Openings & Closings

After last week's flurry of activity, the first week of April has been nicely quiet so far. Around the city, there were a few openings as reported by B4-U-Eat: Green Apple Cafe in Hitchcock; Mi Hacienda (not to be confused with the classic La Hacienda in Memorial); and the intriguingly named Pie Garden in Pearland. My source on the inside (okay, it's Craig Hlavaty's mother, Pam) says that Pie Garden is aiming to be Pearland's answer to House of Pies. And I am now even more intrigued.

Meanwhile, restaurants around the city are freshening things up and releasing their spring menus. I stopped by Stella Sola on Wednesday night to get a look at its new items, which include a smoky porchetta-laden blue crab carbonara (very reasonably priced at $12 for a small but belly-filling portion) and a heavenly house salad. The dal giardino salad is exactly that -- from the garden -- with an assortment of pickled carrots, roasted beets and fresh greens all soaked in the bright gold of a poached egg's yolk.

Over at TQLA, the new spring menu is still under wraps but promises to be out soon with exciting new menu items. After viewing it, though, it's safe to say I'm very excited about some of the items and the direction in which the young restaurant is headed.

Just down the street at BRC Gastropub, owner and now chef Lance Fegen has spiffed up the menu with plenty of new appetizers and entrees. I like the sound of the artichoke roast -- especially right now -- with a whole fire-grilled artichoke served with remoulade and lemon. The fried oyster salad with pickled onion, maple bacon and avocado also seems destined to be a hit.

And at Sabine River Cafein West Houston, the new spring brunch menu is going strong. Brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and, in keeping with the regular menu, features a mix of Texas and Cajun comfort food like the All-Cajun Breakfast that includes andouille sausage and a beignet. On Sundays, you can get a special Texas-shaped Belgian waffle with Chantilly cream, but you can get the 99-cent mimosas on either brunch day.

Speaking of brunch in West Houston, Little Napoli in the Galleria-area has introduced a new way to get your fill of bacon and eggs: all-you-can-eat brunch on the weekends. With an omelet station, a pancake station, a waffle station and more, there's something for everyone in your brunch group. The special runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

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