Cafe Brazil is one of those places I love, over do it a bit and get tired of and don’t go for a long time, before finding myself there again and loving it all over again, wondering why I stayed away. Every time I go through this cycle (and this happens several times a year), I order their hot chocolate, very specifically their Mexican hot chocolate which comes with a hint of cinnamon and a tiny bit of kick. I’m not even sure if it is on their menu as I’ve just asked for it by name for years. It is so good.
Café Brazil is a jewel in Houston, mostly because when you are there you don’t feel like you are in Houston, which some days is important to me. The terrace is inside rather than part of a parking lot (although the locals don’t seem to be bothered that most terraces are surrounded by cars…if anyone from Houston is reading this, it’s not normal). Here the terrace even has movie nights. Inside it is cozy and dark, a bit of a world apart. Brick walls are regularly covered with really interesting works of art. My favourite was several years ago when there was a wall covered in multi-coloured stuffed bears.
There are several different rooms that you can choose to sit in, depending on your mood. The first area is my favourite, dark, brick walls, large windows and a dangerous view of the fancy cake display. They always have the most gorgeous arrangement of fresh flowers at the cash. There is a very large area that feels a bit like it used to be a garage which is much brighter and filled with conversation starting art pieces that change regularly. There is a leafy terrace outside along the street and another one on the inside with giant fans to keep you cool in the incredible summer heat that Houston gets.
The food is simple and great, an interesting mix of good old fashion, Mexican and interesting flavours. They use ingredients from well loved local vendors, the Slow Dough Bread Co, Dustin’s Eggs, and have a good range of craft beer and high quality coffee. The ever changing dessert selection is as tasty as you will get in Houston. In the evenings they often have live music, jazz, to be enjoyed with a nice glass of wine. A fig and procuitto pizza, glass a wine and jazz in the evening is an early memory of Houston I will always remember. I edited final drafts of my latest book here, had baby free dates with my husband here, brought visitors here. Cafe Brazil became our local hangout even though we lived nowhere close to it.
The neighbourhood is just as fascinating, with lots of interesting antique stores (which are sadly slowly closing), a new fancy bakery across the street with a never ending line (but Café Brazil’s desserts are better), lots of second hand clothing stores (the trendy ones) and a range of interesting businesses, flanked with two tranquil residential neighbourhoods, with sidewalks, to walk off all the food and drink you will eat.
Verdict: Cafe Brazil is one place I will remember and miss when I leave Houston. It is unique and interesting and, combined with the food and atmosphere, it was in my top 3 hot chocolates in Houston, a land with surprisingly few good ones. Thank you Cafe Brazil. Cafe Brazil, Houston, TX, USA.