By Ganteng Boy
In France, Tout de Suite has a couple of different meanings: right away, at once, immediately, with all haste. And in Houston, Tout Suite is a café where the creative minds congregate. The café boasts some of the most artistic selection of desserts and pastries. As soon as you walk into the café, you can feel the essence of ‘Toute de Suite’: baristas hastily preparing crafted beverages, one after another; the chattering of busy minds fill the vast space; and a dizzying selection of macarons, desserts and baked goods.
Although there are a handful of macaron cafés in Houston, I am impartial to the diversity of flavors that Tout Suite has to offer. My all time favorites are Rose, Honey Lavender and Jasmine Tea (Pro tip guys: these three flavors are a solid way to keep you on your lady’s good list).
Presentation: Each macaron has a distinct color profile – some were vibrant and some kept the classic tone. TS made it very easy for guests to pick from a variety of different flavors. If you dine in, the macarons are served on a petit kitchen board – such a wonderful homefeel touch.
Taste: Each bite will leave you craving for more. And though each macron is unique in taste, they had a delicate hint of flavor – not too sweet and not too bland.
Texture: Crisp, airy and delicate are the three adjectives that come to mind.
If you do not fancy macrons, may I suggest a cupcake or two?
Presentation: The cupcake was fun-sized to say the least – somewhere in between choo-choo next stop my thighs and a serving fit for Tinkerbell. It is right sized so that I can enjoy the cupcake without regretting it the next day.
Taste: Disclaimer, I do not have the sweet tooth to stomach the cupcake on its own. To offset the sweetness from the cupcake, I suggest pairing it with an espresso. Tout Suite serves their espresso piping hot and packed with coffee oil flavors. Although the coffee has a rather strong and bitter taste, it pairs well with the cupcake.
Texture: Unlike most cupcake places, TS perfected the balance between cream and cake. As such, it makes it possible to eat their cupcakes the way cupcakes should be eaten (see image below).
The café extends beyond colorful macarons and tasty cupcakes. Since I was famished that afternoon, I opted to sample a few dishes from their Sandwich, Soups and Suite Plates. Let us not judge the food by its’ calories, but by the presentation and the taste.
Presentation: You cannot go wrong with Grilled Cheese. It is evenly grilled, with a wonderful golden brown color. Well done! As for the Soup Du Jour, I was a bit underwhelmed by the color of the soup. But let’s be honest, can you really achieve a more vibrant green from pea soup?
Taste: There is a hint of sour taste, as you slowly move each bite of the Grilled Cheese Sandwich from the tip of your tongue to the back of your mouth. It makes for an interesting dance of flavors. Where the soup lacks in presentation, it makes up in taste. There was a subtle hint of celery and pea, with a slight pepper spice overtone. The microgreens were a nice touch, but I am afraid the slight enhancement to the overall taste of the soup is too minuscule for my palate.
Texture: The sandwich came out warm – not too hot and not too cold. I was a bit dissapointed by the lukewarm temperature. The cheese was a bit more chewy than usual. Perhaps if the sandwich was served at a slightly warmer temperature, it would allow the cheese to melt a bit more; or probably add a different cheese altogether? Surprisingly, the Grilled Cheese sandwich was not greasy and only a few crumbs stuck to my hands. As for the soup, the microgreens reinforced the themes of freshness and crispness.
The expression “French Fried Potatoes” first appeared in 1856, in the literary work by E Warren, Cookery for Maids of All Work. It is celebrated today in all facets of all American dining. As for steak, well, the cattle has been a part of a way of life in Texas since the founding of the Republic. This is Tout Suite’s answer to both prime ingredients.
Presentation: Golden brown and trimmed to a width of a standard pencil, the french fries covered the steak like pine thistles on a forest floor. The steak is a bit thinner than I expected. There was a slight tamed sizzle when the waiter presented the dish. I am a fan of steak served on a hot cast iron griddle; this should be the only way to serve steaks!
Taste: Steak might not be their forte, and to assume so would be similar to expecting delicious cupcakes from a steakhouse. Since the cut of steak is a bit thin, you will have to adjust the level of ‘doneness’ one notch down – closer to rare. There was something unique about this dish – the tomato ketchup. This is not your ordinary ketchup. The ketchup is sweet in flavor, with a lack of artifical flavoring.
Texture: The fries lacked consistency: some were crisp and some were soggy. As for the steak, it turned out to be more cooked than I had expected. It reminded me of the cheap steaks that you can get at a buffet.
A few takeaways from my TS experience: amplified by the number of hipsters and artsy folks, this is a neat café that boasts a trendy and urban feel; as for the food, go for the pasteries and desserts – this is not a place to order steaks.