Helen in the Heights

Hey there friends! Happy Thursday!

Does anyone else love “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”?! I think it is one of the funniest movies ever, so many quotes I still say – especially when I see a bundt cake! I’ve always wanted to experience Greece and the Greek culture, but as close as I’ve gotten thus far is at a Houston local greek restaurant, Helen in the Heights. I know it is not the most authentic Greek experience, but my requirements are pretty low – there needs to be Feta cheese 🙂

We had been wanting to try Helen in the Heights for quite a while since they do have ALL DAY Happy Hour on Thursdays! I mean how perfect is that? We often struggle to get to a place before the happy hour specials end, so we are always looking for one that goes late or even lasts all day. Tuesday- Friday happy hour is from 3:30-6:30, so still a good time every other day! Specials include $5 cocktails, $9 wine, $3 beer, and appetizers ranging from $6-10. The cheese board is a little more expensive, but the price depends on what will be on the board that day.

The Drinks. We love places that have all their cocktails on special because it gives us an excuse to try new things and not feel too bad about spending money on something we may not like. Between the whole group we tried them all, but the favorite was the Cosmopolitan. It was so refreshing and dangerously easy to drink. We also enjoyed the classic French 75 and the boys of course loved the Old Fashioned. We are pretty predictable when it comes to cocktails, but these classics were great and did not disappoint.

The Food. There were so many fun things on the menu that we had a hard time picking what to get, so yet again we ordered almost one of everything. They have a dip trio that changes daily. They all resembled hummus but had a unique twist on the normal chickpea dip. Our favorite of the appetizers was the Fried Feta. I mean how can you get better than that – a delicious cheese, fried with honey syrup on top. It was so good we ordered multiple. Another favorite of the evening

was the Greek Poutine. We had never tried something like this before, but it was so tasty! For dessert we finished off with the Bourbon & Baklava Soft Serve. And yes, it tasted as amazing as it sounds.

We will definitely make a trip back to Helen in the Heights soon because the deals were unbeatable and the food and drinks did not disappoint!

Grab some friends and head that way this afternoon!

Peace and Pinot,

The Perfectly Paired Pals

Decant Urban Winery & Great Heights Brewing

We’re so excited about this weeks location, or should we say locations?!? Recently we went to Decant Urban Winery and Great Heights Brewing on the same day and they are both incredible. They are both relatively new, located in Garden Oaks/Oak Forest, and right next door to each other.  We’ll dive into both, but first up is Decant.

We had been wanting to make our way over to Decant to check it out for a while now and are so glad that we made it over. We had the best experience there! Kristina is the Winemaker and she and her husband are the owners and operators. Upon entry, Kristina greeted us with the biggest smile and was readily available to tell us about the wines available. The Winemaker’s lounge/tasting room when you walk in is quaint and has the most homey feel (If your home is decorated impeccably). There are currently 3 choices of wines- an Albarino, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon. We chose to do the tasting flight of all three because per usual, we couldn’t decide what we wanted to try. They were all fantastic. The Albarino was crisp, citrusy, and so easy to drink. White wines aren’t usually our forte but this one is great. We would drink it out on a patio on a nice day or with some awesome seafood. The Zinfandel was also great and easy to drink. The Cab Sav did not disappoint at all- huge fans.

All the wine at Decant is made in house and they will be adding more to their menu as they are ready. We can’t wait for the next additions. We’ll be back for sure! Kristina was also so kind to talk us through the back room with the tanks and told us about their plan for growing. One day they’ll have their tank room outfitted with garage doors that open up to outdoor seating as well as seating in the tank room. When this is open they plan on serving cheese and charcuterie boards as well and you know we will have to stop by for that! As for now, we truly still recommend.

At Decant, they only serve wine. When the boys showed up, they were craving a beer. They both drink wine but we decided to head next door to Great Heights Brewing. We took our wine with us 🙂 and headed over.

Great Heights Brewing is the coolest place! There are string lights on the ceiling and it has an eclectic and industrial but still warm vibe. So neat. They have all sorts of beer to order and everything that we tried was wonderful. After the first beer was ordered we found out it was trivia night and we knew we had to participate. We ordered a pizza from the truck outside and devoured it. It was greasy amazingness and paired perfectly with the beer. They had all types of beer and release new recipes they’ve been working on all the time. Our favorites were the Amber and Hefeweizen, but we also tried some of the smaller batch beers.

We had the best time drinking beer, eating Pizza, and playing trivia. We never expected to win. We LOVE trivia and always have a blast but can never seem to come out on top. This round was looking similar, but in the last round we strategically wagered our points and came in second! It was amazing. We won a gift card and a pie. Really, the best prize there could ever be.

So, long story short- we love Decant and Great Heights Brewing. The location is easy and they both are local gems. The drinks are perfect and we will be back to both places all summer. Hopefully we see you there!

Peace & Pinot,

The Perfectly Paired Pals

Anvil: Bar and Refuge

Anvil Bar and Refuge opened in 2009 and is still such a hotspot for Houston. Right in the middle of Montrose, there are a million different restaurants and bars in this area and we highly suggest that you give Anvil a try. It’s simply a classic cocktail bar with some originals on the menu as well. Everything we’ve tried there, we’ve loved. The classics are just amazing and you can tell it is deliberately done so. The cocktails they create are all made carefully and exactly how they should be. They didn’t become classic without a reason!

On the menu Anvil has seasonal original cocktails as well as a list of Anvil classics developed at the bar. I’ve already mentioned that they serve a multitude of classic cocktails as well, but to be more specific, there is a list of 100! 100 cocktails!! Anvil believes that every single bartender should know these classic drinks and theirs sure do. We absolutely love the list because we feel it is always so hard to think of a drink that you want and this menu is extremely helpful for us (and we think it will be for you too– I mean who actually knows the name of or what’s in all these standard cocktails?).  

Our favorite thing about this place is that They. Care. About. You! No matter how crowded it is, as soon as you walk in, they flag YOU down and hand you some menus. This is just unheard of in Houston. We’ve got great southern hospitality when it comes to customer service as a whole, but at the counter if that’s where you order. Typically, you have to head up and scavenge for a menu and then be met with a friendly, but rushed, face at the bar. That is not how things work here at Anvil. After you are handed your menus, you can head to wearever to digest it and figure out what your first drink is and then head up to the bar, unrushed, and order. The vibe inside is really classic with a twist. It feels like an old fashioned cocktail bar, but very industrial. Somehow it still has a feeling that is warm and welcoming at the same time as this industrial backbone.

They’ve got a selection of bar snacks, cheese, and charcuterie on the menu too. Although we would LOVE to get the cheese board, usually we just head to Anvil for some drinks with friends. As much as it pains us to say it– we haven’t tried their cheese board yet. We’ll be back though and you’ll get an update.  🙂 Our fave cocktails are: the Golden Gate Swizzle, the Martinez, and the Lion’s Tail. Every cocktail is so perfectly balanced here, so we know you won’t go wrong.

They do have a Happy Hour, but boy it is short. From 4-5 Monday through Friday they have ½ priced drinks off the 100 list. Maybe we will catch you there sometime!

Peace & Pinot,

The Perfectly Paired Pals

Te Amo Tequila!

Thank goodness it’s Thursday! Does anyone else feel like this week has been so long…maybe it’s Daylight Savings Time and losing an hour of precious sleep or maybe it’s the lack of sunshine here in Houston. Fingers crossed there will be some sunshine this weekend because of course we will be back at the Rodeo for the final weekend. Enough about the weather, this week we are taking you to a new spot in Houston that is so bright and colorful inside, you will forget the dreary days outside.

Blanco Tacos & Tequila is tucked inside of the Houston Galleria next to a lot of new fantastic restaurants, so it is perfect for a day filled with shopping and then wrapping up with happy hour. That is what we did as pals, and it couldn’t have been better. The only downside to this new great spot being in the Galleria is the parking, but never fear, there is valet parking right outside the door of the restaurant- but it will cost you a pretty penny.

Blanco Tacos & Tequila is for sure one of our new favorite places for happy hour! The deals are great and the tequila is better!. Here’s the lowdown – Happy Hour is from 3-6pm; food ranges from $4-$8, which is a great deal! Cocktails and beer are both $5 – talk about a great happy hour. The menu says that happy hour is only in the bar area, but we were able to sit at a table and get the good prices. Make sure you ask your waiter to clarify before being seated.

So what do we think you should get?! Absolutely try multiple things because we loved everything we tried. The margaritas were soo good and easy to drink and you can’t go wrong with a classic marg, but better than that was the red wine sangria. It tasted like a juice box which of course can be dangerous, but we could have sipped on that refreshing treat all day long. The food was also delicious and the portions were very generous for being on happy hour. We of course could not decide what to get so we tried quite a few. Everything they have is classic mexican food like queso, guacamole, nachos, and tacos. My favorite item we ordered was the guac. So fresh and the perfect mix of avocado and spice. The queso was also yummy and had guac, sour cream, and pico de gallo to mix in with the cheese. We always love when there is an added bonus to a staple in our diets. The nachos were the size of a small hill and loaded with all sorts of tasty toppings. You really can’t go wrong with any of the drinks or food! We want to go back to try their dinner options because the menu looked INCREDIBLE. If you’ve already been, let us know what we should try next!

Peace & Pinot,

The Perfectly Paired Pals

Eat, Drink, and Be Southern

Harold’s Restaurant and Tap Room

Harold’s is a staple for us. It’s a place we can always count on and we’ve been there countless times over the past few years. On multiple occasions we all showed up for happy hour and ended up staying for dinner. The location is so easy for everyone to get to, right in the heart of the Heights.

First thing to take note of here is that there are two different menus, one for the Tap Room and one for the restaurant and terrace. Let’s start with the Tap Room. This is the long bar on the bottom floor, right when you walk in. Down here, they have pizzas and other fun bar bites. Our favorite snack down here is the artisanal pretzels and our fave drink…… the tie your knot sangria. It’s so so good. Don’t want to oversell it, but it might be the best Sangria in town. The pizzas are also something that are only offered downstairs. You can never go wrong with pizza. During Happy Hour, their cocktails are $6 (including the sangria), beers are $5, and glasses of wine are $5. They also have a selection of wine on tap and that’s what dreams are made of.

You can still get Happy Hour upstairs at the bar or on the terrace. The drinks are the same and the snacks are mostly the same, with the exception of the pretzels and the pizza. Here is where you used to be able to get the best appetizer that ever was. The fried mushrooms. I’m not even a big fan of mushrooms and these were so amazing. They came stacked high in a bowl full of cheese fondue!! LITERALLY AMAZING. If I’ve made you sad because you can’t have these anymore then I apologize. I do have good news though. They just changed what they deep fry and put in a bowl of cheese heaven. Now it’s the Chicken Fried Cauliflower on the menu. It’s $9 and a great addition to your order. The hush puppies and their honey butter have blessed our sweet little southern hearts with their presence and they should be a part of every order during rodeo season. The cheese board has a significant amount cheese and when we ran out of toast, our waitress gladly brought out more. For free. That’s a big deal. The service is also amazing. We were on the terrace on a cold night recently and they legitimately brought all the outdoor heaters and put them around our table. Kindness and good customer service go a long way and they’ve got it down.

We also recommend the restaurant because all the food is just comforting goodness with an upscale twist. If you’re looking for a fun little evening with your friends or significant other, I recommend walking in some of the antique shops and boutiques on W 19th before heading into Harold’s. Grabbing a glass of Sangria and an order of hush puppies, then heading into the restaurant for supper.

Peace & Pinot,

The Perfectly Paired Pals

Brews and Bowl Season

Location: St. Arnold Beer Garden and Restaurant

Preferred time: Saturday afternoons

The Perfect pair: Mucho Meatcho Pizza and a Christmas Ale (because it’s practically Christmas)

The weather has been Auuuhhh-mazing lately and every Saturday has us looking for a place to spend all day outside. The past few weekends that we’re not outside on our patios drinking wine, going on walks, or playing Spikeball, we’re at Saint Arnold’s Beer Garden and Restaurant drinking beer and watching football with friends.  If you haven’t been there since they recently opened the new outdoor beer garden portion, you are missing out. It really is an amazing setup and the view of downtown Houston is STUNNING. They have long tables, small tables, beer barrels to stand around and honestly little places to post up all over the place. There is also plenty of parking, which is a plus. They’ve even got lawn games like cornhole and Bocce ball, which are so fun when your with a group of friends, or if you want to make some new friends.

One con is that they don’t have tv’s all over the place to watch multiple games at the same time. But we feel this could also be a pro. There are not tv’s all over the place crowding or clouding the incredible view of downtown. Also, it helps you really enjoy your time there with friends, catering your time together to great conversation. There is one massive screen though towards the far side of the space. They always have the biggest game for Houstonians on and we’ve found it so fun to be watching the same game as everyone else there creating a great atmosphere.  

Now for the good stuff. Food and Drink. We honestly love all of Saint Arnold’s beers. Right now, the favorite is the Christmas Ale because it is seasonal and wonderful. Some classics are the Fancy Lawnmower and Santo and are worth a try if you haven’t yet. We also just found out (probably late to the news because…wine is our thang) but Weedwacker has been packaged for the last time. Get it while you can if you can find some still in stores! We ordered pizza because it is the greatest (because cheese), filling shareable and it was so good! We chose the Mucho Meatcho and the Flanders. Both so yum. Would recommend. We also ordered the queso and some good ole french fries and they were great as well. You can walk up to the bar to order, or wait for a waiter or waitress to come to your table. Tabs are on the mobiles they carry around and it is so easy to close out. They also send your order as soon as you place it and it comes to the table way faster than you would expect for the crowd that is there. Makes a huge place like this way less stressful.

If you’re looking for a place to spend a wonderful afternoon one day during your upcoming time off, then this is the place. Have family coming into town and want a place to watch a bowl game and play some lawn games with a beer in your hand while showing off your beautiful city? Also a great place for that. You’ll have a blast.

Peace & Pinot,

The Perfectly Paired Pals

A Throwback to the Good Old Days

The Perfect Pair

Location: BCK Kitchen & Cocktail Adventures

Recommended Time: Happy Hour!

Perfect Pair: Dr. Feelgood and Mac N’ Cheez It®

Happy Hour is one of our favorite times of the week, but this place really out did themselves. BCK’s whole goal is to make you remember your childhood, whether it is from the menu items that make you feel a little nostalgic or the old movies they have playing in the background. We absolutely loved going to happy hour here! Not only did we leave thinking we needed to come back to try everything on the menu, but it was so fun! The nostalgic menu choices brought about great conversation about our childhood, and let us get to know each other even better than we already did. The servers were also super friendly and had great recommendations on what to order for our first visit. We took all of his suggestions and boy were we satisfied! Our strategy for Happy Hour this week was to order drinks and food that were included in the happy hour specials and then move on to those that weren’t included when happy hour ended. This seems to be a super logical strategy, but this might have been the first time that we really planned this out before ordering.

Happy Hour Drinks!

So let’s get down to what even is on the menu. We ordered the Sweet n’ Sour Meatballs and the Street Corn from the starters during happy hour. The tastes were super different, but oh so good. I’m not usually a huge fan of meatballs, but the sweet and sour sauce on them made them extra tasty. The street corn was absolutely to die for, great flavors of corn and cheese and whatever cream they put on top. When happy hour ended (at 6pm), we switched to items that were not included in the happy hour specials. We ordered what quickly became our favorite side, the Mac N’ Cheez It. It was so good we ordered 2 of them. Think your favorite creamy, cheesy macaroni and cheese topped with a classic childhood snack of Cheez It’s®. We also ordered the burger to round out our “super healthy” meal. It was a good old fashioned burger, nothing too fancy about it, but you don’t need to mess with a classic burger. We were too full to try anything else, but there was so much more we wanted to try – especially some of the desserts.

The Dr. Feelgood!

Now onto the drinks, even these bring back your childhood! My favorite soda still to this day is Dr. Pepper, so when we saw a cocktail that had DP in it and came in a DP can – we could not resist. Sadly, the Dr. Feelgood, as BCK has cleverly named it, is not on the happy hour menu. We ordered things from the HH menu first, but then moved on to the fun twist on a Dr. Pepper. The happy hour menu includes classic cocktails like the Moscow Mule, Sazerac, Negroni, Old Fashioned, and some other staples. We went for the Mule and Negroni and enjoyed them a lot. For other drinks that are not included in Happy Hour, they throw it back to your childhood with an adult twist. One of these cocktails has Orange Crush, one with Captain Crunch Milk, and of course our favorite Dr. Pepper.

Cheers!

We absolutely loved BCK and can’t wait to go back. From the delicious menu items, friendly and helpful staff, and the atmosphere perfect for reminiscing on the good old days, this new Heights hot spot is for sure going to make the regular rotation.

Where are you going for happy hour this week?!

Peace and Pinot,

The Perfectly Paired Pals