Searching for a culinary escape that doesn't require a pat-down from the TSA? Houston is surrounded by fantastic locations for mini-escapes from the Gulf to Hill Country. Below are two escapes that don't require an overnight stay, from a five star restaurant in Brenham to a luxe horse-farm with a gourmet dining in Magnolia — you don't have to search far for a palatable escape. These travel-worthy culinary destinations are less than an hour (depending on traffic) outside Houston.
Haras Hacienda, a boutique style hotel, restaurant, and event space with top of the line horse boarding and training facilities isn't exactly what you'd expect to find in Magnolia, just shy of the Tomball county line. The horses yes, a gourmet restaurant with an interior designed entirely in Restoration Hardware? Not so much. Once strictly private, Haras recently opened to the public this past February.
"We want this to be an experience for guests, where you can have a margarita in the viewing room beside the indoor arena, walk the grounds to meet our beautiful Lusitano horses, then finish your meal in the dining room," says Celis.
Haras Restaurant co-owner Jose Celis and his wife, executive chef Claudia Celis, combine the hacienda style of the grounds with international cuisine for aninteractive experience. The menu evolves monthly and is reflective of what's available seasonally and every dish is made to order. Over 85% of the goods used in the restaurant are locally sourced, with the exception of quality meats (Serrano ham) and region specific cheeses. Meals are paired with suggestions from the expert bar program designed by Jose. The restaurant is open Thursday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sundays.
Located nearby Blue Bell Creamery's hometown of Brenham, is the impressive and critically awarded Dos Brisas, situated within the exclusive The Inn at Dos Brisas near Chappell Hill. In 2015 Forbes Travel Guide, gave the restaurant at the inn a "Five Star," rating, notably the only restaurant to receive the honor in Texas. Led by executive chef Cory Untch, Dos Brisas cultivates ingredients from acres of organic farmland and orchards on-site to create menus with a vegetable-centric focus, using organic ingredients and inventive Texas flair. The inn is styled after a Spanish country manor with rustic and romantic décor from the 18th-century fireplace from France's Loire Valley region to the handcrafted alder and mahogany bar. Prices are steep and reservations need to be made at least 24 hours in advance.
When you're feeling the pinch from the prices at Dos Brisas, Brenham has one of the top places to grab a deep dish pizza at the popular Mobius Coffeehouse and Pizza Connection. The pies are deep dish style and the baked goods are all made in-house. The premium selection of espresso based drinks are strong and smooth, and expect Blue Bell to be served once the ice-cream is officially back on the market. Within walking distance is a different pie to indulge in. The vintage soda fountain and ice-cream parlor owned by Charlie and Traci Pyle, Must Be Heaven whips up 10 pie varieties daily. Coconut meringue, Dutch apple, pecan, and a bourbon-chocolate chip-pecan are top sellers. Southern Living dubbed the shop one of the "Top 10 Places for Pie in Texas." Whole pies sell for $18 if you're looking to take something on the road with you.