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.
Tropicales rocks a cool, Latin-style coffeehouse vibe, with a lush patio to boot.
Photo by Brooke Viggiano
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.
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
High chairs available, indoor and outdoor, enough space to pull up a stroller
: No, but the kitchen will accommodate kid-friendly items like cheese quesadillas upon request
Tropicales, 2132 Bissonnet, 832-649-7974