Buffalo Grille, Houston

I absolutely love brunch. I already love each of the “normal” meals, but brunch is extra special because it is impossible to be in a bad mood while having brunch. Usually brunch time means you got to sleep in and/or it’s the weekend. And because it’s such a filling meal, with both salty and sweet elements, you’re pretty much set for the rest of the day until dinner. I could eat brunch every day.

Now, the Buffalo Grille in Houston is not a brunch-only sort of place, but I was in my brunch mood (which was heightened by the general happiness from being on vacation) and everything that touched my mouth was awesome. It kind of reminded me of Urth Caffé in Los Angeles, only with Texas-sized portions, a general embrace of fried elements, and of course real maple syrup.

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Crack Pie

When my family recently hosted an impromptu dinner party and I was in charge of the dessert, crack pie was a great choice because it delivered as both an interesting conversation starter and as a well-received dessert. Crack Pie is one of the destination desserts that people have to order upon arriving at momofuku milkbar. At $44/pie (according to their website), this sweet disc of ooey-gooey, oaty, crunchy, and salty harmony is surprisingly easy to make.

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King’s Hawaiian, Torrance

Everyone has a handful of restaurants that are destination restaurants; places that are worth the extra long drive and the clearing out of an entire Saturday morning to worship. King’s Hawaiian in Torrance, California is one of those restaurants for me. Locally, their cakes and pastries are a cultural fixture, ubiquitous at any event that calls for a sweet finish. Everywhere else, throughout the country, people devour their signature Hawaiian sweet rolls or bread. A restaurant that has retained its homey, down to earth quality despite being the face of an enormous, million dollar baked good empire, King’s Hawaiian serves well-executed classics and a great variety of Asian and Hawaiian-inspired fare, keeping things tasty and exciting.

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Vegetarian Torta

The torta is something my boyfriend makes for us to eat during the weekday. I know the general process, but he is much better about timing the whole thing. When we make it together, the experience is always peppered with my questions of “Is it ready yet?” I’m such a typical baker. I need to work on that.

Tortas are the perfect college food. All the ingredients are inexpensive. Only some dicing skills are really required. You will need a cast iron skillet, but they’re pretty reasonable and are utilitarian. Tortas are divinely satisfying. The kind of satisfying that gives you the confidence to tackle that huge section of reading due tomorrow.

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