Monday, June 25, 2012

Discovering Downtown

Back in January, I walked away from my 17-year career with BJ Services (now Baker Hughes) and did something I had sworn I would never do again. I took a job in downtown Houston. What can I say? They made me an offer I couldn't refuse. 

Even though my commute is only 10 miles further (each way), I decided very quickly that I did not want to drive in Houston traffic. Taking The Woodlands bus allows me to work, read, or even nap during my commute; it costs about the same as gas + parking; and I arrive feeling relaxed rather than stressed. The only downfall is that my bus stop is half a mile from my office, but I look at that as a way to get a jump start on my daily exercise and, when the weather's bad, I can walk in the tunnels.  Win!

I'm starting to learn more about all the things Houston has to offer, and it's high time I shared.

Market Square has regular outdoor concerts, movies and other events that are free, and you can enjoy delicious Greek food (gyros!) from Niko Niko's during the show. My son and I attended a Fondue Monks concert there in March and had a blast.

The Park Shops (across from my building) offer a wide variety of shopping and eating for busy downtown workers. They have gift shops, clothing, electronics, beauty parlors and a workout facility - just to name a few. There are so many different restaurants in the Park Shops that I haven't managed to try them all yet. A few that I have tried:  Chick Fil A (always good), Ninfa's Express (smaller menu, but just as good as the big restaurants), Potbelly Sandwiches, Quiznos, Subway (all the chain stores are consistently good), Au Bon Pain (slightly fancier sandwiches), Wok & Roll (another chain and not bad at all), Chicken Kitchen (great salads), Otto's Barbecue (yummy), and The Mediterranean Grill (okay, but can't compare to Niko Niko's). So many choices! I just checked the directory and there are still more than a dozen restaurants that I have yet to try. So far, my favorite at the Park Shops would have to be Chicken Kitchen. I love their southwest chicken salad with cilantro dressing. Yum!

On Wednesdays in June, there's a City Hall Farmers Market where you can purchase locally grown fruits and veggies, and prepared lunch items. It's a little far from my office, so I haven't checked it out yet, but it sounds wonderful.

Then there are the tunnels... miles and miles of tunnels under downtown Houston... but I think I'll save that for another post.