March 22nd, 2011

Seasonal Inventory: Winter 2011 in Review

So yeah… We’ve changed quite a lot. New writers have been added. New photographers have emerged. Old writers and photographers are back with us for a second fling. It’s been a fun few months. Good thing we don’t plan on turning back any time soon. Houston is our final frontier.

Even though we don’t want to go back whence we came, we will still take the opportunity to glance back at some of the odds and ends we’ve covered. This is your Seasonal Inventory of sites visited and sights to remember.

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BARS and COFFEE SHOPS
Amazingly, the winter months didn’t send us reeling to find the warmth of drink as much as you would have imagined.  For the first time ever, coffee shops outnumbered bars in our article total. Our livers are thanking us.

Hubcap Grill and Beer Garden by Stephan
Coming to the Heights in April, Stephan got a sneak peek at what Ricky is going to be serving up. New burgers and good beers. Can’t argue with that.

Blue Moose Lodge: Washing Down Mooseballs by Marc
Just like the rest of the Washington strip, you’re going to find crowded nights and peaceful days at Blue Moose Lodge. Their menu isn’t bad. The aesthetic is nice. Now if they would just find some parking and quit the valet service.

Bungalow: Quiet Coffee in Montrose by Stephan
None of us really knew that Bungalow existed until Stephan told us he was going there for an experience. Tucked into the crazy fold of Montrose, it’s one of those places that transports you away from the rest of the area without having to leave it.

Agora: The Grand Re-Opening by Paul
She’s back, everybody. My baby is back. She was sorely missed. Bring on the backgammon. Take down a frappe. Slide into one of the cramped tables. They’re all just the same.

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RESTAURANTS
Our writers really hit their stride when it came to food over the last three months. You could argue that the new Hubcap deserves to be down here bringing it to an even dozen of restaurants that found spots on The Loop Scoop.

El Real Tex-Mex Cafe: The Soft Opening by Sean
The new Caswell/Floyd/Walsh creation is open. This will be a “go-to” place, so grab your friends, find a seat and enjoy the authenticity of El Real while bragging about how you found it first.

Joe’s Barbecue: Meats, Sweets and Texas Treats by Richard
Alvin? Yes, Alvin. Its not just good for Nolan Ryan pilgrimages. They’ve got great barbecue at Joe’s. You might even say it’s worth the trip to the burbs. Scratch that, it’s passed the burbs.

Sweet Lola’s Yogurt bar: An Even Sweeter Reputation by Tea Jones
I recently stopped by Sweet Lola’s to check out what Tea Jones was raving about. Off-beat flavors. Fantastic toppings. They serve everything that frozen yogurt should have been since the beginning.

La’ Fendee: Feeding a Craving by Marc
Mediterranean cuisine is no stranger to the Houston market. There are spots everywhere you turn, but you may have overlooked one while zooming down Westheimer. Overlook no more. Go to La Fendee.

Poscol Vinoteca e Salumeria: It’s All in the Name by Paul
Are you a fan of Da Marco’s? What about Dolce Vita? Well, friend, you need to have a go at Poscol. Any variation of salumi that your heart desires can be found here. Bring your appetite and similarly minded Italian ham lovers.

Floyd’s Cajun Seafood and Texas Steakhouse: That’s a Mouthful by Richard
Richard happens to be an auteur when it comes to places outside the loop. Here he is again with a tale of two genres. Texas steak, meet Cajun seafood. You shall always be together.

Jus’ Mac: A Skillet’s True Purpose by Sarah
“I’ve been wanting to try that place since I read about it on The Loop Scoop,” is one thing that seems to be told to me all the time about Jus’ Mac. I’m not sure why I’ve been holding out. Sarah was quite convincing that I need to try it two days before yesterday.

Ziggy’s Bar and Grill: A Helping of Healthy Hubris by Tea Jones
“Healthy food” is a phrase that will get you slapped around my house. Tea Jones did his best to convince me that Ziggy’s is better than I could imagine. Turns out, he was right. I went, took a stab at trying to not like it and failed.

El Meson: Can I Dance with Your Dates? by Paul
The bacon-wrapped, chorizo-stuffed medjool dates are delicious. The bacon-wrapped, chorizo-stuffed medjool dates are delicious. The bacon-wrapped, chorizo-stuffed medjool dates are delicious. What the??? I thought I would appear at El Meson if I said it three times while clicking my heels.

Ellie’s Kitchen: Feast on Greek Throughout the Week by Richard
You thought Houston was the only place for Mediterranean? Think again. Friendswood has Ellie’s which stands a shot at one-upping your love for Houston’s hummus

Zilla Street Eats: Last Resort Grub, First Resort Taste by Tea Jones
Let me tell you the story of going to Zilla and eating too much. It can happen, my friends. Track Zilla down. Eat Zilla food. Practice a bit of restraint. I know the whole menu looks fantastic, but that doesn’t mean you have to order and eat the whole thing.

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CULTURE, EVENTS and LIVE MUSIC
What we lacked in beer and cocktail drinking, we made up for in concert attendance. Not only that, some of Houston’s great events and cultural opportunities had Loopster eyes upon them.

Ryan Bingham and The Dead Horses at House of Blues by Alexander
Don’t you just love it when you go to the show for the headliner, but walk away without being able to shut up about the opener? This happened to Alexander when he signed up for Ryan Bingham and walked away with a love for The Silent Comedy.

HoustonTXSW: The Three-Ring Experience by Imelda
South by Southwest had a bit of Houston flavor to it again this year. The three ring circus act of Houston’s juggling creatives (note: they’re not jugglers, it’s just an expression) made and impression on our new contributor, Imelda.

OMD at House of Blues by Alexander
Two concerts in a week. That’s what I’m talking about. The reunion of OMD – Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark – and their first tour in 23 years had Alexander drooling. Don’t worry, he took some time to snap photos as well.

Houston Rodeo: Sealed with a KISS by Sarah
There were a lot of people that though the Rodeo’s music line-up left them wanting. They never would have said that if they made it to one show: the KISS concert.

The Night Toro y Moi Canceled by Paul
With the headliner canceling, I had no idea what to do. Stay for the free show or leave without losing money. Well, I stayed and I’m glad I did. I have a few new bands to add to my daily soundtrack now in Pterodactyl, Parts & Labor and Cloud Nothings.

Spring Forward Music Festival by Paul
Which is worse: the headliner’s a no-show or the crowd. That’s a tough nut to crack. Good thing the music kept on blasting from What Made Milwaukee Famous, The Bright Light Social Hour and The Gold Sounds.

Dance Source Houston and DiverseWorks: 12 Minutes Max by Kerri
Welcome, Kerri. The Houston theater scene has missed a Loopster presence for a while. Thank you for picking up the slack. Behold the stylings of our newest writer. She’ll be here all week… but we hope it’s a lot longer than that.

The Walkmen at Fitzgerald’s by Paul
My first trip to Fitzgerald’s since college was to see a band I’ve wanted to experience in person from around the same time. A rabid crowd put the show over the top, but something tells me The Walkmen would have wowed me all the same if their fans weren’t there.

2011 ConocoPhillips Rodeo Run by Richard
You run, I run, we all run to/for the Rodeo. Faces of the finish line is the unofficial title of this piece. Take a look.

The Wheel Workers CD Release at Walter’s by Paul
We need more Houston acts to make an impression on the people of the same city. Take Unite for a spin. It feels good, don’t it.

2011 Houston Marathon: A Photo Essay by Paul
Waking up at 6:00AM just to take some pictures seems kind of crazy. It was… until the neighbors with mimosas arrived. Congratulations to all the finishers. You much more man (or woman) than I can ever be.

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OP/ED and OTHER PUBLISHING
What comes with new writers is new opinion and editorial vehicles. Honestly, these are some of my favorite pieces of content we have the pleasure of publishing.

Houston Helps by The Loop Scoop
I’m not even going to direct you to specific postings on this one. They all deserve your attention. Help us help Houston by reading, donating and volunteering.

Save the Date by X
With the more bitter of the two dating columns, X has certainly been divisive lately. That’s why we love her. Bring on the hate, commenters. She’ll give you some of your own medicine.

Dater Unknown by Dater Unknown
I think we’ve lost Dater Unknown to the dark side. She’s not quite as anonymous as we would have liked her and now she’s gone off and fallen in LUV with some boy. Come on. Are you kidding me? That doesn’t make for hopelessly funny tales of dating.

Listomania by Tea Jones
From Valentine’s Day gift selection to Unbreakable Karaoke Kommandments, Tea Jones was our main man when it came to the Listomanias. There will be more soon, maybe even on Thursday if you ask nicely.

The First Sip: House Bill 660 – An Open Letter by Mason
Mason is another new addition to the staff and made himself a splash with his open letter to Mike Hamilton. The vote was today.

The First Sip: Leprechaun Cider Co. by Jeff
Houston has a cider-brewing company coming on strong. Have you tried it yet? You’ll have plenty of opportunities, but it doesn’t hurt hunting it down to be one of the first. Read to find out where.

The First Sip: Tappin’ the First No Label Keg by Jeff
The craft beer scene has another hat in its ring. No Label will sound find itself into the taps of your favorite bars, but for now you’ll just have to read to find out where it will be popping up next.

The Poop Scoop: Houston Oddities by Paul
Who thought that a little sign could create such a stir. Honestly, we got pretty tired of the “POOP” sign and it’s eventual “: ) LOL” message by the time last week ended. When pranksters start taking themselves too seriously, the world has turned on the rest of us.

Pride and Pestilence: Salzburg, Oh Salzburg by Stephan
Going to Salzburg any time soon? Stephan has a look into the city with some beautiful photos he took while he was there. Makes you wish you had a ton of frequent flyer miles to burn, doesn’t it.

An Anchor’s Err: Bird Caught on Camera by Paul
Our first shot at a “viral” story was a bit of a dud. We sat on it an hour too long and Houston Press beat us by minutes to the publishing punch. That doesn’t mean it makes Owen Conflenti’s flashing of the bird on camera any less comical.

Misconceptions and First Impressions: Calvin Goes to Houston by Calvin
Bring your friends to Houston, take them around town and hear what they have to say. You might get a kick out of it. Even more so than Calvin’s story about Houston, his mom stopping in to comment on it was even funnier.

Dear Houston: Messin’ with Mardi by Tea Jones
Should Galveston mess with Mardi Gras? Maybe. Maybe not. Let Dear Houston decide.

Album Review: The Wheel Workers – Unite by Paul
What, did you forget to click the link above to The Wheel Workers’ live performance? I’m giving another shot to support them with my review of their latest album. Go ahead. Click it.

Dear Houston: MLK Parade Times Two by Tea Jones
We have two MLK Parades. While more is usually better, we took a deeper look at the situation. Interesting.

Designated Design Houston: Nurit Avni has Eyes for Houston by Richard
Any of you aspiring or established creatives out there need to send Richard an email. We’re looking for the best, brightest and most promising creative minds out there to interview and profile. Richard@TheLoopScoop.com

— Paul

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