While other cities are feeling the crunch of skyrocketing oil prices, Houston is thriving on the growing demand for its chief commodity. But if places like Boomtown Coffee ever become the norm rather than the exception, you might see coffee turn into another of Houston's most precious resources. Boomtown’s small-batch roasts are always remarkably fresh, thanks to owners who care about sourcing and roasting their coffees locally. Though these coffees are a constant on Boomtown's menu, the choice of food items is liable to change as quickly as the price of gas. Daily options may include anything from a chocolate-crusted cheesecake to a vegetarian quiche, so it pays to make frequent return visits. On a nice summer day, there’s no better place to hang out than on the outdoor patio. In the winter, you can combat the occasional chill by perusing the local artwork inside the shop or by pouring a steamy cup of coffee over your head.
Staring at a blank piece of paper can be intimidating, but browsing the more than 100 pieces of blank, premade pottery at Young at Art draws hibernating creativity from its den, enticing the brain with shape, size, and bisque meat. Pieces range between $6 and $60, and the price of pottery covers everything required to design and fire a project, including time. Grab a blank plate and paint a meal upon it, stencil a cup with springtime flowers, or decorate a picture frame worthy of being hung inside itself. Laura, the studio's friendly ceramics guru, will happily move creative blocks with helpful suggestions, pointing you to the store's volumes of sample books, stencils, and templates for further inspiration. Upon painting the piece, you'll leave it with Young at Art for glazing and firing—four to seven days later, your triumphant claychievement will be available for pickup, prepared for its dazzling debut in an adobe dining room or as a thoughtful gift for a clay pigeon. Your Groupon is also good for Young at Art's glass-fusing process ($10+ per piece), where you can melt vivid designs into pre-cut ornaments and charms; its "Paint Me" process ($18–$24), where painted designs are pressed onto T-shirts; or clay prints (pricing varies), with fingers and toes granted immortality through the burn of the kiln. No additional studio sitting fees apply.
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.