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Houston City Guide

City Guide
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I’d never had a strong desire to visit Houston—until we were contacted by the organization of the same name, touting the dining scene, nightlife and art offered by the enormous the Texas city. I had visions of billboard and urban sprawl—and, though we did see a quite a bit of both, I honestly loved every minute of our weekend in Houston, a city with incredible dining diversity, cool graffiti, fun cocktail bars, and friendly people. Though we missed the rodeo, we enjoyed three incredible brunches and plenty of pool time—we’ll be back for both. – Cori Sue

Here are our Bitch-approved must-dos for when you visit Houston, a food town that’s getting cooler by the minute.

Eat

Houston City Guide

Bernadine’s
It was a bit of a jaunt to Bernadine’s, a Southern spot serving up seafood-heavy, hearty fare inspired by Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. The space was bright and airy, with servers in chambray button downs and denim. The cocktail program is impressive and brunch was no exception—as is the selection of East Coast and Gulf oysters. While we gorged ourselves at the hearty, A+ brunch we’d recommend Bernadine’s for lunch or dinner, too!  Bernadine’s, 1801 N. Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77008

Hugo’s
You can’t visit Texas without indulging in authentic Mexican or Tex Mex fare, and a visit to Houston is incomplete without a trip to Hugo’s. The upscale restaurant has been serving up authentic Mexican fare and thirst-quenching margaritas since 2002 and has become a Houston institution. We enjoyed the ceviche traditional and the carnitas and were absolutely blown away by the scallops served atop sweet cornbread with a cream sauce. It’s nearly impossible to save room for dessert, but you must order the churros. Served with Mexican hot chocolate and stuffed with dulce de leche, these decadent churros reminded us of childhood visits to Mexico.
Hugo’s, 1600 Westheimer Road, Houston, Texas.

Houston City Guide

Etoile
We headed uptown to dine with the sassy, well-dressed soccer moms drinking a few too many martinis at Etoile, a traditional French restaurant with a chic, farmhouse style interior. While the service was surprisingly French—which is to say typically inattentive—that’s not enough to turn us away from a repeat visit. We recommend ordering traditional French fare: the tartare, steak au poivre and creme brulee were all delightful. We had a truffle mushroom ravioli that was absolutely incredible as well. Etoile, 1101-11 Uptown Park Blvd., Houston, Texas.

Pondicheri Houston Brunch

Pondicheri
We wouldn’t think “breakfast” when someone says “Indian food” but that’s until we visited Pondicheri, an order-at-the-counter, health-oriented Indian restaurant that’s popular for breakfast and lunch. There are all sorts of healthy, gluten-free egg options, like the Green Dosa, or the Breakfast Thally, a platter of eggs, greens, curries and other traditional Indian dishes. We recommend you visit for brunch or breakfast, and start with the Hopper, a a Sri Lankan inspired, crisp coconut, chia seed and rice shell filled with masala eggs and a peanut + coconut + spinach salad. Read our entire brunch review, here. Pondicheri, 2800 Kirby, Suite B132, Houston, Texas

Insider tip: Save some time to shop after breakfast or brunch at Pondicheri, as there’s great shopping in the accompanying complex, particularly at Tootsie’s!

Tiny Boxwoods Brunch Houston

Tiny Boxwood’s
This stunning indoor-outdoor space will remain on our list of best brunches ever, which means a lot coming from a Bitch! The expansive indoor-outdoor restaurant has an enormous patio with umbrella-shaded tables and a charming side terrace. The wait is long—go early—but there’s a charming mixologist serving up mimosas, sangria and white wine mojitos while you wait. Be sure to order the pastry board—the cinnamon rolls and chocolate chip cookies were divine—as well as a breakfast pizza. After brunch, visit the outdoor nursery and the boutique, which is filled with high-end home goods, gifts and resortwear. Read our full brunch review here. Tiny Boxwood’s, 3614 W. Alabama Street, Houston, Texas.

Drink

Anvil Bar And Refuge
Anvil is a go to spot in Houston for the best cocktails around. With a cocktail list boasting over 100 classic cocktails and a few originals, their experienced bartenders are sure to make you the perfect libation. Situated in a quaint, small, industrial building, the atmosphere inside is warm and inviting. While a lot of bars these days e a host to a number of arrogant, inexperienced bartenders who are just ready to make you a vodka tonic and move on, Anvil caters to bar patrons by creating serious craft cocktails, and aiding guests in decision making on what beverage to go with. You seriously won’t find a better cocktail in Texas, maybe even in America. Although it is an upscale bar, you don’t have to worry pretentious cocktails, bartenders or customers here. Anvil Bar and Refuge, 1424 Westheimer Rd. Ste. B, Houston, TX.

Houston City Guide

Four Seasons Hotel Houston
The Four Seasons is going under some major renovations this summer, all to create an even better experience for guests staying it this upscale hotel. On our first night at the Four Seasons, we had the pleasure of being invited to a launch party for their new spa and gym, and we got a little taste of the beverage offerings at the hotel. On day two of our stay, we were asked to attend a private cocktail tasting with Justin, a guest service manager at the hotel, who knows a thing or two about cocktails. Justin introduced us to some new cocktails the hotel might have in the works for the new cocktail menu at their renovated bar. We tasted three very different summer cocktails infused with house made shrubs of different flavors, and they were delicious. Side note, even if you are not being given a private cocktail tasting, the Four Seasons has a few bars with some great beverage offerings, and bartenders eager to make a strong, stiff martini.

Shop

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The Galleria
To quote the almighty Drake, “Now it’s therapeautic blowing money in the Galleria,” a reference to the enormous, high-end shopping mall that’s the epicenter of its Houston neighborhood. In addition to an ice skating rink and macarons (we approve of both!), the mall boasts all the musts and more: Zara, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora, Tory Burch, Trina Turk, YSL, and other high-end boutiques you won’t normally find elsewhere. We city girls hadn’t been to a mall in forever so we did quite a bit of retail damage! The Galleria, 5085 Westheimer Road, Houston, Texas

Tootsie’s
We were immediately drawn in by the impressively posh window displays at Tootsie’s, a high end boutique department store with locations in Houston, Dallas and Atlanta. Located in a high-end shopping center across the way from Pondicheri, the glamorous shop carries shoes, accessories and ready-to-wear from brands like Alice & Olivia, Alexander Wang, and Monica Beard. Tootsie’s, 2601 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX.

Houston City Guide

Thompson & Hanson
The tiny indoor boutique past the beautiful nursery at Tiny Boxwood’s had us completely in awe. With adorable clothes, jewelry and accessories, it was easy to find unique items to add to our wardrobe that you can’t find any where else. What really had us in awe, were the beautiful home accent pieces, like chevron rugs, porcelain vases, and stunning large coffee table books. Cute cheese boards and artsy plates and serving ware were also among the unique findings there.We were in love. Thompson & Hanson, 3600 West Alabama Houston, TX. 

Stay

Four Seasons Hotel Houston
On our visit to Houston, we stayed at the Four Seasons Houston, along with Justin Bieber and the entire LA Lakers team, including Kobe Bryant before his last game—so it’s safe to say we were in good company. (Yes, Alexis met both Bieber and Kobe, while Cori Sue was in bed asleep. Yes, it’s clear only one of us made the right life choice that night.) The service at the high-end hotel was impeccable, even despite all the hulabaloo happening that weekend. The spa and fitness center underwent a massive renovation—though we spent most of our time outside drinking cocktails in the hot tub with the friendly pool boys. On our first night, we attended a tasting event at this aforementioned pool and were absolutely blown away by the food. Tomahawk steaks, fresh scallops, beef tartare topped with summer truffles and a s’mores bar. We’ve dined at many a Four Seasons and we have to say Houston tops them all—and that’s a high barometer. Four Seasons Hotel Houston, 1300 Lamar Street, Houston, Texas.

Houston City Guide

Hotel ZaZa
We were draw to Hotel ZaZa by the glamorous yet slightly quirky decor: a stunning outdoor pool with black-and-white striped deckchairs and giant games (a person-size Connect Four, inflatable swans and pool basketball. Inside, cheeky paintings present a playful spin on classic oil paitings above trickling waterfalls filled with giant koi. We spent the morning getting massages at Spa Za, which was predictably posh. And, we spent the enjoying tuna tartare tacos, fruit towers and tropical cocktails poolside. Suffice to say, we adore Hotel ZaZa. Hotel Za Za, 5701 Main St, Houston, Texas.

Bitch Biz: We were invited by Visit Houston to explore all that this not-so-tiny Texas town has to offer. This article was written independently by Bitches Who Brunch, but our travel expenses were covered on this trip!

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