Breakfast Row on Westheimer

Personally, I am pretty fond of the under $3 breakfast specials at Houston taquerias like Jesus Maria on Spencer Highway or Kiko's on Fulton. But when I have to entertain visiting grandparents at breakfast time, I head for the stretch of Westheimer just east of Beltway 8 near the Hilton Hotel and the Carillon Shopping Center.

Rio Ranch at 9999 Westheimer may have faded a bit since its glory days in the early 1990s, when Robert Del Grande introduced the new Cowboy cuisine there, but it still puts out one hell of a breakfast buffet. Rashers of thick bacon, great link sausage and a well-stocked omelet station are big attractions; so are the waffles, the pastries, the strong coffee, and the breakfast drinks.

A couple of doors down, the Sabine River Café in the Carillon Shopping Center at 10001 Westheimer is putting out some oversize Tex-Cajun breakfasts with fresh-fried beignets. I recommend the All-Cajun Special Breakfast -- andouille sausage, hash browns, beignets and eggs any style for $7.49.