Dog Friendly Restaurants- Houston

Since I’ve been asked a few times about dog friendly places, I figured I’d write up some recommendations. Houston has a bad rap of not being very dog friendly. While it’s true that the city makes it pretty difficult to have a permit (from what I’ve heard), there are actually a lot of places that allow dogs, even if it’s only on one specific part of the patio. Dan and I are very clearly obsessed with our pup, Barley, and tend to take him everywhere. I’m pretty sure all the Lowe’s employees know him by now. So if a place is a dog-friendly, you better believe we will hit it up more often.

Let’s start with our personal favorites (which also happen to be some Houston favorites):

Onion Creek All the food is delicious, there’s a serious Austin vibe, it’s right off a walking/bike trail, and the drink variety is great (frozen mimosas at brunch, yes please). This is our major go-to if we want to get out of the house and just chill out for a bit. It’s also super shaded by trees, which is perfect for the devilishly hot Houston summers. [Dogs only allowed on concrete portion]

Cottonwood Voted the best patio bar (at least I heard that somewhere?), it delivers. The design is super cool, and while the food is mostly meh (seriously, I’ve tried everything on the menu- Sloppy JoJo is the only excellent thing), this one is a 5 minute walk from our house. AKA, it’s our most frequented spot. The beers on tap are constantly rotating and I love their Too Fresh cocktail. [Dogs only allowed on gravel] TIP: If you’re in the area, and want really tasty food, you should hop over to Shepherd Park Draught House, which is also dog friendly.

West Alabama Ice House This place is just a Houston establishment. It’s been around since the 1920’s and is absolutely no frills. Don’t visit looking for AC, but do visit for the ice cold, cheap beers and laid back vibe. Or if you like to shoot some hoops while drinking said beers. Even fun when your husband crushes you at a game of HORSE, while playing left handed. When he’s right handed. They don’t serve food, but there’s typically a food truck!

Restaurants worthy of a good date night:

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Giacomo’s Cibo e Vino Located in River Oaks, this place is a big favorite within the neighborhood. Fantastic Italian food, with a great wine selection, and a patio that somehow makes you feel like you aren’t sitting right on Westheimer. On top of that, service is great too. It’s nice without being frou-frou or overpriced, which I really appreciate in a restaurant inside the loop.

Zelko Bistro Everything I’ve eaten here is spot on- especially the mussels. The patio isn’t very large and is covered by a white tent that makes it feel intimate, but also like you’re at a wedding. There are also fresh flowers are on each table (when I’ve gone), which I always find charming. Put this at the top of your brunch list too- the sandwiches are all stellar.

Gratifi Set in a cute old house, in the middle of Montrose, this one is a winner. Full disclosure- I called this “Graffiti” for over a year, before realizing it’s actually pronounced like “Gratify”. I recommended it to several people this way, and am now embarrassed. This one has a wonderful brunch as well… leading me to branch out on this top.

For brunch:

Empire Café Super solid, true, breakfast items at an amazing price. Love this place. And so do other Houstonians based on the line that runs out the door every weekend! TIP: If it’s too crazy and you don’t feel like waiting, walk across the street to Brasil. It’s another yummy order at the counter place, with a big hidden patio in the back. Good luck finding the gate.

Backstreet Café Adore this place so much. While I haven’t sucked it up and paid dinner prices yet, Dan and I have enjoyed an absolutely delightful brunch here and I would love to go back (DAN!). They even brought out tiny baked goods with our meal. Someone get me a Backstreet Benedict, STAT.

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Tiny Boxwood’s Without a doubt, the CUTEST restaurant I’ve ever been to and my go-to when out-of-towners visit. It shares a lawn with a plant nursery. (My sis-in-law thought I meant a nursery for babies, so had to make that clear. That’d be an interesting concept…) The charm of this place just oozes and the food & drinks are worth the wait. Don’t worry, they set up a bar outside when they’re busy so you can sip your white wine mojito while you’re in line. Oh, and don’t forget a choco chip cookie. They’re Houston-famous. (Also, LOOK HOW TINY BARLEY IS!!!)

Just for Drinks:

Bar Boheme HUGE outdoor space. Actually, this place is mostly outdoor space. Go for the relaxed vibe, later than normal HH (4-8), and diverse drink options that still has all the classics. And if they have the frozen mojito, get that. And I know I said “just drinks” but do yourself a favor and order the Vietnamese fries too.

Axelrad Newer to Houston, this one is quickly becoming popular. Great local beer selection and they have hammocks, which is novel. Maybe not the best idea when people are drinking, as we witnessed! But amusing to watch people fall out J They also have a couple food trucks on site.

Karbach Brewing Company Probably our favorite Houston brewery. It’s closest to our house and they just do a really solid job with all of their beers. It’s been really fun to see them grow but also crazy how much they’ve expanded since we’ve lived in Houston! The actual restaurant patio isn’t dog friendly, which is weird, but the brewery area is and they usually have food trucks! Or you can order food at the bar in the restaurant and bring it out.

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Eight Row Flint Another newer place people are flocking to! Driving down Yale, it’s hard to resist the call of this patio. It always seems to be bustling, and for good reason. Although the whiskey selection is what they’re known for, the frozen margaritas are some of the best I’ve had. Another perk- they cook all the food out of a truck, but there are actual servers, so no waiting in line! And the chips are to die for.

Cheers to all my pup loving Houstonians!

Houston Rodeo 2016

We got lucky and for the second year in a row, Dan was rewarded with suite tickets for the rodeo. So dang spoiled, and we know it.  It was a gorgeous Saturday, so we went early to walk around, see the animals and scope out the fried foods. We somehow resisted! Although we did get to check out the wine garden, which we hadn’t visited before. They sell it at cost, which means it’s all really reasonably priced. Then we headed inside NRG stadium for the actual rodeo and show. Turns out it was the finals, so we got to see all the events twice (and fully take advantage of the suite’s food & drinks). The winner of each category went home with $50,000! Not bad. Brad Paisley was the performer, and put on a great show- jumping out into the dirt, high-fiving fans, and stealing their phones to take videos. He’s also got some serious guitar skills! It was such a nice day and felt great to be in Houston, enjoying our city. And I always love seeing Dan in a hat and boots 😉

See last year’s rodeo here.

Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day

I love celebrating love. Dan is one of the types that thinks Valentine’s Day is stupid, but I’ve always loved it. What’s not to like about sweet, cheesy cards, chocolates, and flowers?!

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This year, Dan woke up early to pick me up a chocolate croissant (my favorite) from a local bakery/ dessert place- Red’s Dessert Dive. If you know how much Dan likes sleep, then you’ll understand how thoughtful of a gesture this was! He even had a sweet little poem for each piece of our day- even just going church. It was too sweet and I loved it.

Our big event was a beer and cheese pairing at Saint Arnold’s Brewery! Houston Dairymaids provided the cheese and we learned about where it was from (all over Texas) and why it pairs well with beer. Supposedly, beer pairs better with cheese than wine!! Something to do with the bubbles in beer. I was too busy salivating over the cheese. We ended the night with more cheese in the form of Pink’s Pizza. It was a perfect, low-key, day.

 

We actually drank the wine Monday night because I wanted to stretch Valentine’s out. It’s from William Chris Vineyards in Fredericksburg and has the most perfect wine label for the occasion. If I’m remembering correctly, the lip prints are actually from real people at the winery. We’ve been saving it for Valentine’s and totally forgot… for the last 2 years! Ha. At least wine ages well 😉

Sidenote- I’m in love with Emily McDowell’s Etsy shop– her cards are heart felt without being sappy and the lettering is beautiful. I got some Valentine’s cards here this year (and have in the past), but she also has the best sympathy, mother/fathers day, and anniversary cards! I’m not always the best with words, but I think she nails it. A few of my favorites, that I may or may not have purchased:

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And Happy Anniversary to my sweet parents!! Married 35 years 🙂 Look how cute:

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Houston Eats & Drinks

With the weather just too perfect for words here in Houston, we spent quite a bit of time outdoors & with friends this weekend! Barley was utterly wiped by the end of it. Some places to check out if it’s as good this weekend (or I guess you could just sit inside):

Feels very old school mod, from the cocktails to the furniture. The Mexicali Sour was so fresh and tasty, but the drink specials change regularly! From the people at Treadsack, AKA all the great and trendy restaurants in Houston.
In a converted gas station, this patio is a dream. Apparently people agree because it was pretty packed. And the frozen margaritas are divine. I’ve been converted from an “on the rocks” girl- exception made only for this place. Check it out, and make sure to get some tortilla chips, because they are perfection. No wonder I like it, it’s the same people behind Coltivare!
With an amazing selection of Belgian beers (my personal favorites) and all the Belgian delicacies you can imagine, this place was delicious. The mussels come out in a big hot pot (YUM) and I had to follow it up with Belgian waffles because I’m into clichés. Of course, the Belgian Frites were great too. But beware- service is SLOW.
And my favorite restaurant this weekend… our own home. REALLY loving our kitchen. And the people who fill it. And the food that’s made in it. And I promise I’ll post more on the remodel soon…. in the mean time, this Thai Chicken braised in Coconut Milk was just great, even if the pictures weren’t as pretty!

Being at Home

Oh the joy of being at home. Something that Dan and I never seem to get enough. There is just something too good about waking up sans alarm on a Saturday, in your own bed. Then proceeding to have a cup of coffee on your patio, in the cool January weather, while perusing articles online. And to sum up the best morning ever, hearing your husband call to you that breakfast is ready and going inside to the smell of bacon and Dawes playing over the speakers, as he whisks you around the living room for a quick waltz. Seriously. Such little things make for the greatest morning. Trying to savor every minute of this phase of life.

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Ignore the weeds covering the yard.

Other than idyllic Saturday mornings, two weekends IN A ROW, at home, meant:
Going to the movies. I’m trying to play catch up on all the best picture noms and we are way behind. The Big Short was so stinking good. Thankful for my finance classes. The Revenant was… in terms of cinematography, just beautiful. In general, a film I could appreciate, but not need to see again. And I, along with everyone, hope Leo finally wins an Oscar 😉
Hanging out at some new Houston places, along with some old favorites (El Tiempo, always). Axelrad opened last month and is a very cool beer garden. I loved the simplicity of it, but the colors really amped it up. The tap handles were gorgeous and the beer selection was diverse. We also finally tried Reef, a seafood place in Midtown. Turns out the porkchop ended up being the best dish!
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Axelrad taps

Savoring this sweet, sweet weather. Houston may feel like the pits of hell in the summertime, but winters are on point. Thankful for a park down the street, a fun loving dog, and the best patio bar to relax at. (Cottonwood wins every time.)
Playing catch up! After weeks of not being home much, I cleaned up and cleaned out. So much went to Goodwill and the church. I feel like they are probably overwhelmed every January as people purge for the new year. I definitely felt the urge to purge, and I haven’t even read any Marie Kondo books 😉 Even our fridge got a refresh!
Finally, FRIENDS! Yay for friends (not the show, but yay for that too- we’ve been Netflix binging). Y’all rock. Houston has some fine people.

Bedroom Colors

Since we didn’t end up putting in navy kitchen cabinets, I still have an itch to have it in a big way. Now I’m thinking about covering our entire bedroom. Even though it has 4 windows, it doesn’t get a ton of natural light and I’m not sure how it would look with our dark & heavy furniture. But I am loving the idea of it and feeling adventurous, especially after painting the rest of the house in white and gray (and trying to block out how much I hate painting). Maybe we could just do one wall navy, and the rest white? Are accent walls still in? Anyway, check out these rooms:

November Festivities

Seeing as we are half way through December, this post is way delayed. But oh well. November was so good!!! With the remodel finally wrapping up, we were able to get some serious friends and relaxation time in. It was like we were on a remodel hangover and the first weekend we could take a break, we did. And did nothing house related! Woo! But some other so good bits from the month…

I turned 26! We celebrated in Austin at Jacoby’s (East Austin has gotten way too cool) with Chels & Katie and our boys (men?). LOVE quality time as grownups with our husbands, who I think are all pretty darn awesome…. note how much we match our significant others. It’s kind of creepy and maybe narcissistic? But fun 🙂

We hosted our first tailgate!! In true Callie form, I stressed out about the details while Dan was beyond chill (and very last minute) about all of it. It was a pretty cruddy day, but the rained cleared up by the time the tailgate started and we found a great spot on campus! Everyone brought treats & drinks and we grilled up some burgers & dogs. Such a fun time. And we crushed KU!

We had a Novemberfest party. Dan & I are trying to make an Oktoberfest party an annual thing for us, but due to the state of our house in October, we pushed it back a month. Dan brewed an Oktoberfest beer that was great and I cooked up some goodies. Tara came into town and was a god send in helping get everything ready. Phew. Too bad I took almost zero pictures… I did get a few of some of the food. So there’s that. This mulled wine was a huge hit! As well as this pumpkin spice trifle. And both were very easy 🙂 We also did brats and pretzels with beer cheese dip.


We checked out the new movie theater in town, where we had delicious food, a pillow, blanket, and recliners. Best way to see a movie!

We went to the park & had a picnic- the weather is good! Finally!!!! (Although it was 82 and humid beyond all December reason this weekend, so that was maybe premature. Unfortunately.)

I cannot believe Christmas is NEXT WEEK!! Meanwhile, I’ll be in a t-shirt. Thanks Houston.