Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hobbit Cafe

The Hobbit Cafe has been a Houston eatery since back in 1972.  I have been in Houston since 1998 and I had never been.  It took an old friend visiting from California to get me in the door.  I had heard about the place and was curious, but never enough to actually step foot in the door.  Located on Richmond between Kirby and Greenbriar, The Hobbit Cafe is tucked away in a little alcove of different establishments.  Having driven by on many occasions and having seen the sign I always thought the building facing the street was the establishment.  In actuality,  it is hidden towards the back.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived was the quaint feel and relaxed atmosphere of the place.  It looked like a place where you could be comfortable with yourself and whoever you were dining with.  Since I was eating with a rather large group we were seated outside.  There was ample room but we still had to separate the group into two.  To combat the oppressive Houston heat and humidity fans were placed throughout the patio.  Truth be told, they did not really do a whole lot to help and I consider myself lucky to have gone somewhat early in the day.  Two other things I noticed about the seating was that the chairs were all cheap plastic chairs and that the tables were covered with cheap plastic table clothes that felt a little sticky.  These two things did not really fit in with the rest of the aesthetic, but could be overlooked.

Smaug's Delight w/ Bacon and Fruit
Smaug's Delight w/ Sprouts and Black Beans
Having scooped out the online menu beforehand, I already had in mind what I wanted to order.  This was a good thing because The Hobbit Cafe has a vast menu with lots to choose from and plenty of tempting choices.  I decided to order the The Smaug's Delight, which is a smoked turkey sandwich served on toasted wheat bread with melted cheese and avocado.  You have your choice of the slim or classic version. I was hungry enough so I order the classic.  I was also prompted by the waiter if I wanted to add bacon or alfalfa sprouts.  Since everything is made better with bacon, I opted for the bacon. When asked what I wanted as my side, I asked for my options.  I was presented with the choices of chips, fries, shredded carrots, black beans, and fresh fruit.  I went with the fruit.  Others at the table also got the Smaug's Delight but with other options so it was almost like a different sandwich. 

Another member of our table ordered The Dwalin, which is a sandwich of curry chicken salad with grapes, almonds, lettuce, tomato, and mayo, with a side of shredded carrots.

My sandwich was good.  The turkey was moist and flavorful.  The cheese was hot and melty and the bacon was cooked crisp.  My only complaint is that the sandwich had too much avocado.   "How in the hell can there ever be too much avocado?", you ask.  Well, when about a third of the volume of your sandwich is made of avocado and it compromises the structural integrity and overwhelms the other ingredients is when you have too much. 

Mithril Mix
Athelas Kiwi Strawberry
Before arriving I had decided that I wanted to try one of their smoothies as well.  The way I had interpreted the menu I thought the sandwiches came without a side.  I figured I could have a smoothie instead.  I ordered the Mithril Mix which is simply a strawberry, banana, and pineapple smoothie.  My friend from out of town ordered the Athelas Kiwi Strawberry.  The smoothies were good, but nothing really spectacular.

Along with my smoothie I also ordered a mixed berry tea.  It was spot on for the hot summer day.  It had a great bright red color that made it look really appetizing.  Even without sweetener, it was very tasty.  I had a flavor not unsimilar to water with a hint of lemon it, only stronger.

The one thing I will say was beyond excellent was the gingerbread pancake.  My friend ordered just one pancake so he could taste it and let me have a bite.  It blew my mind.  It was moist and fluffy and it tasted like GINGER-BREAD.  What I mean by that is the pancake did not taste like gingerbread in the shape of a pancake.  It tasted like a pancake with some ginger accents.  It was great.

The Hobbit Cafe has some intriguing menu items that make me want to come back.  However, I feel I must warn you about a number of things.  While the prices on the menu are reasonable, I did feel that they failed to convey some of the charges that ended up on my bill.  For instance, I was expecting the sandwich to not include a side.  However when the waiter asked me what side I wanted, he did not tell me that they were extra, or there was a steep substitution fee.  This was also true of the bacon.  Now, while I kind of expected a surcharge on the bacon, I was not expecting it to be as much as it was.  I certainly would have declined if I had known via the menu or the waiter.

All in all this was a pleasant experience.  I would not say no to going back.  After all, they have been around for a long time for a reason.

Hobbit Cafe on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Everything they serve comes with at least a pound of avocado. They're infamous for it. That said, my favorite things there are the weekend migas (with guacamole, of course) and the key lime pie.