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I found a yarn shop just outside of town that has lots of locally grown, dyed and spun wool. I would love to have a couple of skeins of it to make myself a nice scarf or something. When I told Jayson about this his eyes glazed over and I think he lost consciousness for a few seconds so I quickly came up with a Plan B. There's a shop not too far from his hotel that has cashmere scarves for way cheaper than we can buy them here so I told him I'd like one of those if he couldn't get the wool yarn. I'm pretty sure he'll come home with a scarf and maybe even a sweater to go with it as long as it means he doesn't have to go to the yarn shop.
He's such a guy.
After I dropped Jayson off at the airport I made my way to the Fourth Ward to go to a store that I've tried to visit several times but they're always closed when I get there. Once again, it was closed. There was a cardboard sign on the door that said they will reopen on January 27. The store is Texas Junk Co. and they're only open on Friday and Saturday and even that schedule seems to be at the owner's discretion. They don't have a website and I never think to call ahead before I go.
I'm going to try again this weekend because I would like to get a pair of boots before the rodeo. I want something vintage, funky and well worn to go with an outfit that I'm maybe making. I say maybe because all I've done is think about it so far.
I didn't get too far down Westheimer when I found The Cottage Thrift Shop which benefits The Women's Home in Houston. Well, I'm all about a good cause and I'm even more about thrifty treasures so I couldn't not stop in. They mostly had clothes, which rarely interest me, but I did pick up a few things. Most notably, these gorgeous silk ties that I will use to dye this year's...uummm...Passover eggs.
I spent more time in the thrift store than I had intended and discovered that I was hungry and had to pee. Fortunately I was parked right across the street from Katzs Deli so I decided to drop in, grab a sandwich and pee. The restaurant is in a huge 2 story building and even at 3 in the afternoon they were unusually crowded. I hoped this was a sign that the food was good. It was. I had the best french dip sandwich I've ever had in my life, thanks to a recommendation by their flaming gay bartender who became my newest BFF in less than 10 minutes.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the ladies room experience which was decorated like a New York City subway platform, complete with an "accident".
The bartender also recommended I have their cheese shake for dessert and I'm glad I did. It was amazing. They take a hunk of actual cheesecake, throw it in a blender and make a shake out of it. OMG.
Although this was one of the tastiest deli experiences I've ever had, it was also the most expensive. It was just me, I had a medium sized sandwich, fries, iced tea and the shake for dessert and my bill was $28. Would I cough up the cash and eat there again? Yeah, I would.
El Real Tex Mex and quickly added it to my list of restaurants to try. It's located in the old Tower Theater in Montrose and I don't even care if the food is any good or not. They did such an amazing job with the marquee that I would eat there just to celebrate good design.
It was after 5 and I knew the stores would be closing soon and it would be getting dark which makes driving home an adventure since I'm somewhat night blind. I decided to save the Westheimer Antiques Flea Market for another day and just head on home. I'm glad I did because I spotted so much more funkiness along the way that I would like to devote a whole day to. The Lower Westheimer Shopping District is full of quirky little resale shops, antique stores, bars and tattoo shops. Oh my gosh, I've never seen so many tattoo shops in one place.
You can get a tattoo pretty much anywhere in Houston. There are little strip malls all over the place and the common ingredients of the typical trashy Houston strip mall are a tattoo shop, a bail bondsman, a beauty salon and a dentist. I'm not sure what those 4 business have in common but they seem to come in a set.
As I continued to head toward the loop, the funky Neartown/Montrose area of Westheimer ended quite abruptly after I passed S. Shepherd. I had wandered into River Oaks where the flea markets and tattoo shops were replaced by Williams Sonoma, Crate and Barrel, and the ginormous Central Market. However there is also the River Oaks Plant House where the median in front of the shop is lined with tons of fun topiaries. That's kinda cool.
I never expected to like living in a big city but hard as I try, I just can't hate it. I live in Cypress which is its own little town and everything I need is within a 10 minute drive. But if I'm willing to drive for half an hour and battle a little traffic, I'm rewarded with more stuff to do and see than I could possibly squeeze into a lifetime. I'm always running into native Houstonians who have never been to the Art Car Museum or The Orange Show or they don't know about the Sky Lobby on the 60th floor of the Chase Tower. There are so many other things to do that they just haven't gotten around to exploring more. They should call me.