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Same Bunch, New Brunch

Pooja Salhotra
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St. John’s School alums (Class of 2012) (from left) Tarika Khaladkar, Kara Neumann, Emily Boyce, Meredith Rae and Pooja Salhotra got together for a ladies brunch over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The holidays are in full swing, and for many, that means reunions and get-togethers with old friends and extended family. If your friends and family are anything like mine, you may find yourself in a lengthy discussion, or in an endless text exchange, trying to figure out the ideal spot to meet for a meal.

Choosing a spot is far from an easy task in this city. Houston boasts more than 10,000 restaurants and that number continues to grow every year. According to the NPD group, from the fall of 2014 to the fall of 2015 alone, Houston added 190 new restaurants.

This recent growth raises an interesting question: do you return to your old and faithful spots, or do you branch out and try something new?

When my friends from high school come into to town, we often settle on the former, regressing back to our 16-year-old selves and ordering in too many fajitas and bowls of queso from Escalante’s, or visiting Tiny Boxwoods for their deadly chocolate chip cookies we used to eat while discussing the latest high school drama.

But this year we settled on a spot that most of us had never tried: Rise nº2. At this charming French restaurant, we ordered salads and soufflés, including a seasonal pumpkin dessert soufflé.

I’d like to think we chose this spot because we have become much more sophisticated since our teen years. But who am I kidding. Though I was sipping a cappuccino instead of a lemonade and eating a soufflé instead of chips and guac, I was still cracking up at the same jokes that bonded us in high school and found myself retelling an old story from our eighth-grade trip to Big Bend National Park.

I guess some things will never change.

See this month’s Chef’s Corner by Dai Huynh for a listing of new restaurants. 

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