Wanderings in Westchase

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Ever since I first started coming to Houston, before we even lived here, I have loved the Westchase district. Always full of energy, people and hole-in-the-wall food joint – I just love it. It’s one of the only places in H-town where you can drive down a major road surrounded by lush green trees. So different from driving in Dallas. In fact, the Westchase Hilton is our favorite staycation spot for a weekend getaway: killer views (of the lush greenness, ) one of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve had and a top-ranked steakhouse on site. Not bad for a one-stop getaway.

But of course it’s impossible to stay in when visiting this intersection of diversity. Drive a few blocks and you can stop off at Cafe Mezza for some Mediterranean fusion that’s really affordable (plus the best tabbouleh in town – even Lance liked it!) Or off to Sherlock’s for a cold beverage and live music. Shopping? We’ve drooled over minimalist furniture that we could never afford at Cantoni and loaded up the soccer-mom-truck at Ikea on the same trip. Seriously.

OK, this is turning into a travelogue for Westchase, but that’s not my intention. Now, if you choose to check it out – that’s your business… 🙂 I’m just continually amazed by new sights every time I come down here. Where else would you find the Chinese and Colombian Consulates within walking distance of bustling office buildings and pawn shops? The diversity never ends. And don’t even get me started on the shopping experience that is Harwin a few blocks down…

I used to teach down here. Those two years put a new spin on this neighborhood for me. Because behind the professionals busing to work and the restauranteurs creating their masterpieces, there is poverty. I only thought I knew what ‘living in poverty’ meant. To my sheltered, north Dallas suburban mind I always thought of Beltline Road in old Farmers Branch whenever I heard that phrase. No. Not even close. Drive off the beaten path, down a few side streets and you’ll find apartments. Lots of them. In fact, every single student I taught for those two years lived in an apartment. The motto was, ‘If a kid tells you they live in a house, they don’t belong here.’ Ok. No big deal. Until I realized that most families shared their apartment with at least one other family, if not more. We’re talking two-bedroom apartments here. My eyes were opened. And the biggest shocker was that Westchase is not even considered ‘inner-city’ around here. Needless to say, I learned so much about being grateful and thankful for the blessings you have. The dichotomy of thriving business, shopping, diversity and poverty still overwhelms me when I think about it.

But I still love Westchase. It’s my favorite H-town hangout. This little strip of Houston allows me to step out of my bubble, experience a new world and count my blessings. Check it out if you’re ever in the neighborhood.

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Filed under diversity, food, Houston, inner city, shopping

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