Last Thursday morning, I hopped on a plan and headed to see one of my bestest friends who now lives in Houston. Natalie and I met freshmen year at ECU (yes, we’ve been friends for 12 years) at a bus stop. We’ve shared many laughs, tears and random moments through the years. I was one of her bridesmaids and she was one of mine. And now she’s a mommy to a beautiful baby girl. I couldn’t wait to meet the newest addition to her little family.
Starbucks Blonde roast fueled me through the morning.
On Thursday evening after I arrived, we headed out for happy hour at Black Walnut Cafe. I enjoyed a Bubble Bath Martini (White peach, cranberry, sparkling wine, Grand Marnier) and Natalie enjoyed a lovely glass of red wine.
The last time we were together she was pregnant – so it was fun having a drink together.
After some walking around and window shopping, we were starving. Nat was excited to take me a Torchy’s Tacos – taco heaven! It is a no-frills kind of place and totally hit the spot. I ordered the Mr. Pink (seared Ahi tuna, cabbage fresca, cilantro, salsa fresco with a wedge of lime. And my favorite taco of the night was the Crossroads taco (smoked beef brisket with grilled onions, jalapenos, cilantro, jack cheese and a slice of avocado).
Baby Grace is the sweetest baby.
Of course I researched places to eat in Houston and I ran across Zelko Bistro, located in the Heights part of town. To start we shared fried pickles with a homemade ranch. The fried pickles were perfectly fried without being greasy. I like to think I’m not stuck up when it comes to fried pickles but I am – and these passed my approval. This ranch dressing was so fresh – lots of fresh herbs which added some brightness to every bite.
And for my main meal, the Harvest Lox Salad. Dried tart cherries apple smoked salmon, toasted pecans, shallots, seasonal green leaf & citrus emulsion – totally hit the spot.
We had one minor glitch on Friday (AC decided not to work) and we learned very quickly that Grace does not like to be hot. Neither do I.
We stayed in on Friday evening and enjoyed some homemade tapas (stuffed dates, tomato salad and Asian chicken wings). Nat and I indulged in a college favorite – 3 Card.
Baby Grace managed to get herself into a few awkward positions but you never wake a sleeping baby – I just went with it.
Jesus served us at Reef on Saturday night (date night with Nat and her husband minus the baby). Reef is a James Beard Nominee and I was pumped to give it a try. We all shared some fried oysters and I went with the tile fish plate. Cooked perfectly and served over a corn pudding that honestly tasted like the most delicious corn bread muffin.
Post-dinner we took advantage of Natalie’s in laws watching Grace and we sipped champagne while laughing hysterically and wishing we lived closer.
It was a fantastic weekend and I hated to see it come to an end. I can’t wait to visit Houston again and next time I’m taking Big Guy.