Alameda Street, Corpus Christi

Alameda Street, Corpus Christi

Chic boutiques, gourmet fare, and art-house flicks in the Sparkling City by the Sea.

by Jordan Breal

April 2009

1. Muse

If you rip pages out of fashion magazines with obsessive zeal, you’ll appreciate the massive inspiration board at this Six Points shop. Like hawkeyed stylists, the ladies of Muse nudge customers toward pieces that look nervy on the racks—skinny Blank jeans in lollipop colors and strapless Envi maxi dresses—but spot-on in the dressing room. Add a bauble or two, stuff the receipts into your new Big Buddha Uptown tote, and you might find your own picture posted on the wall of style. 1710 S. Alameda, 361-888-6873,

2. Bleu Frog Mercantile

Though billed as “needful stuff for the home, garden, and soul,” the goods that fill this emporium aren’t strictly necessities. An orange glass starfish paperweight, for instance, is just around the corner from Himalayan salt lamps, which are across from a case full of fudge (made on-site), which is a hundred paces from a handcrafted bench, which is two left turns away from old-fashioned sock monkeys. With Oriental rugs underfoot and sizable model airplanes overhead, meandering through this maze is a head-spinning experience. 1710 S. Alameda, 361-881-1091

3. Hester’s Café & Coffee Bar

At this 25-table eatery, run by Jason and Hester Rodriguez, the eggs are named after jazz icons (Ella, Louis, Duke), the omelets are inventive (smoked salmon and asparagus with curry-roasted red peppers), and the coffee (ten custom blends) is roasted in-house. WhileHester gets creative in the kitchen—she uses leftover cookie dough to make the crusts of her divine cheesecakes—Jason whips up catering menus for parties “from two to two thousand.” 1714 S. Alameda, 361-885-0558,

4. Indie Theater and ZuZu’s Bistro

Not many second-run movie theaters are known for their crab cakes. But at the Indie (a more sophisticated Alamo Drafthouse), the fare—seared ahi tuna with jícama relish and wasabi mayo, crabmeat-stuffed tilapia with a creole-mustard beurre blanc—is as first-rate as its films. Recent titles on the art deco marquee include Man on Wire and Flight of the Red Balloon, but if you book a private event, you can pick your own flick and menu. Beef bourguignon for everybody! 1717 S. Staples, 361-882-6324,

5. Four Chicks in the Park

Husbands, be warned: This ivy-covered boutique in the Lamar Park shopping center is a pink paradise of “all things feminine and beautiful.” While the menfolk sit in the car, their better halves can scoop up the latest Brighton handbags, spritz themselves with Lady Primrose perfume, sample the Niven Morgan Velveting Hand Crème, and slip into tiered Kensie party dresses. The littlest ladies will beg their mamas for the orange-and-pink tutus and the rhinestone-encrusted Converse Little Princess sneakers. 3810 S. Alameda, 361-854-4446,

6. Small Planet Delicatessen

It’s tempting to take one look at the giant bowls of pasta and chicken salad sitting in the display case at this popular lunch spot and order immediately. But not so fast, lest you overlook the gyros with homemade tzatziki sauce, the hearty soups (the roasted-red-pepper bisque is to die for), and the specialty sandwiches stacked with Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, which are rarely served on plain ol’ white bread (ask for a hot pita or the jalapeño-cheese hoagie). 3812 S. Alameda, 361-855-1892

7. Market

Owned by two local gals who used to live in hipper-than-hip L.A., this sleek all-white space is loaded with fashionable labels you won’t likely find elsewhere in South Texas. Go bold with a riotously patterned Alice & Olivia silk tunic or stick to streamlined classics with a metallic silver Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent cocktail dress. Nearly always in stock are Kobo soy candles and the perennially popular Mystique sandals adorned with chunky turquoise. 3812 S. Alameda, 361-994-7597

8. Peter Barr Designing Jewelers

“First I fall in love with the stone, then I design around it,” says Peter Barr, who has been in the biz for forty years. When you see the objects of his affection—blue-green emeralds, watermelon tourmalines—you’ll understand why he never makes exact duplicates of his handmade creations. So if you’re eyeing that 2.56-carat blue-sapphire-and-diamond ring, stake claim immediately. Or bring in jewelry you haven’t worn in years and let Barr refashion it into something you’ll never want to take off. 3850 S. Alameda, 361-992-2277,

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