Houston

Houston has been a city slowly growing on me for quite sometime now.  With the recent devastation to that city I thought it would be a perfect time to highlight some of my most favorite places in the city.  No better picture to depict the city than that of Mr. Sam Houston himself proudly displayed in a very appropriate monument in Hermann Park.

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You know my fascination with museums, this city has a ton of them.  We spent one entire afternoon at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

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I was a bit giddy with their Hall of Paleontology.  I noticed right away that their display of the dinosaurs was unique… they were in action.  Not just on display, but they looked as if they were in action just frozen in time.  I loved it.  Their display of light on the animals played genius with the shadows, It was a perfect presentation.    IMG_7883IMG_5798IMG_4067IMG_1200

Cliff’s favorite portion was the Hall of Gems and Minerals.  We did not take one picture in that hall because we got a private tour from one of the museum curators.  He had noticed us reading the map of the museum and made small talk with us and that led to an extremely informative tour of the hall.  Gems and minerals is to Cliff what dinosaurs is to me, if this give you any hint at all of us!

As we continued to explore the museum we came to a room and both instantly thought “Jumanji”.  The Cabinet of Curiosities was a treasure!  The second picture depicts the room, lots of woodwork and specimens everywhere!  No pictures were taken in the room, you will have to see it for yourself.

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When you exit the museum you are in the McGovern Centennial Gardens.  The garden is just one part of Hermann Park.  It would take a full day of exploring to see all of the park, it has over 100 acres.   The McGovern Centennial Gardens was extremely well done.  It was so hot and humid that day… exploring outside was not an option.  I honestly wanted to jump in that water!  Texas humidity is no joke.

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Lets talk about food for a second.  I am from Southern California, and we take our Mexican food very serious.  Out in Texas they have Tex-Mex Mexican food, slightly different but similar so I tried to have an open mind if we were going to eat “Mexican” food on this trip knowing this.  We settled on a Mexican seafood place for lunch one day, La Fisheria.  I am a firm believer that there is no bad way to prepare seafood.  I will eat it prepared anyway!  After looking over the menu and wanting so badly to say one of everything please, we shared a plate called Trios de Tacos.  It had a beer battered shrimp taco, an al pastor marinated red snapper taco, and a creamy lobster taco.  It came with black beans and rice. They supplied the table with chips and salsa throughout our meal.  You know I am picky with my salsa so this one was defiantly not one of my favorites, but the tacos were delicious!  On our next trip back I want to try a dish they have called Steak De Atun Con Rajas – it is grilled yellow fin tuna steak served with defied black beans, potatoes, served in a green sauce of poblano peppers. OMG. YUM. *Currently on their website they state that they are closed due until further notice due to damage they sustained during  Hurricane Harvey.*  I cannot wait to come back and support them when they are open again for business.

La Fishería 213 Milam St., Houston, TX.

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What is Texas if we didn’t try a good BBQ place?  It wasn’t very hard to find BBQ, in Houston the question was which is the best place to try it at?  Cliff researched long and hard and we agreed to try Killens BBQ.    It came up on every list of BBQ places we looked… on every platform we researched.  We knew this was going to be good.  We also knew that the line to order was long, and that you could be waiting hours.  We were OK with this, all we had was time!  It was a bit outside of Houston in a town called Pearland, not terribly far from where we were, we hopped in an Uber and were on our way.  When we arrived there was virtually no line. We waited maybe 25 minutes.  It was almost cafeteria style.  You grab a tray, and you better know what you want by the time you get to the butcher.  Let’s say we were a little rushed and ordered a lot because we didn’t want to miss out on not ordering right.  Yeah… let’s go with that.  Didn’t really take pictures because we were hungry!  And this picture doesn’t even show the sides… you know we got sides!  I have a video over on my Instagram and it makes my mouth water just watching it…  this was our most expensive meal but well worth it.  We wanted to take that bone home so bad for Shosh!  I figured out I am definitely a fan of BBQ rub vs. BBQ sauce.  Killens is a place we want to take our girls to, they are meat eaters!!

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Believe it or not but we don’t eat huge meals breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Sometimes we are good just with a snack.  One of the days we were in Houston we found the perfect snack places, Caffe’ Bene.  They describe it as a European coffee-house meets a Korean bakery.  Not to shabby to me!  I had wanted the banana walnut honey bread but they were out of bananas.. so I ordered the strawberry honey cream cheese bread.  Still delicious! Caffe Bene is an area downtown called GreenStreet in Downtown Houston. It is within walking distance from Cliff’s office so he met me here and we finished off this snack!   IMG_7196

Now we had to try a good fried chicken place while we were in Texas.  Who doesn’t love a good fried chicken plate! Punk’s Simple Southern Food is where we ended up.  The whole vibe and aesthetic of the restaurant was somewhere I would want to live.  It was so inviting, and smelled delicious!  It was another hot afternoon for us and the air-condition  felt amazing and the ice water never tasted better.  Cliff and I shared another meal.  The crispy buttermilk fried chicken.  We ordered the half bird, it came with 5 pieces of chicken, served with horseradish mash, brown gravy, buttermilk biscuit with honey butter, dill pickle, & punks sauce, all for $18.  Dinner for 2 for under $20?  SOLD!  And it was delicious to boot! We have frequented this restaurant a few times now and still split the fried chicken, but we have added appetizers.  So far we have tried the deviled eggs –  with b&b pickles, mustard, mayo & smoked paprika and the loaded tater tots – creamy rice loaded with bacon, cheddar cheese, and scallions, rolled in potato crisps and fried served with buttermilk ranch.  Still have a ton more on this menu to try.

Punk’s Simple Southern Food –

5212 Morningside Dr.,
Houston, TX 77005

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Punk’s was located in what they call Rice Village, it’s an area that is close to Rice University.  You know how cute college towns are, this is one of those cute neighborhoods.  After dinner on this particular night it was cool enough to walk around. We ventured over to Rice University and explored the football field.  We have never looked away from a football field, and this field was glorious!

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I guess we like the heat so to say…. another scorcher and the humidity was high again but we wanted to visit the Glenwood Cemetery after hearing about it.  It was established as a private cemetery in 1871.  It was one of four of its kind in the United States that are modeled after same garden like park cemeteries.  Mount Auburn in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Lauren Hill in Philadelphia, Greenwood and Brooklyn all share the same park like characteristics.  They wanted it to be considered not only a cemetery but a park as well.

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The tombstones were breathtaking!  They were all so unique.  This one in particular stood out, this gentleman was a woodman and his tombstone was to mimic a log.

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Prestigious families I noticed had their plot almost fenced off in a little section, then they fit a lot of plots within that one area.  It didn’t feel like a cemetery walking through the grounds, other that the tombstones you would never know.  It was beautiful.  It was hard not to stop and read all of them.  I was fascinated with doing the math real quick and coming up with their age at their death… I admit it was a little strange but I couldn’t help it.  A little interesting fact is Howard Hughes is buried there.

 

Onto less morbid things!  How about those Houston Astros?  We were able to walk to the field from our hotel which is always a win for me, you know we very rarely rent cars.  We try to use pubic transportation or our own two feet as much as we can!  Let’s talk Minute Maid Park home of the Houston Astros for a minute.  It’s basically a brand new park, being built in 2000.  It’s not one of the first to have a retractable stadium roof, in fact a bunch of stadiums have retractable roofs now a days.  What makes this park unique is the roof retracts completely off the ballpark to expose the largest open area roofs in any ballpark.  Now that is pretty spectacular!  It makes sense in this Texas climate, on this particular day it was humid and rainy.  But inside the ballpark it was perfect.  The next day was beautiful weather so I am sure they open the roof.  Still fascinating to me.

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It’s hard to get a good picture from a stranger on your phone… but you have to do it anyway!  Sometimes a selfie just doesn’t cut it.

Now look at this funnel cake!!  With ice cream too!  I had just asked Cliff to go find some ice cream because I saw a little girl eating some soft serve out of a helmet, (mind you I try to always get that and give it to my niece Alexa because the helmets they serve the ice cream in fits perfectly on her American Girl dolls) but he came back with this.  I can’t complain it was much better.  This also was a perfect scrapbooker moment because I had asked for another paper that the funnel cake came on because I would be able to use it in my scrapbook!  Did I forget to mention while Cliff was getting this funnel cake a home run ball came right at me and I was scared and went for cover so the guy behind me caught it???  Yeah, this is not the first time either… I think I need to start taking a glove with me.

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When we fly out we try to do something close to either the airport with our luggage or close tour hotel so they can hold our luggage.  We close to do close to the airport this trip.  I packed light so it wasn’t so bad.. we just got a lot of looks wheeling around our luggage.  I was thankful for the stores who made me check my luggage at the counter!  We went to the Houston Galleria.  Now this isn’t the average mall, we are in Texas so it has to be big!  This mall has two hotels connected to it, an ice skating rink, not one but two swimming pools, and some of the best restaurants and shopping available.  Their mural movement was awesome to see within the mall and not outside.

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Not only is there two hotels but there is also three full service banks and even a post office.  We barely ventured around this mall before we had to leave.

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This picture below was taken on one of my morning walks downtown by our hotel.  I made the mistake of not recording what it was.  It was probably an impulse shot… but now I don’t know where it was exactly or what it was.  I will figure it out sooner or later. I just had to include it.

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I hope once the city is back on its feet and glorious again it will be ready to share Houston with lots of tourists.  I am ready for another visit.

We are in Houston a lot.  This is just one of our trips.  Check back and I will have information on Houston Heights, the Arts District, and our Rockets game experience!

 

**All photos were taken on my iPhone… sometimes I just don’t want to carry around my camera.  As for the quality, I can live with it.  The only other choice I have is to not have a picture at all.  A bad picture is better than no picture at all**

 

happy travels!

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