Delicious District: Med Center

Cookies for Santa at Common Bond

For years, the Westheimer Curve was the only part of Houston widely acknowledged as a foodie's paradise — rightfully so, of course, as it's been home to several James Beard-winning institutions over the decades. But now, it seems like every neighborhood in H-Town is a delicious district worthy of attention and accolades in its own way. In the Med Center, the dining scene is finally catching up to the stellar global rep of Houston's hospitals.


This week brings the grand opening of Lefty's Famous Cheesesteaks, Hoagies & Grill at 8057 Kirby. Founded by 36-year-old cancer survivor Sam Berry in Michigan — where there are more than 20 locations of Lefty's — the chain newly boasts Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson as a co-owner. Expect 8- and 12-inch classic cheesesteaks, and innovative versions like the Munchin with Michael — fried popcorn chicken, buffalo sauce and ranch dressing. There's also burgers, reubens and cold-cut subs. The franchise is expected to add 150 Texas outposts in the coming years.

A few months ago, Bo-Bobs quietly opened inside Dean's Grocery and Deli on Fannin at Braeswood. The name is a combination of gumbo and kabobs, two dishes for which this place will soon become known citywide. The Cajun-comfort-food menu boasts lobster-and-steak kabobs, fried seafood, pork chops and burgers; the Hot Topic plate is grilled or blackened fish, served over rice, noodles or veggies and topped with shrimp-cream-sauce. The hours are a little funky, but most days it's open for lunch beginning at 12:30.

At Safina, inside the still-new InterContinental Hotel on Main, the newly furnished terrace is a lovely spot to enjoy an al fresco Mediterranean feast — especially before heading to see the Zoo Lights exhibit nearby.

And Common Bond was one of the first local hot spots to foray into the Med Center a couple years ago. This holiday season, the bakery is accepting preorders for treats like the Buche de Noel (Yule Log) and the Pinterest-perfect Winter Shimmer cake, as well as plenty of pies and dinner rolls — even tamales! Patrons can also take home a roll of chocolate-chip cookie dough to bake for Santa; $5 from each roll sold goes to Texas Children's Hospital.

Food

“I WISH I came here sooner to experience this amazing city,” says advanced sommelier Rachel Van Til of her move to Houston just one year before the pandemic lockdown. When Covid appeared in 2020, along with layoffs and closings, it led to a career swerve for Van Til, a working mom who was a sommelier at Pappas Steakhouse. She took over the wine program at The Clubs at Houston Oaks, a posh (initiation fees can range into the six figures) members-only club northwest of the city with 10 lodges, 17 lakes, 900 acres and six dining options. Speaking of lots of good food and vino, the club’s 2022 Wine and Food Classic is this February 12 — it’s a great chance to taste hundreds of wines from around the world and learn about them from winemakers and professionals. “It’s our largest event of the year and it’s open to the public.” In our Q&A, Rachel dishes on her favorite date night, best wines to try this year and her brush with the me-too movement!

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