HoustonPBS, the country's oldest educational television station, beams critical knowledge, entertainment, and news into households in more than 30 counties in southeast Texas. Support by members, which makes up more than 60% of the station's budget, sustains their varied schedule and offers viewing alternatives to the bloodsports and commemorative bloodsport-plate sales that dominate commercial channels. In addition to celebrated programs for adults and children, including Frontline, Arthur, and Austin City Limits, the schedule brims with locally produced fare such as InnerVIEWS, which has featured illuminating discussions with Edward Norton, Arianna Huffington, Dan Rather, and other notables.
Hofbrau Steaks hogties hearty appetites in a classic steakhouse milieu. The brawny menu muscles up high-quality meats including the Hill Country rib eye ($19.99–$23.99), which is cooked in lemon butter and seasoned with the restaurant's secret seasonings, dubbed "Magic Dust". The hand-breaded chicken fried steak ($9.99 lunch, $10.99–$14.99 dinner) comes topped with country gravy and the emotional baggage of growing up as two meats. In pig in a tater, pulled pork hides from hungry eaters in a potato cave ($7.99), and bacon-wrapped Texas shrimp wraps itself up into a jalapeno-and-smoked-bacon cocoon ($12.99–¬¬$18.99, dinner only). Midday eats—such as the Hofbrau Hamburger steak, topped with brown gravy and grilled onions ($9.99, lunch only)—sate workday cravings.
The Veranda's owners cultivate an intimate ambience punctuated with both upscale dishes influenced by American and European flavors and live musical entertainment. The extensive menu puts a unique spin on fine-dining starters, such as roast duck with mango chutney ($10) and seafood cheesecake, a savory shellfish filling embraced by a pretzel crust and parmesan-horseradish cream sauce ($10). Electrify appetites with an ancho-marinated tilapia accompanied by cilantro cream ($18) or satisfy succulence cravings with seafood-stuffed quail that, like an apple on the clearance shelf, is semi-boneless ($23). The lunch menu, available Wednesday through Friday (reservation required), features a Herculean selection of paninis (starting at $10.95) and salads.
Hula Mamas swathes guests in complimentary shell lei and outfit empty hands with non-alcoholic tropical fruit drinks in preparation for the Hawaiian dinner and show, which enlightens audiences about the South Pacific with rousing island entertainment and a brimming buffet. Polynesian delectables from mahi-mahi and pulled pork to sweet pineapple nut cake line the copious spread (the restaurant is BYOB pending a liquor license). Later, lights in Hula Mamas’ tiki hut will dim to highlight the flames of fire knife twirlers during the hour-long Polynesian Revue, which also features burly male warriors and shimmying hula girls. Audience participation is encouraged, so wear your loudest Hawaiian shirt and most recently mown grass skirt to join in.
The chefs at Anothai Cuisine and Nara Thai Dining grind their own fresh herbs and spices to awaken patrons' tongues with each bite of their Thai dishes. Pungent curry coats seafood, chicken, and noodles, and on the other end of savory-to-sweet spectrum, mango imbues shrimp with flavor that evokes the tropical drinks of which ice fishermen's dreams are made. Artfully arranged garnishes complement colorful dishes to excite the eyes, which can scan the bright red and white accents between bites.
DoubleDave's Pizzaworks serves up an assortment of hearty, hand-tossed pizzas, Peproni rolls, stromboli, and more. Choose a pie from DoubleDave's selection of specialty pizzas ($19.99 for an 18", $15.99 for a 15", and $12.99 for a 12”)—the buffalo-chicken pizza outfits its surface area in mozzarella, chicken strips, wing sauce, and ranch dressing, while the duplicitous Dave's Fave offers carnivore-coaxing meatball and sausage or veggie-baiting tomato, garlic, and spinach variations on its olive oil, garlic, and oregano sauce base. Do-it-yourselfers are welcome to design their own pies ($10.99 for a 15", plus $1.59 per topping), choosing size, toppings, and the type of crust, and diners wishing to cram their cuisine into claustrophobic confines can opt for a half-dozen Peproni rolls ($7.99), with pepperoni and cheese wrapped into dough. Or escape the boot-shaped grip of the Mediterranean with a Philly cheesesteak stromboli ($10.99 for large, $5.99 for small).