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With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it's time to start making arrangements if you don't already have a Turkey Day feast planned. Use CultureMap's guide — with options ranging from Brasilian cuisine to Cajun fare (and many standards, of course) — to help you figure out where to go and where to make reservations to celebrate the holiday.

Amalfi
This Italian newcomer in the Briargrove shopping center is featuring a four-course menu. Start with butternut squash soup. Choose from roasted quail lasagna or riccotta-stuffed pasta for your second course. Entree choices consist of stuffed turkey breast or roast sucking pig served with Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, green beans and eggplant caponata. Finish with chocolate meringue or pecan tart.
Price: $50

Americas/Churrascos
Cordúa Restaurants are hosting a brunch buffet all area Americas and Churrascos locations. The buffet will include familiar dishes with a South American twist, including pumpkin and chorizo empanadas, aji pepper-rubbed turkey and pumpkin spice tres leches to name a few. Many of the restaurants' classic dishes will also be available, and don't miss out on the cinnamon-spiced cranberry sangria.
Price: $49 for adults, $15 for children aged 6 to 12

Artisans
If you're interested in a French take on the holiday, visit this Midtown establishment for their four-course prix fixe feast. The meal begins with a oyster and chorizo cornbread, then on to select from jumbo lump crab cakes or a port braised short rib. Entrees range from wild rice crusted Alaskan halibut to roasted turkey breast with cream of mushrooms. A decadent pumpkin opera cake serves as the perfect finish to the autumnal meal.
Price: $75

Brennan's of Houston
From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the iconic restaurant will be offering a three-course prix fixe meal. For a down-home take on French fare, start with the duck prosciutto and foie gras dish featuring duck cracklins. As for entrees, the Creole roasted turkey with jalapeno cheddar corn pudding and molasses-roasted sweet potato and pumpkin puree steals the show for a Southern take on Thanksgiving staples. Dessert options include cinnamon spiced pumpkin pie and Brennan's iconic banana's Foster.
Price: $60

The Federal Grill
If you are in the mood a traditional Thanksgiving feast, this Washington-area eatery is the place for you. The three-course menu include oven roasted turkey and honey baked ham, as well as standard (and delicious) Turkey Day sides. The restaurant is offering two seatings, one at noon and another at 2:30 p.m.
Price: $48 for adults, $12 for children 10 and under

Fogo de Chao
The well-known Brasilian steakhouse is serving up all the meats you could conceivably want to eat as part of their holiday feast. Roasted turkey breast, sweet potato casserole and cranberry relish will make you feel right at home. In addition to standard holiday fare, the churrascaria is also serving up house specialties like picanha sirloin, filet mignon, lamb chops, bone-in pork chop and bacon-wrapped chicken.
Price: $52

Mockingbird Bistro
This neighborhood bistro is offering a three-course holiday meal from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. For the first course, opt for the butternut squash souffle, complete with glazed shimeji mushrooms and toasted pepitas. As for entrees, herb roasted turkey with stuffing and sweet potato puree will satisfy your desire for traditional Thanksgiving fare. Dessert options include pumpkin cheesecake, apple bread pudding and chocolate pecan pie.
Price: $65 for adults, $25 for children

Rainbow Lodge
This long-time restaurant's three-course prix fixe menu features dishes with a distinctly Southern slant. For the first course, you can't go wrong with the "Taste of the Wild," comprised of the chef's sampling of wild game. A medallion of venison paired with stuffed quail and pork belly corn pudding is a stunner, although a more traditional turkey and sides meal is also an excellent option. The croissant bread pudding is a can't-miss dessert choice. The best part yet? You can take home turkey and dressing (enough for a delicious sandwich) for only $5 extra.
Price: $55

60 Degrees Mastercrafted
This ranch-to-table restaurant is offering an extensive buffet in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday. You can expect gourmet updates on classics, including curried deviled eggs and foie gras bread pudding. Entree options include traditional fare, such as slow roasted turkey and baked ham with a brown sugar glaze, as well as herb roasted Akausi roast beef. Don't miss out on sides like fried Brussels sprouts and baked sweet potato casserole.
Price: $37 for adults, $15 for children 10 and under

Sorrel Urban Bistro
Contemporary fare reigns supreme at the Upper Kirby restaurant's final Thanksgiving meal (it will be closing in the new year). From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sorrel offers everything from handmade gnocchi and foie gras brulee to smoked turkey leg and Chilean sea bass. Add some holiday cheer and finish your meal with a slice of pumpkin or pecan pie.
Price: A la carte

Did we miss your favorite Thanksgiving destination? Leave a comment below.

CultureMap food writer Eric Sandler contributed to this article.

Image courtesy of Bernadine's

Restaurant game changer: Surprise new Heights spot with Slumdog Millionaire chef to elevate Gulf Coast food

Exclusive Restaurant News

It's time for Treadsack to come clean. For over a year, the ambitious, Heights-based restaurant group has been telling diners that Foreign Correspondents, its Thai concept led by chef turned fishmonger (turned chef) PJ Stoops, will be opening next to Hunky Dory in an under construction building at the corner of Shepherd and 18th Street.

Instead, the group has quietly been developing a restaurant called Bernadine's for the space that will be led by Kipper Club general manager Graham Laborde. Foreign Correspondents is still on track to open next spring, but it will be at another location that has yet to be revealed.

"Bernadine’s is our love letter to Gulf Coast food," Laborde tells CultureMap. "If you go up and down the I-10 corridor, you get to see all these rural places that are not nearly as celebrated as they should be for the fact that they serve absolutely spectacular food. You look at a smoked sausage place in Iota, Louisiana, a crab shack doing barbecue crabs near Beaumont, a Florida fish shack.

"I feel like Graham is the Slumdog Millionaire of Bernadine’s — everything he’s done in his life leads up to this awesome project."

"You take those things, apply modern techniques to them, maybe lighten them up a little bit, make them fresh. You really come up with something spectacular. It’s our tribute to that."

While Laborde didn't make the direct comparison, Bernadine's offers something of a twist on the idea of elevating food with humble roots that Underbelly has employed to so much success. However, instead of taking influences from Houston streets like Bellaire, Long Point and Hillcroft, Bernadine's takes its inspiration from the boudain shacks, oyster dives and fish huts of the extended Gulf Coast.

The restaurant will feature a "fully-stocked raw bar" and serve dishes like grilled oysters, roast duck, BBQ crab, whole fish and house-made boudin. Of course, Laborde will preview some of these items at an upcoming Kipper Club dinner (date TBA).

To the extent that Laborde is known at all in Houston prior to appearing at the Kipper Club, it's from his stint as Jonathan Jones's sous chef at the well-regarded but ill-fated Concepción. However, his resume includes time at fine dining restaurants like Commander's Palace and Stella in New Orleans and The Florence Club, a private hunting lodge in Gueydan, Lousiana.

"There’s not an element of this food that isn’t 100 percent true to who I am. The reason I’m comfortable serving food from this entire region is because I’ve been back and forth across that region driving and stopping at roadside stands to appreciate it," Laborde says.

"I feel like Graham is the Slumdog Millionaire of Bernadine’s — everything he’s done in his life leads up to this awesome project," adds Treadsack co-owner Chris Cusack. "Graham is an amazing problem solver. He’s a great communicator. He’s a really fun person to be around. That was something that we had the opportunity to learn over the last year and a half of getting to know each other."

The Feast Connection — and Challenge

Prior to signing on with Treadsack, Laborde worked for Black Hill Ranch as the operations manager, which is where he met former Feast (and future Hunky Dory) chef Richard Knight. After he worked on a party for Black Hill customers at D&T and alongside Stoops at a pop-up, Cusack and Treadsack director of operations Benjy Mason decided to bring Laborde on board.

"They approached me through Richard," Laborde recalls. "When someone approaches you with your dream job — I’ve said no to executive chef gigs before — but this was just the right time. These guys, I feel like we really share a similar vision for what we want to do and guest experience as a whole. It was no debate, absolutely a go."

Asked about whether Laborde and Bernadine's can hold up to the inevitable scrutiny from both the media and the public that will come from being compared to Knight, a James Beard semifinalist during his time at Feast, Mason is philosophical. "Who was the James Beard Best Chef Southwest four years ago? You don’t remember, and no one else does either," he quips.

"Not to discount the Beard committee, because we all want to be recognized by them at the end," Cusack quickly adds. "I think we’re looking at the long term. I think people will come to Bernadine’s, be excited and want to come back. It’s that simple, and it’s that difficult as far as finding success in the restaurant world."

For his part, Laborde has a slightly different perspective on being compared to his friend. "I am an extremely competitive individual, and I love Richard Knight to death. We are as close as friends can be, but damn I want to show him up. Every chance I get. Why wouldn’t you? This is my passion. This is my life’s work.

"These guys have given me a restaurant. I want to make them proud of me. I want to make them happy."

Bernadine "Bird" Laborde is the matriarch of Laborde's family. A "committee of aunts" had to approve using their mother's name for her grandson's restaurant. "She had nine children. She had 36 grandchildren. She made three meals a day for all of us, for 80 years of her life," Laborde says. "She was an absolute master of production. There was nothing that couldn’t be done with another pot of rice and maybe a glass of Scotch or two."

Cusack notes that he's never heard of a restaurant that tries to synthesize and elevate all of Gulf Coast cuisine.

Beyond giving Laborde his first opportunity to cook, he hopes that his restaurant embodies Bernadine's attitude about the power of food. "She would never turn a guest away. It was hospitality to the nth degree," he says. "I’ve taken that, put more of a fine dining twist on it with my past experiences, but never lost an appreciation for what it takes to just nourish people. Make them leave feeling satisfied and happy."

Cusack notes that he's never heard of a restaurant that tries to synthesize and elevate all of Gulf Coast cuisine. Iconic restaurants like Brennan's of Houston and Gaido's in Galveston represent the New Orleans-based Creole tradition, but Bernadine's has a much broader scope. Can the Slumdog Millionaire chef pull off such an ambitious concept, hold his own alongside one of Houston's most well-regarded chefs and honor his grandmother's legacy?

"I’m driven by a challenge, and I hope to exceed everyone’s expectations," Laborde says.

A rendering of the joint Hunky Dory/Bernadine's complex, known colloquially as "the mothership."

Image courtesy of Bernadine's
A rendering of the joint Hunky Dory/Bernadine's complex, known colloquially as "the mothership."
Photo by Eric Sandler

Downtown Houston is finally getting a top barbecue restaurant: Star-studded team plans big

Barbecue Game Changer

Houston is undeniably in the middle of a barbecue renaissance. Places like CorkScrew BBQ in Spring and Killen's Barbecue in Pearland can hold their own with the best pitmasters in Texas.

The only problem is that the best option inside the Loop is severely limited. Gatlin's BBQ in the Heights is so small that it's constantly overwhelmed.

If only Gatlin's had a bigger space that was slightly more centrally located. Like in downtown. And what if maybe it could serve burgers, salads and even seafood to satisfy people who don't want meat with a side of meat?

Wouldn't that be great?

Reef owners Bryan Caswell and Bill Floyd certainly think so, which is why they've partnered with Greg Gatlin to launch Jackson Street Barbecue. Set to open in March, the 8,000 square foot restaurant will feature Gatlin's brisket, sausage, ribs and chicken alongside seasonally appropriate seafood from Caswell like barbecue shrimp, crab and crawfish. Burgers and salads will round out the menu. Sides will be developed by both Gatlin and Caswell, but Reef's famous fried mac and cheese will definitely be included.

B arbecue in Houston is better now than it's ever been. If Jackson Street lives up to the reputation of its partners, that will only get better.

"We are totally sold on downtown," Floyd tells CultureMap. "Now with the Super Bowl and the increase in residential property, I think downtown is going to catch on."

Floyd acknowledges that Jackson Street might be a little bit ahead of downtown's current level of development, but he sees that as a plus. "We were early in Midtown with Reef and early in Montrose with El Real, and that's worked out well for us."

The location has another benefit in that will serve as the catering kitchen for the company's stands at Minute Maid Park. "It's right behind the loading dock. It couldn't be any more perfect for us," Floyd explains. Instead of having to load up a van with a bunch of food, they'll be able to roll it across the street to the stadium.

Turning to food, Floyd cites places like Louie Mueller, Franklin's, Killen's and CorkScrew as examples. "You line them all up. They're all good. They're all super quality. The difference is personal taste," Floyd says. He sees the ability to serve seafood as a major point of differentiation between Jackson Street and those other restaurants.

"I hope we'll have the best sides in town. Sometimes, they're kind of secondary, in my opinion, and they shouldn't be," he adds.

Jackson Street will utilize a traditional line during the lunch rush but switch to a la carte counter service in the afternoon and early evening. In other words, it won't be a lunch only affair, which will allow people to pick up barbecue and take it home with them for dinner if they choose. The new restaurant will be open even later when the Houston Astros are playing at Minute Maid. The space will also feature a stage, which Floyd anticipates using for live entertainment or to host private events.

Assuming it all goes well, the partnership between Gatlin, Floyd and Caswell could expand to other ventures. "We've done so well at the airport with 3rd Bar. We'd like to expand our footprint with El Real and Jackson Street," Floyd says.

Barbecue in Houston is better now than it's ever been. If Jackson Street lives up to the reputation of its partners, that will only get better.

Photo by Eric Sandler

New restaurant serves up Southern cooking with an Asian twist in emerging foodie neighborhood

Foodie News

The Second Ward may not be a culinary destination on the level of Montrose or the Heights, but the neighborhood is rapidly becoming known for more than fajitas (Ninfa's on Navigation, El Tiempo) and breakfast tacos (the peerless Villa Arcos). Moon Tower Inn is a solid craft beer destination that serves excellent burgers and sausages, and Andes Cafe offers a diverse menu of South American dishes.

Now, two chefs are looking to introduce Southern fusion at their restaurant Kitchen 713.

Chefs Ross Coleman and James Haywood met when they worked together at Minute Maid Park. As their friendship developed and they cooked together at each other's homes, they realized they wanted to open a restaurant together.

"We tried to find a little spot we could get into for not as much money as a prime time location and just let the food speak for itself," Coleman tells CultureMap.

The union led to the Southern-inspired, Asian-influenced food of Kitchen 713. While the space is nondescript, it isn't short on charm thanks to the hospitality in the dining room and the magic of Coleman and Haywood's cooking.

"We tried to find a little spot we could get into for not as much money as a prime time location and just let the food speak for itself," Coleman tells CultureMap. "We always wanted to do Southern food and (showcase) the world using Southern ingredients."

Haywood cites the country ham dish on the brunch menu as one example of their approach. "We take pork belly and treat it exactly how you would treat a ham, the whole process. Normally, when you serve ham in the south, you get collard greens and corn bread. We took that spin and we also did a cornbread pudding and fermented greens. We use a little kimchi that we do in house from fermented mustard greens."

As demonstrated during a tasting provided by the restaurant, the results are very promising. A trio of boudain (pork, chicken and seafood) each show a good mix of meat and rice, with just enough spice to make lips tingle without being overwhelming; instead of crackers, the homemade links are served with large pork cracklings. Turkey necks, another staple of Southern cooking, arrives in a Vietnamese-inspired lettuce wrap with nuoc cham sauce. An off the menu special takes a turkey leg and covers it in a spot-on Indian-style vindaloo sauce; if it isn't quite as spicy as might be found on Hillcroft, it's a lot more interesting than the usually tough roasted examples found at festivals.

Coleman says the diners who have found the restaurant have given it good feedback. "We're getting pretty good reviews on Yelp," he notes. Members of the Houston Chowhounds Facebook group have also been raving.

The only downside is that the restaurant's lease agreement doesn't permit it to serve alcohol or allow customers to BYOB, "but we definitely plan to revisit that," Haywood says.

For now, the duo's biggest challenge is to draw people far enough down Canal Street for that first visit. "We’re moving in the right direction," Coleman says. "Just about getting people in here and letting them see what we can do."

The restaurant that started at Minute Maid Park isn't a home run (yet). Call it a solid double off the wall. For a rapidly growing neighborhood, that's a good start.

Chicken and sausage gumbo featured a dark roux and mild spiciness.

Photo by Eric Sandler
Chicken and sausage gumbo featured a dark roux and mild spiciness.
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Celebrity chef looks for a fresh start with plans for a hot new "rustic chic" restaurant

Foodie News

The area around Richmond and Montrose has been a hot one for openings in 2014. Revelry on Richmond brought a sports bar with craft beer to the area, BCN: Taste & Tradition is a fine dining rising star with international flair and Pax Americana is one of the most exciting restaurants in the city, period.

Into that mix comes chef Wendell Price.

"I prayed for a unique spot instead of a strip center," Price says. "I've taken everything I've done for 30 years and pushed it into this building."

Price, whose resume includes appearances on the Food Network, cooking for Hollywood celebrities like Kevin Costner and Denzel Washington and restaurants in Houston and Memphis, spent time in jail after being convicted of tax evasion in 2012. Now he's looking for a fresh start with a 40-seat restaurant in a converted Montrose bungalow next door to Brooklyn Athletic Club.

Called Rustic Oak, Price tells CultureMap the restaurant will be "rustic chic" with French-inspired fare. When it opens in January, Rustic Oak will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week from a tidy menu of eight entrees per meal.

"I prayed for a unique spot instead of a strip center," Price says. "I've taken everything I've done for 30 years and pushed it into this building."

While the space doesn't look like much now, Price explains that structural work to replace the roof, support the floor and upgrade the air conditioning has already taken place. An adjacent structure was demolished to create the parking lot. All that's left is to install the bathroom and kitchen equipment.

Plans calls for the space to be decorated with vintage chandeliers, antique furniture and wallpaper. Diners will have a choice of sitting in one of the three dining rooms or at an eight-seat bar facing the exposed kitchen. Behind the house, Price has built a second story space that will house a whiskey bar and cigar-friendly patio.

"I'm the little guy on the block," Price adds.

He understands that he's up against some serious competition but thinks he can attract diners with dishes like barbecue crab, roasted oysters, crab soup and, at breakfast, savory shrimp pancakes. An accessible location just across the street from the Post 510 apartments helps, too.

Price says he has one overriding philosophy for the project. "I'm was like, 'Wendell, keep it simple.'"

If Price is able to stick to that plan and execute in the kitchen, the residents of Montrose and Midtown will have a solid new option. Even Hollywood celebrities need those, right?

Wendell Price has big plans for a new restaurant featuring French-inspired fare.

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Wendell Price has big plans for a new restaurant featuring French-inspired fare.
Photo by Marisa Brodie

Houston's best chefs get fresh at an unforgettable dinner and a top restaurant shuts down for the night

Chefs Get Fresh

Chef Dylan Murray of Benjy's and Local Foods must have summoned some sort of vegan voodoo to create his gnocchetti with cauliflower cream, butter beans and broccoli rabe, the richness of the concoction making discerning palates swear the dish had to be doused with melted cheese or something with loads of fat. But alas, not the case.

Using local produce grown by Theresa and Mike Atkinson, owners of Atkinson Farms, Murray wowed gourmands at the Urban Harvest "Chefs Get Fresh" food grazing soirée, a fundraiser that paired creative toques with a bounty sourced from local farms and gardens.

For the al fresco party hosted at Underbelly, chef Chris Shepherd, whose piquant Korean stew with goodies from Plant It Forward Farms warmed the mouth and fed the soul, closed the restaurant to pop up a mini market environment, not so dissimilar to what one would find at the Urban Harvest farmers markets at Eastside. Tents around the parking lot lured some 200 supporters with tastings that bespoke that local is better. It all could potentially be the start of a new dinner series.

Tents around the parking lot lured some 200 supporters with tastings that bespoke that local is better.

The imaginative offerings continued with Soren Pedersen's crusted pumpkin cake topped with jalapeno goat cheese fondue, with the dairy provided by Blue Heron Farms; Ara Malekian's succulent slices of roasted pig, courtesy of Harrison Hog Farm, with pineapple reduction over polenta; and fishmonger P.J. Stoops' beautifully visual som tum salad with veggies from Knopp Branch Farms. Stoops sprinkled his traditional green papaya salad with fish candy and prepared it on site using a kruk, a large clay mortar and pestle popular in Thai and Laotian cuisine.

More food? Kipper Club's Richard Knight, Treadsack Group's Benjy Mason and Sugar and Rice's David Leftwich contributed to the efforts that led to the sweet finale, an inventive persimmon study by German Mosquera with fruit from Lightsey Farms plus a melt-in-your-mouth sweet potato pie thanks to vegan queen baker Dylan Carnes of Sinfull Bakery. Carnes sourced her spuds from Gundermann Acres.

Local wine and local beer? Check.

Participating in the feeding fun alongside Urban Harvest executive director Sandra Wicoff, director of farmers markets Tyler Horne and fiancée Ashley Seddon, development manager Libby Kennedy and board president Scott Howard were Stephanie and Bill Kearney, Jim Petersen, Maureen Croft, Garland Kerr, Ed Smith, Lindsey Brown, Nicole Longnecker and Brad Barber.

Sandy Wicoff, from left, Garland Kerr and Maureen Croft.

Photo by Marisa Brodie
Sandy Wicoff, from left, Garland Kerr and Maureen Croft.
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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Houston Independent School District cancels classes again due to city-wide boil notice

school's out

With the issues surrounding the city-wide boil notice still unresolved, Houston Independent School District has announced all its campuses and facilities will be closed on Tuesday, November 29. This comes after classes were canceled on Monday, November 28.

"This decision has been made due to the logistical challenges caused by the notice," district staff notes in an email. "Those challenges prevent the district from being able to provide meals for its students and ensure safe water is available for students and staff."

The email goes on to add that all HISD employees will be working remotely unless otherwise instructed by the chief of their business area.

While most kids will no doubt enjoy yet another day off, HISD encourages students to "engage with digital academic resources that are available 24/7 online.

This closure announcement comes as other districts and colleges closed campuses on Monday. As CultureMap previously reported, the city was put on a boil notice after water pressure dropped below the City of Houston's required minimum of 20 PSI due to a power outage at the East Water Purification Plan around 10:30 am Sunday, November 27.

Under city guidelines and those set in part by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, city water pressure must be at least 20 DPI to ensure contaminants do not enter the flow. Notably, according to the director of Houston Water, Yvonne Williams Forrest, the city's water pressure never dropped to zero — but did fall below the regulatory limit.

Additionally, Forrest says the city boil notice could last until the early hours of Tuesday, November 29.

As reported by CultureMap news partner ABC13, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner provided a timeline for the outage on Sunday:

  • 10:30 am: East water purification plants 1 and 2 lose power
  • Plant 3 loses power, 14 sensors below 20 PSI for less than 2 minutes, 2 sensors below 20 PSI for 30 minutes, 5 sensors never fell below 20 PSI
  • 12:15 pm: Power restored to plants 1 and 2
  • 12:30 pm: Power restored to plant 3
  • 3:30 pm: All sensors back to 35 PSI

Residents expressed outrage on social media that they weren't notified of the boil notice until late Sunday night. In response that same night, several school districts — including Houston ISD — announced they would close on Monday, November 28. Parents should watch their school districts' social media for updates regarding classes resuming.

Concerned residents who are unsure if the boil notice affects their neighborhood can view this map that displays the entire affected.

Early Monday, the City of Houston announced on Twitter that the aforementioned Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) approved a plan by the Houston Public Works department to sample water and send to labs for testing.

Boil notices are nothing new to the Gulf Coast and Greater Houston areas, given the propensity for storms and flooding. But as longtime Houstonians know, there are few key things to remember when under a boil notice. These tips include:

  • Boiling all water used for food, drinking, and brushing teeth
  • Boiling the water for at least 2 to 3 minutes — even for making coffee
  • Avoiding chilled water lines from on the refrigerators
  • Avoiding ice from an automated ice machines

    The City of Houston also reminds residents to call 3-1-1 for any boil-notice-related questions.

    Beloved Houston local art showcase decks the walls for 25th anniversary with can't-miss events

    silver showecase

    Local shoppers on the hunt for that perfect gift or art loves looking to expand their collections want to be at the annual Art on the Avenue event at Winter Street Studios in the Heights on December 3.

    The noted auction features more than 500 works of art by more than 250 local artists. Celebrating its 25th year, the event celebrates the creative process and encourages collecting works created here in the Houston area.

    Fittingly for the nation's most charitable city, Art on the Avenue is also an important fundraiser for Avenue, a Houston nonprofit dedicated to developing affordable homes.

    Among the many local artists displaying works in the auction is Paperbag, who got his name from painting paper bags on people's faces. His artwork encourages others not to judge a book by its cover, and invites individuals to celebrate their unique personalities and stories. In addition to his art, Paperbag — née Dominique Silva — is also an ardent mental health supporter.

    Blossom by Paperbag Look for works such as "Blossom" by local artist Paperbag.Photo courtesy of Paperbag

    Art on the Avenue kicks off on Thursday, December 1 with a VIP preview party. A $150 ticket gives attendees an exclusive first look at the available works and the opportunity to bid on them prior to the main auction and party on Saturday, December 3. Art-inspired bites, cocktails, and entertainment by Two Star Symphony are also part of the evening's festivities.

    On Saturday, December 3, from 10 am to 1 pm, guests to see these incredible works of art for themselves and enjoy free admission.

    The auction proper begins at 6 pm, where a $35 ticket allows guests entry to the gallery space, bidding opportunities, and entertainment from vinyl enthusiast Losty Los of The Waxaholics, who will spin tunes.

    Art on the Avenue Sketches, paintings, sculptures, and more will be up for auction. Photo courtesy of Art on the Avenue

    Guests looking for a chance to dress up are encouraged to deck out in silver in honor the event's 25th anniversary.

    -----

    Art on the Avenue runs Thursday, December 1 through Saturday, December 3 at Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter St. For tickets and information, visit Art on the Avenue.

    'Burn you twice' hot chicken chain spices up Houston with fifth fiery location

    flying into spring

    A rapidly growing chicken tender restaurant will soon arrive in Spring. Urban Bird Hot Chicken will open its fifth Houston-area store next year in January.

    Located in the former B.Good space at 2162 Spring Stuebner Rd., Urban Bird will be part of The Market, a Kroger-anchored shopping center within the the larger City Place mixed-use development. Other nearby tenants include Torchy’s Tacos, Jinya Ramen Bar, and Beard Papa’s, the Japan-based cream puff bakery.

    First opened in 2020, Urban Bird is a chicken tenders concept with different spice blends that deliver increasing levels of heat. The six options range from "country" up to "Nashville hot" and "Fire in the Hole" — which the restaurant says “will burn you twice. Available as baskets, sandwiches, or chopped up over fries, the restaurant touts that its batter went through 60 iterations prior to opening.

    Diners may pair their tenders with dipping sauces such as ranch, barbecue, or the signature Bird Sauce. Sides include fries (both potato and sweet potato), Hot Cheetos mac and cheese, street corn, and a kale salad with a dressing that includes maple syrup. Shakes and frozen custard help ease the burn.

    Urban Bird currently has locations in Katy, north Houston, Fulshear, and near Rice Village. In addition to Spring, the restaurant will soon add outposts in Webster and the Summerwood neighborhood near Lake Houston.

    “We’re thrilled to welcome this fast-growing concept to The Market and feel that it will resonate well with people who live in the area, as well as employees from City Place businesses and major office campuses,” Rip Reynolds, senior leasing agent for real estate developer Regency Centers, said in a statement. “The Urban Bird Hot Chicken team were drawn to this prime site based on its high levels of traffic, the desire for proximity to an anchor and the immediate availability of a second-generation space, the latter of which was only recently vacated.”