Remember Waldo's Coffee House on Heights Boulevard? The casual coffee house with an outdoor patio and casual indoor seating perfect for lounging, studying or chatting with friends closed last summer, but if you regularly pass by the intersection of East 11th Street and Heights Boulevard, you might have noticed some remodeling and construction, and a "Now Open" sign for a different coffee house, Boulevard Coffee.
The same folks behind Waldo's Coffee House bring you Boulevard Coffee. Same location, same owners, just a different name. Ron Lopes is the owner of Boulevard Coffee which features more outdoor patio space, and what seems like more indoor seating than Waldo's. You can still come and relax with a cup of coffee and a muffin, or enjoy a casual concert throughout the week. But, it's not a replica of Waldo's. Boulevard Coffee also has a kitchen, in which chef Steven Hernandez a chef prepares a variety of foods for breakfast and lunch.
Upon walking into the new coffee shop, which is just down the street from Revival Market, you are welcomed with a friendly and cheery, "Hello!" from each staff member -- even if it is a little past 7 a.m. on a Monday. During my first visit, I couldn't help but feel as though I had walked into a friend's home; the deep-orange and beige walls are warm and welcoming, and the comfortable couches, chairs and outdoor seating (dogs are welcome) are so inviting that you'll be tempted to sit and stay for a while.
Boulevard Coffee offers several types of coffees (flavored, house and decaf). The house specialty, Boulevard Blend, is a mix of 60 percent Costa Rican beans and 40 percent Sumatran beans; it's a strong, slightly bitter decent cup of coffee with a smooth finish. It's definitely not the best cup of coffee I have had. I still prefer the black coffee from the likes of Blacksmith, Catalina and Boomtown; their offerings are not as bitter. Unfortunately, a splash of milk and a little sweetener weren't enough to offset the sharp taste.
However, the espresso bar drinks are top-notch, especially the Americano and Mocha Latte. The Americano is everything you want it to be -- crisp and smooth. The espresso is ever-present, but the added water makes the drink smooth and enjoyable even without cream and sugar.
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But, the Mocha Latte most certainly takes the cake. In the words of one of my co-workers, it's "pretty damn good." The latte is a perfect creamy blend of strong espresso and sweet mocha syrup; it's not a sugar-laden drink. Made with finesse and care, the Mocha Latte is a perfect pick-me-up on a lazy Saturday, or a special treat before work. Feeling like you want more sugar and chocolate? Ask for the cookies 'n cream whipped cream. The regular and flavored whipped creams don't come from a store-bought can; the baristas make the whipped cream in-house. A little extra work makes a big difference in overall quality.
If you think Boulevard Coffee is just a coffee shop, you're completely wrong. With the addition of a kitchen,
chef Steven Hernandez the chef is able to make pastries, desserts and sandwiches each day, and they are just as good (maybe better than) the caffeinated options. And it's apparent that the owners take their food items seriously. The ordering counter contains a slew of freshly baked pastries, muffins, danishes and kolaches in the morning, and they look so delightful and delicious that you'll probably choose two or three. You most certainly can't go wrong with a flaky, buttery croissant, or apple danish, but my two favorite morning treats at Boulevard Coffee are the blueberry scone and sausage kolache.
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The blueberry scones are tender and packed full of fresh blueberries, which burst in your mouth when you bite into them. It's sweet, but not overpoweringly so, and goes perfectly with a hot tea or simple Americano.
Boulevard Coffee also offers a few simple kolaches, such as sausage, cheese and one with both sausage and cheese. No matter which type you choose, the dough encasing the filling is sweet, soft and even better when heated. It's hard to stop after just one.
All of the pastries, desserts, snacks and meals are made on-site, except for a few items typically found in Houston coffee shops, such as Sinfull Bakery's Everything Bars. Whether you want a slice of German Chocolate cake, banana bread, an apple danish, cinnamon roll, croissant, or a simple chocolate chip cookie, Boulevard Coffee has got the hook-up for you.