Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Last Look at Houston

I'm back from my conference and home from Houston, just in time for my university's furlough days. Yes, we're furloughed - that's the consequence of working for a state instutition during a budget crisis. Our furloughs are actually not that bad - we're simply forced to use vacation time on designated days, two of which are today and tomorrow. So I get a four day weekend, which is nice, but my vacation time is now non-existent, which makes planning my own getaways tricky. Considering how much worse it could be, I shall consider myself lucky and enjoy my long weekend.

But before I do that, here is one final Houston post featuring mostly delicious vegan food. I hope you're not bored of my foodie photos yet, because I don't plan to stop documenting my memorable meals. And Houston is full of good food!

This is a Catholic church that was across the street from our hotel. Every day starting at 11:00, a local restaurant called Treebeards serves lunch cafeteria style in the church's hall. It's quirky and different and most of all OHMYGODDELICIOUS. The food is southern and Cajun style with a kick, and we ended up eating lunch here two days in a row - way better than the congealed pizza and cheesy pasta that was being offered at the conference. 

Both days I feasted on the vegetarian red beans and rice, with a side of broccoli and carrots. Amazing. Let's just say it's a good thing I had my own hotel room. ;) 

I know I spent a lot of time on Twitter complaining about how boring the conference was, but I have to admit that I learned a lot. I'm new to the grant world and this was my first opportunity to get some professional development. There's a lot of important information when it comes to grants and even if the presenters were not, perhaps, the liveliest bunch, they did know their stuff. Part of my boredom came from the fact that I don't see myself working on the administrative side of grants as a long term career. That doesn't mean, however, that I shouldn't try to be the best employee I can while I'm in this field. So I came, I learned, I networked. I feel smarter about my job than I did before I went to the conference, so I would say it was a success. Also: Houston's food is always worth it.

Another fine place we checked out was Tinto's, a Spanish tapas bar. I had too much wine and dined on lots of little bits of fine-tasting items, including hummus, olives, and roasted red peppers draped in herbs and oils.  So good.

I was also lucky enough to have a few drinks with Vicki and Jeromy at Anvil, a devastatingly cool bar near their apartment. So cool, in fact, that my drink arrives ON FIRE.  I didn't get any photos because it was dark and I was tipsy, but it was a lot of fun. Vicki and Jeromy always are!

Our conference ended on Wednesday so we made sure to have lunch at Niko Niko's on our way out of town. They know how to do falafel right. I also went to Luke's Locker, a running store where I like to buy my kicks in person. Unfortunately, the shoes I wanted (Kinvaras!) are about to release their new version and they were out of stock until May. Too bad, because my I really need to replace my running shoes. I guess I can wait another three weeks. I guess.

And now I am off to be Productive and Responsible - we're going canoeing this weekend and I have a long list of things I want to get done before leave. Until next time!