LOCAL Houston | The City Guide November 2016 - Page 24

OPEN By Brian Tagtmeier LIBERTY KITCHEN AT THE TREEHOUSE CUISINE: Southern/American EXECUTIVE CHEF: Eric Laird 963 Bunker Hill Rd. | 713.468.3745 Mon–Thurs: 11am–10pm; Fri: 11am–11pm; Sat: 9am–11pm; Sun: 9am–9pm When I was a kid, I dreamed of having the perfect treehouse. A place where I could share good times with friends, and not have to worry about anything. It took 50 years, but I finally found it. Liberty Kitchen at the Treehouse, the newest member of the F.E.E.D. family, provides excellent comfort food in a space designed for the adult trying to escape the real world. In keeping with the Liberty Kitchen tradition, many of the favorites are available: oysters from the Gulf and East Coasts, deviled eggs and gumbos. What sets the Treehouse apart is the 14-foot-long wood-fired grill, which Executive Chef Eric Laird uses to perfection, and the expanded menu inspired by F.E.E.D. partner Lance Fegen’s surfing vacations (which he calls research). The wood-fired grill allows the Treehouse to smoke its own salmon Seattlestyle. On top of the deviled eggs, it was divine. The loaded hushpuppies were also a star. Crisp on the outside and delicate inside, the cherry peppers, bacon jam, queso, fried pork belly and sliced bratwurst turned a simple side into a decadent meal. The sausage plate highlighted the international flavors with chorizo, morcilla (Colombia), and Chinese pork belly served with dipping Lamb burger sauces to die for. Dutch oven entrees like the red beans and rice with chicken were impressive for the depth of flavors. CAFEZA CUISINE: Spanish/Latin American café 1720 Houston Ave. | 832.203.8016 | www.cafeza.com Mon–Thurs: 6am–11pm; Fri–Sat: 6am–midnight; Sun: 6am–11pm Success in the restaurant business often turns on a place catering to particular clientele. Cafeza, a Spanish/Latin American café, has enough to make it a destination for every time of day. For the early crowd, the baristas serve a wide variety of coffee and tea. An off the menu item (soon to be featured) is the picadito – a cortado flavored with chocolate and amaretto syrups with a healthy dash of cayenne. For the tea lover, Cafeza has a SteamPunk craft brewing machine. It is one of only 300 machines nationwide calibrated to steep the tea at the perfect temperature for a flawless brew every time. The Pan Latin aspects of the menu are well-showcased for lunch. An interesting twist on a Spanish favorite is the Paella soup. Paella can be a kitchen nightmare. By pureeing the rice in a creamy bisque with shrimp and large pieces of chorizo, Cafeza has a delicious and more kitchen-friendly form. Bocadillos, light sandwiches, provide flavors from Cuba, Spain and Argentina. My f