Washington Corridor Newsletter New Year Edition

What’s the buzz on the Washington Corridor?

If you live in Houston and have not tried this upscale restaurant then maybe a visit to this restaurant with it’s beautiful terrace could be your New Year’s treat and you and your family or friends could go and experience this one of a kind store & restaurant. This general store/restaurant has a full bar which is rare to the Heights and offers many southern style dishes.

Heights General Store has a Southern twang

From Chron.com | By Alison Cook | December 4, 2013

HeightsGeneralStoreOneA fitting dish for this rare cold weather is chef Antoine Ware’s spin on Frogmore Stew, a Carolina Low Country classic served under one of its aliases – Beaufort Stew – at the new Heights General Store.

Ware’s dish departs from the classic Frogmore shrimp boil in its brothiness, its very Gulf Coast red-pepper kick and its bright burst of tomato flavor. Beautifully cooked whole Gulf shrimp are joined in the bowl by classic chunks of potato, corn (here, a young cob slightly too charred on the grill) and sausage (in this case, a wonderfully smoky andouille that Ware makes in-house).

If you like gumbo, I’m betting you’ll love this Frogmore/Beaufort variant in its stewy Ware-influenced guise. It was served so hot I had to wait for it to cool down a bit, and the red-pepper quotient warmed me up even more. Somehow the sausage and potato gave the delicately cooked shrimp plenty of wintry substance.

Heights General Store owner Alli Jarrett is from South Carolina, and she used the “Beaufort” designation (pronounced “byoo-fert”) as an homage to one of her favorite coastal cities there. She and New Orleans native Ware – a popular veteran of Catalan and Hay Merchant – seem like a good culinary fit, and their opening menu has a Deep Southern bent that’s surprisingly rare in Houston.

Besides the Frogmore/Beaufort shrimp stew, there’s a buff-colored puree of She-Crab Soup that has the tantalizing aroma and oceanic flavor-edge of long-simmered crab shells. It’s another antidote for cold weather, although I confess to gulping over the $12 price tag for a regulation-size bowl.

HeightsGeneralStoreTwoThere’s very crisp fried chicken, brined and buttermilk doused, served with equally crisp green beans and a wonderful square of mac-and-cheese that is really more of an elegant macaroni gratin. I ordered some braised greens on the side and was glad I did. They had a tart snap that mellowed the bitterness, as well as just the right porky note.

What there isn’t: good wine by the glass or bottle to go along. The list as it stands is grim and could stand some professional attention. In time-honored dry-precinct Heights fashion, you must join a “private club” to be able to drink beer, wine or cocktails. (It’s quick and painless.)

The wood-and-industrial upstairs dining room and bar look relatively Spartan, but the look is up to date enough that it’s hard to remember that this is the former location of Harolds, the midcentury menswear fixture in the Heights. Downstairs is a grocery and specialty market that stocks everything from Texas cheeses to Ware’s prepared foods to cans of Campbell’s soup. That’s where breakfasts and lunches are served, in hard-looking booths or at a counter under your basic supermarket fluorescent glare.

OK, so Heights General Store may not have the visual charm nor the fleshed-out artisanal wares of Revival Market, its spiritual predecessor about 20 blocks away. But it’s a start, and I’m eager to see what the Ware and Jarrett partnership will bring. I already like the looks of their brunch menu, which happens to be served on Saturdays, too. Here’s hoping that Beaufort Stew is just a taste of things to come.

Holiday bonus: After a meal here, you can prowl 19th Street’s eclectic assortment of shops to gawp at the Christmas windows. Highly recommended.

(Heights General Store, 350 W. 19th, 713-360-6204. Restaurant hours: Dinner 5-9 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays; 5-10 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays. Brunch Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.)

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The ‘Bucket’ System for Organizing During Tax Time

One of the most-hated times of year is Tax Season. We dislike letting go of money, yes, but we also dread tracking down the necessary documents and scraps of paper. If you are like many Americans, who start to think about filing taxes sometime between ”in like a lion” and “out like a lamb,” perhaps you could use some advice on getting your house in order.

You’ll want to organize your documents into three “buckets.” Depending on your circumstance and organization style, you can get as detailed as you need. These can be three boxes with more specific files inside, three accordion files holding various categories or months within, or three roomy file folders. (You can use actual buckets if you like, but we don’t recommend it).

Label your “buckets,” putting related documents within.

1) Income

  • W-2s
  • Pay-stubs
  • Bonus documentation
  • 1099 forms for freelance work

2) Expenses/ Deductions

  • Medical receipts
  • Charitable giving acknowledgment
  • Business expense documentation
  • Childcare receipts
  • Interest paid forms

3) Investments

  • Bank statements
  • Investment reports
  • Tax documents
  • Dividend notices

If you are considering software or online tax preparation services, you have many options of varying cost. Depending on your income, you may be able to file free online with programs like TurboTax or TaxAct. Most people with simple returns will pay a small fee to file with these services. They may offer a free federal return and require payment to file the state return. Be sure to do your research on these programs, keeping in mind security, accuracy, and the features you prefer.

As you sort through your documents, filing them in their respective “buckets,” you’ll want to keep last year’s tax return handy. It will help you compile a check-list of important deductions or investment documents you will need for the current year.

Of course, you will do better next year. You’ll start early. You’ll start tomorrow. You’ll start right now. Hang on to those good intentions and quickly label your three “buckets” for next year before the moment is gone. As the mail comes in through the coming months, you can throw things into the appropriate file. You will be less likely to procrastinate next year, knowing everything is already together, waiting for you.
SNMC“A friend of a friend is someone we would like to know. Our satisfied clients are our best resources for new business. In this very competitive business of real estate mortgages, service makes the difference. Our service is second to none and has earned us a valuable source of referrals. Please give us an opportunity to earn your business. We are confident you will be very happy!”

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