Get Out! Eat Lunch at Pinewood Cafe

Pinewood Café in Hermann Park has officially become one of my favorite places to have lunch. I love the proximity to my home, the generous amount of indoor and outdoor seating, and the excellent menu. I wrote about them for Fast Times a while ago, and have continued to frequent the café, finding more to love every time.

As a Houston transplant, these summers kill me, so having a nearby restaurant with a nice patio -- and a view, of the paddleboat pond in Hermann Park -- is obviously a huge part of the attraction. Now that the temperatures are comfortable enough for me to enjoy time outside, Pinewood is an even more attractive destination.

The patio and the view wouldn't matter much if the menu was lacking, and luckily enough it is not.

Pinewood Café is one of those places--like Bowl on Richmond--where I always feel like I can find something great to eat, even when I'm not in the mood for anything in particular. It's a confident "go-to" -- which also happens to be geographically convenient -- where I'm always pleased after my meal.

The menu has wraps and salads as well as a build-your-own grilled cheese sandwich option that is just way too much fun. They round out the menu with burgers and chicken sandwiches (the chicken sandwich is huge, but I haven't tried the burger yet) and some good choices for the kids: chicken tenders, hot dogs and the like.

There is a hidden star on the menu that I don't want you to miss, though, and you can find it under "Sides": the hummus and pita chips for $3.50. The hummus is so ridiculously good that my friend Erin calls Pinewood Café "the hummus place" when she invites me to lunch. We are both addicted, and we can't be the only ones. It's really quite spicy, full of delicious herbs, and along with the pita chips could probably be an entire meal; certainly it's enough for two to split as an appetizer.

I've also become quite fond of their Greek salad, an $8 treat that is full of kalamata olives, generously sprinkled with feta cheese, and dressed in a lovely, lemony/oregano-y dressing that I have been trying to replicate at home for weeks. You can add any protein you like, but I prefer to keep it all-veggie and pair it with--you guessed it--a side of hummus and pita chips.

This time of year is the sweet spot for outdoor dining, you guys, so please consider hitting the Pinewood Café if you are in the Museum District. (Can't get away? They deliver!) And please, please promise me you'll order the hummus, okay?

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