You may not have pictured Houston as a Foodies Paradise, but it has definitely got it going on.
After a little snooping around, I had way too many places on my list by any stretch of imagination, for a weekend.
My new way of balancing over dictating where we eat by booking reservations for all meals is adding them to my google maps. It means I “casually” have somewhere to go, any where I am. Crafty, isn’t it 😉
So, outside of breakfast and beers, this is where we ended up:
Wow! This place was great! They are running 2 restaurants out of the 1 open, super busy kitchen here. Provisions is the more casual Italian, but I am recommending you spend the cash on The Pass. The great news is, it’s a set menu. So you know exactly what you’re getting into.
We started off with some bubbles, because that’s what friends do when they haven’t seen each each other in ages! It was an Austrian sparkling, which we couldn’t resist (despite not being familiar with them) because Simon is Austrian! It made perfect sense.
Let’s talk about the meal. It was Houston Restaurant week so we went for the 3 courses with wine pairing for $70 – ridiculously good value.
I opted for the beet tartare with riso Nero, smoke miso and beet bernais. It was good. I loved the smokey miso element to it.
Al got the tuna belly with crispy beef tendon & black sesame bearnaise. It was like a giant fancy prawn cracker, which you can’t complain about
Next up was oysters. Ok, this wasn’t in the set menu. We added them in. The chef graciously let us have them out of order so we were in sync with Vix & Simon who were doing the 4 course set menu. Oyster were good. Beautifully fresh with a little fresh wasabi.
Everyone opted for the brisquette of smoked beef short rib for the main, except for me. I went for the halibut “corn on the cob”. The short rib was definitely the winner with its crispy, smokey outside and soft flavorsome meat. However, the halibut corn on the cob was good, and totally messed with your head looking like a corn on the cob.
Finally we tried both the dessert options: iced coffee cake and roasted pineapple. I’m not a big dessert person but everyone else was happy with them.
To top it all off, when the bill came, they gave you pancake mix to take home! I love it! Definitely recommend The Pass. The food is great quality for the money spent and the service is lovely. Make sure you reserve though.
After heading to a bbq joint for dinner and discovering it was closed we stopped at Max’s Wine Dive to regroup. It turns out they have some famous fried chicken, and how are you supposed to pass that up?
None of us could resist the fondu and pretzel bread while we were deciding on the rest of our food. This was the weirdest thing ever. Absolutely not what I was expecting. Not fondu like you would expect from Europe. It was basically melted American ‘beer’ cheese. But god damn it was addictive. None of us could stop until the bowl was basically licked clean.
I got the chicken & champagne Cobb while everyone else got the fried chicken. What is weird is that it all reads on the menu as if it comes with champagne but it isn’t actually packaged with a glass of bubbles, which I think they should do. Especially as that is their ‘thing’. The salad was really good. I can’t eat a big pile of fried chicken without a sore stomach so this is a good compromise for me. Turns out, they win awards for reasons. A great fry on the chicken that doesn’t feel greasy at all.
There was no way on earth we were leaving Texas without having some bbq! Turned out to be harder than expected. Majority of Houston was closed for the long weekend which really threw off our plans! After calling around a few different places I found the Jackson Street Bbq, pitches as ‘finally downtown has a decent bbq’.
It’s a great no frills bbq joint outside the baseball stadium (hence why it was open). Served cafeteria style you go up and pick your meets and sides then dig in. It was really good. I know I don’t have much to compare it to, but we all bought extras to take on the plane.
The pulled pork was great! Al has stopped ordering it because it often ends up dry, but not this one! Brisket was as good as expected but the sausage! Amazing! It tasted like a proper bratwurst, not these weird American sausages.
I think it’s fair to say, we were all pleased with our last minute over eating.
All in all, we were really happy with everywhere we ate. But I really wanted to try more places, and with so many places in the US to explore, we won’t be going back soon. So if you are going, here’s some of the other places I really wanted to hit up:
Brennan’s of Houston
The Hay Merchant
Better Luck Tomorrow
Brothers Taco House
HK Dim Sum
Cork Screw bbq
Tejas Chocolate & Bbq
And so many, many more. Wear stretchy pants to Houston!