Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bodegas Tacos in Museum District and Bowl Cafe in Montrose

Recently I found out that I am allergic to gluten and dairy. This has completely changed my way of eating, thinking and living! I grew up eating rice for dinner with absolutely everything, I remember eating spaghetti and rice lol. I have tried to get off rice for years now but sometimes its difficult, I find it nearly impossible to eat beans without rice! I love options and these days restaurants are so accommodating to adding and taking out ingredients to better serve their clientele. I love places where you get to pick and choose all of the ingredients – like Bodega’s Tacos, Bowl Café, The Counter, Genghis Grill, Which Wich and Brown Bag Deli among others. These places cater to customization and picky eaters alike. Sometimes there are so many options its difficult to choose! Sometimes you choose a bad combination (unfortunately you only have yourself to blame!) Ha ha, but you can always go back and try again. Many restaurants have even added “build your own ____” – pasta like Pronto on Montrose where I made a bad combination of pasta choice ingredients but I went back and tried again. Or, “build your own ____” – pizza, sandwich etc. I will start with Bodega’s Tacos a hidden little gem if you aren’t in the Medical/Museum district often. It’s right of Binz and if you go during the week you will have to pay for parking and there is only on street parking, but believe me its totally worth it. I am not a big fan of Chipotle or Freebirds, I don’t feel like they have enough options and it just doesn’t taste that fresh or yummy to me. Bodega’s has it all and its absolutely delicious. Options and combinations are limitless, pricing is very fair, ambivalence depends on what day of the week you go and time. It’s a fun place with a fully stocked bar, patio area and wonderful food and generous portions. Typically I get the “bowl” and ask for nachos on the side so I can dip or scoop them. If you get everything on top of the nachos then it gets soggy! I am a slow eater because I chew my food thoroughly to ensure good digestion and absorption of nutrients, so I think ahead. Plus, when I am trying to be on my best behavior I ask ahead for a to go box and pack half in so I can munch freely on half and not feel guilty and be super excited for tomorrow’s lunch. I usually get the spicy ground sirloin and tons of veggies. If I know I am eating half now then I don’t get lettuce (so I can reheat without soggy lettuce). There are tons of salsas to choose from, and you can get mild, medium or spicy. My favorite salsas are: tomatillo and bacon-avocado ranch, depending on my mood and sometimes when I am really bad I get both! Visit for more details and to view their menu, they also offer combinations so there are plenty of options. Bowl Café is a quaint little spot in Montrose right off Richmond, perfect for a quick lunch. Their menu is an entire page long with tons of delicious options. Get a salad, sandwich, soup, burger or pizza or get a combo of the first three. All of their soups are amazing so I have to get soup each time I go. Salads options are amazing, especially if you are like me and you like tons of fruit, veggies, texture and crunch in your salads. My favorite sandwiches are: smoked salmon and pulled pork. Both packed with tons of flavor and awesome taste. Everything here is fresh and soups made daily, you can taste the quality of the ingredients in every bite. The owner Ralph is a doll and always happy and eager to help his clients. For more details on Bowl Café visit them online at . Your Foodie & Realtor, Jenny Vargas 281.948.2951

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Artisans in Midtown

Located in the Mix @ Midtown (where 24 Hour is located) this French restaurant is so unique & fun! The restaurant revolves around the kitchen. For a front row seat, ask to sit at the "chef's table" so you catch a glimpse at how clean everything is & the occasional drama. For foodies & chef lovers this is a must! I read reviews so I can know what to expect & have a hint on what to order - majority were right.... Service needs some work although our waiter was attentive & explained a lot. I got the tasting menu b/c of the reviews & I am so happy that I got to try so much. The most popular thing I saw on the reviews was the Chilean Seabass Pistachio Crusted which was great but not my favorite. So, the tasting menu... The amuse bouche tasted almost like a ceviche in two beautiful bites. It was citrusy, juicy, crunchy & delicious. Second course was the foie gras - cooked to perfection atop two pieces of bread. I didn't eat the bread so not sure how it tasted but everything else was quite nice. The third course was Le Poisson du Pacifique aka Chilean Seabass Pistachio Crusted - mine perhaps was a bit overcooked but it was tasty. I love risotto and I was terrified by what I thought were lima beans & didn't want to try but I made myself and in fact they were fava beans. They were an expert pair - fava beans & risotto, omg I adored this. I couldn't stop eating until I decided to push my plate away since I knew I had 2 more courses coming. Fourth course - I am not much of a carnivore but the Black Pepper Crusted Beef Tenderloin blew my mind! Not only was I full & ate the entire thing, but it left my mouth watering for more! I made my friends try it even though they were full. They loved it. The fingerling potatoes were cooked perfectly. Potatoes are my favorite thing in the world & these are by far some of the best I have ever had! They were crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle and everything had amazing seasoning. No need for salt or pepper. Fifth & final course - I was stuffed & was not happy about chocolate for dessert since I am not much of a chocoholic. But, one bite & I was sold! The only way I like chocolate is if there is a crunch factor, this one had it! The bottom crunch layer was "Crunchy Feuilletine" according to google it means "crunch" so that would mean crunch crunch lol, I assume it was chocolate on chocolate but prepared differently for a delectable bottom crust. The fresh berry compote and frozen yogurt were great compliments & were a great finale to an amazingly delicious dinner. I can't wait to go back! Wow does the place make an impression! Visit for more info. Jenny Vargas Broker Associate, CNE, Relo Specialist 281.948.2951

Monday, March 26, 2012

Why You Should Use a Realtor

All realtors® are not the same. While realtors® are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly, they have a fiduciary responsibility to the party they represent, i.e. buyer or seller. Realtors® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate. An independent survey reports that 84% of home buyers would use the same Realtor® again.

Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime. Transactions today usually exceed $100,000. If you had a $100,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to deal with it without the help of a CPA? If you had a $100,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney? Considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it would be foolish to consider a deal in real estate without the professional assistance of a realtor®.

But if you're still not convinced of the value of a Realtor®, here are more reasons to use one:

1. Your Realtor® can help you determine your buying power.

2. Your Realtor® has many resources to assist you in the selection process by providing objective information about each property (local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, etc.).

3. Your Realtor® is skilled in negotiating. There are myriad negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment.

4. Your Realtor® provides due diligence during the evaluation of the property. Depending on the area and property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, flooding, septic tank and well tests, just to name a few. Your REALTOR® can assist you in finding qualified responsible professionals to do most of these investigations and provide you with written reports.


Your Realtor,

Jenny Vargas
Broker Associate, CNE

Monday, October 31, 2011

Montrose/Midtown Deliciousness - Jeannines Bistro & Lankford Grocery

Jeannine's Bistro & Lankford Grocery, both places kind of in between Midtown and Montrose have been some of my biggest surprises recently. I have driven by Jeannine's for years and always wondered what Belgian food in Houston would be like (since I tried it once in Belgium on my way to Amsterdam on a train stop). Lankford - I had never seen or heard of until I was on my quest for the best hamburger in Houston (it's one of my favorite meals with my favorite side item - fries)and saw it on Food Network!

Jeannine's is a quaint place with great service and amazingly delicious and different food. They are located right off Westheimer and Bagby at the end of a small shopping center. We ordered a bit of everything, appetizer - mussels, entrees were the Bouchee Ostendaise and Cordon Blue last but definitely not least, dessert - Crepe Normande. I love seafood but I have never been a big mussel lover, I have tried them a few times but always felt weird about their chewiness. They have to be fresh and melt in your mouth! Guess who accomplishes this? Yes - Jeannine's! The best mussels I have ever had and honestly the only place I will order mussels from. The fries?? OMG, salty fries with a mayo mixture to dip in, to die for!! I couldn't stop eating them! One of the things I loved the most about European food was the finger lickin good mayo! I want it on everything! The Bouchee Ostendaise was a seafood concoction with a thick, creamy, savory sauce, I loved it but couldn't finish it. The Cordon Blue was also by far one of the best I have ever had, I am not a good judge for chicken since I don't really like it very much. If I do, then it needs to be stuffed or drowned in a sauce. I was stuffed but the desserts sounded so appetizing that I could not resist. I am a huge fan of crepes and ice cream and ordered the apple crepe with ice cream. Wow! Let me just say nothing was left on the plate and its one of the most beautiful crepes I have ever seen! I wish I had taken a picture of it :( Totally delicious with the cold ice cream and warm apple crepe. Also, these are big rounds of apple not small watered down pieces, but chewy and great with a crepe! Their lunch specials are reasonably priced and I can't wait to go back for more! For more info visit their site or see their yelp reviews.

Legendary Lankford Grocery, this place has been around for ages! It started off as a fruit stand in 1938 and then a year later they moved to their current location across the street. As the neighborhood and times changed, they added items to their menu and got away from the grocery store concept. This is a family owned business with a fabulous mission statement that you have to read: "We have nothing small, nothing healthy, and nothing fast. We never give you a check, but that does not mean its free. You pay at the register as you leave. If you do not have 30 minutes to spend, you should try us another day. We have great food, but its not fast food. Everything is made to order just like you like it!" Like I said before, I love hamburgers and fries and unfortunately I am so obsessed with the GRIM burger that I have not been able to try anything else. Are you ready to hear about the ingredients of this hamburger? Mac & cheese, bacon, fried egg and jalapeno. OMG! A mouthful of flavor, textures and spice. Not a good first date spot, if you are on a diet or if you aren't ravenous! I spoke about this burger for a week and accidentally told people over and over how in love I was with this burger! I had to go back shortly after to have it again. I can only eat half in one seating but it still tastes just as good a little later on when you are ready for more! I don't think I have tried their fries because I get tator tots or the tex mex. Tex mex is fried jalapenos and onion strips, pretty freakin good! Darn, its getting close to lunch time and now all I have on the brain is a juicy hamburger! For more info visit their website at or see their yelp ratings.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Houston Heights Favorite - Glass Wall n Java Java

The Houston Heights can be very out there or can be quite the opposite and inconspicuous - in my opinion. That's one of the many things I love about the Heights. I can go on and on about why I feel like I am not in Houston when in the Heights, I feel transformed and for me it was love at first sight. You may think, how does one fall in love with a neighborhood? But, I guess when you love to travel and love houses and your career is a realtor that is a very easy thing! Some may not agree but to me the Heights area is home. It's a lifestyle!

Glass Wall and Java Java are quite different yet similar in many ways. Both with incredible comfort food, cozy atmosphere and hard to miss when in the Heights. I have been to both several times and love all my experiences. Big plus for both is the great service which is a little difficult to find nowadays.

Glass Wall makes you feel like you are in the coolest hot spot, great ambiance, stiff drinks (which I love and prefer!) and very attentive service. It's difficult to talk about their food since their menu changes and they like to make whats in season which is a great concept and ensures freshness! Their scallops are juicy, fresh, some of the best crab cakes I have ever had. When we went for Houston Restaurant Week it was our favorite! Visit their site at

Java Java has a book long menu which can be great for us picky eaters but terrible for those of us who are indecisive. They have anything and everything and even a la carte. Everything looks and tastes fresh and homemade. I always look at other people's food to see what they have b/c it looks so tempting and delicious! Breakfast is amazing! One of the best places in my opinion for breakfast. Homemade quiche is to die for! An amazingly crafted meal with cheese, bread, your choice of quiche, fruits and very filling - take it to go and there is your lunch as well. The crust of the quiche was super crunchy, fresh and straight from the oven. Can't wait to try all their flavors. Salad bar is filled with plenty of options and also very filling and exciting! Pasta salad, carrot salad, homemade croutons and more. Visit their site at

Visit these Heights delicatessens!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Houston Food Trucks

I love to eat and for the most part I like healthy food (meaning REAL food that's grown in the ground and not processed) so I don't eat much fast food. Seven times out of ten I am in a hurry so I am all about quick, good food. Just thinking of fast food chains makes me queezy and makes my stomach hate me so it's always my last resort -- enter the genius idea of gourmet food trucks! This brilliant idea is perfect for those of us who will go anywhere for delicious food.
Now, where to begin? First of all, there are way too many for me to name them all. Secondly, there is such a diversity that it totally depends on your palette. Thirdly, how spontaneous you are, where you are and where the food truck is! You can follow them on facebook, twitter to know where they are or certain venues throughout Houston like my favorite coffee shop - Inversion Cafe has one parked there everyday from 12p-2p or Bo Concept or Noel Furniture.
My favorites:
1) Hit n Run - one of the best hamburgers I have ever had. Plus the wait is not long, that's always a big plus!

2) Phamily Bites - a banh mi is always a delicious alternative when you are on the run! Like SPAM? Try the spam musubi a yummy and filling treat. This truck offers a big variety of Vietnamese food!

On my To Eat Next List:
1) Htown StrEATS
2) Oh My Pocket Pies

To see all the Houston Food Trucks visit
To view by Rating on Yelp
To view the Top Rated

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hidden Lake Townhomes in Timbergrove

Nestled in the back of Timbergrove neighborhood off Worthshire and 11th Street is a small community of townhomes - Hidden Lake Townhomes. The name says it all - this is a secluded area, and many homes have a beautiful, serene setting on the lake. This small collection of homes has about 18 buildings and 84 units, 2 pools and a clubhouse. Each one has its own character and offer great, open floor plans. Each has a 2 car - carport, at least one balcony and covered outdoor patio area. Currently there are 4 homes for sale ranging from $110,000 to $140,000 and one bedroom to two bedrooms.

The one I love in particular is an end unit - 781 Worthshire, 1 bedroom, 1.5 bath, completely updated. This home has it all - wood floors on the first floor, ceramic tile in the kitchen and baths a spacious living area open to the dining room and kitchen. Roomy, indoor walk in utility room that will provide you with extra storage. Custom built cabinetry in the kitchen and both bathrooms. Crown molding throughout, french doors leading to a fenced in spacious outdoor entertaining area. This patio area leads to additional parking and just a few seconds to the area pools and clubhouse. Second floor has 2 spacious closets, balcony, full bathroom with a whirlpool tub and view of the entrance to the neighborhood. This is a great starter home, 781 Worthshire in Hidden Lake Townhomes offered at $110,000. Call me today to schedule a showing!

Jenny Vargas
Broker Associate, CNE