WHAT TO DO (AND EAT) IN HOUSTON, TEXAS
I lived in Houston for two years. Didn't love it, but I definitely can appreciate it in hindsight. Eating and drinking is most of what there is to do in Houston, which might be the best food city I have ever lived in.
- •Tacos Tierra CalienteThis taco truck is first on the list for a reason. It's wonderful, delicious, inexpensive, and across the street from West Alabama Ice House, which is a delightful open-air bar (ice house) with cheap beers and good people. Get the al pastor on corn, and say yes to onions and cilantro. The tortas are great, too. Bonus: Vegetarians get extra-fat avocado tacos, so even they can enjoy it.
- •Karbach Brewing CoHouston has plenty of great breweries. St. Arnold and Buffalo Bayou, among others, are all within city limits. Karbach, in my humble opinion, has the best beer selection and offers an easy and happy way to spend an afternoon. Personal recommendation is for the Hopadillo.
- •Local FoodsThe Gulf Shrimp and Blue Crab sandwich at Local Foods is probably the single greatest sandwich I have ever eaten. The dishes are all sourced locally. The Crispy Chicken sandwich is another winner. The acorn squash is kind of heavenly. Go. Eat. Quickly.
- •Torchy's TacosTechnically an Austin staple, but delightful nonetheless. Torchy's is not classic, authentic, tacos the way that Tacos Tierra Caliente is. It's fancy riffs with inventive combinations that are delicious, and worth paying $4-$7 a tack. Mr. Pink, the Democrat, and the Brushfire are three of my favorites.
- •The Houston RodeoAs a lifelong Yankee, I scoffed at the idea of going to the rodeo. I was wrong. The rodeo kicks ass. Not only is there a great line-up of concerts, but there is also the rodeo cook off. Night after night, the best pit masters, chili cooks, and more face-off to be the supreme at their particular cuisine. And this isn't a middle school face-off. The competitors get tents and turn the tents into their own clubs. It's Ultra Music Fest with country smoked pork, and it's beautiful.
- •Gatlin's BBQWhen I was in Houston, you had to get to Gatlin's by 10:00 to beat the lunch line. The restaurant opened at 11:00, and would seldom stay open until it was supposed to because they would run out of food.
- •Houston DynamoI had my doubts about MLS games, but the Dynamo offer a great experience. Tickets were $20-40, and there isn't a bad seat in the stadium. The crowd is pumped AND you can actually get to the stadium using Houston's train system. Way better value than the Texans, Astros, or Rockets.
- •Houston GalleriaDon't go here. This is a warning.
- •Cedar CreekFood isn't amazing. Beers are solid. What is great, though, is that patio! Get some sun! Work that tan!