The Energizer Buddy Summer 2007 tour took us to Houston this past weekend. Budman left on Monday and we hit I-45 early Friday AM. Site of athletic competition is former SWC member, University of Houston.
Cougar High is somewhere in that downtown Houston morass shown on the left. We were able to navigate our way through and got there just in time to miss Buddy’s race. We were however able to observe his bird dogging technique and were informed by one of the parent chaperones that he has a new role model. Parents of opposite gendered offspring should be very afraid.
But I know what you’re saying. Enough proud parent stuff, what about the food!!! Well, it was a short trip, just an overnighter so there wasn’t much time for a full blown Austin style tour of local restaurants. Not to say however that we didn’t sample some of the local fare.
What would a trip anywhere in Texas be without BBQ? So our first foray into Houston cuisine was to try out the Pappas BBQ for a late lunch down on Gulf Freeway. First a few words about the Pappas Brothers. They own Houston. They run, bar none, some of the finest restaurants in Texas. Pappasito’s for Mexican, Pappadeaux for Cajun just to name a couple. So expectations were high. We’re talking iPhone high. And as is usually the case, the reality didn’t even come close to what we expected. I had ribs and The Esposa went with the sliced brisket. The BBQ was fair at best and the sides were barely mediocre. In fairness, it’s only been a couple of weeks since we were treated to massive doses of Hill Country BBQ at Rudy’s and County Line. Also it should be noted that even at 2:30 in the afternoon cars were lined up down the service road to get into their drive through line. Maybe it was us, but very unspectacular.
For dinner we decided to brave downtown and find some sort of out of the way “cool” place to eat. For those who have never been in downtown Houston I shall impart a bit of hard learned wisdom. Unless you enjoy sharing the street with trains, avoid Main St. Further, if you should find yourself on a part of Main St. where traffic could possibly, but is probably not legally encouraged to, cross the tracks it is best to yield to the train. Don’t ask me how I know.
Anyway, what we found was a little place called Cabo’s near the Theater District. We found ourselves a table on the second floor patio and ordered libations. Frozen margarita for Esposa, Dos Equis con lima for myownself. I stepped out on faith and ordered the Plantain Encrusted Mahi Mahi. I gotta tell you, it was awesome. Served with a corn salsa and grilled vegetables (tomatoes and yellow squash) it was amazing. Esposa opted for the Grilled Shrimp burrito and found it equally tasty. A little confession, at least for that moment with a full stomach and cold Mexican beer on the table, Houston didn’t suck.
And now for a Public Service Announcement regarding the ubiquitous new “Chinese” fast food joint, Panda Express. Their website refers to it as “Gourmet” Chinese food I can only presume tongue in cheek. We attempted to have lunch there prior to heading over to Pappas for mediocre BBQ. But while standing in line we watched the minimum wage worker tasked with preparing the plates returning food to the steam table after having been scooped up on plates for whatever reason. Now I’m not terribly picky about my food or I probably wouldn’t eat Chinese in the first place, but I really don’t know where that food has been and based on our place in line some of it would have ended up on my plate so we decided to flee. If anyone from the Houston Department of Health is reading this drop me a line and we’ll talk. Very nasty.
And I can’t close off this post without mentioning the suite at the Marriott. The Houston Hobby Marriott isn’t in the best part of town, but with Houston zoning (sic) you’re never really far from a refinery, warehouse district, or industrial complex. But the Marriott is trying. We were looking for something in that “nice but cheap” category and didn’t have a reservation. We googled the neighborhood and came up with a $69 king at the Marriot. Given the rate and locale, expectations were low. What we got was an upgraded King Suite with two, count them, two large flat screen TV sets and what can only be described as the Heaven With A Box Springs hotel bed. I can’t remember a better night’s sleep on a hotel bed….ever. Oh…and did I mention the TVs? I did? Well get this, not only free HBO, but free HBO2 on top of that. Oh yeah. I’m loving Houston.