Good banana bread is moist; it's full of bananas; it's sweet, but doesn't make your teeth rot; it's comforting; and it's just what you need at the end of a hard day (or any day, for that matter).
While your grandmother or mom (or you) probably makes the best banana bread you've ever had, there are several bakeries around Houston serving up the classic sweet treat (some with a twist), and theirs might be just as good as Mom's, if not better.
Whether you prefer the addition of nuts (or no nuts), chocolate or fruit, or you like it plain and simple, you can find it in Houston, so here are our top five banana breads in the Bayou City.
Purchase a loaf of banana bread from this food truck, but don't expect it to be the typical sweet bread you grew up eating at your grandmother's house. Belen Bailey infuses raisins with pisco, which is a Peruvian drink similar to tequila, then adds them (and we believe some more pisco) to the banana bread, resulting in a sticky-sweet treat with a Latin American twist. It's finger-licking-good. You can find her dessert-like banana bread at various farmers' markets throughout the week. Just check the Sweets by Belen Facebook page for the current week's schedule.
The best part about vegan baked goods is that they focus on the parts of the treat we all love. Dylan Carnes of Sinfull Bakery makes an incredible banana nut bread packed with bananas, nuts and the perfect amount of spice. Each bite is soft and moist, and while it's hard to resist digging into the "mini" loaf (Who are we kidding? There's nothing mini about this bread.), once you purchase it at a farmers' market or coffee shop, we recommend you place a slice in the microwave; there's nothing better than warm baked goods, even if they are vegan.
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Usually, grocery stores are not your best bet for incredible baked goods. But Whole Foods Market is different. I find myself perusing the bakery section at the store on Waugh, looking at the various pastries and cookies in the displays behind the hot foods bar, as well as the brownies, muffins and various fresh-baked bread loaves. Nestled among the muffins and packaged pastries, you will find an incredibly moist, dense banana-walnut tea loaf made in the Whole Foods Market Bakehouse. Whole Foods uses bananas from Earth University and does not use any preservatives -- it's all natural, baby! The store also uses wheat flour and a homemade brown sugar made from sugar, molasses and invert syrup, resulting in a darker interior than in most banana breads. The top of the bread is studded with walnuts, tempting you to pick each one off with a hunk of the sweet and sticky top of the bread (the best part).
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You might come to Dacapo's for the egg salad, but I come for the banana nut bread. The moment you walk into this tiny, quaint cafe in the heart of the Heights, you smell the sweet scent of cakes, pastries, cookies and various fruit breads being baked in the kitchen. The banana bread at Dacapo's is dense, so you might want to pair it with a cup of coffee or glass of ice-cold milk; it's studded with finely chopped walnuts, and the top is glazed with crushed nuts.
Don't expect to find only Vietnamese baked treats at this Vietnamese bakery. As the name implies, Parisian Bakery & Cafe serves a variety of French-inspired breads, cakes, pastries and macarons as well as classic Vietnamese items such as banh mi sandwiches, Thai tea and banh bo nuong, a Vietnamese honeycomb cake. While all these items are delicious and scrumptious, there's one baked good you simply cannot leave without -- the banana nut bread. Parisian Bakery & Cafe's version is überly sticky and moist, a clear identifier that it is chock-full of bananas. The top is sticky and covered in a combination of chopped walnuts and chopped pecans; the inside is tender and crumbles in your fingers like a delicate crumb cake. This one is not as sweet as other banana nut breads; it has a much stronger banana flavor than most, making it a perfect morning meal with hot tea or a cup of coffee.