hometown hits: Houston

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Because we on this blog are from all over the United States, from the west to the East, the Midwest to the South, we decided to create a series of “hometown hits,” where we cover different neighborhoods from one of our many home regions.

With the devastating rains and flooding of Hurricane Harvey temporarily obscuring the true landscape of Houston, Texas, we wanted to shine a spotlight on this wonderful metropolis.  And what a metropolis it is, the fourth most populated city in the US, the largest city in Texas–and we all know everything is bigger in Texas right?  Nowhere is that more true than in this city that sits on Galveston Bay; there are big buildings, big hospitals, big space exploration and big hearts in abundance here.

One of us on this blog was raised and has roots in this fantastic city, so we hope that underscoring a vibrant neighborhood will act as a reminder of the Houston that is and will rise again.  And while this disaster may be a temporary setback, and the rebuilding efforts will take time, this city and its people will unite, they will persist and they will come back stronger, and better than before.

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photo from visithoustontexas.com

Montrose has to be one of the most interesting neighborhoods in all of Texas, if not all the world.  They say keep Austin weird, but it also applies here.  They call this Bohemian area the “heart of Houston” and it does exemplify the diversity this city has to offer.

Montrose became a hub of the counterculture movement in the 60s, however in the past 20 years it has become more and more high end without losing its charm.  There are artists, antique and thrift shops, musicians, communes, spendy boutiques, a large LGBT faction, tattoo parlors, upmarket mansions, hipsters, and bars and restaurants galore. Literally everything you need to have a good time is in this one area. It’s supremely colorful and ecclectic, both in its people and in the buildings/homes.

Close to the museum district, this area also boasts several notable collections at The Menil and at the Rothko Chapel (features works by Mark Rothko and Philip Johnson).  It is also close to all the universities in town, attracting all comers, who are all welcome.

Standouts include:

Barnaby’s: if you look up the definition of a cozy cafe, this is what you’ll find

Black Labrador Pub: literally the cutest British pub, human sized chess board!

Chapultepec Lupita: 24 hour Mexican with dozens (plural) of tequila selections.

El Real Tex Mex: the famous neon marquee of the old Tower movie theater sits near the very recognizable Westheimer and Montrose at the heart of this district

Indika: modern Indian cuisine in a expansive setting (it’s walls are tikka masala color)

La Mexicana: cozy, homey Mexican establishment that’s been around for 30 years

Les Ba’Get: modern fusion Vietnamese brick and mortar of a beloved food truck

Niko Niko’s: it’s all greek to me, especially when delicious and served out of an old gas station (I have a thing for those kind of places: Joe’s KC and Vinsetta’s Garage)

Riel:  sophisticated global cuisine that is literally all over the map…but it works

Ramen Tatsu-Ya: yeah I know it’s from Austin, but it’s ramen and I like it

The Dunlavy: the most picturesque views of Buffalo Bayou from floor to ceiling windows in their dining room

Torchy’s Tacos: also from Austin, their tacos are amazing

Underbelly: this butchery showcases the diverse multicultural flavors of this city, often with fish sauce (umami city)

Everyone has always known the resiliency and strength of the people of Houston, but now more than ever, we’re seeing it.  From the first responders to the good samaritans driving boats down to help the rescue efforts, we send our thoughts, prayers, and love to its citizens.  If you are able to help, the American Red Cross and United Way are reputable charities that have a high donation value.  Several celebrities such as JJ Watt and Kevin Hart also have youcaring and crowdrise pages, respectively, where you can donate as well.  Other ways to help include donating care packages and blood, and supporting anyone who may be feeling helpless or upset over the situation.

Don’t mess with Texas, cause we’ve all got their back.

 

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