Culture / Newsy

The Washington Post Gives Houston Major Love in a Gushing Piece

The Bayou City's Run of National Praise Continues

BY // 09.24.19

Houston’s rep has been skyrocketing for a while now. More and more people are taking notice of the city from all across the country.

And it’s not just your average word of mouth, either. It’s not as if your sister’s boyfriend’s cousin’s ex from New York City has shed the snobbery and fallen head-over-heels for Houston after a trip to One Fifth or Anvil.

No, national publications are taking notice. For as much as Houstonians recognize the city’s greatness, it feels damned good to have someone else do it — especially when that someone else happens to be esteemed, respected, you name it.

Now, The Washington Post is throwing an Astros cap into the ring, falling in love with the city in a story headlined “A Local’s Guide to Houston.”

Reporter Drew Jones opens up with a none-too-kind Hunter S. Thompson quote: “Houston is a cruel, crazy town on a filthy river in East Texas with no zoning laws and a culture of sex, money and violence.”

The Post always brags that “There’s much to love in this wild boomtown on the bayou,” from Beyoncé to Tex-Mex.

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His can’t-miss spots start with The Museum District, with 19 museums set in the sprawling space around Hermann Park. The Menil Collection earns its very own shout-out, and the Cloud Column sculpture is singled out for its beauty at the improved Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Glassell director Joe Havel with Anish Kapoor’s “Cloud Column,” 1998-2006 (Portrait Jay Tovar)

Discovery Green is heralded for its constant, exciting programming, while Buffalo Bayou Park gets kudos for its walkability and popular bike trails.

From there, it’s on to the East End, which has “embodied the growth and change of Houston for decades” in The Washington Post‘s words and is now celebrated as a true melting pot with easy access to the Green Line MetroRail.

For breakfast, Jones took an intriguing tack — you won’t just find the cult classic The Breakfast Klub. The Post story also touts the relatively new Egghaus Gourmet, known for its kolaches. Which Jones explains to the reader, with good reason — Czech pastries may be well-known in these parts, but that’s not true of the vast majority of the country.

Lunch looks like the gristly glory of Truth BBQ and food-truck-turned-brick-and-mortar success story The Rice Box.

Coming in under the no surprise category are the dinner options: the much-hyped Nancy’s Hustle, which landed on Esquire’s list of Best Restaurants in America in 2018. Then, there’s The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation, home to the fajitas that started it all.

Late-night nominations go to the hole-in-the-wall Ninja Ramen, home to one of the lengthiest lists of Japanese whiskey in the country.

Mai’s Restaurant is the other pick. The Vietnamese standard is open til as late as 4 am on the weekends, serving up goi cuon as fast as you can eat them.

Craft brewing gets the spotlight by way of Saint Arnold Brewing, the oldest craft brewery in Texas which now boasts an expansive beer garden.

Saint Arnold always draws Houston love.
Saint Arnold always draws Houston love.

Of course, The Washington Post is in many ways just joining the crowd of new Houston lovers.

Who can forget The New York Times’ gushing write-up headlined “A Day in Houston: 3 Meals, 3 Cultures, One City”?

Writer and traveler Sebastian Modak toured The Bayou City with his tastebuds, soaking up the foodie wonders that are Ocean Palace, Afghan Village and Raizes Mexican Kitchen.

At each and every restaurant, Modak took the time to really get down to the nitty gritty details with all the chefs behind the ethnic food they’d elevated to greatness. These weren’t the restaurant list-topping hotspots, but certified hits all on their own, the kind of places that, once discovered, keep you coming back.

CNN touted Houston as 2o19’s Must Visit. Writer Shivani Vora gushed over some obvious but exhilarating hallmarks: The Johnson Space Center, Museum District and Xochi. But there was also time to compliment Ekko’s Greek Deli, a veritable gyro feast tucked into an unassuming Exxon on Richmond Avenue.

Houston also caught Bon Appetit’s eye a few years ago, with the recent preferred method of showing off Houston to outsiders: Sharing the opinions of insiders.

Sure, Bon Appetit’s “Ask a Local: An Insider’s Guide to Houston, Texas” may be a smidge outdated — it namechecks Killen’s as top barbecue, which still isn’t that far off today, but you can tell this was before the recent barbecue explosion — but it still boosted Houston’s bonafides.

Everything’s bigger in Texas — especially the national praise for its biggest city.

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