Designed by award-winning architect Gunnar Birkerts, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston's stainless steel building safeguards a multitude of work designed to intellectual engage viewers and invoke complex reactions. The museum's two galleries, the Brown Foundation Gallery and the Zilkha Gallery, collectively host 8–10 free exhibitions every year.
The Brown Foundation spotlights work by internationally renowned artists and pieces organized around themes; past exhibits include a Kiki Smith survey and a showcase of performance art by black artists. The Zilkha, meanwhile, hosts the museum's Perspective Series, which gathers the work of emerging artists. The museum's Teen Council curates a biyearly edition of Perspectives, unveiling work by young, Houston-area artists that mine for deeper feelings than the normal teenage angst toward parents, teachers, and singing animatronic bears. The Teen Council also contributes to the museum's numerous programs, which include lectures and discussions for each show, as well as Musiqa concerts based on each Brown Foundation Gallery exhibition.
Goodyear Car Care's mechanics, certified by the institute for Automotive Service Excellence, slip under car hoods and undercarriages to perform tasks from routine oil changes to intricate engine replacements. Tools let out pneumatic whines as they install new tires from brands such as Michelin and Goodyear, and the complete list of services includes brake adjustments and state inspections. They also pick up and drop off customers by appointment and provide loaner cars when needed. Tow trucks rumble out of the lot en route to get patrons unstuck from ditches or give third graders an idea for their thesis papers.
With its fantasy-furnishing fusion of bohemian and baroque decor, Absolve Wine Lounge cossets diners within an elegant dining environment. Sink into a plush velvet armchair and rest your feet on a thick oriental rug while the rustic glow of ornate candelabras to survey the extensive menu with magic-carpet levels of ease. Diners can immerse tongues in the Absolve cheese experience with three cheese choices from a lineup including cambozola, manchego, raspberry bellavitano, roquefort, and more ($16). Prove the old adage that misery loves company almost as much as hunger loves meatballs with the Italian Stallion panini, stuffed with spiced meat spheres and mushrooms ($8), or simplify eats with a bacon pita burger, with beef, bacon, and cheddar jack sandwiched between two slices of crisp pita spread with homemade honey dijon ($8). End an evening on a syrupy note with a sumptuous slice of New York–style cheesecake ($6).
"Don't worry if you don't know much about wine," Manager Mike Kurth told the Houston Press just after the restaurant's grand opening in 2010. "I'll find you something you like." Drawing from a palette of more than 170 wines, Cork Soakers' bottle-handlers exude a casual confidence in dispatching potions to pair with a menu of artisanal meats and cheeses. As they consider the flavor notes of herbed Da Vinci gouda, chévre goat cheese, and smoked duck breast, the wait staff never cross over from savviness into snobbery: as Kurth notes, "Anyone who says they know everything about wine is lying. You can always learn more."
While continuing to build their knowledge base, the Cork Soakers team marinates in an atmosphere of full-on wine culture: cork-covered tabletops and menus, wine-barrel light fixtures, and a giant grapevine slowly entrapping the kitchen staff. At the center of the rustic space, a big table carved from a single mighty tree trunk holds a scrumptious brunch spread every Sunday. In fine weather, diners can take their beverages and bites out to the expansive patio.
It wouldn’t be hard to spend an entire day at iT’Z Family Food & Fun—not only is there an arcade packed with more than 150 games and attractions such as go karts and mini bowling, but you can consistently refuel at an all-you-can-eat buffet with pizza, salad, and pasta. In group events, each guest is set up to enjoy the buffet and receives credits towards the rides and games. Kids birthday parties have extras such as a table reservation, dedicated host, and extra tickets for the birthday child. There are four distinct party rooms and they cater to all ages—the neon-tinged Toon’z diner has an animation theme, while the elegant Hollywood room is lit softly by wrought-iron chandeliers and dying laser tag guns.
For more than 35 years, The Yoga Institute has been educating and enlivening its members through the exploratory practice of yoga. Classes help quiet the mind and loosen the body as students delve deeper into an eclectic blend of Vinyasa, Ashtanga-based, and Jivamukti-infused classes. Mix It Up classes take a different focus each week, including poses that use a wall and partner poses. Early-morning classes wake up the body with fluid movements, whereas advanced classes challenge students with rigorous inversions, arm balances, and backbends. Instructors pay special attention to proper alignment, offering adjustments to deepen a student’s physical practice and accompanying mental release.