10 Top Super Bowl Eats in Houston 

With Super Bowl 51 being 21 days away, it’s time to start thinking about the essential eats while in Houston. The Houston food scene is incredibly diverse and with so many tasty spots it can be hard to know where to start. Here are my top 10 recommendations!

Torchys Tacos– You have to eat multiple tacos while visiting H-Town. Torchys is consistently amazing for tacos any time of day. I love their breakfast tacos, fried avocado taco, Mr.Pink salmon taco, and they have my favorite queso in the city. 

 Killens BBQ– No trip to Texas is complete without BBQ. Killens is the best of the best. It’s worth the drive to Pearland once you try their beef ribs and brisket you’ll be in BBQ bliss. They open at 11 am but the line often forms around 9ish so get there early! 

 
 

Local Foods– Favorite lunch spot for salads and sandwiches. Get the veggie burger, seasonal salad, or crunchy chicken sandwich served on a pretzel bun. Multiple locations. Healthy options and something for everyone. 

  

Peli Peli Kitchen– South African bites meets Southern comfort food at this casual and colorful restaurant. I love the tacos, cauliflower, and rotisserie chicken. 

Tiger Den– Houston has an incredible China Town with so many amazing restaurants. My favorite ramen spot is Tiger Den. Often a wait but it’s worth it.  

  

Conservatory food hall– Houston’s late night food scene tremendously improved once Conservatory opened. Perfect for dinner or a snack after a night out downtown. My favorite vendor is the creperie but they have a BBQ spot, tacos, ramen, and Greek food too. Check out their beer hall as well. 

  

Fajita’s A Go-Go– Perfect for take out if you are watching the game at home or on a sunny day enjoy your Fajita’s on their patio. Try their beef and veggie Fajita’s and chicken quesadillas. Bring your own tequila to add to their fresh squeezed margarita mix.

  

Pico’s– Go for their flaming tequila queso. Can never eat enough queso or tacos while in Houston. 

  

Pi Pizza–  Looking for late night pizza delivery? If you are in their delivery zone you are in luck as they’ll deliver pizza until 2 am. Tons of creative combos but my favorite dishes here are their appetizers. Try the Mac n Cheese balls, meatballs, and brussel sprouts. Amazing cocktails if you decide to eat here in person.

 
River Oaks Donuts– No trip to Houston would be complete without kolaches. If you’ve never had one, you are in for a treat. Soft pillowy pastry dough is filled with either sweet or savory combos. These are often served at donut shops. My favorite kolaches are jalapeño sausage and egg and cheese. River Oaks Donuts usually closes at 1 pm so go early for breakfast.

 

Whatever happens at the Super Bowl at least you will have good eats while in Houston! Check out my previous blog posts for more foodie inspiration while in town. 

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Happy last night of Hanukkah!

Hope you are all enjoying this holiday season with all things fried and delicious. I was so glad to be able to spend a few days with my family in LA this year for Hanukkah. To celebrate, we made ALL the latkes. It’s so worth it to make latkes from scratch and we had fun experimenting with some new recipes this year. 

 

My dad and I  started our latke conquest  with traditional potato latkes from Judy Zeidler whose the original queen of Jewish cookbooks. To speed things along we used a food processor instead of a hand grater. A tip to get the latkes extra crispy is to squeeze out any water once you grate the potatoes. You’ll be surprised how much water there is so squeeze out as much as you can in a dish towel over a sink. Also you should only flip the latkes once per side and you will need lots of oil and lots of patience! 

  

Next up were Sweet Potato Curry Latkes from the memoir/cookbook Stir from Jessica Fechtor. You can find the recipe here. These had a very subtle kick to them because of the curry yet there wasn’t much heat just flavor. They were definitely the crowd favorite. Be sure to change out the oil between different batches to not mess with the flavor.

   

We were intrigued with a zucchini pancake recipe in the LA Times and had to add them to the tasting. These were a fun twist to the typical latkes and much more delicate because no potatoes were used. We swapped out dill for mint which was a great combo with the zucchini. Traditional and sweet potato latkes are great served with a bit of applesauce , for the zucchini ones you could try sour cream.

And of course no Hanukkah is complete without a brisket. The Smitten Kitchen  tangy spiced brisket I made over Passover is still my favorite brisket recipe and my family loved trying it finally too. The caramelized onions on top and sweet/sour type sauce make it especially tasty. Brisket never photographs well but this one is seriously delish.

 

We rounded out the meal with an arugula and pomegranate salad, steamed green beans, noodle kuggle, and our family’s favorite cranberry apple cobbler for dessert.  My dad and I always have a blast together in the kitchen.
 

Loved having Lisa and Lucas in town from Houston to celebrate their first Hanukkah! 
 

Hope you all had a great holiday and Happy New Year! Xo, Sarah

Last minute gift ideas! 

In case you are still searching for the perfect gift, here are some of my favorite options this holiday season that won’t break the bank or take forever for shipping. What’s on your last minute gift list? 

1)  For your white elephant exchange or friend who loves to bake. How cute is this mini apple crisp pan?! Only $10 and I found this at my local Target

 
 

2) For your friend whose always taking iPhone pics.   iPhone photo lens attachments beats carrying around a huge camera. I was thrilled to receive this as a gift this year and it’s made a big difference with my pictures. Mine comes with the macro, fish eye, and wide angle lenses. There are many options on Amazon and most under $20.  

 

3) For your brother or friend who always wants to play cards against humanity get them FunEmployed Game on Amazon. This will be their new favorite addition to game night. So much more creative and improv based, we loved it. Each player has to “interview” for the drawn job based on the qualification cards they have. Totally absurd and hysterical. 18+ and perfect for family bonding. Approximately $10.
 
4)  For the hostess with the mostest or your cheese obsessed friend. Give them a gorgeous marble cheese board with a fun quote from  Anthrpologie.   Small one is  $58 and large is $108 but they are currently 30% off. 

 
5) For your friend who loves trying new cookbooks, below are some of my favorites. Perfect for Hanukkah gifts too because all have Jewish inspired recipes. All of these can also double as coffee table books. All available on Amazon

 
6) For your dad, grandpa, or  your favorite Houston chef. Give them a gift certificate to BrisketU, so they can learn the proper technique for smoking the perfect brisket. The BBQ backyard pitmaster class is on sale for $69. Attendees learn everything necessary to smoke a true Texas brisket: from fire starting and management to wood selection and smoke profiles, how to trim and rub the meat, how to cook and slice, serve and taste.  

 

7) For your workout buddy or sister, give them a gift card to ClassPass so they can mix up their workout routine and try a bunch of new studios.  

 

8) For the whiskey loving guy in your life, get him personalized whiskey glasses. I recently gifted these and was very impressed with the quality of the glasses, the monogram, and the fast shipping.

  

9) For your mom who needs a spa day, get her a gift card to a local massage place or treat to her mani/pedi. My mom who lives in LA is obsessed with the massage garage in Culver City and we usually go together when I’m home. No frills but the massage is better than most high end spas. If you need something cheaper, gift bath bombs from Lush and a face mask.

  

  
10) For your coworker whose always up for coffee breaks, get them a Swell water bottle. It keeps iced drinks cold for 24 hours, hot drinks hot for 12 hours, and will look chic on their desk.  

  
I also always love gifting fuzzy socks, seasonal teas, movie gift cards, Rosenblum wine that I like to pretend is from my family vineyard, and framed photos that captured a memorable moment with me and the recipient. What are you most excited to gift this year? Xo, Sarah

3 Things    

 1) Epic pajama party birthday brunch hosted by the insanely talented  Maple and Love.

 

 Look at that tablescape, pure holiday heaven! We feasted on quiche, crepe cake, homemade cheese/herb breakfast rolls, pumpkin bread, nespresso flat whites, and an apple tart. Everyone had such cute PJ’s and we also played a holiday themed game of scatergories. Goal for 2017 is to have more pajama parties. Nothing like grocery shopping at HEB in a onesie to pick up berries for this celebration. Definitely worth it. For cute holiday PJ’s check out Target’s huge collection.

2)  Banana Drop Cookies

 
Anyone else crave homemade fresh out of the oven cookies at 11 p.m? Tis the season for late night holiday baking. These are pretty guilt-free and filled with bananas and oats. I blended 2 bananas, 1 cup of oats, 1/4 cup of oil, and 1 tsp of vanilla in my Vitamix. Could use any blender for this. Then stir in 1 more cup of oats and 2/3 of a cup of chocolate chips. Bake for 20 min at 350•. Makes a great  breakfast cookie too. 

3) Orange and Avocado Salad 

 
This recipe was inspired from The Forest Feast cookbook. It’s one of my favorite cookbooks ever and her dishes are all beautiful, fresh, healthy, and make  vegetarian food look dreamy. We had extra pomegranates which added a nice colorful addition. This was a salad for a Shabbat meal while I was home in LA and granted the CA avocados really are the best! This is a great starter to a holiday meal to add some balance before the indulgences. 

Hope your holiday season is off to a great start! I’ll be posting more holiday recipes and a round-up of some of my favorite foodie gifts and cookbooks. Stay tuned! 

3 Things- Highlights from the week

Happy Thanksgiving! I am loving this short two day work week! Here are a few highlights from this past week. 

1) S’mores Pie! Recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking found here   

I’m obsessed with S’mores and when I saw this posted on Gaby’s website I knew this would make a perfect Friendsgiving dessert. Not going to lie, this was an ambitious undertaking but so delicious and all worth it! The first two steps are relatively easy as the base is a simple graham cracker crust and the middle layer is a rich homemade chocolate pudding.

  
I knew the real challenge would be the meringue marshmallow topping and it was indeed a struggle! I was lucky to have a crew of friends to help with what seemed like a never ending whipping process. When we weren’t seeing the sugary egg whites thicken and had no electric mixer in sight, we got creative. Evan got an electric screwdriver and a handheld whisk and miraculously made a powerful though sketchy mixer. It was a life saver and finally the meringue thickened enough to create the marshmallow layer! Warning: You probably shouldn’t try this at home!   

 The final step includes a blow torch to make a nice brule’ topping. It was a Friendsgiving to remember filled with lots of yummy foods and new friends!  

  
   

 2) OrangeTheory Workout Class  

To compensate for eating pie for breakfast I figured I should probably  up my workout game in preparation for Thanksgiving eats. Last week I made it to two OrangeTheory classes and LOVED this intense fun workout! The first studio I checked out was their new spacious Sawyer location for a blogger workout class sponsored by The Tiny Two Talk. We worked up quite a sweat and I was glad to have a fun crew of girls to suffer through the workout with but it really was the best accomplished feeling once we were done. The workouts consist of 30 minutes on the treadmill doing interval training with a combo of sprints, base running pace, power walking, or brief all out sprints. It pushed me way harder than I normally would push myself on a treadmill. I enjoy running so I liked this part a lot. The next 30 minutes were focused on strength training floor exercises, weights, rowing, and some resistance training. It was challenging but the loud music and rotating stations made it go by fast. I enjoyed tracking my heart rate throughout the workout and the whole workout is centered around finding your target heart rate zone for maximum energy and calories burned. I burned around 650 calories per workout which seems way higher than even an intense spin class. I also liked the West U location  and the staff was very helpful and welcoming. I’m thinking about possibly joining after the holidays. 

3) Seeing Amy Schumer live at the Toyota Center!

 I know it’s hard to tell from this picture, but Amy came to Houston and she made me laugh so hard my cheeks hurt! We got lucky and were upgraded to a lower level which was awesome to have such good seats that came at a fraction of the price. If you ever have the chance to see her live, do it! Just don’t bring your parents because her jokes are NC-17 plus some. It was a great Sunday night activity and fun way to end the week!

Happy thanksgiving to all of you! Hope it’s delicious, relaxing, and meaningful. I’m heading out to LA so stay tuned for some of my favorite Cali eats/spots! 

3 Things- Highlights from the Week

What a crazy whirlwind of a week. Very much looking forward to some R&R and family time over Thanksgiving break. What are you all most excited to make/eat? I always make pumpkin bread, a fall themed crostini, and spiked apple cider. I’ll post those recipes soon! In the meantime, here were some highlights from the past week. 

1) Yoga Sculpt Class at Yogaleena with some of my favorite gal pals.
 I’ve blogged about my love for this chic boutique yoga studio before and it is still my favorite, especially the yoga-sculpt classes. My friend Cali teaches sculpt classes here on Tues/Sat and she’s a total rockstar yogi who will kick your butt while you’re distracted by her killer playlist. Last week I went to 3 of her sculpt classes in a row, a new record of mine for a week. The only issue is I’ve now used up my classpass classes here for the cycle now 😦 It was all worth it though and I had so much fun going with Erika and Christine too. Definitely makes for a fun healthy girls night!

2) Houston Food Blogger Collective potluck at Axelrad

 If you haven’t yet checked out Axelrad, now is the perfect time of year to enjoy their spacious outdoor beer garden/ hammock heaven. I hadn’t been during the day before and it was way more laid back than the night time scene. Plus I loved getting to clearly see these gorgeous views of the Houston skyline. They have a variety of beer on tap and their famous frose’ (frozen rose’) is definitely worth trying. People were playing games, enjoying the fall weather, and our food bloggers had quite the spread of pies and Friendsgiving essentials. I made a persimmon and pomegranates salad to balance out all the dessert offerings. I’m loving all these fall fruits lately.  

  
3) Tiny’s Milk and Cookies officially opened yesterday in West University!

I work dangerously close to Tiny’s No 5 and love waking over for their almond milk lattes, salads, and of course the famous chocolate chip cookie for special occasions or let’s be real…for rough days. Nothing compares and their cookie really was rated #1 best cookie in Houston.  It is soft, gooey, chewy, chocolatey, and tastes even better than the freshly baked cookies of your childhood. I was excited to learn that they were opening up a walk-up bakery, cafe, and ice cream shop next to Tiny’s No 5. When you walk up to the window you feel transported to a summer time New England style cottage. Behind the window is an assortment of freshly baked breads, muffins, croissants, seasonal ice creams, chia seed puddings, a variety of caffeine offerings, and the true star…the cookie. If you haven’t been here yet, run here and share the cookie love with someone who needs one. It’s better than a hug. Also apparently they will be offering breakfast tacos on Friday mornings…could this place be more perfect?

 

 Have a great pre-Thanksgiving week! 

Viva Las Vegas- Part 1

 I never expected to end up in Vegas twice in one month but because of two special birthdays I was lured back to sin city twice this past October. Who knew Vegas could be just as fun for a 27 year old birthday celebration or for an 80 year old!? Both weekends were incredibly special and fun ways to celebrate two of my favorite people. 

The first Vegas trip was for Evan’s birthday since he had never been before! While he knew we were going, he didn’t know any of the itinerary details and I had so much fun planning our surprise activities and meals. We stayed at The Mirage which was centrally located on the strip in a great location. They have two beautiful resort style pools, tons of great restaurants, the casino, day and night clubs, and it’s home to the Beatles Cirque de Soliel show which I had seen years ago and loved. For this trip we opted to see Absynthe  a new entertaining smaller show at Caesar’s Palace which was hilarious, totally inappropriate, and incredible acrobatics and variety acts. Don’t see this one with your parents! Lots of crass humor but hilarious. I also would recommend sitting in the back if you don’t want to get called on! 

 For brunch we made it to eggslut which I’ve been dying to try and still haven’t had it in LA. It’s located in the gorgeous Cosmo hotel and it’s an absolute must visit. It’s a pretty casual grab and go type place, limited seating. I felt pretty ridiculous ordering a dish called the slut but had heard this was a must order. This cute mason jar is filled with puréed potatoes and a perfectly coddled egg with baguettes for dipping. SO good!

For our othe brunch we went to the buffet at the Wynn. Evan wanted to check out a classic Vegas buffet and this is often rated the best. We had to wait around 30 minutes to get in but that helped build up an appetite for the endless options. Buffets usually gross me out but this one is so beatiful and elegant ,plus they have something for everyone. We sampled the blitzes, smoked salmon, yogurt, and some mini desserts. I wouldn’t rush back because I don’t ever want to eat that much food to make it worth the wait/ cost ($45 I believe), but it’s a fun experience. I also LOVED the ambiance, look at those flowers!

  

  

 For dinner we checked out Giada’s restaurant at the Cromwell hotel. I have been a huge Giada fan for over 10 years. In high school I would religiously watch her Food Network show everyday after school. I have been waiting for the day to finally try her food! Her restaurant is gorgeous and her pastas and appetizers are tasty. I wish I could say I was 1000% blown away but I liked the atmosphere better than the food. The lamb chops below were flavorful and and so were the desserts. This place gets pricey real fast though! I hear brunch is great and cheaper so I’ll try that next time. If you’re a Giada fan, you must check this out while in Vegas! 


Birthday dessert plate. Loved the cookies!

  

Make sure you stop by the photo booth on your way out! 

 For our other special dinner we dined at Lago which is a restaurant with a gorgeous patio right next to the Bellagio fountains! Even though we had reservations we had to wait an extra 45 minutes for a patio table! Luckily there’s casinos right nearby for distractions. I have to say it was worth the wait though to be right next to the amazing fountain show that goes off every 15 minutes. We had some refreshing citrus cocktails, an amazing caprese dish, a meat board, and risotto. 

View on the patio. #notinParis  

  

It was a great trip overall! Not pictured was our pool time/ day club at the Mirage which doesn’t allow pics, night club 10 Oak which we weren’t all that into because $20 drinks and crowded, and our winnings at the Sex and the City Slot machine! 

Get ready for Vegas part 2 recap from my family trip next. Spoiler alert: it includes Britney Spears, Elton John, and how to live it up when you are 80!   

3 things- Highlights from the week 

I’m excited to introduce a new series, 3 things which will be a brief highlight of some of my favorite activities, moments, or let’s be real (eats) from the past week. After a crazy busy fall with traveling, literally gone 7 out of 8 weekends in a row, I can’t tell you how happy I am to finally be home in Houston for the next few weeks! Nothing makes me happier than Saturday morning walks to my local farmers market, weekend brunch/breakfast taco dates, lazy Sunday’s in sweats, enjoying this finally fall weather, and exploring a new restaurant or neighborhood. Here’s my top 3 from this week:

1) Local Share box from the Rawfully Organic Co-Op  

I’ve been following Fully Raw Kristina on Instagram for a while and had been dying to check out her organic co-op. I was amazed at the volume and quality of organic local produce in this box for only $25! Totally a steal and a great way to add variety to my weekly veggies. I’ve already made delicious butternut squash soup, sautéed garlic bok choy, egg scrambles with the  peppers and corn, hash browns, and sweet potato fries. I can’t wait to go back and try more in season beautiful produce. You can pick up these boxes on Tuesdays and Saturdays at Memorial Park.

2) Bingo in the Heights!   

Bingo is not just for granny’s! Did you know that every Thursday night at SPJST Lodge 88 hundreds of people of all ages come out for a BYOB bingo extravaganza! The grand prizes are over $500. You can  order in pizza or bring your own picnic. FYI- Beer is not allowed in but they sell plenty there.   Bingo starts at 7 pm but people get there starting around 5:30 because it fills up fast! We went to celebrate Lauren’s birthday for her second annual birthday bingo bash. Also how beautiful is this cake?! It was perfection, thanks to the talented Erika for fulfilling all of our dessert dreams. For more drool worthy cake, you should check out that time we tasted 14 chocolate cakes for the Best Chocolate Cake in Houston article Erika wrote. Research guys and major sugar comas. The perks of having awesome foodie friends.
3)   PAC(K) Training Class at the League

  I’m always looking for new classes to check out on classpass to mix-up my workout routine. I’ve mostly been going to yoga and spinning classes and have been missing boot-camp/ cross-fit style classes but a bit intimidated to dive back in! Terry the co-founder and coach for my class at The League couldn’t have been more welcoming. I loved the high intensity and variety in the class. It was a great combo of cardio, strength training, and mobility work. We did everything from burpees, plated lunges, kettle bell swings, and ab routines. The music playlist was awesome and motivating. Everyone was very friendly and you can scale the workout based on your fitness level. Everyone seems to be freaking out that classpass got rid of the unlimited option. I’m still planning on sticking with it, 10 classes a month is still the best deal out there with so many studio options in my opinion. If you have a favorite classpass class or gym in Houston, let me know! 

I hope everyone has a great week ahead and makes it through what will be a very interesting Election Day! 

Harold’s in the Heights

How is it already September? I’m still dreaming about long summer days and the delicious dinner I had a few weeks back at Harold’s in The Heights. They recently transformed the former general store downstairs space into a Tap Room with indoor/outdoor seating, a lounge space, hand crafted creative cocktails, and tasty bar apps. We loved the Southern charm, farm-to-table vibe, and Creole inspired cuisine. 
We started off with some cocktails, they have a great bar menu and I’m already eyeing their fall cocktail list with drinks called “Uggs and Tights, Flannel, and Becky with the Good hair” , to name a few. So ready for cooler weather and their tap room patio will be the perfect place for some pumpkin spiced infused bourbon 

   

These crispy Cajun etouffe balls were amazing! They were filled with seafood and rice and dipped in a tangy tomato sauce. You must order these!
  
My favorite appetizer was the caramelized onion tart filled with goat cheese and summer tomatoes. So creamy and perfectly balanced between sweet and savory. 

  
Who knew crispy duck parts could be so much better than chicken wings? I loved the gingery garlic tangy sauce. Is it bad to admit that they were equally delicious the next day cold out of the fridge? We went a little overboard with ordering since everything looked so good. Would gladly have leftovers from here any day!  

With so many amazing appetizers we decided we only needed one entree. Loved this pan seared gulf fish. It was served with corn and Lima beans, so fresh and flavorful.

  Had to try another round of their cocktails infused with local berries and hand crafted sodas.  
Love their colorful wall art and tables in the upstairs dining room.      

It was great meeting Chef Antoine Ware  and Owner Alli Jarrett. They were so friendly, passionate about using local food sources, and couldn’t have been more welcoming.  Their NOLA/ South Carolina-bred brand of hospitality is a unique dining experience that we are lucky to have here in Houston. 

 

 I can’t wait to return soon!

Fajitas A Go-Go

As a loyal Tacos a Go-Go fan I’ve been anxiously awaiting the newest addition to the a go go family, Fajitas a Go-Go!  I was excited to get invited to a special tasting lunch to sample their menu and learn about their concept. My friend Rachel and I had a blast spending the afternoon on their patio sampling their menu highlights and left full and happy.  It’s safe to say it’s my new favorite spot in town when I’m craving Mexican food…I’ve been back 3 times and have been telling everyone I know to check them out.
Their central location in West U has a spacious parking lot and outdoor patio with picnic style tables, twinkle lights, and they are dog friendly. You order at the counter and if you are dining in, they will bring your food out to you. If you place an order to go, they will offer you free beer while you wait! I highly recommend grabbing your besties and a bottle of tequila and pairing it with their homemade agave lime margarita mixture on their patio. Don’t forget the chips with addicting green crack tomatillo salsa.

My Australian baking rockstar friend Lisa loved the rotisserie chicken quesadillas, these were no ordinary quesadillas. The quality of the cage free antibiotic free chicken and rotisserie flavor really made this an exceptional quesadilla. Their home-made tortillas also make a world of difference. Share this as an appetizer with friends, or it is satisfying as a meal when you are craving some comfort food/cheesy goodness.

My favorite fajita combo is the beef and veggies. Their vegetables are far from the ordinary peppers and onion fajita classic. Theirs include spaghetti squash, zucchini, oyster mushrooms, green onions, and asparagus. A great option for vegetarians or anyone looking to round out their meal. The top quality certified Angus Beef sirloin is minimally seasoned to bring out the natural flavors. They serve fajitas on cafeteria style plates instead of a sizzling traditional platter because their meat is already perfectly grilled over mesquite. I also loved their guacamole, charro beans, homemade flour and con tortillas, and varied salsa options.

So many tasty options!  Lauren , my nutritionist friend/ inspirational runner, loved their grilled shrimp taco salad, it was a great healthy yet hearty option served with guac, pico de gallo, black beans, and corn tortilla strips. We also tried the house made wild boar sausage which was a hit.

I can’t wait to cater from here and come back for more fajita and margarita nights on their patio. Definitely check them out if you are looking to mix up your Tex-Mex options in town, this is the real deal! Friendly service, authentic food, incredible quality, and BYOB tequila…I mean c’mon.