Conventioneers and the open and the closed

driskpor.jpgThey were everywhere on the Avenue, searching for dining spots. The bags they carried said “NISOD.” The signs at the convention center said “welcome NISOD.” Who were they? They were peering in the window at the Grandeza exhibition at Mexic-Arte, but it was closed, to our disappointment. It’s to be there only through June 26. Chez Nous was, as usual, closed just because it was Monday. A companion was longing for seafood crepes, but was out of luck. We parked there on Neches and walked out to Sixth Street, which was fairly deserted, but for various permanent-appearing “transient” types and the occasional lost-looking NISOD-er.

mikes.jpgThe dining room at the Stephen F. Austin was open; the grill and the 1886 were open at the Driskill, and the 1886 was bustling, with all the tables on the porch occupied. The croissants and breakfast pastries did not look as appealing as those made by Sweetish Hill, but the various cakes were very elegant and decorated with restraint.

Louie’s was closed. Mike’s had been open until one o’clock; McCormick & Schmick opened at at three. Mike’s had probably opened on the holiday to serve all those poor people stuck at the Capitol. It is strange beyond belief to see a “no smoking” sign in Mike’s window. Even if nobody smokes there ever again, the aura of tobacco will never, ever vanish from that hallowed venue. Dogtown was open and stays open until three in the morning most of the time; Noodle-ism was doing quite a good business. Manuel’s was packed at 1:30 and stayed that way for the next hour and a half. We didn’t stop to check, but the Iron Works and Old Spaghetti Warehouse appeared to be open.

dogtown.jpgThe NISOD people all toted NISOD swag-bags. Some were staying at the Holiday Inn along the IH-35 frontage road and walking downtown through the shade of the Rainey Street neighborhood, where suddenly “for sale” signs are up all over the place. NISOD people were not observed along Congress south of the river, although the tourists were many, especially at G

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