5 Food Trends Houston Should Export

Categories: Top Five

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Photo by Sunday Williams
Whataburger: What a burger, indeed.
It seems that Eater's post on 10 dead food trends has everyone talking, including the New York Times's Frank Bruni, who disagrees with the vital statistics of many items on the DOA list. Instead, he says, there is one trend above all that needs to die as swift a death as possible: farm-to-______.

There's no argument that the catch-all phrase farm-to-table or farm-to-anything has been used to death. So instead -- and in light of yesterday's post on five food trends to watch for in Houston -- we present a list of food trends that we think Houston should export to the rest of the nation.

These are the things we do best, the things we should be rightfully proud of. Other cities might have them to a certain extent, but not the way Houston does. Let's see if we can't get our burgeoning food traditions on a national stage.

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Photo by Joshua Bousel
Berryhill Tamales on Montrose, the new epicenter of Sunday Fundays.
5. Sunday Funday

If you're unfamiliar with the term "Sunday Funday," allow me to direct you to this short and sweet definition from Urban Dictionary:

By celebrating the "Sunday Funday" you can extend your weekend festivities just a little longer before hanging up your party pants. This day typically starts out with mimosas or bloody marys aka hair of the dog. It then typically continues through out the day until you find yourself wasted by about 6:30ish. Since the "Funday" ends early enough, you can rest assured that you will go to bed aka pass out early enough to be perfectly refreshed for work on monday morning.

Other cities may have limited Sunday Funday celebrations, but no city gets as into it as Houston, despite losing Sunday Funday epicenter La Strada in 2009. Maybe it's the fact that nearly every restaurant in Houston has a patio and most of them serve bottomless, sugary, alcoholic drinks on Sundays. Maybe it's the joint collaboration with Big Gay Brunch (see: even Mayor Parker does Big Gay Brunch). Whatever the reason, Sunday mid-afternoon is a great time to be a Houstonian if you enjoy partying in the broad daylight.

4. Whataburger

Although not based in Houston (the cheerful chain is from Corpus Christi), even the snobbiest Houstonians agree that this Texas burger chain is the only acceptable fast food -- even for breakfast. Whataburger serves that most Texan of breakfast foods: breakfast tacos, although they're called taquitos here, ready to be introduced to the rest of America. And it serves a true Texas burger, with a thin patty, lots of crunchy vegetables and a generous swipe of mustard. And with its idiosyncratic bright orange decor and late hours, it has every hallmark of being our In-N-Out Burger, our testament to the masses everything is better in Texas, even our fast food.


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Stephanie Manley
Stephanie Manley

I have never heard of the Sunday Funday, I love our crawfish boils!

Jamie
Jamie

It's ridiculous to even suggest that Vietnamese food, or ANY type of ethnic cuisine, is something that should be exported FROM Houston.

By its very definition, it came from somewhere else TO Houston. Don't be so near-sighted that you don't think it also exists elsewhere.

We were eating banh mi in Canada over 10 years ago...when they were called "Vietnamese subs" and weren't trendy.

craig
craig

We have only one thing to export:  The culture of being yourself.

See the diverse crowds at Nee Hao, Tel Wink Grill, Mandola's Deli, etc. to see what this city is all about.

Just be yourself!

WhiskeyR
WhiskeyR

I don't think of any of these as "trends". Cupcakes are a trend. Food Trucks are a trend. "Sunday Funday"?? Sheesh. Any city with NFL already has that for a trend half the year (lockout not withstanding).

Stusnow1
Stusnow1

Houstonians are so passionate about our food that they will argue about it. Recipes might start in one state but when it's prepared in another state, it's that chef's "take" on the dish and the dish becomes proprietary to that locale. There are Texas born Cajuns who might cook a little differently than Louisiana born Cajuns but they both dissolve the political borders when it comes down to it. Vive la diferance!

chadzilla
chadzilla

Seems that most of the best things to export from Houston have already been exported from Louisiana... so, then I guess I don't understand the focus on Houston cuisine... which isn't really Houston cuisine, but actually Louisiana.  Is this like praising Beatlemania instead of the Beatles?

csoakley
csoakley

Kolaches! When my friend from Atlanta was on a work project here in Houston he mocked the concept of stores selling 'pigs in blankets'. By them time he left a year later he wept for there were to be no kolaches back home.

craig
craig

You are hired!    Kudos for using your brain.  Wish you would have written the article.

Johnlaw
Johnlaw

SundayFunday and Whataburger, yawn, what inspired choices…. The next twoselections—Vietnamese food and crawfish boils—are imported into Texas. You arespot on with Gulf Coast seafood but then you employ a favorite Alison Cookcatchphrase “Johnny Appleseed” to describe P.J. Stoops in the photo caption.She had Bobby Huegel as Johnny Appleseed a few weeks ago and, if I recallcorrectly, that nice guy from O My Pocket Pies a few months back. I supposeemulation is a form of flattery but it also seems a tad lazy, which fits nicelywith the list--all this after Bootsiegate. For shame! For shame! 

Greg
Greg

I bet no one ever compared anyone to Johnny Appleseed before Alison Cook did. She's a real Johnny Appleseed of the phrase "Johnny Appleseed."

Felipe L Riccio
Felipe L Riccio

How could you have passed up Bryan Caswell's REEF when talking about Gulf Coast Seafood?

Brentjatko12181963
Brentjatko12181963

Farm-to-table is code for food that dinks can afford. Locavore is another word that should go the way of all flesh. The local produce at Houston farmer's markets is prohibitively expensive for the average family. The industrial farm industry in the US & throughout the world may seem offensive to foodies & purists, but they manage to feed the masses cheaper than anyone. Sustainable rice & wheat crops mean more to struggling farmers and starving, poverty-stricken nations than organic, farm-to-table & locavore produce and meat. 

Caroline
Caroline

So, 2 of your 5 food trends we should export are actually ones we imported from New Orleans? Was it that hard to find something Houston has done well in its own right that it didn't have to borrow from somewhere else?

michael
michael

this is an immigrant city, after all

Anamaris Cousins
Anamaris Cousins

I love that crawfish are on the list, I know I'm personally trying to figure out how to export them to Panama, cuz I can't live without'em!

Arielle
Arielle

Really? Vietnamese only since Katrina? I've discovered Vietnamese in Houston oh about 25 years ago and the quality then is about the same as it is now. The only thing that changed with the Katrina influx was the Viet-Cajun fusion.

I remember being in New Orleans about 15 years ago, recognizing a Vietnamese woman cause I was so immersed in it here. When I said I thought you were and she said where are you from and I said Houston, she understood. "Second largest Vietnamese population in Houston, very good Vietnamese food in Houston," she affirmed.

ostiones
ostiones

She whiffed on this one, but won't own it.  Houston has always been # 2 or 3 in Vietnamese population.  I hate to go wiki, but...  California has always been # 1, New Orleans not mentioned.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L...

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I'm confused. At what point did I say Houston had the largest Vietnamese population in the U.S.?

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

No, not just since Katrina. I only mentioned that as to allude to the 9,000 extra Vietnamese folks we got after the storm and to the fact that New Orleans is no longer the Vietnamese food capital of the U.S. -- we are. I know we've had a great Vietnamese population here for nearly as long as I've been alive. :)

Scott Lynch
Scott Lynch

When I first heard about this question, the first thing that came to my mind was something much more broad - good food at reasonable prices. Houston's best restaurants might not be able to compete with best restaurants in other cities around the world, but I dare say that when it comes to truly great food at prices that don't kill the pocket book, Houston is nearly impossible to beat.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I think this is a great point, and I'm kicking myself for having not included it.

Jim Ayres
Jim Ayres

Amen on #1. When I was in NYC earlier this week, I had a shrimp cocktail at the vaunted Mercer Kitchen. Small, mealy, sad little things... give me our outstanding Gulf shrimp any day!

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