What is Nom Noir?
Nom Noir (@nomnoirhtx) is Houston’s first culinary tour highlighting the culture and black-owned restaurants within the Third Ward area. Houston’s Third Ward is a historically black neighborhood in the central area of the city. Join tour guide chef Vicky V. (@thaqueenofyum) as she guides an intimate group of 10 attendees to 5 black-owned businesses. Along the tour, attendees will also learn about the Third Ward’s rich history, culture, and landmarks.
The Houston Food Tour Experience
As a native Houstonian, I admit that I’ve never explored the Third Ward myself. That’s kind of part of the charm of Houston; it’s so big that there’s always something new for you to experience. On one afternoon, I received a message from Chef Vicky inviting me to take the tour and I was very eager and curious to learn about a part of Houston unfamiliar to me.
For this trial run, we visited 4 restaurants on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. However, the real tour will feature 5 restaurants. The retinue for the day included these restaurants: Reggae Hut, Wing Quarter Daiquiris and Creole Kitchen, Ray’s BBQ, and Crumbville, TX. Each stop was roughly 35 minutes spent tasting a shared family style meal, so we were able to taste a variety of menu items. Before setting out to our first location, we were greeted with charcuterie and champagne.
Firstly, we started out strong with a very well-known Houston restaurant. The tour’s first stop was Reggae Hut, a Caribbean restaurant. Out of the 4 restaurants we ate, Reggae Hut was the only one I visited before. We tasted a sample of their Caribbean cuisine with a menu featuring curry chicken, garlic shrimp, vegetable medley, and red beans and rice. Each bite was filled with Jamaican flavor.
Wing Quarter Daquiris and Creole Kitchen
Between stops, Vicky gave a small introduction on the Third Ward as we rode through the area. Secondly, the bus dropped us off at Wing Quarter: Daquiris and Creole Kitchen, a Cajun and Creole restaurant. There we sampled the catfish nuggets, boudin balls, fried shrimp, three flavors of chicken wings. I was a big fan of the breading for each dish. As their name suggests, you must try the wings and the daquiris.
Ray’s Real Pit BBQ Shack
After nibbling on those wings, we then walked a few doors down over to Ray’s Real Pit BBQ Shack located in the same shopping strip. At Ray’s BBQ Shack, we shared a huge barbecue platter and two sides: spicy rice and macaroni and cheese. The platter was filled with sliced brisket, sausage, and ribs accompanied with onions and pickles. The Kool-Aid is also a recommendation!
Lastly, for the final stop we made a full circle back to the rendezvous point to visit Crumbville, TX. Crumbville is a bakery that offers a large selection of homemade vegan, gluten-free, and non-vegan sweets like cookies and cupcakes. When you’re browsing, you’ll notice some of the sweets are named after pop culture references. For example, there’s a cookie called “Cookie Minaj” as a reference to Nicki Minaj. Sample of all the sweets are available for customers to try. Each treat has “a baked on smile in every bite!” Be sure to say hello to Ella, the owner. She’s a real sweetheart!
The Nom Noir Impact
In addition to all of the delicious food, I was impressed with the historical aspect of the tour! During the few hours, we learned about many aspects of the area including the art, music, socioeconomic structures, and gentrification’s effects on the community. In the middle of the tour, we even passed by Beyonce’s childhood home! The tour was so thoughtfully planned and created by someone who wanted to share their love of this neighborhood. By the end of the experience, I feel like I learned so much more about Houston and I am really excited for other people to learn more through this tour as well!
In conclusion, I cannot say enough how impactful and educational this tour was. If you have the ability, I highly recommend taking the Nom Noir tour. Not only was it a great way to try so many different restaurants, chef Vicky’s work with a local historian to provide context to the food and the community was irreplaceable and such an enjoyable way to learn. I left with a food coma and enjoyed learning so much more about our wonderful city! At this time, the next tour will be on March 14, 2020 with additional dates in May.
Tickets for the Nom Noir tour are available now through Eventbrite now!
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Restaurants Featured in this Post
- Reggae Hut
4814 Almeda Rd.
Houston, TX 77004
- Wing Quarter Daquiris and Creole Kitchen
3929 Old Spanish Trail #100
Houston, TX 77021
- Ray’s BBQ Shack
3929 Old Spanish Trail
Houston, TX 77021
- Crumbville, TX
2316 Elgin St.
Houston, TX 77004