Before you head to bed, dance off all that food to some blues at the Big Easy Social and Pleasure Club (5731 Kirby Drive, 713-523-9999, or get a real taste of Texas and mosey down to Blanco's (3406 West Alabama, 713-439-0072), where you can belly up to the bar for a Shiner Bock and catch country music in its heartland.

Houston Day Two

Start your day at the Breakfast Klub (3711 Travis Street, 713-528-8561), where you'll find buttery grits accompanying a true Southern-fried breakfast. Arguably "lighter"­ fare is the breakfast sandwich of bacon, ham, eggs, cheese, and tomatoes on toasted sourdough.

Shopping is a sport in Texas, and no self-respecting visitor would go home empty-handed. The suburban Waterway at ­Woodlands Mall, 10 miles north of Houston, (1201 Lake Woodlands Drive, 281-363-3363) is a doable alternative to the small-state-size Galleria (which could easily eat up your second day in one bite). Plus, where else are you going to find a 1.25-mile water route that winds by P.F. Chang's, Barnes & Noble, and the Cheesecake Factory? But, then, you are in Texas. Another suburban mall, the Fountains in Stafford (59 South at Kirkwood), has a boardwalk that links restaurants like Kim Son, Texas Land & Cattle Company Steak House, and Razzoo's, plus an outpost of Otto's.

Also worth discovering are the Funk Yard (7620 Katy Freeway, 713-263-1610), where recycled and found objects become art, furniture, and jewelry; and Blossom Street Gallery & Sculpture Garden (4809 Blossom Street, 713-869-1921,, a must-stop for collectors looking for a great new piece or two from regional and international artists. Fine clothier Norton Ditto (2425 West Alabama, 713-688-9800) has suited well-dressed Texas men since 1908.

Upon reflection, Day Two could also be referred to as Fried Food Day - considering the fact that, after your breakfast (assuming you didn't opt for something lighter), you're going to indulge in some true Southern-fried chicken. Frenchy's (3919 Scott Street, 713-748-2233) comes creole-spiced and is accompanied by red beans and rice and collard greens. Plus, if you're up late (till one a.m. on weekdays and three a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays), you can satisfy your fried-chicken craving nearly any time of night.