This year, leading up to our annual Menu of Menus® issue, Kaitlin Steinberg counts down her 100 favorite dishes as she eats her way through Houston. She'll compile a collection of the dishes she thinks are the most awesome, most creative and, of course, most delicious in town. It's a list of personal favorites, things she thinks any visitor or Houstonian ought to try at least once and dishes that seem particularly indicative of the ever-changing Houston foodscape.
Photo by Max Burkhalter This dish is so good, it got its own photo shoot.
I first ate this dish back in August of 2013, and it's been on my mind -- and my list -- ever since.
On August 7, I attended the second in a series of regional Italian cuisine dinners hosted by Tony Vallone at Ciao Bello. The first one had been focused on the food of Sicily, but the one I went to was about Naples, a region Jeremy Parzen, our wine writer and a friend of Vallone's, tells me is very close to the restaurateur's heart. And boy, did Vallone's passion show in the food.
The meal was prepared by Bobby Matos, executive chef at Ciao Bello, whose name I firmly believe needs to be mentioned in the same sentences as Chris Shepherd, Hugo Ortega and Marco Wiles as making some of the best, most praiseworthy food in Houston. The cuisine of Ciao Bello isn't pushing boundaries, as it is at Oxheart, The Pass or Uchi, but it is, in my opinion, some of the most immensely satisfying food in Houston.
Which brings me to the best thing I've eaten here all year, prepared with skill and restraint by chef Matos: the Pastiera.More »