Virginian Peta Douglas relocated to the middle of Houston, Texas, for a two-year stint with Teach For America, and she has immersed herself into the local culture and of course, the Texas dining scene. Her love of Texas is growing quickly (see the pair of vintage, handmade cowboy boots that are a new wardrobe staple) and her food recommendations are enticing. Here, we report the findings of this food lover transplanted into the Texas eating arena with the essential "5 Bites" of Houston.
Breakfast: At Houston’s The Breakfast Klub, all C's are replaced with K’s and the feel is of a mish-mashed melting pot, welcoming people from all walks of life. The "koffee shop that happens to serve great food," prides itself on earning recommendations from Good Morning America, USA Today, Esquire, and Forbes, not to mention a slew of awards. "We are inspired by a passion to provide every kustomer with good food served in a soulful atmosphere… every time you visit," says the Klub’s website. Specialties include Katfish and Grits, Wings and Waffles, and buttery biscuits (excuse us, "biskits"). Other favorites are the Pork Chops and Eggs, Green Eggs and Ham, Klub’s Benedikt (with ham, bacon, turkey, and paprika as additions to the usual hollandaise and poached eggs), and Wings and Grits. Take a look at their mouth-watering breakfast menu here.
Snack: This cash-only taco truck, Tacos Tierras Calientes is a local favorite on West Alabama Street that serves flavor-packed tacos for just $2 each for flour tortillas and $1.50 for corn. Recommendations include the al pastor, with juicy meat and pineapple chunks, and the chicharrón tacos.
Taco Truck, Tacos Tierra Caliente, in Houston, Texas. Photo by flickr_kalebdf.
Lunch: For six years after its 1972 opening, The Hobbit Cafe served a vegetarian menu (with the exception of egg salad and cheese). Since then, though, they've incorporated fish, chicken, beef, and buffalo dishes into their menu packed with meat alternatives. The café has served legends such as Lynyrd Skynrd, Depeche Mode, Jack Nicholson, and Neil Young, to name a few, and is a local favorite. The menu options range from appetizers, sandwiches, soups, salads, and burgers to "south of the border" plates, smoothies, and deserts. Must-try’s include the Far Down sandwich, with egg salad, guacamole, tomato, and mayo; the Thorin Oakenshield sandwich, with fresh tabbouleh and sliced mushrooms under melted cheese; and the Dwalin sandwich, with curry chicken salad, grapes, almonds, lettuce, tomato, and mayo; all of which are served on fresh whole-wheat bread with shredded carrots, and black beans, rice, or potato chips upon request. See the rest of the menu here.
Dinner: Three words— local, organic, and green — are the mantra of— local, organic, and green — are the mantra of — local, organic, and green — are the mantra of — local, organic, and green — are the mantra o Three words — local, organic, and green — are the mantra ofRoots Bistro, the second Green-certified restaurant in Houston. Their ingredients are fresh from the market in the morning, "whether or not the farm-to-table theme is trending on Twitter," according to the Roots Bistro website, and are prepared by head chef Chandler Rothbard that same day. All menu components, from salt to meat, are locally sourced, and customers rave about the difference in taste. Dishes to try include the Fire Roasted Oyster and Crimini Mushrooms, Sautéed Jerusalem Artichokes, the Market Cheese Plate, Poached Lobster, and the Texas Quail Egg Flatbread. Roots Bistro also has Roots Juice, a juice bar with an enormous selection of juices and smoothies, mixing in everything from hempseed and protein to fruit, nuts, and veggies. They even have an "If You Can Dream It, We Can Blend It!" option, but we recommend the Holy Kale. Take a look at the full menu here.
Anvil Bar & Refuge's "Pocket List" of cocktails. Photo by flickr_Kenn-Wilson.
Drink: A night out in Houston calls for evening drinks. Try Anvil Bar & Refuge, owned and operated by three self-proclaimed cocktail freaks, Bobby Heugel, Kevin Floyd, and Steve Flippo. They aim to create a "lively, warm atmosphere," and their drinks (made using fresh ingredients) are created with the concept of "a return to the elegant simplicity of a past era when cocktails were fashioned with pride and bartending was a respected profession that took years of apprenticing to master." Some options include the First Growth, with dry gin, pineapple, elderflower liqueur, and sage; the Black Betty (a house version of a Manhattan), with fenugreek-infused rye, Quina, Xocolatl mole bitters; and The Brave, with mezcal, sotol, amaro, Curaçao, and Angostura bitters.
Tyler Sullivan is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on Twitter @atylersullivan.