Monday, March 30, 2009

Wish You Were Here: Houston

And last but not least, I'd wish for more time in this city I now call home. I think Houston is the one of the most overlooked and misjudged cities in the States. It's far hipper than most people imagine and literally has something for every walk of life. It's warm, engaging and treats you like a friend the longer you stay. But then again it should be pretty special because, after all, Houston was the first word spoken when the Lunar Module touched down. This city's list may be a tad longer than the rest, but isn't everything bigger in Texas?


Snack:
Jonathan's The Rub. Houston's best kept secret. Out of this world food and service, all with a BYOB policy!
Chez Nous. Classic French food served in a rustic remodeled frame church. You've never felt so special and well cared for!
Dolce Vita. Sadly, I ate here for the first time about 2 months ago. I've since been a dozen times and wish I could pack the whole kitchen staff in my luggage. Pizza like NO other.
Langford Grocery. Their hamburgers will change your life! Super greasy, cheesy goodness and the interior floors are so slanted you have to hold on to your basket while eating!
The Breakfast Klub. A Houston institution for breakfast. Be prepared for out-the-door-around-the-corner lines, but the Southern soul food makes up for any lengthy wait.
Nidda Thai. Their Triple Flavor Fish, Green Papaya Salad and Curry are what dreams are made of.
Hugo's. In a town over-saturated with Mexican restaurants, this one is in a league of its own.
Shade. I'm a fan of Shade any time, any day. The always seasonal food is consitantly good and I love the casual atmosphere.
Brenner's on the Bayou. Most beautiful—and romantic—view in Houston.
Tampico Refresqueria. The snow-conelike raspas are as authentic as they come. And if you're wanting your fill of concession stand food they have all the standards: hot dogs, popcorn and nachos, but I strongly suggest the Frito pie! A Frito pie AND a snow-cone.
Rainbow Lodge. Feel like you're in a men's club/log cabin while you take in one of the best brunches in town.
Irma's. It's the Mexican version of Seinfeld's Soup Nazi. You are told what you like and what you are going to eat.

Sip:
Cricket's Creamery. Good people watching and sweet treats that are all homemade! Give the chocolate malt a whirl.
Antidote. Delicious coffee made from Marfa's Big Bend Coffee Roasters. They make everyone feel welcome, regardless of how absurd your coffee order is!
Anvil. If you think you won't like cocktails made from egg whites or Absinthe, I challenge you to throw all preconceived notions out the window. These master bartenders are good. Really really good.
Beaver's. You'd never expect to find drinks this delicious served alongside BBQ, but leave it to Texas.
Teala's. You can NOT leave town without a coconut margarita made from real coconut milk. It's like a pina colada on crack.

See:
A day pass on the rail. Start at the museum district and work your way through downtown. Be sure to check out Lawndale Art Center, The Tipping Point and end with a drink at The House of Blues.
The Orange Show. Handmade folk-art that features an ode to hard work and oranges with its 3,000 square foot outdoor maze-like monument that includes an oasis, a wishing well, a pond, a stage, a museum, a gift shop, and several upper decks.
The Menil Collection. Including the Twombly, Rothko, and Flavin buildings and the Byzantine Chapel.
Glenwood Cemetery. You'll feel as though you've stumbled into the most reverent, serene garden...and in a sense, you have.
The Art Car Museum. Houston's most popular public art event is memorialized in this museum. And if you're here at the right time, don't miss the largest Art Car Parade in the world.
The Waugh Bridge Bat Colony. 250,000 Mexican free-tail bats emerge at dusk from the Waugh Street bridge crevices and take their nightly flight.

Shop:
Sloan/Hall. I buy every greeting card from this well-edited shop. Beautiful jewelry, candles, books, gifts and small objets d'art.
Billy Reid. Let them pour you a Scotch or cold beer and shop away. I adore their classic with a twist menswear.
Pretty Dresses. Daryl Lerner is my go-to vintage dealer. Her prices are fair, pieces impeccable and I've never left her house with less than 3 dresses in tow! My latest being the fabulous royal and yellow hibiscus number worn to my Going Away Party. Email for an appointment: daryl.lerner@bgllp.com
Thompson + Hanson. The most beautiful nursery with reasonable prices. They also have the sweetest cafe on site, Tiny Boxwoods.
Installations Antiques. One day the owners will find me in a sleeping bag living in a corner of their shop. Antiques meet modern in a perfect industrial way.
Kuhl-Linscomb. A mini department store of all things luxury. Think a Southern ABC Carpet and Home.

[photo by
Julie Soefer.]

15 comments:

Jennifer said...

Looking forward to hearing all about your new adventures! Have a safe trip!

MaryBeth said...

With the latest post I am starting to wonder if you ever stayed home?
Have a wonderful time in KL, and post as soon as possible. MB

K @ Blog Goggles said...

Aw, I love Houston! Before moving to Hong Kong, I lived there for six years and would move back any day. Completely underappreciated.

And I completely agree about Dolce Vita. I miss their gnocci so much!

Meg said...

YAY, I love this post, I can't wait to try everything now! Especially that frito pie & snow cone from tampico refresqueria!!! mmm! :) Thanks for these fun travel posts, I loved them!

erika said...

Can I add a couple of things:

Eat: Cool Ranch Doritos at Target
See: Beer Can House Museum

XO
e

Sarah Danielle: Jeune Marie said...

I love all of these places and sights! Now your making me miss Houston and I am only in Austin!!

Courtney said...

You know I am filing this list away! So many new restaurants to try (and a coconut margarita? Sounds incredible!)

No.35style said...

I will come back to this post before my next trip to Houston!

Gypsy Lynne said...

My husband and I are new to Houston and I'm excited to have this list of places to check out! :)

http://jordlane.blogspot.com/ said...

Oh Man I lived in Houston for only a small time, but I miss it so much. I remember and love some of theses places!!!!

prettydresses said...

Courtney,

It's an honor to be on one of your favorites list. I am in good company with my friends at Installations & The Homestretch. You have helped us all immensely. You are a shining star!

Averill said...

Great list!

A few more eats (b/c Houston has great restaurants):

Dharma Cafe (esp. the brunch)
Max's Wine Dive
Ninfa's (the original on Navigation)
Niko Niko's
Ruggles
Mockingbird Bistro

mosey said...

wow, who would've guessed. I knew Austin was cool, but never knew much about Houston. Thanks for the insight! Great blog!

easy to miss dot com said...

my sister works at beaver's! and the drinks ARE delicious. i love it there.

Allison said...

I totally agree about Houston being completely underrated! I miss it sooo much!