This outdoor gallery features work by 300 artists in 17 mediums, including brisket, with the downtown skyline serving as a backdrop. This year's featured artist, Vic Lee, defies categorization or easy interpretation, blending religious narrative with dark colorations and demure, distorted figures. There will also be ongoing events, including music and dance provided by the Houston Arts Alliance, an interactive creative play zone for children, and a plethora of wine cafés and restaurants to pique what few senses remain untouched by art.
With tented performance areas throughout downtown Houston, this year's fest features a lineup of hundreds of performances from around the globe. Music acts include big names (Ozomatli, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic) alongside other talented musicians. Check out the entire schedule of events here. An abundant bounty of global cuisine with everything from Japanese to Jamaican fare, highlighted by vast offerings from this year's spotlighted Caribbean nations, will nourish the hungry crowds. The festival and the performances will proceed rain or shine, so bring an umbrella if it rains, and ride in on an umbrella if it doesn't.
Since opening in 2003, The Tasting Room has morphed from a wine bar to a full-service restaurant with four locations—all while retaining its wine-bar charm and racking up numerous awards and accolades. Diners can select libations from a list that boasts more than 200 wines, pairing them with contemporary dishes whipped up by executive chef Jonathan LeBlanc. TTR offerings run the gamut from small plates of mini grilled sandwiches and classic bruschetta to entrees including creole-spiced quail and Jamaican jerk chicken breast, which diners can savor at windowside tables or on the plant-ensconced patio and garden area.
The eatery doesn't just sate hunger for eclectic classics and thirst for fermented grapes. It also hosts live music, meetings, and events such as 2011's Grapes vs. Grains, which pitted beer against wine in a liquid wrestling match. The owners have their hands in other culinary enterprises, too. There's the Houston Cellar Classic, for example, an annual celebration of food and wine. Also popular is MAX's Wine Dive, a destination for gourmet comfort food best defined by its slogan—"Fried chicken and champagne? ... Why the hell not?"
Water 2 Wine has a deep understanding of the wine making process, which is apparent from the company’s collection of 50 medals won at various international wine competitions. With 10 locations across the U.S., the company welcomes guests from all over to come and see what all the buzz is about firsthand. Visitors can sip on the low-sulfite and histamine-free wines made on-site, create their own batches of vino replete with custom labels, and learn proper wine etiquette during education classes.
Although it was voted Best Coffeehouse in 2004, 2005, and 2006 by the Houston Press, the term "coffeehouse" doesn't begin to do Agora justice. Inside it's sociable, woody interior, guests imbibe a menu of Greek wines, beers, and teas––all while tapping their toes to tunes playing on the jukebox or filling the air with smoke rings from their favorite cigar. Patrons can also break off bits of fine chocolates to swirl into cups of Greek coffee, fork up Agora's famous baklava, and surf the waves of the world wide web courtesy of the shop's free wi-fi––an amenity for which the coffeehouse has also garnered an award.
Chef Marco Wiles is practically synonymous with Houston’s Italian dining scene. No other chef has done more to bolster the city’s standing as a gourmet destination for that nation’s cuisine, though he does claim the distinct advantage of having grown up in a small Italian town. Vinoteca Poscol, Wiles’s third and latest venture, is named after a street in that town and ostensibly modeled after a neighborhood-style Venetian wine bar. The chef’s affection for his native land is apparent everywhere in the restaurant, from the focus on Italian varietals to the gondola oars set in place of traditional silverware. In keeping with his reputation for thoughtful, creative pairings, Wiles has crafted each small plate with a selection of fine wine in mind. Whether you opt for the butternut-squash risotto with chicken livers, the spicy prosciutto cotto for your selection of house-cured salumi, or a board of regional cheeses, your server can help you select a wine that complements the dish’s flavors and textures.