• Celerie Kemble
  • Black & White (And a Bit In Between) by Celerie Kemble

Celerie Kemble is a Florida-born Harvard graduate, a wife and mother, a socialite and J. Crew it-girl, and an NYC-based interior designer for Kemble Interiors. She has published one design book, To Your Taste: Creating Modern Rooms with a Traditional Twist, and another — Black and White (and a Bit in Between): Timeless Interiors, Dramatic Accents, and Stylish Collections — is set for release on Tuesday.

Kemble will be at the Houston Design Center on Nov. 8 and at Greenwood King on Nov. 10. At both events, she will discuss her book and sign copies.

CultureMap: You graduated from Harvard (with a concentration in English literature) and worked as a film producer. How did you transition from film to interior design? Did you ever expect to make that change?

Celerie Kemble: Right out of college, I moved to New York City, thinking that I'd find my way to LA eventually. I started with decorating my own apartment, shopping at flea markets and dumpster diving. My friends saw that I was willing to scrounge and hunt, and they asked for my help decorating, so I worked on decorating their rooms. I was doing that on the nights and weekends for fun, and working a regular job at a film production company during the day. Finally, a light bulb went off in my head and I was like, "People do this professionally!"

I encourage my clients to think primally before they decide. Managing light and temperature, things that your body comes into direct contact with. Close your eyes, take a sensual survey of the room. . . Think with your nerves, not with your brain.

CM: What is it like working with your mother - Mimi McMakin, founder of Kemble Interiors?

CK: It's funny, because I didn't want to follow in my mother's footsteps. Now my mother and I are incredibly close, and I'm glad to be compared and contrasted with her. My mom owns the business in Palm Beach, Fla., and I am a partner in the New York office. We don't work on the same projects. . . but we commiserate, and share ideas and inspiration all of the time. I talk to her over the phone at least three times a day.

Our aesthetics are not vastly different, it's just that our clients are different. We're both creatures of the same media world. We both share a backbone of traditional comforts and scale. If anything, I would say that I am a tad trendier than she is, but only because I'm naive enough to believe that every time something comes into style, it's the first time.

CM: Tell me about your new book, Black and White (and a Bit in Between).

CK: The book is an array of other designers' work, sort of as historical reference. It's all about the use of black and white in interior design, but it quickly began to incorporate color, because I'm still very attracted to color. And nothing is really black and white — there is an array of other neutrals and shades of gray that play a part in a design as well.

This was my conceit to look at design differently. To take a step back and focus on form, function, durability and integrity. It was a way of approaching my business with a new set of eyes, by curating an inspiration board and a lesson plan. . . The book is more about topic than any particular method. For me, it is very important to always be studying other designers' work.

CM: I understand that you've visited Houston before - what are some places that you'd like to revisit while you're here in November?

CK: I've been working on a project in Houston for a while, and I love the town! There are great resources, really good crafts people and paint finishers. Ruth Gay at Chateau Domingue has the most delicious array of materials I've ever seen.

CM: What is your idea of comfort? Do you have any quick tips to cozy up a space?

CK: Comfort is always having somewhere to rest your drink or put your book down. It's wonderfully upholstered furniture, a nice sink into down, a pleasant pitch to a chair. Comfort is a soft fabric and the ability to regulate temperature with ease - fans, or a throw blanket, or windows with screens.

I encourage my clients to think primally before they decide. Managing light and temperature, things that your body comes into direct contact with. Close your eyes, take a sensual survey of the room. . . Think with your nerves, not with your brain. Part of the design process shouldn't focus on aesthetics. You should conduct a review that's visceral and sensual before you only commit to things based on the aesthetic.

Both Houston events are free and open to the public. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Call (713) 864-2660, or visit the Houston Design Center website for the Nov. 8 event. RSVP to thelobby@greenwoodking.com for the Nov. 10 event.

  • In photos, the red chair now moves around the world, as it holds beautiful femmefatales contemplating murder in exotic locations.
    Photo by Wade Livingston
  • My great-grandmother's favorite psychic den was Bottom of the Cup in NewOrleans, a staple back then, and still today, for palm, Tarot, and tea leafreading, and most bizarre, gourmet teas.
    Photo by Linda Gaines
  • Most of all, as the days grow short and the nights long, I look with paranoia atmy own red chair I inherited from my grandmother. Is it comfortable in its homeor does it feel stagnate?
    Photo by Tarra Gaines

Be afraid, be very afraid of a home too comfortable: A chilling tale of thewandering red chair

The next big scary thing

With Halloween upon us, it’s appropriate that CultureMap has spent October helping Houston explore “The Comforts of Home” because when it comes to what terrifies us, it appears vampires and zombies are creeping out and haunted homes are back in. With the success of movies like Paranormal Activity 3 and the buzz around American Horror Story, FX's show about a murderous yet kinky haunted house, the Zeitgeist seems to point to our homes as the next big scary thing.

Whether it’s anxiety from the housing crisis leaking into the cultural psyche or merely that the cycle of spooky things has landed back on haunted houses, this Halloween we have nothing to fear but the things that go bump in our custom built kitchens.

When it comes to the question of the existence of ghostly spirits refusing to pay their share of the mortgage, I’m usually an agnostic, but after learning new information about an old family spooky tale, I’ve come to wonder if it’s not ghosts but another type of spirit that might disturb the comforts our homes.

GiGi and the New Orleans psychic

The story begins long ago in New Orleans with my great grandmother, known as GiGi to her grandchildren. Though a beloved wife, mother, and grandmother, she did have one indulgence my great grandfather greatly disapproved of, her monthly visits to French Quarter fortune tellers. Her favorite psychic den was Bottom of the Cup, a staple back then, and still today, for palm, Tarot, and tea leaf reading, and most bizarre, gourmet teas.

On usual visits, GiGi was told vague generalities about what the future held, but during one notable session that my mother, a teenager at the time, witnessed, GiGi’s fortune teller brought her strange news indeed. The seer gazed deep into GiGi’s tea cup, read the tea leaves once, then once more to be certain, before delivering this message from the future: “The red chair wants to move.”

The seer gazed deep into GiGi’s tea cup, read the tea leaves once, then once more to be certain, before delivering this message from the future: “The red chair wants to move.”

Neither my mother nor her grandmother could decipher what this meant. Was this psychic code? Was the red chair an omen for tragedy or triumph awaiting GiGi?

But the psychic would not interpret this time. She would only repeat the spirits’ message, “The red chair wants to move.”

And that should have been the end of that, except that night my mother received a hushed but frantic phone call from her grandmother. My great grandfather was never told about GiGi’s psychics, yet that evening as he sat reading his newspaper in the living room, without a word, he looked across the room at the low-standing, wood and red velvet chair. It sat in the same place for many years, existing more as an accent piece than a sitting chair.

He put down his paper, got up, walked across the room, picked up the chair, and moved it three feet to the left.

GiGi was so startled she was speechless for minutes, before finally inquiring, “Darling, why did you move that chair?”

He had no answer. He simply felt compelled to move the red chair.

So what did it mean? Was the chair haunted? Was the fortune teller a psychic decorator? Was my practical, Episcopalian great grandfather, a man who worked in insurance, hearing the call from some chair entity?

As a child, when my mother told me this story, I never gave it much analysis, until recently, when we discovered what happened to the chair.

A chair on the move

When my great grandparents died — in their seventies of entirely natural and non-supernatural chair causes — the chair went on the move.

First it traveled across town to my Great Aunt Ruth’s home. Then it crossed state lines to live with Ruth’s son Al in Clear Lake. Years later, it seemed to transfer its attention to Al’s in-laws as it was moved to Dallas and then it caught the professional photographer’s eye of Al’s brother-in-law, Wade Livingston. Perhaps this is the future the Bottom of the Cup psychic saw so long ago, because now the red chair has found a new career as a model. In photos, it moves around the world, as it holds beautiful femme fatales contemplating murder in exotic locations.

As Halloween lurks upon us, I’ve come to realize what I should fear within my home is not demonic poltergeists or spirits of the death both tormented and tormenting. No, I now fear something far more heinous, that my furniture might be judging me.

I no longer think the chair has a ghost clinging to it; instead, I wonder if the chair possesses a spirit of its own. If we believe that some landscapes and even structures have a feel or perhaps a spirit to them, can a thing have one as well?

And as Halloween lurks upon us, I’ve come to realize what I should fear within my home is not demonic poltergeists or spirits of the death both tormented and tormenting. No, I now fear something far more heinous, that my furniture might be judging me.

If GiGi’s red chair can know wanderlust, what’s to keep my mahogany chest of drawers that’s been in my father’s family for generations from seething with resentment when I stuff T-shirts into a drawer, instead of folding them neatly.

Is my Ikea couch silently screaming at me to speak Swedish already? Is my beautiful glass lamp from Bali appalled at my taste in television shows? After years together in a co-dependent and occasionally abusive relationship, did my rocking chair ever plot the death of my cat?

Most of all, as the days grow short and the nights long, I look with paranoia at my own red chair I inherited from my grandmother, GiGi’s daughter. Is it comfortable in its home or does it feel stagnate? Would it like to escape the confines of its existence and move a few feet, a few miles, or even to a new state or country? I wonder if I should find a psychic decorator to read its fortune, and then the most horrific thought of all occurs.

If I do, will my red chair blab about my horrible decorating sense?

  • Judy Nyquist stands with the iconic Andy Warhol print of Marilyn Monroe thatserved as a starting point for the room, initiating the soft purple-pink thatcovers the walls.
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
  • Nyquist with Ellen Bell's Marilyn Dress; to the right, a work on paper by NinaBavasso. On the mantel, a series of ceramic dessert items Nyquist purchased fromthe St. John's School.
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
  • An intriguing piece by Elena Poirot-Lopez captures three sets of paster-casthands, each from a different generation of the Houston artist's family.
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
  • Scandinavian moderist Jens Risom's classic side chairs from Knoll sit under aglass dining room table adorned with flowers. Next to the Warhol print, Nyquistdisplays art from her children along with a Picasso print and work on paper byBritish artist Peter McDonald.
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
  • "It could be worse," reads the pink text on a quirk black textile piece next tothe fireplace, adding to the light-hearted atmosphere of one of the Nyquistfamily's favorite rooms.
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com

Think pink: Marilyn Monroe & a world of wonderful art watch over Judy Nyquist'sfavorite room

My favorite room

Editor's Note: In a CultureMap continuing series, Houstonians from all walks of life tell us about their favorite room at home.

Noted art collector Judy Nyquist’s pink dining room has been a favorite hangout since the family purchased and renovated their vintage 1930s home in River Oaks 15 years ago.

An Andy Warhol silkscreen of Marilyn Monroe watches over the light-filled room that holds some of Nyquist's most cherished pieces — a range of work that includes a Picasso print and a Nina Bavosso painting on paper to a series of ceramic dessert items crafted by sixth-grade art students at the St. John's School.

“This room was originally a study when we bought the house, a dark space with lots of heavy wood paneling,” Nyquist remembered.“We wanted to brighten it up during our renovations, since the room gets such amazing natural light. I knew immediately that Marilyn belonged in here, so we painted the walls to match the print."

A display of work by the Nyquist children rests prominently by the entrance to the room, just to the side of the instantly-recognizable Warhol print.

“This room was originally a study when we bought the house, a dark space with lots of heavy wood paneling,” Nyquist remembered.“We wanted to brighten it up during our renovations, since the room gets such amazing natural light. I knew immediately that Marilyn belonged in here, so we painted the walls to match the print."

Nyquist began collecting art in the 1990s during her time in London working as an art historian and curator. Drawings from the 16th through 18th centuries were her initial focus, a number of which hang on the walls just outside the pink dining room. Works on paper continue to intrigue the collector, despite the shift of her interest towards contemporary pieces.

"Drawings and other works on paper record are such a direct and spontaneous act by the artist," Nyquist noted. "That's what attracts me to so many pieces, that imprint of the artist. Of course, there's a whole other dimension when you can know or meet the person behind a certain work. That's how we started turning to more contemporary art."

Each piece in the dining room bears the indelible mark of the artist, right down to Warhol's slightly askew silkscreen print.

“We've always had a very personal and emotional attachment to our collection," Nyquist said. "We've always lived with the art. This dining room isn't used to showcase certain pieces. It's a place where we work and have our meals."

"More recently," she laughed, "the kids have been playing cards in here. What can I say... the room has great light."

  • Homeowners are spending less for remodeling, and when they do, they spendconservatively.
    Photo courtesy of Trusty Joe
  • Home construction and remodeling have been soft, although this house is beingbuilt in Bellaire.
    Photo by Ralph Bivins
  • Intero Real Estate Services, a major residential brokerage firm in the SiliconValley of California, recently opened an office in the West Ave development onKirby Drive near Westheimer.
    Photo by Ralph Bivins

Home remodeling is out of style: In down economy, remodelers deal with the "yearof the small job"

Real Estate Round-Up

Houstonians aren’t building as many new houses as they used to. So wouldn’t it make sense if they stayed put and fixed up their existing home? Wouldn’t a nice remodeling job make it a little more livable for the long run?

Well, it’s not happening that way.

Homeowners aren’t tackling many major remodeling projects. And when they do call a remodeler, the homeowner is spending conservatively.

Remodelers say 2011 is pretty much like 2010 — the year of the small job. For the most part, remodelers try to eke out a living with simple bathroom and kitchen re-dos. Forget about the elaborate whole-house remodels and room additions with price tags of more than $300,000.

The days of insisting on high-end Viking stoves, Kohler sinks or Hansgrohe faucets are gone.

“People are being very, very cautious,” says Houston remodeler Dan Bawden, owner of Legal Eagle Contractors. “A lot of homeowners have money, but they are just really reluctant to spend it right now. Everybody is holding it close to the vest. “

Bawden, former president of the Greater Houston Builders Association, says he was hearing the same downbeat theme as he met with other Texas remodelers in late October at the Sunbelt Builders Show in Austin.

Homeowners and spending less for remodeling, and when they do — they spend conservatively.

The days of insisting on high-end Viking stoves, Kohler sinks or Hansgrohe faucets are gone, for most homeowners, Bawden says. Having a sexy brand-name kitchen sink isn’t so important when you’re worried about a double-dip recession.

“People are being more careful for what they pick for fixtures. it’s really interesting,” Bawden says. “They are seeking out less expensive materials all across the board — tile, plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures — in order to keep the project cost down as much as possible."

The outlook for an immediate turnaround is not good. The Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University predicts the nation’s remodeling business will be soft until mid-year 2012, at least. The sluggish national economy and realty market will dampen any recovery move in remodeling, the Harvard study says.

“Homeowners are continuing to undertake smaller jobs, but are still nervous about larger discretionary projects,” says Kermit Baker, director of the Harvard program.

In the meantime, remodelers are placing hope in any trendlet they can find, such as seniors housing.

Baby Boomers have been remodeling homes in order to make a place for their aging parents, i.e. the mother-in-law suite. And other remodeling jobs that adapt homes so that seniors can stay in their houses as they age have been a popular thing.

A couple of years ago when the housing market crashed, remodeling registered an uptick because people decided remodel and stay put. But that trend has played out, Bawden says.

Looking Up

The Houston housing market continues to sail away from the doldrums.

The Houston Association of Realtors reported 4,635 single-family home sales in September, up 17 percent from September of last year. It’s the fourth month in a row that sales volume has increased. And the inventory of homes for sale has been declining — a true indicator of an improving market.

The HAR reported 47,812 properties were listed for sale in September, an 11.5 percent decline from a year ago.

Home prices have been rising a bit, too. The median single-family home price is up 1.7 percent over September of last year.

It’s true that the local home market was awful in 2010. So when you make comparisons to last year, you are making comparisons against some very dark days. But the realty market is definitely brighter in 2011 and the recovery has some sustained traction.

Signs of Confidence

Houston real estate companies have been adding new offices, an indicator that residential sales and getting better and realtors are gaining more confidence in the economy.

Intero Real Estate Services, a major residential brokerage firm in the Silicon Valley, recently opened an office in the West Ave development. Katie Maxwell, who’s heading up the Intero office, said the firm is hyper-focused on the Inner Loop for now, but look for additional Intero offices to be unveiled soon.

Heritage Texas Properties just opened its 13th office. The newest Heritage outlet is in Katy in the Icon Bank building on Cinco Ranch Boulevard.

Weichert Realtors – Wayne Murray Properties recently opened a new office in The Woodlands. And Martha Turner, the namesake of Martha Turner Properties, says there are several communities in the Houston metropolitan area that she wants to penetrate with new offices.

These expansions are being conducted by smart operators with a track record of knowing how to make money by selling houses.

Listen up: Martha Turner, Wayne Murray and Heritage owner Robin Mueck have been around the block a few times. And when the battle-hardened veterans of Houston real estate are planning to open new offices, it means the real estate rebound can’t be far off.

Ralph Bivins, former president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors, is founding editor of RealtyNewsReport.com.

Check out the modern home office's much more luxurious ancestor: Paris' eliteknew style (and secret doors)

Check out the modern home office's much more luxurious ancestor: Paris' eliteknew style (and secret doors)

Art and About

For the educated 18th-century Parisian socialite, it was the age of correspondence. Both men and women wrote for business purposes, to share news between family and friends and for mere pleasure.

Young men and women were taught penmanship, grammar and how to craft a beautiful and sensible letter. The activity was engaged in at points throughout the day.

Thus emerged the ancestor to the modern day home office. Curious?

An exquisite example is on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston through Dec. 11. Strolling through the exhibit halls of Life & Luxury: The Art of Living in Eighteenth-Century Paris is like walking a day in the life of the French echelon in the the City of Lights. On view are some 160 objects assembled from 26 museums and private collections that mingle decorative arts, fine arts, clocks, fashion, writing instruments, metalwork, musical instruments, books, maps, scientific instruments — everything in-between what's considered to be either fine arts or applied arts today.

In this time of economic prosperity, the elite of Paris had the means to indulge and invest in beautiful objects used in everyday rituals.

That distinction wasn't so clearly defined in the 18th century. Arts were studied along science, business tools and scientific instruments were beautifully decorated in the style of the Rococo period. In this time of economic prosperity, the elite of Paris had the means to indulge and invest in beautiful objects used in everyday rituals.

The items in the bureau or the cabinet andthe chambers where business was conductedwere no exception.

On this Art and About video adventure, we continue our exploration of the lavish lifestyle of the top one percent in Paris. We started with the morning ritual of the toilette — not to be confused with our banal modern day interpretation of toilet — and now move into the professional vocation and activities of the very rich.

The bureaux was dedicated to business affairs and featured a big flat top broad writing desk made for spreading out and organizing paper. The activity is depicted in detail in Jacques-André-Joseph Aved's Portrait of Marc de Villiers, which illustrates the secretary to the king.

"Here [Marc de Villiers] is seated in his bureaux at his bureau plat; his correspondence is so prolific, he's had to file it together strapping it down with a canvass belt, " Charissa Bremer-David, J. Paul Getty Museum curator of sculpture and decorative arts, says. "His correspondence overflows as books and papers are resting on a chair nearby."

The desk — built circa 1720-25 by Charles Cressent — is accessorized by a paperweight and an inkstand set. One container held the ink, another contained sand to sprinkle over the wet ink to hasten drying. The center pod carried a sea sponge used to clean the ink from the tip of the quills.

"We have a beautiful leather chair and one of the first pieces of ergonomically correct chairs," Bremer-David, explains. "It's well padded with a rounded back and a serpentine seat front designed for someone who was meant to sit a desk for long periods of time and write. It supports one's legs, back, arms and elbows in a seated position.

"Built-in to the armrests are hidden pockets lined with velvet, meant to hold something precious like eyeglasses, coins, a miniature portrait of a beloved or a pocket watch."

Time keeping was a serious matter when conducting business. The space is fitted with a cartel clock by Cressent, which was also responsible for the desk, and monumental 9-foot storage cabinets flanking the desk.

Though the interiors of the cupboards have been rebuilt over time, it's speculated that books, writing, correspondence, files, papers and collectors items like small bronzes were stored inside its ornamented concave and convex doors.

Each cabinet door has a key hole. But most curious is the center door's latch on the reverse side, which allows the cupboard door to open from the interior.

"The gilt bronze mounds in the cabinets are evocative of the allegories of the arts and sciences," Bremer-David says. "Putti (cherubs) playing with musical instruments, putti working with the implements of sciences, astronomy, geography — latitude and longitude were a great challenge of the 18th century and the putii are working hard recording these measurements."

Each cabinet door has a key hole. But most curious is the center door's latch on the reverse side, which allows the cupboard door to open from the interior. It might have been a secret passageway from the bureaux to another space like a corridor, bedroom or secret chamber.

The exhibit continues on to the study of sciences, art collecting, the meal, entertaining and prayer. Be on the look out for future Art and About videos continuing our 18th century luxurious odyssey.

Or better yet, pay a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Access to the Life & Luxury exhibit comes with standard museum admission.

Make your home more eco friendly on the cheap: City's holding a half-off sale ongreen items

Compost Power

Eco-conscious homeowners (and renters) can buy composting contraptions and rain collection devices for half price this weekend.

The City of Houston and AIA Houston are hosting a one-day-only truckload sale for the Earth Machine ($45, including tax) and SYSTERN Rain Barrels ($55) at Minute Maid Park Stadium Parking Lot C. Do your part to keep organic waste out of the landfill with the former, and collect every precious drop with the latter.

The gadgets will be on sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday — and the earlier you arrive, the better. Supplies are limited. Visa, MasterCard, and checks will be accepted.

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Houston unpacks No. 7 rank in U.S. for recent moves, says new report

hi neighbor!

Houston is shifting as people move into the city and around it. A new population analysis by online loan marketplace LendingTree has named Houston the No. 7 metro for recent movers.

The study used population data from a 2021 U.S. Census Bureau survey to determine householders and renters who moved to their current home in 2019 or later. It reflects people moving around Houston as well as moving into it, so it's not just new residents being counted.

About 34 percent of combined homeowners and renters living in their current Houston homes moved here within the three-year scope of the study. For homeowners, that's about 19 percent, compared to about 58 percent of renters.

The three-year median home value appreciation rate in Houston was 15.15 percent, the study says, echoing similar reports that the city remains one of the top housing markets for growth.

But other reports that are not looking at such longterm averages are showing that the market seems to be stabilizing recently. In August of 2023, Zillow reported home prices in Houston dropped 0.4 percent from the previous year to $264,789.

Rent appreciation was not as dramatic, but renters are surely feeling it regardless. The data shows the three-year median gross rent appreciation rate was 4.48 percent.

Renters are much more likely than homeowners to move due to multiple factors: personal circumstances, rising rent prices, landlords who want to change their lease terms, and many others.

"While some regulations protect renters and make it harder for landlords to force them out of their homes, these protections aren’t always robust," the study says. "Because of this, renters can more frequently find themselves in situations where they’re forced to move, even if they like their current home or are strapped for cash."

Both Dallas and Austin also ranked within the top 10, placing No. 1 and No. 2 respectively. Austin saw nearly 39 percent of homeowners and renters moving between 2019 and 2021, while Dallas had 35 percent of homeowners and renters moving within the same time frame.

The U.S. metros with the largest shares of homeowners and renters who moved in 2019 or later are:

  • No. 1 – Austin, Texas (38.82 percent)
  • No. 2 – Dallas (34.91 percent)
  • No. 3 – Las Vegas (34.81 percent)
  • No. 4 – Denver (34.71 percent)
  • No. 5 – Orlando, Florida (34.55 percent)
  • No. 6 – Phoenix (34.03 percent)
  • No. 7 – Houston (33.50 percent)
  • No. 8 – Jacksonville, Florida (33.27 percent)
  • No. 9 – Nashville, Tennessee (33.14 percent)
  • No. 10 – Salt Lake City, Utah (32.94 percent)
The full report can be found on lendingtree.com.

6 things to know in Houston food right now: Openings, closings, and a sizzling Pappasito's deal

6 Things to Know

Editor’s note: Houston’s restaurant scene moves pretty fast. In order to prevent CultureMap readers from missing anything, let’s stop to look around at all the latest news to know.

Openings and closings

Dumpling Haus, a Chinese restaurant in Sawyer Yards, closed at the end of September. Headed by the mother-daughter team of Elaine Won, Ashley Lai, and Amiley Lai, the concept became a favorite of Houston’s restaurant community, earning a CultureMap Tastemaker Awards nomination for Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year. Although the restaurant has closed, Ashley Lai told the Houston Chronicle the concept will continue to pop-up at events and the Urban Harvest farmers market.

Rakkan Ramen will celebrate the grand opening of its fourth Houston-area location in the Westchase District this Saturday, October 7 with buy-one-get-one free ramen bowls all day. Located at 2550 Citywest Blvd., the restaurant is known for its vegan broth made from a combination of kombu (edible algae), mushrooms, carrots, onion, ginger, and garlic. Available with five bases and three kinds of noodles, diners may add pork chasu or chicken to satisfy any carnivorous cravings.

7 Brew Drive Thru Coffee is entering the Houston market with a location in Spring (21420 Kuykendahl Rd.) To celebrate, it will host charity fundraisers on October 6 for Klein Oak High School, on October 7 for Children’s Miracle Network benefitting Texas Children's Hospitals, and on October 8 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. During these days, 7 Brew will take 50-percent off regular menu prices and donate 100-percent of proceeds to the organizations.

With a motto of “If you think it, we can make it,” the Arkansas-based coffee shop offers over 20,000 possible combinations, including sugar-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free options.

The Highlight at Houston Center will soon welcome two new restaurants. Orange Taco, an Asian-Mexican fusion concept that started as a food truck, and Aloha Poke Co. will join the existing dining options at the recently-renovated downtown shopping destination.

Deal Alert

Tex-Mex favorite Pappasito’s Cantina is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month with a number of specials. Get a beef and chicken fajitas platter for $40 every Wednesday in October. In addition, order two cocktails in a special 40th anniversary mug and finish with a Fiesta Fudge Brownie. Diners can register online to win one of 10, $400 gift cards.

“It’s really incredible to be celebrating four decades of Pappasito’s,” Pappas vice president of marketing Christina Pappas said in a statement. “The first Pappasito's Cantina opened on Richmond and Hillcroft, bringing our famous fajitas and margaritas to Houstonians, and now we have grown to over 20 restaurants throughout Texas and Georgia.”

A Memorable Meal

Four of Houston’s most prominent female chefs are teaming up for a very special meal. Top Chef alums Evelyn Garcia and Sasha Grumman, Masterchef finalist Suu Khin, and James Beard Taste Twenty chef Michelle Wallace will contribute dishes to the Blackwood Educational Land Institute’s annual Skyfarm Harvest Feast. Held on October 19 at Post Houston, the meal will utilize produce grown at Blackwood's Skyfarm on the Post’s roof. The evening includes a farm tour, passed appetizers, a multi-course seated dinner, and a performance by Pecos Hank Schyma along with Jo Bird.

Blackwood fundraiser chefs

Photo by Conor Moran

Blackwood has recruited four top chefs for its fundraiser.

"I love working with Blackwood," Grumman said in a statement. "What they produce is truly incredible and they have even introduced me to new plants and herbs that I love to incorporate into my cooking. Both of the Blackwood farms inspire me to cook in a true farm-to-table manner that represents Houston in such a positive way. We’re lucky to have them in our city and feeding our community.”

Tickets, priced at $325 and $425, are on sale now. Sponsorship packages and tables are available as well. Proceeds benefit Blackwood’s education programming and other initiatives.

Foo Fighters, Depeche Mode, Jonas Brothers, and John Mayer headline October's coolest concerts in Houston

october's best concerts

This month’s crop of concerts brings a lot of alt-rock and pop-rock nostalgia on tour for all those ’80s and ’90s babies. It’s almost like all those bands from our childhoods know that we now have babysitters we can hire and disposable income to spend on $12 boozy seltzers and $25 parking spaces.

TheFoo Fighters invade the 713 Music Hall on October 10, one of the biggest marquee acts to grace one of the newest large-scale stages in Houston since it opened in late 2021. Since its grand debut its played host to Oliva Rodrigo, HAIM, Maña, New Order, and Billy Strings just to name a few.

Elsewhere,Peter Gabriel is celebrating nearly seven decades of crafting enigmatic soundscapes on October 21 at Toyota Center. He’s packing as much as he can into two sets for those who can't wait for “Sledgehammer” or “Solsbury Hill.”

But it's not all old-school jams. This month sees pop sensations like Janelle Monae, Jonas Brothers,SZA, and John Mayer hitting town for some can't-miss fun. Here are our can't-miss concerts for October.

Depeche Mode, October 4, Toyota Center

Goth rockers and New Wavers, it seems, age a sight more graceful than most of their contemporaries in other genres. Maybe its aversion to sunlight? Better moisturizing routines? No band of its kind has aged better than Depeche Mode, with lead singer Dave Gahan now a black-clad velvet crooner of the goth-est and New-Waviest order. Pour out a glass of red wine in the Toyota Center concourse for late keyboardist Andy Fletcher who passed away in May 2022.

Foo Fighters, October 10, 713 Music Hall

One of the last modern rock bands standing, Foo Fighters freaked out the neighborhood when they announced a show at 713 Music Hall (our announcement story pretty much broke the local interwebs). It’s not often that a bonafide stadium act like Dave Grohl’s Foos blesses a city with a show at a venue the size of this downtown gem but we’ll take it. The band’s coming to town touring behind ‘But Here We Are’, its first since the passing of titanic drummer Taylor Hawkins. Tickets are sold out officially via Live Nation, so head to those third-party vendors for coveted tix.

Foo Fighters concert

Photo courtesy of Foo Fighters

Rock gods Foo Fighters descend on Houston on October 10.

Janelle Monae, October 10, Bayou Music Center

When Janelle Monae debuted in 2007 with Metropolis, she wasn’t predicting the future, she was actively dragging a sagging music industry into her vision of it. Since then, we’ve all been witnessing an artist recoding her image in real-time, like if David Bowie had 5G in 1975. She’s just comfortable collaborating with Brian Wilson as she is with Big Boi. Prince didn’t really die, his musical brain was just uploaded into Monae’s.

Chris Stapleton, Charley Crockett and Nikki Lane, October 13, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

A Chris Stapleton show away from the friendly yet cavernous confines of NRG Stadium during RodeoHouston is a magnificent treat. Not only do you get to see one of the best modern guitarists of any genre do his thing, you get extended jams and a few jaw-dropping covers. Get here early for openers Nikki Lane and Charley Crockett, who represent the best of the current crop of country stalwarts. If we’re lucky, Charley and Nikki will sit in for some magic with Stapes.

SZA, October 14, Toyota Center

SZASZA season is October 14 in Houston.Photo via SZA Official

Freshly anointed neo-soul queen SZA was seemingly born straight into arenas, instantly captivating ears from the jump. 2022’s blockbuster ‘SOS’ has been cemented at the top albums chart for nearly the last calendar year, no small feat in this streaming times. In concert, her raw confessionals come with the kind of mind-bending light shows you’d see at an arthouse installation.

Sting, October 15, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

Seeing Sting live sans law enforcement is always a pleasure, and this tour sees Ace Face on the road unleashing his biggest hits, solo and otherwise. Recent set lists lean heavy into his work away from vaunted The Police, long defunct after an epic reunion run in the late 2000s. It’s perfectly OK to admit that you still get “Brand New Day” stuck in your head every once in a while. Don’t worry, Sting knows you want to hear “Message In A Bottle”.

Peter Gabriel, October 21, Toyota Center

The former Genesis frontman and solo powerhouse is back on the road playing his hits proper. An artist as monumental as Peter Gabriel doesn’t tour without intention and this current jaunt feels like a victory lap of sorts. At a spry 73 years, here’s hoping he’s just cranking up for a late-career heater.

Jonas Brothers, October 23, Toyota Center

One of the biggest teen pop acts of the 2010s, the brothers Jonas are back on the road firmly ensconced in their 30s with a few divorces and children under their white belts, just like their fans. As if we didn’t need anymore reminders of the passage of time, some of those fans will probably have their own kids in tow this time.

Parker McCollum, October 28, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

Conroe-native Parker McCollum grew up going to concerts at the deluxe shed in The Woodlands, and like most area kids, he dreamed of playing that very stage himself. Now making his second annual homecoming stop up north, McCollum is a certified pop country star. This year’s Never Enough LP saw McCollum mixing up some sultry ‘80s country drama into ‘Gold Chain George Strait’ persona.

John Mayer, October 30, Toyota Center

John Mayer concertDreamy John Mayer closes October with a big show on the 30th. Photo via John Mayer

Fresh off a near-decade stint acting as the stylish avatar for Jerry Garcia in Dead & Company, John Mayer hits Toyota Center by his lonesome with a truckful of guitars and a collection of radio hits. His recent solo tours have seen Mayer reclaiming his original singer-songwriter tag, years removed from his reign of polite terror in the tabloids.