Italy à la Houston
Traveling to Europe is expensive, and not everyone has the ability, time or money to make the trip. But, good news. You don't have to! You can actually stay right in Houston and visit a multitude of shops, restaurants and parks just as you would in a European country.
Photo by Molly Dunn Houston does not look like Florence, but it does offer similar food.
A few weeks ago, we wrote about several restaurants and places in Houston where you could spend the day in France. Now, we are exploring Houston's eateries and shops where you can spend the day in Italy. Buon viaggio and buon appetito!
If one thing is for sure, day plans are made around food and meals in Italy. In fact, no matter what city you are in, you can find something to eat at any hour of the day -- Florence even has a secret bakery that serves a selection of baked goods at 3 o'clock in the morning.
Photo by John Kiely Begin your day with a cappuccino from Fellini Caffe in Rice Village.
Set the mood for the day and walk along the Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive sidewalks overlooking the Buffalo Bayou. It's not exactly like the Arno River in Florence, and the bridges that cross the bayou are not as beautiful as the Ponte Vecchio, but it's a peaceful way to begin your morning before heading to breakfast.
Now, you won't find any lumberjack breakfasts in Italy; the first meal of the day is eaten quickly and is typically small, consisting of a pastry, hard-boiled egg with cheese and bread, or slices of melon and prosciutto, and a cup of coffee. Just about any coffee shop in Houston will supply you with a quick pastry and espresso, but Rice Village's Fellini Caffe is a little piece of Italy right here in Houston. In fact, the owners intended for it to be just like the sidewalk cafes you can find throughout the country. All of the coffee drinks are brewed from Lavazza coffee beans, popular among many Italians. Step right up to the espresso bar for an quick espresso, or sit outside and enjoy a caffe latte or cappuccino with a complimentary biscotti, or purchase one of the many pastries.
It's easy to over schedule yourself in America and give yourself way too many tasks to complete in one day, often leaving you stressed. Italians don't spend their days rushing from one meeting or appointment to the other. It's a much simpler and casual lifestyle than the one Americans lead.
Photo by Christina Uticone Those tomatoes would make a great bruschetta.
While living in Italy during a summer study abroad program, I found an excellent way to spend the morning was at the farmers market -- and it was one of the only ways I could get food to make in my apartment. If you're traveling through Italy in Houston on a Saturday, traipse on over to the Eastside Saturday Farmers Market and don't forget to bring your own shopping bags. Normally, Italian farmers markets are set up with farmers selling produce outside, and butchers selling beef, poultry and seafood, bakers selling pastries and breads, and shop owners selling seasonings, pastas, and prepared foods inside. At the Eastside Farmers Market, you can collect fruits and vegetables from local farmers such as Animal Farm, Atkinson Farm, Sustainable Harvesters and Knopp Branch Farm. Purchase a few cuts of meat from Georgia's Grassfed Beef or Harrison Hog Farms, then stock up on bread from Artisana Breads and Angela's Oven.
If you can walk to your home from the market, by all means, do so. Even better if you can hop on a scooter and drive back.
3000 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX
813 Jackson Hill, Houston, TX
1834 Westheimer, Houston, TX
5510 Morningside, Houston, TX
5210 Morningside Drive, Houston, TX
5161 San Felipe St., Houston, TX
2006 Lexington St., Houston, TX
6550 Bertner St., Houston, TX
2817 W. Dallas St, Houston, TX
2520 Amherst, Houston, TX
2002 W. Gray, Houston, TX
10300 Louetta Road, Houston, TX
5135 W. Alabama, Houston, TX
3215 Westheimer, Houston, TX