There’s just too much to take in from the latest rambling, illustrated walking tour by David Beebe and John Nova Lomax, narrated in harmony from their two separate corners of the Texan blogosphere. The pair’s latest venture — appropriately enough — runs along Long Point, through the heart of Spring Branch:
. . . primarily Long Point is a binary street combining Mexico and Korea. In contrast to the multi-ethnic riot that is Bissonnet, or the Pan-Asian explosion that is Bellaire, Long Point is binary. Some businesses fuse into MexiKorea. The Koryo Bakery, right next door to the only Korean bookstore in Houston, touts its pan dulce y pastels, for example, and it seems that many of the Korean-owned businesses aim at Spanish-speakers more than Anglos. (Someone should open a restaurant out here called Jose Choâ€™s TaKorea.)
The camera-and-tequila-toting duo guide us through a shady thrift-store nirvana they declare to be drab but safe, pointing out salient features along the way: cans of silkworm pupae in a former Kroger turned Korean supermarket, and the historic Hillendahl Cemetery (pictured above) carved out of one corner of a Bridgestone tire barn parking lot.
After the jump, more Spring Branch walking-tour highlights!
Among Lomax’s revelations:
Just a week ago, I wrote that the redneck was extinct inside the Beltway. I was wrong, and Robbieâ€™s Lounge was exhibit A against me. And minutes after leaving, I would see a truck adorned with NASCAR emblems and bumper stickers touting Hank III and declaring that â€œHappiness is a northbound Yankee.â€
But their trip produces more than a mere rainy travelogue. Beebe reveals his brilliant plan for the Felix Mexican Restaurant on Westheimer:
I came to the conclusion that the Tijerina family should basically convert Felix into a Mexican version of Goode’s Armadillo Palace. Margaritas, music, food and beer. The old people can dine in the back “party room” which is currrently (and sadly) a junk room.
. . . and offers this bit of grousing about the scene on Washington Ave., spawned by a disappointing visit to Christian’s Tailgate:
The new gentrification of Washington Avenue isn’t much worth mentioning, other than it still distresses me. I say that, but as former member of the Washinton/Houston Avenue Coalition from back in my Satellite Lounge management days, that’s what we were pushing for. Cardboard and stapled stucco 4 story “lofts” and tilt-wall strip centers were not actually what we were thinking of, but, realistically, what else would have come in in place of used car lots, vacant land, and burned out buildings? Anyway, I got out of the Heights back in ’99 and I’m sure the Heights/ Washington was as glad I left as I was to leave. Lord. have mercy.
But Lomax delivers the journey’s most memorable scene:
If thereâ€™s a municipal hub to Spring Branch, itâ€™s at the area around Spring Branch hospital. Long Point bends here, and thereâ€™s a ramshackle two-story Mexican ice-house / apartment building called La Curva, where the stuffed heads of a ram and a buck gaze down on three live chickens scratching about in the litter amid dozens of crushed Bud Lite cans. (It was hard to tell if the place was still in business or not, but someone was still putting away plenty of beer there.)
Apropos of nothing, I asked Beebe if he knew what the official motto of Houston was.
â€œSu trabajo es su credito,â€ he said without missing a beat.
That was not the correct answer, but it was the one I was looking for.
- The Seoul of Houston: The Weather Was Not the Strong Point on Long Point [Houstoned]
- Cold, windy and rainy. John Lomax and I walk Long Point from start to finish and beyond [David Beebe’s take on music and more in Texas]
- Previously in Swamplot: Telephone Road Walking Tour: Not How They Sang It Was, Shade, Subs, Plexes and Suds: A Bissonnet Story, Lonely East Side Walking Tour, Walking on Bellaire
Photo of Hillendahl Cemetery: John Nova Lomax