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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5 Weirdest Supermarket Salad Dressings

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Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Hmm....
Ranch, Thousand Island, Italian, Blue Cheese--the regular gang is all here at your neighborhood supermarket. Sometimes, however, a few weirdos sneak onto the shelves that we're not sure we're comfortable with dressing our salads. Here are five spotted recently:

5. "Mango Style" (3 Zeros)" Just "mango" sounds okay though maybe a bit too sweet. "Mango Style" sounds like a euphemism for something I don't want near my food.

4. "Chinese Chicken Salad" (Girard's). So much latent strangeness. First, the inclusion of "salad" in the title seems redundant ("Chicken Salad-flavored dressing?). Second, Girard's is proud of the fact that they've been creating salad dressings since 1939 though I'm assuming this particular flavor didn't originate that year given Americans weren't exactly sinophiles, having excluded Chinese immigrants for the past five decades.

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The Five Best Underrated Tex-Mex Restaurants in Houston (According to You)

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Photo courtesy La Tapatia
Your number five pick serves traditional Tex-Mex and Mexican cuisine for the best of both worlds.
You know how we always say the Houston trifecta is composed of barbecue, burgers and Tex-Mex? Yeah, well Tex-Mex is clearly the victor, as more than 2,000 of you voted in our poll to determine the most underrated Tex-Mex restaurant in town.

And the same thing that happened with the barbecue poll happened again: The first and second place winners are separated by ONE VOTE. Madness! These two spots also got more than double the third place restaurant, indicating a clear preference.

Some of you took to the comments to argue that spots like Spanish Village are clearly not underrated and therefore shouldn't be part of the poll, and it seems like most people agreed, as even lesser-known spots received the most votes.

So who gets the dubious honor of being named most underrated among the best Tex-Mex joints in the country?

Here are your choices.

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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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5 Best Chocolate Ice Cream Flavor Variations to Try

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It's yours for the taking at the grocery store
What's better than chocolate ice cream? [For the love of god, don't say "vanilla ice cream."] Chocolate ice cream mixed with other goodies! If you're looking for a little crunchy, chewy, salty, or sweet variation in your cocoa creams, check out these five flavors:

5. Double Fudge Brownie (Dreyer's).

Craving a brownie sundae but don't have the energy to go through that labor-intensive process of constructing one yourself? Pick up a half-gallon of Dreyer's chocolate ice cream studded with soft chunks of brownie and fudge swirls.

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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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5 Worst Fast-Food/Chain Restaurant Salads

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Photo by K. Latham
Yikes
Granted, if you go to a fast food or chain restaurant and order a salad, you're sort of asking for it. These institutions weren't founded to provide the people of the United States with interesting combinations of healthful garden fare and the addition of dishes involving fruits and vegetables to the menu was in large part a reluctant mood to get the federal government off their asses. Some of their salads are pretty good, some are decent, and some are...well...very misguided. Here are the five worst offenders:

5. Green Burrito Taco Salad (Carl's Junior). Leaving aside the fact that "green burrito" seems like an unpalatable euphemism, this salad is not a great choice for anyone actually seeking to fulfill their RDA of vegetables. Of the components ingredients, I've highlighted the actual veggies: "Crispy, bowl-shaped tortilla shell filled with spicy, seasoned ground beef, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, shredded lettuce, refried beans, sour cream, hot sauce and fresh-made salsa. Yikes.

4. Strawberry Fields Chicken Salad (Wendy's). You know what goes great with strawberries? Nope, it's not cured pork, but that's exactly what Wendy's pairs with the fruit. Things become even more confusing with the addition of chicken, blue cheese, and sunflower seeds, which alternately render the salad sour, salty, and liable to get stuck in your teeth. Finally, in keeping with the strawberry theme, Wendy's dresses this abhorrent concoction with apple balsamic vinaigrette...wait, what?

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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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