The Morning After is a hangover cure on a plate.

Image: Megha Tejpal

There are a few restaurants on my list that are my go-to spots for when I want to really chow down. I like my fair share of fancy-schmancy restaurants, but sometimes you want to eat somewhere that will serve you a dish piled high with food at a decent price.

Cook & Collins
2416 Brazos St.
832-701-1973
cookandcollins.com

A new favorite in the midtown neighborhood is the casual but hip Cook & Collins on Brazos Street. Surrounded by the hottest bars and clubs in the area—and directly beneath the newly-opened Spare Key—it is a trending hot spot to grab a beer with brunch, lunch or dinner. Though the menu features a wide variety of dishes, from lighter fare like a ruby beet salad or a quinoa burger to heartier choices like free-range fried chicken, there are a few items here that can satisfy even the most extreme appetite.

The Morning After is one of those items, raising the bar for chili-cheese fries all around. Smothered in chili cheese—obviously—as well as Valentina hot sauce and mustard seed, the hearty dish is topped with an egg and strips of steak, both cooked the way you like it. At $22, it is one of the higher priced menu items, but make a very shareable and visually striking starter for large groups. For anyone recuperating at Cook & Collins during Sunday brunch, the Morning After is a great place to start.

C&C's Sinaroll is topped with bacon icing. Yes, bacon icing.

The fries aren't the only extreme item on the menu... In fact, another dynamic mid-morning treat is the so-called C&C's Sinaroll, a brioche bun smothered in bacon icing and toasted almonds. While it's more fluff then ooey-gooey, the bacon icing is a unique and delicious topping. Also meant to be shared, the sinful Sinaroll is served with a butcher knife stuck right in the center, ready to be cut and sent around the table.

Cook & Collins strongly supports local, serving high-quality meats and breads from such vendors as Black Hill Ranch and Slow Dough Bread Company. The menu often features new dishes, as does the cocktail list, to reflect the changing seasons. Right now, in fact, the month of May brings a brand new Springtime Sangria to the table. Made with white wine, this light sangria is floral and sweet, a refreshing alternative to the original and just as good to share as those extreme chili-cheese fries.

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