Houston, TX

When a large snow storm hit my area in the middle of December, I bought my round trip tickets to Houston, TX without any hesitation. I learned that my aunt and a college friend are there. And I had not visited the warmer, fourth largest US city yet.

My flight was quite comfortable. My first impression stepping out of IAH was Houston vehicles were shiny with black tint windows (Texan hot summers can be dangerous). Compared to the rusty, salt-damaged cars in Western NY. My friend picked me up and we drove back to her spacious apartment.

We spent Christmas eve dinner at my aunt's. Her husband made the largest rib roast in his new smoker. It turned out to be delicious. The main entree was so filling that I had to restrict from stuffing myself with side dishes and desserts.

My friend and I spent a relatively quiet Christmas day. We baked a deboned chicken with crayfish and rice stuffing from Hebert's speacialty meats store. I love what Hebert's had to offer: a wide variety of meats ranging from seafood to beef, all marinated with Southern style flavors. The store also sells homemade BBQ sauces and spice powders, wood chips and side dishes. It was no wonder there was a long line of people queuing to stock up on their supplies for the hols.

The next day, we checked out Lupe Tortilla, a Tex-Mex joint that was highly rated on Urbanspoon. The chips and salsa were fabulous but I didn't quite enjoy my lunch combo of tacos and tamales. My friend's quesadilla looked good though. We walked off our full bellies at Katy Mills Mall, where I stumbled upon Bass Pro Shops. I was amazed by the sheer size and appearance of the store! Totally a man-heaven :)

I spent the rest of my vacation with my aunt's family. We visited Moody Gardens and rode on the Colonel along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. After a day of family fun activities, my uncle drove us to T-Bone Tom's for homemade Texan food. The restaurant was featured in Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Let's just say we ordered the specials and pigged out!

On the way home to Houston, my uncle showed me the third largest petrochemical and refinery area in the world. It ran forever along the highway. The area looked like a massive township with tall buildings, smoky chimneys and bright lights.

My first trip to Houston was memorable filled with family, friends, food and fun. I'm not sure if I like living there but I look forward to another visit.

Homemade rib roast

Chicken with crayfish and rice stuffing

Tex Mex lunch

T-Bone Tom's armadillo eggs and boudain balls

Date: 1/1/11 (Happy New Year!)

Chicken fried steak with gravy, coleslaw, steak fries and thick sliced toast