Photo by Troy Fields

You'll never ask for more chocolate in Common Bond's chocolate chip cookies. As you break open one of the large, firm yet soft treats, you'll discover a hidden treasure of giant, slightly melted chocolate chunks; even after several hours, each chocolate chipper tastes as if it just came out of the oven. The sugary cookie base is balanced by a hint of saltiness. Just as with potato chips, it's hard to stop after just one bite. A single cookie is big enough to share, but where's the fun in that? Pair it with a glass of ice-cold milk for the ultimate dessert.

Photo by Houston Press Staff

With ten different kinds of overstuffed po-boys and one of the best and boldest crawfish boils in town, this Cajun hot spot never fails to pack a punch of Louisiana flavor. There is, of course, a Texas twist, making this breed of Cajun cuisine uniquely Houston. Get spiced and crispy cornmeal-battered Gulf Coast oysters by the pound alongside Maw Maw's dark and rich gumbo, not to mention buttery shrimp and grits. There's also a pile of fries you'll be dreaming about for days to come. The thin, crunchy frites are topped with savory brown gravy and shavings of tender roast beef before being drenched in a subtly spicy chile con queso. Oh, and don't forget the jambalaya- and boudin-loaded breakfast burritos, too. As we said, Cajun with a Texan twist.

Photo by Katharine Shilcutt

Owner Matt Toomey sources and roasts his own beans at Boomtown Coffee, and it definitely makes the difference. The house espresso blend, The Spindletop, is a slightly bitter and sweet brew excellent as simple drip coffee or blended with warm milk and sugar. Standard cappuccinos, cortados, flat whites and lattes are perfectly executed; iced mocha toddies are refreshing and sweet, the finely ground beans having been steeped in cold water for nearly half a day. Spend any morning sipping the creaminess and richness of a salted caramel latte paired with a flaky, buttery croissant.

Jeff Balke

Walk up to this crepe stand at the corner of Westheimer and Taft (Friday to Sunday) for a sweet or savory crepe made by the ever-entertaining Buffalo Sean. Choose a breakfast crepe filled with ham, egg and cheddar cheese for a Saturday morning breakfast, or opt for a sweet combination of strawberry, vanilla crème fraîche and Everything Granola from Sinfull Bakery for a Sunday afternoon pick-me-up. If he happens to run out of ingredients, it's no problem at all, Buffalo Sean will create a tasty combination with the remaining items. Each thin crepe is evenly stuffed, then folded so you can hold it in your hands and eat it on the go.

Dawn McGee

After being in operation for so many years, Christy's Donuts is a Montrose neighborhood classic that has become a household name. There's always bound to be a line out the door, a sure-tell sign that you're at the right place. If you're a bit late to work, invest in a dozen fried and glazed doughnuts (plus some extra courtesy doughnut holes), because there's no way you can get in trouble with your boss, especially if you throw in some devil's food cake doughnuts. They're only $6 a dozen, so you might feel inclined to purchase another box.

Photo courtesy of Macaron by Patisse
Figs and goat cheese make one heck of a combination.

Sukaina Rajani, co-owner of Macaron by Patisse, sells more than 20 flavors in her glamorous River Oaks store. Her beautiful display case features classic and simple flavors such as pistachio, vanilla, chocolate and rose as well as more exotic ones such as lavender with white chocolate, chai spice, and fig and goat cheese, one of her most popular options. As you bite into this sweet French cookie, you'll taste the bright and fruity fig, then as you chew the smooth filling, you'll discover the savory cheese; it's a daring and successful combination that showcases Rajani's pastry skills.

The Kolache Factory is a Texas (and Houston) staple. With multiple locations around the city, you can fill up a box with sweet, fruit-filled kolaches, spicy jalapeño poppers, and, of course, the classic sausage, egg and cheese. The exotic and out-of-the-box fillings wouldn't be anything without the soft and hearty dough wrapped around the stuffing. Each bite has the perfect ratio of bread to filling, and the first bite (no matter which flavor you choose) is always the best as you break through the shell and discover the hidden treasure on the inside.

Photo by Molly Dunn

One of the most disappointing aspects of eating nachos is getting to the bottom and realizing all you're left with is chips and a little bit of queso. You might get lucky and have a jalapeño slide through the cracks, but the rest of the good stuff is all gone. That's not the case with the brisket nachos at Way Good Food Truck, situated outside West Alabama Ice House. The cheesy, meaty chips and queso are loaded with tender, juicy, salty, thin strips of brisket; pinto beans; sour cream; guacamole; and spicy jalapeños. Each golden oil-fried chip is thick enough to scoop up a giant bite with all the works. And by the time you get to your last one, there's enough of everything to make a satisfying last bite.

Set in the heart of River Oaks, the flagship for the Cordúa family of restaurants is its brightest-shining star. Though the menu is still dominated by the signature, much-imitated churrasco steak, executive chef David Cordúa also has introduced fun and approachable items, such as deep-fried empanadas, ceviches in a rainbow of fish selections (including salmon, tuna and tilapia), and taquitos topped with beef tenderloin confit. A rose spud salad, made of a crispy potato-chip-like sheet shaped into a rose, is as visually exciting as it is delicious. Hearty paellas, a Cordúa family favorite, come topped with sprinkles of deeply flavorful, crispy Spanish chorizo rice. Edgy cocktails from beverage director James Watkins complement the experience, and the signature desserts, such as the famous tres leches, never get old.

Photo by Mai Pham
This is "moist" brisket at Killen's Barbecue.

Get ready to stand in line if you plan on stuffing your face with brisket, ribs and sausage at Killen's Barbecue. Ronnie Killen's Pearland BBQ restaurant draws crowds each and every day, and with one bite of the tender, moist, black-crusted brisket, you'll know why. Some describe it as food porn because it oozes with savory juice. Throw in a side of classic baked beans and potato salad, and don't forget to top it all off with banana pudding for dessert. Just make sure to be in line early, because once all the 'cue is gone, it's gone.

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