Pre-Concert Eating at Hubbell & Hudson

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Finding a good place to eat in The Woodlands prior to a concert at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion can be a struggle if you're on a budget and tight for time. No one wants to battle the circling cars around The Woodlands Mall or the new Town Center, and most of those restaurants are either greasy chains or too expensive when you've already spent *cough* way too much money on a concert ticket.

So here's your solution: Hubbell & Hudson. Yes, it's a grocery store. But like Central Market and Whole Foods, the independently owned grocer also has a fabulous to-go section where you can pick up freshly made sandwiches and other ready-made foods. You can even get beer.

My best friend and I did just that for the recent Arcade Fire concert at the Pavilion, and we were far from the only ones: We saw half of Houston sitting outside on Hubbell & Hudson's patio, enjoying pickled beets and sandwiches and broccoli salads and bags of chips. Former EOW blogger Nishta Mehra was there, and we briefly spied former blogger J.C. Reid nipping into Hubbell & Hudson's bistro.

Oh, yes. There's a bistro too.

The Bistro is decidedly more upscale than a picnic out of plastic containers on the patio, but much more appropriate if you're taking a date to a concert instead of going with a ragtag group of friends. As it's tucked away from the main entrance, with a cozy interior in sophisticated earth tones, it's easy to forget this little place is attached to a grocery store.

But it is, and it's better for it: All of the ingredients come straight to the Bistro from the store, so you can always be assured the food is fresh. And menu items like PEI mussels, Moroccan halibut and steaks from the butcher shop next door -- while not inexpensive -- are a much better bet than The Cheesecake Factory any day of the week.

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