Houston Restaurant Weeks Review: Union Kitchen Memorial

Another week, another restaurant! Houston Restaurant Weeks is probably one of the most exciting times in a Houston foodie’s life. We’re no exception. It’s the perfect time to go to a new restaurant you’ve been itching to try or select different menu items from some of your favorite restaurants.

This past weekend 2 Girls Who Travel shot over to Union Kitchen in Memorial to sample their Houston Restaurant Weeks lunch menu. It was three courses (appetizer, entrée and dessert) for $20.

How was the food? Glad you asked …

This oven roasted ceviche as an appetizer was interesting. Other than being almost bite-sized, it was covered with a cilantro citrus butter. Usually, our ceviche is preferred fresher with no sauce, but it was pretty good.

If you’re opting for a lighter appetizer, this grilled apple salad is sweet and refreshing. It comes with apple cider dressing, shaved gouda, oven-roasted tomatoes and candied hazelnuts. And there’s a delicious grilled apple slice on the side!

Now this was THE pick for entrees. It’s a poblano pepper stuffed with a three-cheese blend and plenty of delicious crab meat. As if that isn’t enough, it sits atop a bed of dirty rice. Yum!

Had to get this baby to-go! Dessert was the white chocolate ice cream sandwich: two huge softy and chewy chocolate chip and hazelnut cookies with ice cream and a delicious cream cheese frosting. Can’t go wrong with any of that!

The Union Kitchen Memorial is located at 12538 Memorial Dr., Houston, TX 77024. It’s definitely worth a trip during Houston Restaurant Weeks. The lunch was a great value!

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REVIEW: Pinch Seafood & Bar

Houston Restaurant Weeks (HRW) is in full effect and of course 2 Girls Who Travel weren’t going to be left out of the mix. After perusing the extensive menu selection, we decided to try out Pinch Seafood & Bar, located in North Houston (on 290 off 610).

Walking in, we knew we weren’t in for the average seafood joint. The interior and décor gave off a trendy, hipster vibe with exposed duct work, an industrial look, wood flooring and the bar tables. “Pinch Me” was illuminated in light bulbs across the exposed brick on the back wall. There were multiple TV screens and the charging outlets and purse hooks at the bar seating were a nice touch.

If for nothing else, you should try Pinch Seafood this month for their HRW menu alone. Dinner gets you a choice from four courses (2 appetizers, an entrée and a dessert) – all for $35. Some of the entrees alone cost close to that on the regular menu. So the value is unmatched.

New Orleans native and Pinch co-owner Vu Nguyen was on hand during our visit and he explained that rather than putting less popular items on the HRW menu, he put his best-sellers and dishes he likes to eat on the menu.

2 Girls Who Travel with Vu Nguyen

While we ventured a bit off the HRW menu to try some other of the restaurant’s items, some of this deliciousness you’re about to see is of course on the HRW menu. Let’s get to it!

Two girls from the South know our pork skins … and these were great! Comes complimentary with orders because chips and salsa is so last year!

This corn & crab bisque was so good. Usually I like my bisque a tad bit thicker, but it didn’t lack in taste. No other seasoning was needed. You can get this appetizer on the HRW menu.

Charbroiled oysters were very tasty! The only thing missing was some bread to sop up the Cajun butter 🙂

Did you think we would turn down a carafe of mimosas – or in this case, Bromosas? Made with blood orange juice, these were delicious and a welcome alternative to the usual orange juice mimosas.

This seafood ceviche was so damn good, yall. Huge chunks of seafood … great flavor … and when we ran out of plantain chips, we just used our fork! Also on the HRW menu.

Blackened redfish with crawfish etouffe and dirty rice. Ya know, pictures don’t really do dishes like these justice because it’s all about the flavor. This was a really good entree – with the flaky redfish and plump juicy crawfish!

Ok, save yourself the time when picking your third course on the HRW menu and go for the sriracha honey glazed salmon. Got this baby cooked well done and the slightly charred crisp crust and the chipotle fried potatoes were an awesome combination.

Per usual, dessert was gobbled up before we could snap a pic. Forgive us, but we went for the pecan pie and it was solid!

Pinch Seafood is simply a breath of fresh air in an area that has desperately needed a restaurant of this caliber. Check them out at 10510 Northwest Freeway, Houston, TX 77092. And for more information, visit their website.

2 Girls Who Travel Visit Houston’s Museum District

What do you do when it’s the weekend in Houston and 102 degrees outside? You stay inside!!

Well, we didn’t just stay inside at home; we opted for a cultural trip to the Houston Museum District with some friends. Now the Museum District is huge – 19 museums huge! We had to figure out a way to narrow it down and not break the bank. Some research led us to a cool website, Houston on the Cheap, and we realized that July 29 was The Museum Experience Day: Zone 3. So our Saturday afternoon was spent at The Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH) and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), both of which had free admission that day!

*Editor’s Note: The MFAH is FREE Thursdays 10 am–9 pm

Not only are the museums a wealth of information, they are family-friendly and offer free admission days (many are free all the time), lectures, shopping and interactive activities for the kiddos.

Pictured (l-r) are Sean, Alaina (mom) and Jacqueline (grandmom) enjoying an interactive activity at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

Take a look at some of the pics from our time in the MFAH.

After visting the MFAH, we crossed the street and ventured into the CAMH where we had the opportunity to meet artist Paul Ramírez Jonas (standing right). His solo exhibit at the CAMH, Atlas, Plural, Monumental, a 25 year survey, was not only thought-provoking and informative, but incredibly insightful. We took part in the exhibit and wrote a promise on a post-it note and also took someone else’s promise from the table that we wanted to do.

One of the promises we selected from the table.

Take a look at the rest of our visit to the CAMH.

Downstairs in the CAMH were some more cool works, including the Typewriter Rodeo – poem-makers hailing from Austin who create a custom poem on any topic you choose using an old-school, manual typewriter. Give ’em a word… any word!

Some of the other exhibits we visited…

It was an amazing outing – lots of fun for the adults and kids and it was all FREE! And in true 2 Girls Who Travel fashion, we couldn’t pass up a bite to eat from one of our favorite food trucks! We spotted it as we walked to the parking garage.

THE WAFFLE BUS!!!

We opted for the chicken and waffle fryders; so not waffles, but waffle fries! And man, are they good. The chicken was juicy and tender, the fries were hot and crispy and that spicy mayo was the icing on the cake. The Waffle Bus gets the 2 Girls Who Travel seal of approval. If you haven’t had a chance to try it out yet, you should and thank us later. Check out their website which provides a calendar and where the truck is located for the day.

We agree… We love you but we’ve chosen waffle (fries). 🙂

The perfect ending to the perfect hot Houston day!

 

2 Girls Who Travel at the Movies: “Girls Trip” Rakes in $30.4M Opening Weekend

Kim here – half of 2 Girls Who Travel. This weekend I spent some quality time with my Love.Work.Repeat. family for a Girls Night Out at the Movies. And what better movie to gather all the ladies at than the much anticipated “Girls Trip?”

“Girls Trip” raked in a whopping $30.4 million; the biggest opening weekend for a live-action comedy in 2017.

The film follows Regina Hall (Ryan), Queen Latifah (Sasha), Jada Pinkett Smith (Lisa) and Tiffany Haddish (Dina), who in all, make up the “The Flossy Posse,” former college roommates who have drifted apart over the years and plan a trip to Essence Fest to reconnect.

According to the film’s director Malcolm D. Lee, Essence was the best place to set the movie because it’s “the only festival in the world that celebrates black women.”

I totally agree. The Crescent City is an awesome girls getaway and during Essence Fest, it’s an amazing, nonstop, good time. Rather than give away all the spoilers, just know that this movie was a laugh a minute and the new girl on the block, comedian Tiffany Haddish, steals the show as that crazy, ride-or-die girlfriend who has your back.

*When you go with your girls, you all will inevitably be trying to figure out which girlfriend embodies which character from the movie on your girls’ trips.

The all-star cast also has some awesome star-power and cameos: Larenz Tate, Morris Chestnut and Mike Epps, not to mention the musical guests – Puff Daddy, Ne-Yo, Mariah Carey and many more.

African American movies, and more specifically, African American women movies don’t usually have high expectations as far as Hollywood is concerned. So the early success of “Girls Trip” has turned some heads!

So gather all your girlfriends and support director, Malcolm D. Lee (“The Best Man,” “The Best Man Holiday,” “Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins”) and Producer Will Packer (“Think Like a Man,” “Stomp the Yard,” “Ride Along”).

I had an awesome time with my girls. You will too!

Kim and Charryse, another Love.Work.Repeat. friend get ready to enjoy “Girls Trip.”

 

Popcorn, drink and special sweet treat from Love.Work.Repeat.

Love. Work. Repeat.

Love. Work. Repeat. Family

 

Love. Work. Repeat. “Girls Trip” crew

Love. Work. Repeat.

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!

 

 

 

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.