Tacos y Tortas Adrian tempts appetites with an array of hearty tacos, authentic Mexican tortas, and savory entrees teeming with fresh ingredients. Order up a refreshing canned or bottled soft drink to whet thirsts while you and your fellow diner pore over an epicurean smorgasbord of more than 47 entrees, featuring tacos overflowing with carne asada and tortas—a Latin sandwich served on a soft, hot roll—stuffed with mouth-watering milanesa or eye-watering jalapeños. Zesty flavors emanate from the menu of platos, from which patrons can order tasty fish fillet flanked by rice and garnished with lettuce, or a symphonic quartet of flautas, which swaddles seasoned meat into flutes of crispy tortillas.
Cafesitos showers palates with authentic Spanish tapas, meaty sandwich lunch specials, and European desserts in its airy, café-style dining room. For dinner, scarf pollo de mozas, half a roasted chicken with carrots and raisins ($12.95), or grab a friend and dig into parrillada de dos, a medley of beef, chorizo, and shrimp fit for sharing by two-person baseball teams ($28.95 for two). Served daily until 3 p.m., lunch specials such as the ham-and-salami habañero sandwich ($4.50) and bacon-topped zaa zaa burger ($5.95) fulfill stomachs' midday demands. Small plates of citrus-kissed ceviche ($6.95) whet large appetites.
At the heart of every dish on Candelari's menu—including its signature thin- ($17–$22), thick- ($18–$23), and deep-dish-style ($19–$24) pizzas—are the famous Italian-sausage recipes of Alberto Candelari, all of which are made with choice meat, natural spices, and hints of liqueur. The T-Rex's spread of pepperoni, ground sirloin, useless forearms, Canadian bacon, and Candelari’s andouille and original Italian sausages lets you sample all of the finest meat-fruits of Candelari Sausage Company founders Greg Wheeler and “King of Sausages” Michael May (Alberto’s grandson). Build up to its bounty beforehand with a plate of sausage misto ($7), which features grilled Italian, turkey-jalapeño, and chicken-apple sausages piled atop provolone polenta. Diners that look suspiciously like flocks of seagulls inside a trench coat can find out what a grilled salmon ($14) tastes like when complemented by gulf shrimp, lemon-caper butter sauce, and veggies. Otherwise, avoid all the menu botheration and opt for the daily lunch buffet ($9–$9.50), which includes unlimited pizza, pasta, salad, and a drink.
Cuisine Type: Seafood, Cajun style with Asian flare
Most popular offering: Boil crawfish, cravin' fries, cravin' rice
Delivery / Take-out Available: Yes
Number of Tables: 25–50
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Pro Tip: Be open-minded. Our food served Cajun style, but not the original Cajun style; there's an Asian flare.
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
Although our menu is solely seafood (with the exception of chicken), we have a big variety. Our seafood can be boiled, fried, or grilled. We add little things to some original Cajun dishes and make it our own, some with an Asian flare. Our popular dish, cravin' fried rice, [has] a white cream sauce on top of the rice mixed with some crawfish tails, shrimp, and crab meat. A sauce that some people think [is] a ponchartrain sauce. If you don't like the Asian flare, we still have original Cajun dishes such as crawfish étouffée and Cajun pasta.
What is one of your most popular offerings? How is it prepared?
Boiled seafood. You choose a seafood (crawfish, shrimp, snow crab legs, blue crabs, king crab legs), [which is] ordered by the pound. You then choose between three of our different flavors (Cajun, Garlic butter, house special). You [can] even mix the flavors as well. Then you choose the spice level you'd like: mild, medium, hot, or atomic.
All of our flavors are popular amongst our customers, depending on what you like. Many love the original dry Cajun style, but we have so many more who have tried our wet Asian style Garlic butter and house special that they haven't gone back to Cajun. Some people like to also mix our garlic butter with Cajun.
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
Many love the fact that we're BYOB. And many come back because of our homely feel, the staff and, of course, our food.
When Chef Jose Hernandez served as the pastry chef at Triniti, Houston Press's Mai Pham claimed that one of his desserts "rocked [her] friend's world so much that it left her speechless." Since then, the Mexican-born chef has opened his own restaurant, La Balance Cuisine, where he continues to show off his affinity for crafting gourmet desserts. His sweets range from Parisian classics to his own original creations. He also explores the scope of French cuisine, conjuring dishes such as quail with sausage, risotto with lamb ragout, and scallops dusted with mustard seeds. The aromas of his cooking meander through a modern dining space and straight into the noses of hungry French aristocrats waiting hopefully just outside the door.
Some might say the art of crafting desserts is in chef Hernandez's blood—he worked on his first sweets at the age of 14 as a culinary assistant in a Mexico City pastry kitchen. In the following decades, he moved through the kitchens of French restaurants in New York City and Houston, honing his skills in pastry-making and French cooking techniques. Recently, he used his knowledge to launch the baking and pastry program at Philippe Restaurant and Lounge.