HOUS January 2014 : Page 84

boutiques and bars are booming. the art world is revving up, and hot chefs are cooking up a storm. welcome to ’14 in the most fascinating city in america! by the editors photography by kelli elizabeth, morris malakoff, debora smail & Julie soefer tatiana massey photo by julie soefer best of the city

Best Of The City

The Editors

Museum quality Tatiana Massey strikes a modest pose in her hot Laboratoria (2803 Westheimer Rd., 832. 407.2832) boutique. Both her background as a runway model and her interest in art inform the space; works from Texas artists like Angelbert Metoyer and Susan Plum entwine with uniquely outfitted mannequins in the River Oaks shop. "I've always wanted to create a multidimensional spot," says Massey, noting how different "inspirations and vibes" come together to create style. For 2014, look for fresh fashions like Daniele Carlotta eveningwear, and new looks by the British Fashion Council's Emerging Designer of the Year, Simone Rochas. Also expect the local store's international profile to keep rising, as it was just featured in Brazilian Vogue.

After David peck’s “Made Here” presentation at fall’s Fashion Houston—his gowns hit the runway and a film covered his new bespoke services—the designer got a standing-o; he knew then that his shift from the traditional wholesale calendar to a “buynow, wear-now” basis was a hit. “Tremendous response,” says Peck, who’s moved into a Kirby showroom, where two dozen specialists manufacture Peck’s garments—and those of other designers like Jonathan Blake and Amir Taghi. “Fashion that is... created in Houston... has transformative power.”

Galleria Glam

High-fashion still reigns at the Galleria. Luxury brands like Trina Turk, Rolex and Tod’s open their own boutiques later this year, while other retailers remodel. In April, Zara begins an upward expansion, becoming a two-story, 18,000-square-foot megastore. Next door, Sephora will also grow by 3,600 square feet, and nearby, Tory Burch (whose spring-summer bag is pictured) will undergo a facelift and expansion. The Chanel boutique will renovate this summer, and Club Monaco will relocate to a large new space next to Zales. All this news comes as anchor department store Saks fifth Avenue plans to build a new facility next fall, where the soon-to-bedemolished Macy’s on Sage now stands. The mall’s two Macy’s will consolidate into the location on Hidalgo—and the space vacated by Saks will be converted into a whole new wing of the Galleria, housing up to 35 stores and restaurants within 100,000 square feet of combined space.

Fashion score!

Winter’s hyper-sporty trend—à la luxuriously embellished sweatshirts—continues comfortably into spring, fitting right in with Houston’s hot and humid climate. Designers including Custo barcelona, Donna Karan and Marc Jacobs are proffering breathable fabrics, neoprene and stylishly functional accessories like visors and backpacks.

Southern Comfort

Atlanta’s sid and Ann Mashburn opened their eponymous his-and-hers stores (3272 Westheimer Rd.) in River Oaks in the fall, the first foray outside of the Big Peach for the private fashion labels and retail shops. For spring, the duo is touting a well-edited selection of Rodeo-ready apparel and accessories, with the Mashburn brand’s signature preppy touch. Think funky belt buckles, leather cuffs and box-pleat skirts for women, and classic Lucchese boots, handsome hankies and Western shirts for guys.


1. Azuz— An edgy boutique that opened in the old Nest & Cot space in October boasts a lineup of emerging designers like Benjamin Jay and Calvin Rucker, plus handbags from Dr34m, House of Harlow and more. Owners Penny Packer and Jacki Cosgrove outfit mannequins in eye-catching ensembles to draw in passersby. 2402 Rice Blvd.

2. WildBloom Boutique—Sisters Thuy and Tuyet Pham opened WildBloom last spring, with eclectic decor—think old typewriters and framed photos of Audrey Hepburn—and free-spirited style. Find day-to-night looks, interesting jewelry, and home accessories like candles. 2513 Rice Blvd.

3. Kate Spade Saturday— The fashion house’s hip offshoot opened in the fall, making Houston home to Saturday’s third brick-and-mortar location. For spring, expect more of the brand’s fun twists on simple silhouettes—shirtdresses, structured blouses— in new patterns. 2513 University Blvd.

4. Saint Cloud— In the new Hanover mixed-use complex, Saint Cloud has luxury accessories in euro-chic environs. Think leather goods by Claire Vivier, eyewear from Linda farrow, and more. Paper goods and linens are also in store. 5217 Kelvin Dr.

5. Julie Rhodes Fashion & Home— Welltraveled Julie Rhodes O’Neal curates homedecor and bath-and-body products from brands such as Antica farmacista, in addition to timeless, classic clothing from designers like Catherine Malandrino and Obakki. 6209 Edloe St.

If she builds it...

New-to-Houston architect Victoria Goldstein, 36, hopes to change the way we use our common spaces, beginning with her work on the entrance pavilion to the Lee and Joe Jamail skate park near Downtown, now in the design stage. “It’s difficult to find active public space that’s not constructed around shopping,” observes the Argentinian, who worked in London for several years before moving here in June. “I like it because it’s lively, like you’d see around any urban area of a big city,” she says of the skate park, which she’ll update with a space-age recalling open structure rife with shaded benches. Goldstein, who opens an eponymous design studio in town this month, says she wants to continue to help shape Houston’s points of public interest. “There is so much opportunity in Houston. The first impression is of a little stillness, and then when you find where the waves are; there are a lot of them.


1. Janus Et Cie— The still-new showroom in River Oaks has plenty of room for the brand’s indoor collection and famed oversize sculptural rattan patio furniture. 3935 San Felipe St.

2. Internum— A rumored expansion of this high-end, ultramodern store would make it one of the largest showrooms in Texas. New items include modular ottomans and tables by B&B Italia, and an armchair designed by Audi. 3303 Kirby Dr.

3. Mitchell Gold Bob Williams— In the old Restoration Hardware space in Highland Village—its flagship is now across the street—is a shiny new contemporarycool furniture store, with about 30 different room vignettes showcasing everything from dining tables to bed linens. 4901 Westheimer Rd.

4. Area— Since moving from its digs on Kirby to a new, larger showroom near Highland Village early last year, Area has more space for its impressive mix of antique and modern designs, including interesting light fixtures. 3735 Westheimer Rd.

5. Kuhl Linscomb— You could spend hours poring over the five-building Upper Kirby campus’ inventory of coffee-table books, knickknacks, furniture, linens and bath products. New for 2014: Donna Wilson ceramics, the latest Moooi lighting, upholstered stools with hairpin legs by Cisco Brothers, and Moser barware. 2424 W. Alabama St.


Gloss Is Boss!

Make a statement with boldly lacquered pieces in all shapes and sizes, like sculptural tables or sleek accents.


Lines sideboard, price upon request, by Peter Maly at Ligne Roset, 2800 Kirby Dr.

Table The Issue

Conrad cocktail table, $879, at High Fashion Home, 3100 Travis St.

On A pedestal

Gamba table, price upon request, by Sam Baron at Ligne Roset, 2800 Kirby Dr.

Room to Grow

Houston’s Laura U Interior Design (1840 Westheimer Rd.) has long been known for unique and colorfully contemporary room redos. And now, just in time for the new year, the firm itself is getting a makeover! The business’ new Studio U concept opens this month in the Montrose space formerly home to Laura U’s retail goods, which has now moved to an online marketplace. The Studio boasts a design bar with an on-duty “design guru” to field questions from walkins— paint selection, suggestions for complementary fabrics and more—and a resource library, where some of the Laura U team’s favorite vendors will display new materials and inspiration. Says firm CEO (and Laura’s husband) Mike Umansky, “It’s truly a collaborative space.”

One-Hundred Grand

To celebrate its centennial, Hermann Park will welcome works by heralded artists from the city and beyond. The Art in the park series will boast permanent and temporary installations set up throughout the park’s 445 acres. Some highlights: North Carolina artist Patrick Dougherty will set up a whirling architectural structure as Trenton Doyle Hancock transforms the park’s train ride into a multimedia experience with colorful 3-D renderings of trees and animals. Houston magazine Artist of the Year Sharon Engelstein will offer Mamadillidiidae, a series of bubbly forms rendered in pink. New York sculptor Orly Genger, Mexico’s Yvonne Domenge and Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone will participate, as will Louise Bourgeois, whose spindly bronze work, “Spider,” will be on loan by a private Houston collector.

Art of the Heart

Two decades ago, Alabama native Rick Lowe began redeveloping a string of ramshackle homes in Houston’s struggling Third Ward into a set of art studios known as Project Row (projectrowhouses.org). For his efforts in turning a stretch of shotgun houses into a six-block, 40-property spread of art spaces, Lowe has been appointed by President Obama to the National Council on the Arts. Lowe has overseen more than 300 artists’ installations and performances, film screenings, workshops, talks and readings at Row, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.


1. Nicola Parente—Italian painter Parente, known for his kaleidoscopic abstracts, will divide time between Houston and abroad. He continues to show works at Gremillion & Co. Fine Art and Winter Street Studios, and will travel to ethiopia for a residency at Serenade Art House, where he’ll work with children suffering from AIDS.

2. Francesca Fuchs—The legendary head of the Glassell School’s painting department recently debuted works at a faculty show, but it’s her take on the idea of “home”—think bittersweet depictions of everyday living—that’s taking her on the road this spring, with a noteworthy exhibition at San Antonio’s Sala Diaz.

3. Kevin Peterson—Hyper-realistic painter Peterson—his paintings, often of children set against graffiti’d walls, look like photos at first blush—is gearing up for a full 2014. The young painter kicks things off this month at the L.A. Art fair, then heads to Manhattan for Scope NYC in March, before taking part in group shows in Honolulu and Berlin.

4. Fariba Abedin—expect to see the Iranian-American artist’s chromatic renderings of geometrical shapes at the annual Texas Contemporary Art fair and at Wade Wilson’s Houston and Santa fe locales. She’ll also install a ceiling sculpture at Silver Street Studios.

5. Marco Villegas—Born in Monterrey, Mexico, the abstract and colorful painter came to Houston in the 1980s and got right to work, graduating from UH and finding a long-term home at the storied Meredith Long Gallery. This month he’ll open a new show at front, displaying his Rorschach-recalling woodblock monotype prints.

Discerning Eye

Houston native Kate bellin, 34, left her hometown for a Princeton education in humanities, and stayed in the Northeast to make a home with screenwriter husband Andy and develop a business as a go-to art consultant. Kate Bellin Contemporary (katebellin.com) specializes in helping young, untrained eyes find the right art pieces for their Park Avenue penthouses. “In that part of town, your art really needs to be on par,” says Bellin, also a mom to toddler son Lucky. Now she’s coming home—sort of—providing consultations to Houstonians who want to build their own collections. And that’s not all; although she remains based back East, she’ll help oversee the installation of works at Art in the Park this month, and later in the year helps host the Texas Contemporary Art Fair a second time. Her take on how the East Coast and the Th ird Coast compare might surprise some: “Houston’s art,” she insists, “is up to snuff with NYC.”


Scandalous snub?

After taking home the top prize on season four of The Voice last summer, Cypress-reared Danielle Bradbery, 17, joins the winter leg of country star Brad Paisley’s current tour this month, with no Lone Star dates set. One wonders, however, if the current gap in her sched that coincides with the Rodeo might mean she’ll be coming through in March? (Rodeo officials never say who’s playing before their full roster is announced.) The country singer is touring in support of her self-titled debut album, featuring the fiddlefilled track “Heart of Dixie.”

Bon Voyage

This year will be one filled with firsts for the Houston Grand Opera. Its first production of 2014—Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s post-Holocaust drama The Passenger, which debuts Jan. 18 at the Wortham—is also the show’s first appearance on U.S. soil. (The opera was written in the 1960s, based on a play by a concentration camp survivor. But it didn’t see stage light until 2010, when it premiered in Austria.) The company will then take it on the road, performing at Lincoln Center in July, the first time in 17 years HGO has played New York.


Seoul man

Chef Donald Chang, 43, may be the most noteworthy chef in Houston you’ve never heard of. He opened chic Uptown Sushi 10 years ago—before the current era, in which hot restos tend to beget celeb chefs. After Uptown’s smash launch, and a couple others, Chang took time off to finish his degree in psychology, get married and start a family. Now he’s back, with the mod Korean nara (in West Ave, 281. 249.5944). “It’s a homecoming,” says the chef, who was born in Seoul and raised in H-Town. Nara indeed looks warmly contemporary—confirmed by the Sakura tree with silk blooms sprouting from the lighted clear-glass planter in the entry—but the food seems authentic and comforting. This may owe to the fact that Chang’s Korean mom personally vets recipes for dishes like bibimbap, rice topped with crispy pork belly and a sunny-side-up quail egg.

Sweet Dreams

The personal-desserts trend—it started with cupcakes, grew to doughnuts and has now exploded with macarons and cake pops and much more—shows no sign of abating. In fact, it’s growing. Petite sweets (2700 W. Alabama St., 713.520.7007), the colorful little Upper Kirby bakery where treats include rows of adorable mini-cupcakes and German chocolate cake balls (pictured), will expand with more locations, starting in the Heights. Fluff Bake Bar’s wholesale baker Rebecca Masson, the former Top Chef: Just Desserts star whose moon pies and fluffernutters are sold at the likes of Revival Market and Max’s Wine Dive, has plans to open her own brick-and-mortar shop. Her fundraising campaign of kickstarter.com has been successful, and the media-savvy pastry chef is garnering lots of buzz. And then there’s sweet (801 Town & Country Blvd., Suite A120, 713.647.9338). The CityCentre-area shop with cool cupcake flavors like s’mores and hummingbird-cake is not only expanding with a new location Downtown. It’s growing its concept to include savory foods; Tout Suite will be a haute, healthy cafe.


1. Uchi— In the progressive dinner of your dreams, where to start? How about Uchi, the Austin-import sushi star. The Hamachi Nabe—hot, flavorful rice into which raw yellowtail and a farm egg are stirred— would make a dandy app. Or tempura’d brie with apple chutney and sweet potato crisps. 905 Westheimer Rd., 713.522.4808

2. Coppa— If you haven't tired of stirring eggs into your food, hit the original Coppa Ristorante (new spin-off Coppa Osteria is red-hot in Rice Village) for a pasta course. The Parmesan-cream-infused spaghetti carbonara is topped with a yolk. Or do gnocchi with ricotta, mushrooms and truffle oil. 5555 Washington Ave, 713.426.4260

3. Under belly— Fish course? Order Chris Shepherd's Crispy Bycatch at Underbelly, where dishes reflect local customs and cultures. The triggerfish is fresh from the nearby Gulf; it's dusted with rice flour and fried, and comes with charred spring onions. 1100 Westheimer Rd, 713.528.9800

4. L'Olivier— You could meat at any number of excellent steakhouses, or consider a French twist. In the sexy little baroque-tinged dining room of hip L'Olivier, expect not only expert steak frites but also rich short ribs cooked sous vide, and classic beef Bourguignon stewed with mushrooms and bacon. 240 Westheimer Rd, 713.360.6313

5. Mark’s American Cuisine— A finale at Mark’s would indeed be grand. The five-star stalwart’s dessert menu goes from old-school (coconut cream pie) to newfangled (doughnuts filled with Nutella and served with dark chocolate mousse). The vanilla milkshake is blended with premium rum and has a “floater” of syrupy, caramel-y 1982 Don PX Gran Reserva. 1658 Westheimer Rd., 713.523.3800


Kate the Great There’s something very new at vaunted Tony’s—not only a new chef de cuisine but also the first woman ever to be so named. Houston native Kate mcLean, 29, whose résumé impressively includes Le Carmes hotel in Provence, stepped up from sous chef in the fall. 3755 Richmond Ave., 713.622.6778

On the Bake

Even a city where the construction of new buildings is now ubiquitous, the modest brick structure with the large gleaming windows nearing completion on the northwest corner of Westheimer and Dunlavy has gotten the attention of foodies. When it’s done, internationally trained baker Roy Shvartzapel will open Common bond (1706 Westheimer Rd.) bakery cafe. Expect gorgeous croissants, pastries, macarons and tarts from the UH alum who trained under Pierre Herme in Paris and cut his teeth at Beverly Hills’ Bouchon. There’ll be first-rate sandwiches and late-night hours for the ’hood’s hungriest hipsters.

Divine Design

Known as leaders in modern residential architecture, Chuong and Chung Nguyen of mC2 leaped successfully into restaurant work with now 2-year-old Triniti. The Vietnamese brothers even earned a James Beard nod a few months ago for their industrial-light triumph of concrete, glass and natural wood. This year, they’ll go rustic-chic at Triniti chef Ryan Hildebrand’s long-anticipated Fm 903. About to start construction, it’s set to focus on streamlined local fare cooked simply in a wood-burning oven.

Night Life

Butcher’s block

Cocktail king bobby heugel is making more headlines in Houston’s nightlife scene. Last summer the mastermind behind such popular hangouts as artisan-cocktail capital Anvil (1424 Westheimer Rd.), trendy craft-beer tavern Hay Merchant (1100 Westheimer Rd.) and hip Blacksmith coffeehouse (1018 Westheimer Rd.) created a parent company for all his projects called Clumsy Butcher. The newly minted firm has just rolled out already-popular tequila bar Pastry War (310 Main St.), and is gearing up to premiere Alba Huerta’s Southern-style drinks place Julep (1919 Washington Ave.) And the loungey Nightingale Room (308 Main St.) in the spring. What might be the most impressive—and laudable—fete for Heugel and Co., however, is their year-old, philanthropic OKRA Charity Saloon in Market Square, which recently calculated its total giving to local nonprofits at more than $250,000.


1. Nosh This Next— max’s Wine Dive (4720 Washington Ave.) Opens a second location in Montrose this month, serving up favorites like the three-fried-egg breakfast sandwich. Two new eateries also tout midnight menus. Heights-area Crisp (2220 Bevis St.) dishes stone-fired pizzas, and 3rd Floor (2303 Smith St.) grills cheesy paninis.

2. Gastrocantina Chic— Downtown’s huge, funky El Big Bad (419 Travis St.), spun off popular El Gran malo (2307 ella Blvd.), serves margaritas with a wide array of infused tequilas. And Montrose’s new Pistolero’s (1517 Westheimer Rd.) also makes ’ritas with cucumber, jalapeno, etc. each bar serves gourmet tacos and more.

3. Get Crafty— With plenty of local product to sample—8th Wonder brewery just opened in eaDo, and Karbach Brewing Company announced a $15 mil expansion—the craft beer craze continues. For its part, Montrose’s Hay merchant (1100 Westheimer Rd.) just added 50 more selections to its beer list.

4. Game On— Backyard games are trending. At Brooklyn Athletic Club (601 Richmond Ave.), enjoy craft cocktails and croquet, table tennis and bocce. The upcoming Cowboy surfers will feature a half-court basketball setup and nearby Cottonwood (3422 N. Shepherd Dr.) boasts cornhole and foosball.

5. Look Up— Boasting period-pub decor and amusingly incongruous “boat drinks,” Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar (308 Main St.) is one of several newbies with upper-level settings and/or terraces. Steakhouse mr. Peeples (1911 Bagby St.) doubles as a nightclub with a two-story layout. And brand-new Gaslamp (479 McIlhenny Rd.) has a third-floor patio, artisan cocktails and Mediterranean-inspired nibbles.

Swing Town

TopGolf—the hugely popular, mega-golf-experience and ultimate-sports-bar destination in the Energy Corridor (1030 Memorial Brook Blvd.)—will open another location in Spring this summer. Serious golf pros and PYT hobbyists alike can take their best swings from one of 102 climate-controlled drivingrange bays at the new site, even at night. TopGolf has gained a following for its competitive but friendly atmosphere—and fun use of microchip technology to track the distance of golf balls so golfers can keep score. Like the original, the new, three-level facility will include a private event space, hundreds of flatscreen Tvs, and an in-house bar.

Midtown mania

The famously nightlife-savvy ’hood touts a bevy of hot new hangs. Lounger OTC (2708 Bagby St.), which expanded from its Upper Kirby location last month, proffers housemade infusions, a rotating list of craft beers and a full menu of gourmet sandwiches and skillet pizzas, best enjoyed at one of the community tables in the backyard. Austin spinoff Dogwood (2403 Bagby St.), offered by handsome twins Brad and Chad Womack (pictured, left to right, at their bar), draws crowds to its double-decker layout with a sports- and PYT-friendly atmosphere. And year-old rooftop venue proof bar + patio (2600 Travis St.) has a refreshed deck with twinkle lights and mod sofas for comfy canoodling.

Night Life

Grand Openings


Costa’s (415 Westheimer Rd.), which debuted this fall, offers an extensive list of wines by the glass— Cru Seco Chardonnay or Slingshot Cabernet, anyone?—and international craft brews. The “elixir lounge” dishes out boards of cheese and cured meats to pair with the fun drinks, also including cocktails as colorful as its brightly painted walls.

Little Dipper

Funky saloon Little Dipper (304 Main St.) is decked with Houston Oilers banners, vintage doll heads and a midnight-blue ceiling sprinkled with gold stars. Happy hour here is slowly getting famous, as is the unusual-for-a-pub stellar wine list, curated by noted local sommelier Justin Vann.


Summer Fest and Fitzgerald’s honcho Omar Afra opened the popular Lowbrow (1601 W. Main St.) near the Menil in October. Along with live music (but of course) and oil-rig wallpaper, find craft brews and two-handed pub grub like Philly cheesesteak and pork-and-chili sandwiches.

Read the full article at http://digital.modernluxury.com/article/Best+Of+The+City/1598279/190284/article.html.

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