Remember when Houston was going to get its own version of Vivo, the popular Austin Tex-Mex restaurant, complete with "rock star chef" Paul Petersen? And remember when that whole plan went to hell after Petersen and his investors couldn't get along? And remember when the investors announced that they were going to open their own goddamned Tex-Mex restaurant in that location anyway?
Well, it's now open, and it's called Vida Sexy Tex-Mex. No, seriously, you guys. The restaurant, located at 4224 San Felipe (next to the railroad tracks), promises to offer "Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine in a mature, sensual environment." So...swinger's club? Or restaurant? OR BOTH? Either way, Vida doesn't allow children under 16 on the premises, so at the very least you don't have to worry about screaming toddlers interrupting your sensual meal of Magic Stack Enchiladas Verdes or nachos.
And although I'm giving the place a hard time, I have to admit that some of the menu items sound quite fetching: a red snapper ceviche with plantains ($12) and a cream of black bean soup with chorizo ($4). I'm even looking forward to trying Vida's version of puffy tacos ($13) -- no sexual pun intended.
Meanwhile, Eater Houston has been keeping us abreast of two important moves in Houston's Latin food scene: Convivio's grand opening and the news that Latin Bites is moving from its tiny Nance Street location.
Convivio is the most recent tapas joint to open, joining the brand-new Majorca on West Gray. You'll recognize Convivio's location as that of the old Table 7 Bistro. But now chef Oscar Aguilar -- he of the popular Decco Cafe on Woodway -- has moved in and opened up shop. It's not the kind of inexpensively-priced tapas joint I'd like to eventually see, but it's a move in the right direction.
Meanwhile, Latin Bites has apparently succumbed to the pressures of having a packed house every night. After all, its current space on Nance (memorably home to Dharma Cafe and Ray's Franks) only holds about 10 tables. From the looks of it, Latin Bites will be moving its ceviches and causas to the old location of The Rockwood Room on Woodway. Look for a new pisco bar to go with the new space.
Finally, downtown is getting not one but two new grocery stores: Phoenicia is slated to open in October and Georgia's Farm to Market -- my favorite grocery store on the west side -- is moving into the old Byrd's Market location.
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My sources tell me that the reason behind Phoenicia's long-delayed opening is owner Bob Tcholakian's good-natured yet time-consuming perfectionism. The floors have already been redone once, for example, as they were not up to Tcholakian's standards. Will it be worth the wait? No doubt.
As for Georgia's Farm to Market, prepare to see a real grocery store instead of the mishmash of unformed ideas that was poor Byrd's. Owner Georgia Bost tells the Chronicle that the store will stock "grass-fed and natural meats, produce, groceries, including vegan and gluten-free options, as well as teas and spices" and will also serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.