Top 5 Houston Brunch Dishes That Could Double As Dessert

It has long been a personal dream of mine that certain restaurants would offer their weekend brunch menu at night as well. Tucking into a huge meal is a great way to ameliorate a hangover but not particularly helpful if you aim to do anything but nap for the rest of the afternoon, so the option to move the meal to evening would be convenient. Furthermore, some particularly decadent brunch entrees would seem all the more indulgent after dinner. Here are five Houston brunch dishes that could double as dessert:

5. Vanilla Bean Crepe (Pondicheri). If you limit your two fillings to fruit (strawberries, bananas, blueberries), then maybe you can get away with calling this sweet, fluffy crepe "breakfast." However, opt for Nutella and Bournvita, and you'll feel like a kid who got away with eating cookies before his vegetables.

4. Strawberry Cream Cheese Pancakes (Brennan's). What is it about cream cheese that makes it such a marvelous medium for both the sweet and the savory? In this case, it engenders a heavier, moister pancake and absorbs the sweet juice of the berries to produce a richer, creamier flavor. Bananas Foster usually dominates the dessert course at Brennan's, but during brunch look to the pancakes for an equally rich confection.

3. Gingerbread Waffles (Backstreet Cafe). Crisp on the outside with a dense interior flavored with nutmeg, allspice, and, of course, ginger, Backstreet Café's gingerbread waffles showcase varying tastes and textures thanks to a ladle of sauteed soft cinnamon apples and a few strips of crunchy bacon. After a couple of bites, you'll long for snowflakes, stockings, and Christmas cheer even on the sunniest of Texas mornings.

2. Crème Brûlée Battered French Toast (Max's Wine Dive). Perhaps taking a cue from Austin's Chez Zee, Max's Wine Dive has begun offering its own version of crème brûlée French toast. What could be more decadent than a mixture of heavy cream, egg yolks, and sugar? Slabs of Texas toast are marinated in said mixture, then seared on each side to a brown buttery crisp. Syrup and strawberries accompany the dish, but I say go whole hog and ask for a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

1. Snickers Pancakes (BRC Gastropub). Topped with whipped cream swirls and generous drizzles of agave nectar, the Snickers Pancakes are where rustic farm fare meets processed drugstore confection. The thick flapjacks with just a touch of wheat flavor are made even more substantial by the addition of salty peanuts laced with caramel. And the saccharine milk chocolate? Well, that really puts it over the top. They're technically a special, but rumor has it they're "usually" available at brunch; just ask.

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Joanna O'Leary