Founded by the late philanthropist and art collector Dominique de Menil, this privately owned, 12-hectare campus houses the personal collection of de Menil and her husband, John. It’s one of the most significant art collections in the country, with free admission to explore 17,000 works, from ancient, African and Byzantine art to Surrealist, Modern and contemporary works. Fresh from a renovation in 2018, the Renzo Piano-designed main building has been restored to its original sheen. That same fall, the museum unveiled the Menil Drawing Institute, a newly constructed building that’s dedicated to modern and contemporary drawings.
1533 Sul Ross St
Housed in a 558m2 warehouse in Houston’s East Downtown “EaDo” neighbourhood, this locally based, global non-profit is a workshop, design centre, retail store and coffee shop all rolled into one. Dedicated to up-cycling post-consumer textiles, local designers and artists work with a treasure trove of salvaged items to produce unique clothing and accessories, from dresses to pouches, as well as lifestyle products all sold through The Co: Lab Marketplace boutique. After browsing, you can head over to admire the works at the on-site capsule art gallery, before taking a break with wine, coffee or tea in the lounge.
908 Live Oak St
From Houston coffee expert David Buehrer comes this adorable café in the city’s West University area. Embracing the vivacious, colourful spirit of the Bayou City’s Latin communities, the Michael Hsu-designed space is decorated in a rainbow of greens, oranges and yellows, as well as lush foliage that makes you feel like you’re relaxing in an indoor garden. The all-day menu takes patrons from day to night with selections ranging from the frothy guava de olla, a Japanese matcha latte with guava foam, to the prettily plated pan con aguacate, a blue corn masa pancake topped with refried beans and avocado. For something alcoholic, the Avocolada is a take on the piña colada cocktail made with creamy avocado.
2132 Bissonnet St #100
This cosy Italian eatery in the heart of Houston’s popular Montrose neighbourhood is run by David Keck and June Rodil, both Master Sommeliers, while chef and partner Felipe Riccio spent time under the tutelage of Massimo Bottura at the three-Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. The menu includes beautifully blistered pizzas, handmade pastas and grilled items such as Basque-style sea bream, as well as a fantastic wine and cocktail programme. Save room for dessert: the Basque-style cheesecake is something else.
1620 Westheimer Rd
To some, the food at this strip-mall spot in the Bellaire suburb is revolutionary. But for “blood brothers” Terry and Robin Wong and their high school friend Quy Hoang, it’s just barbecue prepared with the flavours they grew up with. Tastes that represent Houston’s diverse population – Korean gochujang (chilli paste), Thai curry and Vietnamese thit nuong (grilled meat) – are infused into traditional Texan barbecue offerings such as burnt belly beef ends, boudin (sausage) and smoked wings. Lines are long and the food sells out around 1pm, so head there early.
5425 Bellaire Blvd, Bellaire