Best Of :: Shopping & Services
From a single Uptown location to three Tasting Rooms and the überhip Max's Wine Dive, TTR has spread like barnacles on the Black Pearl. It's a wine bar-cum-cafe-cum-super-chic eatery (Max's), but we still like it just as a wine store — a perfect place to pop in after work and grab a bottle to take home for dinner. The walls are lined with vino, carefully arranged by price, region and grape; if you need more help with your selections, the knowledgeable staff will gladly make a recommendation or offer a sip. There's also yummy eats at all locations if you'd rather not cook at all. Ditch the take-home box and pretend you've been slaving over a hot stove to impress guests — even if they have an inkling, after a couple of glasses of your carefully paired wine, they won't care.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.