The Definitive Guide to Houston

Author

Mary Cate S.

Mary Cate S. has 85 articles published.

Mary Cate is a Houston-based writer, photographer, and reading fiend, recently returned to her native city after time in Austin and New York City. She loves sharing the best of Houston with the world — margaritas, anyone? She and her husband serve local businesses through their digital content company, Two Cats Communications.

Craft Chocolate at Araya Artisan

in Dining & Nightlife by

There’s something magical about chocolate— its silky texture, its balletic dance between bitter and sweet. Chocolate is the jazz of food, the universal cordon of love. It should surprise no one that chocolate is a natural source of tryptophan, a chemical that causes mood-enhancing serotonin to flood the brain. Eating a chocolate, chemically speaking, is an act of self-care.

Some of the finest chocolate in the world is made here in Houston at Araya Artisan Chocolate, a family-owned business that has been pleasing local palates since 2010. Headed by Venezuelan sisters Carla and Silvana Susi, and Carla’s husband Stefano Zullian, Araya uses fairly traded, single-origin Venezuelan cacao to create bite after memorable bite.

Classic flavors like Salted Caramel and Chipotle provide a natural point of entry. From there, venture a little further into the realm of imagination and discover artful creations like Port Wine and Violet, Margarita, or Strawberry

Balsamic. Each Araya chocolate doubles as a work of fine art. Unexpected pops of color and geometric patterns elevate the experience into one that pleases all the senses. Guilt has no place here—only pleasure.

With locations in River Oaks, Uptown Park, and Katy, and a distribution deal with local grocer Central Market, Araya’s creations are easy to find—and would make the perfect Mother’s Day gift!


Featured image courtesy of Araya Artisan Chocolate.

Houston’s Best Spring Brunches, Bars, & Happy Hours

in Dining & Nightlife by
Emmaline Houston

Brunch. Happy Hour. A good bar. They’re the culinary equivalents of your favorite movie star—you can’t get enough, couldn’t ever run out of good things to say about them, and of course, they beg to be photographed.

Thanks to its brilliantly diverse (and ever-expanding) restaurant scene, Houston is a culinary A-lister. Like the Hollywood equivalent, Houston is bursting with talent, though it maintains the humility and organic local love you’d be more likely to find in the indie scene. From brunches that define Instagram heaven to playful offerings from nationally-recognized cocktail experts, we’ve rounded up a handful of springtime brunch, bar, and happy hour offerings you’ll want to revisit again and again.

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Dash on Over to Houston’s Premier Home Décor Market

in Shopping & Style/Things To Do by
DASH Spring Market

Twice a year, Houston is treated to one of the very best home décor and design markets around: DASH (an acronym for Design-Art-Style-Home). This expertly-curated, four-day event brings some of the best local and national vendors of antiques, art, textiles, clothing, jewelry and more to Houston, producing a market that’s versatile, comprehensive, and just plain fun. DASH Spring Market launches at Silver Street Studios on Thursday, April 26 and runs through Sunday, April 29—circle those dates in red on your calendar!

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Every Birthday Deserves a Party: Montrose Mainstay Paulie’s Celebrates 20 Years

in Dining & Nightlife/Things To Do by
Pasta con Sarde at Paulie's

Two decades of fresh, house-made pasta, family recipes, and perfectly-paired wine? We think that’s something to celebrate. Today, Sunday, April 15, head over to Paulie’s and its neighboring wine bar, Camerata at Paulie’s, for a 20th Anniversary Party done right.

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The Return of the Most Opulent Brunch in Town

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Hotel Granduca

Let’s start with a few facts: Brunch is the most important meal of the week, and Houston’s home to some of the best-ever brunches. So it follows that if you’re in Houston, you’d better darn well brunch. One of the most decadent, over-the-top Sunday spreads has always been at Uptown mainstay Hotel Granduca—and after a three-year hiatus, the luxury Italian hotel is unveiling a new, better than ever Sunday brunch buffet.

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Downtown Houston’s New Favorite Watering Hole

in Dining & Nightlife by
The Cottonmouth Club Houston

This week, downtown Houston is getting an exciting new addition. On Friday, celebrate the start of the weekend with a visit to the newest concept from bar expert Mike Raymond of Reserve 101, one of the best whiskey bars in the U.S. Along with international bar star Michael Neff and designer Greg Swanson, Raymond is launching The Cottonmouth Club, a come-one-come-all joint serving up world class cocktails and private barrel blended whiskey.

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Photos: Night Heron, Your New Montrose Favorite

in Dining & Nightlife by
Night Heron

Montrose is one of the best neighborhoods in Houston. Its quirky array of shops and coffeehouses, proximity to the Museum District, and unbeatable restaurants all contribute to the area’s appeal. One of the newest watering holes on the scene is also one of the best. Within just weeks of opening, Agricole Hospitality’s Night Heron has carved its space as a noteworthy neighborhood nest. With inventive cocktails, a globally-inspired menu, and a comfortable, airy space, the only thing you’re left wanting when you leave is more.

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Discovering Design: Meet the Principal of Lacey Michalek Interiors

in Profiles/Shopping & Style by
Lacey Michalek Interiors

Everyone wants to have it all—a happy family and fulfilling professional life—all with plenty of time to explore Instagram, of course. It turns out that Houston-based interior designer, Lacey Michalek, is winning in all categories. With a beautiful family and successful business to her name, the entrepreneur is flying high with a diverse slew of projects and more opportunities on the horizon. Meet the principal of Lacey Michalek Interiors—whether you’re in the market for a design professional or are an aspiring designer yourself, you’ll love getting to know this Houston entrepreneur.

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Don’t Miss Happy Hour and Painting Beneath this Eye-Catching Houston Art Installation

in Art & Culture/Things To Do by

Happy hour makes everything better. Pinot’s Palette has made good use of this universal truth with their winning pairing of wine and painting with friends. Their program has become a favorite across the nation, drawing crowds for birthdays and bachelorette parties alike. Now, prepare for even more fun: Every third Wednesday from April through September, join Pinot’s Palette and the Houston Downtown District at Main Street Square for happy hour al fresco, beneath one of the city’s favorite public art installations, Trumpet Flower.

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Don’t Miss Out on this Glitzy River Oaks Shopping Center Pop-up

in Shopping & Style by
Luxury Garage Sale

For one month only, Luxury Garage Sale is bringing unique consignment glam to Houston. Through April 15, head down to the River Oaks Shopping Center to peruse LGS’ standout inventory of top designer brands. From Louis Vuitton and Chanel to Hermès and Gucci, you’re guaranteed a luxe parade of clothing, handbags, shoes, and accessories.

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