Monday, March 11, 2013

what a weekend - houston staycation

This weekend was one of the most fun I have had in a long, long time, so naturally I have to link up about it!

It all centered around the chance we had to see the Airborne Toxic Event, which I will get to in a minute. Since we knew we were going to do that, we decided to plan a little "staycation" to revolve around the concert. Andrew and I are no strangers to staycations; we have stayed at the Four Seasons before seeing Lewis Black and the Hilton before trying out Uchi and Anvil, and we love being able to go out and have a good time and take a cab back to a hotel for the night. I definitely recommend it, especially when you live in the suburbs of a city with terrible public transportation like we do! We did a Priceline Name Your Own Price deal and decided to type in $60, even though the "suggested rate" was $154... and we got it! So, we ended up staying at the Hyatt, right in the middle of downtown.

Hotel room | A giving me a fake kiss so he doesn't have to be "in" the photo | perplexed at how everyone else's mirror pics look good and mine look dumb.

On Saturday, we had errands to run and finally made our way to Gatlin's BBQ around 1:30 for lunch. It is supposed to be the BEST BBQ in Houston. We knew that waits were long and that they ran out of food, but since it was supposed to be open until 7pm, we figured we were okay. After a 20 minute wait, we placed our order. They were already out of pulled pork, brisket, and spare ribs, so we ordered other meats. About 40 (!!!) minutes later, they came out and told Andrew they were out of the sausage he wanted, so he had to choose something else! It took about an hour for us to get our food from the time we ordered (which I don't understand because I am pretty sure all of the meat is done cooking when they open for business) and it was really good, but maybe not worth the wait again. If we were to go to Gatlin's again, it would be on a weekend. If you are in Houston and want to try it out, I definitely recommend going early and not in a group larger than four because seating is hard to come by!

Since we were in the Heights anyway and Andrew has been following Fat Cat Creamery on twitter and saw they were at Buchanan's Plants, we decided we needed some ice cream. Buchanan's is a cute nursery with a great gift shop and friendly staff. But, we were just there for a snack. I tried the Mexican Vanilla (yummmm) and Andrew got the Chocolate Stout (too beer-y for me, but I HATE beer). We both loved what we got and I can't wait until their shop opens in the Heights this summer!

Since we were going to have a late night, we decided to stop at Catalina Coffee on the way into downtown. It is one of Houston's newest coffee places. While I didn't love what I ordered (probably due to my need for overly-sweet coffee), my latte art there was some of the best I have had in my insane coffee quest of Houston.

Outside Gatlin's | lunch | Fat Cat | best latte art ever

We made it to the hotel and hung out for a few hours before our plans for the night. The room was pretty big and the bed was comfortable.

The concert didn't start until 8:00, so we decided to go try out OKRA Charity Saloon for happy hour. This is a bar where the proceeds go to charity, and for every drink you buy, you get a ticket to put in a box to support your favorite charity that they are promoting. At the end of the month, the charity whose box has the most tickets gets that month's proceeds. So, while you are out drinking, you are making the world a better place. Win win, right? The building is old and has lots of history, the jukebox was varied, the crowd was really diverse, and drinks were great. I had the punch of the day and then asked the bartender to make me something lemony. Both drinks were exactly what I wanted (Andrew had a beer and an old fashioned and was really impressed with his cocktail).

Lemon drink | Beer and punch (round 1) | OKRA Charity Saloon

Finally, finally, we made it to the concert. If you read Friday's post, you can see how I used social media to get us into this concert. I am SO GLAD I did. This was one amazing party! There was free food and drinks (open bar with the good stuff - hello, Patron!), a patio with lounge furniture to enjoy the amazing weather we have been having, and enough space to move around. You could also register to win a Cadillac, which explains the annoying tweeting I was doing all night (sorry followers, it won't happen again). We ate our way through the party and waited for the band to go on.

Andrew loves this band, so before they were scheduled to go on, we went to the stage area (which was in a really small room) and staked our claim right up against it. I rested my drink on the stage. And we waited... and got more drinks... the band ended up going on an hour late, but with free drinks, who could complain?

The Airborne Toxic Event finally came on around 9:45. They put on a great show, probably made even better by our proximity to them. They are one of Andrew's favorites, and though they aren't one of mine, I loved seeing them in concert. I took a ton of pictures, so I will try to spare you.

Us at the concert | So close, I can read the set list | Tiny room | the band

The Airborne Toxic Event

After the show, they walked around and chatted with their fans. We watched the girls in short skirts talk to all the guys in the band from afar. As we walked out of the concert, they gave each of us a brownie, a Sprinkles cupcake, and a USB car adapter. Great party, Cadillac!

(This is where I should say that the weekend was not all perfection, as we couldn't find a cab for about twenty minutes, and when we did and I said "Hyatt Downtown" he heard "Heights Boulevard" and proceeded to take us to the wrong place! We racked up a pretty big cab bill, so I told him we would only pay half, which he actually accepted).

Awesome stage lights

Since we are huge gluttons who had to take advantage of being "in the city" a while longer, we went to Sunday Brunch at Hugo's. We have been there for dinner a few times, but never brunch. The buffet was really large and I liked most everything I had, though I would have been happy with nothing but the tomatillo avocado salsa and flan. I definitely recommend it if you like authentic Mexican food, though!

It doesn't end there... I still had plans with my former coworkers, Tammi and Krystal. I didn't take any photos, but we did spend some time together catching up and making tentative plans for a girls's weekend in Austin. LOVE them so much and they were definitely the best part of my old job!

So, this is super long, but it was such a great weekend that I want to remember it all! I also checked my email this morning to see myself front and center on Culturemap's daily email.

Who's that girl in stripes? Andrew was at the bar and missed this....

Have you ever taken a staycation in your city?

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