Our My Top 5 series showcases Houstonians who are creating the city’s culture and community and asks them to share their own local favorites. This week we’re delighted to feature Star Gilani, founder of Best Bites Houston. The immersive walking food tour company focuses on sharing the diversity of Houston’s food and culture, one bite at a time.
My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston
by Star Gilani
- Hookah Spots – One of my favorite things about Houston is the accessibility to some amazing hookah bars. Hookah or Shisha is an instrument used to smoke flavored tobacco. Going to a hookah bar is a common socializing activity across the Middle East. Here in Houston, there are many, several on streets like Richmond Avenue. You can find me at Nara Cafe, smoking a mango, peach and paan hookah while sipping on some fresh mint lemonade. Be sure to try the Jason’s Bowl with chicken from the secret menu and always, always ask for fresh cut fries – you’ll thank me later!
- Sunday Funday – Some of my best memories have been made bar hopping around Washington Avenue and having a carefree Sunday Funday. I like to start at Kung Fu Saloon for Sake Bombs, Cheeseburger Eggrolls, and some Nashville Ninja Hot Chicken Tacos (because calories don’t count on Sunday, right?) Afterwards, I usually hit up Clutch Bar for a 96-ounce Moscow Mule or go to Concrete Cowboy for a little dancing. I’ll always end up at Velvet Taco for a Paneer Taco and some delicious elote.
- The Menil Collection – If you like Byzantine art, West and Central African art, and Surrealism, The Menil Collection is a must. The permanent Surrealist collection is my favorite to revisit in the museum. René Magritte’s pieces are both thought-provoking and beautifully created. Admission is always free at the Menil, which I love. Be sure to check out their website before you go to search for special events and temporary exhibits.
- Diverse Eateries – Houston’s diverse population gives us some unique and authentic eateries. Some of my favorites include Aga’s for authentic Indian and Pakistani flavors, Pho Tan An for Shaking Beef and fresh Pho, Wild Cajun for Asian-style Crawfish, and Blue Nile for a delicious Ethiopian feast. My friend Christina has a great blog covering Houston’s diverse and local restaurants, and it’s invaluable to me for finding new spots. Check her out for more ideas on Instagram at @HoustonsGotSpice.
- Houston Insider – This is a new program initiated by Visit Houston to help locals see the city’s great offerings become ambassadors for the city of Houston. As a Houston Insider, you get to engage in exclusive events, learn about the most-happening activities in the city, network, and stay involved in the community. The best part? Anyone can join and it’s completely free. You just have to take a short online course to sign up. It literally took me less than 30 minutes to complete the course, and I’ve had the opportunity to attend a Dynamo game, a few networking happy hours, and had special access to concerts in Avenida Houston.
About Star Gilani
Star Gilani is a graduate of the Conrad N. Hilton College at the University of Houston and has dedicated her career to all things food, travel, and tourism. She’s the founder of Best Bites Houston, an immersive walking food tour company focusing on sharing the diversity of Houston’s food and culture, one bite at a time. With a passion for Houston’s food and people, Gilani invites fellow Houstonians to join her for a tour to eat, learn, and explore the city like they never have before.