HOUSTON--Italian design duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana debuted their first U.S. store at Houston's Galleria with a party last month.
Though the designers weren't present, their spirit definitely was, in the young, cool crowd of about 125 that celebrated amid the sounds of Italian opera music.
Many of the party-goers wore Dolce & Gabbana designs. Judy Aguilar donned a red wool and chiffon dress from the 1988 fall collection, and even Dallas jeweler Joe Pacetti de Medici, a stalwart Gianni Versace fan, switched allegiance for the evening.
The 2,000-square-foot store, which carries women's and men's clothing and accessories, reflects the eclectic blend of modern and Baroque usually found in a Dolce & Gabbana collection: Crystal chandeliers and red velvet and gold sofas are juxtaposed with minimalist touches such as marble inlay limestone floors and stainless steel and glass fittings.
The store is expecting first-year sales of $2 million, according to owner Philip Markey.
As reported, Markey plans to unveil a second Dolce & Gabbana boutique this fall in Atlanta's Phipps Plaza. A corporate-owned store is expected to open in New York within a year, and one is being planned in Los Angeles. Other stores are found in London, Milan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, Taipei and Jeddah.

DALLAS--Outdoor dining doesn't have to mean eating on a busy street.
At The Quadrangle, a charming open-air mall, al fresco dining is a natural.
A variety of restaurants--from all-natural to Mexican--fills the sleek, piazza-style mall, making it an oasis on warm nights.
One of the long-standing favorites is The Dream Cafe. With natural foods, herbal teas and health-conscious shakes anchoring the menu, The Dream Cafe was an anomaly when it opened in 1985.
Today, it has a loyal following. A couple of the most popular offerings are tofu with vegetables and breakfast tacos.
Another favorite restaurant is the 8.0 Bar and Grill. For years it's been a see-and-be-seen hot spot, especially on Thursday nights. Models, artists and actors frequent the 8.0, which is known for its colorful and bizarre murals.
The food is good, too, including entrees such as grilled swordfish with pico de gallo butter and roasted potatoes.
Tex-Mex is still a favorite in Dallas, so many people love J. Pepe's. Diners often choose the screaming fajitas--steak or chicken marinated in tequila and served with fresh jalapenos, red and black peppers and lime.

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