Located in the middle of Houston Heights, A 2nd Cup is a coffee shop with a cause; that cause is justice. Specifically, they are Houston’s only nonprofit coffee shop that is fighting against human trafficking, for which Houston is one the largest cities for, unfortunately. With that alone, we more than endorse giving them a visit. It’s refreshing to find a place that cares about not only coffee but also the community at large.
For such a small city like Ames, Iowa, the number of Chinese restaurants is actually quite large. Even better, these restaurants are probably some of the most authentic Chinese places I’ve been to.
This mystical establishment is Tiny’s Milk and Cookies. Located in the heart of West University, Tiny’s is a neighborhood classic; kids, adults, and even our wisest elders enjoy Tiny’s, so you know this place is a definite must-try at least. And if WestU is a bit too far, they do have a new River Oaks location as well 👀.
Mademoiselle Louise is an excellent spot. It’s such a versatile place – you can come here to treat yourself, get baked goods for family and friends, and even have brunch here!
After our last post sharing the wonderful places you can visit in Seattle, we wanted to do a special edition focusing on the incredible food in Seattle. Read more on the blog.
Kata Robata! While it may seem like a mildly unassuming spot in Upper Kirby, it does pack a punch ✊. Kata Robata not only offers some excellent sushi, but they also have other phenomenal dishes if you wanna try something outside of sushi. Our recommendation is to have the best of both worlds 😉.
“The Tipsy Bean — Wine and Coffee Bar” serves a variety of coffee, red wine, white wine, rose, cheese boards, craft beers and pastries.
Cafe Beaudelaire has been around in Ames, Iowa since 1990, and as they call it, is “the Soul of Brasil in the Heart of Iowa.”
Kerbey Lane is Austin’s staple 24-hour restaurant, known for its breakfast items (specifically, incredible pancakes) & queso. Back in college, my friends would always go to Kerbey for breakfast whenever it was one of our birthdays (and free pancakes, of course). It was also the place we’d go to after physic exams, which ended at 9 pm…
The List is a small, unassuming boutique, coffeeshop, and barbershop all in one. If you aren’t looking for it, you might miss out on this gym 🤭. And trust us, this is one fantastic gym. Not only can you get some new clothes and a fresh cut, but you can also get some greatly creative and intriguing beverages. We’ve listed out some of our favorites below and hope you can enjoy them too 🤝:
Lemon bars are my favorite because they’re just the perfect balance of sweet & zesty, and they’re perfect for any occasion.
Just off the coast of Xiamen is Gulangyu, a pedestrian-only island that is also a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. At only 2 km2 area and home to about 20,000 people, Gulangyu is a major domestic tourist destination and is one of China’s most visited tourist attractions.
Bouldin Creek Cafe is probably my new favorite restaurant in Austin. I briefly mentioned it in one of my other Explore Austin posts, but I feel like I should do a separate post just on this cafe to do it justice.
Hillstone Restaurant is a tried and true steakhouse in University Park, Dallas. I normally eat here for a weekend lunch every once in a while. However, it doesn’t matter if I’m coming in for lunch or dinner or whatever day I’m here – the food has always been high-quality.
A few Aprils back, my college program made a weekend trip to Colorado Bend, Texas, which is only less than two hour away from the bustling city of Austin. Colorado Bend is a state park in the Hill Country region of the state, so we were able to spend some time hiking and exploring caves during our days there.
For National Coffee Day, it’s only apt that we review one of our favorite Houston coffee shops: BlendIn Coffee.
Read our latest blog post here!
Shabu2 offers “Gourmet Shabu Shabu” “high-end cuts of meats to our freshly prepared vegetables and seafood; [they describe as] the quality you can taste in every bite!” And indeed, ‘tis true. Bites here have deeper flavor profiles and taste fresh.
Aren’t coffee and studying just two peas in a pod? Of course! Yet unfortunately, it can be so hard to find a coffee shop with it all: good wifi, pretty aesthetics, plenty of space, strong coffee, and most of all, the feeling of ~productivity~.
But lemme tell you folks, I think I might’ve found the productivity pinnacle of coffee shops — Greenway Coffee Company located in Greenway Plaza.
The kind of coffee we indulge in is second-wave coffee — chocolatey, milky, eclectic sophistication. So it makes sense that we fancy coffee in the PNW, since Seattle is kind of the capital of second-wave coffee.
Nestled north of the Texas Medical Center and by Midtown Park, Kanau Sushi is a contemporary Japanese restaurant that offers lots of intriguing and eccentric items.
In Rome, one of the hardest challenges a gastro-tourist can face is finding a place to eat in an area occupied entirely by tourists. Price gouging for mediocre food, crowded restaurants, and poor service are the hallmarks of eating in areas dedicated to tourism.
Rome’s historic center is no exception to these problems, despite Italy’s culinary fame. However, we avoided all of them when we dined at Tre Pupazzi.
Cafes come in all shapes and sizes, but no matter where you go, you want to find a cafe for its life-enhancing food and coffee. And Dandelion Cafe is certainly one of those cafes!
Lucille’s is a tribute to a legacy of culinary excellence started almost a century ago; they “specialize in well-refined Southern cuisine with infusions of international techniques and flavors.” They were spot on to say the least.
Seattle in May is absolutely gorgeous, and the weather was an incredible reprieve from the Texas heat. The highest ranged around mid-60s, and we didn’t get stuck with any gloom or rain either.
Click to read the full blog post.
Portland holds a special place in our heart. It was our first HMHS trip together, and boi, was it a good one. The food was spectacular; the views and weather were phenomenal; and needless to say, the covfefe amazeballs.
So we decided to come back after our first year in med school and grad school. We saw the old coffee shop we loved, but we were also eager to try others. And this is it — our top coffee shops in the PDX. Hope you enjoy it!
When we tasted Cheater’s Creamery ice cream, the words that came to mind were “intense, sharp and lovely.” That’s right; Cheater’s Creamery has ice cream that immediately pops and shines with flavor and pizzazz. It reminded me of the iconic comic book punchlines, like “Bam! Boom! Zap!” Enough references though, I’m sure you guys wanna know about the actual ice cream 😂.
After spending almost four days in Guangzhou, we took a high speed train to Xiamen. Xiamen, located in Fujian Province, means “door to the house”, referring to the city’s centuries-old role as a gateway to China.
Port Aransas is about four hours away from Austin and is one of the longest barrier islands along the Texas coast. It’s now become a fishing, beach and resort village, and the weather is incredibly nice (though be prepared for extreme humidity and lots of sunscreens, or sunburns, in our case).
Handies Douzo is an intimate sushi spot that is great for dates. They focus on the exquisite hand roll; basically, it’s a sushi roll wrapped in nori, but uncut, so you get to dive into the entirety of a sushi roll. And it is so good and so difficult to not just scarf down the entire roll.
The thing about this city is that there’s so much to do, and it really never gets boring because there’s always something fun around the corner.
Tucked right off a bustling street in Montrose is the lively Postino Wine Bar, located in an immediately-noticeable building (it was built back in the 40s, and has been home to some famed places!)
Postino is a highly recommended place for something casual, fun, exciting and filled with good foods, boards and drinks.
When it comes to protein, meats like chicken and beef tend to get all the love. But for me, lamb is probably my favorite. Here, I’m sharing three different ways to eat lamb, based on three of my favorite Chinese recipes.
Ft. Lauderdale, a city just north of Miami, is home to only about 15,000, but don’t let that fool you: this popular tourist destination is at the heart of South Florida’s metropolitan area. It’s also where you’ll find (literally) every rich person’s summer house…
Nestled in a nice spot in River Oaks, Armandos is “fashioned after 1920s’ Mexico City; it features classic Mexican fare with a nod to La Buenda Vida.” A style like that makes you know you’re living the good life whenever you dine at Armandos.
Shu mai (烧卖) is probably one of my top three favorite dim sum items, so here’s our family recipe to share with you guys! They’re a part of the dumpling family, but are open-faced so you can see all the goodness inside!
The motto of Fearing’s is ‘BOLD FLAVORS. NO BORDERS.’ And I can say I agree with that 100%.
I would definitely count Master Yakiniku as one of the best Asian restaurants in the B/CS area, so if you’re ever craving some Korean or Japanese food, head over to Bryan to check out Master Yakiniku.
After dining here a few times, I can confidently say that Nobu has some nice food, but I am not going to lie to you – Nobu is a straight-up DINING EXPERIENCE.
The Moody Gardens in Galveston are home to Iceland, where sculptors have carved a beautiful undersea journey from two million pounds of ice.
Flower & Cream – now a name like that just makes you think of something subtle and understated, doesn’t it? But trust me, the Artisan Ice Cream from Flower & Cream is jam packed with flavor and size.
Annie and I first stumbled upon Flower & Cream one quiet night in Houston, and we were just craving for ice cream. We found a nice ice cream shop with good reviews that was also close to the Texas Medical Center, so we decided to give it a try.
Covfefe – some love it; others can’t live without it (I’m looking at you David 🤧). But we can all agree coffee is good; coffee lets us work harder for longer and it just gives us a boost when we need it the most. And for a grad and medical school student pairing, we sure do treasure our coffee.
This admiration (and lowkey obsession) are why we wanted to share with you guys our way of crafting the ultimate Cup O’ Jo’ – pourover edition :).
R+D Kitchen lies right across a personal favorite of mine – Hillstone. These upscale restaurants are not only in the same relaxing, homey environment, but they also share the same nice and expansive parking lot. So you and your homies can come whenever and valet won’t be necessary here.
Italy has gifted the world with flatbreads, risotto, cheese and even more. One place, in my opinion, that embodies this breadth and depth of delicious food is Prego in Rice Village.
In honor of National Peanut Butter day, and as avid peanut butter lovers, we’d like to share one of the simplest recipes ever — homemade Nutter Butter cookie sandwiches!
Nutter Butter cookies were all the craze for us growing up, and this quick recipe replicates the simplicity and joy of childhood. It’s perfect as a snack throughout the day, and will ensure you get that protein in, too!
Traveler’s Table is tucked inside a gorgeous building, surrounded by beautiful greenery and glass windows that allow for just the right amount of light to filter in, shining onto the dining room.
A globally-inspired eatery, Traveler’s Table prides itself in serving modern versions of global cuisine, adding their unique and identifiable twists to these staples around the world, without ever straying to far from the original dishes they pay homage to.
Des Moines, the capital of the lovely state of Iowa, is the most populated city in Iowa and is the site of first caucuses during the US presidential primaries.
In honor of (one of my) favorite days of the year, I wanted to share this really quick and easy recipe for margherita pizza. It’s halfway between a complete cheat day (i.e. Domino’s night, otherwise known as study-until-2-am-finals-night) and a full Gordon Ramsey, everything-from-scratch night.
Eunice is described as “seasonally inspired Cajun-Creole fare & cocktails in a polished, soaring locale with large windows.” It truly is a beautiful spot to behold and to just admire – inside and out.
There’s always room in the day for ramen and smiles! Here is our recipe for the quintessential college dorm, late-night snack: Maruchan ramen, topped to restaurant-level.
It’s National Pie Day! Here’s a fun and incredibly easy cream cheese pie. It’ll take less than an hour, and looks beautifully designed with fruits. The fruit can be arranged in whatever pattern you like, and provide a tart contrast to the sweetness of the pie itself.
Did you know that the O in LOVE (from Philadelphia’s Love Park) is slanted because “love isn’t perfect?”
Known for its importance to the founding of America, Philadelphia is the fifth most populated city in the U.S. and also one of the most culturally and historically-rich (the only World Heritage Center in the U.S.)
Hokkaido Milk Bread is a Japanese-style bread that’s incredibly soft and fluffy, subtly sweet and beautifully-buttery.
This pull-apart bread is great for making sandwiches, or just enjoying by itself with a nice warm cup of green tea.
Window Seat is Dallas’ new coffee shop, and as its name suggests, it’s here to “capture that special feeling you get in anticipation of going on an exciting trip.” Here is our review!
It’s the last day of 2020 — and what a year it’s been. We’re so thankful for everyone who has stuck around with us, through thick and thin. We would not be here without your support, your encouragement and all the love you’ve given us about our recipes, our reviews and more. Here is our 2020 Rewind.
As the third most populated city in China, Guangzhou is also the best commercial city on the Chinese mainland, according to Forbes. In Zhujiang New Town, there are underground shopping malls, vehicular tunnels and towering skyscrapers.
Guangzhou is the third largest (population wise) city in China, and is located on the Pearl River. It has an rich history of over 2200 years and was a major terminus of the maritime Silk Road and today, still serves as a major port and transportation hub.
On the corner of the bustling E. Washington St. is the unassuming Amadeus, but the second you walk directly by, you’ll find yourself transported in front of a homely Central-European restaurant. From an incredible menu featuring items from Poland, Hungary and Austria to their amazing desserts and coffee, Amadeus is the place to go if you’re looking for something fun and exciting to do on a Friday night.
It’s He Zi recipe, round two! This time, we tackle the more traditional version of He Zi — a popular Chinese street food item consisting of chopped chives and eggs, and of course, as the name suggests, shaped like a box.
Chinese egg tarts are popular treats found all over Chinatown, particularly in tea houses as a dim sum dish. Egg tarts are prominent in Guangzhou’s food scene, and scholars call it the “quintessential symbol of the fusion between Cantonese and Western cultures.”
I admittedly haven’t ever put much thought into the food called sandwich. To me, a sandwich is something that’s quick to fix up and great for only when I’m in a hurry; it really has never been something for me to focus on.
Now that sounded blasphemous probably, didn’t it? But let me tell you –Local Foods has opened my eyes, broadened my horizons, and most of all, deepened my appreciation for anything placed between two slices of bread. Oh and Local Foods has just amazing sandwiches, salads, and even a lovely artisan market.
At the beginning of August, my dad and I took a week long trip up to Maine, as well as a small trip to Boston and Mount Washington.
These cheddar scallion biscuits are the best combination of cheesy, buttery, and savory in a bite — perfect right out of the oven, perfect for the rainy, cold weather, perfect for any occasion.
Have you ever wondered what the actual definition of a burger is? Well, according to Wikipedia, a burger is “a food item consisting of a cooked meat and bun.” But to us, a burger is more than that – it is the embodiment of American glory. And the place that best encapsulates this meaning is none other than Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack.
First Watch is my go-to place when I’m hanging out with friends or family and want to grab breakfast/brunch/lunch. They’re scattered around Texas, and you can find them in Austin, College Station, Houston and more.
Brown sugar rice cakes are a classic: crunchy on the outside, chewy on the outside, they look almost like potato fries. But instead of ketchup, they’re covered in an osmanthus flower-infused honey syrup, that you (double) dip each bite into.
As a non-Houstonian, this breadth and depth of Chinese cuisine was intimidating at first. From Peking Duck to specialty noodle dishes, there’s just so much Chinese food that we didn’t know where to start! But after a few months of gradually exploring Houston, we’ve found a place that truly stands out from the pack. And that place is Hu’s Cooking!
Try these AMAZING jalapeño poppers. Of course, in the spirit (or…ghost?) of Halloween, we’ll make “Spooky Mummy Jalapeño Poppers.” Essentially, they’re just jalapeño peppers sliced in half, stuffed with an amazing combination of cream cheese, cheddar and bacon bits, and wrapped in pastry.
Huntington Garden is a beautiful spot to visit in Pasadena. They have gorgeous desert plants, as well as Chinese and Japanese gardens that are so beautifully laid out and designed.
798 Art Zone is located at a defunct military factory in Beijing, and the buildings each have a very unique architectural style reminiscent of both the time in which the military factory was still in use and more modern elements.
Yangtuo Club is tucked into a small shopping center, so it’s quite easy to miss. They’ve got quite a few options as for what to eat: you can get the dry hot pot for 9.99$/lb — meaning, you can add whatever the heck you want for that price per pound, an all-you-can-eat hot pot buffet, where you can chose the level of spice for the soup base, as well as noodles and fried rice.
This creamy mushroom cauliflower gnocchi is the perfect recipe to whip up if you’re short on time, if you’re craving something hearty and delicious. It’s creamy, and every bite of the well-flavored, well-seasoned sauce pairs perfectly with the chewy gnocchi. Your kitchen will be smelling like heavenly mushrooms for a good few hours afterwards, though (not a problem, of course).
Ma lai gao (马拉糕) is a popular dim sum dessert, alongside the ever-popular salted-egg yolk custard bao. It’s essentially a sponge cake with a beautiful caramel color due to the brown sugar, and because it’s steamed, ma lai gao is a fluffy, soft and gorgeous cake (it will literally spring back if you push down on it!).
Red-braised pork belly (Chinese: 红烧肉) has been a staple of my childhood diet — and now that I’ve moved out of Texas, it was the first thing that I was determined to learn how to make.
It’s made with a wonderful mix of spices, cooking wine, a soy sauce power duo, and more. What you end up with is soft, melt-in-your mouth pork belly from a two-hour long braising process, and a thick, subtly sweet sauce that’s perfect for drizzling over white rice.
If you’re like me, a coffee a day is a basic necessity.
And oftentimes, the easiest option is to pop a single serve K-cup into the Keurig machine right before you get ready to leave the house, and wait a few minutes as the smell of coffee permeates around you and coffee fills into your reusable cup.
Fusion Peru, as the name suggests, combines both traditional Peruvian flavors with a dash of American, and it does an incredible job!
From late night papers to morning pick-me-ups, the classic cold brew stood there to make sure I was not only awake but also focused and alert. In short, you could say cold brew has been my strongest supporter (sorry Annie!).
So it’s noteworthy for me to say that I have crowned arguably the best cold brew in my new home of Houston, Texas — Anonymous Cafe!
Here’s an extremely simple yet delicious lil’ recipe for Amber Walnuts to add a bit of spice and edge to your life! 🙂
They say to save the best for last — and I’ll be the first to say that the food along the Silk Road was the best — so here’s the final post of the Silk Road series: FOOD!
My mom loves to bake, and she’s frequently sending me photos of her latest creations as I stay in my dorm eating ramen and mac & cheese. *cries* Anyways, this time, she made Zebra Stripe Japanese Cotton Cheesecake, which looks amazingly good, so I thought I’d share it with y’all too!
Xinjiang was our final stop on the Silk Route, thus concluding our two-week long (pre-covid) trip that began in Xi’an and passed through three uniquely beautiful provinces. But perhaps more interesting than the scenery were the people themselves, a diverse and hospitable group who truly treasured their heritage, and their lifestyles.
As with everyone else this quarantine, I have definitely on a baking rampage this weekend (more like, every weekend): after buying some on-sale cookie butter, I figured I’d try one of the many recipes that involved cookie butter.
The easiest? These cookie butter brown sugar cookies!
And now we’re on the last segment of our (pre-covid) trip…welcome to Urumqi, Xinjiang! Now, Xinjiang is the largest province in China, almost 1/6 of the entire country. Additionally, it’s also the most ethnically and culturally diverse area in China. Out of all our stops along the Silk Road, we spent the most time here, yet could only explore a tiny, tiny portion of the province. Hopefully, I’ll be able to visit again later!
Although the brunt of summer has passed us, it’s always fun to have an indoor activity to take me away from the extreme Texas heat (that lasts until mid-December…). One of my favorite things to do is to explore new and easy recipes for healthy snacks that I can snack on the rest of the day or after a sweaty workout — and not feel guilty!
Today I start my first day of my PhD program halfway across the country — halfway from my friends, my family, my partner and best friend, and the place I called home for more than 20 years.
I came to UT, to Austin, not knowing really what to expect, but knowing that in four years, I was going to come out older, hopefully smarter, and a bit wiser. Four years later, I’m definitely older, smarter at studying, and I’d like think — a tad wiser too.
Salty Sow has quickly become one of our favorite happy hour locations. As they advertise themselves, Salty Sow is an American Gastropub that serves contemporary farmhouse fare located fairly near campus on Manor Road.
As we get ready to leave Gansu, it’s inevitable that we pass through the city of Dunhuang, which is a city right on the edge of the province. Strategically located at the crossroads of the ancient Silk Road and the main road leading from India, Dunhuang also controls the entrance into the heart of China.
Wontons are a classic Chinese dumpling variation: instead of like their semi-circle cousins, wontons are made from a square wrapper and usually have less filling (but of course, this just means you can eat more of them in one sitting). They’re literally a soul-warming meal, especially if you eat them alongside the hot soup, with a generous dollop of spicy chili crisps and green onions.
Gansu was, to me, the best part of our adventure along the Silk Road. Lying between the Tibetan and the Huangtu plateau, Gansu is incredibly dry (so bring lotion!) yet contains so many treasures that attest to the power, beauty and reputation of China during the days of the Silk Road.
Dim sum is a huge part of Chinese (especially Southwest Chinese) culture — there’s early morning dim sum, afternoon dim sum, late night dim sum, so growing up, we were always on the lookout for good dim sum in the area. Here in Austin, there aren’t that many places that have good, authentic dim sum, but fortunately, Lin’s is one of those few.
Next up along the Silk Road is Qinghai Province (formerly known as Kokonor). Although fourth-largest in size, Qinghai is the third-to-last of all provinces population-wise.
This recipe is one of my favorites: it’s my attempt to replicate the famous Auntie Anne’s softest cinnamon sugar pretzels. It’s a pretty simple recipe too — and hopefully will satisfy your cinnamon sugar pretzel needs.
The past 4 years have been wonderful to us. They were filled with joys, change and professional as well as personal development, and I wouldn’t change these years in any way.
Goat cheese in eggs – now that just sounds like heresy, doesn’t it? And I’m not gonna lie – this dish is odd at first bite; however, this is a good first impression. Each bite invites you further into the food and you accelerate your curiosity until you’ve destroyed the dish and feel satisfied beyond any initial wonderment.
Cajun food plays a big role in the food scene of Texas, but here at HMHS, we haven’t really been able to experience much Cajun food, let alone good Cajun food. This changed when Razzoo’s Cajun Cafe contacted us to try their top menu items. And o my, was it a very pleasant experience with tasty and fun dishes.
Xi’an is known as the ancient capital of China because it is one of the oldest cities in the country, the capital of both the Han and the Tang Dynasty, the starting point of the Silk Road and the home of the burial mounds of many historically important emperors (and one empress). Today, it’s become a historically rich and vibrant city, home to 8 million people.
Blueberry scones are the pinnacle of afternoon dessert — soft, crumbly, buttery and just the right amount of sweet.
They’re my favorite to grab at coffee or tea shops, and even better: they’re so simple to make yourself at home!
This fun little recipe is perfect for making eight large scones for a quick breakfast item to go alongside your coffee, or 16 smaller scones to stave off that mid-day hunger.
Qingdao, known as China’s Sailing City, is both a major port and an industrial centre situated right on the east coast of China in Shandong Province (China has thirty provinces — they’re kind of like the states here in the U.S.). In Chinese, Qingdao means “greenish-blue island,” and that description is entirely true.
My three-week long trip (that happened a long time ago!) to Italy & Switzerland introduced me to a few dishes and snacks that I’d like to share with you. While I’m not certain I can provide you any recipes, I promise they’re very good, and that if you have the chance, should definitely go try some! Hope you enjoy the photos as we reminisce of the past — and look forward to the future!
Welcome to another HMHS installment of high-speed breakfast foods. If you’re new here, quick but nutritious breakfast items are a favorite of ours. Because for the person who just doesn’t have time for morning sustenance, they can finally get it. So without further ado, we have the one and only HMHS Breakfast Smoothie!
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