Etiquette Hell

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Title: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: starry diadem on April 18, 2013, 03:03:28 PM
I'm going to the Galacticon 3/Comicpalooza  conventions in Houston next month (I'm actually chairing a panel on fanfiction and running a workshop on writing with another couple of writers  - gulp).  I don't know Houston at all, so for those of you who do, what's your recommendation for places to eat?

Thank you in advance.
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: Hmmmmm on April 18, 2013, 03:25:42 PM
So I just checked and the event will be downtown at the George R Brown Convention center.

Have you made hotel reservations and if so, what area? Will you be renting a car?

Do you have dietary preferences? Vegan/Gluten free/Kosher/Other

Are you an adventurous eater? Houston surpased LA/NYC as most diverse city and our food cutlure reflects it.

Are you interested in both upscale, mid range, low end? How do you feel about "hole in the wall" i.e. could be a little scary if you went late at night?
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: starry diadem on April 18, 2013, 03:37:43 PM
So I just checked and the event will be downtown at the George R Brown Convention center.

Have you made hotel reservations and if so, what area? Will you be renting a car?

Do you have dietary preferences? Vegan/Gluten free/Kosher/Other

Are you an adventurous eater? Houston surpased LA/NYC as most diverse city and our food cutlure reflects it.

Are you interested in both upscale, mid range, low end? How do you feel about "hole in the wall" i.e. could be a little scary if you went late at night?


I'm staying at the Hilton attached to the convention centre, but I won't have a car as I don't like driving on the wrong side of the road in strange cities.  I don't mind taking cabs, though!

I'm pretty adventurous in what I eat with no restrictions - except I detest sushi.

I don't have much of a feel for the prices there.  I live in London, where  a good lunch for two would be $150 or so, although I stress that's an occasional treat and not the usual thing I'd do.  One special meal while I'm away is a must to celebrate getting through my panel and workshop in one piece, but mostly I suppose I'll try a range of prices and cuisines. I love Mexican food, so any recommendations there would be welcome.

Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: Hmmmmm on April 18, 2013, 04:26:42 PM
I'm going to start with mostly locations downtown or near the downtown area. Your going to love Houston food prices compared to London.

TexMex food
Ninfa's on Navigation - will be a taxi ride and a "sketchy" area but perfectly safe.  Mama Ninfa was queen of TexMex for years in Houston and her kid's are carrying on her tradition at this one location.
http://www.ninfas.com/
Their more upscale version is El Tiempo. Also a taxi ride and more expensive.
http://www.eltiempocantina.com/
And a personal favorite of mine
http://elrealtexmex.com/

Real Mexican food
Hugo's is Nationally acclaimed and is Mexican not TexMex. Also more expensive.
http://hugosrestaurant.net/

Cajun - Downtown
Rajin Cajun on Main Street
http://www.ragin-cajun.com/restaurant/
Treebeards has a ton of locations downtown but is only open for lunch.  The closest one to the convention center would be the one on McKinney Street.

Off Beat
Bombay Pizza Company - Get's national acclaim. The one on Main street is Downtown
http://www.bombaypizzaco.com/

High End Steakhouse (My UK boss always has to go eat steak)
http://www.vicandanthonys.com
Not as High end but still darn expensive but close to the convention center.
http://www.iiiforks.com/menu.php

High End Creole
Brennan's of Houston - As close to a New Orleans experience as you'll get in Houston
www.brennanshouston.com

Beaver's is a fun place with "Texas style" menu
beavershouston.com

KimSon is a massive Vietnamese/Chinese restaurant. I can't say it's the best in Houston but it is good and the one on Jefferson is close to the convention center.
http://www.kimsonrestaurants.com/menus/kim-son-jefferson-menu

Burger's I recommend Hubcap grill. The one downtown is only open till 2pm for lunch but the heights one is open late.
http://hubcapgrill.com/hubcap_grill_downtown.html

District 7 Grill has a few locations around Downtown. Good food at reasonable prices.
http://www.district7grill.com/


Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: Library Dragon on April 18, 2013, 04:43:59 PM
Just returned from a convention in Houston.  Quattro at the Four Seasons Hotel (an easy three block walk from the Hilton) is good Italian.  The chef is from northern Italy.  He made DH and me a specialized tasting menu with matching wines.  I impressed because they didn't skimp on the wine.  They gave a good pour, then refilled if we needed and didn't charge for another glass.

The risotto was very good.  They also asked about any food allergies, preferences, etc., before coming up with the dishes.   

They have a more casual bar menu as well.  The portions are a decent size.  If you're used to London prices I don't think you will have price shock. 
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: kherbert05 on April 18, 2013, 06:00:57 PM
The Rajin Cajun is one of my oldest Niece's favorites. They use peanut oil, but take such care that I feel safe eating there. It is the only restaurant that uses peanut oil that I'll go to. They always mark my ticket ALLERGIC TO PEANUTS. They also let me sub a salad for french fries without the usual small charge because it is an allergy issue. In short great service.


Closer to the date check out Discovery Green's  (http://www.discoverygreen.com/)schedule. It is a park across the street. They have all sorts of events. I would be shocked if they didn't have something to go with your visit.


Houston is a pretty safe city, but since you aren't driving you need to make sure you can get back home. We are lacking in public transport, so if you take a cab make sure you will be able to get a cab back. 
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: Giggity on April 18, 2013, 06:20:57 PM
Heh heh, a LOT of my TRF cast mates will be at Comicpalooza. I might see you there!

I second the Ragin' Cajun. It is VERY good. Ninfa's on Navigation ditto.

If you venture into downtown, and you feel like pub food such as we understand it, hit up the Flying Saucer: http://www.beerknurd.com/stores/houston/   They have like 200 beers on tap and decent grub.

Also, if you are feeling adventurous and you see a food truck, GET YOU SOME. Food trucks in Houston are held to the same standard as restaurants not on wheels. I have lived here my whole 44 years, and I can tell you I have NEVER had bad food truck food. Especially tacos. Street tacos are divine: nice flank steak all marinated up and grilled and sliced, two thin just-made corn tortillas for a shell, pile on some cilantro (I think it's coriander across the pond), some fresh white onions if you like ... HEAVEN on a paper plate, usually for like a dollar-fifty per.
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: starry diadem on April 19, 2013, 02:00:03 AM
I'm going to start with mostly locations downtown or near the downtown area. Your going to love Houston food prices compared to London.

TexMex food
Ninfa's on Navigation - will be a taxi ride and a "sketchy" area but perfectly safe.  Mama Ninfa was queen of TexMex for years in Houston and her kid's are carrying on 

<snipped to save space>

 Good food at reasonable prices.  http://www.district7grill.com/


THANK YOU!  I've got a note of all of these!
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: starry diadem on April 19, 2013, 02:01:36 AM
Just returned from a convention in Houston.  Quattro at the Four Seasons Hotel (an easy three block walk from the Hilton) is good Italian.  The chef is from northern Italy.  He made DH and me a specialized tasting menu with matching wines.  I impressed because they didn't skimp on the wine.  They gave a good pour, then refilled if we needed and didn't charge for another glass.

The risotto was very good.  They also asked about any food allergies, preferences, etc., before coming up with the dishes.   

They have a more casual bar menu as well.  The portions are a decent size.  If you're used to London prices I don't think you will have price shock.


Lovely, thank you!  I've added it to my list.
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: starry diadem on April 19, 2013, 02:15:09 AM
The Rajin Cajun is one of my oldest Niece's favorites. They use peanut oil, but take such care that I feel safe eating there. It is the only restaurant that uses peanut oil that I'll go to. They always mark my ticket ALLERGIC TO PEANUTS. They also let me sub a salad for french fries without the usual small charge because it is an allergy issue. In short great service.


Closer to the date check out Discovery Green's  (http://www.discoverygreen.com/)schedule. It is a park across the street. They have all sorts of events. I would be shocked if they didn't have something to go with your visit.


Houston is a pretty safe city, but since you aren't driving you need to make sure you can get back home. We are lacking in public transport, so if you take a cab make sure you will be able to get a cab back.

Thank you for the recommendations and the advice - I'll pre-programme some cab company numbers into my phone.  I don't anticipate being out *very* late, or alone  - the two nights I'll be there without my convention buddies I'll be eating close to the hotel -  but it's good to know things like the dearth of public transport!
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: starry diadem on April 19, 2013, 02:21:28 AM
Heh heh, a LOT of my TRF cast mates will be at Comicpalooza. I might see you there!

I second the Ragin' Cajun. It is VERY good. Ninfa's on Navigation ditto.

If you venture into downtown, and you feel like pub food such as we understand it, hit up the Flying Saucer: http://www.beerknurd.com/stores/houston/   They have like 200 beers on tap and decent grub.

Also, if you are feeling adventurous and you see a food truck, GET YOU SOME. Food trucks in Houston are held to the same standard as restaurants not on wheels. I have lived here my whole 44 years, and I can tell you I have NEVER had bad food truck food. Especially tacos. Street tacos are divine: nice flank steak all marinated up and grilled and sliced, two thin just-made corn tortillas for a shell, pile on some cilantro (I think it's coriander across the pond), some fresh white onions if you like ... HEAVEN on a paper plate, usually for like a dollar-fifty per.

I'm really at Galacticon, but we get entrance to ComicPalooza and there is NO WAY I'll pass up the chance to see Patrick Stewart!  If you're there and cross the floor to Galacticon, I'll be there as Anna Butler, doing the Fanfic panel (http://www.galacticon3.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=148:fan-fiction-all-grown-up&catid=82&Itemid=567) and the workshop (http://www.galacticon3.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=156:workshop-fanfic-yes,-you-re-a-real-writer&catid=82&Itemid=567) which is all very exciting!

Thank you for the food recs.  I'm compiling a list.
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: lowspark on April 19, 2013, 09:11:11 AM
You got some great suggestions so far! I second Ninfa's on Navigation (which, by the way, in addition to having great TexMex has a really good burger!), El Tiempo and El Real. Also Bombay Pizza.

One place you should not miss for great TexMex is Irma's. Whatever they are serving that day (menu changes daily) will be delicious. Get the lemonade.
http://www.irmassouthwest.com/ho.htm (http://www.irmassouthwest.com/ho.htm)

Also, for a nice quiet Italian dinner, I recommend Damian's which is in Midtown, just outside of downtown.
http://www.damians.com/ (http://www.damians.com/)

For really good Greek food in a very casual atmosphere, go to Niko Niko's. Again, just outside of downtown, close but you'll need a cab. There is a downtown location in Market Square Park but they don't have fries there! And Niko Niko's has wonderful fries so go to the location on Montrose.
http://www.nikonikos.com/ (http://www.nikonikos.com/)

Another really good burger place is the Burger Guys (downtown location).
http://theburgerguys.com/ (http://theburgerguys.com/)

If you want local barbecue there's a Pappa's BBQ downtown. While not the best in the city, it's pretty good and at least has a good location for your purposes.
http://pappasbbq.com/home/ (http://pappasbbq.com/home/)

You will definitely find eating out in Houston to be way cheaper than in London.

Here are a couple of places I recommend you SKIP. They are mediocre and gimmicky:
Downtown Aquarium (Don't be surprised if you get stuck going there anyway as I'm sure they advertise heavily to tourists and your friends may want to go. The food is ok, not bad, but certainly not the best you can get here.)
If you want really good seafood, you're better off at McCormick & Schmick.

Birraporetti - again, not terrible but nothing fabulous either.

Have fun! If you do get a chance to venture outside of downtown, you will get a very different feel of what Houston is. Downtown is only a very small part of this huge city.
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: Dindrane on April 19, 2013, 09:50:30 AM
Another really excellent steak restaurant is Churrasco's. It's not too far away from downtown, but it will be a cab ride away (the location I've always been to is on Montrose and Westheimer). Their steak is amazing, but they have a lot of other good entrees (as long as you're not eating vegetarian). It's a little on the pricey side, but it's cheaper at lunch and probably still cheaper than London. The rest of their menu is sort of Latin American fusion (so not Tex Mex).

Also, while Houston does not have good public transportation, one thing they do have is a light rail line that runs from downtown to the Houston Medical Center. If I recall correctly, it shouldn't be more than a few blocks from the convention center to the light rail.

The Medical Center itself is not that exciting, but there are some things very close to it that are fun. The Museum District has the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (as well as a few other other museums), and the Houston Zoo. All of those are well worth a visit if you have time, and all are within an easy walk of a light rail station.

Rice University is also right near the museum district, and while the campus itself doesn't have much to offer tourists other than being pretty, there is a shopping area called Rice Village just to the south of it. There's a lot of different stores and restaurants there, some part of a chain and some independently owned. It's not right next to the light rail line, but it's not too far a walk from it.

If you get the chance to try a Vietnamese sandwich at any point, by the way, you should totally have one. They are amazing, and one of the things I miss most since moving away from Houston. The restaurant we always go to is called Cali Sandwich (it's in Midtown on Travis, I think), but I'm sure there are other places. But the best thing about Vietnamese sandwiches, other than their general deliciousness, is that they can be as cheap as $3 per sandwich. The least expensive ones are in Midtown (which is just south of Downtown).

As a general thing, Asian food of all varieties tends to be really good in Houston (since there are a lot of immigrants from various countries in Asia who live there).
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: lowspark on April 19, 2013, 10:04:09 AM
Yes! The Vietnamese sandwiches! Les Givrals in Midtown is a good one. Really cheap and really good.
http://www.lesgivrals.com/1.html (http://www.lesgivrals.com/1.html)
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: Valentines Mommy on April 19, 2013, 10:31:40 AM
I second these suggestions! May I add the Breakfast Klub. I don't like catfish but I like it here. It is on Travis and may be a long walk if a cab is not found.

I really love Beaver's. If the Velvet Elvis cupcake is on the menu, get it! It is a red velvet cupcake with banana filling and topped with peanut butter frosting. The waitstaff are awesome and I can honestly say I've never had a bad meal there.

Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: lowspark on April 19, 2013, 10:35:57 AM
Ah! The Breakfast Klub! Yes. They have really good catfish and chicken & waffles. Don't be intimidated by the line to get in -- it moves quickly.
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: Hmmmmm on April 19, 2013, 11:07:02 AM
We obviously need a "Foodie Houston - Where did you eat today" board.

Les Givral's Sandwich & Café does have great Bahn Mi's. Great suggestion.

Flying Saucer is fun and close to downtown.

Venturing further from the downtown area:
Hey Merchant on Washington that has a wonderful beer selection and really good food. Great burger and a fried crawfish sandwich that is really good.

There is also a place on Washington called Max's Wine Dive with a good wine selection and upscale 'comfort food'.

Gatlin's BBQ is considered some of the best in Houston. Only open nights till 7pm close Mondays.

For Americanized Pizza, I like Starr http://starpizza.net/
and Luigi's http://www.luigipizzamidtown.com/

I wish I could recommend a Chicken Fried Steak place to you but the ones I like are too far from the downtown area to make even a cab ride feasible. But I think everyone who visits Texas should try one.

Hope you have a good time.
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: lowspark on April 19, 2013, 11:51:37 AM
We obviously need a "Foodie Houston - Where did you eat today" board.


ITA!
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: Valentines Mommy on April 19, 2013, 12:02:24 PM
I can't believe I forgot Treebeards!
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: VorFemme on April 19, 2013, 08:44:39 PM
Oh, no!  I'm going to be in Georgia and MISS this delightful treat (but at least I know it's going to be here, unlike some events that I find out about a month later.....). 

Patrick Stewart?  Original cast from Battlestar Galactica?  Gah......

On the other hand, I'm going to the Atlanta Renn Faire with Ambrosia Hino, Wonderful SIL, and the wonderful DGS (I admit it, I am slightly biased).  And I can't be at both, since neither Scotty nor DeFarge are available to beam me anywhere........
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: starry diadem on April 20, 2013, 12:52:41 AM
You got some great suggestions so far! I second Ninfa's on Navigation (which, by the way, in addition to having great TexMex has a really good burger!), El Tiempo and El Real. Also Bombay Pizza.

<Snipped>

Have fun! If you do get a chance to venture outside of downtown, you will get a very different feel of what Houston is. Downtown is only a very small part of this huge city.


I'm really beginning to wish that I was going for more than a week.  It's going to be really hard to decide what to try out, everyone's been so generous with their time in making recommendations.  Thank you!  I'm adding all these to my list.
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: starry diadem on April 20, 2013, 01:08:06 AM
Another really excellent steak restaurant is Churrasco's. It's not too far away from downtown, but it will be a cab ride away (the location I've always been to is on
<snip>

The Medical Center itself is not that exciting, but there are some things very close to it that are fun. The Museum District has the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (as well as a few other other museums), and the Houston Zoo. All of those are well worth a visit if you have time, and all are within an easy walk of a light rail station.

<snip>

As a general thing, Asian food of all varieties tends to be really good in Houston (since there are a lot of immigrants from various countries in Asia who live there).

I am definitely going to the Natural Science museum.  They have the permanent Faberge exhibition and the Empress Josephine Tiara.  I would walk on hot coals to see that one -- it's one of the great named tiaras that shouldn't be missed.   I may even be slightly more excited about seeing the tiara than I am about doing the convention! 
(The reason my user name is Starry Diadem is because when I joined Live Journal, years ago, the user name Tiara was taken.  I adore tiaras.  I have over 40 Pinterest boards just devoted to tiaras  - http://pinterest.com/starrydiadem/ - and that's before we start on crowns, diadems, decorative combs and hair ornaments... and definitely before we get started on other forms of haute joaillerie and glittery fripperies.  My Pinterest site is a homage to big bling.)

Thank you for the food suggestions, too.  My list gets ever longer and we'll have loads to choose from.
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: starry diadem on April 20, 2013, 01:20:36 AM
Yes! The Vietnamese sandwiches! Les Givrals in Midtown is a good one. Really cheap and really good.
http://www.lesgivrals.com/1.html (http://www.lesgivrals.com/1.html)

Cool!  Added to my list...  Thank you! 
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: starry diadem on April 20, 2013, 01:22:27 AM
I second these suggestions! May I add the Breakfast Klub. I don't like catfish but I like it here. It is on Travis and may be a long walk if a cab is not found.

I really love Beaver's. If the Velvet Elvis cupcake is on the menu, get it! It is a red velvet cupcake with banana filling and topped with peanut butter frosting. The waitstaff are awesome and I can honestly say I've never had a bad meal there.

That cupcake sounds awesome!  That's definitely on the list as I have a sweet tooth that would win gold medals for England.  Thank you!
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: starry diadem on April 20, 2013, 01:24:36 AM
Oh, no!  I'm going to be in Georgia and MISS this delightful treat (but at least I know it's going to be here, unlike some events that I find out about a month later.....). 

Patrick Stewart?  Original cast from Battlestar Galactica?  Gah......

On the other hand, I'm going to the Atlanta Renn Faire with Ambrosia Hino, Wonderful SIL, and the wonderful DGS (I admit it, I am slightly biased).  And I can't be at both, since neither Scotty nor DeFarge are available to beam me anywhere........


I couldn't resist.  It was flattering to be asked to do the panel anyway, but when they threw Richard Hatch. Dirk Benedict and ComicPalooza into the mix... well, I was lost and was straight onto the internet buying my flight.  Ten hours each way, and it will still be worth it!

Have a good time at the Faire!
Title: Re: Where to eat in Houston
Post by: lowspark on June 10, 2013, 03:38:26 PM
So how was your visit? Tell us all about it! I hope you had a great time!