PaperCity Magazine

July 2014 - Houston

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Page 13 of 39

C hefs are a nomadic breed, often wandering the globe from one stage to another, working their way up the kitchen ladder under the tutelage of tall toques who wear their Michelin stars and critics' praise like hard- won military honors. Gleaning exposure and experience, the best hone their skills at every stop, plotting their moves and aiming to work in the company of celebrity chefs and restaurateurs who are changing the way diners eat, drink and enjoy the pleasures of the table. It's a bond many share — one that can lead to long-lasting friendships and even, in the case of Common Bond Cafe & Bakery, a business venture. Chef Roy Shvartzapel and partners Brad and Kathy Sanders have assembled a team of fellow chefs whom Shvartzapel met along his culinary journeys to such lauded spots as El Bulli, Pierre Herme, Balthazar, Bouley and Cyrus. Home again in Houston, the trio took on the ambitious goal of creating world-class pastries in a relaxed, approachable setting, care of the Italian firm Costa Group, which most notably gave us the Butali/Bastianich concept Eataly. Created on a more intimate scale, this built-from-the-ground-up, state-of-the-art bakery sits on the edge of the Montrose. Though the space is a tad awkward, once you enter, you'll be mesmerized by the glass pastry case showcasing toothsome, home- style, American-style mudslide and chocolate chip cookies, brownies, colorful French macaroons and rarefied pastries ranging from chocolate-coated éclairs to coconut passion-fruit mousse, created not in delicate Parisian portions but in hearty Texas-sized ones. The breads are simply masterful: Crunchy crusts give way to a moist, chewy crumb in the form of ciabatta, olive walnut loaves, pear pecan and baguettes in buckwheat and seeded varieties. Though the $5 to $7.50 loaf prices may seem steep, these are breads you can nibble on for days without measurably compromising their quality. The inventory changes seasonally, so you can expect a variety of more than 50 pastries, breads and sweets. Swing by the cafe at 7 am and break your fast with biscuits and gravy ($8), pain perdu (made with the remnants of the croissants that bring these bakers high praise, $9), or homemade granola layered with yogurt and house-made jam ($5). Saddle up anytime to the Carrara-topped bar for a crafted coffee ($3 to $4), fresh-squeezed orange juice ($4), Valrhona hot chocolate ($5), beer or wine. Dinner isn't on the horizon yet, but you can share a communal table or pull up a cafe-style chair outside and indulge in lunch bites such as soft-shell crab po' boy ($13), grilled cheese and cup of soup ($9) or a charred romaine salad dressed with green goddess ($9) until 3 pm. The bakery itself is open till 7 pm most days (closed Monday). Laurann Claridge B aanou is a renovated residential edifice in River Oaks housing two floors of gorgeous clothes and French furniture and fixtures, all for purchase — an extension of the ever-expanding Taghi retail empire. Baanou, which means "lady" in Farsi, was the childhood nickname of owner Maryam Afshari. Her parents own the men's atelier A. Taghi, and her cousin is design prodigy Amir — who, at just 17, shows his collection at Lincoln Center this fall. You'll find his dresses at Baanou, along with a mix of names including Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent, Alexis Mabille, Honor, Erdem, Roksanda Ilincic, Zimmermann, Suno, Cut25 by Yigal Azrouël, Organic by John Patrick, Cameo, Finders Keepers, Keepsake, The Fifth, David Peck, Lilian Afshar and jewelry by Eddie Borgo and Aurélie Bidermann. Whether you're seeking blue jeans, a ball gown or a Louis XVI- style chandelier, chances are you'll find something here. Francine Ballard WHERE TO WHILE AWAY A SUMMER'S AND PERUSING NEW SHOPS SUCH COMMON BOND DAILY FOR COFFEE AND SWEETS AS EMERSON SLOAN AND BAANOU. AFTERNOON? WE'LL BE SLIPPING INTO Common Bond Cafe & Bakery, 1706 Westheimer Road, 713.529.3535, Baanou, 1309 S. Shepherd Dr., 713.505.1347, THE TIES THAT P roud parents hoping to woo tots to their child's next birthday celebration can up the ante at Kim Etheridge's new party boutique, Emerson Sloan. Filled with polished props that Martha Stewart might craft herself for a garden fête in in the Hamptons or a lobster boil at her estate in Maine, this new venue frees you from the grind of pulling out your glue sticks and downloading templates from Pinterest. Etheridge's party palace, which takes the place of PH Design Shop in Rice Village, offers giant 36-inch spherical polka-dot balloons, shatterproof Go Vino wine glasses for mommy, paper fringe to trim buffet tables, and myriad paper, plastic and melamine plates and serving platters that add a splash of shatterproof color and pattern to your party spread. Etheridge — who named her business after her own children, Emerson and Sloan — has thought of everything, from cute signs to market a lemonade stand to Shuglove candy jars for stashing party favors or hostess gifts. You'll also find witty candles (from G.I. Joe wax men to sparklers rendered in golden initials) and themed centerpieces made of easy-to-assemble cardboard patterns (think pirate ships, long-haul trucks with a cargo of cars and a princess castle). Just wander about, and inspiration is sure to strike — no craft room required. Laurann Claridge Emerson Sloan 2414 Rice Blvd., 713.497.5876, PARTY OF GREAT LADY Peanut butter cookies Common Bond at your service BOND US Kim Etheridge JENNY ANTILL JENNY ANTILL IN RESIDENCE Maryam Afshari in Amir Taghi Atelier gown JENNY ANTILL Fruit croissant

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