Hot Plate

Anthony Butkovich

Sweet Surprise: The "Authentic Buddha's Bananas Foster Bread Pudding," $4.35 at Café Aviño [2404 Montrose, (713)459-1355], is more than a mouthful to request, it's a mountain of sticky rich bliss to consume. Towering layers of bread alternate with slices of ripe bananas flambéed with brown sugar and rum, sweetly topped with sprinkles of cinnamon and sugar. Does this dynamite dessert sound familiar? It's the trademark treat of the tiny new coffee house's owner, Greg Dickson-Lopez, known to his friends as "Buddha" and formerly the pastry chef at Tasca [908 Congress, (713)225-9100]. "I'm really here to educate people about what a good cup of coffee should taste like," says Dickson-Lopez. "But if you come for my pastries, that's okay, too."

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