Visit Houston Part 4 – Six Seriously Good Eats in Houston

Continuing on with the Houston Love today I’m sharing six seriously good eats with ya’ll! Checking out good eats in Houston is a daunting task because there is just so much good food to be eaten. You could spend a whole trip checking off Burger joints. Then you’ve got BBQ, steakhouses, and Tex-Mex. There’s a never-ending supply of fabulous places to eat. Several places on the bucket list that I didn’t make it to were The 43rd Restaurant at Wedge Internation. I’m a bit of an architecture lover and eating here, with access to a balcony was going to be a fun treat. Unfortunately, it was closed for construction, but if you get a chance to check it out I would! {update: the 43rd is officially closed and will be reopening as Strato 550 this Spring! Y’all!! I am so excited, and it looks increidble. But it on your list} Add Niko Niko, Teotihuacan and Coltivare to your list. Those are on my Houston Bucket List! So, while the list is long you have to accept you just won’t be able to fit it all in. Between the amazing coffee shops with food, and bars (also with food) food can be the central point of your visit.


Ritual {602 Studewood Street}

Located in The Heights, is the rustic, home cooking, warm vibe Ritual. From the dark wood floors and walls, exposed brick, and the eclectic mix and match vintage plates – everything has been chosen to create the inviting atmosphere that you will find. Sit at the bar and enjoy the full menu which includes meat straight from the butcher room that you would have a great view of if you did sit at the bar. The Ritual Burger was amazing and I would add the Southern Street Corn and the Balsamic Brussel Sprouts w/Bacon to your list. The Old Fashioned was great. And just in case you were in the mood there’s a small collection of new vinyl you can purchase on your way out. Check the large board on the wall to check out the beers they have available because they do change. This isn’t the place to order your Budweiser or Coors. On Ritual’s bar list you’ll find local favorites like Lone Pint Yellow Rose, St Arnolds 5 o’clock Pils and Hoppy Witbier Real Ale White. After dinner head next door to The Ready Room for a drink and, depending on the night of the week, some good music.

Sit Lo in Finn Hall {712 Main Street}

Finn Hall is located in the JP Morgan Chase Building

Located in the newly opened Finn Hall, which I talked about in my coffee post, is Sit Lo – with its Vietnamese street food fare. Providing its customers with locally grown and fresh ingredients is an important part of the Sit Lo experience. If you’ve been downtown and seen a food truck called Bowl’D Up, those would be the same people that have now brought some of their best foods to Finn Hall as Sit Lo. Enjoy Southern Vietnamese fare from some of the most beloved family recipes. Their vermicelli bowls are worth giving a try, although the Imperial rolls were hit or miss. The choices at Finn Hall are many, so take a few visits and give each one a try. Let me know your favorite when you!

The Black Labrador {4100 Montrose Blvd #8}

If you’re looking for an authentic English Pub experience look no further than The Black Labrador in the Montrose area. I’ve been in several English pubs in different states and this one ranks near the top of experiences and food. The Black Lab is only second to Martin’s Tavern here in DC, which is one of my favorite places to eat. The Shepherd’s Pie was spectacular and is a must-try on the menu. The Black Lab is a large restaurant so even on a busy Friday Night seating wasn’t a huge issue. You can also choose to sit at their large bar area. When the weather is nicer they also offer outdoor patio seating. Grab a pint or a mixed drink, or choose one of their specialty UK libations like Pimm’s Cup or The Margaret Thatcher. When you’re done with dinner on a Friday or Saturday Night you can head upstairs for some music at Cezzane’s Jazz Club.

Surya {700 Durham Drive, Suite 200}

Chef-Owner Sheel Joshi brought his successful 10yr restaurant Surya from Beverly Hills to the Heights-area of Houston. You can see some remnants of Surya’s glitzy previous life with a Michelin guide recommendation as well as some famous faces with autographs on the wall. Bringing a little bit of glamour to Houston where home cooking and comfort food are well enjoyed. Sit back and enjoy this modern take on Northern Indian food, in a very modern atmosphere. I have maybe tried Indian food once in my life and didn’t consider myself to be a fan. This is one of the favorite restaurants of some of the people I spent time with in Houston, and there’s nothing better than having people who love something take you to try it and walk you through the process. Ordering here can a family-style event or you can order a personal serving. I favor the family style option for maximum testing of foods, and getting a little bit of everything you like. CSLblog recommended dishes – Aloo Gobi, Daal, Saag Paneer (this is the dish I was convinced I wouldn’t like but ended up being my favorite) and Chicken Tikka. I also can’t rave enough about their Naan bread! I’m a huge Naan fan and this was excellent and the portion size is huge!

Laredo Taqueria  {915 Snover Street}

My one Mexican food outing this round was this local’s favorite. Located in the Memorial Park is the place where locals know its worth it to stand in line for 25+ minutes just to get inside. I wasn’t sure about that part but I assured that it would be and they weren’t wrong. Just make sure to prepare yourself for the ridiculousness that is the parking lot and side street of this place. Not that I was actually ever in fear for my life, everyone is just apparently excited about this food that parking can be a bit tricky to navigate. Be ready for the portion sizes on the platters because I was definitely not! I actually laughed out loud when I got my Tostadas. I couldn’t resist trying the Fideo bowl as well, so needless to say I did not finish my meal. One of my favorite things is that you can get yourself a nice cold glass bottle of soda. Nothing better than drinking soda from a glass bottle.

Laredo has three other locations so make sure to check their website to see if another location is closer to you!

Pho Saigon  {2808 Milam Street}

On my “walking around Houston” day I found myself basically walking from one side of Houston to the other checking off things on my list that I didn’t get to see. It was my bonus “sketchy weather back home” day so I was bound and determined to get as much in as I could. I went to see the lanterns in front of the Toyota Center (which now seeing them at night and lit up in on my bucket list), a historical church that was burnt down and rebuilt, George Bush Park and whatever else I could find. The craving for Pho hit me so I looked up Pho in Houston. Pho Saigon is lauded as the best pho over and over again in my search and it was only another mile. I was working for my pho today! They did not disappoint. I’ve had a lot of pho here in the DC area and this pho was probably some of the best I have ever had. Service is quick and the pho inexpensive, two things I love about a good pho place. I will be honest and say the egg rolls were just okay, and I would pass on them next time. Also, weird note about the check. They leave it with you and you take it to the register, but I only realized that by watching people.

Check out the rest of my Houston posts!

Houston Bars

Houston Coffee

Houston Arts

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5 Reasons To Visit Houston for the Arts and Entertainment

Houston has recently been named a city you NEED to visit in 2019 by Travel + Leisure and Bloomburg. I would wholeheartedly agree with them. You can fill up a good amount of time during any visit with arts and entertainment options. If you want to stay downtown you can head over to Houston’s Theater District and see a Broadway play, the Houston Ballet or the Houston Symphony! Houston’s Theater District is a 17-block area that alone holds nine professional performing arts groups and includes the 130,000 sq foot Bayou Place with parks, theaters, and restaurants. Houston is also one of only five cities to have permanent resident companies in all the areas of performing arts disciplines – The Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Ballet, Theater Under the Stars and The Alley Theater.

The long list of arts and entertainment only begins with the Theater District! You could easily fill up your time with the more quirky and cool side of the Houston art scene, which is what we chose to do this trip. I’m sharing five of MY reasons to visit Houston for some arts and entertainment!

Art Car Museum {140 Heights Blvd – Closed M/T, W-Sun 11-6}

Truly one of the weirdest and coolest things on this trip was the Art Car Museum, and that weirdness starts before you even enter the building! Everything from there on out is 100% unique to the museum and those that strongly believe in it. Every year a theme is chosen and the first 100 pieces of art submitted are taken, no questions asked. The point of the museum, according to the ‘Art Car Manifesto’ on the website is to bring awareness to “local, national and international artists with an emphasis on art cars, other fine arts, and artists that are rarely, if ever, acknowledged by other cultural institutions.” If you don’t know what an Art Car is, check out this video of the 2018 Art Car Parade in Houston!

River Oaks Theater {2009 W. Gray Street}

Originally built in 1939, River Oaks Theater is everything a weird and quirky old theater should be. At River Oaks you can find foreign and independent films, movies that are more of an “art house” type film and of course your cult favorites playing at midnight – The Room and Rocky Horror Picture Show. I had my first viewing ever of The Room. If you’ve never seen it I highly recommend going, but promise me that you won’t even look anything up. Find some friends and go check it out. I begrudgingly committed to that rule and I don’t regret it! You’re in for a treat because the film writer, director, and star will be at the theater in person March 1st, so, you’re welcome!

Station Theater {1230 Houston Ave – Thurs 8:30-10pm, F/Sat 8:30-11:30pm}

Fans of Improv and sketch comedy? Check out this hole in the wall, tucked away building known as Station Theater. You might be surprised to find such a cool place inside, but its lots of fun. I love good Improv, and Station IS good improv. You can also see some of Houston’s awesome street art on the outside of the building. If you get a chance to the see the SuperNova show, and also catch Baby Knuckle you’ll be in for a treat! Also, an item of note….its BYOB! Yes, bring that cooler and your drinks.

Cezzane {411 Montrose Blvd – above The Black Labrador Pub}

Named the best Jazz club in Houston by the Houston Press, Cezzane is a jazz club where talking is discouraged and there’s a one-drink minimum required. Get there early to get yourself a seat as this is a very small venue. They do offer two shows but are only open on Fridays and Saturdays. The current calendar is updated through April. You will see all sorts of dress here, but mainly people look as though they are going on a date night for coming from work. Enjoy the vintage, throw-back feel and check out Cezzane for your Jazz fix. As a side note, they make a mean Old Fashioned!

Sawyer Yards at the Silos {Main Parking – 2101 Winter Street, North Parking, 1824 Spring Street}

Right away I must admit that I was a very bad blogger for most of this trip. I really wanted to be in the moment and enjoy this trip, not live it out for everyone else on social media. As a consequence of this, I missed some photo opportunities. Do I regret really? Nope, not even a little bit! Located in old warehouses, rice silos and surrounded by an active railroad yard, you’ll find a huge art community. Sawyer Yards is home to one of the largest art communities in the countries! You’ll also find breweries, dining and public art galleries that complement this large community. The whole thing is pretty darn cool. If that wasn’t enough you’ll find awesome events like Second Saturday, where even more vendors grace the outdoor walkways with their goods and wares. Just prepare yourself to spend a good chunk of your day wandering the halls of the different “Streets”, and try not to get lost. There are TEN separate buildings that makeup Sawyer Yards, so don’t feel bad if you can’t explore them all, because you won’t. Second Saturday is the event that I got to go to. One the second Saturday of every month the art is open to the public from 12-5. Artists who make their art on-site choose to open their doors for you to purchase from them as they look on. I found it really neat to be able to meet the artists, and on many occasions see them working. Best thing, its free, no admission costs. You can wander to your heart’s content! Step outside and find a cup of locally made coffee and a funfetti mini-bundt cake to refuel between wanderings. Get your camera and best Instagrammer post ready because you’ll find some really cool street-art/murals here as well.

Here are some of my favorite artists you can find at The Silos!

AEM Gallery

Anthony Pabillano

Joel Anderson Art

Anna Grove Art

Carol Simon Studio

Austin Magruder Art

Lenora Palacios Fine Art

Daria Aksenova Art

Bug In The Box


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Houston Bars

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Visit Houston Part Two – 4 Places for Coffee Lovers in Houston

It is no surprise to anyone who knows me that visiting local coffee shops while I was in Houston was high on my list. I’m not ashamed to admit that I partake of my fair share of Starbucks. Local coffee out here in the suburbs isn’t exactly common; and one thing I came to understand about myself during my time in Houston that I truly am a city girl. Also, just how much I love local coffee shops and how badly we need more of those here. In Houston, it’s about more than just the coffee. It’s about the atmosphere, which often includes a jukebox or some live music. Houston really knows what it’s doing as far as coffee goes. There are a few more places that I just didn’t get to that are now on the “Next Time” list, which is getting longer every day. So if you want to check out more than what is on this list – Tout Suite, Campesino, Siphon, EQ Heights, A 2nd Cup and Black Hole.

Agora {1712 Westheimer}

In my last Houston post I mentioned that some of the coffee shops double as bars, Agora, located in Montrose, is one of them. Nestled behind a greenery-covered and rich, dark wood entrance Agora isn’t what you expect to find in a coffee shop. Agora, which is Greek for “Gathering Place” is a tribute to the owner’s heritage and contributes to the uniqueness of the place.  One of the coolest parts, aside from the Juke Box, is the eclectic mix of furniture that they have put together. It sets Agora apart and makes it what it a truly unique experience. The seating area is quite large, with an upstairs with additional seating and a few TVs to watch a game that might be on. Agora also provides, in true local coffee shop fashion, artisan coffees with specialty flavors that you won’t find just anywhere. The Brown Sugar latte is awesome, make sure you spot that lump of brown sugar on the saucer and drop it in! From the dark wood floors, open floor plan and exposed beams, Agora is everything you should be looking for in a Houston coffee shop.

Catalina {2201 Washington Ave} 

The first stop on my Houston coffee shop tour was Catalina coffee. Similar to other local-style coffee shops in the area Catalina pays attention to what and how they brew their coffee, as well as offering unique flavors and pastries. Local company, Amaya Coffee, is the brew of choice but Catalina often features guest roasters! The beans are obviously a local favorite but lots of people came to pick up a bag during the couple hours that I was there. That says a lot to me about a company. From the exposed brick walls and uneven concrete floor, Catalina teeters on the edge of Hipsterness but it totally works. The one downside is a lot of the seating is family style, long tables and chairs without backs. It doesn’t necessarily make for the most comfortable seating. There is a good amount of space, and fun outdoor seating  to choose from. The Lavender Latte and Spice Latte (when available) are absolutely yummy. And, if they aren’t sold out grab yourself a yummy giant cookie from another Houston favorite Weights+Measures Bakery! Friendly staff that seems to truly gets to know their local customers make Catalina a place you want to visit often. While there check out the rotating display of art or photography from locals.

Cafeza {1720 Houston Ave}

ocated in the First Ward, is a coffee bar with a Spanish twist, which also doubles as a bar and music venue featuring local Jazz and Indie artists. Grab some churros, breakfast tacos with a tapas-style influence as well as traditional coffee shop pastries. The seating area isn’t extremely large, with a few Europena type tables, chairs and stools in the front half, near where the music happens. You can choose from the long bar or on nice days you can sit outside on the open-air patio. Walls are covered with art that matches the ‘street-art’ style of Houston, all painted by local artists making the vibe extremely unique. Cafeza also has something called Steampunk coffee, which sounds like the most hipster thing in all the land. The coolest part of ordering it is watching them make it. Order one and it’s enough for two to drink AND I didn’t need to add a single thing to this cup of coffee, and I”m not normally a black coffee drinker. That is the first clue that this is quality coffee with great care being taken in the roasting and brewing process. Their happy hour prices are hard to beat, and make sure to check the calendar for their Tapas nights and drink deals every week!

Amaya Coffee { Finn Hall, 712 Main Street, Downtown} 

Amaya Coffee has opened up a small coffee bar in the newish Finn Hall in Downtown Houston. Amaya Roasting Co., a local Houston favorite used in many of the shops there, is dedicated to using ethically sourced and imported coffees from places like Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ethiopia and more. This location is Amaya’s first coffee shop, and fans of the above-mentioned Catalina coffee will be happy that they now can get their favorite coffee in Downtown. You can find the same good stuff like Chai, Lavender and Spice Latte’s that you find at Catalina. What I personally love about Amaya coffee is the lack of a dark, almost burnt, roasting flavor that is so often found in coffees not done well. It’s a smooth, light flavored coffee that highlights the flavors that should be highlighted in a good coffee. I’ve become truly spoiled by Houston coffee and its hard to go back to a stark lack of local coffee shops.

I hope you know how lucky you all are in Houston! You not only have amazing local coffee, roasters that are conscious of how coffee should taste, as well as owners that truly pay attention to how the vibe of a coffee shop should feel. Bringing in the surrounding community by music or art brings out the true flavors of Houston that make it feel comfortable and homey.

Make sure to read my other Houston Posts!

Houston Bars and Houston Arts and Entertainment

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