Houston gets a bad rap. People think it’s nasty and dirty and hot. They could be right… but not last week, not with the NBA All-Star game in town. Houston was on top of its game (pun intended), weather included.
When I stepped out of the airport on Monday afternoon instead of the 32 degree weather I was told I was going to have I had blue skies and 70 degrees of bliss. No smog, no scorching sun and high humidity, just the most perfect weather you can imagine. The grass was green and evidence of spring was everywhere.
Post Oak is just west of downtown Houston, south of I-10 north of 59 and right off of I-610. There are 3 golf courses (Houston Country Club, Memorial Park Municipal and River Oaks Country Club) within 5 miles but since I’m the worst golfer ever I can’t comment on them. The streets were clean and at the intersections of major streets, suspended in the air, were large faux metal rings with names of the streets illuminated from within. The shopping centers were full of all the usual retail and food suspects but here are some of the standouts of the trip (other than Chipotle).
Hilton Houston Post Oak – the service was just outstanding. The rooms had granite and cherry wood accents throughout. The styling of the hotel was modern and simple but not over the edge of plain. Even waiting for a elevator was nice on the eyes with the leather panel walls and the cherry wood accents on the brushed nickel doors. The staff was very attentive, especially the bartender in the bar downstairs (damn them for not having fat tire beer). With the exception of the tough and chewy Pecan crusted Halibut I had for dinner one night, all of the food was super.
Fogo de ChÃ£o – vegetarians beware! If you don’t like the sight of meat then definitely avoid this Brazilian Steakhouse (they do have an all you can eat salad bar but I’ve never been anywhere where lettuce tasted better than any other place, so who cares). They have locations in Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Washington DC, Beverly Hills, Chicago and 4 in Brazil.
I first experience the one in Dallas several years ago. I was immediately a smitten kitten. The warm cheese bread has just enough cheese in it to taste but not enough to make it too solid. I don’t know how they do it but they manage to keep the consistency of high quality bread with a crispy outside. Sort of like a cheesy bread cream puff. Seriously.
Their website explains their menu better than I so here’s a taste:
“Operating under the unique service concept of espeto corrido, which translates from Portuguese as “continuous service,” Fogo de ChÃ£o satisfies palates and the desire for something original. Instead of ordering from a traditional menu, Fogo de ChÃ£o offers a prix-fixe system where guests can sample the entire menu, or just focus on their favorite items.
The lunch and dinner menu features unlimited servings of 15 different delectable cuts of fire-roasted meats, a sumptuous buffet of gourmet salads and fresh-cut vegetables, and a variety of Brazilian side dishes.”
Everyone pays the same price which for now is around $45 per plate. Several years ago I remember it was $35 but either way itâ€™s worth every penny to a food lover. And to the owners, I’m sorry I came in in a t-shirt, jeans, and my new balances.
Willie G’s Oyster Bar – this Landry’s joint has been around for over 20 years but only 3 locations. The ambiance was definately not screamin oyster bar (or any oyster bar I’ve ever been to)… unless it’s supposed to be an Oyster bar that the owner hit the PowerBall.
The menu wasn’t vast but it all looked and sounded great. It contained the usual seafood and steak items with Cajun twists.Â After having my fat tire spilled in my friend’s lap and a thousand apologies from the waiter, I settled on the fried stuffed shrimp and fries (I have seafood hangups… anytime I have shrimp it has to have fries). The 4 fried stuffed shrimp on my plate were huge. Each were about the size of my palm and they looked like giant hush puppies with tails. I could comment on the how great it was but I was way drunk by the time it actually got there so for all I know it was crap. That’s what happens when you get together with some old drinking buddies.
Sam’s Boat – I didn’t eat but I did drink… a lot. It felt wierd being in a college bar many years out of school. My partner in crime agreed. The ambiance was very dock party. Live band, easy women and cheap beer was my idea of heaven 7 years ago but I’d like to think I’ve refined past that.Â But I can’t lie, the cheap beer was a nice change ;0)