Hot Chocolate at Empire Cafe, Houston, USA

It was a beautiful day when I went to the Empire Cafe, 27 degrees celcius and sunny in February, who can ask for anything more! Empire Cafe is in Montrose, a charming little area dotted with coffee shops, antique stores, food vans and cute little houses. From then terrace you can see nine different antique stores making this cafe the perfect place to plan your buying and negotiating strategy.

In the early 1930’s Joseph Hollyfield opened a laundry & Cleanrers store before it became an antique store. Apparently it was only years later when a Hollywood film producer came into town for a project and found that there wasn’t anywhere to get a decent cup of a hot coffee that Empire Cafe was created. Today it is owned by locals.

The cafe has two patios, a large on one the road (but lined with trees and shrubs to provide a little oasis) and a small shady area to the side which is much more quiet and private. Inside the walls are painted a dark yellow and red with black ceilings. Paintings of exotic (and only partially clothed) women line the walls. The lights are stars like the ones you see in a market in Morocco. The whole cafe has a very nice light and airy feel with an exotic touch.

Today they are training a new staff member which provided quite a bit of entertainment behind the counter ” Who ordered this salad”, ” Are the cookies really $50 each?”. I am distracted by the lineup of half a foot tall cakes filling up the display cabinet, all either covered in chocolate or vanilla icing. Near the cash register are a series of plates showing the selection of salads and sandwiches that are on offer today for those with an apetite.

At $3.65 the hot chocolate is more expensive than most of the ones I have had in this city, although they do make it look quite fancy. It is presented in a tall clear glass, topped with rich whipping cream. The hot chocolate is a sweet syrup, not something I could drink everyday but still very nice. On the side of the plate you also get two small butter cookies.

If you don’t feel like a hot chocolate on a 27 degrees day there are 20 different kinds of coffees and a range of fancy alcoholic drinks such as Mimosas, mojitos and cosmos.

Verdict: I enjoyed this hot chocolate, even though it is served in a clear glass. If they have any cinnamon buns in the display when you get there order one! They taste divine but disappear fast. Lots of parking in the back also makes this an easy choice for a quick stop. Empire Cafe, 1732 Westheimer Rd., Houston, Texas, USA.

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