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Things to do and eat in Houston


jmcgrath
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I'll take up SuperLuckyCat's offer on the New England Forum. I'll be visiting my son and grandkids at the end of this month for a long weekend and I'm looking for things to do and eat in the Houston area. Barbecue and Gulf shrimp are the first things that come to mind. My son and I are chile heads, but his wife is not. A visit to Dave Klose's BBQ pit factory is on the schedule. Maine shrimp season has just started and while I can't get enough of them, they are very different from the Gulf shrimp that I'm looking forward to. I'll probably skip fine dining this trip as I'd like to go places where the grandkids are welcome, but please no "family" restaurants. Any dive with good food will be fine.

The Zip of where I'll be staying is 70027 to give an idea of where I'll be staying.

Edited to add Zip.

Thanks,

Jim

Edited by jmcgrath (log)
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For gulf coast seafood, my all time favorite has to be Good Co. Seafood. The one on Westpark and Kirby NOT I-10.

For wonderful fried chicken and chicken fried steak, give "Barbeque Inn" a try. I was there last Friday and their Southern Fried chicken is the best I've had anywhere.

Hickory Hollow in the hights has some great bbq as well as very good chicken fried steak.

Welcome to Houston,

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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If you're in the Heights, an entertainment option is the Art Car Museum, look it up to make sure it is open, times seem erratic.

I take out of town guests to Thelma's for BBQ (but Hickory Hollow is great and easier to navigate), the Chocolate Bar for ice cream and Tampico for mexican seafood. Look these places up on Houstonpress.com for reviews and locations, none of them are that far from you, I think.

Breakfast at Buffalo Grille on Bisonnet near Rice U. and El Pueblito on Richmond for a good mexican option for breakfast (only).

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I have to agree with all of the suggestions so far. I will add another, Topwater Grill in San Leon. This is by far my favorite seafood "joint" in the bay area. It is on the water at April Fool Point sticking out into the bay. Check out the link below as it includes a map, you will need it. :biggrin: Captain Benny owns the place and he also owns most of the shrimp and oyster boats in the marina. I am embarrased to say that I don't know if shrimp is in season now or not. Oysters are a good bet this time of year. Fish tacos are recommended as is any of the shrimp recipes. The place has tons of charm (those messy piles of sticks on top of the transformers by the parking lot are parrot nests, actually Monk's parakeets) is kid friendly and a place that my friends and I go back to routinely. So . . . if the weather is nice and you are up for an excursion down to the Bay Area, check it out. You could maybe plan to do that on a day that you plan a visit to Space Center Houston. Please pass up the Kemah Boardwalk for food. That is all chain restaurants. There are some cute and interesting shops at the boardwalk and in the town as you head that way.

http://www.b4-u-eat.com/houston/restaurant...ews/rsv2586.asp

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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for BBQ: Williams Smokehouse is best. Get the brisket & ribs. Excellent peach cobbler for dessert.

for seafood: it's now oyster season; get 'em fresh or fried. Any cajun place will have them. I'll be grilling some this weekend (on half-shell sprinkled with garlic).

for chili (peppers, not meat): go to a Carniceria aka Meat Market. You can try La Michoacana as there are several around town. They all have a steam table offerering 8-10 meat dishes, flavored with different chilis (serrano, jalapeno, guajillo, arbol, ancho etc.) They usually have 2 salsas readily available. They will have a small grocery store where you can buy fresh & dried chilis.

Have fun & enjoy H-town!

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For gulf coast seafood, my all time favorite has to be Good Co. Seafood. The one on Westpark and Kirby NOT I-10.

Hell, do the Good Co. triumvirate and hit the Taqueria next door and the BBQ/Hall of Fame across the street.

Though I was disappointed last time I went to the barbecue place . . . they used to hold my coveted :rolleyes: Best Barbecue crown.

Too touristy of me?

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77027 is the Greenway/River Oaks area. You are pretty central in that respect. For the two specific suggestions you have asked for I would say Williams BBQ for the Ribs and Brisket. Ask for sauce on the side. For Shrimp I might say that BBQ Inn could be a good bet for that along with the fried chicken and the chicken fried steak, all are top notch. although I do prefer Frenchies Fried Chicked a little more.

Other suggestions:

The seafood overall is much better at Denis' Seafood out west on Westheimer. Its a 15-20 minute drive from 77027 area. They always have fresh fish and the accompanying sauces you can add to the fish are outstanding. Its a little pricey but worth every penny. Bread pudding is also noteworthy.

Tampico on Airline for the Snapper alla plancha is one of houston's best dishes. You can get fresh shrimp here as well and its good but the snapper is great. Order a whole snapper al la plancha with shrimp on the side. On the weekend(fri and sat night) you can ask to sit upstairs in a little more relaxed atmosphere. Ask for a michelada (spicy/tart beer drink) and relax. Ask for Suzzana as a waitress.

For breakfast I would check out the Breakfast Klub on Travis near downtown. Its down home southern breakfast of chicken and waffles, catfish and grits...

Another breakfast would be Picos on Bellaire. The machacada con huevo al la mexicana is great. So are the chilaquillas.

You can get even better chilaquillas at Otillias on long point in spring branch area.

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I will second The Breakfast Klub.

I would pass on Goode Company Barbecue. Living on laurels from 20 years ago. I think Luling City Market is much better.

Otilia's is really good. If you don't want to stray too far from home, Jalapeno's or Chuy's might be fun. I am sure your son has already found Lupe Tortilla's, which is very kid friendly.

Ragin Cajun should be pretty close to you if your open to cajun.

Pesce is excellent seafood, but is towards the fine dining scale. Pappadeaux's does a decent job with seafood, not as good as Denis, and kids are always welcome. Portions are way too big and it is loud.

Tony Mandola's Blue Oyster Bar is nearby. Anybody been recently? It used to be really good.

Edited by LDLee (log)

"As far as I'm concerned, bacon comes from a magical, happy place" Frank, John Doe

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Oooo . . . I forgot about Denis. That is my favorite place on the West side. You can get wild Atchafalaya catfish. Pappadeaux's is good but too loud for my taste and I think Denis is a bit better. Both are kid friendly, especially for lunch.

I agree about the Goode & Co. BBQ. It is a little better at the one on I-10 but I am most often in the Kirby area. The taqueria is great though. I still like their enchiladas. The chile sauce is great.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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i don't know much about seafood places in houston, b/c anytime we wanted seafood my parents would drag me to a chinese restaurant (all the american places we'd go to for seafood were too expensive or not very fresh) but one place i do love for oysters on the half shell is the Captain Benny's, or Tom's Seafood and Oyster Restaurants that are shaped like boats all around town. are they the same company? When I visit my parents we still go to the one on 1960 near their house, but if memory serves me correct (i've been in Austin for the past 10 years or so) there is one on Westheimer near the Post Oak/610 area. they have yummy seafood and yummy oysters when the season is right, and the season is right now!

and the restaurant is shaped like a boat! a BOAT!!

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Mandola's Blue Oyster Bar on The Gulf Freeway is closed permanently. Don't try it. Go for a ride down to San Leon and The Topwater Grill. They were written up in Southern Living as one of the best fish shacks in the South. :rolleyes:

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I was so depressed when Mandola's Blue Oyster Bar closed. That was the uber-restaurant of the Mandola empire. Mama was often there. It was also the meeting place of choice for myself and a dear friend, now deceased, because it was about mid-way between the bay area and SW Houston. There was an article in The Houston Chronicle or The Houston Press about the decision to close it not long ago. It was sad, but you could understand since the demographics had changed so much. But, I suppose that we can comfort ourselves with the fact that the heritage lives on in other Mandola enterprises.

I missed the article in Southern Living on Topwater Grill. What issue was that? I am almost sorry to hear about the publicity. The place already gets crowded on weekends. Us "locals" are pretty protective of our favorite haunts. :raz:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Sorry. I was thinking of Tony Mandola's Gulf Coast Kitchen on W. Gray (Tony Mandola's Gulf Coast Kitchen Website). It is still open. Also, there is a Tony Mandola's Seafood House way out northwest on Jones Road.

Anybody tried Rockfish Grille on Westheimer. Just trying to think of places inside the loop.

"As far as I'm concerned, bacon comes from a magical, happy place" Frank, John Doe

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I was so depressed when Mandola's Blue Oyster Bar closed. That was the uber-restaurant of the Mandola empire. Mama was often there. It was also the meeting place of choice for myself and a dear friend, now deceased, because it was about mid-way between the bay area and SW Houston. There was an article in The Houston Chronicle or The Houston Press about the decision to close it not long ago. It was sad, but you could understand since the demographics had changed so much. But, I suppose that we can comfort ourselves with the fact that the heritage lives on in other Mandola enterprises.

I missed the article in Southern Living on Topwater Grill. What issue was that? I am almost sorry to hear about the publicity. The place already gets crowded on weekends. Us "locals" are pretty protective of our favorite haunts.  :raz:

It was in a late spring early summer edition last year. They had several states best fish shacks. BTW Topwater has oysters at 25 cents apiece during the season on Mondays and specials like Rockefeller and garlic and butter and bienville. My wife and I hit it 4 Mondays in a row. Love the bait shrimp.

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That's my 'hood, and I second the recommendations for Goode Co. Seafood. Try the campechana with both shrimp and crab. The minced jalepeno comes on the side, so you and your son can make each bite as hot as you like. The mesquite grilled plates are fantastic and unlike anything you'll get in New England!

Also second the Lupe Tortilla rec, they have great beef fajitas. Plus you can watch the kiddos in the sandbox.

A fun place for lunch would be one of the many BerryHill Tacos & Tamales places inside the loop. There is one very close to you at Buffalo Speedway, one on Westheimer just east of Kirby, and one at South Post Oak and San Filipe.

Another family-friendly place might be Amazon, although they can be a bit inconsistent. Good south american fare, and you can try the tres leches which is great. The kiddos can make S'mores at the table. It's very popular with families.

Try breakfast at the Buffalo Grille. Lots of very big food, good bacon, good coffee. :)

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  • 4 weeks later...

I finally made it to Houston on Friday. I want to thank everyone for their suggestions. First of all I got his Zip code wrong, that was his ofice Zip. He lives in the Memorial area so that changed a few places we went to. I was picked up at 11:00 a.m. and we went back to his house to get his wife and my youngest (four year old) grandson.

Off to lunch at Sushi Jin, Memorial Drive and Dairy Ashford. It was an enjoyable lunch and we were entertained by the grandson eating sticky rice with chopsticks. He sampled some tuna and salmon shashimi.

Dinner was at Pappadeaux, Hwy 10 and Katy Freeway. It was a great place for kids, and they were excited by the Mardi Gras beads they were given. The six yer old was along this time. My son and I started with sharing a dozen Gulf oysters. It was probably not the best place to go for oysters. I had fried catfish that was excellent, my son has sausage and seafood gumbo along with crawfish etoufee, and his wife had pepper shrimp. The kids both ordered chicken fingers. The four year old crashed and burned just as his food arrived and slept through dinner. We had taken a long walk on the "Bayou" (boy do you Texans have a sense of humor) that afternoon and I guess we wore him out.

We started Saturday early with a trip to the Klose BBQ pit factory. Just my son and the six year old were along this time. Then off to Central Market. That place is amazing, and neither my son nor I had every been. We spent about three hours touring and buying food. My grandson was a great sport about this. We had lunch at Good Company BBQ, Kirby and W. Park. I had a chopped brisket sandwich which I thought was excellent for commercial BBQ. MY son had the hot link and rib 2 meat combo and my grandson had ribs. We droped the grandson off at home and we went shopping for a BBQ pit.

My son decided to economize and bought an offset smoker at BBQ Galore. We spent Saturday afternoon putting it together and doing a first burn to season it. We had a light dinner. Raspberry chipotle jam and cream cheese on crackers, and from Central Market, Parmigiano Regianna, Parma ham, and garlic salami.

The ribs for tomorrow are St Louis spares. we are also smoking two kinds of chicken sausage, artichoke and pepper jack and all are from Central Market. We are taking the food to a Superbowl party.

Jim

Edited by jmcgrath (log)
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