Weekend Recap: Ritual Houston + Citrus Balsamic Marinade + Downtown Tomball

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Jon Boy and I FINALLY got a date night “in town” after a YEAR of living here in Houston. WHEW! Every single time we’ve scheduled a date night that involved coming in town to a new, trendy restaurant, something terrible would happen. Someone was sick, our dog was dying, someone died in the family, work ran way too late [not that terrible, but still], you get the idea. So we FINALLY DID IT, y’all! We only had one somewhat major mishap… more to come on that later.

We saw this on the drive in, and I had to snap a picture. It’s been tough watching those recovering from Harvey’s impact (and knowing Irma is wreaking havoc at this exact moment). Houston has remained strong, but we’ve got to keep up that momentum if we’re going to come out stronger on the other side.

Ritual Houston

We decided to try Ritual in the Heights area of Houston. It’s a New American restaurant that features delicious steaks + a little Creole flair + some southern comfort foods. The cocktails (and bartender – shout out to Cody) were amazing! We had a couple at the bar and snacked on a yummy appetizer before going to our table.

Ritual Houston

I had the Reconciliation cocktail: Aperol + Elderflower + Gin + Lemon Juice + Sparkling Rose

It was perfectly light, citrusy, and bubbly with just a hint of sweet. YUM! Jon Boy had a traditional Old Fashioned, and it was pretty fantastic, too. Our bartender – shout out again to Cody – made us a couple of drinks based on what we said we liked. They’re not on the menu, but trust me when I say they were spot on!

Ritual Houston

 Boudin Corn Dogs

[our appetizer – sooooo good and not too filling]

Ritual Houston

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but this is the beer board. It’s in the same style as a train station ticker menu. It was so cool to look at!

Ritual Houston

The decor was absolutely awesome in every detail (minus one – I’ll get there in a second). Even the bar had old school southern props like a bartender’s comb holder that now houses olives. It reminds me of an old Speakeasy that also made scrumptious food. I loved the exposed wood + brick combos they had throughout the restaurant, too.

Ritual Houston

Before I get in to the food, I have to tell you about my one AWFUL moment in the restaurant. After we had our cocktails, the hostess sat us at a table for two near the front. I was wearing my white skinny jeans, cute cold shoulder top, and new black strappy heels. I felt sexy and so happy that we finally got to come “out on the town” for date night. Then I sat in the chair. And the chair BROKE. Like straight up – legs flying out everywhere (the chair’s and mine), people gasping and staring, and me falling on my white-jeaned booty onto the black floor. Needless to say, we moved tables and the manager comped us to make up for the mishap. All that said, I’d still go back to eat here any day – so that should tell you how good the food is!

Here’s what we ate:

Gulf Seafood Gravy

Ritual Houston

We shared the 14 oz. ribeye (not pictured, we’d already eaten too much by the time I remembered to snap one) + red beans and rice + creamed corn

Ritual Houston

Oh… and also these cheesy scalloped potatoes. Hey – judge all you want, but it was worth every dang calorie.

Ritual Houston


On Saturday, the weather was so fantastic that we immediately decided over coffee that we had to grill outside for dinner. Jon Boy requested an oldie but a goodie: Citrus Balsamic Marinade

. You can do this with pork tenderloin or chicken. It’s tangy, a little sweet, and a little savory and only needs 5 ingredients.

Citrus Balsamic Marinade


Citrus Balsamic Marinade

1/3 cup lemon juice (juice of 2 really good lemons)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 tbs. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or boneless pork tenderloin

Combine the first five ingredients in small bowl. Place the meat in a large Ziploc bag and pour marinade over top. Marinate at least 4 and up to 24 hours in the fridge. Grill as usual, discarding marinade.


After breakfast, Jon headed to Katy to help a co-worker whose home was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. He called in complete horror as he was driving through the neighborhood. He said it looked like a war zone with all the trash on the streets (washers + dryers, furniture, clothes, kitchen appliances). Folks had to rip out all their flooring, sheet rock, insulation, etc. in order to keep the houses as mold-free as possible. Jon and his company were there to help with the disinfecting and cleaning of as much of the house as they could possibly salvage. It was terrible to hear about and gave us both a very guilty feeling – almost like survivor’s guilt.

While Jon was helping out, Corey and I ventured to Downtown Tomball to go to the Farmer’s Market there. We got a huge bag of organic veggies for just $17! It took less than 10 minutes to shop, so I decided to take Corey and look around our new little area. It was a stark contrast to what Jon was experiencing.

If I weren’t already married, I’d be praying that someone would propose to me in this freaking adorable gazebo.

Downtown Tomball Texas

I saw this Bar + Grill that looks promising: Brautigams Bar-N-Grill.

Downton Tomball Texas

Corey’s name for my mom is Noni (n-oh-nee), so I had to send her a pic of this cute cafe that’s got her name (kind of)!

Downton Tomball Texas

Mr. Cool here made many, many friends on our little stroll.

Corey Douglas

And of course, this CHOO-CHOO TWAAAYYYN was a big hit with the big guy. It looked like they do some kind of activity the 2nd Saturday every month (which would’ve been this Saturday), but I couldn’t figure out what that was. We’ll have to come back and catch it another time!

Downtown Tomball Texas

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