3 Days in Houston, Texas

I arrived in Houston, Texas Wednesday afternoon for the NBMBAA conference with my 2020 MBA cohort. I was especially excited because I have never been to Texas before (besides catching connecting flights in Dallas). Although I have not heard stellar things about Houston, I was still interested in seeing what it had to offer.

Due to arriving pretty late in the afternoon on Wednesday, I only really had time to eat and explore the hotel. We stayed at Le Méridien Houston Downtown, which had a pretty central location and was only a short walk from the George R. Brown Convention Center. The hotel was nice. The rooms were clean and comfortable. My biggest issue had to do with the room keys. I had to get them reactivated 3 times due to them updating/restarting the system. Lucky for me, the first time I went down to the second floor (reception desk) to reactivate my keys, another guest gave me his complimentary breakfast cards because he did not have time to use them.

For dinner we went to Brennan’s of Houston, a cajun/creole restaurant in Midtown. We went without looking at the menu or the price ($$$$). Let me just say, we were not dressed appropriately….therefore, we were seated in the courtyard haha. The restaurant is highly reviewed and rated (1.4k reviews on Google & 4.6 stars), so it could be worse. I had the Snapping Turtle Soup (a Brennan’s tradition splashed with sherry) and a salad. Both were good and I was somehow satisfied after both (the soup was pretty large). If you plan on dining here, valet is only $5.

Snapping Turtle Soup

After dinner, we went to the rooftop bar at our hotel – Z on23 Rooftop Bar. It was a happening spot and I found the drinks affordable in comparison to Miami.

The next day, I got up early to go to the NBMBAA conference. The George R. Brown Convention Center was pretty nice and spacious.

At the conference I even got a free headshot from the Reebok stand – look at me all professional!

After speaking with employers and networking, I took a break to get lunch at Biggio’s, a sports bar in the Marriott Marquis. I had the Brisket Tacos –they were okay, nothing spectacular. Later on, after napping and showering (the Houston heat is no joke), I got to walk around Houston. On the way to our “snack” spot, I got some pictures of the city.

We then arrived at Pappasito’s Cantina for some snacks and drinks. The chips and salsa were great (had a nice kick). The guacamole was good but was lacking a bit in flavor. To drink we had a flight of different margaritas and they were, for the most part, great. There was one that was way too high on salt. The pineapple one was the favorite.

The Jonas Brothers were actually performing at the arena tonight, so we got to see and interact with the stands the radio stations had. We were hoping we would catch a glimpse of the Jo Bros, but we did not. I am even more excited to see them in November at the BB&T center!

After that we headed back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner (yes, all I do is eat). On the walk over to Huynh, a BYOB Vietnamese restaurant with 1.3K Google reviews & 4.6 stars, I saw more birds in one place than I have ever seen.

We got a couple bottles of wine before heading over to Huynh since it is BYOB. To eat, I wanted something refreshing but satisfying. I had the veggie spring rolls and the pulled duck with cabbage; both were phenomenal. The veggie spring rolls came with a delicious peanut sauce and the duck salad was delicious. I truly was not that hungry, but I devoured it all.

Vegetarian Spring Rolls with peanut sauce
Duck & cabbage with ginger sauce

After dinner, we ubered to Little Woodrow’s Midtown for the turtle race; it was very “Texas”. I sipped on my watermelon mule while I waited for the turtle race (I never thought I would EVER be at a turtle race). It was interesting, but I felt bad for the turtles; I hope they have a happy life with lots of food and no abuse.

After the turtle race, we hung out for a bit and then ubered back to the hotel (another early morning tomorrow). The next morning, I took advantage of the free breakfast (sure beat paying $15 for fruit and iced coffee). I had the Eggs Benedict and it was good but different (and did I mention FREE).

Eggs Benedict

It actually started to pour after breakfast, so I had to wait for it to calm down before heading back to the conference. After the conference, I got to see the famous Texas shaped pool at the Marriott Marquis, and it did not disappoint.

We then went to Finn Hall for lunch. On the way there I saw some really nice street art. For lunch, I had a Bibimbap bowl with some of the spicy sauce (ask for it if you like it spicy) and it was great. This food hall has a lot of great options; it is a must for foodies!

Bibimbap Bowl

After that delicious lunch, I headed back to the hotel to relax. After relaxing, it was a priority to get some BBQ (when in Texas!). We went to The Pit Room which was jam pack (line went out the door but went quickly) and has 2.3k reviews on Google and 4.6 stars. I had brisket with beans and coleslaw and an ice-cold beer – it sure hit the spot (even if my stomach was dead the next day)!

Dinner Plate – 1 meat with 2 sides

After our meal we were set on having a night out with our cohort. Although the night did not live up to expectations (being from Miami, we expect a lot), it was nice to explore.

We started out at House of Blues and then went to what was supposed to be a Latin bar but was actually a college bar and then went back to House of Blues and then went to The Dirt Bar (a really intriguing punk, grunge bar) and then tried to get into some club where Floyd Mayweather was at (we did not want to pay $40 each) and then we just ended up back at the hotel. It was a jam packed night with a lot of activity….let me just add that I reached my exercise/movement goal on my watch at 2 am…. On this trip we learned to appreciate Miami. It was apparent that Houston was not Miami.

The next morning, I took advantage of the free breakfast again, packed up my stuff, and relaxed until it was time to leave.

In all honesty, I was ready to go back home. I felt like I saw and conquered. Houston was clean and spacious but overall, it was a bit dead. That being said, I am excited to explore other parts of Houston.

XO,

Caylin

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