If you follow me at all on Instagram, you know that last weekend I had the amazing opportunity to head to Houston with my husband for Super Bowl weekend 2017! What an experience! #workperks #thanksRothman
We were traveling via the Philadelphia Eagles so, while I couldn’t be picky and choosy about my foodie Houston experiences, I can’t say I was disappointed! I am also exciting to highlight that even when the food isn’t up to you and you are traveling, you can still enjoy yourself and get plenty of veggies in!
Tim picked up some Snap Kitchen before I picked him up in the city to head to the airport, so I had a “grilled kale hoppin John”plus tofu once we were through security at lunch-time. We snacked on Enlightened Crisps, bananas and clementines at the end of the plane ride, too – always gotta pack those snacks! Still, we were starving by “8:00” dinner, since we were an hour behind and on 9:00 body time.
The Eagles had North Italia reserved for the large group and it completely exceeded my expectations! Upon arrival we were offered fantastic wines, local beers, Moët, etc. and a fabulous appetizer spread. I didn’t snap pics of the whole spread but there were many Italian imported olives and cheeses among Napoli style pies, marcona almonds and plenty of veggies. An entire Rosemary sprig somehow ended up on my plate too 🙂
During the rest of this cocktail hour, so to speak, we chatted with former Eagles player and pro-bowler Mike Quick (who Tim already works with here and there) – what an awesome, down-to-earth guy! He also introduced us to Pete from Chickies-and-Pete’s. He and his wife were fun to talk to as well.
We sat with some others on the trip for dinner and I enjoyed some OR Pinot Noir (I’m picky – I first enjoyed some at SCAN Symposium after a rec back in April while at dinner with Kim and fell in ❤) and Pellegrino while admiring the menu…
Still, we didn’t wanna miss out on the fun, and headed out with the group to Hearsay Gastro Lounge. The decor and ambience here was perfect! Exposed brick all around, super high ceilings and really cool chandeliers, and fun cocktails. Luckily, they bussed us back to the hotel at the end of the night 🙂
With all of the food from the day before, I headed out for a run after sleeping in. We were staying pretty far north so it wasn’t the greatest area for an exploratory run – my favorite way to explore new cities – but it did the trick before a quick light weight sesh in the hotel gym.
I hurriedly got ready for Leigh Steinbeg’s Super Bowl party that we were lucky enough to be invited to via Rothman’s media buying agency. We heard before coming that Super Bowl weekend is “all about the parties”, but weren’t quick to spend $750 each for taste of the NFL or the official tailgate (but sometimes still think we should have) so this was more than welcomed! It was at Hughes Manor, a beautiful venue with what seemed to be 6 separate outdoor and 2 indoor areas that all flowed together.
I had packed oatmeal and Justin’s packets in my luggage so that became a light breakfast earlier so I was ready for some food by this early afternoon event. Veggies were plenty in the app area but not anywhere else! After some mingling and exploring, we decided to have our “meal”. Why the quotes? Well you know I don’t eat meat and, well, Texas. So I wound up at the taco bar with a guac taco 🙂 w/ cabbage, pico & salsa. I did find some Texas caviar (beans) after the pic, too!
We hung out for awhile noticing many athletes and some D-list celebs before heading downtown to explore before dinner later on with the Eagles. We stopped at Local Foods after popping into a few cool bars that had no seats. I can usually stand but not after standing for hours in the shoes pictured above, so we hopped across the street to take a seat at the bar and share some balsamic brussel sprouts!
We hung out at the hotel briefly, changed and headed to State of Grace with the group. We’d heard amazing things but didn’t think it would exceed North Italia. I’m sad to say we were right! While it was a beautiful restaurant and there were some seemingly cool dishes, I struggled to understand the theme and the dishes all had overwhelming amounts of fat. I seriously would have been happy with cocktail hour and dessert! Cocktail hour (where I decided to back off and chose club soda over cocktails) was an oyster and shellfish bar. Decent shrimp and so-so lobster.
We then sat down for family style queso plates, fried calamari, and a random salad that I had some of. That was followed by fried Brussels with pork (no thanks) super duper fried broccoli (like bite into it and oil pours through your mouth) and fried rice. These were the sides with the entrees – I chose the ravioli which was made with fresh pasta and stuffed with butternut squash purée. It was delicious minus being in a lot of butter, but thankfully it was a small portion and I made it work. Tim had chicken and mashed potatoes. See what I mean with the theme? I do have to say though, the servers were amazing, and the dessert (served family style) I couldn’t say no to. Tim and I split the pecan pie (sorry no pic) and it was to die for. I also had a bite of the blueberry crumble and had a decaf espresso.
On our way out they were handing us ginger cookies with frosting sandwiched in between – I still cannot believe the amount of food! I took one to-go and had it for breakfast with a clementine then next day. It was absolutely delicious. It was vacation – no guilt, no shame!
We woke up on Super Bowl morning and got a good cardio & weight work out in right there in the gym and headed down to meet the group. We still had no idea where we were sitting!! We got our tickets, were pumped to be in the club section, and were also given a package from NRG with a backup phone battery and a mini tablet. It had a 30 second message about the game. SO wasteful but nice touch I guess. Oh yeah, and a snack for the bus ride was necessary because who knew what food there would be once we arrived!
My mini cookie sandwich was good, but not really breakfast so we walked around for awhile and then got in line at one of the many Houston Food trucks set up in the Budweiser entertainment zone to eat before we headed in to the stadium.
Tim had Vietnamese chicken fries – yeah, that’s a thing. I had Vietnamese tofu tacos with lots of veggies, kim chi (yay probiotics!), and sriracha. We paired the meals with Zeigenbock – a local beer – which was delish, and I’m not a beer lover.
If I came back to Houston and saw this food truck, I would absolutely stop and order again! We’re so happy we ate these meals because stadium food was not great. Not complaining because everything else (other than the price of drinks and the pats comeback) was awesome.
The cast of Hamilton singing America the beautiful was Fantastic, Luke Bryan’s National Anthem was great, and the banter between Warren Sapp behind us and Evan from the bachelor in front of us was comical. We saw plenty of other celebs – Hey Luda! – but the first 3 quarters, including the half time show by Gaga, were the ultimate experience. And while I am the fuethest from a patriots fan (Jets fan 😕), I have to respect how much skill it takes to come back 28-3 with 5 sacks and win a super bowl in overtime. That is some mental grit.
After a long, shocking ride back to the hotel and some late night, not so great (okay, awful) pizza with broccoli at the Marriott bar, we were ready to rest! We headed to the airport with the group in the morning and were through security 3 hours before our flight (this is never my decision-the only airport I’d want to spend that long in is SF).
We found Cat Cora’s Kitchen and sat down for brunch for our final meal of the trip. If you’re ever spending time at IAH I recommend the chili pepper omelet with fruit on the side instead of the chicken sausage. Until next trip, stay tuned to Eat Real Live Well for recipes, fitness, nutrition tips and finally, my Italy recaps!