In March we moved away from the culturogastronomic mecca that is Montrose into the relatively uncharted waters and half-streets of the Heights. Notorious food truck chasers that we are, we had incidentally familiarized ourselves with a couple of the coffee shops in the neighborhood that had partnered with a few of the trucks, but generally (re: culturogastronomically) speaking, we weren’t quite sure what we were getting ourselves into. We’d found a reasonably priced, spacious house with a long driveway on a well-shaded (if oddly-named) street in an historic neighborhood. Less pedestrian-friendly, but more genuinely friendly, we traded a padlocked garage for a porch, our previous landlord for anyone but. We’d figure out the rest, or at least get the landlord to fix the oven.
After a baker’s dozen or so weeks of exploring and bookmobiling the area, we’ve found that the Heights has its own little mecca of greatness – one that has made trips to our old Montrose haunts fewer and further between, and one that has made the fact that we’re not a five minute jaunt from The Rice Box Truck a lot more bearable.
In the spirit of #SLGT (support local, grow together) and in celebration of our new neighborhood, I’ve decided to start an every-so-often blog series called Such Great Heights, in which I list ten different Heights finds that I think the world, or at least the city, needs to know about, and give a brief explanation as to why.
So without further ado, here is the premiere volume of Such Great Heights:
Witchcraft has very quickly become my favorite restaurant in the Heights, if not my favorite restaurant. Their menu is one such that you could eat there six times and never order the same thing, which is exactly what I’ve done. I’ve yet to eat brunch there, but I’m guessing it’s the same sort of situation. They also serve some of the best (though, I would guess, polarizing) french fries I’ve ever eaten. And they have a rotating and extensive draft beer selection, with growlers to boot. A must try, then re-try, if you haven’t yet.
I love Good Dog Hot Dogs as much as the next food & drink magazine, but Happy Fatz certainly gives them a run for my money. They’ve got an extensive menu of knife-and-fork hot dogs, delicious breakfast tacos, desserty coffees, and a variety of housemade desserts and savory cheesecakes. The owners are super nice, and the staff all seem genuinely happy to be there. We’re very excited to have formed a partnership with Happy Fatz and look forward to adding them to our parking rotation starting Saturday, June 8th.
We’ve tried a couple of the Creeks, and driven by one that seems to perpetually be filled to capacity several times, but Onion Creek is the one that has really stuck. It’s another place I’ve been to five or six times and have not ordered the same thing twice. There’s good variety to their menu, coffee, a full bar, daily specials, and even Ms. Pac-Man. But the true standout (I kid you not) is their baked potato salad. Onion Creek feels like Austin, but they play Rockets games instead of the Spurs.
We’ve done brunch, lunch, and coffee-to-go from Down House, and every trip has been worthwhile. The kim chi burger is one of the better burgers I’ve ever eaten, and the pork hash (which, for whatever reason, has been discontinued) is (was) also quite good. The staff is all very friendly, and there’s this added charm of a vaguely scientific atmosphere, complete with receiving our bill inside of a classic science text.
On Style Cycle Sundays when we’re not downing coffee from Boomtown, we head next door for a drink at Juicy in the Sky. They make all kinds of smoothies and juices with an amalgam of ingredients, but we lean towards their lemonades with basil or mint or blueberry or strawberry or cetera in them. Delicious, refreshing, and healthy. Plus the owner Deborah is a BPTL member!
The name of Jenni’s’ website says it all: noodles rule dot com. I’m a huge fan of vermicelli, and they do vermicelli right (even if they call it a salad). Though I tend to stick to my vermicelli guns here, they’ve got a pretty full Vietnamese-influenced menu, and their Vietnamese Style Iced Coffee is pretty glorious.
MAM’s serves “New Orleans Style Snoballs” in a variety of flavors. Originally another Style Cycle Sunday venture, I walked over to where MAM’s parks at 20th & Rutland, waited in line for a good while (because Snoball), ordered two snow cones and introduced myself as co-proprietor of a bookmobile that was parked around the corner. One of the ladies that works there (presumably MAM) reached out her juice-stained hand, said “Welcome to the neighborhood,” and gave me two snow cones free of charge. We’ve also reached out to MAM’s to see if we could park with them sometime. Still a work in progress, but they’re fantastic people who make flavorful snow cones.
We parked at UP Art Studio for their one-night-only show Reality Klash! and had a really great time. Owners Noah and Elia are strong proponents of Graffiti & Aerosol Art and make their space, inside and out, available to artists to showcase their work. The results are pretty astounding. We’re hoping to work with them again in the future, either at their Grey Area Art Market or other gallery openings, and hopefully to have some work done to our truck there.
Our first trip to Mighty Sweet Mini Pies was for Sunday breakfast. When they first started up, breakfast quiches were part of their weekly pie rotation, and they were delicious. Sadly, they opted to discontinue the breakfast pies and expand their dessert pie selection. These ladies know what they’re doing, though, and their personal-sized pies do not disappoint.
Asia Market is an experience. I’ve only been once, but it left enough of an impression on me to make this list. The menu itself is enough of a draw (I got the Panang curry with pork – it was not only delicious but large enough of a portion for two meals – and a Thai iced coffee), and the market is filled with a myriad of interesting and unique items to fill the time it takes for your food to be made (and in a lunch rush, that can be a while). With “an array of Thai spices, curry paste, Asian vegetables and a multitude of imported Asian products from Thailand,” there is more than enough here to pique one’s curiosity.
I encourage you to support these local businesses if you don’t already. Stay tuned for the next volume of Such Great Heights.