Local Insights: Houston | Summer 2012

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Local Insights

The St. Regis Houston concierge Tim Hess and his team share their top recommendations for enjoying the city this summer.

By Regina Merkey

 

Concierge Tim Hess and his team at The St. Regis Houston know all the best places to indulge, relax and unwind in Houston. Here are a few of Hess’ top picks for finding tasty cuisine, enjoying the great outdoors and quenching your thirst this summer season.

 

Indulge

For magnificent meals, Houston is home to an array of quality eateries with great outdoor dining and menus full of fresh, local ingredients.

“Most of Houston’s restaurants offer special summer dining, but it’s the places with fabulous patios that I like the best,” Hess says. Featuring modern American cuisine, BAckstreet cAFé’s patio is “gorgeous, upscale but still casual.” (1103 s. shepherd Dr.; 713-521-2239; backstreetcafe.net) Inspired by the creole influences in the area and the abundance of fresh and unique local produce, BrennAn’s has created texas variations on traditional Louisiana themes. “Brennan’s has a beautiful saturday and sunday brunch, also very upscale,” Hess adds. (3300 smith st.; 713-522-9711; brennanshouston.com)

For another great breakfast spot, Hess suggests Empire Café with its extensive breakfast and brunch menu, and two patios for a european-style atmosphere. “empire café is my favorite outdoor breakfast,” he says. (1732 Westheimer rd; 713-528- 5282; empirecafe.com)

Haven also fills Hess’ tall orders, offering farm- to-market menus that bring the best from local growers to life and straight to your table. chef randy evans excels at this “Texas Regional” cuisine in his seasonal kitchen. (2502 Algerian Way; 713-581-6101; havenhouston.com)

Relax

Houston is a hub for entertainment, with plenty of scenic wonders where you can enjoy the summer sizzle of the great outdoors.

“Houston is well known for its many parks,” Hess says. “Memorial Park is just to our north and has the best running trail in town.” rich in history and greenery, Houston Park also features one of the best municipal golf courses in the country, and expansive trails for running and jogging, plus a swimming pool, fitness center and tennis courts. (6501 Memorial Dr.; 713-863 8403; memorialparkconservancy.org)

With many amenities and attractions, Hermann Park is at the top of Hess’ picks for outdoor recreation. “Hermann Park has the Miller Outdoor Theater, Japanese gardens and the natural Science Museum and Zoo.” located in the heart of Houston, the park also offers pedal boats, train rides, jogging trails and countless opportunities to enjoy a peaceful moment of relaxation. (6201 Hermann Park Dr.; 713-524-5876; hermannpark.org)

“Discovery Green is new and cool— right under the skyscrapers downtown,” Hess says. featuring a whimsical playground, interactive water fountain, a dog run, jogging trail and numerous lawns, Discovery green is a vibrant destination for locals and visitors alike. (1500 Mckinney; 713-400-7336; discoverygreen.com)

Houston’s local historical haunts make for a cool learning experience, Hess says. He suggests taking a tour of the Glenwood Cemeyery, a 19th century romantic cemetery with a rolling landscape featuring curving roads and walkways. “It is a gorgeous cemetery with many of the city’s biggest and most famous names,” Hess adds. (2525 Washington Ave.; 713-864-7886; glenwoodcemetery.org)

 

Enjoy

After seeing all that Houston has to offer, rehydrate with libations from some of Houston’s best restaurants and bars.

Tip your cap to T’afia for creating a premium tequila cocktail known as the Heaven and Hell. Sip smooth Ocho Silver tequila blended with tamarind puree that’s perfectly paired with a touch of sweet and sour and finished with a chile rim kick. “i love this one,” Hess comments. (3701 Travis St.; 713-524-6922; tafia.com)

If beer is your preference, Hess has just the place for you. “The Hay Merchant has an unbelievable list of beers from all over the world … amazing craft beers that are not your frat boy selection, but world-class,” he says. (1100 Westheimer rd.; 713-528-9805; haymerchant.com)

For those with taste buds that have a sense of adventure, try something different at Anvil Bar & Refuge. “Anvil has a Salted Caiparinha, which is made from Cachaça, salt, preserved lime and turbinado sugar. It’s a combination of Vietnamese salted lime-ade and the Brazilian classic,” Hess explains. (1424 Westheimer rd.; 713-523-1622; anvilhouston.com)