Explore Texas / Travel Tastes

Culinary Adventure In H-town

My friend Hope and I decided to go on a culinary adventure in Houston.  It was a Saturday splurge and the goal was to find interesting places to eat and drink.

So off we went to start the day with brunch.  We headed over to the Heights since I’d already found a gem of a coffee house in Boomtown Coffee.  If you’re a coffee fan, Boomtown is a must.

Just a few doors down from Boomtown is Shade in the Heights.  It’s in an unassuming building, but the food is off the charts.  It was a pleasant Saturday morning so we sat out on their small patio.  First up, blood orange mimosa for me and Bloody Mary for Hope.

On the menu I was wrestling between shrimp and grits and the market egg white scramble.  Our waiter helped make my decision.  Since I’m a southern girl I’m going to go for shrimp and grits, but they’d better be good.  The waiter said the chef puts a New Orleans spin on the shrimp and grits.  He said give them a try and if you don’t like them, you can have the scramble.  Done!  Boy was he right about the shrimp and grits.  They are a Shade favorite.  But, they are different from other places, which I like.  The marinade for the shrimp is where a little creole flair comes in.  The stone-ground marscapone grits were warm yumminess.  The chili oil added just a hint of spicy heat.  But, it was the creole salsa that was the surprise for me and with roasted corn, tomato, onion, and some other goodness. It was a perfect compliment to the shrimp and grits.  I also liked the microgreens for just a touch of green.  These are shrimp and grits I’d go back for and that says a lot!

After brunch we spent some time wandering through the antiques and unique shops along 19th Street in the Heights.  We also stumbled upon the First Saturday Arts Market.  It was fun wandering through the different vendor booths and picking up a few handmade goodies like a couple of necklaces.  Of course we went in and out of just about every shop in a 3 block radius.  My favorite was the whimsical home decor shop Coda in the Heights, probably because I found this amazing “Walk in the Woods” candle – perfect for this outdoorsy girl!

After a couple of hours in the Heights, it was time to venture on.  My friend Hope is a museum lover so I had to take her to Bistro Menil on the grounds of the Menil Collection, which is home to one of the most important privately assembled collections of the twentieth century.  Founders of the museum, John and Dominique de Menil, wanted art to be accessible for all and admission remains free to the museum.  Bistro Menil is a favorite of mine, especially for a little rose out on the patio.  Top it off with the sinfully good Double Truffle Fries with truffle cheese and white truffle oil and you have sheer bliss on a Saturday afternoon.

We decided to be adventurous with our rose selection and tried one neither of us had enjoyed before.  Our waiter let us taste three roses and we decided on the 2014 Château Les Valentines “Grande Cuvée No. 8” Côtes de Provence La Londe Rosé.  It was a perfect Saturday afternoon sipper.

That night it was time for Tex Mex and we headed over to a Houston institution.  El Tiempo Cantina has been around for over 55 years.  If you want Tex Mex in Houston, El Tiempo is the place. We went to the location on Richmond and dined out on their festive patio.  First up guac and ‘ritas!

I selected the Don Julio Anejo for my margarita and really enjoyed it.

The guacamole is served with all the ingredients separate so you can make it to your taste.

Make sure you are hungry when heading to El Tiempo because the entrees are huge.  Both Hope and I ordered two chicken verde soft tacos each…we could have each done only one!

The tacos were delicious and the barracho beans were fabulous.

Off we went in a food coma after a day of culinary adventure in H-town.