If you’re a reader/follower of my blog, then you know I’m Cara. If you don’t know that then, hi, I’m Cara! –you should also totally follow my blog.
And here I am reviewing some things.
Hence my super fantastic creative post title!
This may or may not become a recurring feature on my blog- we’ll just see how often I do fun things that I can review and talk about! This past weekend though, Labor Day weekend, aka my first long weekend of school, aka I-had-four-days-off-and-was-in-total-heaven weekend, I did a lot of stuff. Particularly in Houston, TX– the city I sometimes call home.
My beau and I decided to take a staycation in this wonderful city, and crammed as much stuff as possible into our one-and-a-half day adventure, but everything we did I highly recommend to anyone who lives in Houston or is visiting! I went ahead and linked the Yelp pages, as well, so you can check out reviews and location for yourself, if you so choose.
Also, quick disclaimer: Houston is a freaking awesome city! It’s the 4th largest in the USA, yes, fourth, and literally has something for everyone. It is a commuter city, and without help from a knowledgeable local (preferably who lives inside the loop aka Houston proper) it can be intimidating and overwhelming, but don’t let that deter you from exploring this cool place. I hope this post can shed some light on a few wonderful places Houston has to offer.
Without further adieu…
This restaurant is très mignon- very cute! My babe and I have been on a French kick since I started taking French at school, and he decided to learn with me, so what’s more appropriate than a crêpe place?! The Parisienne themed decor spoke to my very soul, yes, my soul. It had light aqua walls accented with white painted stone, cool chandeliers with a modern twist, Eiffel Tower table number holders, and a big beautiful antique-looking mirror against the back wall. It was everything I ever could have wanted in a cute French cafe.
We got two crêpes- a savory and a sweet- and split them. The savory was the crêpe of the month, called the Napoli, which tasted like a French calzone, stuffed full of roasted red peppers. The Napoli also came with a salad on the side, with a mouth-watering house made dressing- a very tart and acidic, yet sweet creamy dressing. The sweet crepe was apple cinnamon creme brûlée, which was to die for.
The only negative to Sweet Paris was how busy it was! Although that’s just a testament to how good the place is. There are a couple locations across Houston, but we went to the one in Rice Village- the area directly around Rice University with lots of cute shops and boutiques and plenty of good food. Rice Village is busy in itself and it can often be hard to find parking, but the crêpes were so good I’d say it was worth it! It probably couldn’t hurt to check out a different location in the future, to see if it’s maybe less busy, though.
The West University Neighborhood
This isn’t so much a place, but something cool to do! West University is the area right around Rice Village. The neighborhoods here are older, and lined with big, beautiful draping trees. The homes here range from $500,000 to over 2 million!! Needless to say, there are some gems worth looking at. From traditional, plantation style homes to super minimalistic and modern, this area literally has everything. It is definitely worth a slow drive by, just to admire all the gigantic mansions, and maybe cry a little bit because you’ll probably never be able to afford anything close to that! As a date idea, it was cute because it gave us a chance to talk about what kind of home styles we liked, and jokingly talked about buying one of those 4,000sqft monstrosities one day! (Yeah right).
Holy cow, don’t even get me started on Boomtown!Seriously, the best coffeeshop in Houston! They’re in the craft coffee game, and for those of you who are unfamiliar with that, basically it means they roast their own coffee, in smaller batches and specialize in slow bar methods of brewing, i.e. chemex, V60, Kalita, etc. Google it- it’ll blow your mind… and ruin commercial coffee for you, forever. They roast their beans in house at Boomtown as well as at their new coffee shop/bar, Honeymoon Cafe, which is in the heart of downtown and the business district! I also highly recommend Honeymoon- the decor is reminiscent of an old speakeasy, and I really want to steal their floral wallpaper. Back to Boomtown, though. Dang, their beans are so good, even their basic drip coffee is awesome- which you get a free cup of when you purchase some of their beans. Which I did, as you can see in the picture above.
On top of drip coffee and slow bar, they also offer a range of espresso drinks, including the basics like americanos, cappuccinos, and an assortment of flavored lattes. They have a couple specialty espresso drinks too, my favorite being the shakarato which is basically espresso meets cocktail. It’s a shot of espresso, orange peel, bitters, and agave all shaken up and strained in a small glass. It’s light and refreshing, with an interesting, almost smoky-sweet flavor? But it has also got all the kick of a plain espresso shot! Recently, Boomtown has also increased their seating in the cafe, since their business has really been booming lately (hehe, see my pun there? Yeah? No? Ok I’ll stop). There’s also a pretty good sized area for outdoor seating when the weather is nicer, or if you feel like bringing along a furry companion! Overall, I freaking love this place. Go. Just do it. Go and drink all the coffee. Buy some beans while you’re at it. You’ll thank me later.
Last but not least, we made our way to Central Market- aka Whole Foods’ 10x better twin sister. Words can hardly express my love for Central Market. It’s owned by the same owners of HEB, the absolute best Texas-based grocery store, so not only is it top quality but it’s also something you can only get in Texas! Like I said, it is wayyyy better than Whole Foods, in my opinion- the aisles aren’t so cramped and claustrophobic, it’s not quite so expensive, the people in general seem way less snobby, and there seems to be endless free samples or cool flavor promotions going on.
There’s an incredibly well stocked cheese section- sorted by country of origin-, a wonderful alcohol selection with a couple aisles of wines and all the craft beer you could ever want, super fresh and oftentimes locally sourced produce, a meat counter with high end and unique cuts (on top of the basics), a great bulk section and even personal care goods like skin and hair products! There’s also a neat little cafe area if you want to grab a bite to eat!I could go on and on about this place. We spent at least an hour, and left with only five things! Central Market is just that fun to roam around in. I wish I lived inside the loop so I could grocery shop there more often!
And there you have it! Some of my favorite spots to visit whenever I’m in the city! I hope yall enjoyed my reviews of these places. We had so much fun this weekend just taking the time to spend with one another talking and exploring the city. I am eagerly awaiting our next holiday!