Roger Martin and Life in the Loop


June 21, 2012

Favorite Asian Restaurant #5 - Vietopia

Vietopia RestaurantAlrighty, now my Favorite Asian Restaurant list divergences from Chinese, Szechuan, etc. to Vietopia (, (713) 664-7303).

Vietopia serves (surprise) Vietnamese food for the most part, and the location at 5176 Buffalo Speedway (noticing a pattern to where I eat? Thank goodness Buffalo Speedway is no longer under construction!) next to Kroger's and just north of West University Place is my usual stomping ground.

There are three things that make Vietopia one of my Favorite Asian Restaurants, and that draw me back time and again.  These are their vermicelli bowls, their Vietnamese egg rolls, and their soft spring rolls. I LOVE those menu items, and that's why I heartily recommend the lunch menu, since it lets me get a bowl of pork and eggroll vermicelli served with a soft spring roll (With spicy peanut sauce on the side!), all in one go. They also do an excellent iced Vietnamese coffee as a post-meal thing. Hmmm, now that I think it, I'm about due for another run through here, so, eh, maybe my next day off!

Christopher Martin

Roger Martin Properties

Posted in Where West U Eats
June 17, 2012

Laurie Conner and John Marshall Join Roger Martin Properties

Laurie Conner and John Marshall, Sales Associates with Roger Martin Properties 

I am thrilled to announce that Laurie Conner and John Marshall have joined Roger Martin Properties as real estate agents.  To introduce them, please see the following article from Real Estate News, by Jude Patronella, Homes Correspondent of the Houston Chronicle.

Roger Martin, broker, owner of Roger Martin Properties, recently announced two new sales associates have joined his company.  Laurie Conner and John Marshall will be working together as real estate partners.

Marshall grew up in the Dallas area, yearning to be a star on Broadway. He majored in theater and choir, earning a BS in Education from East Texas Baptist College and a MS in Education from Steven F. Austin College. Marshall has spent 25 years in Houston, and most of that time he was a choir director in the Kingwood, Fort Bend and Houston independent school districts. For the last eight years, Marshall has been the magnet coordinator at Longfellow Elementary and Johnston Middle schools.

“Everything I know about customer service, I learned as a teacher,” Marshall said. Teaching is all about people skills. To be a success, you need a true love for what you do. And I absolutely love being able to find people their dream homes.”

Conner grew up in upstate New York and earned a bachelor of Music Education from Southeast Missouri State University. She has taught music in the public and private sectors, with students ranging in age from preschool to college, and including piano, and vocal and instrumental music. For the last 11 years, Conner has been the award-winning choir director at Johnston Middle School.

“I bring a keen ear to my classroom,” Conner said. “I use the same fine-tuned listening skills to gauge client feedback.”

“We are thrilled to have John and Laurie joining us. Their enthusiasm is infectious, and they already are up and running and working with clients in the Meyerland area. John and Laurie both love older homes with architectural interest, and they love seeing them renovated,” said Ann Martin, vice president of Roger Martin Properties.

Laurie Conner and John Marshall are going to be fabulous at delivering the Unmatched Personal Attention that clients of Roger Martin Properties deserve and expect!

Roger Martin

June 14, 2012

Favorite Asian Restaurants #4 - Silver Palace & Hunan Chef

Silver Palace RestaurantAlright, now for something slightly different in my Favorite Asian Restaurant review: Buffets. I tend to hit up Chinese Buffets when I'm in the mood for a variety of food, and that is where they shine: Variety. One-on-one, a proper sit-down restaurant will beat out the quality of food available at a buffet any day of the week. However, the advantage of a buffet is that I can walk in, get a drink, and then, over the course of the meal, nibble on spring rolls, egg rolls, sesame chicken, sweet and sour chicken, dumplings, chicken on-a-stick, spare ribs, white rice, fried rice, fruit, and, depending on the place, cheesecake, all for the price of a single meal elsewhere.The two buffets I recommend are Silver Palace (, 4005-H Bellaire Blvd) and Hunan Chef II (3805 Southwest Freeway).  Both are close to West University Place. Of the two, Silver Palace will have a larger variety at any time, while I think that Hunan Chef has better dumplings and egg rolls, but you won't have quite as much choice. Bit of a toss-up, really, and generally where I end up when in a Buffet mood depends on where I am, how hungry I am, how annoying traffic is being, and a host of other minor facts. These two places have pretty good food, as well, so! Yay! They stay on my Favorite Asian Restaurant list.

Christopher Martin

Roger Martin Properties

Posted in Where West U Eats
June 7, 2012

Favorite Asian Restaurant #3 - Pei Wei

Pei Wei RestaurantRight!  The third of my Favorite Asian Restaurants is Pei Wei ((713) 661-0900, one I visit is located at 5110 Buffalo Speedway #100, in the Kroger Parking Lot just north of West University Place.

Pei Wei is kinda different from the other asian restaurants I've talked about so far in that it is designed for grab-and-run eating. It isn't the sort of place most people would go for a quiet dinner. The place is usually fairly busy (I have yet to really feel 'crowded', however. I generally don't have trouble finding any sitting) and noisy. Probably part of the design, really. I've been told that noisy places are 'fun', so. The menu is nicely displayed on big shiny electronic boards as you walk in, as well as at the cash registers. The main meal I end up getting, almost without fail, is the Pad Thai noodle bowl. I suppose I'm a 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' sort of fellow. Also allows for variety, as all of their noodle bowls come available in beef, chicken, shrimp, or veggie. This applies to most of the menu, which does give you a very nice amount of choice on things. Don't feel like sesame chicken? They probably have sesame beef. Want to get shrimp instead of chicken? They can probably do that.

The appetizers are really quite nice here. The Thai wonton soup has a nice bit of mint in it, giving it a lighter taste than some other restaurant's recipes, and I adore the sauce they serve with their crab puffs. They do excellent lettuce wraps, as well.

Average order of fountain drink, soup, and a bowl of Pad Thai is just shy of $12 dollars, passing it by a bit if I am in the mood to spring for Shrimp Pad Thai.

I'm afraid I can't really recommend many other items on the menu, though. Not because they're bad, perish the thought! I, however, am addicted enough to the Pad Thai that I find it difficult to actually order something new when I go there. That speaks well of them, come to think it.  And keeps them on my Favorite Asian Restaurant list!

Christopher Martin

Roger Martin Properties

Posted in Where West U Eats
May 31, 2012

Favorite Asian Restaurant #2 – Hunan’s

Hunan's RestaurantNumber two on the list of Favorite Asian Restaurants is Hunan's (713-666-2000, Hunan's is located at 3835 Bellaire, right next to that new Molina's that just opened up and just across the street from West University Place.This place is one of my favorite lunch joints. They do an excellent lunch special with about thirty items on the menu, including my favorite here, the Orange Chicken. Lunch combos include a side, choice of fried or white rice, and the entree bit. I usually stick to the afore-mentioned Orange Chicken, but sometimes will go for soup and an appetizer (they also do nice dumplings here), or grab a bite from their small Vietnamese menu. The Vietnamese eggrolls are surprisingly filling, you see. Another nice, quiet restaurant, plenty of seating, and I adore the hot jasmine tea which they serve in a teapot with a proper small ceramic cup. I enjoy the chicken dishes in general here.One of the neater items on the menu (which I haven't done in a while, alas) is the Bo Bo Platter Appetizer. This item was always a hit with my friends and me when we were kids: They bring you a spinning platter with lots of egg rolls, spare ribs, shrimp rolls, beef sticks, and fried shrimp king Crab Rangoon, all arranged over a small burning open flame so you can toast and heat the appetizers up to personal preference. There's just something fun about eating freshly extra-grilled beefsticks with a toasted cherry on top!

Prices at Hunan's for lunch tend to be quite reasonable, running from $6.75 to $7.95 on the combos. One thing to note, however, is that they do not have dinner combos, so if you head in for an evening meal on your own (as I do) your best bet is to stick to the appetizers or the Vietnamese menu, since a full-on entree is a bit much to eat -- even for me.

Check out Hunan's - my #2 Favorite Asian Restaurant!

Christopher Martin

Roger Martin Properties


Posted in Where West U Eats
May 30, 2012

4106 Rice Boulevard - SOLD in West University Place


Think of 4106 Rice as a Hill Country home in the city!  This stone and stucco home was custom-built in 2002.

Property Information

  • Sold For: $1,121,000
  • House Size: 4,081 sq ft
  • Lot Size: 7,187 sq ft
  • Bedrooms: 4 or 5
  • Bathrooms: 3.5
  • Listed by Roger Martin
  • MLS #3798428


  • Upstairs study or convert to 5th bedroom
  • Island kitchen with double dishwashers, farmhouse sink
  • Dog washing station in the garage
  • Master suite downstairs
  • Porches.  Stone pillars

>More Great West U Homes for Sale


May 26, 2012

Julie Webber Joins Roger Martin Properties

Julie Webber
Julie Webber has just joined the team at Roger Martin Properties.  We are delighted to have her!  The following article tells a little more about Julie.  This article ran in the Real Estate News column of the Houston Chronicle on May 20, 2012.  It was written by Jude Patronella...

"Julie Webber has joined Roger Martin Properties. 'Julie brings with her a wealth of creativity and enthusiasm, and is a welcome additon to our team,' said Roger Martin broker/owner of the company.

"Raised in Fort Worth, Webber has made her home in Houston for more than two decades. A current resident of West University and former resident of the River Oaks area, Webber has expertise inside Loop 610 as well as Tanglewood and Memorial. When not showing properties, she enjoys writing for 'Clever Confidante,' a blog about style with an emphasis on interior design..."

Welcome, Julie Webber!  Your creativity is infectious, and we look forward to working with you.

Roger Martin


Posted in Julie Webber
May 24, 2012

Favorite Asian Restaurant #1 - Panda Garden

Favorite Asian Restaurant #1 - Panda GardenSo, this is a blog post about my Favorite Asian Restaurant.  Neat.  Right. Suppose I'll introduce myself to anyone reading. My name is Christopher Martin, and I'm a six-foot-eight Food Snob. This post is to hopefully allow other folks to take advantage of my years of finding tasty places to eat around and around West University.

This particular post is inspired by a client of Roger's. I'd been asked for advice on where to find good Chinese food in the area, and before I knew it, I'd sent Roger something like fifteen texts full of recommendations. After that, I figured, hey, if I can do it on a phone, I can do it on a fancy blog-ma-jig. That's some right technical terms, just so y'know.

First off, Panda Garden (713-667-0880, Panda Garden's been a staple of mine for several years now. Located at 5534 Weslayan Houston, TX just north of West University Place, Panda Garden is best for a nice sit-down, dine in meal. The food's quite nice, the staff is prompt, and the restaurant is, for lack of a better word, soothing. It is quiet, the lighting is usually fairly unobtrusive, and they have those comfy booth-table-chair things.

My personal recommendations on the food can pretty much be summed up as 'anything on the menu', but my old standby is the #4 Combo, which is Sesame Chicken, White Rice, Wonton Soup, and a Spring Roll. It's quite a nice amount of food, and usually what I go for when I want a dinner meal. If aiming for something a bit different, their House Wonton Soup is basically a meal in its own right, as the 'small' is made for being split between two people and comes in its own cast iron bowl. Very tasty. I often supplement it with an order of dumplings, and I really can't choose on my favorite type of dumpling at Panda Garden. They come in the standard steamed and fried 'large' dumplings (Six per order), or you can get an order of spicy Schezuan dumplings, which are the small ones you find in their soup and come in an order of twelve.

I also have enjoyed the Mongolian Beef, General Tso Chicken, Lettuce Wraps, and the Mushu Pork. Problem is that I generally don't think to order anything other than my usual, because I enjoy it so much it has become a reflex to sit down and cheerily order 'a #4 white rice wonton soup spring roll and a pot of tea' before letting the ol' brain contemplate something different.

Somehow, I can live with that.

Combo Meals run from $8.50 to $10.50 for the lunch specials, or $9.50 to $12.25 for the dinner combos, with the seafood and beef combos being a bit pricier than the chicken ones, as a rule of thumb. 'Small' House Wonton soup is $5, while all the dumplings cost $5.25. On average, expect to pay about $13ish per person plus tip. That includes everyone getting a beverage of some sort instead of sticking to water, of course, and also can vary depending on what folks are getting. My father is quite content with splitting some soup and a single appetizer for a meal, for instance.  We both agree that Panda Garden is our #1 Favorite Asian Restaurant.

Christopher Martin

Roger Martin Properties

Posted in Where West U Eats
May 24, 2012

Julie Webber, the Clever Confidante - Pools & Sellers

Julie Webber, a real estate professional at Roger Martin Properties and author of the Clever Confidante blog, has contributed this article.  She warns real estate seller about some do's and don'ts of photographing pools. 

Seller floating in her pool"Remember the song on Sesame Street, 'One of these things is not like the other?'  The first photo is a REAL photo from a real estate site.  The floating, topless person is the seller!  Um...  maybe not a good idea when trying to attract buyers. 



Serene reflection of home in poolI am well aware not everyone has the means for a pool like one of the others shown.  However,  people-free, clutter-free photos are the way to go!  ...  If this photo doesn't convey, 'resort - right in the privacy of your backyard,' I don't know what does. 



A professional pool photo with fountainsThe last two seem very serene.  I can hear the water from the fountain in my head in photo [three], while photo [two] seems so peaceful and quiet, it almost lowers my blood pressure just looking at it.


'Research has shown that people make extremely sophisticated judgments in a fraction of a second.  Once they've drawn that conclusion, they resist changing it'*.  So please...  if you are selling a house with a pool, refrain from donning your bikini on a float for the MLS shot!"  


Photos from: (1) Hooked on Houses (2) Architectural Digest (3) House and Home  *Quote from author, Seth Godin

Julie Webber,


May 18, 2012

Wonderful in West U - By Julie Webber, Clever Confidante

Julie Webber, Sales Associate with Roger Martin Properties, has contributed this post from her blog The Clever Confidante.

"Welcome to my favorite house in West University (a neighborhood in Houston that is a city within a city, close to Rice University and the Medical Center). These photos are beautiful but seeing the house in person is spectacular! Eleanor Cummings was the designer and Kirby Mears was the architect. All of my favorite things are represented in this house. It was originally built in the 1930's and recently renovated to change the flow of the house.  With a growing family of 2 older children and 2 younger ones, they wanted a pretty house but also one that met their needs of being comfortable and functional.

"The wooden walls and ceilings add tremendous character and warmth while the French antique chandeliers and moldings glam it up a bit. One of my favorite features is not pictured here but they used the same greige wood to make cabinet doors, reminiscent of Kentucky barn doors, which slide across to hide the TV in the family room. There are many nods to the equestrian life in this house, as one of the owners grew up in Lexington, Kentucky. Great houses tell stories of the people living inside. I happen to know this family but even if I didn't, this house feels good. It's sophisticated yet casual and everyday life is a little richer when every square inch is used appropriately with tons of charm. When function, elegance and ease combine in a place where you live and create memories, you've won the Triple Crown."

Photos: Traditional Home Magazine, Eleanor Cummings Design
For a full story on this house, please see the February 2012 issue of Traditional Home.

Julie Webber, Clever Confidante