Houston is made up of many elements -- no, not just debilitating humidity and road congestion. In constructing the Houston Periodic Table of Elements, we used a mix of scientific theory (kinda, not really), some simple thermodynamics, and a late night of feeding some beers to friends to select the essential components of the city. With everything from food and booze to H-Town pride points and problems, we present to you our findings.
H - H-town - We’ll let HTX and HOU battle it out on their own Am - Astrodome - The only stadium where centerfield turned into an ankle-breaker Cs - Chop & screw - Reppin’ that slowed and throwed Eu - Endeavour - Both a space shuttle and a beer Mg - Magnolia City - Because Houston actually had trees at one point Re - Rodeo - The only acceptable excuse for a two-week bender Rh - Rothko Chapel - Ohmmmmm Sc - Space City - We have NASA, what do you have? Se - Screwston - Still the home of Krunk, though we've kicked our syrup habit
Ba - Barbecue - Aka the stuff that gives you meat sweats Bi - Biscuits & gravy - Aka the stuff that makes you nap immediately after brunch Bk - Breakfast taco - Screw Wheaties, this is the Breakfast of Champions Ce - Cheese enchiladas - If you like it then you shoulda put an egg on it Cf - Chicken-fried - Because was there really any other way to be fried? Cr - Crawfish - Twist. Pinch. Suck. Repeat. Ds - Dim sum - Do sum F - Fajita - Born here or not, we’re steak-ing claim Hs - Hot sauce - Houston’s ketchup K - Kolache - Bring them to the office to earn your co-workers trust Ra - Ramen - The soup that is giving pho a run for its money Rb - Ribeye - The cut of beef you want to order Pb - Po-boy - NOLA's not the only city that can stuff crawfish into bread Po - Pho - Pho sure a good idea Ta - Tamale - The last words you hear before being trampled by a hangry stampede at the bar Tm - Tex-Mex - The God-sent cuisine that brought us queso and fajitas Yb - Yardbird - A cool, Southern way of saying chicken Zr - Za’atar - A Middle Eastern spice that actually works here (Houston is international and stuff)
Dy - Discovery Green - A lush oasis in the midst of a concrete jungle Ga - Galleria - Where you’ll find endless shops, a mass of quinceañeras, and absolutely zero parking Gd - Galveston Island - Beaches, booze, and bivalves He - Heights - That zip code you got priced out of Ho - Hobby - The other airport Md - Med Center - The only thing saving us from an economic depression Mn - Midtown - Where you leave your credit card every weekend Mo - Montrose - That other zip code you got priced out of Mt - Miller Outdoor Theatre - The best dates are the free ones Np - NRG Park - Home of the Texans and that Beyoncé concert you spent an entire paycheck on Sg - Sugar Land - The place you promise yourself you’ll never move to but then you have kids Tc - Toyota Center - Home of the Rockets, and not the Aeros (RIP) Th - Theater District - Where you’ll see Hamilton in the year 2025
Ag - Aggies - Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re here to gig Es - Energy sector - We’re pulling for you, little guy Na - NASA - Proving nerds are cool since 1958 N - Natural Gas - The lighter side of the oil industry Ne - Nine/Eighties - The work schedule you wish you had O - Oil & Gas - The industry that employs 75% of the people you know Pm - Petroleum - Fueling both our cars and our economy Ru - Rice University - Home to the Owls, and more importantly, a sick, tree-shaded running trail U - University of Houston - Home to the Coogs, and more importantly, wait that’s it Xe - Exxon - The company that employs 75% of the people you know
B - Bayous - Those trickling swamps we call water Lr - Light rail - Wait, we have a light rail? Fm - Farm to Market - The road you take to mawmaw’s house Pr - Port of Houston - Pretty much the reason we’re a city at all
Bh - Berryhill - Cheap tacos and frozen margs FTW! La - Lankford Grocery - Come hungry, don’t forget your cash Ni - Ninfa’s - All hail Queen Mama Ninfa, O.G. of Fajitas Pa - Pass & Provisions - One side you can afford, the other you can’t Pd - Pappadeaux - Proving everything is better when smothered in Cajun butter sauce Rf - Reef - Boosting the Third Coast’s confidence since 2007 W - Whataburger - Fancy ketchup lovers unite
Al - Allen brothers - The actual guys that founded the city of Houston Be - Beyoncé - “H-town vicious, H, H-town vicious” Cu - Cullen - As in Hugh Roy Cullen, oil industrialist, philanthropist, and seriously rich guy Ge - George Bush - W. & H. Hg - Howard Hughes - Have you seen his house? Lv - Lyle Lovett - The “Cowboy Man” himself S - Sam Houston - He did not, in fact, found Houston, but he did defeat Santa Anna!
Cd - Cold brew - The only way to drink coffee in during a Houston summer Db - Dive bar - Aka that place you drink one too many cheap Lone Stars Hf - Hellfighter - Bourbon barrel-aged nectar straight from the gods Kr - Karbach - Brewing your favorite IPA since 2011 Nb - No Label Brewing - No labels necessary Pu - Pumpkinator - Causing a frenzy on or around the ides of October Sb - Spring Bock - Exactly what you want to drink in the spring Sn - Saint Arnold - Houston’s oldest, baddest brewery is in it to win it Sr - Southern Star - Making the drive to Conroe actually worth it Tl - Tequila - The darling of Houston’s beverage scene that gets you every single time
Ac - Air conditioning - Something you pray never breaks down Ar - Art car - A parade at which you booze and gawk at insanely decorated art mobiles At - Astroturf - The game-changing synthetic turf invented in Space City itself Br - Brunch - Make Sundays Fundays Again Cm - Critical Mass - Either join them or loathe them Fe - Feeder - The thing other cities call a frontage road Fr - Free Press Summer Fest - A cool music festival at which you sweat your balls off In - Inner loop - That thing you never want to leave Ir - International - As in, Houston is extremely international Li - Lights in the Heights - Get the spiked cider ready Lu - Ladies who lunch - To find them, simply dine in River Oaks Os - Oyster season - One of three seasons in Houston besides mosquito and crawfish P - Pools - The only reason you still talk to your coworker is his Pt - Patios - Because who likes imbibing indoors? Si - Sizzurp - Like we said, we’ve kicked the habit Ti - Tailgates -Things Houstonians take to another level V - Viet-Cajun - It’s not the only way to do crawfish, but it is the best way to do crawfish Y - Y’all - A much easier way to say “you all” Zn - Zoo nights - The only way the zoo is bearable during the summer
As - Astros - We’ll get that World Series one day, won’t we? Cl - Clutch City - A much, much better nickname than “Choke City” Rg - Rockets game - Where you go to see the beard Tb - Texas Bowl - RIP Houston Bowl Te - Texans - Wonder who our QB will be next year?
Au - Gold digger - See: Ladies who lunch C - Carbon emissions - How about that greenhouse effect, eh? Ca - Car alarms - The sound you hear every damn night Cn - Construction - The never-ending locust plaguing our city Co - Commute - Get your podcasts ready, this one’s gonna be rough Er - Enron - [Slowly backs away] Fl - Flash flood - Turn Around Don’t Drown I - Ike - Est. 2008 Nd - Natural disaster - The reason you stock up at Costco No - No zoning - YOLO! Rn - Rain - It’s what’s for dinner Sm - Swampass - Why you check yourself before you wreck yourself
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Brooke Viggiano is a Houston writer who really hopes you realize she used all of the actual element symbols, otherwise that was a giant waste. Geek out with her @BrookeViggiano if you did.