A Trip to the Suburbs: Curry Sultan in Humble

Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Let's take a trip to India...

chai tea at Curry Sultan - an Indian Restaurant near Houston, Texas

India in... Humble, Texas - where yours truly hails from.

(Go Wildcats!)

(right, like this theater nerd ever actually went to a football game during any of her high school years.)

A few weeks ago (I'm super behind on blog posts, by the by), I met up with my friend Meredith and her son/my godson Lincoln for lunch at the Indian restaurant Curry Sultan in Humble, which is a northeastern suburb of Houston.

Curry Sultan - an Indian Restaurant near Houston, Texas

Located in a strip center - which, fun fact, I'm pretty sure once housed a Jazzercise studio (if anyone can verify this, my soul is yours) - the restaurant is basic, casual, and no-frills. Meredith has been coming here regularly and singing its praises, so I was excited to try this restaurant out!

I got there shamefully early (if anyone has learned how to correctly gauge the amount of time it takes to get from Houston to the 'burbs, my soul and my FitBit are yours), so I decided to order a chai tea while I waited.

I requested my tea to be mixed with almond milk in place of cow's milk to make it vegan, and I was not disappointed. It certainly wasn't as heavy or thick as standard chai tea with dairy milk, but I was okay with that. It was sweet, smooth, nutty, and tasty!

Meredith and her handsome little red-headed boy arrived, and we were presented with some crunchy noodles, which I of course could nosh on for days.

crunchy noodles at Curry Sultan - an Indian Restaurant near Houston, Texas

In my month+ of being a vegan, I have to admit to you all that I don't know how long it will keep up. It's not because I don't like it - In fact, I love it! Physically, I feel fantastic, and I love being able to sustain myself on foods that are free from animal products. However, even in a big city like Houston, it is very tricky learning how to navigate dining out.

Case in point - Curry Sultan is an Indian food restaurant, so really, how hard can it be to eat there as a vegan? Not hard, BUT I learned that day you have to be verrrry careful when reading menus. Several dishes on the menu were labeled "vegan," but they in fact contained paneer (cheese). I asked them if maybe it was a vegan cheese they used, and they said no, it had milk in it.

So read the descriptions people!

I read the descriptions and chatted with the friendly wait staff, and I decided to start with the masala papads for my first course of food.

masala papads at Curry Sultan - an Indian Restaurant near Houston, Texas

This was by far one of the most unique Indian dishes I've tried here in Greater Houston. Thin, crisp, disc-shaped "toast" made with lentil and rice flour was served with a side mixture of onions, potatoes, and green chilies. The discs were nutty, earthy, and had an unusual (but good) fragrance. Even though the toasts had a light layer of a silky oil coating around them, they still managed to be firm. I broke these into little pieces for Lincoln and he seemed into it, except for when he threw it on the floor (if anyone can teach me how to speak "baby," my soul and my FitBit and all of my Candy Crush boosters are yours). The accompanying mixture of veggies was fluffy and light, and added a nice contrast to the papads.

For my final round of food, I ordered the Aloo matar. Spiced potatoes and peas were simmered gently in a tomato-based sauce, and served with a side of rice. The aloo matar was a thick, acidic, aromatic, hearty stew, and I absolutely adored every bite! The rice leveled out some of the acidity, and added a softness to this earthy, stick-to-your-bones (yet healthy) dish. It was absolutely fabulous.

If you find yourself in the Humble/Kingwood suburbs of Houston, and you're having a hankering for some good Indian food, you can't go wrong with the restaurant Curry Sultan!

aloo matar at Curry Sultan - an Indian Restaurant near Houston, Texas

(If you take me there, my soul and my FitBit and all of my candy crush boosters and my two Kenny G. CDs from the 90s are yours.)

The 2016 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

2016 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

This year, I had the great fortune of being a part of the 2016 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, as a member of the Wine Garden Committee. Raise your hand if this surprises you!

wait, no one?

very funny, YOU GUYS.

As such, the Houston rodeo for me was completely different from years past (you can read about 2014 here and 2015 here), having had a more behind-the-scenes experience of everything!

2016 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Champion Wine Garden

Pictured above was my home away from home for the greater part of March. If you have a chance next year, I strongly encourage you to visit the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Champion Wine Garden. The grounds are beautiful, the live music is so awesome, and the selection of wine is outstanding!

(and you just might end up with a gangly, enthusiastic food blogger as your table host!)

One really cool thing the garden offers is a series of different wine seminars you can sign up for. My mom, dad, Jon, and I decided to take the wine and pizza pairing seminar, and I am so glad that we did!

2016 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Champion Wine Garden wine and pizza seminar

When we got there we were presented with a place mat to take notes on, 6 different glasses of wine (3 reds, 2 whites, 1 bubbly), and cheese.

(sidenote: We had bought our tickets to this event prior to my vegan-ish food transformation, so I ate cheese that day.)

2016 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Champion Wine Garden wine and pizza seminar

^ Look how adorbs my mom and pops are.

2016 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Champion Wine Garden wine and pizza seminar

Yes, I'm wearing the same exact outfit I wore in last week's webisode, it's called fashion, look it up.

2016 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Champion Wine Garden wine and pizza seminar

The seminar itself was super educational. Here are my two main takeaways that I have since used in life:

1) How to open a bottle of champagne. All along I thought I was doing it right. Twist the wire, take the cage off the top, use a towel, hear that light pop, and pour. Au contraire, you want to keep that cagey thing on top when you open champagne! I never knew! The reason for this is sometimes there's so much pressure in a bottle of champagne, that when people open it without the cage (which gives you a better grip), the bottle shoots backwards and explodes everywhere. While I'm sure this can be very funny, it's probably *a little* dangerous.

2) Sweet wine + spicy foods = the nectar of the gods. We were poured an incredibly sweet glass of 14 Hands Moscato, and almost everyone in the room crinkled their nose at it. Dry wine is having a moment in the sun, I get it, and I'm on board. We were advised to put some crushed red peppers on our pizza, take a bite, and drink some dry red. The combination was horrible. We were then instructed to try the crushed red pepper pizza with the sweet moscato, and the result?

a b s o l u t e   .   h e a v e n   .

So when you eat spicy food, like Thai or Vietnamese, a crisp sweet wine will be a divine partner!

Oh and about the pizza.

2016 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Champion Wine Garden wine and pizza seminar

They offered us two kinds of pizza to try with our wines, a pepperoni and a chicken margarita pizza.

So I was like, meh, I'll have some meat I guess.


I told them it was seriously fine, I didn't need any pizza, I could grab some food later. A wine and wine pairing would be juuuust fine with me. But they were so kind and ran and got me two slices of cheese from the pizza place located just outside the wine garden. Which y'all? That pizza is no freaking joke, and I was one happy camper!

After our awesome seminar, we walked around for a bit, checking out the rodeo art, livestock, and hats.

2016 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Most of my time spent at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo this year was volunteering, and next year I hope to have a little more room on my plate to visit as an attendee (and eat all of the awesome ridiculous food)!

Also, how creepy/cool is this photo of the carnival at night?

Welcome to my playground.......

2016 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

(If you're seriously re-evaluating our friendship right now, no one would blame you.)

Working the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Champion Wine Garden was so much fun, and I 100% cannot wait to do it again next year. If you are interested in volunteering, there are almost 200 committees to choose from, and I cannot recommend it enough! It's a super fun way to give back to the great city of Houston and experience all of the excitement that comes with it!

2016 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Champion Wine Garden wine and pizza seminar

Also, wine.

Webisode 3: dgn Factory

Thursday, March 24, 2016
This has been a long time coming, and I'm happy to announce that it's time for the third installment of the Adventures in a New(ish) City Web Series! All webisodes can be viewed on my YouTube channel. To catch you up to speed, Webisode 1 detailed my visit to Ragu & Pesto, and Webisode 2 recounted my experience at Al Quick Stop.

In this webisode, I get to try some incredible Indian food at the quick-service Houston restaurant dgn Factory with my friend Danielle. I first experienced their incredible food about a month ago with the Houston Food Blogger Collective Executive Board, and I was sold! And dgn Factory is offering Adventures in a New(ish) City reader an "Appetizer of your Choice" for every $25 you spend on your first visit - Just tell them I sent you!

I am fortunate enough to be able to try a lot of great food around Houston, but as always, I welcome recommendations on new restaurants for my webisodes, specifically those that might be a little more under the radar. Please send your suggestions my way!

So without further ado, I present to you Webisode 3: dgn Factory!

Helen Greek Food and Wine

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
I am so excited to finally write this post.

Helen Greek Food and Wine, a restaurant in Houston, Texas

Because writing this post means I get to re-live the incredible meal I had at the restaurant Helen Greek Food and Wine again, and let me tell you, it really was something special.

A few weeks ago, before attending a tasting at The Tipsy Dessert Bar with a bunch of Houston food blogger friends, we decided to have dinner around the corner at Helen Greek Food and Wine. This crew of incredibly talented, smart, and wonderful women included Erika, Renia, Lisa, Renee, Sarah, and Claire.

And speaking of The Tipsy Dessert Bar, Congratulations to Kelly Cornelison, who is the winner of my 2016 Houston Press Menu of Menus® Extravaganza Giveaway!! Thanks to everyone who participated!

Helen Greek Food and Wine, a restaurant in Houston, Texas

Nominated for a James Beard Award in the category, "Best New Restaurant," Helen is located in Houston's Rice Village area. Despite all the buzz, I have to admit I was mildly skeptical of the cozy, adorable, exposed brick-walled, new restaurant on the Houston block. Sure, I love Greek food, and rarely am I disappointed in it. As a whole, it's just plain good. But I'd never experienced a restaurant reinventing the wheel and bringing Greek food to the next level.

Until now.

First let me say, the service was impeccable. I had called ahead to give them a heads up we were coming (yes, they knew we were food bloggers, but I am positive the service would have been incredible, regardless). During my phone call, I let them know that I am a vegan, and they assured me it would not be an issue.

trio of dips at Helen Greek Food and Wine, a restaurant in Houston, Texas

After ordering a bottle of the crisp, refreshing, dry Alpha Estate Xinomavro/Syrah rosé (and quickly discovering that I adore Greek wine), we decided to start with the restaurant's trio of dips appetizer.

Initially, our server told me that I'd be able to try one or two of these dips. But when she brought the plate out, she informed me that the recipe had changed, and none of the dips were vegan. However - to my delight - she said they'd be bringing out some other dips for me!

vegan dips at Helen Greek Food and Wine, a restaurant in Houston, Texas

I was presented with fresh cut veggies, a black eyed pea dip, and a chickpea hummus. The black eyed pea dip was light, had a slightly nutty texture, and was just incredible. It almost tasted like a milder, more thoughtful, split-pea soup, but in dip form. It was absolutely fabulous spread across the pita and veggies.

And the hummus just spoiled me rotten. Like the black eyed pea dip, the hummus had a wonderful, mouthy texture. It was insanely fresh, and simply luscious. I adored this dip as well!

Claire and I decided to split the citrus and fennel salad, asking for the feta on the side to make it vegan.

citrus and fennel salad at Helen Greek Food and Wine, a restaurant in Houston, Texas

And yes, it tasted as beautiful as it looked.

The salad was comprised of grapefruit, orange, red onion, kalamata olives, mint, pomegranate seeds, and fennel, and was tossed in a light vinaigrette. I'm typically not grapefruit's #1 fan, but this salad turned me into a believer.<~~(How much do you hate me for really really wanting to type "belieber" just then?) The bitterness of the grapefruit was counteracted by the saltiness of the olives, the sweetness of the pomegranate seeds, and the coolness of the mint, and everything wove together beautifully. Even without feta, I loved the salad, though I'm sure it would add a lovely level of creamy softness to the dish!

For my main course of food, I asked if they'd be able to create the "make your own gyro" plate with vegetables instead of meat. They said absolutely! I was informed that everyone in the kitchen said my dish looked incredible. Other servers came to our table and said they wanted to try it. I told them if they added it to the menu, all I ask is for 10%. Claire said they should just call it "The Kim." And as incredible as this dish looked, it tasted far superior to anything I could ever possibly imagine.

The main "meat" (for lack of a better word) of the dish was a combination of carrots, oyster mushrooms, green cauliflower, and cabbage, and for reasons beyond my comprehension, it was absolutely sensational. The vegetables were savory, slightly sweet, caramel-y, and offered wonderful varying textures. The utra fresh, lightly charred pita was the perfect vessel for the vegetables. Topped off with tahini, fresh tomatoes, and leftover hummus I had from the dips, the combination of everything was an absolute dream. Each bite was pure, undeniable bliss.

It really is hard to explain how and why everything I ate on that beautiful Houston evening was so incredible. All of the food we were presented with was carefully prepared, fresh, flavorful, and absolute magic. Helen Greek Food and Wine is a wonderful new addition to the Houston restaurant scene, and you really must go!

make your own gyro plate with vegetables at Helen Greek Food and Wine, a restaurant in Houston, Texas

Be sure to ask for "The Kim."

Oporto Fooding House & Wine

Thursday, March 17, 2016
On a scale of "Contender to be in Oprah's Book Club" to "I would use this as kindling for a campfire"  -- if I wrote a book about Houston restaurants/bars that have cocktail onions, how do you think it would stack up?

Oporto Fooding House & Wine - a restaurant in Houston, Texas

Never mind.

But speaking of:

martini at Oporto Fooding House & Wine - a restaurant in Houston, Texas

A couple of weeks ago, I got together with my #yogidinnerclub gals Kate, Danielle, Francis, Jill, and Val for some drinks and bites at Oporto Fooding House & Wine, a restaurant located in Houston's midtown area. Oporto Fooding House was created by the same geniuses who brought us the original Oporto Wine Cafe, as well as Queen Vic. Needless to say, I was pretty pumped to try this Houston restaurant out.

This was my first experience dining out in Houston as a vegan, so I called ahead to give them a heads up, and also to make sure I'd be eating more than just a few lettuce leaves that night. The kind woman I spoke with on the phone assured me I was in good hands, and said I absolutely had to order the feijao con fideos, without cheese.

Before ordering a carafe of wine from their WINE ON TAP (don't ever wake me from this dream), I nervously asked if they had cocktail onions.

(I think you know how this story turns out).


SO I was able to enjoy a dry, delicious, blissful, onion-y martini/gimlet at a Houston restaurant!

Oporto's menu is made up of food items that are meant to be shared, so we started off with an order of the daily bread.

bread at Oporto Fooding House & Wine - a restaurant in Houston, Texas

The assorted bread (focaccia, I believe, and another kind of loaf) was fresh and fluffy. The herbed olive oil served with it was silky and fragrant. It was a nice way to start everything off!

Our next order of food was the batatas.

potatoes at Oporto Fooding House & Wine - a restaurant in Houston, Texas

Beautifully golden fingerling potatoes were lightly coated in fresh herbs and course salt, and served with a side of tomato chutney and garlic aioli. The chutney added a nice, bright, contrasting acidity to the potatoes. This was a hearty, tasty, and comforting dish.

If I see shishito peppers on a menu, I have to order them.

shishito peppers at Oporto Fooding House & Wine - a restaurant in Houston, Texas

So shishito peppers it was for our next round of food! Listed as "pimentas" on the menu, the wood-grilled peppers were served with a side of garlic aioli and seasoned with course salt. A squirt of lemon perked them up a little more, and all in all this was a standard, good offering of shishito peppers.

Speaking of things I have to order if they're on the menu....

brussels sprouts at Oporto Fooding House & Wine - a restaurant in Houston, Texas

The restaurant's brussels sprouts were slightly vinegar-y and beautifully caramalized. Once again, this was a standard, delicious offering of a dish, and once again, we weren't disappointed!

The final two food items I indulged in (my friends also ordered some additional meat- and fish- based dishes that they loved) were my favorites of the evening. First up: the charred veggies.

charred vegetables at Oporto Fooding House & Wine - a restaurant in Houston, Texas

Wood-grilled vegetables were tossed in a pistachio romesco sauce and chili oil, and topped off with basil seeds and potato crisps. The dish normally comes with aged goat cheese, but I requested it without, to make it vegan. And it was wonderful. The root vegetables were so meaty and mouthy, I was convinced an oyster mushroom was meat! (it was, in fact, a mushroom). This was another great winter dish, and I was very pleased with the different flavors from the filling, earthy, smokey vegetables in front of me.

The final food item that I tried was what the woman on the phone recommended - the restaurant's feijao con fideos, aka bean stew, without feta.

bean stew at Oporto Fooding House & Wine - a restaurant in Houston, Texas

This piping hot dish was intricate, varied, and FASCINATING. Hearty gigante beans swirled in a mixter of wilted kale, delicate fideo pasta, green olives, garden fresh oregano, and a light almond romesco sauce. The textural contrast of the bursting beans and subtle (and on occasion slightly crisped) noodles was a force to be reckoned with. The sauce was ripe and citrus-y, and it balanced SO well with the base ingredients. I adored this dish!

Oporto Fooding House is a wonderful compliment to Oporto Wine Cafe. And - as evidenced by yours truly - the menu offers a wide variety of different food items that can accommodate even the most tricky of diets. This Portuguese-inspired restaurant and bar is a fantastic spot for great food, great drinks, and a fun night out with friends!

dinner at Oporto Fooding House & Wine - a restaurant in Houston, Texas

Stay tuned to hear more about the future New York Times Best Seller, A Girl and a Cocktail Onion: One Woman's Journey to Finding Pickled Love in Houston.

****(And don't forget! There's still time to enter my contest to win 2 ticket's to this year's Houston Press Menu of Menus® Extravaganza. Details here!)****

Oporto Fooding House & Wine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Tipsy Dessert Bar + A Giveaway!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016
We survived Daylight Savings! Let's have some ice cream.

The Tipsy Dessert Bar in Houston, Texas

(and booze).

(let's have some ice cream and booze).

Last Friday night, I got together with some of my favorite Houston food bloggin' and food-lovin' ladies (Claire, Erika, Renia, Renee, Sarah, and Kyle), and we did a tasting at The Tipsy Dessert Bar, located in Rice Village.

The Tipsy Dessert Bar offers dairy-free (read: vegan) ice cream made with coconut milk, and infused with alcohol. A tasting of four different flavors will run you a mere $15 and guarantees a delicious and ever-so-slightly tipsy result! Bri - a former chemist - is the brains behind the whole operation. Her adorable little shop is tucked away on the second floor above The Gorgeous Gael.

The first tipsy dessert we were presented with (and one of my favorites!) was the red velvet cake, made with cake vodka.

red velvet cake ice cream from The Tipsy Dessert Bar in Houston, Texas

This was sinfully delicious. The chocolate syrup was rich and went perfectly with the creamy, velvety (for lack of a better word) red velvet ice cream. The cake vodka (1/2 a cocktail-sized shot of alcohol is included in each sample!) provided a bit of a punch, but it was not overpowering at all.

The next tipsy dessert was the blueberry muffin-tini, made with blueberry vodka.

blueberry muffin-tini from The Tipsy Dessert Bar in Houston, Texas

This tasted exactly like a blueberry muffin, right down to the teensy bits of actual blueberries thrown in! It was fragrant and slightly floral, and the alcohol was way more prominent in this one!

Next up was the apple pie, made with crown royal apple.

apple pie ice cream from The Tipsy Dessert Bar in Houston, Texas

The apple pie was tied with the red velvet cake as my favorite tipsy dessert. The caramel was pure, silky, liquid gold. Combined with the crown royal apple, it was absolute decadent heaven!

Our final Tipsy Dessert Bar sample of the evening was the sangria, made with cabernet.

sangria ice cream from The Tipsy Dessert Bar in Houston, Texas

The sangria ice cream, which included fresh berries, tasted exactly like sangria (just in frozen form). It really was uncanny. Much lighter than the previous tipsy desserts, this was a wonderful way to top everything off!

Not your average bar, The Tipsy Dessert Bar is a fun, unique spot in Houston. I definitely recommend trying a tasting with some friends or while on a date. Bri is incredibly communicative and helpful, and she'll get you all set up for an enjoyable time!

And fun fact, The Tipsy Dessert Bar is one of the featured restaurants in the 2016 Houston Press Menu of Menus® Extravaganza, which I am partnering with this year!

The Tipsy Dessert Bar in Houston, Texas

The Menu of Menus® Extravaganza, presented by Stella Artois, is one of Houston's largest food & wine events, featuring over 40 area restaurants alongside wine, beer, and spirit sampling.

The event will also feature the 5th Annual Iron Fork Chef Competition. The Iron Fork competition will showcase two of Houston's most popular up-and-coming chefs as they face off in a head-to-head cooking competition that will be judged by local area celebrities. The winning chef will receive the "Iron Fork" award and bragging rights for the next year! During the exciting cooking competition, guests will enjoy cocktails, wine, and food sampling from a number of the city's best restaurants. Tickets to the event include food and drinks for the evening.

Here's where the Giveaway comes in:

One lucky Adventures in a New(ish) City reader will receive two (2) general admission tickets to this year's Menu of Menus® Extravaganza, held at Silver Street Station in Houston on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, from 7:00 - 10:00 pm. To enter, go to the giveaway box below, and log in with your name and email address (this will not be posted publicly). Once logged in, click the "Enter Contest" dropdown, and then the "Enter!" button. One entry is allowed per person, and only Houston-area residents are eligible. The contest starts NOW - Tuesday, March 15, 2016, and it ends on Sunday, March 20, 2016 at 11:59 pm CST.

**Bonus: If you like my Facebook page, follow me on Instagram, and/or follow me on Twitter, you get a bonus entry for each social media follow. Just click the dropdown on "Like Facebook Page", "Follow on Instagram," and/or "Follow on Twitter," then click "Enter!" for each one that you follow! This is applicable for existing followers, as well as new ones.

This is a super fun event (check out my post from last year), so you don't want to miss out! The winner will be drawn at random and announced next week - Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The Tipsy Dessert Bar in Houston, Texas
(Photo Cred: Sarah)
Let's get #IceCreamWasted.

True Food Kitchen

Thursday, March 10, 2016
Let's be healthy, Houston!

True Food Kitchen - a restaurant in Houston, Texas


(because, wine)


Last week my friend Kate and I ventured outside of our Houston Heights bubble to have dinner at True Food Kitchen, a restaurant located in Houston's Galleria area. True Food Kitchen came highly recommended to me from Jon's coworker Vicky, so I was pumped to try it out!

The restaurant's menu is full of "honest food that tastes really good": fresh ingredients and vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free options, as well as thoughtfully prepared meat-centered, dishes.

After ordering some wine (a crisp glass of Pedernales Cellars voignier for me, and a red blend from the Rhône Valley for Kate), we decided to share the shiitake & organic tofu lettuce cups as our appetizer.

shiitake & organic tofu lettuce cups at True Food Kitchen - a restaurant in Houston, Texas

I know the words "shiitake & organic tofu lettuce cups" may induce eye rolls, and it all may sound the opposite of delicious. I get that. But I am happy to report that I've seen the other side, and the other side is GOOD! Have you ever had the lettuce wraps at P.F. Chang's? If you have, you're probably just as obsessed with them as I am. Well, imagine P.F. Chang's lettuce wraps, but even more magnificent, and I present to you the lettuce wraps at True Food Kitchen! Topped off with carrots and sesame seeds, the small crispy cubes of tofu and mushrooms were marinated in a ginger, soy, and cashew baste. The result was sweet, light, fresh, and lovely!

For my entree, I ordered the restaurant's teriyaki bowl, without any added protein, since I'd already had tofu.

teriyaki bowl at True Food Kitchen - a restaurant in Houston, Texas

And once again, I was a pretty happy camper! The teriyaki bowl contained shiitake mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, snap peas, onions, brown rice, and quinoa, and was topped off with half an avocado and sesame seeds. The syrupy teriyaki sauce was sweet and gingery, but not overpowering, and the vegetables were crisp and fresh. The avocado added a wonderful creaminess when stirred in, and I loved the inclusion of both brown rice and quinoa, which gave the meal more contrast and depth (and protein!). This was a fantastic dish.

Kate ordered the restaurant's butternut squash pizza, which was topped off with walnuts, smoked mozzarella, sweet onions, and arugula, and she absolutely loved it as well!

Even though True Food Kitchen is a national chain, what I ate that night was fresh, authentic, healthy, and delicious, and it had a very local feel. The restaurant is open and sleek, and the patio (which we were able to enjoy that evening) is a treat. Even though the food is healthy, it is definitely approachable and DEFINITELY delicious. True Food Kitchen should be more than just a blip on your Houston restaurant radar!

dinner at True Food Kitchen - a restaurant in Houston, Texas

Being good never felt so right.

True Food Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vacation Days: Fort Worth, February 2016

Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Howdy, Howdy!

food at Central Market - a grocery store in Fort Worth, Texas

Before I get into the super awesome weekend of food and fun that I had in Fort Worth recently, I need to get something off of my chest...

I recently became a vegan.

It's been over two weeks now (with the exception of a Rodeo pizza/wine tasting I did on Saturday that Jon had bought us a month or so ago - that day obviously was not a vegan day, albeit a delicious one), and I felt the need to finally blab it out to the interwebs in case you start to notice a lack of cheese or eggs in future posts. But here's the thing. This is first and foremost a Houston food/restaurant/travel/lifestyle blog. In my opinion, this is not - nor has it ever been - a blog about being a vegetarian (now vegan). What will removing eggs and milk from my diet look like in terms of this blog? I'm thinking there won't be much of a difference because - thankfully - there are many wonderful vegan food options out there at restaurants!

But to answer all of the questions I've been getting from family and friends the past few weeks: No it isn't difficult, especially having transitioned from a vegetarian diet; the reason I've made the switch is to live my life as peacefully as possible, while striving to not harm other living things if I can (except for snakes, kill all the snakes, sorry Buddha); physically, I feel great!; yes, there might be very few special moments that I eat a piece of cheese or something, like when Jon and I are in Napa in June and the wine people are like "this cheese paired with this wine contains the secret to life"; and YES FOR GOD'S SAKES I'M GETTING ENOUGH PROTEIN.

Cool? Cool! If any of you have any questions or comments about this, or if you have advice or are looking for tips regarding plant-based diets, leave a comment below! And you can always shoot me an email at adventuresinanewishcity@gmail.com. I'd love to hear from you!

Two weekends ago, Jon and I went to Fort Worth to cheer my mom on in the Cowtown half marathon. In addition to seeing my mom (and dad), we were able to spend time with my sister Emily and her boyfriend Danny, who both live there. On Friday, Jon and I went to dinner with the two of them at Vivo 53, a downtown restaurant we'd visited during our last trip to Fort Worth.

broccolini at Vivo 53 - an Italian restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas
vegan pasta at Vivo 53 - an Italian restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas

I ordered the broccolini for us all to share, which was really great. Topped off with red chilies, garlic, vinegar, and pangratatto (bread crumbs), the dish was light and wonderfully garlicky. It also had a nice soft, slightly crunchy texture from the pangratatto. For my main course of food, I asked if they could make a vegan pasta. They brought out penne tossed in marinara and vegetables (red onion, mushroom, spinach). I wasn't too crazy about this dish. The onions were basically raw, and the pasta/marinara combo was incredibly dry and sticky. It wasn't bad, and I definitely ate it, but I was a little disappointed in the end result.

We still were raring to go, so afterwards we stopped by Max's Wine Dive, a bar/restaurant located in Fort Worth's West 7th Street area.

food and wine at Max's Wine Dive - a restaurant/bar in Fort Worth, Texas
Max's Wine Dive - a restaurant/bar in Fort Worth, Texas
truffle chips at Max's Wine Dive - a restaurant/bar in Fort Worth, Texas
tomatoes with basil at Max's Wine Dive - a restaurant/bar in Fort Worth, Texas

I had been to Max's on Washington Ave in Houston before, and it was a little hit or miss for me. But I really dug the vibe at the restaurant's Fort Worth location, and the staff was wonderful. From the awesome full-bodied red wine, to the groovy jukebox (that my sister and I lost our minds over), to the custom-made vegan apps they brought out to us, we had a fantastic time. The rest of my crew indulged in some fried oyster nachos, and when the manager found out about my diet, she brought out truffle chips, as well as some sliced tomatoes seasoned with fresh basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper. The truffle chips - she assured me the fryer had just been cleaned out, so they were fully vegan! - were warm and had just the faintest hint of truffle oil. To be honest, I could have done with more truffle oil because that's the stuff that dreams are made of. I absolutely adored the fresh, simple, juicy tomatoes with fragrant basil!

The next morning, Jon and I went to the restaurant in our hotel (located in downtown Fort Worth) for breakfast. This is the food I had, and I assure you, it was delicious (and only $4! #cheapdate):

vegetables for breakfast at the hotel in Fort Worth, Texas
peanut buttered toast for breakfast at the hotel in Fort Worth, Texas

After that, my sister and I went to packet pickup with my mom, while the boys went out for lunch/beers.

Cowtown marathon packet pickup in Fort Worth, Texas
Cowtown marathon packet pickup in Fort Worth, Texas
Cowtown marathon packet pickup in Fort Worth, Texas
Cowtown marathon packet pickup in Fort Worth, Texas

^ (My mom and sister spun a wheel and both won pencils, while I won a box of brown rice, nbd.)

Then the three of us popped over to Central Market to pick up food for dinner. We also grabbed lunch to enjoy on the patio.

Central market - a grocery store in Fort Worth, Texas

That afternoon, Jon, Emily, Danny, and I imbibed in some wine and played pool in their complex's club room. Also, Jon got an awesome new camera that he couldn't put down, and btw he's my new photographer for the blog (he just doesn't know it yet, kthanks Jon byeee).

vacation in Fort Worth, Texas
vacation in Fort Worth, Texas

After that, we were in need of some food! For dinner, I prepared vegan calamari (it was certainly not calamari, but it was a delicious, worthy substitute!) for us to munch on, which came from the cookbook Crossroads. My sister and mom made delicious salad and pasta for our main course of food.

cooking vegan calamari in Fort Worth, Texas
cooking vegan calamari in Fort Worth, Texas
cooking vegan calamari in Fort Worth, Texas
salad and pasta in Fort Worth, Texas

Sunday was the day of the race, and my mom kicked total butt! She clocked in her best half marathon time, despite having had a minor back injury a few weeks prior. Also, remember how FREEZING it was last year? Yeah, this year the weather was waaaay better!

Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth, Texas

Before heading back to Houston, we had a post-race celebration lunch at Pho District, a Vietnamese restaurant in Fort Worth's West 7th Street area that I absolutely adore.

bloody mary at Pho District - A Vietnamese restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas

I ordered a ginormous, hearty, spicy, delicious bloody mary to start. For an appetizer, I tried the restaurant's crispy avocado spring roll, which was out of this world. Filled with fried avocado, green onions, cilantro, and carrots, the rolls were divine when dipped into a sweet peanut sauce. The contrast of the crunchy outer casing against the soft avocado was wonderful. And I loved the kimchee fried rice so much last time I ate there, that I had to order it again for my main course of food. Even though I didn't add the egg on it this time, it was still just as sinfully delightful!

As always, it was a great visit to Fort Worth. I absolutely love that cute little city, and there are some fantastic restaurants that are definitely worth a visit. Thanks for following along, and see ya next time, FW!

Seriously. Out of this world.
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