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Houston’s alchemic magic of wide-open spaces and an increasing population of curious eaters with a hunger for good food means more chefs are moving in to call the Bayou City home. The best catering in Austin may boast comfort food. And Dallas trends point towards poke and grain bowls. But when it comes to Houston catering they feed pretty much everyone and every taste. Affordable business budgets and a world of ingredients allow chefs to experiment and make fun menus choices. So keep an eye out for these new catering restaurants, classic mainstays, and growing trends on the Houston restaurant scene.

Greetings from the Houston restaurant and catering scene

Cajun Catering Newbies

Gumbo is well loved in Houston's catering scene

As the New York Times notes, Houston is no longer only a city of amazing brisket and tacos. And insiders know some of the best Cajun and Creole cuisine outside of NOLA exist within Houston city limits. More restaurants blending classic with contemporary come onto the Houston catering scene every day.

Look no further than Your Southern Favorites for crunchy taco cups, fried fish and shrimp, and banana pudding. CEO and Founder Chef Zoia Taylor says Houston eaters have always loved classic Cajun and Creole flavors, and so her gumbo “takes you back like a dish your grandma used to make.” The ethnic spins on her dishes like chicken with cilantro-lime sauce are crowd pleasers. And catering to vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets only welcomes more eaters into the fold.

At Muffalettas & More Deli, beloved New Orleans muffaletta sandwiches are made with spicy Creole olive salad and imported Italian ingredients like ham, salami, and Provolone cheese. Then they slather their house-made sauces and spreads in dishes from around the globe. You’ll love the Cubano Panini with roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and spicy mustard, or the Reuben Panini with corned beef, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing.

From One Great Body of Water to Another

Try Spanish tapas in Houston

From the Gulf of Mexico to the Mediterranean Sea, Greek, Spanish, and Italian cuisines are all the rage in Houston. While (yes, again) barbecue and tacos flourish, there’s no shortage of amazing seafood and shellfish dishes coupled with Houston catering restaurants’ innovative delivery service and presentation.

Andalucía Restaurant delivers classic Spanish dishes like paella (rice stewed shellfish), and the bocata de pescado sandwich with pan-fried tilapia and citrus zest and caper aioli. For an outdoor event with a bit of a twist, the Art of Tapas food truck drives the paella up to you, plus a cold seafood salad in a vinegar dressing.

At Island Grill, fresh fish comes in platters, pitas, sandwiches, and pastas. Try fresh shrimp and cod or salmon with pasta and marinara or pesto sauce. Or there’s the grilled cod, salmon, or jumbo shrimp stuffed with avocado and dressing on a wheat pita. Of course, you can’t go wrong with the crispy fried popcorn shrimp or char-grilled shrimp scampi layered with grilled onions, mushrooms, and Swiss cheese on a sandwich. Each dish is made from juicy, flavorful fresh ingredients with a healthy twist, and a ton of flavor. It’s Grecian-inspired flavor from one sea to another.

A Seriously Curious Sweet Tooth

Indian sweets cater to Houston's global tastes

Southerners take sweets seriously. Pie flavors are taking center stage again. And classic cakes never fail. But these days, innovations and international twists are taking over the Houston restaurant scene.

Yong’s Bakery has been on the Houston restaurant scene for over two decades, satisfying the Southern sweet tooth with a huge variety of double-layer cakes. If it’s classic chocolate or butter pound cake you want, Yong’s has it. But if you’re particularly curious, try dazzling flavors like Strawberry Soda, 7-Up, Italian Cream Cheese, and Pineapple Coconut, too.

If you can’t decide between cookies, cupcakes, and candy for your sweet treat — and why should you have to? — Cupcake and a Smile has you covered. They toss Almond Joy, Snickerdoodle, and cookies and cream flavors into individual cupcakes. For the adventurous, a Pancake and Bacon cupcake with maple syrup, vanilla frosting, and a slice of candied bacon is basically a breakfast item, right? And if it’s sweet breakfast with a twist you’re looking for, try puffy Central European Kolaches at Kolache Shoppe. The doughy buns are deliciously stuffed with cheese and fruit.

At Gourmet Indian Desserts, Indian sweets delight the tongue with warm spices, milky puddings, and crunchy fried dough confections. Try sweet dumplings of soft cheese and flour or milk and coconut, sweetened with honey and spiced with saffron. Crunchy ash gourd candy, fragrant carrot pudding studded with nuts and warm spices, and deep-fried lentil dough in sugar syrup awaken the senses and make any regular Wednesday feel like a whole new world.

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Jacqueline Raposo

Written by:

Jacqueline Raposo

Jacqueline Raposo is an expert interviewer. Her over 400 articles, essays, and podcast episodes feature Missy Robbins, Daniel Boulud, Alex Guarnaschelli, Marcus Samuelsson, and other such award-winning chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers, managers, and hospitality personnel. Find her at www.jacquelineraposo.com or as @wordsfoodart.

Posted in: Trends in FoodNeed to Know

Tagged with: Food Trends, Houston, Spanish/Tapas, Treats, TX