WORLD CATERING BAKERY
CUISINE: Bakery & Café
1073 Silber Rd., Houston, TX 77055 | 713.780.4351 www.worldcateringbakery.com
Sitting across from the mega entertainment complex on Silber, it would be easy to pass by World Catering and Bakery. It would also be a major mistake. For almost 20 years, the Walshes have made some of the best cakes, pies and tasty treats around. The display cases full of sweetness make it difficult to choose and easy to stay.
World Catering and Bakery takes its strength in baked goods and applies it to the meals in its café. My choices were easy to make: the BLT and the English Cheddar Pimento Cheese.
World Catering serves a classic BLT. The bacon crispy and not overcooked. The tomato firm and lettuce cold. A fresh homemade mayonnaise. Very clean and tasty.
The Pimento Cheese on white toast was heavenly. Creamy, salty, with just the right amount of pimentos. Southern caviar at its finest. As a burger aficionado, I felt compelled to try WCB‘s. The Texas BBQ, topped with cheddar, grilled onions and a tangy BBQ sauce served on Texas Toast. The patty was well seasoned and the grilled onions worked well with the tangy BBQ sauce. Definitely a good café-style burger.
Of course, I had dessert. I chose a toffee brownie, an oatmeal cookie and a peanut butter cookie. The oatmeal with the brown sugar was good. The brownie was better because I love toffee. The only reason the brownie wasn’t my favorite was because the peanut butter cookie was phenomenal. More like a light scone or biscuit than the usual flat ones, it was flaky, nutty and gone too soon.
After my visit, I can assure you I won’t be driving past World Cater- ing. I know I’ll stop. For lunch, bread, sweets and more. You should stop, too.
GOODE’S ARMADILLO PALACE
CUISINE: Quintessential Texas & Then Some
5015 Kirby Dr., Houston TX, 77098 | 713.526.9700 | www.thearmadillopalace.com
Since 1977, when Jim Goode started serving BBQ in a warehouse along Kirby, the Goode family has dedicated itself to giving its customers great food in a casual environment. The Armadillo Palace, the newest concept, is no exception. It’s my favorite in the Goode empire because it is a blend of the offerings at the other restaurants and offerings that are unique to the Palace.
I started where I always do – with the Campechana. For the uninitiated, campechana is a Mexican seafood cocktail featuring boiled shrimp and blue crab meat blended with peppers, onion, tomato and diced avocado. A sauce of lime juice, Clamato® and spices provide the Mexican kick.
Freshly fried tortilla chips that are thick enough to carry the seafood and vegetables make it easy to eat. There is nothing worse than a chip breaking off in the salsa. Not happening at the Palace.
Where the Palace excels above other Texas comfort food places is the choice of entrées. The Pig’s Head Carnitas, enough to serve three hungry folks, is the crispy goodness that you would imagine a top pitmaster would create. A half pig’s head, served with fresh salsas and handmade tortillas, left me speechless from the moment it came out. Mostly because I had a mouthful of carnitas. Another Palace specialty is the venison Frito® pie. A flavorful, and not too spicy, venison chili served piping hot over crunchy Fritos with cheddar and jalapenos. I’m sure the folks at Frito-Lay® would approve as I do.
To finish it off, the Goode family’s famous pecan pie is a must. It is one of my favor- ites as the goo (Texan for pie filling) doesn’t make the crust soggy even when you have the pie shipped from Houston to Boston. A flaky crust, warm filling and crunchy pecans are enough to make every day Thanksgiving.
TONY MANDOLA’S GULF COAST KITCHEN
CUISINE: Gulf Coast
1212 Waugh Dr., Houston, TX 77019 713.528.3474 | www.tonymandolas.com
Houston is blessed in how the restaurant scene has been shaped by several local families who have cre- ated delicious food for decades. For 35 years, Tony Mandola’s Gulf Coast Kitchen has showcased food from two of the biggest. Tony Mandola (brother of Da- mian and Vincent, and cousin of Frankie B. and Luke) and his wife Phyllis Laurenzo Mandola (daughter of Mama Ninfa) work together to serve some of the best seafood with a Cajun and Italian flair.
I had the opportunity to check out the new brunch menu and was thoroughly impressed. I started with the chicken and waffles. A per- fectly fried leg and thigh sat atop a Belgian waffle with real bacon jam. How real? Pieces of bacon, not just bacon flavoring. And enough to share – even if I didn’t want to. The second offering: a crab benedict (crab cakes, Canadian bacon, lightly poached and dill hollandaise). What set it apart was that it still had the English muffin. Too often, the crab cake itself is the only base. The muffin made it easier to eat.
The breakfast pizza was a pleasant surprise. Normally, eggs aren’t fully cooked when placed on the pizza, making them runny. These were nicely fried and complemented the homemade sausage. The most decadent offering: Doughnut Sliders (glazed doughnuts stuffed with grilled beef and pork chorizo patty, breakfast sausage, thick-cut ham, bacon and fried eggs. Incredible.
And it wouldn’t be brunch without cocktails. My favorite was the Fro- zen Hurricane, a nice blend of the tart juice with rum. You wouldn’t go wrong with the Cajun Mary served with pickled okra. It had a good bite from the horseradish and Worcestershire.
While the regulars have come for their Mandola favorites for years – fried oysters, calamari alla mama and banana key lime pie – the brunch starting at 10:30 is sure to create more regulars. I know I’ll be among them.