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Some ideas for dining and imbibing in summertime Houston

A view of humidity filled downtown Houston
A view of humidity filled downtown Houston
Tempus Fugit Press

With its excessive heat and humidity, summertime in Houston might feature weather that is less than ideal, but just about every restaurant is necessarily very well air-conditioned and the patios, usually buttressed with plentiful shade or fans, do brisker business than usual. The generally casual dining mode and attire of the city becomes even more so, and possibly most notably those cold libations taste even more refreshing and even better than usual. Here are some suggestions to more fully enjoy food and drink during the summer in Houston along with a few precautions. [

Wheat beers outside at The Ginger Man

With their slight sweetness, wheat beers whether in the Bavarian style or in the funkier, brighter and spicier Belgian vein pair extremely well with the steamy Houston summer. The patio at The Ginger Man is first place in the city, maybe the state, where these beers found a home and is still a great place to enjoy them. A slight bit of sweat is unavoidable on a patio here, even when planted near one of the giant fans in back or well in the shade. These beers even seem to taste better with a little perspiration.

The Summer of Riesling at 13 Celsius

It began on June 21, the official start of summer, a month behind the actual start of summer here, the city’s most interesting wine bar provides an outlet to experience an assortment of wines made from the wine world’s most underappreciated varietal, Riesling. Every sommelier will tell you should be drinking more Riesling.

Dine on the patio

Barring a thunderstorm or hurricane, the patios will be open and inviting once it gets some shade. Though, of course, you might not be able to completely escape the heat much less the humidity. And, hopefully the restaurant has been well-sprayed for mosquitoes.

A game at MinuteMaid

The attractive setting, comfortable (and once lively) atmosphere and chance to see at least one and – with the ‘Stros’ recent upswing – likely two major league teams, has made a visit to MinuteMaid a summer requisite in most years. Well, maybe not in the three previous years as the rebuilding ‘Stros were busy losing well over 100 games each season.

Though playing much better, the Astros are still not a contender, and with the money-grubbing “dynamic pricing” scheme initiated by ownership it will cost you a pretty penny to watch one of the marquee teams like the Red Sox, when some upper deck tickets cost over $70 each, for example. That’s right, upper deck.

It’s a good idea to go on a Friday night to catch the fireworks display afterward for additional bang for the entertainment buck, especially with kids, or go on Thursday for the $1 hot promotion, the only good food or drink deal at MinuteMaid. These cheap hot dogs were very tasty – really, they were – at least early in the season. Hopefully, that quality will last through the long schedule.

Houston Restaurant Weeks

Houston Restaurant Weeks, which runs for the entirety of August and through Labor Day, offers the chance to try many top local restaurants for a reduced price all well helping raise money for the Houston Food Bank – almost $1.3 million last year – and keeping local eateries busy during what has historically been a slow month.

Barbecue at the Houston area’s new ‘cue destinations, Killen’s and Corkscrew

Though we should and many of us actually do eat lighter during the very warm summer months, the extreme casualness of barbecue, especially those low- or no-frills operations, make it well suited to the lazy days of summer. And, excellent brisket, sausage and pork ribs are excellent no matter what the weather might be.

The lines are long on the weekends at Killen’s and Corkscrew and some of the meats will sell out. Your journey to Pearland and The Woodlands, respectively, could be for naught if you start too late. Get there early – both places open at 11 but the lines form much earlier on the weekends – and enjoy the pilgrimage. A little discomfort engendered by a wait might make the food seem tastier, or at least it will make your story better.