Welcome to Discovering Houston on the Cheap, a weekly series highlighting cheap dates, cheap
meals, Houston’s best-kept secret and more — by local chefs, media, athletes, and folks in local business.

Sylvia Casares, owner and chef, Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen
{Sylvia Casares’ grandmother served as her culinary hero always cooking with 14 children. Sylvia learned skills at Uncle Ben’s and Sara Lee before purchasing/renaming her first restaurant in 2001 on Westheimer. Today she has three locations and has garnered many “best restaurant” awards. In addition to her restaurants, Sylvia offers cooking classes, has written cookbooks, and appeared on Food Network.}

Sylvia Casares1) Favorite spot for a cheap mealCorelli’s Italian Cafe

This “under the radar” Italian food is always fresh and consistent. It’s cozy, and the service is always spot on. The sugarosa sauce is one of the best I’ve ever had, as well as the cheesecake and dessert pizza. I generally go to the Sugar Land location.

2) Favorite spot for a cheap date Qin Dynasty

The food is fresh and when combined with their attentive service and a very nice ambiance (white table cloths), it’s a great value.

3) Houston’s best-kept secret — Mexico Deli

They serve a very delicious tacos al pastor and real flavorful black beans..

4) Best place to save money in Houston — The Guild Shop

This consignment store offers some very unique finds in their antique furniture and home décor areas. {note: Montrose-based The Guild Shop is a Christian ministry of St. John the Divine for more than 50 years.)

5) Favorite Houston festival or annual event — Freedom Over Texas

I love the fireworks show and the music provided by the Houston Symphony.

6) My perfect day in Houston would be…

My perfect day would involve a fresh brewed cup of latte and go for a brisk walk. Then off to brunch at one of my favorite small chef-owned restaurants and enjoy more great coffee and quiet conversation with a very close friend. Then go back home to relax, read, and listen to my favorite music. Evening activities would include a great movie at a theater with a large bucket of popcorn!

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