100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 80, Dahi Puri at Shiv Sagar
This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston® issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Some people like to eat Sunday brunch at Backstreet Cafe or benjy's. While I adore both of those places -- and traditional American brunch in general -- Shiv Sagar is my preferred go-to spot for Sunday mid-morning eating, and has been for years. It may not offer mimosas or bellinis, but I'd rather drink the dregs of a cumin-dusted salt lassi to restore myself after a long Saturday any day.
The salt lassi (or mango, if you have a sweet tooth) serves another purpose, too: cooling off the heat from Shiv Sagar's fiery samosas or peppery plates of dahi puri. I switch between the two dishes each time, trying to decide which I like best. Lately, the vibrant dahi puri have been winning out.
It's not just about the brightly bouncing flavors inside the puffy puri shells -- sour-sweet tamarind chutney, tangy yogurt, spicy mint chutney, stiff red onions, herbal cilantro -- but about the contrasting textures and even temperatures. The chickpeas inside are soft and tender under the boisterous crunch of the puri shells and shreds of sev, the yogurt cold and bracing against the warmer chutneys. The dahi puri are so much fun to eat, they're one of the few dishes I could have every day and never grow bored of. Luckily, they're quite inexpensive, too -- under $5 for a plate of six -- so indulging is a cheap, thrilling treat.
The list so far:
No. 100: Chili cheese mac at Jus' Mac
No. 99: Texas turkey sandwich at Spec's
No. 98: Custard at Petite Sweets
No. 97: Caprichos mixtos at Taqueria Monterrey Chiquito
No. 96: Pineapple-wasabi burger at Lankford Grocery
No. 95: Farmer's MKT Pizza at Phoenicia's MKT Bar
No. 94: Potatoes at Money Cat Brunch
No. 93: Breakfast tacos at Sunrise Taquito
No. 92: Hot dog at Tacos D.F.
No. 91: Avocado gelato at Frozen Cafe
No. 90: Chicken sandwich at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers
No. 89: Beer-battered asparagus at Hearsay
No. 88: Honey Badger omelet at Kraftsmen Cafe
No. 87: Pastelitos de carne at El Jalapeño
No. 86: Pancakes at Union Kitchen
No. 85: Wild boar and crab pizza at Boheme
No. 84: Breakfast croissant at BB Donuts
No. 83: Pretzel at Anvil Bar & Refuge
No. 82: Short rib sandwich at Shepherd Park Draught House
No. 81: Grilled shrimp po-boy at Pappadeaux
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