Breakfast in the Park at Niko Niko's Market Square
In an ideal world, the breakfast pitas that Niko Niko's (301 Milam, 713-224-4976) serves would become as omnipresent as breakfast tacos -- Mexican and Greek breakfast wraps taking over Houston one pita and one tortilla at a time.
Until that happens, though, I encourage you to do your part in making this dream a reality by bringing in a few breakfast pitas to your next early-morning meeting. See what your coworkers do. See what your boss does. The likely reaction will be that of instant admiration for your breakfast-time cleverness.
And while I understand that Niko Niko's on Market Square offers far more than just breakfast pitas, its these wonderful little wraps that have me totally enchanted right now. And not just because the park itself is a thing of wonder in Houston: a living, breathing, functioning park that has people in it, dogs playing, children running on the grass -- and all of it surrounded by glass skyscrapers and historic buildings.
It's enough to make a native Houstonian fall in love with her city all over again.
Opening late last year, Niko Niko's was the necessary addition that the revamped Market Square Park needed: a popular, well-known anchor tenant that will draw the curious and/or hungry across the grass and cobblestones and encourage them to actually spend time in the fresh air. Eager customers waited in line for more than 40 minutes on its first day, and fans have continued flocking to the Market Square location since then. It's an invigorating scene in the park, especially on a weekday when downtown's hustle is in full flow.
At the little food kiosk -- outfitted in Niko Niko's instantly recognizable bright blue and white with accents of yellow -- the kitchen turns out a smaller version of the main Niko Niko's menu (the original still stands where it always has on Montrose), those breakfast pitas included. The strong Greek coffee and other caffeinated beverages are just as big a draw.
Of the pitas I tried one recent morning, the simple falafel blew my socks off. Fresh, juicy falafel rounds had been quartered to fit inside the fluffy pita bread, which wrapped easily around its contents. Scrambled eggs, onions and tomatoes rounded out the fillings. I topped it off with a fair amount of Niko Niko's bright-red, pepper-laced hot sauce for good measure. It was outstanding.
Also good was a sausage-filled pita that came with a fried egg on top, the nearly orange yolk already oozing into the mix. What a pleasant surprise, especially taken in hand with the startling cinnamon kick from the sausage itself.
The drip coffee, however, tasted like something out of an airport lounge. I quickly disposed of it and had the kiosk make a cappuccino instead. Like the sausage, it was dusted with a fine layer of cinnamon on top for a bracing start to each sip.
And if that -- and those wonderful pitas -- can't get you going in the morning, nothing will.