Jump to content

8 Things I dig about Houston


Recommended Posts

As some of you know, I move a lot.  I've lived in more than a dozen cities from coast to coast, and my latest move brought me to Houston for the second time.  

With fresh eyes, these are the things that I am, so far, really enjoying about Houston:


If you find the right HEB, it's like a Disneyland of food.  The one I go to is in Bellaire.  There is just so... much... food.  So many different varieties of everything.  None of the other local chains can hold a candle to HEB.  

I am constantly amused that HEB has so many items in its own brand.  Sure, you expect HEB butter and HEB crackers.  But there's all kinds of unnecessary private-label HEB equivalents.  I laughed when I saw the HEB Rogaine.  If I was on social media, I totally would have posted a picture of it.

I also love that HEB makes so much of its food in San Antonio.  Naturally, Houston would be better, but I'm just happy to eat in-state as often as I can.

Instant Amazon

Holy crap, do you know how fast Amazon can get stuff to you if you live in 77002?  When I was in 89135 I was over-the-moon when I would occasionally, accidentally order something from Amazon that I could get by the end of the next business day.  Now when I Prime stuff, it asks me if I want it in an hour? How about two hours?  How about by 5pm?  6pm?  11pm?  Is 2am good for you?  How about 4am?  6am?  11am?  Just let us know!

I intentionally schedule Amazon deliveries for 2am or 4am or some other stupid hour just because I can.  I have friends who live in places where even FedEx and UPS won't deliver overnight.  When I tell them about ordering random stuff for delivery in an hour, they think I'm making stuff up.

The food

People who have always lived in Texas have no idea how much food they have.  Or, more to the point, how much food large parts of the rest of the country doesn't have.  And fresh fresh fresh food.  Eggs and milk that expires in weeks, not days.  Vegetables bins at the grocery store that aren't half-filled with wilted, listless dregs.  Meat, seafood, and chicken that's fresh.  Actually fresh.  The "fresh" meat in a lot of supermarkets in other parts of the country arrived at the store from a warehouse frozen and was thawed before being put on display.  Yes, even at Whole Foods.  Because the federal laws and the laws of physics have different definitions of "frozen."

And Texas completely ruins the whole "eat local" fad that most supermarkets embrace these days.  Lays potato chips? Local. Minute Maid orange juice? Local. Dr. Pepper? Local.  53 kinds of seafood?  Local.  Texas saw the whole locovore trend coming a mile away and said, "Hold my beer..."  


Cajun flavor

People who don't live in Texas don't understand Texas.  They think it never snows in Texas, and then I tell them that northwest Texas borders on Colorado.  They tell me it's a dry place, then I tell them that east Texas is west Louisiana.  And I'm eager to start exploring the Texas/Louisiana side of things.  Walking into HEB and seeing a massive King Cake display warmed my heart.  The slowly writhing bags of mug bugs stacked across the aisle made it even better.

I tried to explain King Cake to people in Nevada, and they could only relate it to something only tangentially related that happens in Mexico.  When Dr. John died, I played Zydeco music on my headphones at work.  People didn't know what Zydeco was.  They had never heard of it.  I'm a bit disappointed that there doesn't seem to be any more stations here or in Louisiana that play Cajun/Zydeco/Bluegrass music anymore.  And I can't find a decent online streaming service for that, either.  But I can keep buying the old records from the record stores around town and listen to them while eating fresh beignets from the Shipleys in the downtown tunnels.  That's the start of a great day.

Walking in the rain

I could do this in Seattle, too, but it was less pleasant because of the hills and how getting from Point A to Point B on foot is rarely a straight line.  During a recent rain, I walked from the zoo to downtown.  Took my time.  Stopped for coffee a couple of times along the way, and just enjoyed a bit of outdoor exercise.  I haven't lived a lot of places where this very simple pleasure is possible.

The tree museum

Officially, it's the Houston Botanic Garden, but to me it's a museum of trees.  Mostly because I think it's awful that the world has gotten to the point where we even have to have tree musea, but here we are.  

The Houston Botanic Garden is very new, and it shows.  Only a very small part of its property is properly kitted out for the enjoyment of plants and nature, but it's a good start.  There are probably other parks in the city where I can sit on a bench, pull out my binoculars, and look at the birds and butterflies.  But this is the one I've found so far with the most space that's also close to home.

The only complaint I have about the Houston Botanic Garden is its neighbors.  There are a certain number of urban hillbillies who live near the green oasis who think it's cool to ride their four-wheelers through the property.  HBG needs to put up some proper fencing to keep the plants safe from these dickweeds.


This may sound strange, but Houston has an awful lot of places to sit.  In a lot of cities where I've lived, benches are very rare because there's this notion that removing public benches solves homelessness.  I guess people think that if homeless people don't have a place to sit, they'll get beamed up by spaceships and everything will be rainbows and unicorns.  

I'm an old man, and have an old man's desire to walk around and look at the world.  I also have an old man's stamina, which means I need to take breaks.  Sometimes you just want to sit down.  Houston allows me to do that.  

Benches are so normal in Houston that it was a bit startling to see that the fancy new parks in Midtown don't have places to sit.  It's funny to me that they put up this big obelisk in Midtown Park listing all the names of the people responsible for building the park.  I'd be ashamed to have my name on that obelisk knowing that I'd completely failed at fulfilling the primary purpose of a park: Being a welcoming space for the public.

Food D'Lite: Chinese Food and Hamburgers

7736 Harrisburg.  I used to eat at a joint like this in Chicago called "Eat and Drink."  It's one of those places that's so bad it's good, and so good it's bad.  Limited menu.  Yummy food.  Cash only.  I haven't tried the hamburgers yet, but the Chinese food reminds me very much of what I grew up with on the east coast.  It's lovely, greasy Cantonese style.  Not crunchy, sprouty west coast/Szechwan fluff.  If the train went by this place, I'd eat here almost every day.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...