Life has changed for this food writer. As a brand-new mom, poppin’ bottles has taken on a slightly different meaning. But while I find myself seeking out diaper changing tables for the first time ever, I’m still on the hunt for all the awesome happy hours, exciting menus and H-town icons, both new and old. Only now, I’m bringing my baby, Quinn, along with me. This “Whining and Dining” series looks at dining out with a baby in the city (more specifically, In the Loop, because Quinn doesn’t like to travel too far from home just yet).
I’d been eyeing Tropicales' fine-looking food and drink on Instagram for weeks. The all-day café comes from Greenway Coffee’s David Buehrer and a whole lot of other talented names (Carlos Ballon of Morningstar, former Aqui pastry chef Jillian Bartolome and Kenny Freeman, former GM at Julep) and it opened to great fanfare in May. Local food influencers were instantly obsessing over the place, posting drool-inducing shot after shot of creamy Avocoladas (that’s a coconut rum drink with avocado) and Guava de Ollas (where matcha dances with guava cream and almond milk), and I was a little hesitant to bring Quinn in fear of the place being packed.
But we marched on, nonetheless. Everything looked too damn good.
The coffeehouse's interior was just as super colorful and funky as I'd imagined, and surprisingly not too crowded on a Saturday at 10 a.m. There were around three or four people in line ahead of us, giving us ample time to figure out what the hell a Demerara latte was (hint: it’s a latte made with raw cane sugar and you want it).
We got those Demeraras (iced, because this is Houston) and a couple of breakfast items to split, then found ourselves an umbrella-top table on the lush, tropical-inspired patio and plopped Quinn's stroller alongside.
I’m a big fan of Blacksmith’s scratch-square biscuit breakfast sandwich (it’s is a sister restaurant to Tropicales), so I needed to try this Latin version, which subbed Blacksmith’s housemade sausage patty for one made of chicken chorizo. The kitchen didn’t exactly nail the runniness of an over-easy egg, but what the sandwich lacked in ooey-gooeyness, it made up for in punchy flavor thanks the spicy chorizo and sharp punch of Tillamook cheddar.
Our breakfast tacos were a hit, too, the spot-on flour tortillas filled simply with scrambled eggs and a choice between bacon, chorizo and yucca. We went with the yucca and bacon varietals, both oh-so satisfying when amplified by housemade salsas.
Even the fresh fruit tasted fresher, here. Maybe it was the lush patio. Or maybe it was the fact that Quinn took a nice long nap in the Texas summer heat, letting her parents really let go and feel the vacation vibe.
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I’ll be back for that Avocolada.
TL;DR: Easy to bring kids to, the quick service coffee shop and all-day cafe rocks a tropical vacation vibe, plenty of seating (both inside and out) and Latin cocktails, coffees and plates for meals or snacking.
Kid-Friendly Dining Essentials
Parking: Private lot
Seating: High chairs available, indoor and outdoor, enough space to pull up a stroller
Bathrooms: Changing tables
Kids menu: No, but the kitchen will accommodate kid-friendly items like cheese quesadillas upon request
Tropicales, 2132 Bissonnet, 832-649-7974