The 10 Best Coffee Shops in Houston

Categories: Caffeine, Top 10

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Photo by Molly Dunn
Where in Houston can you get a frothy cappuccino like this one?
For most of us, our day hasn't started until we take our first sip of coffee in the morning. America seriously runs on this stuff. No wonder people call it "liquid gold."

Gone are the days where Starbucks is the end-all-be-all place to grab a cup of Joe, especially in Houston. This city is beyond blessed with its selection of local coffee shops. And even though they are all serving the same thing -- coffee -- no two coffeehouses are the same. Some are better for sitting and chatting with friends while sipping on a specially-made flavored latte; others are more conducive to a quick on-the-go coffee run; some roast their own beans; others enhance their coffees with a selection of house-made pastries.

Because there are so many coffee shops in Houston, we wanted to be of assistance to you, dear readers, and help you narrow your choices down when you're in need of some caffeine. Here are the ten best places for coffee in the Bayou City.

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10 Places for Boozy Milkshakes in Houston

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Photo by Molly Dunn
Bowlero Bowling Alley in The Woodlands has awesome boozy shakes, like this Salt & Caramel, Push It Real Good shake with Stoli Karamel vodka.
Milkshakes are good, but boozy shakes are so much better. The traditional blend of milk, ice cream and syrups makes for an enjoyably sweet refreshment, but the extra splash of tequila, rum or beer just takes it to a new level.

When you're in the mood for an alcoholic drink, but are simultaneously craving something sweet, we suggest you hit up one of these ten Houston restaurants for an adult milkshake. Of course, if you've got youngsters in your family, most of these places can whip together a non-alcoholic version. So you both can get what you want.

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The 10 Best Places for Desserts in Houston

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Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
You better believe these cakes from Dolce Delights made our list.
Sometimes you just want something sweet and when you get that sugar craving, you have to satisfy it right then and there. Baking cookies or brownies takes too long and that small piece of chocolate you have in your pantry just won't do it for you. But, there are multiple places around town serving up killer desserts. You just have to walk inside, choose your poison, sit down and enjoy it. How easy is that?

We are aware that a multitude of restaurants offer quality desserts, like the chocolate coconut shell, el coco, at Caracol, the banana's foster at
Brennan's of Houston and the tres leches at the Cordua restaurants. However, we want to share with you the ten best places that specialize in just desserts. These are the places you want to visit and know you're going to indulge in something sweet. These are the places where sugar is the common denominator. And these are the places you can count on to always satisfy your sweet tooth.


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Houston's Best Cafeterias: Hearken Back to the Good Old Days

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Photo courtesy Luby's
This is a little fancier than I remember it being...
I haven't always been a food snob.

When I was little and my mom would teach night classes at the local university, my dad and I were left to our own devices for dinner. Because the man can do little more in a kitchen than boil water for pasta or make a cup of coffee, we often found ourselves at Luby's Cafeteria. I'd get macaroni and cheese and jello. He'd get the fried fish filet with tartar sauce. We'd always sit in the same seat, and the same servers would always greet us as we walked in and out of the bustling cafeteria.

Before I left home for college when I was 18, my dad and I shared one last meal at Luby's. It wasn't as good as I remembered, but there's a nostalgia attached to it--for me, at least--that makes the food that much better. Back in December, Katharine Shilcutt of Houstonia made a similar assertion about Luby's and the fact that most Houstonians remember dining at the chain at some point in their lives. And most Houstonians really liked it.

While I'm now much more inclined to seek out a hearty bowl of traditional pasta or pho when I want comfort food these days, there is something about the old fashioned cafeteria that I enjoy, that I miss, that I think others should give another chance.

Here's to the Houston cafeteria, in all its glory.

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Rest of the Best 2014: Houston's Ten Best Hot Dogs

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Photo by Troy Fields
The dogs at this spot are gooooooood.
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!

'Merica, man.

It's Independence Day. We've got patriotic pride coursing through our veins and an ache in our bellies for some classic American food. Enter the hot dog.

I know, I know, technically the frankfurter is from Germany and the wiener is from Austria, but the hot dog as we know it today--sandwiched in a bun and topped with condiments--is a distinctly American invention, no matter which origin story you believe.

So in honor of the overwhelming sense of pride we're feeling for our fair country (and because on the Fourth, you eat hot dogs...it's just a thing you do), we're rounding up the best dogs in the city. Due to a surge in the popularity of what one might call "gourmet hot dogs," there are a lot of those on the list. But don't worry. We haven't forgotten the classic dog either.

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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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The 10 Best Local Foodies to Follow on Instagram

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David Leftwich's Instagram account is a thing of beauty.
It's not yet officially in the dictionary along with selfie, crowdfunding and turducken, but food porn is definitely a real thing.

I need only to pull up Instagram on my phone to start drooling over my friends' photos of fresh, local produce; croissants at Common Bond; and burgers galore. While many local businesses have totally drool-worthy Instagram accounts, I prefer the personal ones not necessarily tied to any restaurant. I like to see what Houstonians are eating.

Here are some of my favorite folks to fawn over.

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Rest of the Best 2014: Houston's Top 10 Italian Restaurants

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Photo by Troy Fields
A decadent dish from the number four spot on our list.
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!

"The trouble with Italian food is that five or six days later, you're hungry again."

-Comedian George Miller

Ah, Italian food: One of the most recognizable cuisines in America, encompassing pasta and pizza, arguably two of best culinary inventions ever. Italian food is easy to get horribly wrong, though. Fortunately, for a city so proud of our Tex-Mex and seafood and so wild about barbecue and burgers, Houston has some truly great Italian restaurants.

This is thanks in large part to the port of Galveston, which saw wave after wave of Italian immigrants arrive on its shores and settle in the cities surrounding the east Texas coast. Not knowing what else to do and longing for the food of their homeland, they began to open restaurants. We wrote about some of these pioneering restaurateurs in our First Families of Houston Food feature back in February, detailing their histories and how far they've come.

Their awesome culinary legacy is alive and well in Houston at these top ten Italian eateries.


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The Ten Summer Openings We're Most Excited About

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Photo courtesy Bernie's Burger Bus
Get excited for chef Justin Turner's first brick and mortar restaurant!
Just as the warmer weather, longer days and lack of school bring out the blockbuster films in Hollywood-land, summer is generally a time to welcome a slew of new blockbuster restaurants in Houston. Last summer was fairly slow for restaurant openings, but this year is poised to shake up the H-town dining scene in a great way.

Get ready for new ways to satisfy your hunger after strolling through museums, new spots to get your drink on and lots and lots of doughnuts. From food trucks going brick and mortar to chefs and restaurants imported from across the country, the Houston restaurant scene will be positively hopping now through August.

This list isn't everything set to open soon, of course--just the places we're most excited to try. As is always the case with restaurant openings, some of these may get pushed back to the fall (or later). But for now, these are the projected blockbuster hits of the summer season.

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The 10 Best Macarons in Houston

Categories: Sweets, Top 10

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Photo by _FXR via flickr
Macarons are popping up all over the place, but we have the ten best places to buy the French treats.
We've written about macarons, noted their rising popularity over cupcakes and have suggested them as holiday treats or gifts for friends and family. But we have never ranked the ten best macarons in Houston.

Our great city has a multitude of shops selling the French cookies and it's no secret why they are appearing everywhere. Macarons are made from almond flour, egg whites and sugar; once they're baked and cooled, a thin spread of ganache, buttercream, fruit jams or preserves is sandwiched between two cookies of the same size. Macarons take much skill and practice to create. But when they're done right, the result is magnificent.

People travel all the way to Paris just to try the macarons at Ladurée, one of the most popular patisseries in the world. Over the past few years, America has embraced the macaron craze and brought the French treat across the ocean. To help you find the best of the best in the Bayou City, here are the ten best macaron shops in Houston.

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