Our first (non-family) guests

Both of our families have visited (several times) since we moved into our new house a year ago. But until this weekend, we had yet to welcome our first non-related, overnight guests. As you can probably imagine, we were ecstatic when our friends Julie and Jeremy called a month ago to tell us they wanted to plan a visit to see a Cubs game and, of course, us.

I spent days stressing over the current state of the house - is it "decorated" enough? Will we run out of clean towels? Should I go buy new soaps and shampoo so they will have a variety to choose from?.......And I spent even longer agonizing over activities and, of course, dining options. I spent hours perusing Citysearch and emailing my foodie friends for suggestions and recommendations. Finally, I got everything planned, cleaned and decorated, and all that was left to do was wait for our guests to arrive.

They arrived very late Thursday night and were so tired they didn't notice the dust bunnies under the furniture. Friday morning we had breakfast tacos from The Houston Tamale Factory) in our neighborhood. Technically, we arrived after breakfast hours, but fortunately, the awesome staff made us some tacos. They have the best counter service, and for $1.79 per taco, you really can't get a much better breakfast for the price.

We lounged around the house and played with the dogs until a late lunch at Texadelphia. Obviously, if you know me, this was not my choice, but it was OK and our guests loved the Cheesesteaks. I was pretty grossed out from the moment we entered the restaurant, because one of the young cashier boys was sticking his bare fingers into a container of croutons and eating them...and handling money...and eating more croutons...in plain view of customers. So I suggest that you do not order a salad, or anything with croutons the next time you visit!

After lunch, we headed to our old Midtown neighborhood to "the big" Spec's to pick up our libations for the weekend. One of the things I miss most about our old apartment is walking to Spec's to get a buzz on random Saturday afternoons. Unfortunately, we visited on a Friday, so we only got to taste a Prosecco (Julie and I each ended up buying a bottle) and another Italian wine.

For dinner, we consulted my handy-dandy pre-approved list of dining establishments...and decided we weren't in the mood for any of them. We headed Patranella's, a little family-owned Italian ristorante just outside of my neighborhood. It is in an old house and has fabulous food. The kitchen is always amazingly slow, but they usually make it up to you...the last time we visited, we got a free bottle of wine, this time they sent us a platter of fried calamari. If you have a long evening to spend over a couple of bottles of wine, I highly suggest Patrenella's, but be smart and stick with ordering from the menu. Each time I have strayed and gotten a nightly special, I have been disappointed and this weekend was no exception. Lesson learned!

We spent the remainder of the weekend enjoying our Prosecco and shopping, which was much more fun when the guys were at the baseball game. We stopped for a quick bite of sushi and a (few) martini(s) at Ra (the usual: horrible service, decent rolls, good atmosphere), and as our fantastic luck would have it, ran into a great sale downstairs at Z Gallerie. Julie found some wooden chargers for 50% off and I picked up some cute cocktail napkins. All in all, a pretty successful excursion.

Our weekend was great, and a bonus of dining out for every.single.meal is that there is absolutely nothing to clean up in the kitchen! I can't wait until our next set of guests visit - I love showing off our home and taking others on excursions around our city.