I arrived into Houston Hobby on Wednesday night, already wondering what my dear friend Thao would have lined up for dinner. On a quick trip into the city to participate in a Gilman scholarship panel, I had little time to visit my friend and less time to eat.
Anyone who has ever been to Houston knows the culinary landscape at work here. Most people back East are like, “Texas? Are you for real?” To be fair, we are in the middle of a political season, so I get it. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been coming down to Texas since I met Thao & co. in 2004 and have seen Houston, Austin, Dallas / Fort Worth, San Antonio – and it all tastes good.
In answer to the question, “what do you want to eat?” – I answered “everything.” Thao knows I’ve been sheltered in sad, small Charleston so she texted me a menu for Oporto*. Vamos a tapear! Let’s go for tapas!
If you’re new to tapas – let’s get you acquainted. Tapear (the Spanish verb) translates to “to cover,” but is often used socially in Spanish culture – to get tapas. Originally, tapas were served at pubs and inns to literally cover the drinks of travelers. Pint of beer? Have some cheese. Glass of vino? Snack on some olives. The small-plate culture translated into a phenomenon in Spain and has — thankfully — made it’s way West.
So we dined on Piquillo Pepper Rellenos (peppers stuffed with awesome), Espetada de Carne (wine-soaked beef), and a special that night – Moroccan chicken cigaros (also stuffed with awesome). Wash that down with a Caipirinha and call it a night.
Or … go to nearby Amy’s* for some ice cream. THEN call it a night.
A shout out for a beautiful and outrageously comfortable hotel, the stunning Hotel Indigo* in the Galleria. Any hotel whose hotel smells like cotton candy immediately vaults to the next level among its competitors. (They told us it was an air freshener, but I have my doubts). With beautiful blues and a bed big enough for 4, it was a peaceful place to spend the night, guarded by the brand new dressers that lined the hallways. Also? I don’t know any other hotels who use haikus in their info books.
Thanks, Houston! Hasta pronto…