Best Pastry Shop (2003)
The Austrians take their coffee and cake very seriously. After all, where else do they confer the honor of konditoreimeister, or master pastry chef? (Okay, Germany.) Epicure Cafe owner Khan Esmail is a native of Iran who studied in Austria and brought his knowledge and skills to Houston some 16 years ago. Everything he sells, he makes. Fine European pastries and handmade cookies have undergone even further refinements under his direction. A simple napoleon is transformed into a strawberry napoleon. Cream cakes are embellished with Frangelico, pistachios or cappuccino-raspberry, and his crème caramel is legendary. If you're looking for a way to liven up your next coffee klatch, you'll find the offerings at Epicure simply irresistible.