30 August 2009

Stimulus Brownie

HOUSTON – In my last post I failed to mention that I was at both coffeeshops in one day, hence the “hop.” So is the Wireless-less life. After a weekend of hanging out with a small white dog, I'm back at Antidote to share some great news with dessert lovers, chocoholics, et al. While I prefer savory to sweet, Barnaby’s brownie is one thing I generally don’t pass on.

The great news is that until the Dow hits 11,000, Barnaby’s in Houston is offering the Stimulus Brownie for $1. This bite-size delight is approximately a quarter of the size of the usual brownie à la mode – with an equally recession-sized scoop of that thick buttery Mexican vanilla ice cream that a even salt-lover like me can’t resist.

23 August 2009

Coffee Shop Hop

This time last month I was in Brussels visiting my sister and her husband. My ten days in Europe are worth a separate post. Today I'm writing about coffee shops in Houston. In this post I'm not so much interested in the coffee as I am in its usefulness. When it comes to coffee shops, besides the obvious things, I only need two things: outlets, and free Wi-Fi. Agora and Antidote fit the bill.

Agora (1712 Westheimer Rd) is a Greek-owned shop as hidden as a building can be on busy Westheimer. The ground floor of this former house is furnished with large tables surrounded by director's chairs and a couple of couches. The upper level, accessible only by a set of seriously steep stairs, is packed with a motley assortment of small tables and chairs. There is outdoor seating both downstairs and upstairs – a haven for smokers. There's almost always something playing on the jukebox, and it is surprisingly good for the most part. Right now, Jeff Buckley. The clientele is mixed. All different types of people – possibly a decent cross section of Houston. Parking isn't great, but I live in walking distance, so. I personally avoid Wednesday nights like the plague; it is (or at least used to be) belly dancing night.

Antidote (729 Studewood St) is further north in the Heights. Parking is in front of the shop or on E 8th St. It is much smaller than Agora but I have generally found a place to sit, whether it's at one of the small lacquered wood tables, the colorful round tables outside, or on one of their vintage-looking couches. There's less world music here compared to Agora, so think The Rolling Stones, a classical track, followed by your favorite Belle and Sebastian song…you know, if you have one. Which brings us to the clientele. It's younger, hipper, and teeming with young parents and their newborns on weekend mornings. If you like Antidote too, you can vote for them here.

Both coffee shops serve beer and wine, and food that I rarely ever feel compelled to eat. What I love about both of these places is that you could sit there all day doing what it is you do on your laptop, and they won't bat an eye. Which is nice.

13 August 2009

Scary Skype

Was this upgrade inspired by The Ring?