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Get Your Sugar Fix at the Best Dessert Places in West Houston

Whether you think every meal should start with dessert, or you only occasionally indulge in sweets, there’s no sense in getting less than the best. When you need to get that sugar fix, we’ve found the best dessert places in West Houston.

House of Pies
Need pie and nothing else will do? It doesn’t matter what time of day or night it is, you can get a slice at this old-school diner that’s open 24 hours. House of Pies has been serving up baked goods since 1967. Stop in for some Bayou Goo, Bavarian Chocolate, or French Silk if cream pies are your thing. If you prefer fruit but are watching your sugar, they’ve got sugar-free apple and cherry. You can get one piece or the whole pie, and if you need some cookies on the side, they’ve got those, too.


Ooh La La Dessert Boutique
Chef Vanessa O’Donnell has been taking care of sugar cravings since 2007. That’s when she opened Ooh La La Dessert Boutique, after graduating from the Art Institute of Houston’s Baking and Pie program. You can find just about anything your sweet tooth desires, from from-scratch cakes to dessert bars and more. They’ve even got a gluten-free menu featuring cookies and cheesecakes.


Dessert Gallery
Dessert Gallery also has a full menu of treats, but what they’re really known for is cake. They’re serious about their retro-style, from the decor to the Old Fashioned Diner cake. It’s layers of golden cake topped with buttercream chocolate frosting. Their petit fours are popular holiday gifts. If you can’t make it into the location, they’ll ship all over the country.


Cacao & Cardamom – Galleria
Sometimes only handmade chocolates will do, and that’s when it’s time to visit Cacao & Cardamom. They make all of the truffles and chocolate bon-bons in-house with natural spices and fruit purees. You can get these treats by the piece or by the box. If your sugar craving is in overdrive, you can get some drinking chocolate, too.


When you need a sugar fix, you can’t go wrong with these dessert places in West Houston.

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Kick Up Your Heels at the Best Places to Dance in West Houston


If you love dancing, then there’s no doubt that Houston is the place to be. The city’s got an amazing nightlife and there’s something for every style, with honky-tonks, discos, and salsa clubs in the mix. When you’re looking for a place to kick up your heels, we’ve found the best places to dance in West Houston.

Wild West
Billed as a “high-class honky-tonk,” Wild West is a Houston standby. For twenty years, the Texan-owned spot has been inviting Houstonites to two-step on in. Their solid oak dance floor is built for boots, and their drink specials will have you loose enough to let it all hang out. Not so sure about your moves? They’ve got dance lessons on Fridays and Sundays. Just be sure to dress appropriately; the bar may be called the Wild West, but your clothes better be up to snuff.


Firehouse Saloon
With cowboy boots in the rafters and an exterior straight out of an old movie, Firehouse Saloon is all about that Country Western life. Owned by firefighters, this honky-tonk brings the music to you live, with bands playing nearly every weekend. The dance floor is huge, and there’s plenty of seating when it’s time to give those dogs a rest.


Club Tropicana
Next time you really want to heat things up, look inside the strip-mall exterior of Club Tropicana. This spicy Latin club is the place to go if you’re looking to dance salsa, merengue, or bachata. Some serious pros take over the dance floor, but if you’re just learning your Cuban motion, there’s no need to sit on the sidelines. They’ve got lessons on Friday nights, and any other time a lot of those experts are happy to show you how it’s done.


Barbarella Houston
If you want to dance downtown, Barbarella Houston is your spot. “Barbs,” as the regulars call it, is laid back and casual, and everyone’s welcome. The DJ plays videos along with the music, and they’re known for their theme nights. Thursdays are soul and Motown, Fridays are all about new music that you won’t hear anywhere else, and Saturdays are “Footloose” and fancy free, paying homage to the eighties.

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80 night now!

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Check out these four bars next time you’re looking for the best places to dance in West Houston, and be sure to let us know on Twitter and Facebook which is your favorite.

4 Fun Ways to Celebrate Oktoberfest in Houston


When Fall arrives in H-town, that means three things: football season has begun, school is in session, and Oktoberfest is near. While the annual festival in Munich is in full swing, you don’t have to fly to Germany to participate. In fact, there are several of these distinctly German parties right here in Texas, so check out these events celebrating Oktoberfest in Houston.

Oktoberfest Houston
Started in 2011, Oktoberfest Houston is now an eagerly-anticipated annual event that celebrates both German and Texas culture. You can wear a dirndl, drink authentic German beer and dance to polka music, and also put on your cowboy boots and drink local craft brews. You can also compete in Olympiad games including the Stein Race, Barrel Roll, Stein Hoisting, and the Legendary Brat Toss. It’s all taking place September 29 at The Water Works at Buffalo Bayou Park.


King’s Oktoberfest
King’s Oktoberfest is so big it needs two weekends. The bierhaus has two locations, so why not visit both? Attendance on October 7th and October 21st gets you a raffle to win a trip for two to the real deal – the winners fly to Munich for Oktoberfest in 2019. Entertainment includes adult carnival games, arm wrestling, and a Bavarian strongman competition. Winners of the bier pong tournament will get $500 cash, which will buy a whole lot of beer.


Texas Renaissance Festival
A ren faire doesn’t automatically say Oktoberfest, unless it’s the Texas Renaissance Festival in Todd Mission. Take a day trip September 29 or October 1 and you’ll say Huzzah! to Old Bavaria at this themed weekend. They’ll have polka music, brats, and strudel. Dust off your lederhosen before you go and you can compete in the costume contest.


Saint Arnold Oktoberfest
Party in a classic German-style beer hall at the Saint Arnold Oktoberfest on October 6th and 7th. Named after the patron saint of brewers, this brewery is Houston’s oldest. Look the part and you could be crowned the King or Queen. They’ll have their full line-up of beers poured in a commemorative glass boot as well as a special German dinner.



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3 Hot Happy Hours in West Houston


Houston has lots of great restaurants and bars, but going out can be expensive. Fortunately, there are several food and drink specials and happy hours, making it much more affordable to meet up with friends or have that after-work drink. You can still go out and have a great time without breaking your budget. Here are three of our favorite West Houston happy hour specials.

Nobu
Save on sushi when you visit Nobu between 5 pm and 6 pm. This “Tanoshi Hour” features spicy tuna maki for $8, two pieces of prime beef kushiyaki for $10, and three oysters with Nobu sauces, also for $10. Accompany those with $5 Sapporo beer or a $7 glass of house white wine. To give you an idea of how much you can save during their happy hour, those oysters would normally run you $27.


The Deck on Fountainview
The Deck on Fountainview is a neighborhood bar that offers some of the best crawfish around. Their happy hour is a long one; from 11 am to 7 pm Monday through Thursday you can get domestic bottled beer for $2.50. You can also get domestic drafts for $2.75 and $7 domestic pitchers, which means you’ll have more to spend on Texas Pepas, jalapenos stuffed with Wisconsin cheddar and battered with homemade potato breading, and some Coin Toss Nachos.


The West End
There’s nothing like happy hour at an American pub, so you’ll definitely want to add The West End to your drinking plans. Known for a large selection of whiskeys and craft beer, their Monday through Friday happy hour gets you a dollar off all draft beers between 3 pm and 7 pm. They’ve also got $5 mixed drinks, featuring liquors like Jim Beam, Beefeater, and Bacardi, and house wines will also run you $5. Back it up with their $6 Nosh menu, which includes a giant pretzel, southwest chicken eggrolls, and street tacos.


Check out these spots next time you’re looking for a night out that won’t cost a fortune. When you go, be sure to let us know on Twitter and Facebook!

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Go Low-and-Slow with the Best BBQ in West Houston

Texas is known for barbecue, but up until recently, Houston didn’t get the respect it deserves. That’s all changed, and the Bayou City is now receiving lots of recognition for its quality ‘que. In fact, there are so many great choices it can be hard to narrow down where to get your brisket and ribs, so we’ve found the best bbq in West Houston for you. Check out these four finger-lickin’ spots next time you’re in the mood for some of that smokey goodness.

Roegels Barbecue Co.
When a place lands on Texas Monthly’s Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas list, you know it has to be good. Makes sense, since Roegels Barbecue Co.’s Russell Roegel built his resume at Bodacious BBQ and Baker’s Ribs before opening a place with his name on it. They offer daily specials, like pork belly on Wednesday and pastrami beef ribs on Friday, to go along with their menu of meats by the pound and plates, which come with two sides. Be sure to save room for dessert, because you won’t want to miss their homemade bourbon banana pudding.


The Brisket House
The meats at The Brisket House are smoked overnight in a Southern Pride smoker and they add both oak and pecan to give it a unique flavor. This means you get a nice, tender brisket with that smoky flavor barbecue aficionados crave. It’s a given that you’ve got to get the brisket, but you’ll also want to try some of their jalapeno sausage and beef short ribs.


Pappas Bar-B-Q
Pappas Bar-B-Q has several locations in the Houston area, including a few on the west side. Their first spot downtown grew to be so popular they had to expand, and now it’s one of the largest family-owned and -operated restaurant companies in the country. Their wood-burning bbq pits keep the meat rotating continuously so it comes out evenly cooked. They use mesquite and hickory, so expect a bit of sweetness with that smoke.


Rudy’s Bar-B-Q
Rudy’s Bar-B-Q may have originated out of Leon Springs, but it’s one of Houston’s favorite spots for low-and-slow. All of their meats are wood smoked over oak instead of mesquite since oak burns a little slower. They’re known for their special dry rub and their famous tangy “Sause.” Stop in for some tasty smoked turkey and brisket and a side of Rudy’s beans.

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Since you’re craving some barbecue now, be sure to let us know where you’ve gone on Twitter and Facebook.

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Get your Caffeine Fix at these Coffee Shops in Woodlake/Briar Meadow


If coffee is the most important part of your morning routine, you’re in luck because Houston’s coffee scene is booming. If you can’t start your day without a great cup of joe, check out these great Houston coffee shops in Woodlake/Briar Meadow.

Minuti Coffee
Go old school with a visit to Minuti Coffee. Serving 100% Italian coffee, it’s the only place in the U.S. that you can get Molinari Caffee. They pride themselves on offering organic and fair trade beverages, and their coffee roasters create custom blends just for them. You can sip one of their many choices of espresso while relaxing on their fat and comfy sofas, or pick up a bag of beans to go. If you’re hungry, they’ve got a menu of salads, sandwiches, paninis, pastries, and more.


Java Coffee and Tea
Java Coffee and Tea is not your traditional coffee shop. There are no tables, although you can pick up a drink to go. Instead, this place is a quaint retail shop that’s been serving and selling freshly roasted coffee since 1979. You can pick up many of the accouterments while you’re there. In addition to blended, flavored, and dark roast coffees, they also offer rare and fancy coffees, including beans from Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and New Guinea. When you can’t make it into the store, you can order online.


Shipley Do-nuts
What goes better with coffee than doughnuts, especially when they’re Shipley Do-nuts? The chain, which began in Houston, has been serving their gourmet doughnuts since 1936. They’ve got sixty varieties and also serve kolaches and made-to-order beignets. You won’t get a cappuccino or Americano at these pastry shops, but you can get a cup of freshly-brewed coffee, and everyone knows that doughnut shop coffee is the best coffee.


Start your day at these three coffee shops in Woodlake/Briar Meadow and let us know which one is your favorite. You can join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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We Take the Work Out of Your Labor Day Plans


Labor Day is upon us once again. Last year, the long weekend was overtaken by the disastrous Harvey, but this year we hope to have decent weather and opportunities to take advantage of all Houston has to offer. On a Labor Day weekend, it can be overwhelming to decide what to do, but we’ve taken the guesswork out of where to spend each day.

Friday

Start things off Friday evening with an outdoor showing of Disney’s The Jungle Book on the lawn at Levy Park in Upper Kirby. Bring a blanket to sit on and your appetite, because there will be beer, wine, and food available to buy. If movies aren’t your thing, you can hit up CityCentre for a concert and fireworks show. Catch Fleetwood Mac cover band Nightbird, followed by a fireworks extravaganza. The event is free, but you may have to pay for parking.


Saturday

Sleep in! You’ve earned it! Then at 11 am, grab your dog and head to The Dogwood on Bagby street for a BYOD (bring your own dog) kickoff to the college football season. Catch the action as the University of Houston takes on crosstown rivals Rice University in the Bayou Bucket Classic. Don’t have a dog? That’s ok. You can still enjoy the game and play with others’ pups! For those allergic to dogs, check out the giant backyard barbecue at the George Ranch House, complete with 1930s music and games. For dinner, take advantage of the end of Houston Restaurants Weeks and try out a new place you’ve been dying to try!


Sunday

Start out your Sunday at one of the many Farmers’ Markets available. You can stock up on quality produce for the week and maybe pick up something fun for the home! Then, starting at 2 pm, enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Islands at the Taste of the Caribbean Festival. You can take in the reggae concerts while munching on jerk chicken and curry, celebrating the vibrant culture of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, and more.

Monday

Finally, the day itself is here: Labor Day. There will doubtless be picnics galore to attend at the homes of co-workers, friends, family, and everyone else. But for those who prefer to make new friends, there are some fun options for you. Monday would be a great day to take advantage of Houston’s beautiful hiking trails. Go out and get a big dose of nature! Or if you want to just relax, treat yourself to a spa day at The Hammam Spa. You’ll feel like a new person after a luxurious day of pampering.

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I took my mom to a Hammam Spa today. The first time I experienced a Moroccan bath was in Dubai, and I loved every minute of it. You start by sitting in a sauna / steam room to open up the pores, then the masseuse applies Moroccan black soap onto your skin and scrubs every ounce of dead skin off your body. You’ll be shocked at how much skin you will shed to reveal a smooth, bright complexion! Most people at traditional hammams will be fully nude (gender separated, of course) although many spas offer underwear for those preferring to cover up. We followed the Moroccan bath with a deep tissue massage 💆🏽‍♀️ It’s a wonderful experience, and I’m so excited that there is one in Houston!

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And that’s it! You’ve reached the end of your long weekend. Tomorrow, the real world comes back. But you’ll always have your memories!

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Visit the Greatest Wine Bars Houston Has to Offer


In Houston, we work hard. And at the end of a long day of working hard, we like to reward ourselves. What better way to treat yourself right than with a luscious, rich glass of wine.

Seasons 52 Houston
Seasons 52 has locations all over the country, yet manages not to feel like just another giant chain restaurant. This fresh grill’s menu is loaded with savory options from both the sea and land. And with their extensive wine list, you’re sure to find the perfect pairing. They have over 100 bottles available, with over 50 of those available by the glass. Plus, you can bring a friend and take advantage of their special 2 glasses and a flatbread deal. Or forget the friend and have yourself an even better time with two glasses all to yourself!


Cru Wine Bar
Cru is all about bringing enjoyment of wine to the masses. They shun the notion that wine is only for snobs and the hoity-toity. As their site says, “We demystify the world of wine, we keep it cool, and make hundreds of wines accessible to you in an elegant, casually hip environment.” So if you have always wanted to experiment with wine, but were afraid of looking like a newbie, Cru is the place for you. With over 300 bottles available, you will find something you enjoy. And on Mondays, if you buy a bottle of wine, they’ll throw in a pizza!


Sonoma Wine Bar
At Sonoma Wine Bar, they’re bringing the wine loving culture of Northern California to Texas. With an ever-rotating selection of wines by the glass, you could go all the time and just keep on discovering new wines to love. And if you want to enjoy your wine with your pup, you’re in luck! Sonoma Wine has a covered pet-friendly patio so you can combine your two great loves: wine and dogs!


Beckrew Wine House
For a wine bar that really knows what they are doing, check out Beckrew Wine House. They have been featured on so many “best of” lists it’s hard to keep track. Everyone from Food & Wine Magazine to Thrillist to Wine Enthusiast to the Houston Chronicle all sing the praises of Beckrew. Stop in for dinner or happy hour, or book a private tasting with their Sommelier.


Whether you are new to the wine world or an old pro, Houston has amazing opportunities to enjoy some excellent wines. Try one of these wine bars and enjoy. Cheers!

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Treat Your Pup to the Top Pet Friendly Bars in Houston

Your dog is panting. Super thirsty. They’ve had a long day. They just need somewhere they can go to relax, knock back a couple of shots, maybe sip on a nice glass of pinot grigio, lap up a light lager. Okay, so we’re assuming pet-friendly bars don’t actually serve your pet. And by pet, we assume dog, because everyone still freaks out and takes pictures when they see a cat on a leash. They’re that rare. And no one likes a ferret in public. We also assume they won’t card your dog, where you have to remember how many human years are dog years. Because something else no one likes is math, especially when you’re trying to drink.

But here are our favorite pet friendly neighborhood joints to bring your four-legged friend.

Mike’s Ice House
It’s an ice house. It’s going to probably be hot. But your dog doesn’t want to get dressed up, and just wants to unwind to some live music. This dive bar is the place. Plus the burgers are nice and big, chances are a piece of meat might just fall to the ground, and your living vacuum will eagerly fulfill their housekeeping duties. And don’t miss out on the karaoke for your dog to howl along to.


Sonoma Wine Bar
The opposite of the ice house. A little fancier, for sure. But they have what they call a “pup friendly patio.” Not only do these guys love dogs, they also love giving back to the community. On average, they share five percent of their net profits to various local charities and fundraisers.


Revelry on Richmond
Dogs love sports because dogs love balls. Which means dogs, of course, would love a sports bar. And this is the best sports bar in Houston for your dog. Plus, while your furry friend can eat the same thing every day and not complain, you like variety. With their 40 rotating local and craft beers on tap, this is the best sports bar in Houston for you. Lots of happy hours, and can’t miss daily specials throughout the week.



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Let’s Taco ‘Bout the Best Mexican Food in West Houston

One of the best things about living in Houston is our close proximity to Mexico. And with that close proximity, it’s easy to find delicious, authentic Mexican food in the city. Here are the top Mexican restaurants in West Houston.

Fonda Santa Rosa Mexican Cuisine
Serving up traditional Mexico City-style cuisine, Fonda Santa Rosa Mexican Cuisine is a mouthful to say, and a mouth full of delicious food. Dive into the classics, like enchiladas or chile relleno, or try something new like the molcajete mixto. On the weekends, you can enjoy a traditional Mexican buffet, or if you are hosting an event, enjoy catering by Fonda Santa Rosa.


Caracol
For those who didn’t take Spanish in high school, Caracol means “snail” en Español. This seafood restaurant takes its inspiration from the nearly 6,000 miles of coastline Mexico enjoys. Mexico borders the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico, providing a variety of marine life to choose from for the robust Caracol menu. Chef Hugo Ortega creates a dining experience that brings home the various customary tastes of many of Mexico’s coastal states. This is complemented by a lush dessert menu by Executive Pastry Chef Ruben Ortega and a carefully curated wine list by Sommelier Sean Beck.


Laurenzo’s El Tiempo Cantina
El Tiempo Cantina has a long history with Houston and is a classic American success story. The Laurenzo family saga began with Ninfa and her Italian husband Thomas’ unique Mexican-Italian food blend. They owned a food manufacturing company until Thomas’ death in 1969. Then Mama Ninfa’s Tex Mex restaurants were born. These went strong until their bankruptcy in the 90s. Undeterred, Mama Ninfa’s son Roland Laurenzo built El Tiempo Cantina from the ashes of his mother’s restaurant empire. Now, there are eight Houston locations serving up delectable comida and absolutely scrumptious margaritas. Everything is made in-house, from the salad dressings to the tortillas. This Houston family-owned chain is a great place to enjoy quality Mexican food in a fun atmosphere!

Tacos Tex-Apache
Sometimes you want to get a street taco on the street. That’s where Tacos Tex-Apache comes in. Located on the corner of Richmond and Dunvale, this taco truck has won the hearts of thousands. It is exactly what you would expect from a taco truck: street tacos, burritos, nachos, quesadillas. But one bite and you’ll understand what all the fuss is about.

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