Banana + Nutella Is a No-Fail Combination: Our 13 Favorite Examples in Houston

banananao.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Nutella and banana bao at Fat Bao.
I'm willing to bet any American who's tasted Nutella can tell you all about the first time he or she encountered the addictive product. Most of us didn't grow up on the sweet hazelnut spread as so many of my European friends did -- including a girlfriend from England who received at least two Nutella "butties" (Nutella and butter sandwiches on white bread) a week in her lunchbox -- making that first taste as a teenager or adult that much more memorable.

My own first taste of Nutella was in Austria at age 14, where I was convinced that the creamy brown spread was actually chocolate -- albeit the best chocolate I'd ever had. I had no idea roasted hazelnuts mimicked the flavor of chocolate so closely, but quickly learned to discern its differences in the slightly gritty texture and warmly nutty scent.

To this day, I still can't pass up Nutella or hazelnut-flavored anything, let alone Nutella paired with what I see as its natural counterpart: bananas. Peanut butter has jelly; peaches have cream; Nutella has bananas.

Fat Bao, the subject of this week's cafe review, offers a dessert bao filled with Nutella and sliced bananas. Lightly dusted with confectioner's sugar, it's very nearly my favorite thing on the short menu (edged out by the simple Memphis-style pork belly bao with coleslaw). Here are a few more Nutella-and-banana favorites around town:

Nutella and banana crepes

Here in Houston, at least, crepes are the most popular way to cram Nutella and bananas into a portable eating device. I love the Nutella and banana crepes at the following spots:

Nutella and banana French toast

This extravagant creation is only found at Saint Genevieve these days (Max's Wine Dive once offered its own version at brunch), where the brioche French toast is topped with Nutella, sliced bananas and whipped cream for $10.

Nutella and banana Belgian waffle

My favorite combo at Wafles & Dinges in New York City is also my favorite here in Houston at The Waffle Bus. Its two food trucks both offer a Nutella and banana-topped waffle with a side of sweet cream for $6.

Nutella and banana sandwich

Speaking of food trucks, Monster PB&J offers this combination among its line-up of various nut butters and fruit spreads. Depending on the size -- junior, classic or monster -- your sandwich will cost $3, $5 or $7.

Nutella and banana scone

Did you even know there was a second Tiny Boxwood's location, which is somewhat incongruously called Tiny's no. 5? It's on Rice Boulevard in West U and offers a banana and Nutella scone at breakfast, which washes down wonderfully with a morning macchiato.

Nutella and banana frozen yogurt

The New York-based Tasti D-Lite chain doesn't offer this as a pre-made combo, but you can mix it up yourself. Pull some Nutella-flavored frozen yogurt into a cup, have it topped with fresh slices of banana, et voila.

Nutella and banana French toast sandwich

We saved the best for last: The Nutty Frenchman at Breakfast Burritos Anonymous, where two pieces of French toast contain flambéed bananas, roasted walnuts, butter pecan syrup and Nutella -- all of it covered with a final unnecessary flourish of confectioner's sugar. Believe it or not, this beautiful and delicious monstrosity is only $6.

Read more about Fat Bao in this week's cafe review and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of its kitchen in our slideshow.


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Location Info

Venue

Map

Fat Bao

3419 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Melange Creperie

403 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Sweet Paris Creperie and Cafe

2420 Rice Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: General

CoCo's Crepes & Coffee

218 Gray, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Pondicheri

2800 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Guru Burgers & Crepes

2268 Texas Drive, Sugar Land, TX

Category: Restaurant

Max's Wine Dive

4720 Washington Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Saint Genevieve

2800 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Tasti D-Lite

1707 Post Oak Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
11 comments
paval
paval

Having grown up on the stuff in its European version (more Hazelnuts, less palm fat) I only feel sorry for those who only tried it here. Ferrero USA makes a version of it in Canada that looses every time i make a comparison tasting for my poor American friends, when I bring some European N home with me.

Fortunately there are some places in town that carry European Nutella (Polish) and its best copy from Germany Nusspli (actually even better than nutella in my take due to 3% more Hazelnuts)

For those uninitiated I can strongly recommend a slice of bread or a roll with quark (a slightly sour German fromage frais) on the bottom and Nutella or Nusspli on top. The acidity of quark reduces a bit the sweetness of Nutella and brings out the chocolate even more (Cacao is only number 5 in the ingredients of nutella, with Palm Fat and Sugar being the first and most important part of ingredients) 

And one more for anyone ever traveling through Frankfurt in Germany, seek out the Nutelleria, the store were everything is in Nutella, made with Nutella, smeared with Nutella, has Nutella in it, cooked Nutella, steamed in Nutella, boiled in Nutella (remember Bubba and his myriad of shrimp recipes in Forrest Gump, the same but instead of shrimp fill in Nutella). There are only four Nutelleria's in the world, the three others are in Italy, which is from where Ferrero hails. 

Oh and of course the Germans being so technical have invented a knife made on purpose for Nutella. Boris Becker used to advertise it, I believe. I do not remember the specs, but I am sure it was made so more Nutella got stuck to it, so it was more fun to smear on a bread and lick up the knife afterwards.


csoakley
csoakley

The Nutty Frenchman is one of the greatest menu items in Houston. If our city ambassadors would serve these to the proper selection committees, we would be a lock for the Super Bowl, World Cup and Olympics.

They are usually at Inversion Coffee House most weekday mornings. Go get one, people!

Caroline
Caroline

"I was convinced that the creamy brown spread was actually chocolate"... um, because it is? Cocoa is a major ingredient in Nutella.

BP88
BP88

Don't forget Marini's Empanadas

Bruce_Are
Bruce_Are topcommenter

@Caroline  

Chocolate?  Try palm oil and sugar.  But chicks dig it.

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

@Caroline I should say "pure chocolate." I couldn't believe there were any nuts in there.

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