Photo by Daniel Ortiz

A cherished annual sale is back with some serious discounts for savvy shoppers. Houston fashionistas are ready to flock to the Sale for gorgeous finds for a fraction of their original price.

The ninth annual shopping extravaganza features Houston's premier boutiques, all at one location, with discounted merchandise this weekend at Bayou City Event Center.

Discounts start at 20 percent and reach up to 75 percent from more than 50 of Houston's most popular boutiques, including Bumble and Brim, Christy Lynn Collection, Frock Shop, J. Landa Jewelry, Pomp & Circumstance, Clorinda Antinori, Emilia Collection, Kendra Scott, Hunter Bell, Saint Lo Boutique, Two Tequila Sisters, and more.

Photo by Daniel Ortiz

The 2022 Sale Leadership team: Dee Dee Robinson, K.D. Askins Jones, Lindsey Miller, and Courtney Baker

Adding to the feel-good vibes, proceeds from this year's "shop to cure childhood cancer" benefit a pediatric cancer research project at The University of Texas MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital. the Sale is presented by Houston Tri Delta Philanthropies, Inc., the fundraising arm of the Houston Tri Delta Alumnae Chapter, and has raised more than $1.6 million since its inception in 2015.

"Each one of us has all been affected by cancer whether personally or a loved one. We are so lucky to live in a city with world-class hospitals like MD Anderson leading innovative and life-saving research. Our alumnae are committed to helping doctors find a cure to pediatric cancer," says Bridget Melancon Hoffman, the Sale's Marketing Chair.

The Sale runs 10 am-4 pm Friday and Saturday, January 6 and 7 at Bayou City Event Center (9401 Knight Rd.) A special kickoff event runs Thursday, January 5, with a VIP Cocktails & Couture preview party; tickets are $250. Friday and Saturday, the Sale is open to the public from 10 am to 4 pm with tickets available for $30 or a two-day pass for $50.

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Cult-favorite Houston cookies now shipping nationwide via new website

Send a taste of Houston

It’s just become a little easier to send a taste of Houston to friends and family in faraway places. Dessert Gallery is now shipping its cookie dough nationwide for at-home baking.

“The cookies have a cult following,” Dessert Gallery owner Sara Brook tells CultureMap. “In this day and age of online shopping and ordering what you want, when you want and wanting to try everything from everywhere, it seemed like the perfect time to put our cookies out there to the wider universe. I’m really excited. We’ve been working really hard on packaging and shipping.”

Available in four flavors — Chocolate Chunk, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut, Brookie, and Red Velvet with white chocolate chip — each box contains a dozen frozen dough pucks and a sheet of parchment paper. Recipients bake the frozen dough according to the instructions provided. Prices start at $36 for a dozen cookies, or customers may order a 24-pack that includes six cookies of all four flavors for $65 (plus tax and shipping).

In particular, the Chocolate Chunk cookies have been a fan favorite from day one. As the name implies, the pieces of high quality Guittard chocolate in each cookie are far too large to qualify as mere “chips.”

“The thing that sets our cookies apart is it’s more chocolate chunks than cookie dough,” Brook says. “We are serious about the ratio of dough to chocolate chunks.”

After a series of trial runs sent to friends, family, and this author's very lucky nephews — including a seven-year-old who gives two very enthusiastic thumbs up — the cookies are available for purchase from the Dough by Dessert Gallery website. Brook says she's looking forward to sharing her cookies with the rest of the country.

“I just can’t wait to get it out there, because I think people will love it,” she says. “That’s what my whole career has been about is putting stuff out in the world and hoping people love it. It puts all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings out there.”

Known for its nostalgic cakes, cookies, and other treats, Dessert Gallery has been satisfying Houstonians’ sweet toothes for almost 40 years. The bakery and cafe recently announced it would open a second location in The Woodlands Waterway later this year.

Researchers name ancient beaver fossil after favorite Texas gas station


The legend of a treasured gas station chain continues with a new chapter: a rediscovered beaver fossil is being named after Buc-ee’s.

The ancient animal was named Anchitheriomys buceei (A. buceei) by Steve May, a research associate at the University of Texas Jackson School of Geosciences and lead author of the Palaeontologia Electronica paper that describes the beaver.

A. buceei fossils were rediscovered by researchers in UT Austin’s collections and include fossils from six different Texas sites. May decided to name A. buceei after Buc-ee’s upon spotting a “This is Beaver Country” billboard in 2020 that reminded him of the fossils he was studying at the time.

Though Buc-ee’s was founded in 1982, CEO Arch “Beaver” Alpin III said in a press release that his business’ history is longer than he thought, and that he may “need to rethink [their] beginnings.”

Occurrences of A. buceei can be found between 15 and 22 million years ago along the state’s Gulf Coast. At first glance, they don’t appear much different from current native Texas beavers. But according to the report’s co-author Matthew Brown, who is also the director of the Jackson School’s vertebrate paleontology collections, they are nearly 30 percent bigger than today’s beavers.

A partial skull fossil of the beaver was originally collected in 1941 by paleontologists. One of the original finders was Texas A&M University museum curator Curtis Hesse, who passed away four years later before he could name it a new species and publish his study.

More information about A. buceei can be found on UT Austin’s website.

Ben Berg serves up a New England-style seafood restaurant for downtown office tower

Ben Berg's downtown clambake

Ben Berg’s quest to put his spin on every possible cuisine shows no signs of slowing down. The veteran Houston restaurateur will soon add seafood to his repertoire.

Called Dune Road, the new restaurant takes inspiration from classic New England seafood shacks. The restaurant is slated to open this fall in the Texas Tower, the 47-story office building at 845 Texas Ave.

Berg Hospitality turned to New York-based ICRAVE to design the approximately 5,400-square-foot restaurant. Expect nautical elements such as polished metals, lacquered wood, and shiplap-inspired elements. A raw bar will be incorporated into the large, 56-seat bar area. The space will also include a private dining room and a westward-facing patio.

Dune Road restaurant rendering

Rendering by ICRAVE

A rendering previews the dining room.

Turning to the food, the menu will center around New England favorites such as chowder (both clam and seafood), lobster bakes, fried clams, and lobster rolls. Beverage selections will pair well with seafood and be “fit for partaking in on a vintage Chris Craft docked off a coastal town,” according to a release.

“With Dune Road, we aim to elevate the flavor of seafood by keeping it clean, simple and mostly grilled, sourced from only the finest suppliers around the country,” Berg said in a statement. “Can you get a steak? Of course. But seafood is the star here.”

Of course, Berg Hospitality is known for steaks, stemming from its ownership of prominent Houston steakhouse B&B Butchers. The company operates seven other concepts, including The Annie Cafe, Turner’s, Trattoria Sofia, and B.B. Lemon.

In the coming months, it will open several more, including Buttermilk Baby, a retro-style diner; Benny Chows, a Cantonese-style Chinese restaurant that will be located next to B&B Butchers; Canopy Social, a British Caribbean-inspired patio bar above Benny Chows; La Table, a reimagined take on the Galleria-area French fine dining restaurant; Tavola, an Italian restaurant below La Table; Annabelle Brasserie, a restaurant in the Autry Park mixed-use development that will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner; Turner's Cut, a fine dining steakhouse in the Autry Park mixed-use development; and Prime 131, a wood-fired steakhouse in the Docks at Timbergrove mixed-use development.

Dune Road will occupy a space on the west side of the Texas Tower. Developed by real estate development firm Hines and Ivanhoé Cambridge, the building offers more than 1 million square feet of office space. Previously, Chicago-based Italian restaurant Etta announced it will open a location on the east side of the tower.

“Dune Road will be a key addition to the hospitality-driven experience at Texas Tower,” says John Mooz, senior managing director at Hines. “With the goal of providing a curated F&B offering to the north side of downtown, this new concept from Ben Berg’s powerhouse team will offer our tenants and the surrounding community the perfect setting to dine, recharge, and exchange.”

Seafood seems to be having a moment in Houston. Golfstrommen, a restaurant in the Post HTX food hall from Norwegian chef Christopher Haatuft and Top Chef winner Paul Qui, has earned raves since it opened in 2021. Navy Blue, a seafood restaurant in Rice Village from the team behind Bludorn, topped Texas Monthly's recent list of the state's best new restaurants. They'll be joined by a number of newcomers, including Little's Oyster Bar, a new concept from Pappas Restaurants; Balboa Surf Club, a new restaurant from the owners of Italian restaurant il Bracco; and Katami, a new restaurant from Kata Robata chef Manabu Horiuchi.