On Sundays after church, Myrtle Zachary-Jackson’s family of cooks and bakers gathered to make meals for one another. Her elders rarely used recipes, so Myrtle had to study every step until she could replicate their dishes herself. Just as her grandparents and aunts imbued her with a passion for baking, she inspired her daughters, Andrea and Rosharon, to start cooking at a young age. When Myrtle decided to open Not Jus Donuts Bakery in 2000, she turned to her daughters and grandchildren for help in re-creating their family recipes, by then some five or six generations old.
Sticking to tradition, every dessert at Not Jus Donuts is made from scratch. The ladies crack every farm-fresh egg by hand before whipping up cheesecakes with Philadelphia cream cheese, cookies baked fresh daily, hand-decorated cupcakes, and exquisitely designed cake balls and cake pops. Made without preservatives, their cakes range from standard sheet cakes to 3-D creations designed to resemble bowling balls and turntables and 8-D cakes shaped like time itself.
Sugar Bunch Creations is the brainchild of two life-long friends who share a love of handmade sweets and a passion for making birthdays, weddings, and parties more fun. Their custom dessert stations can provide all sorts of sweet endings to special occasions, whether guests prefer making their own caramel-covered apples, roasting s'mores, or knitting socks out of cotton candy. Each station, whether it be donuts, funnel cakes, or cupcakes, also comes with an on-site attendant to help make set-up and execution a breeze. And for those who like to help themselves, Sugar Bunch Creations can also put together an eye-catching candy or mini-dessert buffet, complete with take-home bags and colorful party decorations.
As an international jazz club, Cafe 4212 Jazz Bar & Grill treats guests to a rotating lineup of blues singers as well as a seasonal menu of eclectic and classic dishes. Cafe 4212’s chefs use fresh and locally grown ingredients when available to crafts hors d'oeuvres such as fruit kebabs and Jamaican-style meat patties as well as entrees of praline-pecan ham and Cajun shrimp. Diners can also sip international wines, imported and microbrewed beers, specialty cocktails, and martinis.
Jazz performances on weekend nights and during Sunday brunch send patrons heading for Cafe 4212’s dance floor. Walls ornamented with red and gold hues pop against the restaurant’s ivory-clothed tables and tan leather couches, and a large outdoor patio supplies a romantic setting for couples to take in some fresh air or scream at passing airplanes.
La Blanca Cafe caters to folks whose sudden cravings for Latin American cuisine requires a fast fix. Staffers dish up all the favorites, including freshly made empanadas, street tacos, and oversized burritos. They also craft lomito sandwiches, piling french bread with savory mounds of steak, spicy pork, and authentic condiments such as chimichurri and pico de gallo. Beer, wine, and sangria are also available for refreshing pairings.
The midtown cafe cultivates an eclectic neighborhood vibe by showcasing work from area artists and hosting live performances from local musicians on a second-story, open-air deck. If hungry regulars are unable to swing by the actual cafe, they can keep their eyes peeled for the restaurant's food truck, which frequents a variety of spots around Houston.
When it comes to preserving the integrity of their wines, the owners of 13 Celsius don’t mess around. The proof is in the name, which alludes to the exact temperature maintained in their wine cellar at all times. This climate-controlled cellar is only one aspect of a meticulous process designed to preserve the wines at peak flavor until they are ready to be paired with cheeses, charcuterie, paninis, and handmade truffles.
Given this near-obsession with preservation, it should come as no surprise that the building itself hasn’t lost any of its charms since opening in the 1920s. The Mediterranean–style architectural relic preserves several key components of its jazz-era past, including an entirely intact tin ceiling and an open-air courtyard, along with several modern additions such as a 40-foot marble bar and sound.
From the sandbox in the yard, to an interior that boarders upon the hyper-rustic, Natachee’s Supper ‘n’ Punch is a perfect blend of casual and quirky. Voted Best Comfort Food in 2012 by the Houston Press, the chefs sling old timey plates such as home-style meatloaf––topped with red gravy and a fried egg––, classic chicken fried steak, and a mammoth burger dubbed the "astrodome". Sides of cut corn, onion rings, and sliced avocado cozy up to entrees, as do cold bottles of beer, and Natachee’s signature punches, such as the Nat King fizz (gin, slow gin, and lemon) or milk bone punch (blackberry-infused whiskey, tres leches liquer, and milk).