Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Hobbit Cafe

Just to let you know, these days when I write reviews for you guys, I like to think "newsy" to myself when I write them. Like I'm a little old lady reporting the happenings of my small town to other ladies in her small town. Like I'm Marilyn Hagerty?

OK OK but seriously I know it's called The Hobbit Cafe (located at 2243 Richmond Avenue) but I didn't actually think it was Lord of the Rings themed. I mean honestly, when you hear "The Hobbit Cafe" you just think its just this tiny as all get out restaurant (do you think I'm still riding on the Marilyn Hagerty phase?) that's impossible to find, which it is. I mean have any of you guys been to the Hobbit Cafe? It's impossible to find. I had a friend who worked there and once I went to pick her up from work and so that's my first impression of this place, it's this tiny tiny tiny restaurant in the parking lot of another restaurant completely overshadowed by some huge parking garage, so you can't really see it from the street. Much like a hobbit lives! I thought that's where the theme ended! But no, guys, it's an actual Lord of the Rings themed restaurant. Did any of you think we needed one of those? There are maps of Middle Earth, LotR movie posters (I actually think it's nerdier to abbreviate Lord of the Rings, so that's how I'll be referring to it for the rest of the review), themed menu items, and a blurb on the front of the menu talking about hobbits. I honestly don't know how I feel about this. I mean I think that a LotR themed restaurant is a little excessive, am I right guys? Look, I equate the LotR fandom to the Harry Potter fandom in their levels of obsession, and I think that's why I look down on LotR. Because I love Harry Potter, I instantly think anything that rivals His Power and Might to be instantly offensive. -9 But seriously guys, they were pretty detailed. I ate a lamb burger, and it was New Zealand lamb. I mean it was a pretty gross burger why didn't they just use American lamb I'm sure it's fresher, but LotR was FILMED in New Zealand! It practically IS Middle Earth! I just think that anybody who's willing to put that much thought into their menu deserves a +9 to cancel out their detractions.

Here's what I thought was stupid about the Hobbit Cafe: there's a whole "South of the Border" section on their menu. OK seriously, we live in Texas! You don't have to go south of the border for good Mexican food, you have to go anywhere in Houston except for El Real! South of the border is just an excessive trip to earn you frequent flyer miles to go somewhere you'd rather, it's certainly not a culinary expedition! Here are titles that they could have used for their south of the border section, which includes things like "the Hobbit wrap", "veggie enchiladas", and "hickory chicken" (all of which, to me, sound like they were invented in America, NORTH OF THE BORDER): Average tasting tex-mex; obligatory foods we know everybody will enjoy; things you can add avocado to for an additional 2.79; things they eat in North Dakota and call Mexican food. In their defense, when they say "south of the border" they don't ONLY mean Mexico, they also have Caribbean themed foods. But I'm not really in the habit of defending the restaurants I review lately so I'm still going to give them a -18 for mislabeling this huge section of their menu.

Here's what else bothered me: on their menu, they describe Hobbits as being "smaller than dwarves - not much larger than Lilliputians." Normally something like this would just go over my head, but I happen to be reading Gulliver's travels this week for my political theory class, and Gulliver describes Lilliputians to be "not more than six inches high." I read the Hobbit when I was in fourth grade, so I went ahead and did the research for you and can report that the internet says they are between two and four feet high. Does that seem like "not much larger than Lilliputians" to you? No! Between four hundred and eight hundred percent of the first's height does not mean it's "not much larger than"! I feel like this is literary name dropping! That's the worst kind of name dropping, because it is the most pretentious kind! If anybody should be name dropping, it's you, saying that you love to read Catherine Martin's blog Arbitrary Criticism! -13

But it wasn't all bad. When we went it was kind of at a later part of the evening and they stuck us in this room off the main building. The rest of the restaurant seemed to be these rooms that were all windingly connected - much like a Hobbit hole - but this particular room had four tables and had this completely arbitrary door disconnecting it from the rest of the restaurant. Now, if you guys know me at all, even if this is your first blog post, you should know that I absolutely love arbitrary things! I loved that door! It seemed really inconvenient for our waitress because she couldn't discretely check to see if we needed any extra water or whatever, she had to physically put her entire body into the room with us and by that time it was obvious that she was there so we all had to interact. And the thing is, there were only four tables in there, so it's not like it gave them very much extra space at all! It was just this tiny room that had been thrown up against the side of the building! Blrrgh! (Get it? Like instead of being haphazardly built against the side of the building like you were thinking, it was vomited up by some huge monster? Heh heh heh) Anyways I found it to be very arbitrary +36 and charming as well. +9

Anyways chumps that's my review of the Hobbit Cafe. If you have any questions or facts about Hobbits that you'd like to share, feel free to contact me at!!!!

Hobbit Cafe on Urbanspoon


  1. BAHAHAHA Catherine! I've been to The Hobbit Cafe for sunday brunch and the apple cinnamon pancakes were amazing! As well as the strawberry lemonade...they put chunks of fresh strawberries in there! Try their food for breakfast and you'll love it! :)

  2. Loved the Hobbit Cafe myself, but loved your review more. If it weren't for your mistaken belief that good Mexican food is available as far east as Houston, it would've been worth being made to seem [more] snobbish by dropping your name into my all-too-frequent culinary conversations.

  3. I really do appreciate your review & this is not a slam, but it's obvious that you are a very new arrival in Houston. It seems that you are unaware that The Hobbit Café has been around a very long time (opening in 1972 as The Hobbit Hole near the corner of Shepherd & San Felipe, before Peter Jackson's voice cracked at the first signs of puberty); the restaurant theme is based on the books (not even the animated movie had been produced yet) & opened a year before the author died.
    As for your observations & opinions, please don't think I'm challenging them. We didn't dine together & I don't know your tastes & preferences, so I'm only trying to set you straight on how the place came to be.

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