With the imminent arrival of the Final Four and the countdown on to Super Bowl LI, the eyes of the nation will soon turn towards Houston. People will be traveling here from all over the country, and they will want to know where to stay, eat, drink, shop, and sightsee.
Who will they turn to for advice? None other than the New York Times, of course. On Thursday, the paper published writer Andrew Ferren's recommendations on how to spend 36 Hours in Houston. So much has changed since the paper's last visit in 2010, and Ferren makes sure to hit several recently opened hot spots as well as a couple of classics.
Overall, the article does a pretty good job of capturing what's current in Houston. Descriptions of the city's "flat and featureless plain of generic towers sprawling into the horizon" in 2010 has been replaced with an acknowledgement that Houston is the country's "youngest (more millennials than boomers) and its most ethnically and culturally diverse" big city with "an amazing gastronomic mix."
Ferren begins his visit with a trip to artist James Turrell's Skyspace installation on the Rice University campus, which he describes as "the perfect place to contemplate the heavens." Having worked up an appetite, he then heads to dinner at Helen Greek Food & Wine before knocking back a couple of cocktails at downtown mezcalaria The Pastry War.
Saturday sees another blend of old and new with breakfast at Washington Ave staple Laredo Taqueria, then a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts, and lunch at Goode Co. Seafood. Terren shops along Westheimer in both River Oaks and West Ave before securing a highly coveted table at white hot restaurant State of Grace.
Before departing, Ferren braves the "morning rush hour and parking frenzy" to sample a bialy and a duck breast tartine at Common Bond. Then it's time for more shopping at the nearby antique stores before a visit to The Menil Collection and lunch at the adjacent Menil Cafe.
While Ferren does a job of catching up with several bars and restaurants that have opened in the last few years, he didn't experience much of the ethnic diversity he touted in his introduction. Calling the article "36 Hours in Montrose" wouldn't have made much sense to anyone other than Houstonians, but it's a far more accurate description of the article. If author, chef and TV host Andrew Zimmern could get Houston right by dining in Chinatown, surely the Times will be on it someday.