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Beyond Brunch: Canopy Shines After 5 p.m.

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While many restaurants are particularly pleasant during certain times of the day, Canopy has, I think, been unnecessarily designated as "best for brunch" by many Houstonians, including, at one point, myself. I am definitely a fan of their sweet and savory morning fare, especially the challah french toast, but a less-than-stellar experience there for a private department party did not have me jonesin' to make a second evening visit. Looking back, this disinclination stemmed more from the fact that I associated the restaurant with awkward encounters with other graduate students rather than the dinner fare.

My schedule has been erratic lately, and thus I find myself eating at odd times of the day. In between running errands late one afternoon this past week I realized had nothing in my fridge save a vat of over-fermented kimchi, so I best pick up some supper before returning to work.

Multiple restaurants were in the vicinity of my chores, but I chose Canopy because its menu offered some cold dishes that seemed extremely appealing despite the oppressive, nauseous 98 degrees, which, in my experience is the temperature at which even the most extreme hunger disappears.

I was specifically drawn to the deviled eggs and fried chicken salad, the former because making good deviled eggs at home is a b*tch and the latter because I knew even if I wasn't in the mood for something hearty now, in the depths of my highly air-conditioned apartment fried food would be very palatable.

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Ah, I know myself so well--I mean, at least that day I did. Later, when my core temperature was sufficiently lower, my stomach began to rumble. While watching the first hour of the season 2 finale of The Orange Is the New Black, I poured myself some spiked lemonade and dug into the eggs. Canopy uses locally sourced eggs, which makes for a sunnier, more intense yolk that in combination with cheddar, mayonnaise and the flecks of sweet, peppery bacon made each ovum a satisfying two-bite appetizer. Polishing off a serving of four almost sabotaged my appetite for the salad, but I took a lap around the dining room, lowered the AC, and revived myself.

If you, like me, always wrinkle your nose a bit over purchasing a salad that costs more than $12 and does not include 1) lobster or 2) foie gras, rest assured that $15 buys you a salad that easily feeds two and could serve as a side for three. A veritable mountain of watercress, radicchio, and butter lettuce are dusted with bacon, cheese, baby red and yellow tomatoes, then crowned with four very sizeable tender pieces of lightly batter white meat chicken. With those components in sumptuous collaboration, you don't really need the ranch dressing. I suggest requesting it on the side, then occasionally using it as dipping sauce for the chicken.

When the seasons turn or if we have an unexpected "cold" spell, I'm going to Canopy for a late warm dinner of their much-touted beef tenderloin or the crab cakes over fried tomatoes. Or, hell, why not both?

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