Best of Houston®

Best Of 2010


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Map It

Arts & Entertainment

Food & Drink

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Shopping & Services


Best Of :: Shopping & Services

Best Farmers' Market Takeout

Started in 2008 by Manish Puri and his wife Ashmin Nisha, Nisha's Quick-N-Ezee Indian Food is always one of the most popular stalls at Houston's farmers' markets. They accommodate meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike and use local ingredients whenever possible. Though you cannot find Nisha's deliciously authentic Indian dishes in any store or restaurant, it is always worth a trip to the farmers' market to bring home a sack of vegetable samosas and tubs of cilantro peanut chutney and chicken tikka masala. Luckily, they try to hit all the local markets every week, upping your chance of taking home some of the best Indian food in the city.

Readers' Choice

Best Asian Supermarket

Hong Kong Market

Multiple locations

Best Bakery

Three Brothers

Multiple locations

Best Bike Shop

Bike Barn

Multiple locations

Best Bookstore

Half Price Books

Multiple locations

Best Car Wash


Multiple locations

Best Farmers' Market

Urban Harvest

2311 Canal St.


Best Florist

Lexis Florist

6102 Skyline Dr.


Best Liquor Store


Multiple locations

Best Maid Service

Molly Maid

Multiple locations

Best Mechanic

Tech Auto

Multiple locations

Best Newsstand

Books a Million

1201 Main


Best Place to Buy Music


2110 Portsmouth


Best Sexy Lingerie

Erotic Cabaret

1222 Westheimer


Best Shoe Store


Multiple locations

Best Strip Mall

Here in H-Town's funkier regions, strip malls, those much-maligned supposed harbingers of sterility and bland suburbanism, sure can have a hell of a lot of grit and soul. Take this doozy on the northside, just across the street from the site of the former Northline Mall. The actual strip looks to be about 50 years old, and it's a one-stop for just about all your H-Town needs. There's 'cue and CFS at the arched-roofed Hungry Farmer, ghetto Chinese at the rugged little red-roofed China Inn, and a shop where you can buy or even rent a boomin' system for your ride. Best of all, there's one of the last outposts of the once-mighty Soundwaves music/surf chain, and unlike the Montrose location, the Crosstimbers outlet does not force its primarily blues/soul, hip-hop, zydeco and gospel inventory to contend for shelf space with boogie boards and ding repair kits, so it's that rarest of things: a living, breathing record store. That's one reason that in looking at this delightfully run-down and lovably cheesily constructed strip from across the street, you could convince yourself it's any year between 1975 and 2010. Timelessness like that is often in too short supply in this ever-changing, ephemeral megalopolis.

Best Gas Station

The gas station at the northeast corner of Montrose and Richmond used to be a full-service garage and repair shop, meaning the retail part of it was as cramped as most Montrose convenience stores. Now it's a big, shining example of how to do gas stations right. There's 14 pumps — in the middle of Montrose! — but inside is where A to Z Food & Deli really comes through. Sparklingly clean, the store not only offers a great selection of convenience-store stuff, it features a not-bad-at-all kitchen and deli, with subs, breakfast tacos, Philly cheese steaks and other items. The staff is friendly and eager, too.

922 W. Alabama St., Houston, 77006
Best Handyman

It wasn't long ago that River Oaks was considered the richest ZIP code in the nation. But time can take its toll, and even $15 million mansions need a facelift sometimes. During the last three decades, Houston's Exterior Worlds has helped with that. The company specializes in "high-end landscape design," repairing and building outdoor fountains, luxury swimming pools and even outdoor kitchens. That's along with the normal range of services. Exterior Worlds helps keep River Oaks one area that non-Houstonians can envy.

1717 Oak Tree Dr., Houston, 77080
Best Antique Store
Heights Station Antiques

Smack-dab between the antiquing hotspots of lower Westheimer and West 19th Street there looms this 1895 carriage barn, with more than 5,000 square feet of trash 'n' treasure within. Lots of antique stores tend to cater to women, but Heights Station's multi-dealer layout features a couple of fun testosterone zones with their sports memorabilia and rock and roll collectibles sections. You can get that old chair just about anywhere, but only at Heights Station — the mother of all attics — can you also go home with a signed 8-by-10 glossy of Journey from their "Don't Stop Believin'" heyday and a Charley Kerfeld rookie card.

121 Heights Blvd., Houston, 77007
Best Spice Shop
Penzeys Spices

Just step inside this Heights shop and smell the difference. It's like taking a gourmet-shopping trip around the world. Want Vietnamese cinnamon? Tellicherry black peppercorns? Szechuan pepper salt? Mexican oregano? Yep, Penzeys has all that and more, offering spices, herbs, seasonings, gift boxes and some pretty cool pepper mills and saltshakers. It's a great place to buy gifts, and novices need not worry. The friendly staff will offer recipes and sniff tests. You could spend hours here just sniffing all the different kinds of chili powders. It's spice heaven.

516 W. 19th St., Houston, 77008

Best Farmers' Market Takeout: Nisha's Quick-N-Ezee Indian Food


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