December 1, 2018

Mexican Market Tour - Houston

Ethnic Market Tour Houston – Mexican Markets

Recently, I had the pleasure to put together a little tour of my favorite places for Mexico related food and shopping here in Houston for my friend, Mely Martinez (

Mely and her husband and son had decided to come down to Houston for a few days of vacation. Now, Houston is not really a tourist destination in my opinion; compared to, say, Austin or San Antonio. We do have some wonderful museums and some outsider art venues that are world class. But, Houston is kind of a business and industry kind of place.

However, Houstonians have found that the best way to socialize with friends is over food and this, plus the incredible multi-culturalism of Houston has led to a city with amazing selections of places to dine, of every ethnicity and of every price range.

Whole areas of our town have sprung up around dining:

Bellaire Boulevard – Chinese and Vietnamese (incorporating Beechnut and Bissonnet now)

Hillcroft Street – Indian and Pakistani primarily, but also Persian and Middle Eastern

Long Point Road – Korean and Central American

Airline Drive – Mexican

Harrisburg – Mexican

Scott / Cullen / OST – African-American

But on this particular meet-up with Mely (Facebook friends for several years, first physical meeting), we focused on Mexico!

Our tour began on Airline Drive, and this is the route that I am mapping out for you today:

El Bolillo Bakery (2518 Airline Drive) ( - The person that started El Bolillo had a doughnut shop or two, originally in Galveston. His workers were from Mexico and one day they suggested to him that if he opened a Mexican bakery, they would join him and make all of the types of breads of Mexico. This is the default bakery for Mexican breads and your jaw will drop when you see the selection here. It is a beautiful venue and very pleasing to just hang out.

And then, a walk across the street to the Canino’s Farmer’s Market complex (2520 Airline Drive) ( Canino’s has been Houston’s market since 1958. The Farmer’s Marketing Association is a private corporation whose shareholders are the original farmers or their descendants. As you walk through the complex, you will discover all things Mexican: dry goods like molcajetes, masa grinders, toys, piñatas, and more; food products associated with Mexico like dried chiles, huazontle, flor de calabaza, chepil, cilantro, tropical fruits and more.

Next, cross back over the street to Lone Star Culinary (formerly Flores Spices and still owned by the same family) (1299 Gibbs at Airline). Recently remodeled, the place looks fantastic. Here, you will find any spice you could think of and much more, in the way of specialty products.  Special note: the Houston location of Penzey’s Spices is also located in the Heights at 516 W 19th Street.

And now, across the street again the Carniceria Teloloapan for shopping or something to eat (2430 Airline Drive). And then, next door to Reyes Produce (2426 Airline Drive) for a look see at their extensive collection of cookware, candies, dried chiles, and more.

Finishing up, we now head south on Airline for a stop at the local cheese purveyors: Houston Dairy Maids (2201 Airline Drive) (

And then, across the street to Tampico Seafood (2115 Airline Drive) ( for a huachinango. You will pick your fish from their market section, which will then be grilled a la plancha style and served on a bed of grilled onions and bell peppers with a side of fries or fried rice (a Tampico tradition from the large Chinese population there). They have a full bar and other food choices too.

We continue south on Airline Drive crossing Cavalcade (just to the west on Cavalcade is the Asia Grocers, featuring Thai, Lao, Cambodian goods and serving food as well) and come to the best candy store, Delicias Mexicanas (1777 Airline Drive) (, your one stop shop for traditional Mexican candies including glorias, dulce de leche, cajeta, hard candies, candied fruits and more. Reyes Produce also carries sweets, so you can cost compare at both places if you wish.

Further south, where Airline Drive dead-ends into North Main, three recommended restaurants: Spanish Flowers Mexican Restaurant, Teotihuacan Mexican Restaurant, and Pinkerton’s Barbecue (quickly turning into one of the top five places for barbecue in Houston)

The tour is finished. Turning west on North Main will take you to the Heights via 20th and turning east will take you to I-45. Both of which will have even more interesting places to shop and eat. But we will save those for another time.

Coffee in Houston - Great Artisanal Coffee Places in Houston - Many of Which Do Their Own Roasting

Click on the map in order to enlarge it:

1. Here is the actual link to the map so that you can explore it in greater detail:

2. Here is a link to an excellent blogpost by Carrie Colbert on her favorite coffee spots in Houston:

3. On January 11, 2018, there was a terrific show on Houston Public Media with Eric, Gwendolyn and David on their favorite coffee shops. Here is a link to that show. 

Coffee - Brewing Coffee - Your How-To Guide

Along with cooking, baking and music, another of my passions is coffee. I have built up an impressive collection of ways to brew coffee in the home. And if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Recently, I loaned a Chemex, Sowden, and some other brewing devices and grinders to a friend who is just starting to take her coffee making to the next level. While putting together some favorite instructional videos for her, I decided it might be fun to create a blog with links to some of these.

Rule of Thumb. I weigh my coffee (medium grind, ground with a burr grinder...blade grinders are okay for spices but not for the Chemex video below he is grinding with the Baratza, the same one that I use as my default grinder) and start out with the SCAA recommendation of 6 grams of coffee per 100 ml of water (I use a digital scale...although two of mine have come from resale shops and I also own the $140 Acaia Pearl (super accurate to 1 gram), I recommend the OXO digital scale if you are purchasing one new; or, if money is no object for you, definitely consider that Acaia digital. It is amazing). I boil my water in either a Chantal electric kettle that I got at their annual December factory outlet sale or a Hario electric kettle that I recently got from a friend. Both have a gooseneck type spout design.

The Scott Rao Hario V-60 - The "Rao Spin" (Read This First)
Hario V-60 Instructions and the Rao Spin

(Chemex Video : Baratza setting 18.      24 grams of coffee.    400 ml water)

Seattle Coffee's Guide to Pour Over Methods

Seattle Coffee - Chemex

Stumptown Coffee - Chemex

Kalita versus Hario versus Chemex

(I have switched to the Kalita 185 for my daily coffee making. I do a 300 ml to 18-25 grams extraction with it, which is enough coffee for my wife and I to enjoy in the a.m.)

Espresso Machine Review
Espresso Machine Review

A Coffee Expert Will Show You What To Look For In A Coffee

My Kitchen:

My new, beloved, Acaia digital scale (awesome). Bluetooth. Programmable. iPhone app. My Chantal pour over electric kettle (highly recommended). My Javelin digital thermometer (also highly recommended). And my Kalita 185.

A NEW option for shopping for coffee makers and other coffee related products is Wish dot com. The stuff is really cheap. Your purchases mostly ship from China so be prepared for a slightly longer delivery lead time. Hasn't been a problem so far. Having said that, I have had no problems with anything that I have ordered. Recently, I bought this adorable little mini Chemex knock-off for around $11. It works perfectly with Hario V60 filter paper, and it does come with a metal filter that works pretty well too (I was surprised). I've also picked up a laser digital thermometer for a couple of bucks there and it works great, too. I've seen a Hario V6 knock-off on the site, too (for not much money). Use 'coffee maker' or 'glass coffee maker' as your search words.

The can is here to give you a size perspective. Wish is downloadable as an app or on the web.

The Sowden SoftBrew (as good as, if not better, than a French press) is a favorite method, especially for cold brew. Note: The coffee is a little thinner than with a French press so you will probably need to adjust by adding more coffee. Note: I recently played around with one of my numerous French presses and found that I needed to revise my previously lower opinion of this method. The coffee silt in the bottom does not annoy me as much these days and I enjoyed my French press brew.

The Hario product line (V60), et. al. I go to 2nd hand stores a lot and recently found a V60 carafe and filter at the Goodwill on 20th for only $8! You never know where you will find something good!

My swag collected at an SCAA coffee event, at the last one held here in Houston back a few years now.

2nd Hand Stores - My Favorite 2nd Hand Stores in Houston

The Google Map (Click on any of these in the sidebar to get full address)

Favorite 2nd Hand Stores in Houston

Screenshot of the map:

Ethnic Markets and Grocery Stores - Houston

Ethnic Markets Tour – Houston
A Self Guided Tour of the Interesting Markets in Houston
Created by Jay Francis  (contact me at for any assistance or information on my home town, Houston)

1.     Canino’s Market and El Bolillo Bakery – Airline Location
2.     Dairymaids Cheeses – Airline Location
3.     Dulces Mexicanas – Airline Location
4.     Flores Spices – Airline Location
5.     Asia Market Thai and Lao Grocers – Cavalcade Location
6.     Penzey’s Spices – 19th Street Location
7.     Nundini’s Italian – Shepherd Location
8.     Fiesta Grocery Store – Wayside Location
9.     Phoenicia – Downtown Location
10.  Spec’s Liquors – Smith Street Location
11.  British Market – Rice Village Location
12.  Gusto Gourmet – Venezuelan – S. Shepherd Location
13.  Russian General Store – Hillcroft Location
14.  Belden’s Grocery – Braeswood Location in Meyerland/Bellaire
15.  Golden Grain – Russian – Birdwood Road Location
16.  Droubi’s – Hillcroft Location
17.  Maru Ethiopian Grocery Store – Bissonet Location
18.  Golden Grain – Russian – Birdwood Location
19.  Caribbean Cuisine – Jamaican patties and some Caribbean products
20.  Istanbul Market (Now Closed)
21.  Savoy Food Market – Wilcrest Location
22.  Acacia Food Mart – Turkish – Wilcrest Location
23.  Subhlaxmi Indo-Pak Grocers – Hillcroft at 59
24.  Chandrika Masala – Hillcroft at 59
25.  Super Vanak – Iranian - Hillcroft Location
26.  Patel Brothers – Hillcroft Location
27.  Parivar – Harwin Location
28.  Paayal for Indian stainless steel cookware – Savoy off of Harwin
29.  Viet Hoa – Beechnut Location
30.  Sun’s Club – Beechnut Location
31.  Acacia – Turkish – Wilcrest Location
32.  Jusgo Grocers – Bellaire Blvd. Location
33.  H-Mart – Bellaire Blvd. Location
34.  Ten Ren Tea Shop – Bellaire Location
35.  San San Tofu – Bellaire Location
36.  Hong Kong City Mall – Bellaire Blvd. Location
37.  Pita Plus – Eastern European Market – Westheimer Location
38.  Phoenicia – Westheimer Location
39.  Nippon Daido – Japanese – Westheimer Location
40.  Polonia – Blalock Location
41.  H-Mart – Blalock Location
42.  Ranch 99 – Blalock Location
43.  Fiesta Grocery Store – Wirt Road Location

Airline Drive Flea Market Complex
Guild Shop – Dunlavy Location
Path of Tea – West Alabama Location
Kuhl-Linscomb – West Alabama Location
Eastside Farmer’s Market – Saturday Morning – Richmond Avenue Location
That Indo-Pak International Grocery on Highway 6
Mi Tienda – Highway 59 Location and Spencer Highway – Pasadena Location
D&Q – Belgian Beers
Central Market – Westheimer Location
Gusto Gourmet – Venezuelan Market

African Grocery Stores and Markets (Not Visited)
Wazobia Market
Trinity African Food Store
G&J African Market
Kings and Queens African Store
African Grocers

Hebert’s (Two Locations – Dairy Ashford and Richmond)
Burt’s Meat Market – Lyons Avenue

Vom Fass – Rice Village
Savory Spices – Rice Village

Flores Spices – Airline Location