Get the Buttermilk Biscuits at Bosta Coffee & Wine

Photo by Molly Dunn
Sit at the circular coffee bar at Bosta to watch baristas make your drink.
Bosta Coffee & Wine opened its doors a couple of weeks ago in the quiet Museum District. By day, it's a coffee shop, but by night it serves up wine, beer and sophisticated bar snacks. The coffee beans are provided by Greenway Coffee & Tea (so you know what's being served is top notch); the food offerings for breakfast, lunch and dinner were crafted by executive chef Justin Basye, and pastries come from the great mind of pastry chef Chris Leung.

The white interior walls shine through the tall glass windows facing Binz Street. As you step inside, you're greeted with expansive ceilings and a circular, centrally-located bar. Even in the early hours of a Monday morning, the barista was cheery and welcoming.

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Siphon Coffee: My New Happy Place for Coffee

Photo by Mai Pham
A barista in the process of brewing two siphon coffees.

It didn't take long for me to become a fan of Siphon Coffee, the new coffee shop on West Alabama, just east of Montrose. It didn't matter that there were no seats when I arrived on a sweltering Sunday afternoon. I didn't even have to order their signature siphon coffee for it to become my new "it" coffee house.

When I took a sip of my latte, with its not-so-precisely designed latte art design (the baristas can use some practice perfecting this part of their craft), the creamy latte exhibited that great depth of flavor that you can only get at an artisanal coffee house that pays attention to the finer details. The temperature was correct; the milky foam (they use local dairy purveyor Mill King) displaying a good density and fluffiness; the color, that rich mahogany brown that tells me even before I take my first sip, that the coffee will be just as I like it.

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Coffee & Mini Desserts at Happy Fatz

Photo by Molly Dunn
Sitting outside on the patio at Happy Fatz with coffee and desserts is the way to go.
Just around the corner from Revival Market on White Oak, you will find an adorable house serving hot dogs, sweets and coffee concoctions. Yes, I am talking about Happy Fatz.

Heights residents and many Houstonians are familiar with this cafe's interesting hot dog creations -- it received the No. 10 spot on our list of best hot dogs in late 2011. Katharine Shilcutt praised Happy Fatz for its all-beef dogs topped with an array of ingredients, such as the Clucker smothered in hash browns, onions, bacon, a fried egg and hot sauce on a challah bun.

During my first visit to Happy Fatz, I fully intended to buy a hot dog, especially because my dining companion and I were starving after driving for three hours with the roof off of my Jeep -- being in the scorching hot sun wiped us out. But, one whiff of the freshly brewed Katz Coffee and a peek at the display case filled with cheesecakes, cupcakes, cakes and cake balls, my cravings switched from savory to sweet. But, that's the beauty of Happy Fatz, you can have something sweet, something savory or both.

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Paper Co. Coffee: Where Have You Been All My Life?

Photos by Molly Dunn
Walk through this blue door to enter one of the best new coffee shops in Houston.
It's no secret that I love coffee. The second a new coffee shop (or coffee truck) opens, I'm all over it. Although Houston has many many places to grab a traditional espresso-based drink, or a creative concoction with a variety of syrups, no two are the same. Each shop has its own atmosphere, vibe, coffee drinks and selections of food.

If you want a funky latte or mocha, go to Inversion. If you're craving a perfect espresso and filling breakfast, go to Blacksmith (the Vietnamese steak and eggs, and biscuits with creme fraiche are out of this world). If you're searching for a chill place to sip on coffee, wine or beer and munch on something sweet late at night, go to Agora or Southside Espresso. And if you want to go somewhere quiet and relaxing with plenty of space, go to Paper Co. Coffee.

Located in the First Ward practically underneath the interstate split of I-45 and I-10, you'll find what appears to be an abandoned warehouse, but really it's one of the best coffee shops in Houston.

I am kicking myself for not discovering this gem, especially since I've driven by it a countless number of times. Paper Co. Coffee has been open for almost one year -- it opened in July of 2013 -- and I wish I had checked it out when it opened.

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First Look at Cadillac Coffee Food Truck

Photos by Molly Dunn
Cadillac Coffee is a retro coffee truck serving specialty drinks, kolaches and pastries.
It's no secret that Houston has an ample number of food trucks serving lunch and dinner. But lately, the expansion of food trucks seems to lean more toward breakfast options and caffeinated beverages.

Espresso Rescue joined the food truck scene just a few months ago and often sets up shop with Katmania Crepes to satisfy the breakfast needs of Houstonians with crepes and coffee. Doughmaker Doughnuts recently hit the road serving gourmet doughnuts outside coffee shops like Mercantile and Black Hole Coffee House. Now, Houstonians can grab their morning Joe from Cadillac Coffee, a retro mobile eatery serving special caffeinated drinks, kolaches, pastries and pies.

Most of the time a food truck is essentially that -- a truck. The owners drive around town, park outside a community venue or set up shop in the confines of a food park. But, Cadillac Coffee does things a bit differently. Uber-friendly owner Meghan Ackerman pulls a 1963 Shasta camper van with a 1957 Cadillac Series 62 -- it's like a diner on wheels with a kick ass car.

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Starbucks Won't Be Bringing Booze to Houston, But Who Cares?

Photo courtesy Southside Espresso
"These are a few of my favorite things..."
Starbucks recently announced that it would be adding beer and wine, as well as an "evenings menu," to select locations around the country, after testing the plan in 26 markets during the last several years. The bad news? Starbucks booze isn't coming to Houston anytime soon. The good news? We don't need it.

Houston is home to a number of bar/coffee shop hybrids -- something I hadn't really seen anywhere else before moving here. But the fact that Houstonians want both alcohol and caffeine in one convenient location just makes me love this city even more. News outlets across the country are reporting on this Starbucks story as if it's groundbreaking.

Coffee and wine? Together?!

Please, people. We're way ahead of you, Starbucks.

Here are the best places in Houston to get your drink on and caffeinate, too.

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France à la Houston

Photo by Catherine Gillespie
The Tempting Pastry Case at French Riviera Bakery

When translated from France to America, the culinary capital of the world's traditions often amount to starched white table clothes and stuffy service. Houston is luckier than most cities, as there are a few places in the Bayou City to get a great croque madame or a delicious foie gras torchon. In order to recreate the real magic of a day in Paris here, however, you'll need to spend some time in Rice Village, travel to The Heights, and traipse around the Menil's lawn.

The French phrase for breakfast begins with the word "petit." Keep that in mind when kicking off your day. Instead of going overboard with a brunch-style morning meal, stick to the basics at Croissant Brioche or French Riviera Bakery. The former is a homey place good for a quick croissant (or brioche), Americano and glass of juice. The latter has a generic interior -- don't expect to see any clay roosters or decorative plates -- but the pastry case is anything but. Don't miss the cream-filled profiteroles or delectable eclairs.

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First Look at Boulevard Coffee: Top-Notch Mocha Lattes and Blueberry Scones

Photos by Molly Dunn
Boulevard Coffee is now open and serves some killer pastries and desserts.
Remember Waldo's Coffee House on Heights Boulevard? The casual coffee house with an outdoor patio and casual indoor seating perfect for lounging, studying or chatting with friends closed last summer, but if you regularly pass by the intersection of East 11th Street and Heights Boulevard, you might have noticed some remodeling and construction, and a "Now Open" sign for a different coffee house, Boulevard Coffee.

The same folks behind Waldo's Coffee House bring you Boulevard Coffee. Same location, same owners, just a different name. Ron Lopes is the owner of Boulevard Coffee which features more outdoor patio space, and what seems like more indoor seating than Waldo's. You can still come and relax with a cup of coffee and a muffin, or enjoy a casual concert throughout the week. But, it's not a replica of Waldo's. Boulevard Coffee also has a kitchen, in which chef Steven Hernandez a chef prepares a variety of foods for breakfast and lunch.

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The Honeymoon: Just What Downtown Needs

Photos by Molly Dunn
From left: Matt Toomey, Charlotte Mitchell and Brad Moore -- business partners establishing The Honeymoon Cafe & Bar.
If you work, live or just spend all of your time downtown, you've probably noticed there aren't that many places to grab a quick bite to eat, sit down for a cup of coffee, or enjoy a casual dinner and dessert before or after a theater performance. Sure, there are lots of restaurants such as The Grove, Batanga, Artista and Sambuca; and there are lots of bars, such as Flying Saucer, Hearsay Gastro Lounge and Reserve 101. But, there's one thing missing from the downtown dining scene -- a casual place to grab a coffee, cocktail and bite to eat.

Let's face it. If you're searching for a laid-back coffee shop in downtown, or along the rail line, you'll be searching for a while. But, that problem will soon be resolved when The Honeymoon Cafe & Bar opens at 300 Main this spring.

The Honeymoon is a partnership between Matt Toomey and Charlotte Mitchell of Boomtown Coffee and Brad Moore and Ryan Rouse of The Corinthian Bar Group (Goro & Gun, Lei Low Bar, OKRA, Bad News Bar, Big Star Bar and Grand Prize Bar). The foursome believes that this establishment will assist in the revitalization of downtown.

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Caffeine Crawl Hopes to Make a Splash in Houston on Saturday

Photo by Molly Dunn
Caffeine Crawl comes to Houston, and it's all about the coffee.
In Houston, we have experienced our fair share of pub crawls, but there's one drink we haven't gotten to crawl for, and that's coffee.

Missouri-based boutique marketing company The LAB created Caffeine Crawl in 2011. The event spread through the country, reaching a variety of cities (Kansas City, Denver, and Springfield, Missouri) in 2012, followed by Boston and San Francisco in 2013. Now The LAB's Caffeine Crawl is coming to Houston on Saturday, February 22, and will showcase the incredible talents of seven coffee shops: Boomtown Coffee, Blacksmith Coffee Bar, Southside Espresso, Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails, Catalina Coffee, Eatsie Boys Cafe and Paper Co.

Unfortunately, tickets are sold out, but there is a waiting list for any no-shows.

LAB team member Emily McIntyre explains that InterAmerican Coffee, a sponsor for this event, reached out to The LAB to shine the light on coffee offerings in Houston.

"So that was our initial awareness of Houston's coffee scene, but we have been fans for a while," McIntyre says. "And visiting and enjoying the coffee shops and talking with people, we feel that Houston is a city that deserves attention. It has a strong coffee/specialty beverage culture that deserves recognition."

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