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Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Houston, Texas

My husband has a convention every year in Houston, TX and I get to come along for the ride. We made the mistake of staying 20 minutes away from the convention center last year. This year we were more prepared finally having a little better knowledge of the area. After doing some online research, we found this vintage gem right in the heart of downtown Houston. The building is 91 years old. Some people think it to be haunted, but we didn't have any encounters with spirits checking in to our room. The rooftop pool, fitness center, and complimentary cookie hour are just a few of the nice accouterments to staying at this centrally-located hotel. It is also walking distance to several fantastic restaurants, bars and the convention center.

Where We Stayed:

Magnolia Hotel

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Dining Guide

The first night, before dinner we went to Kata Robata, a sushi restaurant, for Happy Hour! They have half off all wines by the glass for their happy hour, and boy was I excited!! They have a wonderful wine list. I was a little disappointed that we didn't stay for dinner because every plate served around us looked better than the last. Kata Robata is a slick spot to take clients to impress, a first date, or a friend from out of town. ;)
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Source - Travel & Leisure Magazine

Having a glass of Thralls 2014 pinot noir from the Russian River Valley.

For dinner, we walked a block down the road to El Tiempo, where we met up with two friends of ours that are locals. We let them order for us and we were not disappointed! They ordered us a pound of the fajita chicken. It's served on a silver, oven-like pedestal. It deserves a pedestal. Paired with their "Barry" butter sauce on the side, homemade flour tortillas that melt in your mouth, and mouth-watering mexican rice and beans, I think it should be nominated for Oprah's favorite things.

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Source - Houston Chronicle
(I didn't get any good photos of El Tiempo because it was so dark!)

Dinner - Night 2

Osso & Kristalla is a new restaurant in downtown Houston. Luckily, it was walking distance from our hotel and has a fantastic happy hour. This Italian-flair restaurant boasts of wood fired pizzas, fresh pasta dishes, and a great Italian wine selection along with several limoncello cocktails. 

Our waiter was such a good sport about being in photos!

Hey hubs!!

High ceilings, cartoon wallpaper, and butcher block table tops are just a few of the quirky/quaint features of this restaurant. This restaurant is full of natural light, which makes it a great spot for food bloggers and instagram foodies alike to take pictures of their food. All of the images here were taken with my iPhone! Can I get these windows in my house?

Men and women working nearby began congregating in the bar area once happy hour was in session. I don't blame them considering you can grab a beer for right around $3.00 and an appetizer for $5.00!

I've been on a limoncello kick, which you know if you've been following my blog. Our waiter suggested the bartender's new cocktail creation, the Limoncello Mule. Served with fresh mint leaves, limoncello, vodka and soda, this drink is a great summer refresher that cleans the palate with each sip and gets you ready for your next bite.

For dinner I was torn between options. With so many mouth-watering options it was hard to pick just one! 
I narrowed it down to three options and let our waiter decide. He brought me the Margherita pizza and told the chef to add prosciutto! I was in pizza heaven! They use fresh buffalo mozzarella, large basil leaves, cherry tomatoes and a secret marinara sauce to make the best slice of 'za I've had since we visited NYC.

I'm still craving this pizza since we left.

We aren't huge dessert eaters/orderers, but the dessert menu at Osso & Kristalla spoke to us. I love Italian desserts. Tiramisu is one of my favorites and they had it on their small menu! I couldn't wait to order it... until my husband stopped me and said "Honey, I really don't want that." I was shut down. By my own husband. My tiramisu dreams were crushed. Garrett wanted the cheesecake. I'm not a big fan of cheesecake. As we bantered back and forth on what to get, the waiter offered us a truce option. He suggested we order their layered, decadent chocolate cake with chocolate mousse layers and a chocolate ganache icing. Before he was finished with his sentence, we agreed to the idea. 

The plate was licked clean. I mean, look at this. I'm happy I even got to snap this picture before Garrett scooped up a fourth of it on his spoon. 

I slept like a baby as soon as we got back to our hotel. Good food = good sleep.

Day 3 - Lunch

My husband got to Houston a few hours before me on our first day because I was heading to the airport from Nashville. He scoped out the area around our hotel and found the one restaurant he knew had my name written all over it - Local Foods

I am a sandwich girl. I recently met someone who told me she hated sandwiches, and I honestly found myself getting defensive. How could someone hate sandwiches? There's so much to like!

When Garrett found this spot, he knew I would be in love. The setting has a modern-groovy feel to it. It's like the designer found some of the decor from a 70's night club and the other half from a Scandinavian home store. Cue the disco music.

Right when you walk in, there are splashes of blue everywhere you look. Accented with marble tables and pieces that look handmade, it's hard to rest your eyes on just one spot. 
I love these funky light fixtures that look like 1950's hair dryers!!

 The bar stools remind me of champagne corks with the cage still on. Maybe I just drink too much wine.

How fun are these bright green barstools on the opposite side of the bar? 

The best thing about these sandwiches is that they are BIG. The hubs was a college football player and he barely managed a comfortable grip on this bad boy. That's important when your man has a big appetite. Let's just say I never get to go to tapas bars.

We ordered the Crunchy Chicken Sandwich, which we were told was the most popular item on the menu. Layers of fresh shaved chicken are stacked on a pretzel bun with ranch dressing, potato chips, house-made pickles, and lots and lots of dill. You get a choice of two sides with your sandwich. We both went with the potato salad and the pesto orzo salad. We weren't disappointed.

Next time you have a trip planned to Houston, please stop by a few of these spots and tell me your feedback!

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