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Skip the full menu in favor of waffles at the Tea Bar & Organics.

Image: Leah Rose

There’s a fully stocked and hearty menu of savory dishes at the Tea Bar & Organics in Chinatown, but I beg the question: Why?

With seven signature waffles and endless tea options, how can you contemplate anything else?

Of course, you’re welcome to the chef’s specials, such as Thai curry or tofu pot, or rice plates and noodle bowls, which all look appetizing. But if any of that interferes with getting an order of waffles, don't do it. 

The fluffy, scrumptious little rings are a delightful variance on well, waffle-shaped waffles. And they come with equally succulent partners in crime. 

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Strawberry with vanilla ice cream waffles.

Image: Leah Rose

My friend and I played it safe with an order of peanut butter waffles and strawberry-with-vanilla-ice-cream waffles paired with coffee black tea and royal milk tea with tapioca, respectively. We were not disappointed.

The peanut-butter-to-waffle ratio was perfect. No silverware needed—although it was provided. Just dip and go, for a filling and guilt-free indulgence—carbs and peanut butter are a totally healthy balance. Right?

The strawberries and ice cream required more maintenance. Or maybe my friend was just more civilized, alternating his bites between waffles, ice cream and strawberry servings. At $5.75, he said it was more than he was used to paying for dessert. But I reminded him that it was a meal—a breakfast meal, and that’s the most important one of the day.

Since we stopped in at such a busy hour—Friday after 10 p.m.—we were given the paper to-go cups, which although cute, were not the heavy glass mugs I was hoping for. (We were lucky to get inside seating—not that the weather really required us to stay indoors, and there were several tables outside.)

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For the curious.

Image: Leah Rose

Regardless of glass, the coffee black tea had me swooning. It’s a mixture of the southern classic unsweetened but sweet-brewed tea, blended with coffee and chilled to perfection. I downed it in a couple of gulps. Not just because my waffles and peanut butter dried me out, but because it was just too good to come up for air.

The royal milk tea with tapioca was a little watery, but still hit the spot just right. Which is good, because it took us about 10 minutes to choose from the two columns of tea choices which included milk teas, organic hot teas, non-milk teas and tea pot orders. We avoided the “make your own tea” column since our options were already too staggering. 

This sweet little spot, tucked amongst a myriad of shops on Bellaire, opens at a reasonable 11 a.m. and stays open until midnight Sunday through Wednesday and until 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. There's free wifi—fittingly, the password is "greentea." So I guess a late-night crowd that stays a while isn’t unusual. It just wasn’t what I was expecting. 

Every seat—except the two bar stools we snagged—was filled, and there was a line for to-go orders, which are apparently 10 percent off.

The Chinatown Tea Bar & Organics is one of three current locations the Houston area. Sugarland has one already and another is landing soon in Rice Village. Sadly, the Tea Bar & Organics Fusion located on Westheimer, doesn't have waffles!

My advice: Go where the waffles are. Whether you dine inside, outside or on the go, the Tea Bar & Organics is the best place for a "meal" of tea and waffles combo.

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