Houston Heights Fave Does Not Disappoint

The Houston Heights area has an abundance of must-dine restaurants. While driving down Heights Boulevard, 2 Girls Who Travel spied the much-talked about Lee’s Fried Chicken & Donuts, two things we cannot resist. So we decided to stop!

As we stepped into this cute neighborhood hot spot, we were welcomed instantly. Now we had some decisions to make. The menu is pretty extensive to say it’s mainly variations of fried chicken and donuts. Think fried chicken, chicken tenders, chicken salad and hot chicken tacos plus donuts like praline bacon and caramel icing, birthday cake with sprinkles and good-ole glazed. They even serve several varieties of breakfast kolaches alongside the tasty donuts.

Pick your poison!

Lee’s Fried Chicken & Donuts is open every day!

Oreo

Birthday cake donut with sprinkles

For our meal, we opted for the double donut fried chicken sandwich. Come on, two donuts and fried chicken together? Sounds like perfection to us! And it was fabulous. The sandwich had 3 well-seasoned, crispy chicken tenders situated between 2 warm and melt-in-your-mouth donuts. It even comes with your choice of sauce. We tried the bacon onion jalapeño marmalade on the side – a little spicy, sweet and savory!

We can’t wait to go back to Lee’s Fried Chicken & Donuts. We want to try the fried chicken and their sides – like the creamed corn, sweet potato tater tots and sour cream mashed potatoes with bacon jalapeño cream gravy. Also, they serve dessert. Can you guess what it is? Give up? It’s a donut double scooped ice cream sandwich (you can just get the ice cream too). Now that’s just sinful and we’re here for it.

Lee’s Fried Chicken & Donuts gets the 2 Girls Who Travel seal of approval!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Houston’s Best Coffee Houses

Here in Houston people are serious about their morning java and afternoon “cup of joe.” We may not be Seattle, but Houston definitely has some pretty amazing coffee shops.

We touched on one of our favorites on a previous blog, but we would be remiss not to mention a few other places for a good drip.

Take a look!

Catalina Coffee is one of our fave spots for coffee and tea!

Inversion has a great latte.

Kaffeine is a cool spot… good coffee, food and free WiFi.

What’s your favorite H-Town coffee spot? Share in the comments.

 

Media Tasting at The Caddy Shack

We love being invited to tastings, but when there’s stuffed turkey legs on the menu … it only gets better.

A few days ago, 2 Girls Who Travel attended a private media tasting at The Caddy Shack in Houston. The restaurant, located on Washington Ave., boasts a comfortable outside patio with a bar and hookah as well as a DJ on certain nights in the restaurant.

On to the food…

Everything we ate was good. Seriously, no complaints! Every dish we ate, we recommend. Even the sweet tea and fresh strawberry lemonade were delicious!

Check it out.

Off-the-menu item: don’t miss out on these shack fries! Waffle fries topped with chicken, cheese, ranch and sour cream!

Jerk chicken tacos with pico de gallo, cheese and cabbage. Pick your poison – mild or hot!

These little fried shrimp sliders were big on taste!!

Shrimp po’boy with fries

This baked potato was massive! The Shack Ultimate Baked Potato is stuffed with chicken, shrimp, spinach, mushrooms and alfredo sauce.

You were waiting on this, right? This smoked turkey leg was stuffed with a little of everything – shrimp alfredo, chicken, cheese, spinach, mushrooms and probably some more stuff we forgot to name!

Can’t forget dessert! We just had to save room for this chocolate brownie sundae with caramel and chocolate sauce.

For more information, visit The Caddy Shack’s website.

2 Girls Who Travel Check Out B’s Wine Bar

We love finding new spots to eat, drink and be merry. So we’re happy to share our recent hidden gem of a spot: B’s Wine Bar in Missouri City.

Now this isn’t necessarily a hidden spot, but it is located in a suburb of Houston and fairly new. (B’s hosted their grand opening just three months ago). A good friend of 2 Girls Who Travel hosted an event at B’s Friday night and we were very much impressed with the venue – so much so that we wanted to share with our readers!

B’s is located in a strip center on Highway 6 South, near Sienna Plantation subdivision in Missouri City. Upon entrance, you’re greeted with a dimly lit, intimate, well decorated adult venue. There was live music playing the night we attended. Patrons were seated in the open area near the stage to enjoy the music. Others opted for seating in a private area near the back. That was perfect for our small group. We could still hear the music – old school songs from the likes of Bobby Womack, Tina Turner, The Whispers and more.

As is customary with any wine bar, there were bottles upon bottles of wine to select from and displayed on the walls as well.

2 Girls Who Travel snap a pic with Dr. Dawn

Our waitress was attentive, friendly and if she didn’t know the answer to our wine question, she found out the answer immediately. The general manager even popped in to say hello to everyone. We love friendly service!!

B’s has a wine for every taste – from the drier white wines Kim prefers to the sweet reds Val enjoys. And what’s wine without a little food? After one or two (or four – but who’s counting) glasses of wine, we sampled some appetizers and cheese boards from the food menu. The meatballs, guacamole and crab cakes were pretty good and well priced.

B’s offers a nice alternative to suburbanites who are looking for a nice wine bar and don’t necessarily want to drive in to town. Check their website for more information.

2 Tickets to Paradise, Please: 3 Days in Puerto Vallarta

Many months ago when we booked our flights to Puerto Vallarta, we planned on beach bumming the entire three days. Now of course we went to the beach – it was steps away from our hotel – but thankfully we were able to explore more of this resort town located on the Pacific Coast.

We found a steal on flights from Aeromexico and were excited to be flying on a Mexico-based airline. Everything was cool – different snacks, free liquor and well, free liquor.

We’ve traveled to Mexico before and know how much the locals love their alcohol. And that’s totally fine with us. We chatted with Rafael upon entering the airport and enjoyed a few tequila shots with him before getting our taxi to the hotel. What a welcome!

Our room was at the CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa – a beautiful beachfront hotel located just a five-minute drive from the airport. We arrived a bit before check-in, so we had time to explore the massive hotel and grab a bite to eat before our room was ready.

But we didn’t explore too long because we had a tour booked with Vallarta Adventures, a popular tour operator in Puerto Vallarta. We definitely recommend them for any or all of your excursion or tour needs if visiting Puerto Vallarta. They literally offer a tour for just about everything! We decided we wanted to do the sea lion encounter (booked in advance online and got it for 50% cheaper). It was 60 minutes of fun – they teach you about the animals first, then – you guessed it – you get to play around in the water with them. They’re friendly creatures and 2 Girls Who Travel enjoyed it. You can also bring the whole family to experience it. If you don’t get in the water, you’re allowed to view from the observation deck. No pictures, though – it’s strictly forbidden. Photographers are on hand taking pictures and they give you the option to buy photo/video packages after. Note: They are very expensive, but again, it’s the only way to ensure you have memories from the tour.

These sea lions were so friendly!

We had dinner at one of the hotel’s restaurants that night, La Estancia. Oh, did we mention our ocean view from the balcony of our room? Let’s just say waking up to that view or enjoying a morning coffee on the balcony is everything a relaxing vacation should be!

Shrimp tacos from La Estancia

The second day, we had a food tour scheduled in downtown Puerto Vallarta that started at 10:30am. This was booked through Viator, another popular tour company. The foodies in us were super excited to walk around downtown and sample Mexican street food.

This tour was awesome! It was a small group of us (5, including our tour guide Amanda), so we were able to do and see a lot more. Amanda made sure to teach us some of the history of the food, the street vendors and the city. Great photo ops, too! So if you want a food and walking tour in one, consider the Downtown Puerto Vallarta Food Tour.

The Food

Carne asada street taco

Mole – the brown one tasted like chocolate!

Learning the proper way to take tequila shots

This sweet drink had pecans, apples and other deliciousness inside!

Making fresh tortillas

Fresh red snapper ceviche – this was amazing!

Fun fact: In Mexico, Pico de Gallo is actually the name used for fresh fruit salad with chili powder. In the states, it’s commonly referred to as fruit cocktail.

That’s moonshine in that gun, there!

The Sights

Breaking for a quick pic

Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Candy store!

Group selfie with our new tour buddies!

After filling up on the food tour – seriously, they feed you well – we changed into our swim attire and headed to the hotel pool. We were sooooo fortunate that the weather cooperated for our entire stay. Rain had been in the forecast, but not one raindrop was in sight. It was hot, sunny and the pool was spectacular and overlooked the beautiful ocean.

The pool was spectacular

Cocktails by the pool

Since we were already by the water, we opted to eat at Las Casitas, the hotel’s beachfront restaurant. Dinner was delicious (see spread below) and the views were unmatched. But the mosquitoes, not surprisingly, showed no mercy. Small price to pay for the experience, though.

Fried lobster tacos, pan-seared shrimp, steak …

After dinner, we decided to pay the beach a visit (we preferred this to going in the daytime when it’s busier). There’s something innately calming about listening to the crashing waves at night.

On our last day, we decided to wake up early, check out of the hotel and catch a taxi to see some of the other parts of Puerto Vallarta – there is seriously so much the city has to offer! This is something we also recommend – just getting a taxi, driver, whatever and letting them take you all over. In resort towns, it’s easy to get stuck in a few-miles radius of your hotel only. On our ride, we were able to see the Sierra Madre Mountains and decided we needed another trip to Puerto Vallarta in the future to explore even more!

Sunday Breakfast at Baby Barnaby’s

It’s Sunday morning, and we’re looking for a tasty, early morning breakfast spot. We’d heard good things about Barnaby’s, so decided it was time to try them out! We opted for Baby Barnaby’s off of Fairview in Houston. This smaller neighborhood hot spot was super cute with an outside patio and modest indoor dining room.

Our server offered fresh orange and grapefruit juices. The menu was simple, but looked appealing. We had a long day planned, so we didn’t want to fill up. We opted for the breakfast plate with smoky thick-cut bacon and the banana nut pancakes with sausage. We did see some things for next time though – chicken fried steak and eggs and pork chop and eggs.

The breakfast plate with scrambled eggs, potatoes, bacon and wheat toast

The breakfast was a hit; no frills, but satisfying. The potatoes were crispy and well-seasoned. The banana nut pancake was fluffy and full of flavor. In addition to the food, the service was excellent. Our server was friendly and on point the entire breakfast. You know how we feel about great customer service. That wins with us every time! We’ll definitely be back. We are also excited to try lunch and dinner there.

All in all, Baby Barnaby’s has the 2 Girls Who Travel seal of approval.

On a sidenote, if after a lovely breakfast at Baby Barnaby’s you want a perfect latte, a nice drip or loose leaf tea, you should definitely visit Catalina Coffee just down the street at 2201 Washington Ave. We had the best latte and drip either of us has had in a very long time.

Delivery Italiano: A Taste of Italy in Your Own Home

With people working more hours and convenience becoming the method of choice for consumers (think Amazon Prime Now), meal kit delivery is huge these days! 2 Girls Who Travel have also tried out the meal delivery services. Check out our reviews of both Blue Apron and Home Chef.

We were invited to attend a preview for Delivery Italiano, an authentic Italian meal kit delivery service, and it immediately transported us back to our recent trip to Italy. Can you tell we miss Italy? We were instantly intrigued!

This family-owned and operated company manages to bring the taste of Italy to your doorstep with every new box.

So how does this work? Much like the other meal delivery services, you choose your box and subscription package. Subscriptions ship on the 1st and the 15th of each month. Then prepare your real Italian meal in about 30 minutes or less. Last step – Mangia!

Delivery Italiano also has a few other advantages – Italian chefs and a team of experts in Italy handpicking the boxes; plus they work with FOX’s MasterChef Season 4 Winner Luca Manfé who creates flavorful and inspiring recipes from each box.

In fact, Chef Luca was in the kitchen whipping up dishes during our preview!

.

Chef Luca Manfe’

Chef Luca’s sous chef sauteing shrimp

We had the opportunity to speak with the founders of Delivery Italiano, Lance (President) and Brett Martin (VP of Operations). Here’s the scoop!

2 Girls Who Travel: Tell us about the concept of Delivery Italiano. How did it come about?

Brett Martin: We have a tourist company as well, called L&B Italian Tours. We’ve been doing that for about 3 years now … and I’ve been traveling back and forth, doing tours and tasting; they have all these small producers with all these fantastic products … and it just clicked …why not bring these products home?

2 Girls Who Travel: What can we expect in each box?

Brett Martin: Guaranteed two pastas, a red sauce or pesto, grilled vegetables, olives and oil, olives stuffed with cheese – every single product is from some point in Italy.

Lance Martin: Every box that goes out, we personally pack. The products are genuine, authentic Italian. We don’t want to sell something that you can buy locally. A lot of these products are from small producers that don’t sell in the U.S. A lot of these products have never been in the U.S. We’re the first company bringing them over … that’s where we stand out.

A typical box from Delivery Italiano

The boxes are packed full of goodies! We can’t wait to share the meal we make with our readers!

Be sure to visit www.deliveryitaliano.com to get a taste of Italy in your own home!

REVIEW: Sweet Times

If you’re familiar with the Oprah Winfrey Network’s (OWN) TV show “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s,” then you already know that the show is based off the popular St. Louis soul food restaurant Sweetie Pie’s. And our fellow Houston foodies probably know that Sweet Times, part of the Sweetie Pie’s chain, made its way to H-Town in early February.

It took us a few months, but 2 Girls Who Travel finally made it out one Sunday to try it. You know we love some soul food!

We visited the restaurant on a Sunday around 1pm and even though there was a crowd, we were seated right away and given a quick rundown of the restaurant’s concept by a friendly hostess. So the Sweet Times concept is a bit different from the flagship location. As the hostess described it, it’s Mississippi soul food with a “sweet twist.” Our waiter explained it further this way: basically if you like sugar, this is the restaurant for you. (Because what’s a good soul food restaurant without a little diabetes? Val was all in – she’s a sugar fiend. Kim – not so much)

While we waited for the food, we were serenaded by the saxophone player. Yes, there was also live music – also something we love! And the walls of the restaurant were adorned with album covers as well as CD covers for you millennials who know nothing about a record player (ask your parents).

Sweet Times was brought to Houston by Tim Norman, son of Sweetie Pie’s founder Robbie Montgomery, and he was on-hand at the restaurant chatting with guests and even taking a few selfies. Sadly, we were too busy stuffing our faces to get a pic 😦

We got a pic with our awesome waiter Vicente, tho!

Oh, sure you want to know about the food. Here ya go!

We started with an appetizer of fried wings. They were good – about 6 wing pieces came with the order and they were seasoned well and fried crispy, golden brown.

Val’s Order: Smothered pork chops, collard greens, mac and cheese with cornbread; peach cobbler for dessert

Now we all know I tend to order my staple at every soul food restaurant so I grade smothered pork chops harshly. And these were very good. Not as tender as others I’ve had, but I got two nice sized chops, very flavorful and lots of brown gravy. The greens were sweet (as I was told they would be), but I decided I like my greens more salty than sweet. So I could take them or leave them. The mac and cheese made up for it. It was heavy (I hate runny or liquid cheese sauce) and it didn’t have those unnecessary bread crumbs on top. Great flavor and a nice portion. Oddly enough I was expecting the cornbread to be sweeter, but it was a good balance to the sweet greens.

Kim’s Order: Smothered turkey wing, cornbread dressing, collard greens, mac and cheese with cornbread; peach cobbler for dessert

The turkey wing was massive and covered with gravy – the lighter colored – and was very tasty. I highly suggest getting them with your Sunday brunch as they are only served on Sunday. Save your other entrees for other days of the week. I didn’t know what to expect with the dressing, but was very pleased with the flavor. It was light and moist. I don’t like dry dressing. Now all I needed was some cranberry sauce and I would be set! The mac and cheese was excellent and the greens were too sweet for my liking.

The verdict on the peach cobbler was mixed: Kim liked and Val didn’t really care for it. Definitely try for yourself!

One thing to note: Sweet Times is good at anticipating your needs. Every condiment you might ask for is already on the table when you sit down: ketchup, hot sauce, pepper sauce and salt and pepper. Of course we had to get some of our food to go, but we would definitely come back. There were so many other things on the menu we wanted to try – we didn’t even get to touch the seafood. Sweet Times is located at 6356 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX 77057. Check out their website for more details.

Part III – Italy: Rome and the Amalfi Coast

Hi Readers,

If you’ve been following 2 Girls Who Travel the past couple of weeks, then you know that I (Kim) have been sharing my recent trip abroad. The first installment on the blog covered Paris, France – a city that has my heart. The next installment was about the fabulous food we enjoyed in France and Italy. Now, the third and final installment will speak to all the beauty offered from Rome, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast.

When planning the trip, we decided that since we were in France, we may as well visit a neighboring country! We selected Italy and then narrowed it down to Rome and the world’s smallest country, Vatican City, which is encircled by Rome. Then we started thinking about the Amalfi Coast and all those picturesque views we see in the travel magazines and since we were so close, why not?

Next we had to figure out how we were going to do all of this. We figured the easiest way to get to Italy was by plane (while the trains were an option, they were overnight and time wasn’t a luxury on this trip). We found a reasonable fare and booked our trip from Paris to Rome! No return… let’s just get to Rome!

Rome

Rome and Vatican City were everything we had hoped for and more. Truly we didn’t have enough time in Rome; you need more than a few days there! But while there, we did manage to visit Vatican City, the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Victor Emmanuel II Monument, Castel Sant’Angelo and more.

Check out the pictures.

Victor Emmanuel II Monument

The Colosseum

Trevi Fountain

The Swiss Guard at St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica

Castel Sant’Angelo

Amalfi Coast

The beauty of the Amalfi Coast is literally jaw-dropping. We could have stayed in Amalfi – I mean stayed forever! The views were just gorgeous. To get to the Amalfi Coast from Rome, we used Italia Rail, a high-speed train from the Roma Termini station to the Napoli Centrale station in Naples. From Naples, we hired a car service. Sorrento 1st Choice Car Service was a highly recommended (amazing reviews) car service for Naples to the Amalfi Coast. I contacted the service and arranged for pickup from the train station, a tour of the Amalfi Coast (why not?) and transportation back to the Naples airport so we could fly back to Paris for our last night before returning to Houston. We had lunch in Sorrento, toured Positano and then stayed the night in Amalfi. We should have stayed for a week. That was the best investment we could have made. The tour of Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast was enlightening and breathtaking.

Check out the pictures.

Amalfi Coast

This trip was utterly amazing! I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

Au Revoir.

Caio.

Part II – Food from Paris, Rome, Sorrento and Amalfi

This post is for all the foodies who love Parisian and Italian food. My recent trip made my dreams of having croissants in Paris and real Italian pizza a reality!

I want to share some of the stand-out meals across all the cities we visited.

PARIS, FRANCE

No visit to Paris is complete without trying fresh baked croissants.

Croissants are a Paris staple.

We decided to try a restaurant – Angelina’s – based on a recommendation from a fellow food blogger, Black Girls Who Brunch, who had experienced Paris and offered some awesome recommendations. Definitely check out her blog for some amazing pics and tips.

While at Angelina’s, we started with their famous hot chocolate. It was incredibly rich and thick. Since it was tea time, we decided to have hot tea with our meal. I decided on the truffle Parmesan ravioli and Gloria tried the beef fillet. The ravioli was tender, well-cooked and a nice touch with the arugula salad topping. The beef fillet was tender and juicy. This restaurant is definitely recommended!

Tea at Angelina’s

Truffle Parmesan Ravioli at Angelina’s

Beef Fillet at Angelina’s

Also while in Paris… we tried a trendy spot called The Fish Club. If you know me, then you know I LOVE seafood. The Fish Club is listed as a top 10 fish and seafood restaurant in Paris. We started with the flame cooked king crab with thyme butter. The king crab was fresh and tasty and the thyme butter was amazing! I hadn’t had drawn butter with thyme before, but I’m definitely going to make it at home.

Flame cooked king crab with thyme butter

We then had a huge platter for 2 and by the time we finished we were both stuffed full of lobster, crab, shrimp and prawns!

The red platter for 2 with lobster, crab, king prawns, jumbo shrimp and pink shrimp

Dinner and wine at The Fish Club

ROME, ITALY

Our next stop on this adventure was in the magnificent city of Rome. We had so many good meals in Rome… I’m just going to highlight a few of our favorite things.

Let’s start with the breakfast at our hotel, The Vatican Style Suite. As the name implies, it’s less than a 5-minute walk to the Vatican and is a small, boutique/apartment style hotel. Breakfast was delivered fresh to our room every morning. We would simply fill out what we wanted and return the night before with the time for delivery noted. Fresh coffee, teas, breads, bacon, eggs, meats and cheeses were all great!

Breakfast at our hotel – The Vatican Style Suite

One thing I loved about Rome was stopping for gelato… it was so tasty and refreshing, especially during the day when it was a little warmer than the evenings. I loved the fragola (strawberry) gelato!

Gelato… I opted for fragola (strawberry)

Dinner was a treat each night. We decided on Gusto the first night.

Gusto

I started with the Panzanella di gamberi (shrimp panzanella). I love shrimp, olives, spinach and tomatoes— just didn’t think I would really love them together like this, but it was lovely! I’d get it again!

Panzanella di gamberi (shrimp panzanella)

Next, I had the seabass – the special of the evening. They brought out the whole fish and offered to fillet it for me at the table – kind of cool! The vegetables along with the fish were perfectly grilled.

Also in Rome, I had PIZZA – finally!! And it was amazing! We went to a local, neighborhood spot, Trattoria Da Cesare, outside of the city center.

Trattoria Da Cesare came highly recommended. I had the pizza and Gloria had the pasta with pork cheek. I enjoyed the pizza. The cheese and sauce were perfection. Gloria enjoyed the pasta, but the pork cheek’s taste was somewhat off-putting. We also had wine (every meal had wine – lol) and an interesting Italian beer with the meal.

Sausage pizza

Pasta with pork cheek

Italian Beer

SORRENTO, ITALY

We did a tour of Sorrento and decided to have lunch at a cute little restaurant called Monnalisa, near the square.

I had the grilled lobster with a light cheese pasta… OMG— this was the best. Sitting in the square people-watching, with a wonderful meal!

Grilled Lobster and pasta

Outside dining in Sorrento with Gloria

AMALFI, ITALY

Amalfi was just beautiful… all I wanted to do was sit outside and have a drink on the balcony! How about a perfect margarita at our hotel, Hotel Residence Amalfi?

Drinks on the balcony in Amalfi

I hope you enjoyed this foodie journey. I can’t wait to experience it all again!