Top 5 Coffee Shop Etiquette Tips

The age of laptop hobos.

Surprisingly (given our newsroom), the vegan cupcakes were well-received as well. Crave has made a vegan red velvet cupcake with traditional Texas red cocoa cake and a non-dairy cream cheese frosting. The cake is made with vegetable oil instead of dairy and eggs and the frosting with soy-based tofu cream cheese. You can taste the alternative ingredients, but it's definitely not a turnoff. Crave has done an excellent job of creating the same tasty red velvet cake without dairy and eggs.

The sugar-free cupcake is the regular vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, both sweetened with maltitol. For a sugar-free cupcake, it's not half bad.

Whether you want to lower your sugar intake, follow your vegan diet or stay away from gluten, Crave wants you to know that now you can have your cake and eat it, too.

If you're done, clean up after yourself.
If you're done, clean up after yourself.
The Yard Bird is a Big Bird.
Joanna O'Leary
The Yard Bird is a Big Bird.


Bravo's 'Real Housewives' Create Food & Drink Products
Here are five you should try.

Joanna O'Leary

I hope the modifier "Bravo's" as well as the scare quotes around "real housewives" have sufficiently alerted you to the fact that this post is not about admirable culinary innovations made by normal Jane Schmo women who happen to work in the home. Nope. I'm referring to those mass-marketed foods and drinks created by the PR reps of the cray-cray cast members of The Real Housewives ( of Orange County, New York, New Jersey, etc.) reality shows. Some of them actually do manage to squeeze in some food entrepreneurialism in between throwing chairs at each other. Here are five of their products to try:

5. Fabulicious Cookbooks. One word (that's not even a word): INGREDIENTSES. And don't even get me started on the horrific portmanteau that is "fabulicious." Sigh. Teresa's parents certainly seem to know a thing or two about food (see the sausage-making episode). Let's hope maybe some of those skills are genetic.

4. Ramona Pinot Grigio. Talk about temerity. Despite often explicit requests to the contrary, Ramona Singer brought her own personal supply of pinot grigio to every single social event she attended on RHNY. So associated with mass consumption of this varietal and this varietal only, she scored her own product line. Now you too can get blotto on vino regardless of what anyone else is serving.

3. Lisa Vanderpump's Simply Divine. I didn't think it was quite fair to relegate Lisa Vanderpump's most well-known "food products," restaurants Sur and Villa Blanca, to this list because she and her husband started these legitimately successful businesses before the show. Capitalizing these ventures post-RHBH fame has, unsurprisingly, been easy for Vanderpump, who offers cute stories as well as tips and recipes for planning seasonal social events in this domestic entertainment guide.

2. Dolci Della Dea Cannoli Kit. Fans of RHNJ can finally re-create Kathy Wakile's scrumptious (supposedly) cannoli with this kit available for purchase on QVC. Although I am not a huge fan of cannoli, I would buy this product as a gesture of respect to Kathy, who, unlike some of the wives (Teresa, ahem), has more than a modicum of class.

1. SkinnyGirl. Love or hate Bethenny Frankel, you must recognize that at least she managed to turn a homemade light margarita into an international food and drink empire (well, with a little help from Beam Global). Her white cranberry cosmo is decent, but I found the original margarita to be lacking in lime flavor and, um, alcohol. Drink a whole bottle and you'll be neither skinny nor drunk.

Restaurant News

Openings and Closings
Houston gets first Fresh Market; Food Network star coming soon.

Kaitlin Steinberg

Exciting news all around this week! In my hunt for openings and closings news, I found only one place closing its doors, but several new joints have opened in its wake. Hey, the more food, the merrier.

Champions Forest-area Ba Mien Bistro, which had been closed for two weeks to fix the air-conditioning in its sweltering kitchen, reopened July 18 with a new cooling system and a few other upgrades to the back of the house. Houstonia's Gastronaut reported that fans of the Vietnamese restaurant had taken to social media to lament the restaurant's brief shuttering, but they can once again complain about traffic and the weather because Ba Mien is back serving up its signature macarons and heavenly pho.

Also exciting was the July 17 debut of The Fresh Market, the first such location in Houston. According to Gastronaut, the grand-opening celebration offered a slew of free goodies that are similar to what one might find at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. The Fresh Market's first store opened at 2617 West Holcombe in what was formerly a Rice Epicurean location, and three more Fresh Markets are scheduled to open in other former Rice Epicurean spots later this summer. Look out for grand-opening celebrations on Wednesday, August 7, at 3745 Westheimer and Wednesday, August 21, at 5016 San Felipe.

Swamplot reports that two new bars have taken up residence and should be opening later this year. The former Broken Spoke Cafe at 1809 Washington, which was destroyed in a fire last year, will be turned into a bar called Caddy Shack. Broken Spoke's owner, Roy de la Garza, is not listed as a partner in the LLC that's set to open Caddy Shack.

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Great reminders, since so many of us use coffee shops for client or business meeting. As a business etiquette & image consultant, we caution people that their personal brand is always on display even at coffee shops (don't be seen as a 'laptop hobo').

Thanks Kaitlin. I'm going to pass your tips on thru twitter and our blog