A quick glimpse around the kitchen at Blue Mug Cafe reveals many of the cornerstones of American dining: Angus beef and mac and cheese, to name a couple. But the eatery's burgers, pastas, and sandwiches share menu space with a smattering of internationally inspired dishes, such as beer-battered fish tacos served with pico de gallo and cayenne ranch dressing. The lunch and dinner menus also include a build-your-own-burger option. Guests begin with a choice of Angus beef, ground chuck, or lean ground turkey, then add toppings such as Applewood bacon, havarti jalapeno cream cheese, or avocado. Two patios—a sidewalk version right at the entrance and a more private side patio—present guests with option of dining outside, unlike an outdoor restaurant patio built in a Hollywood sound stage.
Crêpes & Grapes's chefs whip up delicate, crispy crêpes and stuff them with a variety of fresh toppings. For a savory bite, try the smoked turkey, asparagus, and goat cheese crêpe or design your own sweet concoction by pairing banana, peach, mixed berries, or strawberries with one of eight luscious drippings including white chocolate and Nutella. The crêperie also serves espressos, wine, and French drinks to pair with any meal.
You don't need to know how to jitterbug to get the most out of a visit to Jitterbug Cafe, but just a warning––the creative fare, gelato, and coffee drinks might just make you want to dance anyway. After all, what's not to love about strawberry-shortcake oatmeal with whipped cream? Or rocky road frappes? Or tabletop s'mores featuring marshmallows roasted by diners over an open flame or through pyrokinesis? The fun and flavorful options might even inspire you to dream up your own smoothie or latte, which could make it onto the staff's running tab of the drinks customers have created themselves, such as the Saba, a spicy hot chocolate blended with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, or the Cloud 9, a drink made with creamy white chocolate and coconut.
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.
Launching a dessert bakery at age 26 might be intimidating for some, but not for Vanessa O'Donnell. "Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, it was the natural next step," she recalls. "I knew that if I followed my passion, I would have a good shot at success.” Passion is an understatement. She engineered her first memorable dessert at just 9 years old––a dewberry cobbler made with fruit picked fresh from the fence. Vanessa has come along way from precocious experiments; she's since attended the Art Institute of Houston’s baking and pastry program, where she learned such techniques as fondant construction, icing mixing, and how to teach an oven to roll over and play fetch. All of these skills and her innate talents have been whipped and sculpted into the sumptuous sweets bastion that is Ooh La La Dessert Boutique. Natural light pours through enormous windows onto glass cases full of truffles, pastries, crumbly cookies, and some of the best cupcakes in Houston, according to the Houston Press. Guests may also request a steaming espresso drink to go or solicit a baker to craft a specialty cake for an upcoming birthday or jailbreak.