I’m a Texas girl, born and raised. I was born in San Antonio, TX; went to college at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX; and then lived for a bit in Austin, TX before I returned home to San Antonio to establish our roots. My WHOLE life, I had a preconceived notion of Houston, TX that went something like this: industrial, massive, warm, Astros (baseball), Texans (football), and the Rockets (basketball). Being from the Hill Country of San Antonio, I wasn’t ever drawn to Houston for a trip outside of a football/baseball game or for a friend’s wedding weekend. After this past trip to Houston with my dear friend, Juli of PaleOMG, I realize that I have been MISSING OUT. Preconceived notions kicked to the curb, I now think of Houston as: inviting, forward-thinking, breezy, exciting, and BURSTING with culture. Houston, TX isn’t just one of the nation’s industrial powerhouses, it’s a true destination for the foodie, for the philanthropist, and for the bright-eyed. It’s worth adding to your travel list! I have a feeling you’ll leave feeling cared-for, enriched, and inspired.

two smiling women in Houston Texas

woman holding a baby in Houston

My hubby, Austin, and my daughter, Graysen, joined me on this trip! It was so much fun being able to introduce Gray to her kick-butt Aunt Juli. Here are some of the highlights of our trip!


Le Meridian Houston Downtown

I was really impressed by the Le Meridian! It’s right in the middle of downtown Houston but doesn’t necessarily have that cramped, rushed feel that normally comes with a property of the sort. Finished with modern mid-century design pieces, this hotel was incredibly comfortable and accommodating. Every single member of their staff was outstandingly kind, something I appreciate now even more with a tiny baby (+all our stuff) in tow. The building itself touts historic significance as it’s currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places! If you’re looking for comfort, style, kindness, and culture, I highly recommend the Le Meridian.


The Kitchen at the Dunlavy

I told Juli while we were here that if I were to ever plan an event in Houston, TX (bridal shower, baby shower, book party, etc.), it would be here. The food was lovely and the staff was even lovelier. If I were to go back, I’d bring a few more girlfriends (maybe post yoga or CrossFit class), sit on the lovely porch (if it’s not too hot), order the Breakfast Bowl and settle in for a couple mimosas.

breakfast bowl

the dunlavy

Hungry’s Cafe and Bistro

Hungry’s Cafe is a great place to drop in when you’re on the hunt for really fresh, enticing foods! We got a filling lunch here that was complete with some delicious iced tea. Parking is cared-for by attendants, so you don’t have to worry about hunting for a spot.

hungry's cafe and bistro

B&B Butchers

This was my 2nd favorite meal while we were in Houston. B&B Butchers is a REAL treat! With a true butcher shop attached, this steakhouse has the most impressive menu of beef that I’ve ever seen. When you go, make sure to get the bacon 3-ways, one of their fun cocktails, some steak (of course), and maybe even a creme brulee for dessert.

B&B Butchers


This was, hands down, my favorite meal while we were in Houston. IN FACT, it’s one of my most favorite meals in recent memory …period. Xochi is spearheaded by award-winning Chef Hugo Ortega. Ortega’s menu is derived from his Oaxaca, Mexico heritage and it does not disappoint on any front. The restaurant is vibrant, food descriptions jaw-dropping, plate execution flawless, and flavors inspiring. I ordered the margarita with REAL tequila worms infused with the salt (it was spicy and crazy delicious). We also ordered some OUTSTANDING mole, Brussel sprouts worth writing home about, and the loveliest chocolate dessert. If you live in Houston, I’m green with envy that this place is in your backyard. If you’re traveling to Houston soon, don’t miss booking a table at this gem of a cultural icon.



dinner at kochi


Sawyer Yards

This is the largest (no joke) creative campus in the nation. We strolled through their hallways and alleyways for a few hours taking in the fabulous pieces of original artwork. If you’re planning a trip to Houston, try to make sure that it overlaps with the 2nd Saturday of the month! The 400+ artists open their studio doors for the free-to-the-public event. Chat with artists and maybe even take a piece or two home. I have a dream of adorning my own home with original art from local creators …revisiting Sawyer Yards on a 2nd Saturday is at the top of my list! …in fact, I may make a trip of it: art browsing at Sawyer Yards + dinner at Xochi.

Sawyer yards art

Sawyer yards art

Hope Farms

Hope Farms is so aptly named. As just a bystander, I even walked away feeling a little more hopeful. Spearheaded by a group of solution-oriented philanthropists, Hope Farms solves several puzzles. The farm is nestled on 7 acres in the middle of one of the biggest food deserts in Houston. What’s a food desert? I had to ask, too. A food desert is a geographic span of residential area that has NO grocery store or any other outlet for fresh foods. Seeing this is an issue, Hope Farms plopped themselves down in the middle. Producing over 190,000 pounds of organic produce each year, they make these fresh foods available to local residents at deep discount. In addition to the produce, they teach classes to local students on how to prepare fresh foods and nurture home gardens. Again, if you’re organizing a trip to Houston, see if you can connect with Hope Farms. Weaving a volunteer project in with a vacation would be a fabulous way to really submerge yourself in a new city.

hope farms

Pure Spa & Poolside at Marriott Marquis Houston

I’m still dreaming of the massage I had at Pure Spa at the Marriott Marquis in Houston. Truly. After having a baby and then holding that sweet baby for the first 3 months of her life, I had knots on knots on knots. The massage therapist who worked with me was one of the most skilled therapists I’ve ever met. I left feeling refreshed and ready for another 3 months of holding that angel girl. After our luscious spa experience, we ventured out to the rooftop lazy river! We lounged in our covered cabana, enjoyed a couple tasty drinks, and had lunch (bun-less burger for me). I adored our whole experience here!

pure spa Houston

poolside at the marmot

poolside at the marriot

baby sleeping poolside at the marriot

burger and fries at the marriot

Many thanks to Visit Houston for partnering on this post! All photos and opinions are my own.

woman holding a baby

About the Author

Cassy Joy Garcia, NC

Cassy Joy Garcia, a New York Times best-selling author, of Cook Once Dinner Fix, Cook Once Eat All Week, and Fed and Fit as well as the creative force behind the popular food blog Fed & Fit.

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