JUSTIN AND KATE ON H-TOWN

Kate Upton and Justin Verlander disclose their 5 favorite Houston haunts

Photo by Daniel Ortiz

This article originally appeared on CultureMap and was written by Holly Beretto.

Houston once again is in the national media spotlight. This time, it's courtesy of Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander and his ultra-glam, supermodel wife, Kate Upton, who dish to the New York Timeson their five places to visit in the Bayou City. While neither was born in Texas, they got here as quickly as they could, as the saying goes, and they say they've become immersed in the energy of their new hometown.

With the addition of their baby, Genevieve, and Verlander inking a deal with the Astros to stick around until 2021, Upton and Verlander definitely consider themselves Houstonians. Having the dynamic duo sing the city's praises should increase that intense local pride and serve as a reminder to all that Houston is totally celeb-worthy.

So, where do Verlander and Upton like to hang out? Here's some of what they share with the Times.

Downtown

No surprise that Minute Maid Park made the couple's list of favorite places in Houston. It is, after all, a home away from home for them. Verlander touted the enthusiasm of them fans when the team won the 2017 World Series. "Feeling that atmosphere in the ballpark was amazing," he says. Meanwhile, Upton talked about how she and Verlander's brother have a superstition they follow. "We eat popcorn to get hits."

EaDo

Kate Upton — who needs no introduction as she's often called one of the world's most beautiful women — does a serious name drop of her own when she shares her love of Nancy's Hustle (which won Restaurant of the Year at this year's Tastemaker Awards). "My friend Stella McCartney introduced me to it and it is the best burger I have ever had," she tells the Times. "They use an English muffin instead of a bun and it really just enhances the flavors."

There was a bit of bickering between the couple when Upton told Verlander, a self-professed burger lover, about the dish. When she insisted they stop in after a game, though, his skepticism vanished. "..[It] really is to die for," he said. Upton clarifies. "[He] said the burger was in the top three [that he'd eaten]." Verlander, clearly sold, does have one significant question: "But does it count as a burger if it's on an English muffin?"

Montrose

Who doesn't like meandering around Montrose, with its funky shops and headlining bars and restaurants? Those who do this routinely might run into the power couple, who told the Times they love the trendy neighborhood. Upton gave shout-outs to home good store Biscuit, Texas honkytonk Goodnight Charlie's, and the Chris Shepherd-led UB Preserve. Verlander offered a pro tip: "[G]oing on a Monday is sometimes better because it's not as crowded."

Continue reading on CultureMap to learn about their favorite spot in River Oaks.




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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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