Friday, November 30, 2012

Late Fall Photo Walk along Buffalo Bayou in Terry Hershey Park

Solitary park bench amount foliage changing from lush green
to multi-chromatic pastel colors
Squirrel eyeing the camera sitting on a tree
Soft landing? Agile squirrel jumping head-first down a tree
Park bench overlooking Terry Hershey Trail at dusk
Terry Hershey Park sign at Dairy Ashford parking lot
with long shadows, including photographer's
Green vine leave with five prongs on a tree trunk
A straight stretch of the trail along the Bayou
One liitle twig has turned red, or rather orange
Bench between oaks at a higher elevation above
Terry Hershey Trail at trail segment between Dairy Ashford and Wircrest

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Houston squirrels relish bumper crop of acorns (photo gallery)

Oak lovers are out en masse on a pretty day on the Terry Hershey Trail in West Houston, frolicking on the meadows along the banks of Buffalo Bayou, chasing each other, and collecting acorns; --  and taking  refuge in the trees when human trail-users approach. Take a look. 

Black-bellied whistling duck sightings in West Houston

Ducks and gees at Exxon's corporate pond next to Terry Hershey Park
with BP office tower in the background

Vizcaya Apartments near Cullen Park off Barker-Cypress

South Park View Drive, Houston

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Abbey Apartments at Barker Cypress

The Enclave Apartment Homes on Barker-Cypress

New Crescent Circle Apartments now sport brand name - Domain

New apartment development on Crescent Circle @ Eldridge Parkway gets domained 

The recently completed high-end multifamily apartment complex on East side of Crescent Plaza Drive, located next to Eclipse Apartments and opposite Ray Miller Park, finally has a name: Domain. Alas the signage at the leasing office entrance does not provide for strong contrast against the dark-shaded parts of the building’s exterior, making the name-sign almost unintelligible from afar. 

But the variegated coloring scheme of the buildings themselves easily makes up for the initial namelessness and the less than stellar visibility of the signage, especially when the grass is green, and the sky blue: a quite appealing sub-urban vista indeed.

As long as the apartment front row is not obscured, that is. There is currently a huge field with a tree, but that property is posted for sale, and will no doubt eventually see construction too.  

Speaking of construction activity along this stretch of Eldridge Parkway just South of Briar Forest, a daycare (The Goddard School) has already been built at the north end of the circle, and an Alzheimer’s memory care facility (pleasingly named Autumn Leaves) is underway.

In anticipation of the influx of additional residents and their discretionary spending dollars, the retail sector is seeing renewed activity too. A new pub has opened in the ground-level corner space (with patio) at The Parkway Village Plaza retail center, which already features two cafes (Kim Son Café and Pastelitos Cafe), and a dessert place, along with  a tea house and other businesses. 

There is still retail space posted for lease The Parkway Village Plaza property, but it will no doubt soon find eager takers too, given the incipient boom in the Energy Corridor and adjacent neighborhoods.  

Parkway Village Plaza Retail Center

Directory of business in the Parkway Plaza Shopping Center
Kim Son Cafe (Vietnamese Restaurant)

Smoothie Queen & Tea
(Tapioca, Coffee, and sandwiches)
King's Head Pub (formerly Tobin's at this location)
U9-Dental upstairs

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Houston's Café Corridor out West

Eldrige Parkway is teeming with cafes; This tree-lined and landscaped West Houston boulevard might as well be called café row; and there are more of them yet on other streets in the neighborhood, like Memorial Drive and Dairy Ashford. But what is a café?  It's not the Central European variety, for that would limit the qualifying establishments pretty much to bakeries with coffee service, pastelerias, and Starbucks locations (with the notable exception of Bean's Cafe, which found it necessary to add "Coffee House" to its name without feeling redundant). 

Much rather, local cafés are full-fledged eateries - albeit small - offering a whole meal, not just a sweet snack with a cup of coffee to sip while people-watching or newspaper-reading; or catching up on the latest gossip with a friend. So, European visitors: Be not confused. If you are looking for the Viennese version of a cafe for a kaffeeklatsch, go to a Starbucks. That will be the closest approximation. For the appellation café here, even if part of an establishment's name that evokes the landscape, culture, language or food of another country or region -- such as France, Italy, or the Mediterranean -- is pretty much a synonym for a small restaurant; Some with table service, some not. Some with patio -- even street-side tables and chairs -- but not necessarily. Here is a selection of Energy Corridor cafés, some with location shown on the map:   

Cafe Express with patio seating in the parking lot, so to speak

Italian Cafe and Pizzeria

Petite Cafe on Eldridge (Middle Eastern/Lebanese cuisine)

Beans Cafe, which actually labels itself a Coffee House
Kim Son Vietnamese Cafe at Parkway Village Plaza on Eldridge near Crescent Circle

Bean's Cafe on Eldridge just South of Intersection with Enclave Pkwy in retail center
Cafe Taipei on Eldridge Parkway near Forkland
North of Briar Forest

Vietnamese Cafe - Kim Son Cafe
Pastelitos Cafe (with Venezuelian touch)

Cafe Benedicte on Memorial Drive near BP America corporate campus at Westlake

Cafe Benedicte on Memorial Drive


Benny's Mexican Cafe at The Commons retail center on Eldridge Parkway just North of Westheimer has gone out of business. The space was posted for re-leasing as of November 2012.

Coffeeshops (Starbucks locations)

Starbucks on Eldridge Parkway at Briar Forest (next to Malibu Tan) with drive-through

Starbucks location on Highway 6 at intersection with Memorial Drive

Starbucks at Memorial and State Highway 6 (SE Corner) with drive-through
Starbucks on Memorial Drive near Dairy Ashford (drive-through)

Starbucks on Westheimer between Eldridge and Highway 6