Bonfire Grill is a recent addition to the restaurants in Tomball, Texas. Located on Main Street, Bonfire Grill occupies the shell of a 1940s gas station and is nearby the public access area where events like the Annual Tomball German Festival are held.
Previously home to Patsy's Restaurant, the old service station turned restaurant, sports an authentic Wood Fired Pizza Oven imported from Milan. While they do offer pizza, the menu at Bonfire Grill has a wide variety of lunch and dinner options. Their single page, printed menu is enhanced by various chalkboards and other media with special menu items and adult beverage listings.
On this Friday night visit, we were joined by our friends, a couple from the Tomball area. Here's what they had to say about the atmosphere:
"Our first impression of Bonfire Grill was that the interior was well done - it's intimate, but not overly crowded, and the decor is fun. I liked the lighting and the open kitchen concept. One negative - the giant mirror directly across from the toilet is... unflattering. I get it - you want your guests to be able to get a full-view look at themselves before they head back out to their dining mates - but in the meantime, there are just some things that don't need to be scrutinized."
The CoffeeShop Company is a recent addition to the quick dining scene in The Woodlands, and is part of the Schärf Group of Companies based in Austria. The Woodlands location is the first in Texas, with two additional planned locations in the immediate area. When it comes to coffee shops in The Woodlands, one of the first that comes to mind is, of course, Starbucks; with what seems like a store on every corner, there are approximately twenty of these cafes in the Spring and Woodlands area. Among the many differences between The CoffeeShop Company and Starbucks is the level of service provided at these two caffeine vendors. Though both offer food and drink and drive thru windows, The CoffeeShop Company has full service dining with a "Quick Gourmet" menu, including sandwiches, upscale croissants, salads, cookies, cakes, and brownies. Additionally, all of CoffeeShop Company's coffee and espresso based bevrerages utilize highlands Arabica coffee beans, which roasted with an especially gentle, 12-minute-rotational roasting method.
“What is with all of these cupcake venues showing up around The Woodlands?” asked the grandfather of my buddy. “It’s not anything new; we had’em when I was a kid.”
The first mention of the cupcake can be traced as far back as 1796, when a recipe notation of “a cake to be baked in small cups” was written in American Cookery by Amelia Simms. The earliest documentation of the term cupcake was in “Seventy-five Recipes for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats” in 1828 in Eliza Leslie’s Receipts cookbook. (credit wikipedia)
In The Woodlands is an interesting bar and eatery, 1252 Tapas.Located at the North Commons outdoor Mall is the retail district known as Market Street. 1252 offers patio seating overlooking Central Park and across to the Cinemark theater and most notably, the valet parking stand. Why mention something as common as a valet stand? The cars. The evening hours, especially during nice weather weekends brings in some very nice automobiles, from exotic to luxurious the area is a fun place for car buffs and casual enthusiasts alike. This particular event was the announcement of Chef Wes Tyler, the new executive Chef at 1252 Tapas, Market Street. Wes Taylor assumed lead in the 1252 kitchen in early February 2014 and his experience in French, Cajun, Asian, Italian has lead him to the well-known Spanish Restaurant in The Woodlands. Chef Taylor is a graduate of the Sullivan University Culinary Arts program in Louisville, Kentucky ~2004.
With so many restaurants in the area, it's nice to find one that offers something a little different. And when different is good, well, all the better! We happened to have driven by Tandoory Taco on Saturday, their second day of operation. Our curiosity had been mounting ever since this spring, when we'd first heard of their impending arrival. "Tandoory? Wait, isn't that supposed to be tandoori? Taco? Tacos are Mexican food. But a Tandoor is an Indian oven! This we gotta see..."
Tandoory Taco is unobtrusively nestled between JP's Grill on the left, and Bei Jing Chinese Buffet on the right, in the slowly-revitalizing shopping center located at Sawdust Road and I-45. The location is bright, clean, and inviting; you won't find any stereotypical murals of bullfighting arenas or Indian-influenced artworks.
Quietly, though not without it's fair share of anticipation, Gigi's Cupcakes opened in Cochran's Crossing last Friday. We stopped in to introduce ourselves and spent a few minutes chatting with the proud owner, Jerry Rowell. Jerry is a long-time Woodlands resident, having been here for nearly 15 years. And while he's not surprised by the constant growth of the community he loves, he seems a little surprised at what is clearly our community's insatiable appetite for cupcakes.Not wanting to leave empty-handed, we selected a Carrot Cake cupcake, which was carefully bundled into an adorable little box complete with a cupcake-safety mechanism in the bottom, keeping that beautiful tower of cream cheese frosting upright and untouched in transit. Since it was Monday our other selection, the Scarlett's Red Velvet wasn't on the menu (though it was today, if only we'd been able to return!) and we opted to stop in at the second newest cupcake bakery, The Cupcakery at Market Street.
In the interest of full disclosure - cupcakes are simply not on our list of "eat slowly and savor every bite" foods. In fact, depending on how good it actually is, chances are a cupcake isn't going to last more than about 42.8 seconds around here. With that in mind, we regret that we did not actually take pictures of two cupcakes we compared yesterday. We can, however, vouch for the fact that they did in fact look a lot like these images borrowed from their respective websites. With the exception of the fact that there was a lot more frosting on that red velvet. But we digress...
If you don't expand your horizons, your view of the world can seem awfully small. So, to, the same can be said for the repertoire of foods you eat. If you just stick with what you know - burgers, spaghetti, pizza and the like - you'll miss out on a whole world of different flavors, textures and experiences that are available. And with over 400 restaurants in the greater Woodlands area, there is a wealth of cuisines to try. In fact, if you ate out once per day, you could almost make it the whole year without having to visit any of them more than once - of course that means some days you have to be satisfied with a cupcake or frozen yogurt for one meal a few times, but you get the idea. So get out there and try something new! We did...
We met up with fellow food enthusiast and straight forward food blogger Ashli, aka Almost Veggies Houston.
Lama Mediterranean is an order at the counter restaurant, with the kitchen clearly visible though large windows beneath the oversize menu-boards. In the sunken coolers at the counter, visitors can find a wide variety of beverages both foreign and domestic, some familiar and some not so familiar, possibly even a few unheard-of drinks available. Also at the counter are fresh, soft pita bread slices and deep-fried pita slices, along with a creamy garlic sauce and a tahini sauce (made from sesame seeds) which are all complimentary. After placing our orders at the register, we selected a table near the window. Overall, the dining room was clean and bright, if not a bit loud as the lunch crowd grew creating a cacophony of voices in the high-ceilinged dining room.
If you're looking for something a little different, you'd be remiss for not taking Patio's Latin Cuisine into consideration. Patio's opened the first week of March in the new shopping center at the corner of Woodlands Parkway and FM 2978 called The Colonnade of The Woodlands. When you enter the restaurant, one of the first things you may notice is there is nothing about the place that screams "Mexican Restaurant!" Instead of loud colors, busy murals, serapes, sombreros and blasting mariachi music; the clean, white interior is quietly accented with tastefully placed greenery and softly playing Latin jazz and bossa nova tunes. The hostess will walk you either through the dining room or past the open-concept kitchen to your table, where the next big difference will remind you this isn't your ordinary Tex-Mex restaurant.