One of my favorite things to do in the world is traveling – especially with my group of awesome girlfriends. We usually do a few group trips a year as we all live in different parts of the country: Nashville, NYC, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Georgia, LA..etc.
We decided to do a road trip to Houston, Texas this time around for a fun weekend of awesome food, cocktails and a trip to the annual Houston Rodeo! What a blast we had! I have to admit I’ve never been to a rodeo before but it was truly impressive watching those cowboys riding bulls and cowgirls racing around the rodeo field.
We even got to see the country star Billy Currington perform live, fireworks and all!
Another fun experience was the Pedal Party around the Montrose area of Houston – there was 15 of us on this big mobile beer wagon with music, a tour guide, bartenders, lots of beer, and we pedaled our way around this fun neighborhood bar hopping and drinking, eating…and drinking some more…
..so much fun!!!
Of course one of my missions on any trip is finding amazing food in each town we visit – and we had plenty of it! We had a truly delicious brunch at Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette – a great place with an outdoor patio and great food!
I got to meet Executive Chef Travis Lenig which was a delight. We ordered a feast fit for a king and his crew! Lobster Mac & Cheese, Buffalo Mac & Cheese, fresh Gulf oysters, pitchers and pitchers of Mimosas, Bourbon Maple Bacon, Eggs Benedict, Southern Biscuits, Tuna Tartare, Homemade Bacon Jam, Crispy Fish & Chips and were treated to Coconut Cream Pie and Bourbon Bread Pudding for dessert, compliments of the house! Click here to check out their awesome menu.
Gosh we are a spoiled crew. And we laughed our heads off with great conversation and autographed the menu (as we always do on our girls trips) for a fun keepsake. Such an awesome restaurant sitting outside on the patio in the sunshine and excellent hospitality and service..highly recommend a visit there if you’re ever in Houston!
We also decided to cook for St. Patty’s Day at my friend Pam’s house – I made a delicious Irish Stout Beef Stew, (click here for the recipe!)
a lovely fresh salad with greens from her garden, along with some Sourdough bread and red wine (and Guinness Stout!) to accompany…
with Butterfinger Pie for dessert! O.M.G. How delicious that was with a warm chocolate fudge sauce on top! YOWZA.
Such a great group of girlfriends and it was awesome making new friends too in the friendly state of Texas! Next on the map? The Hamptons in July and Austin in October! Stay tuned!
Check out more fun photos below from the trip!
Irish Stout Beef Stew Recipe
1 cup seasoned pan-searing flour
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 pounds boneless chuck beef or sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large onions, sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 bottles Irish stout beer (like Guinness)
1 14-ounce can low-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste, mixed with 1/4 cup of water
2 cups baby carrots or large carrot chunks
6 Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered into chunks
4-5 turnips, cut into large chunks
¼ cup corn starch or roux thickener and water slurry (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
Sourdough or Irish Brown Bread and butter, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat in a large cast iron enamel braising pan or Dutch oven.
Cut the beef into 1-inch cubes, dredge with seasoned pan-searing flour and brown in 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add sliced onions to the pan along with another 2 tablespoons of canola oil and saute for about 5 minutes until tender. Add the 2 tablespoons of minced garlic and saute another minute.
Add Guinness beer and cook with onions for a few minutes, stirring and scraping pan to loosen the brown bits. Add the beef broth and cook for another few minutes.
Return the seared beef to the pot, add the tomato paste mixture, baby carrots, potatoes, salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil.
Cover and place the pot into the oven and let the goods simmer for about an hour. Remove from oven, stir and reduce heat to 300 degrees. At this point, if the stew is not thick enough for your liking, add a slurry of starch or roux thickener mixed with some water (about 1/4 cup) into the stew and stir well throughout. You can also smash a few of the potatoes to thicken it up a little bit.
Add the turnips and place the stew pot back in the oven to braise for another 30 minutes to an hour.
Let the stew cool on top of the stove uncovered for about 15-20 minutes to let it thicken. Serve with Sourdough or Irish Brown Bread and butter with a fresh green salad and a glass of Guinness Stout or red wine.