Best of Houston®

Best Of 2007

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Best Of :: Shopping & Services

Best Place to Buy Stuff for a Pirate Party
Southern Importers

Want to throw a grog-soaked debauch that would do Blackbeard proud, or a teetotaling little pirates' bash? Either way, Southern Importers has you covered. There, you can not only pick up pirate guy stuff like eye patches, hook hands, sashes, cutlasses and ruffled shirts but also bonny "pirate wench" attire. They'll even hook you up with skull-and-­crossbones tableware, glittering doubloons, treasure chests and wall hangings. (Check out the "Pirate's Cove" link on their Web site.) And on top of all that, they'll help you transform your living room into a pirate's lair with freebooter "insta-themes" to attach to your walls.

4825 San Jacinto St., Houston, 77004
MAP
713-524-8236
Best Adult Video Store

Bizarre Times on Richmond lets you cover more vices than most (Houston Press employees excluded) can handle in one night. Of course, there's the porn, with a selection ranging from borderline tasteful to completely horrifying; sex toys, featuring nine variations on The Rabbit; prostitute-esque fetish wear; and "viewing rooms" for "couples." But there's also a wide array of tobacco accessories and perfumes that really define Bizarre Times as the Wal-Mart of Adult Video. Sam Walton would be so proud!

5727 Richmond Ave., Houston, 77057
MAP
713-532-9990
Best Apartment Finder

We were gonna say Craig's List, but then we found Adrien Gibson, who hangs out on Craig's List and who, despite the inauspicious place for a first meeting, is one helluva apartment hunter. Our friend used Gibson when she was looking for a place a little while back. He asked her what she wanted, where she was looking, what her price range was, and get this: He took her to a place that met her description right off the bat. No "this is almost in your range." No "it's close to where you were saying." None of that. Only friendly, efficient service, so efficient our friend signed up for the first place she saw. Can it get any easier?

Best Aquarium Fish
Napoleon Wrasse at the Downtown Aquarium

Originally from the coral reefs of the Pacific, the Napoleon wrasse living in the confines of the Downtown Aquarium is truly a wonder to behold. He looks as if he'd like to strike up a conversation with you – and that he could formulate a good sentence with those huge lips, given the chance. There's a conscious awareness lurking behind his independently roving eyes, and a presence in his five-foot hulking form. The Aquarium's humphead wrasse is a male, indicated by the bump on his forehead. Labeled as a "sequential hermaphrodite," the Napoleon fish is born male, changes into a breeding female when it matures at five to seven years old, and during its 30 or more years of life may change back again to a dominant male should the need arise. Go see this rare, exquisitely patterned fish, for free – you don't need to buy dinner to visit the aquarium at the Aquarium.

410 Bagby, Houston, 77002
MAP
713-223-3474
Best Asian Grocery
Hong Kong Market No. 4

There's no place that can compare to Hong Kong Market No. 4. It's probably the best example of the mix of Texan and Asian cultures. Only in Houston can you find an Asian grocery that has adopted the local fetish of building the largest and grandest supermarkets possible. Here you'll find a plethora of products from every Asian country imaginable. From seemingly odd Japanese soft drinks to Korean candy, this place has stuff for those looking for the exotic and for those who're just homesick.

11205 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, 77072
MAP
281-575-7886
Best Baby Store

Packed with high-quality furniture for babies and kids, USA Baby is the place to go when you're looking to outfit your nursery. From beautiful and delicate bassinets to rough-and-tumble bunk beds, from rocking chairs to car seats, it's all at USA Baby. It doesn't matter if you want to create a fairyland for your little princess or a touchdown zone for the little man of the house (or the other way around), it's here. There are adorable "Time-Out" chairs with built-in alarm clocks, fun "How Tall Am I Now?" wall hangings and huge assortments of strollers and baby carriers. And USA Baby has a great selection of hard-to-find stuffed animals. Looking for a life-size gorilla? It's here. Or maybe a pink elephant wearing a tiara? It's here, too.

9523 Westheimer, Houston, 77063
MAP
713-532-9191
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Best Place to Buy Stuff for a Pirate Party: Southern Importers

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