The first Saturday of every month, 19th street in the Heights comes alive. This is one of the few streets in central Houston where you can park your car and walk along a wide sidewalk lined with interesting stores, everything from a barber shop, antique stores, and an old art-deco cinema that has been turned into an art gallery. A few blocks down the street is a market where a range of local artists have set up tents where they exhibit and try to sell their work.
Right in the middle of it all is Cricket’s Creamery & Caffe. I fell in love with this place the second I laid eyes on it but, as in many summer flings, the 20 minutes I spent there were a bit like being on an emotional roller coaster ride. First impressions are fantastic. Inside it is like entering a circus wonderland. The walls are covered in colourful and very random bits of art. Above the bar and hanging from the ceiling are giant sculptures of colourful candy. The chairs and sofa are a multitude of different colours. It is fun and lively and cheerful. In honour of Easter all the staff are wearing giant fuzzy bunny years. I could happily spend days camped out in here.
They serve a whole range of food (which looked fantastic), ice cream (which looked even better) coffees and of course a hot chocolate. You have a choice of three sizes which are, in true Texas style, big, bigger and biggest. I order the big (which is a small but is actually a big cup which leaves me wondering how bit the biggest must be!). It comes to me in a disposable paper cup. So I ask them, since I am drinking it in the Café, if I can have it in a real cup? They don’t do cups! I was stunned. A coffee shop filled with comfy seats and everyone is given their drink in a plastic cup? This got me to thinking, that many times in the past many when a coffee shop gives me a hot chocolate in a plastic cup it is because the drink isn’t actually good enough to serve in a proper cup. Still I remained hopeful.
We walked over and chose a table right next to the window in an area that said ‘adults only’. The reason is because of the very table we chose to sit on, a beautiful antique table with a wobbly and fragile piece of glass balancing on top. We sit in a comfy little red love seat. Above us are working disco balls turning around. From here we have the best view. To the left you see the constant street of locals walking up to the bar, the colourful interior. To the right you can watch the people on the cute little shaded terrace and everyone walking by.
The hot chocolate itself was terrible. One of the worst I have had lately. It tasted like water with a bit of powder inside and was only saved because it had some very nice and fresh whip cream on top which I usually don’t like but today was the only thing I enjoyed. It was such a disappointment because I really wanted to love this place and for this to become my go to hot chocolate in Houston. My search continues.
Verdict: Visit Cricket’s Creamery & Caffe and walk along 19th, as whether it is a Saturday or not this is a great spot. Come for the atmosphere, the food, the coffee, the ice-cream (which looks incredible) but steer clear of the hot chocolate. Cricket’s Creamery & Caffe, 315 W. 19th Street, Houston, US