Brunch in a “glass tree house”

Location: The Kitchen at The Dunlavy

Recommended time: Brunch (but early brunch– some might say breakfast)

The Perfect Pair: Suroeste Bowl and a Mimosa

 
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Eating a wonderful meal in a glass room filled with countless sparkly chandeliers surrounded by lush trees sounds like it couldn’t be anything but a dream. It’s not a dream though. It’s here in Houston. It also doesn’t cost a million dollars to eat there. The Kitchen at the Dunlavy is open from 7am-2pm with lunch starting at 11. We recommend you go for an early brunch, or just breakfast when going on the weekend because boy, it fills up fast. The line to give your order at the counter can get pretty long if you come after about 9:45. However, take a seat and your food will be there shortly. The tables are huge, so feel free to make new friends and share with another group.

 

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Now for what to order. The food is just a pretty as the venue. We are obsessed with the Suroeste Bowl. It has cilantro rice, beans, skillet potatoes, elote, avocado, cotija, pico, and a fried egg– Everything us Texas gals love. Another item that is a MUST HAVE is the rosemary goat cheese biscuit with honey butter. This is up in the window at the counter and last time we went was our first time to order it. I’ll be honest, the only reason it was added to the order was because the lady behind us in line told us right before we ordered that if we didn’t order that biscuit we would regret it forever because it is the best thing that ever was. At the time we thought she was being dramatic. She wasn’t. It is a must order!. Also pictured is the Autumn Warm Grain Bowl. It was yummy and filling with the right amount of sweet from the honey and bee pollen and tart from the pears. This trendy and picturesque spot for millennials wouldn’t be complete without Avocado Toast and it does not disappoint. Listed as the Avocado Tartine, this fun take on the typical toast will make all your avocado and runny egg dreams come true.

 

 

Don’t worry, we weren’t going to forget about the mimosas! They’ve got your favorite breakfast cocktail on lock and they are on point. Order by the glass or by the carafe to share! They also have a full bar, so feel free to order whatever your heart desires. Mine usually wants a spicy Bloody Mary. 🙂 This past trip we just ordered coffee. It’s great coffee and you can refill your mug over and over again. As part Gilmore girl, a full cup of coffee is something that I always support.

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This post is all about breakfast and brunch, but there is something that we have to mention. The Kitchen at The Dunlavy closes at 2 everyday because it is available to book for special events. This swoon-worthy event space could be all yours for whatever party or event you want to host. **Cue “What Dreams Are Made Of”- Hilary Duff** Sometimes when there are no events going on, they do pop up happy hours. The drink prices are not necessarily what we would call “happy hour” prices, but with the setting, delicious drinks, and tasty light bites it’s a great spot. Be sure to keep up to date with their schedule online so you don’t miss one!

 

Lauren and Julia

 

This place is just fantastic for birthdays or celebrations of any sort and a great place to take out of town guests to get a feel for Houston with the Bayou in sight. We hope to see you there and order us a rosemary biscuit! 🙂

 

Peace and Pinot,

 

The Perfectly Paired Pals

The Beginning of Fall

Location: The DelIMG-1130

Meal of Choice: Happy Hour

Perfect Pair: Gnocchi Tots and The Orange Blossom Cocktail

School is back in session, college football starts tonight, and cooler weather is hopefully coming soon…probably not soon enough here in Houston, but regardless of the temperature, it is the beginning of the best season…FALL! In honor of this fresh start, we are taking you a little further west than our usual stomping grounds to a cozy little indoor spot, perfect for escaping the heat that is still lingering, The Del. This crowd pleasing restaurant is off the beaten path and another one that you have to know where you are going in order to find it. Aptly named for the street it is on, the Del has a welcoming atmosphere with great service and even better deals!

 

First things first, Happy Hour is from 3:00-6:30, Monday-Friday. Another great option for those of you who have to stay at the office a little later, but even better for those wanting to start happy hour a little early! Oh how I wish we could go every afternoon at 3:00pm. The deals during happy hour are almost unbeatable! Appetizers are $5 each and still are full sized, and the drinks are all $6 or under. We have tried all the food on the happy hour menu and the clear favorite is the gnocchi tots. They are not your typical tater tot as they are made from gnocchi, so they are a little softer, and then covered in a delicious cheese fondue.

I know our usual cheese review is focused on cheese board type cheeses, but we do love a good cheese fondue- aka queso for the fellow Texans out there! This trip we also got the calamari, fried pickles, and of course the cheese board- because we had to. The cheese board is not included in happy hour, but we told the Perfectly Paired Boys that we had to order it for the blog :). Not sure they are totally on board with that being our new excuse to order all the delicious things, but they get to enjoy them too so it’s a win-win for sure.The cheese board is decently priced at $18, and has a great selection of delicious cheese, meats, and fruit. It for sure has the most meat and cheese we’ve ever seen for that price! Our only complaint about this particular board is the amount of bread is definitely lacking, but the bread that was there was quite tasty! If your mouth isn’t already watering, I’m not sure what will make that happen for you.

 

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetNow, onto the drinks! While we are always down for a nice glass of wine, the cocktails at the Del are definitely worth a try. All the classic cocktails are included in happy hour along with a few of the Del’s specialty cocktails. Our favorite is the Orange Blossom! This fun and fruity drink is not too sweet as it only has three simple ingredients, Aperol, St. Germain, and Prosecco. The boys typically go for the Old Fashioned and the rest of our happy hour group like the Moscow Mules. If we are wanting to order wine, their house selections are great. We have found that you really can’t go wrong here!

 

As you prepare for the Labor Day holiday this weekend, don’t forget about this hidden gem, the Del. As always, let us know your favorites or any new places we need to try!

 

Cheers! You’ve almost made it to the long weekend!

 

Peace & Pinot,

The Perfectly Paired Pals

A Houston Staple, for Any Time of the Day

Location: Backstreet Café

Recommended time of choice: M-F Happy Hour, or Houston Restaurant Weeks

The Perfect Pair: Garden Nachos and a half price bottle of Rosé to share

 

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We’ve been to Backstreet Café on many different occasions. Dates, dinners, girl gang happy hours, double dates, you name it! No matter the event, there is one thing that always remains consistent – Backstreet never disappoints!

This wonderful little spot has been a must-try in the Houston area for over 35 years. It is located in a converted house in River Oaks just screaming to be your cozy spot for quality time and catching up. Inside the restaurant, there are multiple rooms with tables and a cute patio with string lights. With so many rooms to be seated, this popular place never feels overly packed. Every meal here is delectable, but happy hour and dinner are our faves. The Pals went recently on two occasions: for a birthday happy hour for one of our dearest friends, as well as on a date with our men for Houston Restaurant Weeks.

Backstreet apps

Happy hour at Backstreet is Monday through Friday 3PM- 6:30PM. During their happy hour, they have light bites, a variety of cocktails, beers, and half priced bottles of rosé to make it just that much sweeter. We’ve posted about it before and we’ll praise it again— a bottle Miraval Rosé was our choice to start the evening! There were plenty of different bottles to choose from that would all pair perfectly with their selection of light and refreshing bites. Our favorite small plates were the Garden Nachos and the Mini Tuna Poke. So delicious! The hummus and house made pita is so yummy as well, so definitely add that to your list to order. Following the bottle of wine, we still had plenty of things to talk about, so glasses of the Signature Red Wine Sangria were ordered all around. We always feel like we need to try the sangria everywhere we go (We’re red wine lovers even though we live in an incredibly hot city!) and Backstreet’s was up to the test. It was easy to drink and not too light; pleasant and enjoyable to say the least.

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Houston Restaurant Weeks runs this year from August 1st to September 3rd and every meal benefits the Houston Food Bank. Restaurants that choose to participate provide a 3-4 course dinner for $35 or $45 a person. Restaurants can also offer breakfast or lunch for $20 a meal. This is such a fantastic way to try out restaurants in Houston, especially ones that you wouldn’t go to ordinarily (or if the price point is a little high). Backstreet’s menu was $35 a person and you had the option to include wine/cocktail pairings for an added cost. Our group opted for the Maker’s Mark, White Wine, and Bubbly menus, and they were all delightful. The red menu was incredibly tempting with a cheese plate for dessert, I repeat, a cheese plate for DESSERT! My love for steak won me over, as did the Fig Galette on the Bubbly menu. Even though the ladies didn’t order the red wine menu, we went for a glass of the Malbec anyways.  

When looking through all the possibilities of where to go for HRW, be sure to check out the other restaurants in the Backstreet cafe family- Hugo’s, Caracol, Origin, Prego, and Xochi. For a full list of restaurants participating, visit: http://www.houstonrestaurantweeks.com/.  Let us know in the comments below where you choose and help us decide where to go next!

 

Peace & Pinot,

 

The Perfectly Paired Pals

Tiny Boxwoods: A Houston Gem

Restaurant: Tiny Boxwoods

Meal of Choice: Brunch or Dinner

The Brunch Perfect Pair: Morning Cheese and Meat Board with Mimosas

 

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If you live in Houston and haven’t been to Tiny Boxwoods, you are doing everything wrong and NEED TO GO RIGHT NOW THIS VERY SECOND to experience all of the goodness that is this quaint, delicious, gem of a place. Built in the middle of a plant nursery in River Oaks, this restaurant is privately tucked back away from the street in a flower and greenery wonderland. You can’t even see it until you walk in through the gates, but this is one of the reasons that makes Tiny’s such a beautiful, hidden gem! With seating both indoors and outdoors, the setting is just the perfect place to pull you out of Houston for a couple of hours with friends and enjoy a delicious meal at any time of the day.

The three perfectly paired pals, of course, had to take pictures in the nursery after brunch because it truly is one of the best parts about Tiny Boxwoods. It’s always fun to walk around and look at the gorgeous plants and flowers, and better yet, they are all for sale! You can get your plant shopping and brunch in at the same place. The best!

One of our favorite things to do when you go to so many different restaurants, is to read about their stories and how they came to be. I really enjoy the Tiny Boxwoods story, as well as the mission of the restaurant. The reason why Tiny Boxwoods is so unique is because the owners made it personal from the start. To learn more about Tiny Boxwoods, click here to head to their About Page on the website. They have the cutest story – including how they would hand out free lattes for business, as well as how they came up with the name Tiny Boxwoods!

Now, Let’s Talk Food
Processed with VSCO with b5 presetAs soon as you walk in, you’re greeted by this cute, chalkboard menu hung up on the wall. It makes it easy to order food that’s written so beautifully! This board also gives off the farmhouse vibe as soon as you walk in.

The PPP’s ordered a little bit of everything, but we obviously had to order the Morning Cheese & Meat Board to share, containing a trio of cheeses and cured meats, honeycomb, fruits, flatbreads, rosemary hazelnuts, and jalapeno jelly. We tried Tiny’s lattes and mimosas to pair, and both were great! However, you just can’t go wrong having a mimosa with brunch.

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The board had a little bit of everything, and a lot of bread. The bread was delicious – very thin with the right amount of sea salt. However, there was not enough cheese & meat to pair with it. We had a ton of bread left over and it took up half of the board! We wish that we could have gotten a little more cheese & meat to equal out the portion sizes. At $18, this board is on the pricier side, but you definitely pay for the quality of the food. You can always count on Tiny’s to deliver the cleanest foods in your meal, and that’s one of our favorite things about this place!

Our favorite detail of the board, clearly well thought out by Tiny’s, was the rosemary hazelnuts. OMG they were to die for! The PPP’s think rosemary is the perfect addition to any board, and it paired perfectly with the crunchy hazelnuts. We couldn’t get enough.

So, Why Tiny Boxwoods?                                                              Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Do yourself a favor, grab your best girlfriends, and treat yourself to a Tiny Boxwoods meal. The experience alone will make your day just by being around flowers and pretty outdoor spaces while eating clean, yummy food! The Morning Cheese & Meat Board was delicious, but Tiny’s has so many amazing meals to offer that you really can’t go wrong with what you choose. Be sure to let us know what you think about your experience at Tiny’s in our comments below or on our PPP Instagram! We can’t wait to hear what your favorite meal is. Maybe a dinner blog is in our future…

 

Peace and Pinot,

The Perfectly Paired Pals

“Wine ~ Beer ~ Eatery”

Restaurant: CRISP

Recommended Meal of Choice: Happy Hour

The Perfect Pair: Baked Texas Goat Cheese and Marinara and a glass of 2012 Citra, Montepulciano D’Abruzzo from Italy

 

A staple in the Thursday Happy Hour rotation, CRISP is one that never disappoints. It is easily accessible in the Shady Acres neighborhood of the Heights. This cozy gem brings our busy lives to a halt as we gather around the table eating family style with a glass of wine in hand.

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Baked Texas Goat Cheese and Marinara– YUM! 

As a group, we value good apps as much as we value good wine. There can be around 10 of us who go to happy hour together and we always have a hard time finding apps that satisfy all of our snacking preferences. We definitely do not have that problem at CRISP.  On Wednesdays and Thursdays, it’s HALF OFF all appetizers! Over all the times we’ve been to CRISP together, we’ve ordered every single app, but there are some clear favorites. At the top of this list is the Baked Texas Goat Cheese and Marinara. It comes with killer garlic bread that is wow… just wow. It is beyond perfect. The drunken garlic bread alone is one of the best garlic breads we’ve ever had, but dipping it into the savory goat cheese and marinara is comfort food at its finest!  When ordering this for a group on Wednesday or Thursday, just go ahead and order two (you can thank us later)! It will cost only $2 more than just adding the extra bread! We also love ordering the Truffle Parmesan Fries. They are a huge crowd pleaser and an easy finger food for the center of the table. The yummy pizzas are crispy crusted and delectable. You can’t go wrong with any flavor, so just plan to come back to try them all! Last, but surely not least, the Dairymaid’s Cheese board. Pros: the cheese is all so delicious and there is plenty of it, the accompaniments are the perfect addition to the board, and it is priced well. Cons: there could be definitely be more bread and each slice of meat comes at an additional cost. However, you don’t need the meat to enjoy all of the wonderful cheese already offered on the board.

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Dairymaid’s Cheese Board pictured with and without added meat slices

 

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Chip card for the Enomatic machine 

You bet your bottom dollar we didn’t forget about the wine! Crisp has an enomatic wine machine. A.K.A. a wine vending machine that runs off of preloaded cards that are what we like to call, “Adult Dave and Buster’s” cards.  You add cash to it via your waiter whenever you want, and just whip out when you want to go and get some wine. This is awesome because you can pick your pour size and essentially try the wine out before getting a bottle for the table or just try all the kinds you want to! If it wasn’t too good to be true already, during happy hour, all the wine in the enomatic is HALF OFF! On the other hand, if your legs don’t want to move after a full day of work, you can just order off the menu instead because all glasses of wine are $2 off from 3pm to 7pm. 

We’ve mentioned before that building community is one of our favorite things. If we’re able to do that while drinking and eating… praise! When it comes to this, CRISP has it in the bag. This is a place that makes friends feel like family. As our friends all order their favorite apps or pizzas and place them in the center of the table, we share stories as readily and as easily as we share the dishes themselves.  Every night there are different specials and you can’t go wrong. We can’t wait to see you there!

Peace & Pinot,

The Perfectly Paired Pals