Saturday, September 3, 2016

Travel & Food Guide // Houston, Texas

When Joe was presented with an opportunity to interview in Houston, Texas, we both seized the chance to explore a new city together. Tickets were booked and my anticipation for the lone star state of queso, cowboy boots, and sub-tropical humidity was brimming. It's hard to be unhappy in a city filled with good food. I'll be sharing my trip highlights and our favorite eats below. Houston, you didn't disappoint! I'm even sharing a little "vlogging" I tried out for this trip so let me know what you think.
Getting there and around Houston: From RDU, the airplane ride (if you're riding straight to Houston) is about three and a half hours. There is a one hour time change once you there so you end up getting an "extra" hour once you arrive.

Joe and I were lucky enough to be able to stay downtown and have his cousin basically drive us around Houston and show us places. But, I'd say that using an uber or a lyft is very important for this city.

Scenic Stops: Houston is a city known for its beautiful murals and walls. It had been on my bucketlist to stop by all of them but we only got to visit two. Nevertheless, I loved the experience (as did my camera!)

Biscuit Paint Wall - you can easily see why this wall is well-known. For my color loving spirit, this was a main highlight of my day.

Water Wall: after spending an entire day roaming Houston in the heat, this wall was a nice change of temperature. It's also breathtakingly beautiful. Standing in the middle of it is definitely an experience I think everybody should check out when in Houston! 

Other Activities: 

- Museums (Museum of Fine Arts & Natural Sciences
Till September 18, 2016, Kusama has an exhibit showing in the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. It's $25 for a "fast pass" ticket and determining on how important these artistic experiences are to you, it's well worth buying a ticket. If you happen to buy ahead, you can get $13 tickets if you are a student and $18 adult tickets if you buy ahead of time. I had no idea this exhibit had been going on and happened to luckily run into it so I had to get the fast pass. 

These pictures don't do justice to what I saw. Both light exhibits are extremely short so have your camera ready to shoot some pictures and quickly! 

Houston Museum of Natural Science: I'd read reviews online that the butterfly room was a worthwhile visit on a sunny day. I happened to be there on a sunny day so I seized the opportunity to try to grab a chance at having a butterfly on my shoulder. (Just one of those things I've always wanted to happen to me). It's an amazing experience walking around the room with butterflies flying freely around you. I did not get a butterfly to rest on my shoulder and the room was extremely humid so I was out of there in about twenty minutes but it was well worth the experience.

Rice University: I was curious to see what life was like on this campus compared to Chapel Hill. Took part of my day to pretend I was a student and even got a cookie out of it! Rice's campus is manicured and very clean.

Buffalo Bayou: Lastly, we wanted to check out the recreation scene in Houston and ended up here. The initial walk into the park offers a beautiful view of the Houston skyline. It was so hot that Joe and I rented some city bikes for $5/hour to get some breeze going in our faces. I hadn't planned accordingly and ended up biking in a dress but it was so fun! The Bayou has a number of great trails to walk and bike.

Turtle Racing: If you are in Houston on a thursday, you must check out Midtown Little Woodrow's and bet on a turtle. I was amazed at how hyped the entire bar was for these turtles. Betting on a turtle is completely free and if you win I think you get a free beer. It was SO interesting. 

Specs, Wine, Spirits, and Finer Foods: This place is like a Walmart of liquor and wine. We checked it out for the free wine and liquor tastings. They have stations all throughout the store with samples of mixed drinks, whiskey, and wine. Definitely worth checking out. 

Rothko Chapel: This was a very calming and interesting experience. It's a chapel filled with just seats and very minimalistic grey palates of color on the walls. Complete silence is required within the chapel and people are free to pray, meditate, or just sit in the silence. Make sure your phone volumes are turned down before you go in! 

Rebels Honkey Tonk: Our last night in Houston we put on our cowboy boots and went out for a good honkey tonk. Be prepared to see some guys with cowboy hats on tearing up the dance floor. Joe and I attempted to dance a couple of numbers but definitely have a lot of practice to do before we do that again! 

Saved the best for last: Where to EAT!

Houston is a city known for its food. There were so many options and so many places I wanted to check out but the places we did go to were all amazing! 

Torchy's Tacos: They have hands down the best queso I have ever had in my life. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. They put guacamole in the queso and it's rich and creamy and delicious and just a hint of spicy. Absolutely amazing. The waiter recommended I get the "trailer park" and "the democrat" and both did not disappoint. 

Breakfast Klub: known for their chicken and waffles there's a line out the door for brunch hours at this place. However, their service is incredible and our food was set down at our table as soon as we sat down. Talk about fast service! I do have to say it was a bit overpriced and I think their branding lets them get away with that. However, their fried chicken may have been the best chicken I've ever had. A manager stopped by our table to make sure everything was great and any establishment that does that always gets bonus points with me! 

Les Givral's: I had a craving for some good cheap Asian food and this place offered banh mi for $2.50. Let me say that again, $2.50!!! You get full-size baguette filled with meat and veggies. I have no idea how they keep the sandwiches that cheap but I didn't ask any questions! I wish I had a Les Givral's in North Carolina! 

Gatlin's BBQ: The local friends we hung out with told us this was the best bbq place in Houston. Go early because they only sell the meat they make for the day. We missed out on getting some brisket but even the chicken and sausage that we got were great! I think I prefer NC BBQ but the adorable staff at this restaurant made our experience so fun. 

Bungalow Sno and Joe: this is an adorable establishment run by a mom and daughter pair. Their iced coffee was disappointing but their snow cone DID NOT DISAPPOINT. I am serious when I say you need to try their "tiger's blood" snow cone. It was so refreshing and good after a day of walking in Houston. 

Restaurants that had been on our list to try, but we simply didn't have enough days to fit in all the meals we wanted!
- House of Pies 
- Good Dog Houston 
- Local Foods 
- Seabrook Waffle Company
- Frio To Go 
- Tacos A Go Go 
- Frank's Pizza 

and the list can go on... Obviously, we need to make another trip just to be able to eat at those places. 

What to pack: If you're going in the summer, light and breezy does it. Shorts, tank tops, material that will help your skin breathe in the hot and humidity of Texas. You'll also want a pair of comfortable shoes if you'll be exploring downtown Houston and trying to do most of it by walking (which I did). 

And now here is the short "vlog" I did of our trip to Houston, Texas. I hope you enjoy! 

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At October 19, 2016 at 5:52 AM , Blogger Peace in Pieces said...

Went here for a great all-you-can-eat buffet and they held nothing back. Their food, service and mostly the venues staff were truly amazing. I was starving and am one of those voracious "sampling" type eaters who has to try everything in a buffet, and I couldn't make it!

At June 21, 2018 at 11:02 PM , Blogger Falcon Embroidery said...

christania’s “cykeludlejning” bikes are rolling across the city. The system, less than a year old, is funded by christania’s municipal government. It is currently only in one of christania’s 22 administrative districts. Although a 2nd generation system, there are 12 “Houses” in this district, each with around 40 bikes. The yearly subscription cost is the equivalent of $2 US, and allows the use of a bike for up to four hours at a time. In less than a year, there have been 6,000 subscriptions sold. There are larger 3rd generation systems in the world, which do not have a subscription to bike ratio as big as that.

At September 18, 2018 at 7:05 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A great post!

At September 18, 2018 at 7:15 AM , Anonymous Agatha Singer said...

You are such an inspiring person! I always enjoy reading your articles about traveling! My friend was in Houston a year ago. He said that Houston is full of beautiful scenery that often goes unnoticed though. Have you seen the Evelyn’s Park Conservancy? There is one very special sculpture which depicts the tea party scene from Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland. I'd like to see it with my own eyes one day :) It looks so charming!

At November 13, 2018 at 7:21 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

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