Tipico Cafe's menu spills over with Latin American flair. Following Honduran tradition, servers slide complimentary pan de coco—or coconut bread—onto tables before every meal. Appetizers, such as the towering pyramid of crabmeat, avocado, and mango found in the Tipico tropical stack, precede meaty entrees accompanied by rice and beans, plantains, and Salvadorian cheese and cream. Freshly prepared dishes team up with the café's music and decor to create an authentic Latin cultural experience. To complement meals, a BYOB policy lets diners park a favorite bottle of wine or jetpack fueled by beer right at their table.
At Teahouse 101, visitors lounge on couches, channel free WiFi, and sip on almond-milk tea or Vietnamese coffee. Baristas hand off more than a hundred different styles of drinks, from milk teas and fresh juices to smoothies and coffee beverages. Tapioca pearls, fruit jellies, and taro or egg pudding in almost any drink can be satisfyingly chewy, much like all the tires on a rival’s Hot Wheels collection.
Since joining forces with the renowned caterer, Isabel Nores, in Argentina in 1986, Mariquita Combes has since perfected the marriage of quality cuisine and expert service. In 2003, Mariquita flew a magical chef's apron to Houston and began her own catering company, La Villette, where she oversees events ranging in size and extravagance from small business lunches to lavish weddings. In addition to catering, LA Villette also has a cafe, located on the ground floor of Decorative Center Houston. There, visitors can take in the scenery while enjoying empanadas, gourmet sandwiches, salads, and burgers.
Solo Cakes & Cookies Cafe whips up batches of moist cupcakes and healthy soy cookies daily in addition to concocting wedding-day confections. A rotating menu of cupcake flavors includes classic standbys such as chocolate and vanilla, which sweetly complement cups of coffee. Staffers also eagerly accept the challenge of a custom order, adorning cake tops with intricate flowers and swirling frosting latticework. Customers surf free WiFi for recipe ideas or food-fight videos while bakers work, and Solo Cakes & Cookies Cafe serves Ethiopian breakfast noshes alongside a smorgasbord of sweets, which can be devoured atop square tables located indoors or streetside.
Although Rosmond Duzich Thormahlen and Ryanne Duzich aren’t natives, their family, who has helmed popular local enterprises such as Fisherman’s Wharf and The Spot, has been contributing to Galveston’s small-business community for more than two decades. Today, the sisters continue that legacy at Farley Girls Cafe, where they whip up a made-from-scratch spread that, according to their motto, features "a little bit of everything." On weekday afternoons, diners can dig into salads, specialty pizzas, or sandwiches, such as the Mile High meatloaf—a thick slice of homemade meatloaf served on Texas toast. During weekend brunches, guests can create their own omelets or savor a slice of breakfast pizza topped with bacon, eggs, and cheese.
Charcoal-tiled floors and cream-colored walls help cultivate a relaxing ambiance in the dining room, and stained-glassed windows and lofty ceilings emanate an airy, elegant vibe in the indoor patio at the rear of the restaurant.
The Veranda's owners cultivate an intimate ambience punctuated with both upscale dishes influenced by American and European flavors and live musical entertainment. The extensive menu puts a unique spin on fine-dining starters, such as roast duck with mango chutney ($10) and seafood cheesecake, a savory shellfish filling embraced by a pretzel crust and parmesan-horseradish cream sauce ($10). Electrify appetites with an ancho-marinated tilapia accompanied by cilantro cream ($18) or satisfy succulence cravings with seafood-stuffed quail that, like an apple on the clearance shelf, is semi-boneless ($23). The lunch menu, available Wednesday through Friday (reservation required), features a Herculean selection of paninis (starting at $10.95) and salads.