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Houston Visit


KarenS
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I will be in Houston for medical treatment at MD Anderson. I have never been to Houston (and do not want my illness to take over my life).I intend to check out food in Houston. I am a Pastry Chef in Honolulu. I love farmers markets, restaurants of all types (and would be looking foreward to some good Mexican food- something lacking in Honolulu). I love seafood, I am very fond of Gulf shrimp- in my opinion, far better then tiger shrimp? Where should I go between tests and Dr. appts? I would love some opinions

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I will be in Houston for medical treatment at MD Anderson. I have never been to Houston (and do not want my illness to take over my life).I intend to check out food in Houston. I am a Pastry Chef in Honolulu. I love farmers markets, restaurants of all types (and would be looking foreward to some good Mexican food- something lacking in Honolulu). I love seafood, I am very fond of Gulf shrimp- in my opinion, far better then tiger shrimp? Where should I go between tests and Dr. appts? I would love some opinions

I'm not from Houston but have visited several times. You should immediately check out Central Market -- it is a grocery store non pareil. I wish so badly I had something this cool in Los Angeles.

I'd recommend Cafe Annie for excellent if pricey Southwestern fare.

Neither of these are particularly resourceful recommendations -- both are very well known in Houston, but I loved each of them.

I also recommend Aries. I had quite an enjoyable meal there over Memorial Day, but it has received quite mixed reviews on eGullet.

Good luck -- in your eating and in your recovery!

-A

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You could try the little farmers market on weekends in fron of Tafia near downtown and maybe eat at tafia later that night?

Hugos would be a nice mexican joint to try for upscale mexican.

Most of the mexican here is really tex/mex, even the really mexican places ar a little more tex/mex than mex/mex. That being said I would steer you toward either Picos where you can get a very good margarita and good food or Otillas where I have never had a margarita but the food might be a little better than Picos.

Another place to possibly try would be the Ninfas navigation street location only and see where the fajita craze started. thats right it pretty much began here.

For seafood if you don't mind driving I would tell you to go about 40 miles south of houston to Topwater Grill in San Leon. If its later in October I would certainly give the grilled oysters a try and the fried shrimp is great.

If the drive to Topwater is to long give Tampico seafood a try. The grilled shrimp is pretty good.

I will be in Houston for medical treatment at MD Anderson. I have never been to Houston (and do not want my illness to take over my life).I intend to check out food in Houston. I am a Pastry Chef in Honolulu. I love farmers markets, restaurants of all types (and would be looking foreward to some good Mexican food- something lacking in Honolulu). I love seafood, I am very fond of Gulf shrimp- in my opinion, far better then tiger shrimp? Where should I go between tests and Dr. appts? I would love some opinions

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No one ever mentions 17. It is easily one of the best restaurant in houston. Texas monthly had its yearly restaurant issue and 17 was #1 in Texas. Definitly go to 17(recently acquired Chef Ryan Pera). t'afia (Monica Pope) is also a must. On saturdays they have a farmers market in their parking lot and inside the restaurant. Hugos (Hugo Ortega) is great for sophisticated mexican fare. Get some vietnamese sandwiches from Cali Sandwich in midtown. Cheap and just awesome. Recently opened Gravitas on taft is a solid american bistro. Its partly owned by Scott Tycer, and the kitchen is run by his ex- Chef de Cuisine Jason Galude(thats not how you spell his name i just dont remember). Shade (Clair Smith/Jeb Stewart) in the Heights is good kind of semi-fusion southern food. Cafe Rebelais (Jason Blankenship) in the Village, casual French, awesome wine selection. So any more...

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I was born and raised in Houston and only moved away recently. I have found that the best Mexican restaurants are always the little bitty, hole-in-the-wall places that don't look like much from the outside. So, it helps to be a little adventerous. My favorite Mexican restaurant in town is one such place, Tejas Mexican Restaurant. Very good steak a la Mexicana. The owner goes deep sea fishing regularly, and sells what he catches. It's on the far West side of town on Alief Clodine Rd. which is quite a drive (the town is pretty spread-out, you can go to yahoo for directions). It is also not a "hip" or "chic" area by anyone's standards. But the food is good and cheap, though. The new Westpark tollroad could probably get you there in much less time than it used to take.

If you aren't up for the drive, the other places suggested are really good, too.

If you go to Galveston, there is a place on the sea wall called Gordito's that is really good. I have a Columbian friend down there who swears that it is the closest he can get to "home cooking" in this country. He gets all weepy with excitement when he goes. I can't vouch for the authenticity, but it sure is good. They don't take plastic, cash only.

I have to tell you, though, that my favorite place in Houston in Miss Saigon. This is a little Vietnamese place in the Rice Village, not too far from the med center. It is on the corner of Kelvin and Times, and it is awesome, I just love it. They have the best grilled pork spring rolls in town, bar none. The tofu spring rolls are also excellent. My two favorite dishes there are the carmelized salmon hot-pot, and the flambe steak cubes, but you really can't go wrong with anything. Even their sandwiches are good. If you go, 1) I am jealous!! and 2) I want to hear all about it!

Karen, good luck with your medical treatments. I wish you the best on this trip and a speedy recovery.

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If you are going to be centered around the Medical Center I would definately check out the farmers market on Sat AM at T'Afia and also eat there for upscale, innovative Texas food. You are also close to Hugos which I strongly recommend and my favorite desserts are at Hugos and Marks right nearby.

Another good place to eat, not very Mexican but excellent baja style tacos is Berryhill Tamales, go to the one on Revere, not Montrose. Another Mexican place would be Tila on Shepard.

I also second 17.

Local places for lunch and casual dinners - Barnaby's, Lankford (lunch or weekend breakfast), Niko Niko, and Aladdin.

Everywhere I have suggested is in the Loop, which will be somewhat close to the Medical Center and minimizes your time on our horrible highway system.

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Pretty much great advice all around. I'll second Cafe Rebelais, Niko Niko, Miss Saigon and Langford (burgers are killer as is most of the daily lunch specials). Also add Petes fine Meats to your list during the week tues to frid for lunch and get a smoked cheese burger with a little bbq sauce. Its a really good and a little different take on the burger. petes is on Old Spanish Trail and is very close to the Med center.

Oh yah, you should definately try and hit Frenchy's Creole fried chicken by Univ of Houston for great chicken. Its not really great to eat there because its hot as hell out but if you can take it somewhere and chow down than all the better.

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You've got lots of great suggestions. The Med Center is pretty close to the central business district and a bunch of great restaurants in the Rice Village, West University, Mid Town and Montrose districts.

I live about two blocks from the Med Center so will pass on some spots within a short drive:

Rice Village - Cafe Rebalais is a great French bistro. No reservations so wait can be a bit long even if you show up early. Cafe Saigon may be the best upscale Vietnamese around. Also good and a lot of fun is Mi Luna, a tapas restaurant that attracts a lively crowd on weekends and has live Latin music at night. Cafe Istanbul is a casual Turkish/Medditerranean spot that we like. Kubo - on the second floor of the Village - is one of my favorite sushi spots and is very consistent.

Kirby (just up the street from Rice Village) - try Goode Co. Barbeque for bbq (sit outside on benches amd people watch) and Goode Co. Taqueria for burgers and tex mex (both casual). Also in the Goode Co empire is the new Armadillo Cafe which is a slightly more upscale burger/tex mex/steak place with an hommage to Texas theme. Azuma is also on Kirby for sushi. Lupe Tortilla is up the street on the other side of 59 - it's always a mess (has a sandbox for the kids) but has just delicious fajitas. Just a little bit further north is the new and very fun and good Moroccan restaurant, Saffron.

Richmond Ave - a number of good tex-mex joints: El Pueblito - outdoor patio, sometimes live music, good seafood dishes. Maria Selma - slightly more upscale, good patio, more traiditonal tex mex. La Tapatia - a chain (I know, I know) but reliable and quick with great service. If you are a choco-holic don't miss The Chocolate Bar on Richmond - a temple of everything chocolate and a fun scene at night. Slightly further down the street is Austin-implant Amy's Ice Cream if you haven't consumed enough sugar at the Chocolate Bar.

Mid-town - Ibiza for upscale Med food, great wine list (Champagne selection is fantastic and reasonable) and a fun scene. Good Vietnamese area - pho shops, the pork sandwiches are awesome, vermicelli bun, etc. New Orleans ' Brennan's has an outpost that is pricey but good (and attempts to do NO food and some Texana). Seconds (thirds?) on T'afia and its next door neighbor The Breakfast Klub for hearty breakfasts.

Very close to Med Center - Southwell's for hamburgers and fries, NY Pizzeria for pizza (delivers).

Check out Central Market - best grocery store I have ever seen (still makes me laugh that the NYers have gone crazy for Whole Foods). Whole Foods on Kirby is trying to keep (catch?) up.

Houston has a light rail that runs thru Med Center. Can take downtown to 17 (also one of my faves) and Bank. A bunch of other good (or at least fun) restaurants on Main Street - Cava Bistro, Samba, El Rey (cuban/mex). Also stops in mid-town near T'afia, Julia's (latin) and B'fast Klub. (Also runs to Reliant Stadium if you are a Texans fan!)

Best sources for more info - www.houstonpress.com, www.my-table.com and texasmonthly.com.

The foilks at MD Anderson are the best in the world so you will be in good hands!

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Karen,

Go kick some mother fuckin cancer ass, bitch. OK!=)

Seriously, good luck, I hope these suggestions make your stay a little more enjoyable. If you would like some company post here and we'll try and set up a dinner/lunch with a few people at something really exotic or not so exotic. Whatever you want.

Edited by jscarbor (log)
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Benjy's is a good place if you like somewhat fusion-like food. www.benjys.com

Otherwise, there are a few other good Rice Village eateries. Ruggles for lunch is a pretty good idea, I've always enjoyed myself. If you're in the mood for sushi, Azuma on Kirby is wonderful. I second Mi Luna, which is just off Kirby I believe. Chocolate Bar, if you want to fatten yourself up a little.

If you have a chance, Houston has a wonderful Chinatown on Bellaire street where you can find great Vietnamese and Chinese eateries. A lot of little hole in the wall restaurants and bakeries.

And if you really must, go to the Galleria area for some great shopping and decent eats. I've gotta warn you that traffic is horrid around that area right now due to a lot of construction on surrounding freeways.

I wish you the best, come back to us with the good news when you've won the battle... and report to us what you ate!

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  • 3 weeks later...

For gulf shrimp of the fried variety and very close to med center you should certainly check out captain benny's on S Main.

Also, I metnioned smoked burgers in an earlier post but the name is Guys Meat Market on Old Spanish Trail. I said guys meat market.

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For gulf shrimp of the fried variety and very close to med center you should certainly check out captain benny's on S Main.

Also, I metnioned smoked burgers in an earlier post but the name is Guys Meat Market on Old Spanish Trail. I said guys meat market.

Oh! and I was thinking that maybe Pete's Fine Meats has another location :biggrin: .

Karen welcome to Houston and best wishes for a speedy recovery. It's good to hear that you enjoyed Central Market. Unfortunatly I have a wife-imposed curfew against CM, since I always end up buying more stuff than I should, especially at the cheese section.

Other suggestions if you are interested to venture a few miles out of the Medical Center area include an amazing Colombian restaurant called Mi Pueblito on Richmond between Fondren and Gessner right next to Dodo's chicken. If you go, order the best Empanadas in town and a Bandeja Paisa.

Himalaya (there's a thread devoted to the place around here) has excellent Pakistani food.

For darn good Lebanese try Mary'z on Richmond and Chimney Rock.

Keep us updated with your gastronomic excursions in this fair (but hot and humid :smile:) city.

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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Welcome to Houston. I agree with all of the recommendations. One of my other favorites for Greek is Mykonos. That is also nearby. Barnaby's is sort of an old all time favorite. If you do a search in the Texas forum for specific restaurants you will probably get some good discussion. We try to keep the titles formatted to make the searches a bit more precise.

Topwater Grill got mentioned a few times. I did a report on Topwater Grill earlier this year. If you feel the need to get out of the crush of the city, this is the place. It is about a 45 minute drive from the Med Center if you avoid rush hours. It can get crowded and noisy on weekends so I would suggest a mid-week foray. They did a major revision of the menu a couple of months or so ago and I am working on an update of the report but it is all still good.

You have the right warrior on your side. Best of luck.

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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Today I went back to Central Market (had to show my California Mom that Texas does markets very, very well!- and she sure agreed). We had lunch at Goodes BBQ- my mom said, "now I'm in Texas". It was very good too. I was surprised at how green it is here (and all of the trees). I did not expect that. There are also some beautiful homes here. Are there any great bakeries to check out?

Fifi, thank you- I will go there, I want to see the Gulf (can you recommend anything on a drive to Pt Arthur?

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Well, Topwater is on Galveston Bay. I just remembered that I covered a lot about the Houston area in my foodblog, Foraging the Texas Gulf Coast. Discussion about the area begins I think at about post #14. There are some links to some aerial shots that will help get you oriented. To see the Gulf of Mexico, you have to go to Galveston. I am not up to date on the dining scene along the seawall but I am sure some here are.

It is not unusual for you to be surprised about what Houston looks like. A lot of folks think all of Texas looks like far west Texas. It doesn't. The southeast part is really more like the deep south. Then there are the high plains, the hill country . . . Like the ads say . . . "Texas. It's a whole 'nother country."

If you are on your way to Port Arthur, eat before you leave. :laugh: I may have missed something but I made a few drives there on business last year and it is pretty bleak. There is not much of anything, and I mean anything, between here and there. Again, maybe someone else here can enlighten.

Just to give you an idea what the water conditions are like, The Gulf water temperature is 90+F and the Bay temperature is 93+F this afternoon. Uh . . . Don't eat any oysters. :shock:

I almost forgot . . . If you went to Goode & Co. BBQ on Kirby, the Goode Co Taqueria is on the corner of Westpark and Kirby just across from there. A good Tex-Mex breakfast there is one of my favorite things to do.

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 agree with fifi - eat before you go. There is very little in Port Arthur worth the drive from Houston. If you want to see the gulf, go to Galveston and take the ferry over to Port Bolivar, drive down to Crystal Beach, turn around and go back to Galveston and eat at Guido's, Saltwater Grill, or any number of good places there. Port Arthur is the armpit of Texas. Literally.

Stop Family Violence

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Are there any great bakeries to check out?

Sure there is at least one. The "French Riviera Bakery" on Chimney Rock between Richmond and Westheimer has wonderful French baked goodies such as Brioche, baguettes, boules, a few tarts and of course croissont (sp?). Just stop by for some breakfast and take a deep breath, the place smells divine. They also serve a light lunch (sandwiches, salads,...). It's owned by a chinese baker who learned his craft in Paris.

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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I couldn't eat since yesterday 'cause of tests. We went to Hugo's tonight- which was really great. Loved the trio of salads, the duck in red mole, the squash blossom and corn fungus empanadas.

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I couldn't eat since yesterday 'cause of tests. We went to Hugo's tonight- which was really great. Loved the trio of salads, the duck in red mole, the squash blossom and corn fungus empanadas.

Hope you are doing well. If you are still in Houston and want Italian try Simposio's on Richmond.

Cooking is chemistry, baking is alchemy.

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