Summertime Series: A Virtual Four-Course Meal

Summer in Houston is hot.

And in a bad way.

By mid-March, the air feels so close you could touch it. A man’s heavily starched shirt collar wilts faster than a woman’s neatly coiffed hair-do. Muggy at best, unbearable the rest of the time Summer in Houston is the antithesis of its oft romanticized, idyllic portrait.  Streets are bare. Playgrounds are empty. Swimming pools are silent. The sound of A/C units churning echoes eerily throughout suburban neighborhoods.

But wait. Didn’t 2.6 million people show up for Rodeo Houston last month… a primarily outdoor event? That’s just about half the population of Houston. Two reasons for this, really: food & entertainment. But not just any food. World Championship Grillmeisters, armed with their best cuts and secret sauces. And not just any entertainment. Rodeo happens to be the State Sport of Texas (naturally) , and in a place where everything is bigger… what better venue than Reliant Arena for the Nation’s best riders to test their mettle? Add a star-studded list of  music superstars, and you end up with two expectations which must be met and (if possible) exceeded before any self-respecting Houstonian would brave the Summer swelter:

  1. Undeniably great food
  2. World-class entertainment

Miraculously, this blog post sprung from dirt I found myself sitting in, waiting for Tim McGraw to take the stage. If I were writing a noob’s guide to Houston, “things to do in Summertime” would really only have four subheadings. Nothing else is worth it, really.  Like peanut butter and chocolate, these pairings were meant to be and are always met with  unanimous approval when considered for forays into the outdoors:

  • Crawfish & Zydeco
  • Barbecue & Rodeo
  • Bratwursts & Baseball
  • Burgers & Beaches

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Houston happens to sit at the perfect crossroad of American, Creole, and Texas cultures required to sample each pairing. Over the next four days, we’ll go on a virtual tour of Summer festivals and sample a few classic recipes (fried ‘gator, anyone?).  Mostly to satiate my cravings for Summer to get here already (Spring is such a tease), but I hope it also serves as a guidepost if you ever find yourself stranded in Houston during the season affectionately known as “Hell.”