I asked the owner of Doshi House why he decided to open a coffee house in the former war-zone known as Houston’s Third Ward. His answer was “Because nothing like it was here”. Really, this is a good answer, if not the best answer. Its simple supply-demand economics in a city that is inundated with eateries and options for coffee. Doshi Guy is young, probably 20’s but he seems to have the head for business and the open-minded personality necessary to keep his small, comfortable establishment moving forward with the surprising changes occurring in Houston’s emerging Third Ward and EaDo neighbourhoods.
Unpretentious, comfortable, quirky. While some long-time Houston residents may still feel uneasy traveling down Elgin St. on the east side of I-59, I did not at all sense any danger. Scruffy area in transition, certainly – daytime gang shootings – no.
The food selection is a small part of the menu; a few paninis and soups during the day, a few other items for dinner. All of the food is vegetarian. Sister is a no-grain-eating vegan so I learned long ago that vegetarian food can be delicious; preparation is key.
Prepare they can. I had the Urban Pepper Panini at the suggestion of Baritsa Girl and it was quite good. The flavor anchors are grilled mushrooms, the two different peppers – pepperocini and banana pepper — and the protein, which is made from soy, wheat and shitake mushrooms; it tasted beef-like.
The bulk of the menu is coffees, teas and smoothies – perfect accessories for the University of Houston students on both campuses in close proximity who might want to park and study on a sofa. I was really curious about the Mughal Spice, which is an espresso based drink with steamed milk and saffron. Yes, you read that correctly. I have to say, of all the coffees I’ve tried in Houston, this one is the hands-down favourite. The drink is both strong and creamy but with an other-worldly kick of saffron.
While sipping my Mughal and watching the colorful community pass by on Dowling St, I read over the postcard menu, completely convinced there will be a return visit. On the postcard I noticed that most everything is locally sourced. I also noticed that the outside sign touting a cultivation of community is not so much lip service since they expend some considerable effort and expense to advertise all of the artistic talent and events in the community. Doshi Guy was very enthusiastic about the Project Row House effort around the corner, I’ll be soaking that up with my next Mughal Spice, which could quite possibly be tonight.
Lunch: 29 June 2013
Doshi House | 3419 Dowling | Houston, TX 77004