Jeff Balke

  • Blogs

    November 17, 2014

    Say Goodbye To Hollywood Vietnamese and Chinese Restaurant in Houston

    Let's face it: people don't go to Hollywood Vietnamese and Chinese Restaurant because it's serving the best examples of either cuisine. In fact, the place got written up and temporarily shut down by health inspectors this past August, as reported by KPRC Channel 2 .

  • Blogs

    August 15, 2014

    The 5 Best Things to Eat or Drink This Weekend: Have Dinner With A Former NFL Head Coach

    Pub Night @ Saint Arnold Brewery Friday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. 2000 Lyons Pub Night returns to Saint Arnold Brewery tonight featuring a newly released Bishop's Barrel No. 7, and cask-conditioned Amber Ale Dry Hopped with Liberty and Icon Green-Texas Common. Support the Houston Roller Derby during the H ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 5, 2014

    The 5 Best Brunch Spots in Upper Kirby

    In Houston, we're pretty serious about our brunch. Whether it be migas and breakfast tacos or chicken and waffles and loaded Bloody Marys, we have no shortage of awesome spots to get our brunch on. Keeping later hours and killer cocktails in mind, we'll be taking a look at some of our favorite spots ... More >>

  • News

    February 13, 2014

    Ride at Your Own Risk

    Cycling remains dangerous in car-centric Houston.

  • News

    December 12, 2013

    The Great Bull(shit) Run!

    Get your Hemingway moment on in Baytown.

  • Blogs

    November 27, 2013

    Lifting Photos for Commercial Use Still All Too Common Online

    The relationship between photographers and the Internet is complicated. On one hand, it is a wonderful way to display your images both for publicity/sale and simply to share them with others. On the other hand, sharing them makes them vulnerable to unauthorized use. Last year, Hair Balls covered the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 17, 2013

    Houston Bucket List -- 100 Things to Do in Houston Before You Die: Saddle Up, Cowboy

    Photos by Jeff BalkeThe Houston Press is presenting a series of posts leading up to a feature story in the print edition of the 100 Things to Do in Houston Before You Die. Each blog post contains one of our top 10 bucket list items along with nine others in the top 100. To narrow our list, we chose ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 31, 2013

    UPDATED Free Press Summer Fest: This Year's Toughest Schedule Conflicts

    This weekend's Free Press Summer Fest at Eleanor Tinsley Park is officially (way) sold out, so our readers who don't have passes at this point are sadly now forced to test their skills at the "secondary market." For those of you who are already in, this week Rocks Off will be bringing you our staff ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 27, 2013

    For Musicians, Little Sucks Worse Than Stolen Gear

    In 2010, Johnny Marr of The Smiths recovered his $45,000 '64 Gibson SG, after it had been stolen at a gig ten years earlier. Unfortunately, most musicians who have lost their gear to theft haven't been so lucky. The local musicians I talked to recently reported suffering similar losses. Occasionall ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 23, 2013

    Move Over, Jeff Bagwell! Brian Cushing's House Is For Sale, Too!

    Maybe after the tidal wave of a sports week that we all enjoyed/endured last week, we needed a bit of a breather. After Manti Te'o's phony baloney girlfriend, Lance Armstong's phony baloney apologies, the Patriots' and Falcons' phony baloney Super Bowl aspirations, a slow sports week leading up to ... More >>

  • News

    January 17, 2013

    Helena Brown

    One of Houston's Fifty Most Influential Women?

  • Blogs

    November 29, 2012

    The 10 Most Overplayed Songs at Mexican Weddings, Texas Edition

    Earlier this month, Rocks Off contributor and all-around nice guy Jeff Balke enlightened us with this little list of songs that are standard operating procedure at weddings. But as much as I love "Twist & Shout" and "YMCA," in my very Mexican experience, those songs were not what I was used to heari ... More >>

  • News

    November 22, 2012
  • News

    November 8, 2012
  • Blogs

    August 17, 2012

    App of the Week: Apps That Helped on My Vacation...and a Few That Didn't

    A few weeks back, I took a two-week vacation that saw me visit three states and travel by plane, car, shuttle and even by boat for a few minutes. It was all within the U.S., but I found my need for technology surprising. Because I work for myself, I did bring a computer for occasionally catching up ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 2, 2012

    Tropical Storm Ernesto: Five Non-Scientific Reasons It's Coming Our Way

    Meet Ernesto. Or what will soon become Ernesto. He's a-forming in the Atlantic and headed west and -- to be honest -- we don't like the looks of him. Our weather expert, Jeff Balke, is out of the office right now -- and there's your first warning sign. Ducking and running in August? You can't tell ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 29, 2012

    The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Patios

    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. Nope, Ti ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 15, 2012

    100 Favorite Dishes: No. 97, Caprichos Mixtos at Taqueria Monterrey Chiquito

    This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston® issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least o ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 10, 2012

    Rest Of The Best: Houston's Top 6 Live-Music Sound Systems

    It's often difficult enough to hear a great band or solo artist over the yammering of those in attendance, but it is made worse when the sound system sounds like garbage. We music lovers have often lamented the lack of decorum shown by some local music "fans" when it comes to talking during shows, b ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 9, 2012

    Houston Slips to No. 4 on Travel Leisure's List of Top Burger Cities

    After reigning as Travel Leisure's No. 1 burger city in America for 2011, Houston has now slipped to No. 4 in the magazine's 2012 list. This year's top city? Providence, "with its reputation for creative, locavore chefs" according to the magazine, followed by Philadelphia and Chicago. Providence? ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 19, 2012

    Miraculously, Nobody Died in This Video of a 76-Year-Old Woman Plowing Her Car Through the Front of This Building

    I should probably be writing about the Rockets. Their collapse and continued downward spiral from the NBA playoffs to another crappy back-end-of-the-lottery draft pick is the most relevant story in town right now (until the Texans draft a wide receiver next week, at least). But I can't bring myself ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 26, 2012

    Picking Rockets Team of the 2000s Not an Easy Task

    Throughout the course of this frustrating season, the Houston Rockets have been allowing fans to pick their choices for the starting team of the decade beginning with the 1970s and continuing with the '80s, '90s and 2000s. They had all but one of their starting five for the 2000s on had for their wi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 20, 2012

    Served With a Side of Nostalgia: Houston's Top 10 Time Warp Restaurants

    There are restaurants which evoke a strong sense of nostalgia, even if you've never dined there before. You can look around at the picture-lined walls or the spots near the counter where the linoleum has rubbed away and know that you are only a small speck of the humanity that this place has served ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 18, 2012

    Ten Cruises We'd Rather Take Than the KISS Kruise

    ​Imagine a vacation where made-up members of your favorite glam rock band wander the decks of a cruise ship. Does that sound like heaven on earth? Well, glam boy, you're in luck as the second annual (yes, they've done one before this) KISS Kruise sets sail this October featuring that cuddly '7 ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 16, 2012

    The 7 Deadly Queues: Restaurants Where You'll Always Have to Wait in Line

    Photo by Ronald WoanThe longest line of them all...​I greeted last week's news of a second Banana Leaf with a bittersweet kind of joy. It's sad to lose the only good Chinese halal restaurant in Chinatown, but if the trade-off is getting another Banana Leaf location...then I guess it's almost a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 13, 2012

    Bartender Chat: Curtis Cunningham of Onion Creek

    This week we went over to the Heights to visit neighborhood coffee joint, eatery and bar Onion Creek, one of our favorite spots to perch on a picnic table in the sun and enjoy a good, dark brew, whether it's coffee or beer. Since they're open from 7 a.m. till late, it's good for breakfast, lunch or ... More >>

  • News

    January 12, 2012
  • Blogs

    December 30, 2011

    Rocks Off Resolutions: How We Hope to Improve in 2012

    It seems like every year around this time, we start with the, "God, I need to lose weight" or "stop smoking" or "exercise more" or "stop murdering babies." It never seems to work and by March, we are back to our old, fat, smokey, lazy, baby murdering ways. It's a shame, really. This year, Rocks Off ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 21, 2011

    Give It Away: Music We're Gifting to Friends for Christmas

    ​We're a generous bunch at Rocks Off. We just give and give and give until it hurts, and then we give some more. That's just how we roll. And when we give, well, it may seem obvious, but we tend to give the gift of music. Our friends and family are appreciative, though we do think grandma is j ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 20, 2011

    Fa La La La La: Favorite Records Rocks Off Got for Christmas

    ​No matter what year it is or how old you are, if you love music, there is nothing like finding some new music tucked under the tree or crammed into your stocking. iTunes gift cards are easy. So are gift cards to Tiffany's, but we bet your girl would be a lot more receptive to the blue box. Th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 2, 2011

    Rocks Off Lists Our Favorite Downloads of 2011

    It's getting to be that time of year, when the temperature drops and the lists start rolling in. Read any blog, magazine or newspaper and you're bound to run across at least a handfull of year-end lists, particularly when it comes to music. We all like to talk about the stuff we like. It's just what ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 14, 2011

    Why the Eff Are Ringtones So Effing Impossible To Get?

    So elusive​It's safe to say I'm not the most tech-savvy guy around. A new iPhone coming out means as little to me as a new Keith Urban album. It's not a "get off my lawn" thing, it's just that tech stuff, to me, is too close to math. And I hate math. And if it's not too math-y, it's filled wi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 12, 2011

    Sports-Talk 1560 Loses Another Veteran: Lance Zierlein Calls It Quits at The Game

    Photo by Jeff BalkeZierlein (left) with his now former co-host John Granato.​In what feels like the dismantling of KGOW 1560 The Game, long-time morning show co-host Lance Zierlein announced via his Houston Chronicle blog that he would be turning in his microphone and leaving the station eff ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 8, 2011

    Tropical Storm Allison, 10 Years Later: Where Were You?

    ​Ten years ago today it began. A Friday that didn't seem to hold any particular weather interest, maybe some rain, and then -- if you were in the wrong spot -- a rain to end all rains, it seems. Portions of Houston flooded like never before; other parts of the area didn't get hit much harder ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 20, 2011

    Brian Greenhouse: Hi-Miler Roller Coaster Death Ruled an Accident

    Jeff BalkeThe Hi-Miler, subject of a wrongful-death lawsuit.​The death of the man who was thrown from the Hi-Miler roller coaster during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has been ruled an accident. Brian Greenhouse, 46, fell 28 feet to his death in March, resulting in lawsuits that keep t ... More >>

  • News

    April 14, 2011

    Game Time

    1560AM adds humor to lonely, serious workday.

  • Blogs

    April 11, 2011

    Top 5: Indian Restaurants

    Dawn W. SimmonsMogul.​After naming a Southern Indian eatery as my top vegetarian-friendly restaurant pick, I started to think about what makes an Indian restaurant good. I'm a huge fan of bread, so fresh, golden bubbly naan is always important, as are creamy paneer, high-quality meats, perfec ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 6, 2011

    Last Night: The Damnwells at Fitzgerald's

    Photos by Jeff Balke​The Damnwells Fitzgerald's April 5, 2011 Before playing a single note, Alex Dezen, singer for Brooklyn-based rock band The Damnwells, let the audience know what it was in store. He said the band's new release Nobody Listens to the Band Anymore was full of mid-tempo rock s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 29, 2011

    Hi-Miler: Houston Attorney Calls for State Investigation of Rodeo Roller-Coaster Death

    Photo by Jeff BalkeThe Hi-Miler: Demands for more action​A Houston-area attorney says lax supervision of the Hi-Miler ride at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo made a fatal accident a "statistical certainty" and is calling for a state investigation. Attorney Joe Stephens sent a formal comp ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 28, 2011

    Rockets Playing Well Under the Radar

    Photo by Jeff BalkeFinally, the Red Rowdies have something to actually cheer about.​Houston's three major sports franchises have spent the last few seasons in the equivalent of purgatory. None have been good enough to contend for a title, but none have been horrid enough to elicit the types of ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 29, 2010

    Comments of the Day: On Wine with Lunch, and Hipstamatic

    ​Today we're doing two comments of the day, because we so wholeheartedly agree with them both. First, in response to Katharine Shilcutt's post "Stretch that Dining Dollar: Eat Fancy at Lunch," commenter Francesca gave an over-the-top thumbs up to wine with lunch: Oh, the wisdom encapsulated ... More >>

  • News

    December 9, 2010

    Pardon the DeLay

    Readers weigh in on politician's guilty verdict.

  • Blogs

    November 15, 2010

    Five Questions for Geri Druckman and This Year's Wine Conference

    Photos by Jeff BalkeSamples were drained during last year's Wine Conference sessions.​Last September marked the inaugural year for The Wine Conference, an annual event pairing more than just food and wine. The Wine Conference seeks to pair people with knowledge, whether those people are wine e ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 12, 2010

    Upcoming Events

    Photo by Troy Fields​Have you ever wanted to play chef for a day in the vast kitchen at Brennan's? Your chance to man the stoves (seen above) is coming up, as Alex Brennan Martin has now revived the Creole restaurant's beloved "Chef For A Day" program. Available only to one person per day (and ... More >>

  • News

    July 8, 2010

    Lawn Mower Man

    Kenneth Page followed his peculiar dream from Texas to Florida.

  • Music

    September 10, 2009

    Ghosts of Washington Avenue

    Noise goes whistling through the scenester artery's music venue graveyard.

  • Blogs

    June 22, 2009

    Texas Traveler: Dr Pepper Museum

    Photo by Jeff BalkeWaco isn't the first place that comes to mind when people think "road trip." Instead, visions of an ultraconservative town that was once the site of an epic, fiery battle between a cult and the United States government spring to mind. Fortunately for Waco, the town act ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 27, 2009

    A Café Bites Nibble

    Photo by Jeff BalkeTruffle macaroni & cheese from Hollister Grill, at the recent Menu of Menus"Stupidity," that's was the first word out of the mouth of Chuck Pritchett, the owner of Hollister Grill (1741 Hollister, 713-973-1741), when asked why he opened a restaurant. Pritchett has been in the reta ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 4, 2007

    Best New Act 2007

    The Houston Press Music Awards are here and it's time to start voting. Pick up a Houston Press newspaper starting July 5 or go online at to vote. To help get you acquainted with the musicians and groups you'll be voting for, here are the nominees for Best New Act. - Olivia Flor ... More >>

  • Music

    May 5, 2005

    Orange Is In, with Arthur Yoria and Pale

    Friday, May 6, at Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh Drive, 713-521-0521

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