Best of Houston®

Best Of 2008

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Best Of :: Shopping & Services

Best Novelty Store
Sig's Lagoon

No, Sig's didn't win Best Novelty Store because it proudly sells vinyl — the entire upstairs balcony is devoted to that processed plastic — which is less and less a novelty every year in any case. It was more the book of illustrations that conveniently leaves a hole for the reader's penis where, for example, someone's head or a banana might be. (That book was sold, but they can always reorder.) The entire wall of bobblehead dolls — Rat Fink, the Gruesomes, the Monkees' Davy Jones, Mr. T — is nice too. There's nothing novel, however, about owner Tomas Escalante's dedication to making Sig's the closest thing the city has to a Houston music museum, with the added bonus of offering exhibits you can actually buy. And if that means he has to sell a few Hillary Clinton nutcrackers — though he's probably not selling many of those anymore; maybe he should trade them for some Obama merch — to finance the purchase of some rare TSU Toronadoes LPs, that's just fine by us.

3622 Main St., Houston, 77002
MAP
713-533-9525
Best Antique Store
Kuehnert's Auction ­Gallery, Inc.

Kuenhert's Auction house is not quite a store, but there's not a more exciting way in town to shop for fabulous French antiques, plush Persian rugs or even a palette full of kooky knick-knacks, old toys, or strange hats. Every Thursday night, the hearty souls who are game enough pick up a number, sit down in the audience and wait for the auctioneer to start the bidding. Everything goes and there's no minimum bid, so stunning deals are to be had by all. Designers have been going there for years; now it's your chance to get in on the action. All it takes is a quick hand and a strong heart — once that arty armoire is yours, there's no returning it.

8719 Katy Freeway, Houston, 77024
MAP
713-827-7835
Best Architectural Antiques
Adkins Architectural Antiques & Treasures

Want to add a distinct look to your bedroom furniture? You could always pick up one of the many tree-killing catalogues from your recycling pile, or head to Adkins in Midtown for antique glass drawer pulls. Try those great Grecian urns to flank your apartment's porch, or Art Deco tiles for a kitchen backsplash. But if you like something, buy it. Part of the charm at this rambling, sprawling old house festooned with old lawn furniture is the fact that once an item is gone, you may never see another like it again.

3515 Fannin St., Houston, 77004
MAP
713-522-6547
Best Asian Supermarket
Viet Hoa

Viet Hoa is the Fiesta of Asian supermarkets and a pure delight for seekers of groceries and colorful oddities alike. It's big, it's clean and on any given day, you can find silk flowers, flip-flops and thousand-year-old eggs within a few steps of each other. The back wall is covered with tanks full of unusual sea creatures and case after case of fresh fish. If seafood isn't your thing, the array of roasted and barbecued meats could turn a vegetarian carnivorous. On the way out, a dizzying and attractive selection of jellied products is tempting enough to make you want to eat white fungus and mung bean...and like it.

8300 W. Sam Houston Parkway, Houston, 77072
MAP
832-448-8800
Best Auto Parts Store

Space City Wheels is what you might call a high-end auto parts store. Not a lot of air filters and brake fluid, but a helluva lot of chrome. Space City Wheels strictly sells rims and tires, and the shop's showroom alone is worth a visit. It looks like a strip club or casino filled with a lot of rims. Anything in the showroom is in stock — from the 22-inch Giovannas to the 30-inch Dubs — at Space City's huge warehouse. Full-service installation is included with purchase, and the store can almost guarantee same-day service. Space City is family owned and operated and has been for 15 years. Be sure to check out the yellow and black ATV decked out with ridiculously large rims. Bonus for the store's motto: "We open Sundays."

6973 E. Freeway, Houston, 77020
MAP
713-674-0600
Best Bait & Tackle
Fishing Tackle Unlimited

A beginning fisherman (or woman) could get lost in this sprawling tackle store in south Houston. But the staff can hook you up with all the equipment and knowledge you need to be on your way. Unlike other big-box outdoor stores, Fishing Tackle Unlimited is straight fishing. There's plenty of gear for any kind of angling — in-shore, offshore or fly. The shop hosts a couple instructional classes and demos throughout the year, but on any day a staffer will take you to the parking lot and teach the technique with a casting or fly reel. Fishing Tackle Unlimited also has a nice variety of kayaks, which it rents for $50 a day. If you get serious about kayaking, the rental fee can be applied to the purchase price. You can also try out a kayak in the store's big outdoor pool.

12800 Gulf Freeway, Houston, 77034
MAP
281-481-6838
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Best Novelty Store: Sig's Lagoon

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