With summer humidity creeping in with all the subtlety of a seven-ton elephant, we know you've been searching for foods to keep you cool this summer. We also know it's all about snapping that perfect picture to add to your curated Instagram feed, and we've got you covered. Read on to find Houston eats that will both keep you cool and keep your feed beautiful this summer.
Bubble waffles at Honey Art Cafe: For an effortless but stunning snap, head to Honey Art Cafe on Shepherd where the watercolor walls make for insta-perfect picture backdrops. Cool off with a scoop of ice cream wrapped in a freshly made bubble waffle and your choice of two toppings (think mochi or fresh fruit). As an added bonus, taking in-house art classes in the a/c is a great activity that keeps the sweating to a minimum as temperatures begin to climb.
Acai bowls from Bebidas: From its quirky signage to the petite indoor shrubs, the entire aesthetic at Bebidas is insta-worthy. The acai bowls, topped with coconut granola and fresh fruit, are particularly photogenic, but so are the creative toasts on offer — try the "Stoned Toast," stone fruit like peaches and plums arrayed with ricotta, almonds and honey on challah, or the goat cheese and cucumber "QB toast." Don't forget a refreshing smoothie or a gluten-free treat from Bare Bakery to round out your order.
Pops at Steel City Pops: Small-batch popsicles made with organic, locally harvested ingredients are practically bound to be attractive. Stop in this summer to try new seasonal flavors, or just pick up a classic flavor like passion fruit, blood orange, avocado or chai latte. Whether you're getting a chocolate-drizzled cookie pop, a fruit-based pop or a creamy popsicle, all are guaranteed to look good when shot against the white brick wall of the Heights shop.
Poke doughnuts: The poke craze sweeping the nation has given birth to a new trend: poke doughnuts. What is a poke doughnut, exactly? A doughnut-shaped portion of rice topped with fish, avocado and other ingredients typical of most poke bowls. So far, the only place to find poke doughnuts in Houston was at the pop-up hosted by Pokeology on June 2 celebrating National Doughnut Day, but these creations are too cute to stay away for long. Keep an eye out this summer for more poke doughnut opportunities around town.
Doughnut cones at Doughcone: We have only praise for the cinnamon sugar doughnut cones at the Doughcone food truck. The baked churro cones are a little bit chewy, a little bit crispy and 200 percent delicious. You can order either a traditional dough cone or a "conedae" — chopped pieces of churro cone served in a cup along with soft serve and toppings for those who want a stronger ice cream-to-cone ratio. With an offering of unlimited toppings, the cones are undeniably photogenic. You can add sprinkles for an extra pop of color, but the colorful food truck makes for a delightfully spunky backdrop for whatever creation you choose.
Gelato at Gelazzi: All of the flavors at Gelazzi will be a party in your mouth (the doughnut flavor tastes exactly like its namesake), but the spumoni provides a particularly spectacular kaleidoscope of colors and flavors — pistachio, chocolate and vanilla gelato are all incorporated along with whipped cream and cherries. The rustic back patio is a great place to take photos (if you can snap one before your gelato melts), but for a bonus photo opp, there's a mural on one side of the shop for extra colorful photos.
Patio Weather at Cane Rosso: When we say Patio Weather, we mean the edible kind — or rather, the drinkable kind. The summer cocktail list includes a whole roundup of refreshing libations, including the incredibly addicting rum, St. Germain, habanero honey, lime and basil concoction that is aptly named to be enjoyed on a breezy patio. Plus, pizza doesn't need natural light to be beautiful. As a bonus, all house cocktails are marked down to just $5 during happy hour (Monday to Friday, 5 to 7 p.m.). There are few things that inspire insta-envy like a well-photographed pizza, but eating dough while saving dough for other summer activities is just too good to be true.
Shaved ice at Moody Ice: There's almost nothing more refreshing than shaved ice in the thick of Houston summer. At Heights-based Moody Ice, you can get any flavor made vegan upon request — and you have a lot of flavors to choose from. Banana and coconut, watermelon and mint, mango lime and coffee almond are just a few options. Hawaiian shaved ice options come with condensed milk drizzled on top — all the better for a gorgeous photo opp.
Ice cream sandwiches at Stacked: At Stacked, you almost have to get a doughnut or a macaron ice cream sandwich — but even getting a plain ol' ice cream cone is fun when you get it topped off with a macaron shell. The cookie monster ice cream flavor makes for one of the most vibrant Instagram pics you'll ever take, and don't forget a colorful topping to help make the image really pop.
Mango Beach: You can get smoothies, blended coffees, malts, snow cones and more at Mango Beach, but definitely don't miss the mango with chile powder and lime or the mangonada, a traditional Mexican treat made from mango, chamoy, chile powder and lime juice. The gorgeous sunset colors of the orange mango, red chile powder and green lime make for photographic perfection.