Today, in this Houston Texas Food and Travel Guide, I’m sharing my favorite places and foods in Texas and my hometown, Houston. When Ozarka® Brand Natural Spring Water contacted me and asked me to partner with them to write about the things I love about Texas and where I live, I jumped at the chance.
I’m a Texas girl through and through. I was born and raised in San Antonio but have lived most of my adult life in the Houston area. I love Texas and am going to share some of my favorite places, things to do, and food found in Texas and the greater Houston area, especially the fantastic regional food that we have.
The Great Outdoors
The State of Texas is huge! We have a lot of outdoor space. Here are a few of my favorite outdoor things to do.
- Bluebonnets: Every Spring for about a month or two we have wildflowers along the roadways thanks to LadyBird Johnson. The most popular wildflowers are the Bluebonnets, which are the state flower of Texas. They are beautiful and will cover huge fields.
- Bluebonnet kid photos: It is a ritual here that everyone drives out to the country, plops their kids down (big kids, 2-legged kids, and 4-legged kids, alike) into a field of bluebonnets to take photos. Just check the Facebook newsfeeds of your Texas friends in the spring and you will see what I mean.
- Bluebonnet traffic jams: Traffic jams caused by people slowing down and pulling over to the side of the road to take the requisite bluebonnet photos.
- Trees and Walking Paths: In an area north of Houston called The Woodlands, there are large pine trees and walking trails. The area was originally referred to as the “livable forest,” which is very accurate in my opinion. It is a nice escape from the concrete jungle, and a nice place to live.
- Lake Woodlands: This small lake is a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. It has a restaurant row where you can sit outside overlooking the lake, or just sit on a bench and watch the sunset. People also kayak or stand up paddle board on the lake.
Texas Food (The best in the World!)
- Tex-Mex Restaurants: Usually once every year or two I have to travel internationally for work. It is always fun to go on a trip, but it is always nice to come home. The food that I crave most after I have been away for a week or two is Tex-Mex. Some of my favorite restaurants are Pappasito’s, Guadalajara’s, Los Cucos, and the Mi Rancho in The Woodlands.
- Tex-Mex Menu Items: Some of my favorite items at a Tex-Mex restaurant are margaritas, enchiladas, beef fajitas, breakfast tacos, guacamole made tableside, and freshly made homemade tortillas. My family in Florida tells me they miss the homemade flour tortillas because no restaurants where they live serve them, whereas in Texas, most large Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurants will make their tortillas in-house. The frozen margarita above and the Shrimp Enchilada dish below were both from Mi Rancho Grill & Bar in The Woodlands.
- Texas BBQ Restaurants: When it comes to Texas BBQ, beef is king! I grew up in San Antonio. I have loved that smoky, tangy tomato-based barbecue sauce and smoky Texas barbecue my entire life. I have to be honest, until just recently I mostly preferred the Texas BBQ from Central Texas, around the Austin area. There is something about that slow-smoked flavor that is out of this world.
- Some of my favorite Central Texas places are:
- In the Woodlands / Spring area north of Houston, I recommend:
- Corkscrew BBQ in Old Town Spring. The photos of the brisket and ribs at the top of the blog post and below are both from Corkscrew BBQ.
- Texas BBQ Menu Items: My favorite menu item is sliced barbecue beef brisket that has been smoked for hours. I like it served by itself, in a sandwich, on top of a baked potato, or served with eggs inside a breakfast taco! The photo below is of the tender, moist, fall apart with a fork barbecue brisket from Corkscrew BBQ.
- Fine Dining Creole-Style: We tend to only eat at Fine Dining restaurants for special occasions, such as anniversaries, birthdays and that sort of thing. My favorite special occasion restaurant is Brennan’s. This restaurant is a Houston landmark. It was opened in 1967 in Houston as a sister restaurant to Commander’s Palace in New Orleans and has remained one of Houston’s top fine dining restaurants for decades. I did a review of their sister restaurant, Cafe Adelaide, in New Orleans last year.
- Menu Items: Brennan’s now has a 777 menu, which is “Seven for Seven till Seven” where you can choose from 7 wines, cocktails & appetizers, such as my favorite, the Shrimp Ceviche, which was to die for! This new 777 menu makes me very happy because now I no longer need to wait for a special occasion to visit Brennan’s, I can go with friends after work!
- Other Texas Foods I love:
- Kolaches – The Czechs brought them to Texas but now we claim them as our own Texas food. You can find them at the Kolache Factory, which has locations all around Houston.
- Crawfish – These mudbugs are extremely popular in Houston. Several friends mentioned them as their favorite. Old Town Spring has an annual Crawfish Festival every spring to celebrate the little mudbug.
Texas Made Products: Ozarka sent me a gift box with all these cool Texas made products.
- Paqui Tortilla Chips: These “better for you” tortilla chips are great tasting and use high-quality ingredients.
- Snow’s BBQ Sauce: Texas Monthly magazine named Snow’s BBQ as the best barbecue in Texas.
- Cookwell & Company Queso con Salsa Escabeche: This queso contains a flavorful blend of cheddar and blue cheeses combined with fire-roasted tomatoes. Cookwell & Company is located in Austin and the owners wear boots to work and have 3 grills and a smoker at their office. I could be happy going to that office every day.
- Yellowbird Sauce Habanero Sauces: Made in Austin, these habanero sauces are totally natural spicy pepper condiments.
- Sweet & Spicy Mustard Seeds by Taste Elevated: These flavor packed pearls are cooked just enough to be tender and have a sweet heat added to them.
- Black Garlic Rosemary BBQ Sauce by the Jelly Queens: Based out of Dallas and Austin, the Jelly Queens make gourmet jams, jellies, spices, and sauces.
- Ozarka® Brand Natural Spring Water comes from three Texas springs and for a uniquely Texan taste. If you are having trouble finding it, check out their delivery.
Thanks to Ozarka® Brand Natural Spring Water for providing the gift box of goodies and sponsoring this post of things I love about my State of Texas and hometown of Houston. #FromHereForHere