Community

Community Restaurants

CURRENT at the Westin Hotel

Current at the Westin Hotel

The Woodlands now has several restaurants with scenic views and CURRENT at the Westin Hotel is one of my favorites.  I recommend you start and end your meal there at the bar upstairs, SideBar.  It has an amazing view and terrific outdoor seating.  It also has an excellent cocktail menu with some choices that match some of the best mixologists in Houston.  So for a pre or post dinner drink, it is one of the best and most sophisticated bars in the area.  CURRENT also has killer views both inside and out.  It looks out over the waterway and waterway square.  It is also stunning on the inside, featuring a large tree sculpture in the modern appealing room.  CURRENT has a great menu of fresh seasonal American favorites.  Some popular choices include shrimp and grits, the Florida cobia, and the strip steak.  The side orders shine as well and the mashed potatoes might be my favorite ever.  They were creamy, silky goodness on a recent trip. The brussels sprouts are also tasty and shareable. The apple brown butter puff is also one of my favorite desserts there.  It was just the right amount of comfort food indulgence in a modern setting.  They serve three meals a day at CURRENT so it is a great place to enjoy the spectacular view on a weekday or weekend breakfast or lunch.

Website: http://www.westinthewoodlands.com/CURRENT

Community Restaurants

Creative Grounds Coffee Lounge

coffee

There is a new coffee shop in Spring, just south of Creekside Forest on Gosling that has me very excited.  I love good coffee shops and routinely drive into Houston for the really good ones.  Now I have one right here that rivals the best in Houston.  Creative Grounds Coffee Lounge is located in the back of Harvest Natural Market, but has its own entrance and its own very cool vibe.  Decorated in industrial decor, it is cozy, warm and welcoming.  The owner is usually on site and very friendly.  The baristas are all well trained and the coffee is amazing.  The owner visited numerous coffee shops across the country and took what he loved best about them to open Creative Grounds.  They have unique flavored lattes and teas as well as all the normal espresso drinks.  I like that you get your coffee in a nice beautiful cup or mug and not a paper cup, unless you want a paper cup!  They also have some excellent juices and small bites. For breakfast, they have quiche and some amazing muffins. The chocolate muffin is my favorite. For snacks they have some home-made Italian specialties that will make you totally forget about any diet you are supposed to be on.  They have one with corn flakes that is amazing.  I think I’m addicted to that one.  The real stand out at this coffee shop, besides the amazing coffee and food, is  the service and atmosphere.  I felt it immediately when I walked in and in no time I felt like everyone who worked there was  my new best friend.  Anthony, the owner, has an amazing story to tell about how God opened doors for this great place to open and how he was led to everyone involved.  They also give a percent of profits back to the community.  This is a great place that will be one of my favorites for a long time.

Website: http://www.creativegroundscoffeelounge.com/

Community Restaurants

CoffeeShop Company

CoffeeShop Company

We all saw them build the Coffeeshop Company on the feeder road of I-45, south of Woodlands Parkway as we are leaving The Woodlands.  I wondered if I would ever go there since you had to NOT get on I-45 but figure out how to get on the feeder!  But it is worth it to figure that out if you want a unique European experience right here in Texas.  They have a wonderful European style breakfast and lunch menu and a plethora of coffee drinks. Their regular coffee comes in three intensities so there is a strength for everyone.  If you want a mocha or a hot chocolate, you decide between dark or white.  There are also a good selection of teas. They have a great selection of muffins which are American sized even though this is an Austrian company.  Their croissants are fresh and amazing and pair perfectly with their jams. I love their smoked salmon with herbed cream cheese on a bagel.  My second favorite is the croissant with mango chutney, walnuts, brie, and arugula.    They have several breakfast combos that are perfect for sharing.  The cake menu is drool worthy.  I’ve always felt the typical Austrian sacre tart is wonderful and their version is spot on to the ones I’ve had in Austria. When you need a decadent treat, head over and enjoy a slice of Europe here in The Woodlands.

Website: http://www.coffeeshopthewoodlands.com/

Community Restaurants

The Blue Fish Woodlands

Blue Fish Woodlands

My favorite lunch place these days is The Blue Fish at Hughes Landing.  It is also one of my favorite Happy Hour places.  Sushi isn’t cheap, but you get a big bang for your buck with the bento box lunch specials and the Happy Hour specials.  The lunchtime sushi bento box comes with a salad and soup, sushi, rice, and tempura.  You leave full and have had some excellent variety.  The sushi/sashimi bento box is my personal favorite and has a great mix of raw delights.  They also have a fantastic salad.  The spring green salad is fresh with lots of different greens and is amazing served with the ginger dressing.  It makes a great accompaniment to one of their amazing rolls or some fresh sashimi.  The ahi tuna tower is a work of art in taste and beauty. It is the star of the menu in my opinion,  it is a showy piece that will impress on date night with its beautiful presentation surrounded by caviar. They serve a mini version at Happy Hour along with a great assortment of $5 samplers and rolls.  Combined with some amazing prices on drinks, their Happy Hour is a perfect deal for those looking for a sophisticated meal that won’t break the bank.  Blue Fish has an amazing patio overlooking the lake that is perfect for lunch or an early dinner.  Both inside and out is a romantic cool vibe that is sure to please those looking for great sushi in a great atmosphere.

There are several sushi places in The Woodlands, but this is the clear winner in terms of creative rolls, excellent tasting sushi, and a beautiful space.

 

More information: http://www.thebluefishsushi.com/

Restaurants

The Woodlands Amici Bakery and Coffee Shop

Amici Bakery and Coffee Shop
The Woodlands. I often drive into Houston for the many eclectic, interesting, and diverse coffee shops. I’m a bit of a coffee snob. So I am very happy that the Great Harvest Bread company in Sterling Ridge has been re-opened as Amici Cafe and Bakery. The space has been totally redone and is beautiful. It offers a full complement of coffees, pastries, pies, and cookies in a relaxing and upscale atmosphere. They also have sandwiches, pastas, soup, and pizza for lunch. I’ve been a long time fan of the empanadas which make a perfect game day finger food or a perfect light dinner with a salad. They sell out really quickly some days, so I’m not the only fan. The new owners have kept many of the breads, muffins, and scones from the bread shop days and they are excellent. I’ve always liked all of their pastries and desserts because they seem to be slightly less sweet than most normal American desserts. The new owners have definitely added an Argentinian / Venezuelan / Italian twist with many interesting and exciting pastries. My favorites include alfajores – a delightful caramel cookie. They also have tres leches, tiramisu, fruit tarts, and another favorite — facturas – a fluffy flaky custard treat. They have a full complement of espresso drinks to pair with the sweets, and their double shot cappuccino is my favorite. For lunch, the tomato basil soup in a bread bowl is wonderful as is their caesar salad with chicken. The chicken cilantro sandwich is awesome too. I’m really happy to have this gem in The Woodlands and hope that it has continued success.