Fun with Visitors

Warning:  This will be a long post… I have a lot to catch up on!  This past week has been especially fun, thanks to a visit from my parents.

But first, a running update.  It’s been awhile!  Last Thursday Maggie and I went for a 3 mile run.  Probably not as fast as we ran during training, but it just felt good to run again.  And I was happy to be able to still run 3 miles after such a long break from running and training.

This Thursday I ran with my dad.  He runs 5 miles every day.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay with him the whole time (besides me being out of shape, it was also hot and humid during our run), but I ran the first 3 miles with him, one loop around the park.  I then walked for a bit while my dad ran ahead, and when he turned back around, I ran the last half mile with him. 

Now I just need to keep it up.  It’s hard for me to stay motivated with the running while not training for a particular race.  I need to register for one soon!

Back to the fun week with my parents… it was a week filled with a food tour of Houston, lots of shopping and lots of relaxing.

The first night they were in town we went to Marini’s Empanada House for empanadas and sangria.  It’s one of my favorites in Houston, but we don’t go very often unless guests are in town.  You can get just about any filling you can think of in their empanadas.  My favorites are the Humita (corn, cream sauce, onion, mozzarella and provolone cheese) and Avocado (avocado, tomato, onion, bell pepper and garlic).  I also got my favorite dessert empanada:  The Patty Cake (chocolate, dulce de leche and cream cheese).  We sat outside, it was very relaxing!

On Sunday I took my mom for a manicure and pedicure for mother’s day.  It was my mom’s first.  Believe it or not, I had never had a pedicure before moving to Houston!  After our relaxing morning we all went to brunch at Cadillac Bar.  Their buffet is a sight to see… they have just about every breakfast food you could imagine and lots of tex mex on top of it.  They also have great margaritas, mimosas and a build your own bloody mary bar.  It was pretty much our meal for the day.  That afternoon we went to see The Lincoln Lawyer.  I hadn’t heard of it before (we don’t go to movies at the theater very often anymore), but it was a really good legal thriller.

I had to work on Monday, but we went to Romano’s for dinner.  I think it’s the best pizza in Houston and my it’s a must have whenever my parents are visiting.  After dinner we took Bailey to see the bats at the Waugh bridge.

Bailey loves going to the bat bridge.  Not so much for the bats, but for the people and other dogs.  While we waited for the sun to go down I played around with my camera.

The AIG building next to the bat bridge.

About 300,000 bats live under this bridge.  They come out at sundown to eat about 5 tons of insects each night.

It was not a good night to see the bats.  Instead of flying up into the sky like they normally do, they came out late and flew low over the river.  We could barely see them.  We gave up quickly and walked back to my car… only to find this.

Yep, my car was broken into.  So was the car next to it.  Luckily they didn’t take anything from my car, but they stole an iPhone from the other car.  This was partially my fault.  I left my camera bag in my car and forgot to put it in the trunk.  They left it because it was empty – and didn’t take the money that I had in my center console.  I guess it was a quick deal for them.  The sad thing is, we could see my car the entire time we were at the bat bridge, and we didn’t notice anything.

The police came.  We could see a security camera, so they said an investigator would go out the next day to see if it caught anything.  I never heard back from the police (obviously), but I went back a few days later and talked to one of the shop owners.  She said that they did catch the break-ins on camera, but they could only see the back of the guy’s head.  Ugh.

Pat and I went to lunch with my parents on Tuesday.  We took them to Kenny and Ziggy’s, a NY deli in the Galleria.  My dad is from Long Island, so we thought he would enjoy the NY classics they offer.  They were also featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  That night we went to a ball game.  It was the Astros vs. the Reds.  I would root for the Astros at any other game, but I grew up watching the Cincinnati Reds.  I embarrassed my husband by cheering loudly as the Reds beat the Astros 7-3.

Wednesday night we went to Hickory Hollow for dinner.  I didn’t used to be a fan of BBQ.  In fact, it wasn’t until after I became a vegetarian that I really began to crave BBQ sauce.  Hickory Hollow offers a veggie platter where you can pick 4 sides, so that’s what I get there.  Corn, mac n’ cheese, beans and potatoes.  Yum.  After dinner we picked up ingredients to make a Hungry Girl drink recipe called Lava Smash.

The strawberry portion was just strawberries and rum blended together.  The “lava” was vanilla frozen yogurt, pineapple (and pineapple juice) and coconut cream jello mix.  The recipe called for calorie-free coconut syrup, but I couldn’t find that at Kroger.  So I substituted with coconut cream jello.  It worked!  The drinks were good, but I liked it better with all the ingredients mixed together.  We played Apples to Apples while enjoying our drinks.

I took Thursday and Friday as vacation days.  These were my first full days of vacation all year and it was fabulous to have a break.  After running with my dad Thursday morning we went to Candelari’s for their lunch buffet.  I always ask them to make their Spinachi pizza for the buffet – spinach, feta cheese, tomato, garlic, it doesn’t get much better.

After lunch we drove to the Premium Outlets.  My mom picked out a Coach purse for her mother’s day gift from my dad.  My parents also got me a Coach wallet for my birthday 🙂  I have a weak spot for Coach!

On Friday my dad took me out for a Starbucks date.  Every year we bet breakfast at Starbucks on our NCAA march madness brackets.  And guess who won this year 🙂  After Starbucks with my dad, my mom and I went to Half-Price Books.  She helped me pick out some new chicklit – I bought 2 books by Marian Keyes.  Has anyone read her before?  I also picked up Food Rules by Michael Pollan.  I enjoyed In Defense of Food and I had wanted to pick up Food Rules for awhile.

We also made a stop by Crave Cupcakes yesterday.  My parents both got German Chocolate and I got Vanilla.  I still haven’t tried Sprinkles, but Crave is amazing!  While we were over there we stopped by the Galleria, mostly to walk off the cupcakes!

Last night was the last night of their trip, so we went to El Tiempo for margaritas and fajitas.  I love their spinach enchiladas!  It was a nice dinner to finish off our Houston food tour.  I was sad to see my parents leave this morning, but I’m hoping they’ll visit again soon! 

If you live in Houston, what are your favorite restaurants?

What books are  you reading now?  Any recommendations?

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4 responses to “Fun with Visitors

  1. Wow what a great time! You’ve listed quite a few places in Houston I have to definitely check out! My favorite restaurant in Houston might be Kasra. I dunno, I tend to stick to chain restaurants, I’m not very adventurous.

    Sorry to hear about your car, btw. That stinks. Glad to hear nothing got taken tho.

    Oh and I just finished reading Life from Scratch, would totally recommend it!

    • I’ve never been to Kasra, I’ll have to check that out! With so much awesome local food, I feel guilty when I go to chain restaurants… but there’s a lot of good chains here too 🙂

      I’ll have to check out that book too!

  2. Sounds like you’ve had a great week, except for the car broken into.

    Funny that you went to Romano’s. That’s my husbands first name 🙂

    I’m the same as you, I need a race to look forward too to stay motivated at training. I worked out my training plan for my next 3 races in September and October and look forward to starting it next week.

  3. That sucks about your car! We eat at lots of the same restaurants- I’ve been going to Hickory Hollow since I was really young & El Tiempo is our favorite place to take guests for some good Tex-Mex.

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