Some things just go together: peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and meatballs, two examples and a third thing. Coffee and craft beer rarely fall into this group. For one, they’re typically served at opposite ends of the day. But Down House uses this fact to its advantage, serving direct-trade, locally roasted coffee to early birds and dozens of beers and specialty cocktails to those who trickle in later on. Because the menu is based on local, seasonal ingredients, there’s no telling what it will look like on any given day—the Texas-tinged breakfast dishes and internationally inspired lunch and dinner selections change regularly— but hamburger fans can rest assured that their favorite sandwich is the lone item that’s constantly featured.
Theater should be accessible for all. That's the belief espoused by UpStage Theatre, a non-profit, volunteer-run company that welcomes everyone from experienced attendees to newcomers who still expect Godot to show up. Each season places an emphasis on works that are as professional in their staging as they are family-friendly in their content. To that end, UpStage produces children's plays—which have included Alice in Wonderland and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown—alongside all-ages classics such as On Golden Pond and Blithe Spirit.
Kris Bistro & Wine Lounge's executive chefs Alain LeNôtre and Kris Jakob, who has been featured in the Houston Chronicle, tap nearby farms and recruit skilled culinary students to cultivate a menu showcasing local ingredients. Artisan breads made in house prime palates for a three-course meal filled with friendly banter before starters roll over tongues as intriguingly as ballads in pig Latin. The grilled-shrimp appetizer binds gulf crustaceans together with vegetables in a decadent shellfish bisque with hints of cognac. The kitchen's sweeping glass walls afford visual contact with three prep areas and let diners watch culinary adventures as closely as an Oompa-Loompa's parole officer.
When thinking of a wine collection, minds often spring to dark, dank caverns filled to the brim with dusty bottles deep beneath the earth. At The Corkscrew, however, potential pours are on full display out in the open, their labels proudly peering out from the sprawling wine wall. While oenophiles sip on their glass of chosen wine, they can dig into a menu of tasty snacks, including paninis, thin-crust pizza, and cheese plates. Resident pianist Nick Greer takes the stage every Thursday through Saturday to sweeten nights out with the dulcet strains of his keyboard ministrations.
Airline Drive in the Heights plays host to plenty of Mexican restaurants that serve seafood, but precious few that offer a Mexican-Chinese hybrid. In fact, there’s only one: Golden Seafood House. Pull into the gated parking lot amid towering palm trees and grab a spot at a Formica table, then prepare yourself for heaping plates of fried jumbo shrimp and a goblet of ceviche with a side of Chinese-style fried rice. There are micheladas for the warm weather days, and hearty fried foods when the weather turns cool. Golden Seafood is short on décor but big on atmosphere, with fun-loving diners and amiable staff dishing out updated classic like whole fried catfish, but served with a side of egg rolls.
The name Rainbow Lodge might sound like something out of a fairy tale. But then, isn't there something magical about a 100-year-old log cabin nestled on a full-acre of lush gardens? Add in the three fireplaces and the fact that this fairytale-like setting is located just a few minutes from downtown, and suddenly it's easy to see why such a place would deserve an enchanting name. And it's also easy to see why the Houston Press voted it one of the most romantic restaurants in town. But it takes more than just an idyllic setting to draw a loyal following. For 30 years, guests have come to this cozy lodge-like restaurant for wild game and regional gulf seafood. Surrounded by antique hunting and fishing memorabilia, diners sup on dishes like grilled North American elk chops with blue cheese and blue corn grits, or pan-seared red snapper served with brown buttered crawfish. Menus change seasonally to accommodate the freshest produce and meats from local farmers and ranchers, and some dishes even feature ingredients from the restaurant's onsite gardens or secret underground cucumber mines.