“They want to know what’s going on in the south, in the south……” (Pimp C)
Houston, Texas has indeed been on my to visit list for some time now, and I am happy to have finally made it there.
Originally this was going to be a two person trip, however, shish happens and I came to the Lone Star state solo. It’s all good though, because I have officially knocked off a solo trip from my bucket list.
Where I Stayed
Now, before you closed minded people get your panties in a bunch I need you to understand that the movie Hostel is not like that everywhere. OOKKUURRR! With that being said I had the pleasure of staying at the first black owned hostel in the U.S. called Wanderstay and it was just what I needed for my short stay in Houston.
The fact that I had a choice of having my own private room and bath was a no brainer. It was awesomely priced at $120.00 for my two night stay and I am happy with my lodging choice. It is super homey, colorful and inviting. The rules at this establishment are pretty straight forward. However they do have a strict rule of absolutely no eating in the rooms. Many travelers may feel some sort of way about this because after a day of traveling, you just want to go to your room, shower, and stuff your face with the left over food in your doggy bag. However, I do understand this keeps the sleeping quarters nice and clean.
Never did I feel unsafe at this establishment. Everything is coded and cameras are everywhere. So if you’re considering staying at a hostel that offers a private bedroom and bath. Go for it, step outside of your comfort zone and save a few dollars.
Where did I eat
My very first stop was Rays BBQ Shack over on Old Spanish Trail. I was super excited and geeked to try TX style BBQ. I enjoyed the layout and the customer service of the employees but I was saddened by the food. Please let me explain. Being from the Carolina’s I am used to BBQ with some sort of sauce. Whether it is mustard, vinegar, or sweet and tangy, my ribs has some sort of coating of sauce on it.
At Rays, I ordered a half slab of ribs with macaroni and cheese along with baked beans. I’m so sorry to say, throw the entire tray away. : (
Let’s start with this old wet, uncheesey macaroni and cheese. Just look at it, some of the noodles don’t even have have cheese on it bruh. To top it off folks, I had to add salt and pepper to give it some flavor. I was mad mad. Then let’s talk about the beans shall we. Again, being from the Carolina’s I am expecting the beans to have a certain taste so maybe I was already being a little biased. The beans had a very over powering tomato base. I took a few bites and was just completely through. Now on to the ribs, let me be clear. The ribs were grilled just right. Not too tough, neither under cooked. But I wanted to taste a little something extra. The meat itself was pretty good, but I had to add the sauce that was on the table to the meat to kick the taste up a notch. Mr. Ray, your establishment let me down in the taste department. Please lets not serve that wet macaroni and cheese to anyone else.
Cupcake Kitchen Houston
Seeing their items on Instagram I wanted to check it out for myself. This establishment is black owned and offers pastries and actual dinners. I googled the business before rolling up on them and noticed it was pretty mixed in terms of reviews. From being served cold food in small containers, to hard cookies to outstanding gumbo and awesome craw fish bread I was afraid to gamble on the actual dinner. I walked into the establishment and could hear that things were not orderly and people were just waiting around to put their dinner orders in. Some seemed a little frustrated so I made my mind up to eat dinner somewhere else. However I did secure 4 cupcakes. Two butter pecan and two vanilla cupcakes. They were ok.
Esther’s Soul Food
You guys are probably aware by now that I am a huge fan of “hole in the wall” establishments. I believe they have some of the BEST food and no one can tell me anything else PERIODT! I googled for black owned restaurants and came across an establishment that matched my travel vibe. Laid back, black owned, and of course it was a hole in the wall. I pulled it up and it had bars on the windows. I said to myself “Nida, this food is about to be good.”
I walked inside and it was everything I hoped it would be. Small but cozy, dark but fitting, and gospel music playing in the background. I had no idea what I wanted so I stood to the side and tried to make my decision. The folks behind the counter were funny and inviting and they told me what was available to order.
First of all, all of the food was on point. The catfish was fried to perfection, the gravy was hearty, the yams was sweet and greens were on point. I smashed about 90% of my food and was in a slight food coma. The gospel was playing in the background and it just put me in a whole mood. As I am tearing up my greens I am mumbling “Gracefully Broken” by Tasha Cobbs Leonard. This place was a whole VIBE! This place is a must visit!
What did I do
The highlight of my trip was stopping by the Buffalo Soldier Museum on Caroline St. I was greeted by two older black men who were intrigued that I was so far from S.C. to stop in on their little old Buffalo Soldier Museum. They both were very sweet. I truly enjoyed the museum and EVERYTHING it had to offer. It’s so sad that a lot of this information is not in the history books of our nation.
Many of you know I am clatchet. 50% classy and 50% ratchet. I am a huge fan of true trap and underground rap music. So it was ONLY right that I paid homage to my man Pimp C. I was super pressed to find this mural and to my surprise, many ethnicity were out there getting their pics of the mural as well. But when I think about it, our culture is so rich and imitated, why wouldn’t they be out there right?
My last place to visit was for my own personal and selfish reasons lol. I visited the Butter Bar. This place is a black owned natural skin care spot and I have not been to the dermatologist in three years because of them! They are based in Houston and no where else. So it was only right to stop buying and get my fix.
In conclusion, Houston has been good to your girl. I truly enjoyed my visit and highly recommend folks to give this place a try.
In the words of Pimp C
“Now, it how it make you feel, when you see a pimp shine?—–, you wastin’ too much time, get back up on yo’ grind.” (Let Me See it, 2001)