The weekend is here, and in Houston that means even more brand-new eateries for your busy dining schedule. With the start of July comes a couple of highly anticipated openings in H-Town. But there's more in the way of debut brunches and tech-driven fast food as well. Here are the hottest spots to check out this weekend.
85°C Bakery Cafe, 9750 Bellaire
Without a doubt the most blisteringly hot opening of the moment is this new bakery and coffee shop, the 1,000th location worldwide to be exact, of the "Starbucks of Taiwan." That's not really putting it fairly, though. Home to an array of delicious breads, desserts, pastries and oddities — egg tarts and marbled taro buns, anyone? — along with a slew of crazy drinks, such as the sea salt coffee (try it iced) with its mound of frothy, salty whipped topping making the most unusual and tasty summertime treat. Just prepare to wait in a couple of lines, including one that's outside the door. Weekend hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Roka Akor, 2929 Wesleyan
This new sushi eatery and robata is the fanciest new seat in town, straight from upscale restaurant incubator JNK Concepts, with outposts in Chicago and SF. Steak and seafood combine for the ultimate luxury experience, whether that's the $128 omakase (chef's tasting) created just for newbies, or a tasting of Kobe beef loin sourced from Tajima cows in the Hyoko Prefecture — this is one of only two Houston restaurants that even offer it — for a cool $55 per ounce. Whatever your poison, be it osetra caviar or some A5 Wagyu beef, it's sure to be elegant, and there are wine and beverage programs and an ambience to match.
Alice Blue, 250 West 219th
This new bistro in the Heights, open where the owner's former eatery Shade resided for 14 years, has just introduced a new brunch, every Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with menu items including a burger, potato pancakes, a pecan cinnamon roll, housemade granola, a BLT and much more. Weekend hours: Saturday/Sunday Brunch, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner on Friday/Saturday, 5 to 11 p.m. and Sunday, 5 to 10 p.m.
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McDonald's "Experience of the Future," 22914 Morton Ranch
Got the kids in tow? Do they deserve a treat? A new experimental McDonald's, dubbed the "Experience of the Future," is now open in Katy, complete with digital ordering kiosks, Bluetooth table locators for dine-in table service, indoor and outdoor digital menu boards, interactive entertainment, video game systems and more technology to have you screaming "no more screen time." Actually, this place appears to be far more Blade Runner than any kid could possibly enjoy. It's all so strange, but nothing a Big Mac can't fix.