: Let’s go back to that magical moment in 2003 when you shot perhaps the most legendary photo of Beyoncé ever.

MK: Sony music called me and they said, 'Beyonce from Destiny’s Child is going solo and she requested you shoot her album cover. Apparently, you had worked with her before for Destiny’s Child and she wanted to only work with you for this.'

So then, Sony Music organized a phone call between me, Beyoncé, the Sony team, and her mom Tina [Knowles] who was styling it. Beyoncé on the phone mentioned specifically my photograph of Leticia Costa, the French supermodel and actor in the "Spider Web" shot. And she said she really loved that photo — She called it the Diamond Spider or something. And she said she would love something like that, but smaller on her. And to be honest, I had no idea what that meant, but I was just like, 'Okay.'

Fast forward to a week later when the photo shoot actually happened and they arrived in the morning. I noticed that there was this diamond top and I grabbed it and I went up to Beyoncé. I said, 'This is exactly what you were talking about. We could do this.' And then she said, 'Oh yeah, I was thinking about it, but my mom has these skirts and I don’t wanna wear those because it reminds me of a prom and I don’t wanna look like a prom on my album cover.'

And I said, 'Yeah, of course not. Let’s do it with denim.' And then Beyonce said, 'No, we don’t have any, we didn’t bring any denim.'

CM: And then...?

MK: And so I said, 'Oh, don’t worry, maybe you’ll fit into mine.' And she said, 'Oh, really? Can I try them?' And so that’s the story.

CM: I’m guessing you had another pair handy?

MK: Oh, sure, I just grabbed another pair from upstairs I had. You know, back then and until now, my favorite pair of jeans are always DNG — Dolce & Gabbana.

CM: I love the story of how she returned them to you.

MK: She brought them back a couple months later. She had dry cleaned them and she packed them into some sort silk paper thing and a ribbon. She brought him back and said, 'Please don’t sell them on eBay, ever.' And she laughed.

I thought that was really sweet and I just took them and I put them somewhere. This is crazy, but I’m actually talking to Botswana Diamond Dealers to fill up a bathtub at the Vegas suite and to put those Beyoncé jeans into the bling bathtub as a joke. You know, almost as a shrine.

CM: Markus, it certainly seems to me that right when you looked through the viewer and fired off that exposure, she went from Beyoncé Knowles from Houston, Texas to the immoral global brand all in one second.

MK: You are right, yes. Absolutely she did. I had a jolt in my, in my whole body when that moment happened. And I told her that right then as soon as I clicked that shot. I said, 'We got the cover, you’ll see.' There's alternate shots of that, which are all beautiful, and some of them will be in Houston.

CM: It seems you predicted her future while announcing her to the world. Is that fair to say?

MK: Well, the way I see it is with that image, I sort of anticipated who Beyoncé was going to become. I think that my job that day was to take a young girl from Houston, Texas, a member of an R&B group, and present to the world who she will be. And she would have become that regardless of whatever I did photographically, because she’s such an enormous, enormously talented musician and performer and icon. She’s a great actress. But, my opportunity was to showcase to the world quickly and immediately who she will be. And so that’s what I’m proud of.

CM: You have shot countless celebrity portraits — many the most memorable of said celebrity, like Britney Spears. How does it feel to hear that your 2003 shot is Queen Bey’s favorite of all time?

MK: The fact that Beyoncé is probably the biggest celebrity in the world today, and having photographed the most famous photo — of the most famous celebrity — is an honor that I take with great humility. I’m not saying that to show off — I’m saying that to thank God for the opportunity. I am glad that Beyoncé loves the photo so much. I’m glad that the world recognizes it as her most famous photo: It's been said many, many times that it is the most recognizable Beyoncé photo. So I'm very honored that people feel that way about it.

CM: What do you remember of the Beyoncé then, and the Beyoncé you've worked with since for other projects?

MK: I remember Beyoncé and being around her, seeing her as an extremely kind, very humble, very normal person. I’ve never felt any sort of diva behavior from her. Beyoncé was just really, really nice and normal. And she’s extremely hardworking, obviously extremely talented, not just with music and singing and acting, but also in the process of collaboration of a visual product such as these photographs I’ve done with her. She’s a very, very good collaborator.

There are people who are very famous, especially actors who sometimes, in front of the still camera, feel awkward. Sometimes comedians and actors need the movement, the momentum, the storytelling, the words in order to showcase their brilliance and their talent.

Not everyone is able in a 2/50th of a second to express all of that, but Beyoncé certainly has that incredible ability and I think that’s innate and subconscious and subliminal. She just knows where the light is coming from and she knows how to position it all in the most phenomenal way. And I guess I subliminally know how to catch it. So it’s really one of those very, very easy collaborations.

CM: Speaking of collaborations, you are able to crystallize a pop icon’s entire era in a single exposure unlike perhaps anyone I’ve ever seen. Did you know that Beyoncé, Megan Thee Stallion, and Lizzo are all from Houston — they all grew up just a mere 30 minutes from each other.

MK: Wow, I did not know that.

CM: Yes, we’re home to three of the biggest female pop stars in the world. So I wonder: Megan Thee Stallion is truly in the midst of her moment. Is she someone you’d like to shoot next?

MK: Well, let me answer it this way...I hope that Megan reads your interview, because I absolutely love Megan and I would love to work with her — and they should call me. I love her.

CM: I would be remiss if I didn’t ask: What is your favorite Beyoncé song?

MK: Oh, I would say “Crazy In Love” is one of my favorites. There are obviously many, but I'm probably biased to that album. That's one of my proudest collaborations, so, of course, I’m biased. Can you blame me? [Laughs]

Courtesy of Markus Klinko


Courtesy of Markus Klinko


Courtesy of Markus Klinko


Beyonc\u00e9 Dangerously in Love

Courtesy of Markus Klinko

Markus Klinko captured Beyoncé's favorite portrait in 2003 for her Dangerously in Love debut solo album.

Courtesy of Markus Klinko


Countdown to Beyoncé: Trill Burgers shortens hours to serve massive NRG Stadium crowd

respect the beyhive

Since it opened in June, Trill Burgers has been unstoppable. Bun B’s burger joint has seen lines out the door, fed celebrities ranging from Drake to Mike Tyson, and caused literal traffic jams with its drive-thru.

But even a juggernaut like Trill Burgers knows better than to mess with the Beyhive. For this weekend only (September 23 and 24), the Montrose-area restaurant will only be open from 11 am to 2 pm. Operating with such limited hours will allow Trill Burgers to feed the sold out crowds flocking to NRG Stadium for Beyoncé’s Renaissance Tour.

“We want to make sure that we have our stations fully stocked so that people don't miss this amazing show that she's bringing,” Bun said in a video posted to social media. “We know the Beyhive don't play and Trill Burgers don't play either.”

In order to ensure people get their burgers as quickly as possible, Trill Burgers is slimming down its menu to only serve beef burgers — sorry, vegans. In addition, it will impose a limit of two burgers per person.

Due to the stage setup, Trill Burgers will only operate two of its usual four stands. They are Sections 135 and 548.

Of course, CultureMap has you covered for everything related to this weekend’s concerts. Don’t miss our guides for what to wear, events celebrating Beyoncé, and the latest traffic and parking info.

Countdown to Beyoncé: Parking, closures, rideshares, and more for NRG Stadium

bey prepared

The countdown is on for Beyoncé's highly anticipated shows in Houston this weekend, and ABC13 has everything you need to know for an easy ride over to NRG Stadium to see Queen Bey.

This weekend's gridlock alert isn't like any other, as more traffic is anticipated than usual in the South Loop area towards the venue on both Saturday and Sunday.

Here's what you need to know:


Drivers, if you decide to park directly at NRG Stadium, know all lots will have $40 cashless parking.

Parking is available in the orange, red, maroon, blue, yellow, green and purple lots. ADA parking is available in all of the lots.

If you're getting a ride, you can get dropped off and picked up at the Yellow Lot. The entrance will be through Gate 16B off Main Street.

METRORail riders can take the Red Line from the Fannin South Lot, which has $20 parking, and get off at the Stadium Park/Astrodome Station exit.EMBED <>MORE VIDEOS

Ready to Renaissance? Here's what you should know before Queen Bey's Houston concerts.

SEE ALSO: Beyoncé's favorite things: 9 places star has stopped before in Houston


But what about getting there on time?

If you're driving in from Fort Bend County or the southwest side, the Southwest Freeway will be closed at the West Loop, so you might want to avoid that.

All mainlanes will be closed starting Friday at 8 p.m. to Monday at 5 a.m. You can use US-90 as your alternate route.

For those coming from the east side, including San Jacinto and all points beyond that along the East Freeway, avoid the East Loop altogether.

You'll see northbound and southbound closures between Market and Clinton Street from 9 p.m. on Friday to 5 a.m. on Sunday.

So, for Saturday night's concert, you can drive toward downtown and south on Highway 288 to catch the West Loop over to NRG Stadium.

If you plan to use METRO to head to NRG, they plan to put more of their trains in service about three hours before the start of Beyoncé's concerts each day.


Continue reading this story on our news partner ABC13.