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30 Things You Need to Eat and Drink This Summer in Houston

By Marcy de Luna
May 19, 2014

Welcome to your Best Summer Ever. From now until Labor Day, be sure to consult our Houston summer page, a one-stop resource that will be regularly updated with the season's best restaurants, dishes and more.

There are 10 warm, sunny weeks of summer ahead, and you’ve got your work cut out for you on the eating and drinking fronts. What dishes and drinks define summer in Houston? We combed the city with these questions in mind to come up with this list of 30 essential summer treats. Use it as your back-pocket guide for the coming hot, sweaty weeks and set yourself up for the Best Summer Ever.

1) Froberg Farm strawberry shortcake at Brennan’s
2) Squash blossom quesadilla at Hugo’s
3) Embers of Paradise house julep at Julep
4) Seafood tower at Eleven XI
5) French vichyssoise soup at Mockingbird Bistro
6) Summer sausage banh mi at Revival Market
7) Summer sundae at Fat Cat Creamery
8) La Sandia cocktail at Table On Post Oak
9) Harvest Salad at Local Foods
10) Seared Atlantic halibut at Tony’s
11) Barbecue at Killen’s Barbecue
12) Summer Pils from Saint Arnold
13) Mardi Gras snoball with cream at Mam's House of Ice
14) Cold curry noodles at Kata Robata
15) Elotes at No Borders Food Truck
16) Cebiche de pescado at Andes Cafe
17) X.L.R.8 cocktail at Goro & Gun
18) Tandoori chicken salad at Sparrow Bar + Cookshop
19) Duck confit salad at Bistro Provence
20) Gourmet popsicles at Goodie Box
21) Pasta salad at DaCapo’s Pastry Cafe
22) Chi-town Dog at Good Dog
23) Burger at Del Frisco's Grille
24) Salted lemonade at Huynh Restaurant
25) Summer orzo salad at Backstreet Cafe
26) Garden pea salad at Coltivare
27) Ice cream at Eatsie Boys
28) Chilled Hungarian sour cherry soup at Kenny & Ziggy’s
29) Texas chaat salad at The Queen Vic
30) Pie at Punk's Simple Southern Food

  • Froberg Farm Strawberry Shortcake at Brennan’s

    A sweet way to ring in the summer season is with the strawberry shortcake at Brennan's. A buttermilk biscuit is filled with Chantilly cream and sweet, ripe strawberries, then sprinkled with sugar. 

    3300 Smith St.; 713-522-9711

  • Photo by: Paula Murphy

    Squash Blossom Quesadillas at Hugo's

    The countdown has begun for the squash blossom menu at Hugo's, which launches next month. We can't get enough of the squash blossom quesadillas. Folded blue corn tortilla pockets (three per order) come stuffed full of squash blossoms and Chihuahua cheese.

    1600 Westheimer Rd.; 713-524-7744

  • Photo by: Julie Soefer

    Embers of Paradise at Julep

    No less than three house juleps - the traditional Kentucky Derby drink - will rotate on the cocktail menu when Julep opens mid-June, including the Embers of Paradise. Burnt spices are dunked into rum, applejack, cane syrup and mint. It's served in a glass full of ice.

    1919 Washington Ave.

  • Seafood Tower at Eleven XI

    Reminiscent of beach fare, when warm weather hits we crave fresh seafood. A menu favorite at this Montrose-area restaurant, the seafood tower, with luxe lobster in the top tier, is a summer must-have.

    607 W Gray St.; 713-529-5881

  • Vichyssoise Soup at Mockingbird Bistro

    Chef John Sheely's roster of seasonal summer soups includes silky vichyssoise, an elegant cold French soup made from potatoes, leeks, cream and chicken stock. It's perfect for chillin' out on a scorching hot day.

    1985 Welch St.; 713-533-0200

  • Summer Sausage Banh Mi at Revival Market

    A satisfying sandwich experience, make your way through Revival Market's Vietnamese banh mi. Piles of pork confit and oyster sausage, fluffy chicken liver mousse, pickled red onions and mushrooms are served on a Slow Dough baguette. 

    550 Heights Blvd.; 713-880-8463

  • Summer Sundae at Fat Cat Creamery

    Kids, and kids at heart, will appreciate this decadent ice cream sundae. A pineapple upside down cake plus scoops of coconut sorbet and fun-flavored Dreamsicle ice cream are held up by a caramelized white chocolate shell with whipped cream and a cherry on top.

    1901 N. Shepherd Dr.; 713-869-1080

  • La Sandia at Table On Post Oak

    Juicy, sweet and refreshing, this watermelon-flavored cocktail is so light it goes down especially easy. You'll quickly forget it's loaded with vodka.

    1800 Post Oak Blvd.; 713-439-1000

  • Harvest Salad at Local Foods-River Oaks

    You'll have no problem eating your veggies with the seasonal veggie stir-fry at Local Foods. From the crisp baby lettuce and sprouts to the plump and juicy grapefruit and creamy goat cheese, this colorful summer delight is a feast for your eyes and your stomach. 

    2555 Kirby Dr.; 713-255-4440

  • Seared Atlantic Halibut at Tony's

    Celebrate the season with this elegant, summery dish. A flavorful, moist halibut fillet is covered in Sicilian blood-orange sauce and a stone-ground mustard reduction, with a chunk of colossal crab on top for good measure.

    3755 Richmond Ave.; 713-622-6778

  • Barbecue at Killen's Barbecue

    Great barbecue is the highlight of any summer. Killen's fires up the grill with finger-licking good ribs, brisket, sausage, turkey, pulled pork and more. 

    2804 S Main St.; 281-485-0844

  • Summer Pils by Saint Arnold Brewing Company

    Whether accompanying your summer dishes or a solo act, there's nothing like an ice-cold beer on a hot day. A true bohemian-style pilsner, Saint Arnold Summer Pils has a delicate, sweet malt taste complemented by an abundant hop aroma and flavor. 

    2000 Lyons Ave.; 713-686-9494

  • Mardi Gras Snoball With Cream at Mam's House of Ice

    Instead of plain crushed ice and standard sweet syrup flavors, this snoball combines the tastes of cinnamon bread-like king cake and vanilla ice cream for a delectable, frosty treat.

    1040 W Cavalcade St.; 832-265-1706

  • Cold Curry Noodles at Kata Robata

    Chef Hori made this dish for the recent Go Pig! or Go Home! event. People loved it so much, he added it to the summer menu. A bed of cold curry noodles is the base for ingredients like shredded cabbage, pork belly, 60-second egg and pine nuts. 

    3600 Kirby Dr.; 713-526-8858

  • Photo by: The Epicurean Publicist

    Elotes at No Borders Food Truck

    The Mexican version of corn on the cob, these smoky and sweet elotes, mesquite grilled and sprinkled with chile powder, pack a tasty punch.

    Check Twitter for location

  • Cebiche de Pescado at Andes Cafe

    Ceviche is so good that its originating country of Peru created a national holiday in honor of it. This super-fresh version is a mix of lime juice-marinated corvina chunks, aji "limo" Peruvian hot peppers and cilantro. Corn and onions add the finishing touch to this raw dish, served on sweet potato bedding. 

    2311 Canal St.; 832-659-0063

  • X.L.R.8 Cocktail at Goro & Gun

    Floral notes sing of summer in this cocktail made with gin, lemongrass syrup, elderflower, dill and Prosecco. Lemon and lime provide a sweet-and-tart balance.  

    308 Main St.; 832-708-6195

  • Photo by: Stuart Rosenberg

    Tandoori Chicken Salad at Sparrow Bar + Cookshop

    Bursting with summery flavors, this seasonal and locally sourced salad is a wonderful, delicately spicy dish of tender chicken pieces and yogurt marinade with lentils, fresh cucumbers and red onions. 

    3701 Travis St.; 713-524-6922

  • Duck Confit Salad at Bistro Provence

    It all begins with housemade duck confit, a 24-hour process. The ultratender duck is served with grilled slices of potatoes over mixed greens, sliced bell peppers and tomatoes. Dijon mustard vinaigrette, fresh herbs, crispy bacon and a poached egg are added on top.

    13616 Memorial Dr.; 713-827-8008

  • Popsicles at Goodie Box

    Popsicles are one of life's simple pleasures. Especially gourmet ones. While these all-natural popsicles are available in classic flavors, there are also creative creations like pomegranate-prickly-pear.

    Check Twitter for location

  • Pasta Salad at DaCapo’s Pastry Cafe

    Chill out this summer with this pasta salad of artichoke hearts, black olives, bell peppers and sundried tomatoes doused in Dacapo's housemade sundried tomato vinaigrette.

    1141 E 11th St.; 713-869-9141

  • Photo by: Andrew Hemingway

    Chi-town Dog at Good Dog

    This rendition of the iconic summer ballpark fare is an homage to the Windy City. The tasty dog, dressed with pickled vegetables and homemade condiments, knocks it out of the park.

    903 Studewood St.; 832-800-3647

  • Photo by: Del Frisco's Grille

    Burger at Del Frisco's Grille

    Two four-oz. patties come with lettuce, tomato and a Thousand Island-like sauce on a Slow Dough brioche bun with a side of crispy frites. 

    2800 Kirby Dr.; 832-623-6168

  • Salted Lemonade at Huynh Restaurant

    Pucker up for this mix of sweet, sugary lemonade and tart Chanh muÿi (salted, pickled lime). The interplay of flavors is refreshing on a long, hot day.

    912 St. Emanuel St.; 713-224-8964

  • Summer Orzo Salad at Backstreet Cafe

    Perfect for a light summer dinner, this orzo salad is made with grilled shrimp, cherry tomatoes, roasted corn, grilled zucchini, haricot verts, avocado and purple onion. A bed of sliced heirloom tomatoes provides a delicious taste of the season.

    1103 S Shepherd Dr.; 713-521-2239

  • Garden Pea Salad at Coltivare

    From the blend of English, sugar snap, purple snow and yellow snow peas to the arugula, prosciutto and lemon vinaigrette, this dish boasts plenty of splendid summer flavor. 

    3320 White Oak Dr.; 713-637-4095

  • Ice Cream at Eatsie Boys

    Cure your ache for a frozen summer indulgence with the "In A World Gone Mad Whiskey + Cereal" ice cream from Eatsie Boys. Made with Makers Mark Whiskey and Golden Graham's cereal, it's the breakfast of champions. You also can't go wrong with "In 3's Vietnamese Coffee" ice cream. Cafe Du Monde coffee grounds are the key ingredient and a perky addition to your summer day.

    4100 Montrose Blvd.; 713-524-3737

  • Chilled Hungarian Sour Cherry Soup at Kenny & Ziggy’s

    A family recipe, this addictive chilled soup is made with the likes of pitted sour cherries, sour cherry syrup, sour cream and half and half. While it will carry you through the hot summer months be forewarned: it goes on the menu as soon as the weather stays hot, then disappears around October.

    2327 Post Oak Blvd.; 713-871-8883

  • Photo by: Quinn Hoang-Horowitz

    Texas Chaat Salad at The Queen Vic

    Refreshing yet filling, this salad features garbanzo and black beans, onion, avocado, roasted corn and cauliflower over organic mixed greens. It's tossed in a light cilantro-yogurt vinaigrette, and croutons are added for crunch. 

    2712 Richmond Ave.; 713-533-0022

  • Photo by: Marcy de Luna

    Pie at Punk's Simple Southern Food

    Summer gives rise to the best fruit pies. Revel in the season with a hefty slice of freshly baked pie at Punk's. While the fillings rotate, the taste is consistently delicious.

    5212 Morningside Dr.; 713-524-7865

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