Apollo Scooters

Scooters are the rage. The little buggers get 85 to 100 miles per gallon and may even be a little hip. Matthew Creed, owner of Apollo Scooters, sold about 100 of them last year. He sold 85 last month. But if you buy, you'll need a good scooter mechanic. Apollo Scooters has an entire garage, which looks like a NASCAR pit, devoted to repairing scooters. David Dodd, the shop's head mechanic, spent 20 years working on jet engines for Continental Airlines. Apollo mainly sells Aprilia, Argo and Kymco scooters, but even if you didn't buy at Apollo, Dodd will fix it. Got a Honda Elite that's been gathering dust since 1987? Dodd will make it purr. Apollo also sells and services Segways, so look him up if that's the way you roll.

Body Mind & Soul

At Body, Mind & Soul you'll find prayer bowls, plush unicorns, aromatherapy products and elegant gewgaws for the home. Check out their psychic fairs, held regularly. Metaphysicians and lay people both rave about some of the readers, such as Kevin Casey, who works in the bookstore and casts a mean astrological chart. Another of the shop's employees, astrologer Katherine Keene, is a mainstay — a Leo with a mane of red hair! — who makes unique, beaded jewelry. Not boring, hippie beads — lovely, intricate beads woven into a flower design and held together by wire, hanging from a drop necklace.

Phoenicia Specialty Foods

To call this place a mere grocery store would be to do it a severe injustice. It's a 60,000-square-foot food emporium that sells products you simply cannot find elsewhere. There are fresh dates and fresh almonds, as well as dried nuts and fruits of all kinds. The deli has many different kinds of prepared foods, including traditional tabouleh and hummus, as well as six kinds of feta cheese, all from different countries. They have an olive bar with over 30 types of olives and Middle Eastern breads of all kinds, not just the traditional pita. Their sweets counter is enough to give you a sugar fix just drooling over it. There's teas and coffees you've never heard of; wines from places you didn't know made wines, like Croatia, Bulgaria, Moldova and Romania; and olive oils that fill a whole aisle; hookahs and so many different kinds of tobacco you'll quickly lose count. And don't forget the homemade yogurt. Plan to spend a few hours gazing at products you may never have seen before.

ISSUES Magazine Store

Half the fun of this place is just taking stock of all the bizarre and esoteric titles out there. Seems like there's a magazine for just about every lifestyle, interest, hobby, career, country and sport you can come up with, and then some. Issues boasts more than 3,000 titles. Of course, your standard stuff is here, too, but sometimes it's cool to pop in without anything in mind and discover something new. Be warned, though: There ain't no coffee, trendy jazz CDs or overpriced scones, just a relatively small space jam-packed with the printed word. It's kind of a reassuring sanctuary for those of us who want to take a break from blogs and kick back with an actual, honest-to-goodness paper product. Check it out this week, and we promise you'll find something that speaks to you.

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.

Dr. Meltzer has a wonderful bedside manner. He respects patients' wishes, treating them like humans in charge of their own bodies, which is an amazing thing for a doctor to do. And he does it well, providing emotional and educational support, whether during a time of ladybit crisis or on a joyous occasion, such as birthing a child. While some docs might look at a challenging fertility case and recommend costly and taxing in vitro or adoption or tearing out the plumbing altogether, Steven empowers the patient to make her own choices, providing extensive consultation and upbeat communication.

Car Spa

CarSpa is a big lube shop/car wash in Midtown, but unlike similar places, CarSpa doesn't have the mall-on-Christmas-Eve parking-lot atmosphere that might make you change your mind before pulling in for a quick oil change. The shop doesn't do appointments, so it's a first-come deal. But the wait shouldn't be longer than an hour. A straight oil change costs $25, and that comes with all the standard fluid, tire and belt checks. The price might be a tad more expensive than at other places, but it includes a free car wash when the oil change is complete. If you roll on dubs, you can get a professional polish for an extra $20.

Wright Pawn & Jewelry Co.

Selling your personal property to stall an eviction or buy that extra rock of crack can be a depressing, bewildering decision. There are a million pawnshops in Houston, and most of them emanate an aura of bleakness that makes your whole transaction feel hopeless, whether you're buying or pawning. But Jack and Pamela Wright want everyone to feel confident and comfortable when browsing through their inventory of jewelry, high-end electronics, guitars and more. Their shop has won an award from the Greater Houston Better Business Bureau and is a member of both the national and state associations of pawnbrokers, as well as the Greater Southwest Houston Chamber of Commerce. Plus, they customize and repair jewelry!

Collectors Firearms

It's a well-known fact around the world that we Texans love our guns. Actually, "love" may be putting it lightly; we not only use our right under the Second Amendment, we celebrate it as much as possible by buying, owning, talking about and, most importantly, shooting guns. That's why it's so important to have that special go-to man or place that can hook you up with a fix when you need to shoot stuff. Big ones, small ones, Collectors Firearms has them all. They deal in a wide range of firearms, from the latest in killing machines to Civil War-used black powder rifles.

Gabbanelli Accordions and Imports

Ever wake up with twin hankerings for a new top-of-the-line accordion and a St. Christopher medallion? Or maybe you just need a replacement bellows for your squeezebox and some rosary beads. Either way, Gabbannelli has you covered. This Westbury store offers world-famous accordions, multicolored, finely detailed creations fresh from their Italian factory and much-coveted by Tejano, Norteño and zydeco/Cajun musicians, as well as all manner of Holy Faith-enhancing religious accessories.

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