I like to call the summer months my "hibernation" period. Except for very few exceptions (this list is basically most of them) I will not willingly go outside. It's too damn hot. You won't catch me outside. How bout dah?
August & September were quite fun, food and drink wise. I caught up with loved ones, celebrated turning one year older (with an epic fried chicken feast) and discovered some new favorites at my usual haunts. Most importantly, I have tried some new spots - and because they are on this list, they are already some of my favorites. Houston, I'm so proud of ya. Keep on, keepin' on.
It's been a over a week since Hurricane Harvey, and although most of us fortunate ones are back to work, we must not forget those who are still piecing their lives back together. Please consider donating what you can to continue to support those affected. Time, money, and talents are all needed.
Fellow blogger Ms. Independent will be hosting a #GirlsNightOut event and donation drive for hurricane victims. Some of Houston's talented local bakers will be providing yummy bites and desserts. I will be also contributing some desserts! For tickets and more information, please click here.
And finally, before we get on to the August faves, some of my fellow bloggers have compiled numerous resources on how you can help. See their posts here:
hoUSton strong :)
BETTER LUCK TOMORROW
Ironically, I went to Better Luck Tomorrow the day before Hurricane Harvey was supposed to hit. Little did I know...
This is definitely one of my favorite bars now. I expect to come here quite often once the weather cools, because the patio is quite nice. It's got some pretty heavy names behind it too. Justin Yu (Oxheart) and Bobby Heugel (Anvil, Pastry War, Tongue Cut Sparrow) ? It's bound to be fantastic.
The space is quite small and fills up rather quickly. Service, drinks, and food are all top notch. The drink and food menu feature a number of different flavor combinations that you can pair with one another. I could see Better Luck Tomorrow as my "I had a shitty day so I need drink and food stat!" kind of place. If you're stopping by and they still have the peach pimm's cup- definitely get that. Sweet, zesty, and refreshing.
Drinks to try: Lucky Daiquiri, Seasonal Pimm's Cup, Swiftly Tailored, Salty Cat, Sleepy Floyd.
Food to Eat: Chilled Seasonal Seafood, Warm Flatbread, Not a Pizza, The Party Melt
I've been to Starfish twice in one week. And each time I got the same dish- the crab meat pasta, pictured above. I also got a dozen oysters, freshly shucked from their beautiful oyster bar. The only way you'd be this close to the sea, I suppose, is if you drove to Galveston. I think I can live with this though.
Try: Pan fried crab cakes, sweet red pepper roast gulf shrimp pasta, orecchiette with lump crabmeat, white chocolate bread pudding, strawberry angelfood cake
I'm a tad picky with my steak. I'm not an expert by any means, I'm just very particular with how it should taste. Tender, fatty, medium rare, flavorful-my list of requirements aren't too demanding, right?
I'm not sure why it took me so long to try B&B. It's right across from one of my favorite bars-Julep, and it would have been a perfect place to have dinner before drinks. Better late than never, I suppose. So outside of preparing a steak via sous vide machine and pan frying it, as well as my mother's steaks, B&B's steaks comes as a pretty close favorite. So delectably juicy and full of flavor. I didn't really need to add a fried oyster on top, but oysters are always the icing on top of the steak. Desserts are classic options, but done very well. They've got technique in the bag. If you can still grab their HRW menu, please do so. You won't regret it. Did I feel like Beyonce when I was dining here? kinda.
Try: Brisket ravioli, steak (whatever cut suits your fancy), carrot cake, chocolate cake
ARTE PIZZERIA/MARS BAKERY (CONSERVATORY)
Conservatory has had a bit of a reshuffling of sorts- goodbye Samurai Ramen and Myth Cafe, hello Mars Bakery, Arte Pizzeria, and Moku Bar.
A beer garden must have pizza- and Arte is a welcome addition. They make it when you order it, so you have fresh, piping hot pizza that will burn your tongue. Hopefully your taste buds will get some of the lovely flavor beforehand.
And I recently had the lovely chance to try Mars Bakery. While working one weekend, I decided to stretch my legs and walk to Conservatory to see if I could find a snack. What I found was a yummy fried chicken sandwich with basil garlic aioli. So I ended up finding dinner, but I had no regrets.
Try: Bianca personal pizza, sandwiches from Mars Bakery
Who the heck eats toast and drinks coffee before an intense spin class? This girl, right here.
Actually, I had some time before the spin class, and I got a work e-mail and needed a place with wifi. I'd seen Cavo on Instagram, and since I was in the area, why not?
The barista who welcomed me was, well, welcoming. She asked who my favorite artist was, and what burst out of my mouth was "Drake". Yes- I worked, ate, and sipped coffee to Drake. I felt pretty cool, if I do say so.
Try: Flat white, Jam session toast
BCN TASTE & TRADITION
If I had to pick one restaurant that I would always go to, no matter what - it would be BCN. Specializing in Catalan Spanish cuisine, I fell in love with this place from the very first moment I drove into the small, ivy covered driveway. BCN is in a converted home in the Montrose neighborhood, tucked away, unassuming, elegant, and classic. Going to BCN is like opening the door to a secret garden that has beautiful cocktails, delicious food, and the warmest service.
The chef is absolutely wonderful, and goes out of his way to visit each and every table during dinner service. You can tell his life's passion is food and hospitality. BCN has a wonderful bar program- and their gin & tonics are absolutely beautiful as they are delicious. It's a hidden gem, and I love this place to pieces. If Houston were to ever have it's own Michelin guidebook, I would fully expect to see BCN on this list.
Try: Strawberry gin & tonic, Spanish iberico ham and toasted "pa amb tomaca", Sauteed sea cucumber with lobster rice, fresh beef tartare with waffle chips, free range sunny side up eggs with potatoes and cured spanish iberico ham (add foie gras), seared foie gras, wild berries and cassis reduction, patatas bravas, steamed mussels, bomba rice, roasted angel hair pasta, lamb chops
Ah, Uchi. A Texas institution. The reason why it's on this month's favorites list is because upon my last visit there, I discovered some new dishes that need to be highlighted. Since they revamped the menu, some of my old favorites, like the yokai berry, are long gone. Change is good, I suppose, because now I have some new favorites that I will definitely order the next time I'm there.
Try: tako momo, hama chili, hamachi nabe, hana tataki, sake namida, ham and eggs, biendo, brown butter financier, toasted miso panna cotta
Blonde Biscotti is lighting goals. I mean, who could ask for a better spot to read or study? The coffee is smooth and well made, and the biscotti - so many varieties and flavors to enhance your coffee drinking experience.
Try: chocolate cherry almond biscotti, cortado