The 5 Best Brunch Spots in Garden Oaks/Oak Forest

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Photo by John Kiely
The tortillas alone are worth the trip to our No. 5 spot.
In Houston, we're pretty serious about our brunch. Whether it be migas and breakfast tacos or chicken and waffles and loaded Bloody Marys, we have no shortage of awesome spots to get our brunch on. Keeping later hours and killer cocktails in mind, we'll be taking a look at some of our favorite spots around town. See the complete list at the end of this post.

This week, we're moving we're moving just outside the loop to the neighborhoods of Garden Oaks and Oak Forest.

Note: For purposes of this post, Garden Oaks / Oak Forest is defined as north of Loop 610, east of Highway 290, south of Tidwell and west of Yale.

Honorable Mention: Biskit Junkie, even though it hasn't opened yet, because we're just too excited about the possibilities! And Rainbow Lodge, which is just outside the borders, but worth the short ride inside the loop.

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Chef Chat, Part 2: Roy Shvartzapel and What's Next For Common Bond

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Chuck Cook Photography
Chef Roy Shvartzapel of Common Bond Cafe & Bakery and a display of freshly baked breads
Check out the first part of our interview with Chef Roy Shvartzapel.

At Common Bond, colorful desserts are lined up like painted soldiers behind a glass case. A big metal rack holds generously sized loaves of freshly baked bread. There's a selection of coffee drinks and you can even grab a light lunch before the kitchen closes at 3 pm.

Is it surprising that people are willing to line up at Common Bond in the morning and wait 45 minutes for breakfast? Maybe, but then again, maybe not.

While we were interviewing chef Roy Shvartzapel, a gentleman with a white beard from Lafayette walked up to compliment him on the quality of the croissants. "A friend told me that of all the things that surprised him about Houston, the thing that surprised him the most was finding croissants here as good as what he had in Paris," he said. "You've done a great job here."

And why are those croissants so good? In part 2 of this interview, we talk about the mechanics of making the perfect croissant dough. We also get the scoop on another other baked goodie that will make its first appearance just in time for the holidays and find out about chef Roy's ultimate goals.

EOW: What do you think about the 45-minute average wait time here at Common Bond?

RS: I've visited places like that over my career and used to say "One day, I'm going to have a place where people wait in line for things that I make." I think there's a value in that. Not for me, but particularly in a city like Houston that's the ultra in non-pedestrian. We, on a scale from one to 10 in pedestrian life, are at a zero. We're not even at a one. It's the infrastructure. We cannot have, for example, a subway system. We're just not designed that way.

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The 5 Best Brunch Spots in Memorial

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Photo by Mai Pham
Our No. 3 pick's roti prata -- a sort of fried pancake -- is the perfect way to start the meal.
In Houston, we're pretty serious about our brunch. Whether it be migas and breakfast tacos or chicken and waffles and loaded Bloody Marys, we have no shortage of awesome spots to get our brunch on. Keeping later hours and killer cocktails in mind, we'll be taking a look at some of our favorite spots around town. See the complete list at the end of this post.

This week, we're moving to the ever-growing Memorial 'hood.

Note: For the purposes of this post, Memorial is defined as north of Buffalo Bayou, west of Loop 610, east of Highway 6, and the area just north of Katy Freeway to Westview.

Honorable Mention: Lone Star breakfast classics at Pappy's Cafe.


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The 5 Best Brunch Spots in Rice Village

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Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
The pancakes at our No. 5 pick are big enough to share.
In Houston, we're pretty serious about our brunch. Whether it be migas and breakfast tacos or chicken and waffles and loaded Bloody Marys, we have no shortage of awesome spots to get our brunch on. Keeping later hours and killer cocktails in mind, we'll be taking a look at some of our favorite spots around town. See the complete list at the end of this post.

This week, we're moving to the shopping and dining mecca that is Rice Village/West U.

Honorable Mention: Bottomless mimosas and all-you-can-eat buffet at Seco's Latin Cuisine and cappuccinos and crepes at Sweet Paris Creperie & Cafe.

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The 5 Best Brunch Spots in The Woodlands

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Photo by Robert Yu
Get breakfast crabcakes and bottomless mimosas at our No. 5 pick.
In Houston, we're pretty serious about our brunch. Whether it be migas and breakfast tacos or chicken and waffles and loaded Bloody Marys, we have no shortage of awesome spots to get our brunch on. Keeping later hours and killer cocktails in mind, we'll be taking a look at some of our favorite spots around town. See the complete list at the end of this post.

This week, we're moving outside the loop to the ever-expanding Woodlands area.

Honorable Mention: Saturdays only brunch classics at Eden Cafe and fancy pants brunch at Jasper's.

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The 5 Best Brunch Spots in the Galleria

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Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
You can get anything from loaded crepess to this artichoke-pesto striped bass at our No. 5 pick.
In Houston, we're pretty serious about our brunch. Whether it be migas and breakfast tacos or chicken and waffles and loaded Bloody Marys, we have no shortage of awesome spots to get our brunch on. Keeping later hours and killer cocktails in mind, we'll be taking a look at some of our favorite spots around town. See the complete list at the end of this post.

This week, it's the upscale 'hood near the Galleria that gets a closer look.

Note: For purposes of this list, the Galleria is defined as anything west of Highland Village, south of Woodway, east of South Voss/Hillcroft and north of Richmond Avenue.

Honorable Mention: Empanadas and choripan at Argentina Cafe and pastries and quiche at French Riviera Bakery & Cafe.


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The Five Best Underrated Breakfast Spots (According to You)

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Photo courtesy Avalon Diner
Your No. 5 pick is a classic diner serving Houston since 1938.
This was a tight and contentious race, if e'er I saw one.

Much of the discussion revolved around what is or is not an underrated spot for the most important meal of the day. For example, some of you posited that Down House might be the most underrated because you absolutely love it and fear it doesn't get enough credit, while others argued there's nothing underrated about the beloved Heights restaurant.

De gustibus non est disputandum, eh?

Anyway, after the votes were tallied, we ended up with the closest results we've had yet in one of these polls. In fact, there's a tie for first place between two totally different restaurants. I'm happy to know we're still a super diverse city, Houston, even when it comes to something as simple as breakfast.

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The 5 Best Brunch Spots in Midtown

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Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
You may recognize this classic Southern breakfast from our No. 4 pick.
In Houston, we're pretty serious about our brunch. Whether it be migas and breakfast tacos or chicken and waffles and loaded Bloody Marys, we have no shortage of awesome spots to get our brunch on. Keeping later hours and killer cocktails in mind, we'll be taking a look at some of our favorite spots around town. See the complete list at the end of this post.

This week, it's all about Midtown.

Note: For the purposes of this post, Midtown is defined as south of I-45 (the Pierce Elevated), west of Highway 288, north of Highway 59 and east of Bagby (for the most part). See the map here.

Honorable Mention: Diner classics at Harry's (which falls just outside our borders), big Southern plates at Natachee's Supper 'n Punch, and $1 mimosas and Tex-Mex fare at Gloria's.


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Rest of the Best 2014: Houston's Ten Best Bloody Marys

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Photo courtesy Beaver's
This stunning row of Bloody Marys is made from the best house mix in Houston.
Our 2013 Best of Houston® winners were announced a while back, but in many cases, picking the best item in any category was no easy task. In order to show off all the culinary greatness Houston has to offer, we're continuing to round up the "rest of the best" in some of our favorite categories. Bon appétit!

People keep telling me that Bloody Marys are a morning drink--early afternoon at the latest. And it's not just my friends who give me crap for ordering the tomato and vodka cocktail at any time, day or night. It's the bartenders, too. Try asking for a spicy Bloody Mary at 11 p.m. and see how the server reacts.

It's cool, though. I don't mind the looks and odd reactions so long as I have a little something spicy and boozy to drink. And while working on this list and tasting Bloody Marys all over town, I had an excellent excuse to order my favorite drink.

If you do searches for the origin of the Bloody Mary online, you're likely to find a number of different stories, some claiming it was invented in Paris by a guy named Fernand Petiot, others that a chick named Mary at a bar called Bucket of Blood created the cocktail. Whatever the origin, the drink appears to have evolved since the early 1900s into something spicier and more complex than the initial mix.

These days, bars and restaurants attempt to top each other by making the spiciest mix or topping the drink with the most outrageous garnish. Here are the best of these "hair of the dog" cocktails in Houston.

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We've Narrowed Down the Most Underrated Breakfast...Vote Now!

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Photo courtesy Waffle House
Not gonna lie, my vote is for Waffle House.
You people are surprisingly passionate about breakfast.

While I usually either sleep through or skip the most important meal of the day, you're all over it, and it seems you each have specific places that you frequent for specific dishes. We got a lot of taqueria suggestions in the comments, but because there are so many taquerias in Houston and most people tend to go to ones in their own 'hoods, those suggestions were all over the place. Only two taquerias ended up on the poll, which seems like an unevenly small amount based on how breakfast taco-happy I know this city to be.

No worries, though. There are plenty of other great suggestions for underrated breakfasts in town on the poll. If your favorite is on there, tell us why in the comments. We want to know about specific dishes and what makes your go-to spot so great.

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