Jeff Balke

  • Blogs

    October 20, 2014

    The Five Best Underrated Kolaches in Houston (According to You)

    Despite the fact that the rest of the country probably has no idea what one is, this latest poll proved that Houstonians surely do know (and love) their kolaches. Thanks all for the awesome input! After plenty of chatter and a few Internet fights in the commentary, we actually learned quite a bit. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 2, 2014

    Ten Things All Houstonians Should Have Now in Preparation for Hurricane Season

    Sunday was the first day of Hurricane Season 2014. It is an annual ritual along the Gulf and Atlantic coastlines to get ready for potential tropical storms. Depressions can drop boatloads of rain, as can tropical storms (Allison, anyone?), so we would do well to be wary of even non-hurricane events. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 30, 2014

    Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' 20 Best Songs

    Get excited. Next Saturday morning at 10 a.m., tickets go on sale for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' first Houston-area show in four years, September 25 at Toyota Center with old friend Steve Winwood opening. A copy of the band's new album, Hypnotic Eye, is included with each concert ticket sold. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 17, 2014

    What to Do This Weekend: Easter Edition

    It's weekend eve again everybody and time to put on your party shoes...for this weekend, they should be dress shoes with a hint of pastel because it's Easter. For those religious sorts, this means prayer and contemplation of the death and resurrection of Jesus -- pretty much like every Sunday. For t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 6, 2014

    Five Houston Eateries Serving Chocolate For Breakfast

    Last week, in honor of February, Valentine's Day, and what is basically (for us at least) a month of unashamedly consuming chocolate, we brought you five chocolate-studded recipes that are completely acceptable for breakfast. This week, we're sharing five of Houston's best chocolate breakfasts for ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 27, 2013

    25 More Legendary Houston Music Venues

    When Rocks Off published our choices for "Houston's Top 25 Closed Music Venues" back in July, we knew all along there would be a Part 2. We just didn't know how many were left. Today, after excavating the memories of 25 more, we're still probably not done. Please let us know what else we missed, an ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 26, 2013

    The 10 Best Rock Bands of the '80s

    Whether you lived through them or not, we can all admit that the '80s were a long time ago. Even a kid born on New Year's Eve 1989 could be most of his or her way through medical school by now. And although that decade refuses to go away in all sorts of ways, one concept that does feel like has been ... More >>

  • Music

    July 25, 2013

    Out of the Past

    Houston's Top 25 closed music venues.

  • Blogs

    July 16, 2013

    Houston's Top 25 Closed Music Venues

    Before we go any further, this isn't over. Houston fancies itself as forever moving forward, a "city of the future," but in a relatively short time span -- the past 40, maybe 50 years -- it's managed to rack up an impressive number of live-music stages that have come and gone, and left quite a lasti ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 4, 2013

    Smoker Not Working? How to Cook a Brisket in the Oven. And Save the Day

    OK we know that for many of you today, July 4, is your one-shot patriotic party day and that a lot of you think you have to like to cook brisket. But maybe this is the first time you've hauled out that smoker in say weeks, months, years. And gasp -- it's not working. Or you forgot to get the wood ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 26, 2013

    Five Reasons We Must Keep Alive

    It seems we've dodged a momentary bullet, readers. After Jeff Balke's recent and scathing take-down, certain of us remain concerned that has generated enough ill-will that it may yet be taken down. We're awaiting word whether or not the site's backers were actually persuaded by H ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 12, 2012

    [PHOTOS] Light Rail Expansion Moving Faster Than You Might Think

    Since 2004, anyone living or visiting the areas near Main Street, the Medical Center, the Museum District or Reliant Park has probably gotten to experience METRO Rail, for better or worse. Some ride it daily. Some get in accidents with it. Some just gawk. But, one of the busiest stretches of commute ... More >>

  • News

    November 15, 2012
  • Blogs

    September 11, 2012

    Infuriating and Horrifying 9/11 Tweets from American Teens (UPDATED)

    Everyone in the United States remembers where they were on September 11, 2001. Those of us who were of age to understand the attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. sat horrified in front of radios and television screens, wondering what would happen next. Was this a part of a bigger effort? Wo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 27, 2012

    8 Musical Activities That Should Be Olympic Sports

    After years of preparation, unprecedented security, and a Mitt Romney gaffe or two, the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London get underway about 3 p.m. Houston time. At the same time, multitudes will gather in nearby Hyde Park for a free concert with Duran Duran, Snow Patrol, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 12, 2012

    Like That Chain Restaurant? Try This Local One Instead

    In the last couple of weeks, we've explored fun and funky Texas wines to drink in lieu of old standbys like Cabernet and Chardonnay and we've showcased local beers that can be enlisted to help wean your friends off adjunct lagers made by giant corporations. And just like we all have loved ones that ... More >>

  • Calendar

    June 14, 2012
  • Blogs

    April 24, 2012

    Hipster Lessons: 5 Ways To Make Indie Bands Less Annoying

    My girlfriend got a new car recently and it has satellite radio. The result has been a lot of channel-surfing and among the more regular selections is Alt Nation. Though there are certainly some God awful songs that get played on there, on the whole, it isn't bad and has even led me to some interes ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 16, 2012

    Questions and Comments We Have for Fellow Gym Goers

    It's January, and the gyms are full of folks making good on their resolutions to get fit, get tight and get perfect for a spouse, a bathing suit or that nude modeling gig at the community college. Good for you, you are better than a percentage of people in Houston who only sweat from May until Octob ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 13, 2012

    Musicians & Their Superstitions: Houston's Own Reveal Pre-show Rituals

    It's Friday the 13 and superstition says today is unlucky...dun dun dun! A Gallup poll conducted a few years ago found that about 25% of us are superstitious about knocking on wood, 13% about a black cat crossing our path, 12% about walking under a ladder, 11% about breaking a mirror and the number ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 4, 2012

    The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Seafood Restaurants

    For the next 20 weeks, we'll be rounding up the runners-up to our 2011 Best of Houston® winners. In many categories, picking each year's winner is no easy task. We'll be spotlighting 20 of those categories, in which the winner had hefty competition from other Houston bars and restaurants.

  • Blogs

    December 7, 2011

    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Snubs Rush...Again

    Photo by Jeff Balke​A couple years ago, I was sitting on the back porch at the Continental Club talking music with a fairly well known music writer who seemed to believe that anything with a big hook or the slightest inkling of musicianship beyond the garage band aesthetic was utter garbage. I ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 3, 2011

    Comment of the Day: A Mythical Sandwich

    ​Here on Eating Our Words, the commenters absolutely make the blog, and our Comment of the Day honors the best of the bunch. Every day, we read you guys and pick the commenter, or commenters, who made us laugh, cry, salivate over something delicious, or think about things in a new way. In re ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 25, 2011

    Is J Lo the Calmest Driver Ever?: Five Questions About Current TV Ads

    We got some questions.​Given the confluence of football season and the World Series, we're watching a lot of TV these days. Unfortunately, there's often not something to switch to during commercial breaks, so we're seeing more ads than usual. They've left us with a few questions we hope the w ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 7, 2011

    Delicious Oven-Cooked Barbecue Brisket... Seriously

    The un-holy alliance of brisket burger and Four Loko.​Okay, before you go on and on about how "real brisket is smoked by manly men with manly intentions" and all that, let me just preface this by saying my father did the majority of the cooking in our house and made one of the most incredible ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 9, 2011

    Our Jeff Balke Talks Apps On Great Day Houston

    Jeff Balke, our stalwart expert on all things apps (and weather), took his vast and imposing quantities of knowledge to the TV this morning, appearing on Great Day Houston. We won't mention how they screw up his name the first two times they get the chance. We ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 4, 2011

    Top 5 Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants

    Ruggles Green.​After listening to The Smith's Meat is Murder album one too many times, I was a vegetarian for many years. And actually when I'm not setting out to sample a restaurant's most popular or signature dishes, I generally prefer to stick to the vegetarian menu options. When I'm goin ... More >>

  • News

    March 31, 2011

    Metro Etiquette

    Five rules that should be added to light rail.

  • Blogs

    March 21, 2011

    Man Dies from Roller Coaster Fall at Rodeo Houston

    Photo by Jeff BalkeThe HiMiler taken at last year's rodeo carnival.​A man fell 28 feet to his death from the HiMiler roller coaster in the waning moments of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo season. The 46-year-old was given CPR at the scene before being taken to the hospital, where he wa ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 17, 2011

    The Top Five Biggest Blights on the Houston Skyline

    Photo by Jeff BalkeSee how nice that looks with nothing in the way?​Houston gets a lot of negative publicity for things like sprawl, pollution and other problems common to urban areas short on zoning and long on business interests. Notable, however, is the downtown skyline, which, for all the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 6, 2010

    Ten '90s Movies That Spurred Our Sexual Awakenings

    THE SANDLOT??? Oh yeah: Read on​A few weeks back, Jeff Balke chronicled the five `80's movie scenes that spurred his age group's sexual awakenings. The movies that "caused a stirring in my loins" as he said, at that precocious young age where the world is an awfully confusing and sexy place. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 23, 2010

    5 Houston Alternatives to a Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner

    A cold Thanksgiving day calls for hot pot, the ultimate communal meal.​Sometimes you don't want to eat a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Sometimes you destroy the turkey and all of your side dishes turn out to taste like broiled roadkill. And sometimes you just want to start a new tradition o ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 10, 2010

    This Week in Deliciousness

    Was this kangaroo cooked in a sauce made with pale ale? Because it tastes... hoppy.​Welcome back to the weekly roundup here at Eating Our Words, where we're organizing a bonfire of Paula Deen cookbooks. We found Savannah Style a mere two shelves over from Alain Chapel's La cuisine c'est beauco ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 7, 2010

    10 Places I Liked as a Photographer, Want to Try as an Eater

    Photo by Jeff BalkeSteak and cheesy grits at Plonk Beer and Wine Bistro​Last week, I wrote about my experiences photographing 100 restaurants for the Houston Press online restaurant guide. During the month I was shooting, I shot eateries both familiar and not so much. Given my time constraints ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 3, 2010

    5 Things I Learned Photographing 100 Houston Restaurants

    Photo by Jeff BalkeOne of my more successful shots at Olives Martini Bar & Grille in Sugar Land​George Carlin once described the phrase "fussy eater" as a euphemism for "big pain in the ass." When I was young, I was a big pain in the ass. Don't get me wrong, I have always loved food. I just di ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 15, 2010

    Houston Locals Musicians Film Video With Dallas Native, Head to Austin for Release

    • Fat Tony, Tom Nguyen from The Ton Tons and Kyle Vento from Simple Success teamed up with director Tedric Huff to play the backing band for Dallas artist Angela Carter in the new video for her song "Love Anymore." It looks like they had tons of fun. • Roky Erickson spent about 30 minutes las ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 18, 2010

    Surveying the Scene on La Grande Wheel at the Rodeo Carnival

    Photos by Jeff Balke​La Grande Wheel -- a fancy name for the Ferris wheel -- is a nice break from the more psychotic rodeo rides. It's a chance to regroup, relax and meditate on the vast sea of cars nearby, the expanse of colorful rides below, and the Astrodome and the Med Center in the distance. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 17, 2010

    A Dance With The Fearsome Tango At The Rodeo Carnival

    Photos by Jeff Balke​If your stomach is even a little weak, the Tango is not for you. It doesn't look *that* terrifying, but trust us, once you are rapidly spinning around upside down, you'll be wondering when it will end. Halfway through the Tango, 11-year-old Hair Balls correspondent Jade Matuso ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 17, 2010

    Getting Jerked Around by the Hi Miller at the Rodeo Carnival

    Photo by Jeff Balke​We didn't ride the Hi Miller, instead leaving the roller coaster to 11-year-old Hair Balls correspondent Jade Matusow and our excellent photographer, Jeff Balke. As you'll see below, neither rated the ride with a very high barf or scream factor. But they still seemed harrie ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 16, 2010

    Rating The Rodeo Rides, Part 1: The Disko

    Photos by Jeff Balke​The new ride at the rodeo this year is the Disko. It spins you in circles on a disc, making you feel like it's going to spin off track and throw you -- in other words, it's a lot of fun.We rode the Disko with 11-year-old Hair Balls correspondent Jade Matusow. Asked how s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 16, 2010

    Flying High at the Rodeo Carnival: The Sky Flier

    Photos by Jeff Balke​When we braved the Rodeo Carnival last year with Hair Balls correspondent Jade Matusow, we didn't get to try the Sky Flier. The day was too windy, and in the interest of not having people swing into each other, the ride was shut down. Not so last Saturday, a beautiful, s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 8, 2010

    Long Faces for the Longhorns

    Although they ultimately couldn't stem the Crimson Tide in last night's Rose Bowl after star quarterback Colt McCoy was injured early in the first quarter, University of Texas fans were still excited early in the game at Lucky's Pub. Meanwhile over at the Fox and Hound, Alabama fans had their game f ... More >>

  • Music

    December 3, 2009

    In the Pit

    It's easier than ever to take pictures at concerts. Unless that's your job.

  • Blogs

    November 11, 2009

    Sampler Plate: This Week In Food Blogs

    Each week, we put together a sampler plate of the most interesting links from both local and national food blogs. Know a blog we should be paying particular attention to? Leave the address in the comments section below. H-Town Chow Down: Albert runs not only one of our favorite local food blogs, b ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 3, 2009

    The Final Fantasy: An Inside Look at Anime and Cosplay Conventions

    Photos by Jeff BalkeWe don't know who this character is supposed to be, but she was killing some Japanese opera.​The costumes are expected. The fanciful, the extraordinary, the bizarre, the obscurely referenced, the painstakingly planned and the larger than life weren't surprising -- after all ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 24, 2009

    Yes, It's Hot. So Women Are Wearing Tiny Bathing Suits, And We Are There To Photograph Them

    Photo by Daniel Kramer​They were washing bikes and cars out at the Harley-Davidson dealership in Stafford, so naturally we sent a photographer. Imagine our surprise when we discovered it was a bikini car wash. We decided to shoot pictures anyway, and here's the slideshow.Then, to compound our bad ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 28, 2009

    Your One-Stop HPMA Showcase Link

    GroovehouseLos Skarnales just wouldn't quit at House of Blues Sunday.​ Rocks Off is just about recovered from Sunday's HPMA showcase mayhem, or as recovered as we're going to get. Despite some bitching on Hands Up Houston - what else is new? - everybody we've talked to had as much of a blast as we ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 9, 2009

    Saint Arnold's Celebrates Their 15th Anniversary With the First Annual Beer Olympics

    Photos by Jeff BalkeSunday's bracing heat and thick humidity didn't stop the hundreds of beer lovers who turned out to help local microbrewery Saint Arnold celebrate its 15th anniversary while feasting on barbecue and watching the spectacle that was the first annual Beer Olympics. Emcee Lennie Ambr ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 20, 2009

    Talk About a Fundraiser

    Photos by Jeff BalkeChef Albert Roux at the restaurant's grand opening in MarchChez Roux, the very fancy, very upscale top restaurant at La Torretta Del Lago Resort & Spa on Lake Conroe, is putting on a six-course wine dinner Saturday, June 6. It will cost $500 per couple, or $600 , if you want t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 26, 2009

    Photos: One Pot Showdown at Saint Arnold Brewing Company

    We've just loaded up some photos from Jeff Balke of Sunday's Saint Arnold shindig. Click here for plenty of lip-smacking action.

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