Thursday, June 07, 2012

Democrats: what to see, do, eat and drink while you're here

First, let's begin with what's in close proximity to the Hilton Americas/Geore R. Brown Convention Center, where everything convention-related is happening.

The Grove is the closest restaurant and bar to you outside of the hotel. It's part of Discovery Green, where lots of things will be happening also.  I like The Grove because it's both casual and upscale at the same time. It will probably be crowded with Democrats all weekend, so don't expect to have a quiet conversation. Have the shaved prosciutto with almonds and fruit and a glass of cabernet or a mojito (or something drier and more bitter if you prefer). The Lake House has the inexpensive hamburger and hot dog options with the same fabulous views of the park, just a lot more screaming children.

Two blocks away is downtown's vertical mall, Houston Pavilions. You have everything you could want here; shopping, upscale dining, a food court with Mexican, barbecue, Asian and all the rest, and some great clubs -- House of Blues, Scott Gertner's, Pete's Dueling Pianos. You can even go bowling if you want to.

More, you say? Head a few blocks further northwest to Main, where the light rail is. There you'll find Mia Bella Trattorria, one of the best Italian places in the city -- "try the veal". There's one in the Pavilions we haven't been to, and one on the light rail line we have.  Great brunch, great ambiance. And for some alternative entertainment, wander into Dean's Credit Clothing. This a stone's throw from where we're having the Bloggers Caucus. Lots of places in-between the two.

Need some groceries? Go into Georgia's or the Phoenicia. Both are awesome just to sit and have coffee or a light bite.

If that's not enough, jump the southbound train about four or five stops to the Ensemble/HCC station for some country/Cajun chow at Natachee's Supper and Punch, and browse the cool shops between there and the Continental Club. This is about as close to Austin's SoCo as Houston comes these days. Julia's is really the only thing in that two blocks that's upscale, and the food is marvelous. Someone with a lot of Cuban influences works in the kitchen there; they have that whole Latin/Caribbean fusion thing going on.

Keep in mind that if you feel like closing down the Continental -- or anything else -- the light rail may have stopped by then (it usually quits around 1 am) and you'll have to cab it home. If you catch the train but still can't manage the six blocks back to your bed, call Yellow Cab while you're riding the rail back north to Main St. Station so they're waiting for you when you get there. A six-block cab ride will cost you about $5 -- or maybe $6 or $7 with a nice tip for the driver.

Have fun and stay safe.

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