It is not until this year that I started going to Texas on a regular basis, and that I fell in love with Houston. My past experiences there were centered around heading to Austin in October for ACL, and one work trip to Dallas. ACL of course is fabulous, although Austin has always been a bit too weird for my taste. The best Tex Mex food I had was probably in Dallas, but, well, Dallas is the home of the Cowboys, which is not my favorite football team, and of big hair, which is not my favorite style.
This year to date, I have been to Houston three times – and I have to admit – Houston is my favorite city in Texas. And I’m not saying this because Houston is in everyone’s hearts this week. Houston has been in my heart for all of 2017.
I love Houston because:
It is big. I now know, everything is bigger in Texas. And as they say, bigger is better… I love how powerful it seems, how big it is, how populated it is.
It is diverse. At a recent dinner there, I talked beauty with Latinas, African-Americans, and a Eurasian. I was the only Caucasian at the dinner table. I love the diversity of Houston, and how many languages are spoken there.
The people are kind, real, unassuming. The people I have met in Houston have been universally warm and welcoming. They aren’t weird; they don’t put on airs; they are unassuming.
The highways are fascinating. The first time I drove around Houston, I was rerouted a few times because I was so mesmerized by the highway landscape I kept missing my exit. 6-lane highways, highways above highways, highways across highways… It looks like the future.
There are strange places next to each other. I was telling a friend about how I love the eclectic mix of residential home next to a high rise next to a business next to a restaurant. I looks messy, human. He explained to me that the city has no zoning. That might explain that…
I love Pass and Provisions and La Table. I have only begun to discover the restaurant scene in Houston – and I am not making much progress mostly because every time I travel there, I go to the same two places.
Houstonians love Alchimie. The reason I started going to Houston more frequently is business. Alchimie Forever is doing great in that area – after NYC, Houston is our second best market. And that in itself is reason enough to love Houston above all other Texas cities!
As my heart goes out to Houston this week more than ever, please consider helping this amazing city and its residents. Here are some links on how to help, checked and cross-checked by NPR and the New York Times:
The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund of Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, which is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
Houston Food Bank is asking for donations.