There's always something new that I am dying to try in the Heights, Montrose, Rice Village, Downtown, or Upper Kirby. But rarely do I drive around my little corner of Houston, just northwest of Oak Forest/Garden Oaks, to check out my own neighborhood offerings. So it's always a bit of a pleasant surprise to find something new (to me) close to home—especially after living here for over four years.
Exhibit A: El Rey Bakery (no relation to El Rey Taqueria), located inside my favorite neighborhood grocery store, Foodarama. Before the other day, I'd never once stopped to look at the shrink-wrapped slices of sheet cake or the glass cases full of decorative and colorful pan dulces. But on a recent visit, the pastry case finally got the better of me. Rows of pastel pastries in various shapes and sizes were arranged carefully in their individual sections. I grabbed a shiny circular tray and a pair of tongs and got down to business.
Four empanadas (two pumpkin, two cream cheese), one ojo de buey (flaky outer layer with cake-like center), and one gorgeous-looking cuerno de queso (cream cheese-filled pastry) later, I had breakfast for two days, with leftovers, for $4. On top of being a great deal, the pastries were fresh, the man who rang up my order was cheery, and my day started out with the perfect coffee companion. Looks like I'll be staying close to home for breakfast more often. Which goes to show—the grass isn't always greener on the other side when you live in Houston.