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


Timbergrove is an Inner Loop neighborhood with the look and feel of a small town but all the great amenities of being close to everything. Timbergrove Manor is located inside of the 610 Loop, north of I10, and west of Shady Acres, and the Houston Heights. The deed restricted neighborhood is named after the many pine trees sheltering the area. It was developed in the 1950s and continues to grow tremendously. There are about 1200 homes in this neighborhood and prices have maintained throughout the recession - location, location, location! Homes range typically from $200,000 all the way up to new construction and remodeled homes around $800,000. Lots are huge around 8,000sf and streets are tree lined homes typically have at least 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and 2 car garage. These ranch style homes will certainly provide a lot of peace and tranquility with the neighboring trees and parks, some homes have a view of the stream and/or bayou.

Timbergrove is a fabulous Inner Loop Neighborhood that is a must see if you are looking for a home Inner Loop. This area is beautifully lined with trees, parks, trails, bayou and minutes from the Heights, great eateries, shopping and more!

Your neighbor,
Jenny Vargas
Realtor, CNE

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Timbergrove doesn't only offer beautiful homes Inner Loop but it offers a small array of delicious eateries close by. Kojak's and Pappa Geno's are my favorite Timbergrove eateries. Both mom and pop shops with a generous warmth.

Pappa Geno's is located at 1801 Ella Blvd, Ste C 77008 next to one of Houson's privately owned gas stations and in front of Food Town (across the street from 18th's street HEB). Look for the orange and white striped sign and building. I may be partial since my favorite sandwich is a Philly Cheesteak (I was born in NJ) but this is by far one of the best I have ever had EVER. Now, I have been to Philly and tried the 2 famous joints but to me....1) I don't like Cheez whiz on a Philly 2) I thought they didn't have much flavor 3) I like mayo on my Philly! I know, I know, but Pappa Geno's makes it however you like and has several ways they make their Philly so it's totally up to you! The secret they say is in the bread - which they get delivered from New York! This sandwich is huge, filled with tender, juicy, peppery meat, melted cheese (I always get it with provolone) and onions. Again, I am a fry lover so you really have to wow me with your fries for me to continue to come back. Their fries aren't the best BUT its a strange combination that really works for me. Fries topped with brown gravy! Somehow it works and tastes delicious. Come to Pappa Geno's with an appetite!

To see what the Houston Press had to say about Pappa Geno's, read this....

Kojak's is located at 1912 West 18th Street between Ella and Seaspray in a small shopping center. Their menu changes to reflect chef's specials so every time I come I am pleasantly surprised at how great it is and their variety. Their soups and sandwiches are tasty. The environment is clean and friendly and lends to a perfect little cafe in a great neighborhood. Free wifi and BYOB at dinner time. Come pick up a magazine and relax in this classic Timbergrove staple. Visit for more information.

Your foodie,
Jenny Vargas
Realtor, CNE

Oak Forest Eateries

As in my previous post Oak Forest eateries are now providing us foodies w/ even more options! My 2 Oak Forest favorites - El Rey & Plonk.

Where to start? El Rey is not new, but Oak Forest was their first location and have expanded to 4 locations - Washington, I10/Bunker Hill and Downtown. This one just located off Ella and 34th, at a very busy neighborhood/commercial intersection. Many people drive by not knowing the deliciousness inside b/c it looks just like a regular Taqueria - but read carefully its "Cuban & Mexican Cuisine." I think I have gotten 1 Mexican thing here, I go Cuban all the way...I always pretty much order the same thing either the Cuban Taco which is by far one of the best taco's I have ever had in my life, the Ropa Vieja plate or taco and/or the Ceviche. Let's begin with the Cuban taco and what in store for you inside of the warm tortilla - which by the way you can get in flour, corn or WHEAT! Beef or Chicken, black beans, plantains & a hint of sour cream! Ropa Vieja means "old clothes" in Spanish & this is the best, juiciest, shreeded beef you have ever had. The plate includes rice and beans and if you get the tacos, it comes alone. Watch your clothes b/c this will get you messy! My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Now, if you are hot & humid in our hellish weather, want a way to cool down? How about some ceviche! This is tender, juicy, limey marinated fish, topped w/ avocado, pico & yummy mango! Not your regular ceviche but to me, much, much better! Another favorite is the grilled fish w/ Habanero Mayo, spicy and creamy and I order w/o the cabbage and always on Wheat. If you come by here in the morning make sure to try the cafe con leche, it'll warm you up and get you ready for the day! Visit for more information.

Plonk - located on 43rd and Ella is the area's hippest year old beer and wine cafe. Plonk doesn't necessarily roll off the tongue but the logo intrigued me ( I got a postcard in the mail) and there was nothing else in the neighborhood with such a twist and quirky attitude. Decided to ride my bike there one afternoon and have a drink and some pizza. Wow! It was crispy & tasty! The menu constantly changes to keep up with local, fresh ingredients. It's nicely decorated, modern bar, and quaint with a nice patio & totally welcoming. Fits perfectly in between Oak Forest & Garden Oaks at the end of a new shopping center with neighbors like Massage Envy, Wells Fargo in front, Signature Kroger and many other amenities that are just walking, biking or driving distance. Come to Oak Forest and experience El Rey or Plonk!

Your happy resident of Oak Forest,
Jenny Vargas
Realtor, CNE

Oak Forest

My all time favorite neighborhood in Houston. I am so grateful to have bought a home in this area b/c I instantly fell in love w/ it. I had seen it growing up b/c I worked just down the street but never really thought much about it & never realized the potential & how unbelievably close it was to EVERYTHING. Oak Forest is like nothing else (well close in amenities & Inner Loop like Idylwood & of course gorgeous Garden Oaks) & its still affordable. Plus, there are lots of people that have lived in this neighborhood forever (& don't want to leave) & are astonished at all the changes. Homes are relatively small 2-3 bedrooms, 1 bath but many are remodeled & have been added on to or have been torn down & completely rebuilt. So you can pretty much find anything you are looking for, old to new, small to large, etc. The neighborhood was started in the 1940's & now has over 5,000 homes and over 24k residents. The neighborhood is super charming & inviting w/ lots of large, shading trees, parks everywhere & bike/walking trails. Not only is Oak Forest right outside of the loop (literally less than 5 minutes) but its close to many major freeways - 610, i10, 290 and 45. You can take back ways anywhere from here, that's great for those of us who like to avoid traffic. Houses usually contain hardwood throughout & since are typically small the lot is enormous & keeps you a good distance from neighbors. Lots are typically 7,000sf & deed restrictions don't allow you to combine lots so this has helped keep the integrity of the size.

Oak Forest has grown and there is a lot to keep you in the neighborhood when it comes to shopping & convenience & service: a Signature Kroger, tanning salon, all the banks, a credit union, Dollar Store, Dollar General, Palais Royal, a new Ross, Walgreens, CVS, antique shops, Bally's, hair salons, nail salons, Massage Envy, churches & liquor store. Not to mention on the other side of the freeway (610) you have Memorial hospital, Lowes & Home Depot. If you keep going down 34th headed to 290 you will find a vast array of options, restaurants, Randalls & smaller grocery stores, Sonic, Jason's Deli, Radio Shack, Citi Trends, shoe stores, Starbucks, TMobile, Academy, Luby's and a few more things, you name it, we got it.

When it comes to food, you can get almost any fast food off of Ella - McDonald's, Arby's, Taco Bell, KFC, Burger King, & pizza etc. Mom & pop shops in the area: Doyle's, Raznovsky's Hamburgers, Mexican restaurants, & Chinese etc. Newer places in Oak Forest include: Baskin Robbins, Plonk, El Rey, & many more!

Come by Oak Forest or learn more below...
For more information visit
For the wiki definition:,_Houston
HOA is voluntary, but for more info visit:

Jenny Vargas
Resident of Oak Forest
Realtor, CNE

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sherwood Oaks in Spring Branch

I have always loved Spring Branch, I think its a great area w/ lots of amenities. It is close to I10 which to me is my favorite freeway in Houston, kind of weird that I have a favorite freeway but with its expansion...driving on I10 is carefree & if there is traffic its never too bad. So driving anywhere on I10 is a breeze & will always ensure that I am on time! I have seen various parts of Spring Branch & just recently discovered a great neighborhood - Sherwood Oaks. This neighborhood began in the 1960's, the homes are typically at least 3 beds, 2 baths, 2 car detached garages and offer big lots which I love. For someone that likes to feel like they are in their own sanctuary & not close to neighbors this is the place to be. There are approximately 300 ranch style homes in Sherwood Oaks. The neighborhood is very welcoming with lots of large trees that shade the homes & streets. People in this neighborhood seem to live here for a long time, so there is not a lot of turnover, there's only a few houses for sale and one for rent. I will have a home here for rent in the next few weeks.

Of course, contact me your real estate professional for more info!
Jenny Vargas

Brownstone's at City Centre

This week I visited the Brownstone's at City Centre for the first time & I must say I love City Centre! This is one of the most pedestrian friendly center's in Houston, you are minutes from shopping, restaurants, gym, movies, conference center & now your HOME! City Centre offers convenience, luxury & more. The Brownstone's are 3 story townhome's in a gated community, plenty of parking, and range from $675k and up. There are several floor plans to choose from and the site will include 35 homes which is great for those of us who don't like huge communities. For more information, visit

Jenny Vargas
Broker Associate, CNE

Heights - new eateries

Heights - one of the most eccentric areas of Houston. A mix of antique & modern, history & warmth, never ending charm. This area has everything and is in the Heart of Houston. Close to everything & seemingly in its own world in more ways than one. You really don't have to leave the Heights b/c you can find it all h, and if you want to support LOCAL then this is the place to go. Mom & pop shops & restaurants, there is never a dull moment. The Heights is ever changing and welcomes some new hot spots that are a MUST!!

BB's Cafe on 6th & Studewood ( ) is the newest cajun eatery in the Heights. This is their 4th location with plans of expanding even more. My favorite items on the menu are: Tex-Cajun Virgin fries, the name doesn't roll off the tongue at all but being a french fry connoisseur this is amazing. Its french fries topped w/ queso, gravy & succulent roast beef, its an appetizer but its very filling & a great way to start the meal. Not a fry lover? Try the Chalmette Macaroni - jalapeno cheesy macaroni topped with gravy & roast beef. Another concoction your taste buds have never experienced!! Of course gumbo is never a bad choice, especially not from here, its tasty, filling & made w/ a dark rue for a richer taste. There are 3 sizes to choose from, I can't ever seem to order anything other than Medium. You can never go wrong either w/ several choices of po' boy's for lunch or a combo of soup & sandwich. I am not a big fan of chicken but if its fried or drenched in gravy I am down! The Tuesday Special - is pecan crusted chicken w/ pepper cream sauce served w/ salad & chalmette macaroni - to die for! The chicken is cooked perfectly so its juicy yet crunchy w/ the pecan crust & the cream sauce is just mouth watering. This place is not only delicious, its priced well, good quality & service is always great.

Carter & Cooley Co. on historic & legendary 19th Street brings you a blast from the past. Walk into a 1921 built restored drug store in the Heights main street. This street takes you back & there are a ton of cute shops & places to eat that are super cute & great for people watching. Come down on Heights 1st Saturday to do a free walking/tram tour to see what's new. Known for their sandwiches, choose from tons of options & my favorites are: Italian & Meatloaf. The Italian has my favorite ingredients, the best Italian deli meats & sauces on fresh bread and home made meatloaf is juicy & very filling. Their menu changes so be sure to try something new each time. Prices are low, service is fast. For more information visit their website -

Jenny Vargas
Broker Associate

Fall Creek - minutes from Inner Loop

Traffic in Houston is a nightmare & it's not getting better any time soon! Imagine a neighborhood that was close to major freeways, airport & 15 miles to downtown? You heard it right, you can find this & more at Fall Creek - just minutes outside of 59 right off the Beltway. This lush neighborhood encompasses everything you are looking for in an all inclusive neighborhood. Homes from $150k to the mill - patio homes to mansions, zoned to Humble ISD school district. The most visible amenity is Redstone Golf Club - home to the Shell Houston Open. Now, Fall Creek residents will soon enjoy a 65 acre sports complex. This mammoth include: 2 little league fields, 2 soccer fields, sand volleyball court, open space for free play, playground & picnic area. Encircling the park will be a trail taking you thru the nature preserve - Garners Bayou. Fall Creek already boasts an aquatic center (that includes a junior olympic pool, family pool, water playground, water slides & spray ground) tennis courts, & playgrounds. Did I mention they have 3 lakes, several bike & hike trails & you can fish there? The neighborhood hosts several festivals thru out the year & is planning another pool & lake to add to its resort style living. Fall Creek has it all! Plus, more to come! For more information visit or contact me your real estate professional.

Jenny Vargas