This Week in Food Blogs: Origin Stories, Yelp Feuds and Frito Pie
Houstonia: The folks over at Houstonia were conducting some really interesting reporting on Monday, and decided to go the Buzzfeed route with an entertaining list. John Nova Lomax scoured fast-food companies' histories to uncover fun and surprising facts about your favorite joints. Among the interesting tidbits he uncovered: The original Taco Cabana in San Antonio stayed open around the clock on its second day of business because all of its patio furniture was stolen when it closed after normal operating hours on its first day of business. It's been a 24-hour establishment ever since.
Photo by Channone Arif According to Houstonia, this Taco Cabana never closes, so you can't steal their stuff.
City of Ate: Our sister paper in Dallas caught wind of a small Yelp feud that happened at the end of August on the page for Dallas pub Ten Bells Tavern. Evidently, the user Mark G. was dissatisfied with his experience at Ten Bells, so he took to the the universal bitch forum (aka Yelp) to give the restaurant and the rest of the plugged-in world a piece of his mind. He left the only one-star review of Ten Bells on Yelp. The owner of the tavern, Meri Dahlke, read Mark's comment and took it upon herself to set a few things straight. Like the fact that Mark is basically a self-entitled prick (in case you couldn't tell by the fact that he is a Yelp meanie), and the reason he was disappointed in the pub is that he tried to get out of showing an ID by revealing his chest hair to the female employees. Well done, Mark. Dahlke later featured a special deal at the pub in which anyone who came in and said "Mark G. is a dick" was offered a free beer. The story was also covered on Gawker and Reddit.
Urban Swank: Houston is enamored with the newly opened Maine-ly Sandwiches on South Shepherd, but Urban Swank's blogger (and frequent EOW contributor) Joanna O'Leary wants to remind us all that lobster rolls aren't the only thing that block of Shepherd has to offer. Next to the sandwich shop is Gusto Gourmet, a Latin-Mediterranean fusion restaurant. What, you might ask yourself, is Latin-Mediterranean Fusion? O'Leary explains: " ... the rustic ingredients of Italian cooking (combined with) with the comforting architecture of South American sandwiches in the form of arepas stuffed with mozzarella cheese, sautéed eggplant, and tomato." OK, we're in. O'Leary recommends you also check out the tequeños, "crispy, long hollow spears of white dough traditionally filled with cheese," and the mendocas, "crunchy deep-fried rings of dough made from a mash of cornmeal, sugar, overripe plantains, and cheese."
The Woodlands Eats: In other exciting news, The Woodlands Eats claims to have found real, New York, street-style pizza at RC's NYC Pizza and Pasta in the Woodlands. Though the crust in most of the photos looks too thick and chewy to be legit New York style (it has to be thin enough that you can fold it in half and let the grease drip off the back), it does look pretty tasty. The owner, RC Gallegos, learned pizza-making from well-known pizzerias in New York, including Bleecker Street Pizza, which has been awarded the distinction of "Best Pizza in New York" by the Food Network three times. The Woodlands Eats eaters seemed to love the pizza, but we'd like to find out for ourselves sometime in the near future. Calling any pizza "New York pizza" is ballsy, but if it is indeed the real thing and we can get it as close as the Woodlands, then color me thrilled.
CultureMap: Glass Half Full, a new documentary about OKRA Charity Saloon and the people behind the ongoing revitalization of the Market Square Park neighborhood, is available to watch online now. Eric Sandler reports that University of Houston student Jake Fiedler and four of his classmates thought the development of the bar and interviews with the people involved would make for an interesting short documentary. Among the people they interviewed are Anvil co-owner and OKRA president Bobby Heugel; Grand Prize co-owners Brad Moore and Ryan Rouse; Paulie's owner Paul Petronella; Antidote, Poison Girl and Black Hole co-owner Scott Repass; and Repass's partners at Black Hole, Miriam Carrillo and Dawn Callaway. At just under 12 minutes, the documentary is a short watch. Check it out on your lunch break!
Texas Monthly: TM always knows the way to our hearts, and this week is no exception. Courtney Bond takes a look at the Texan tradition Frito Pie, a staple of fairs, football games and school cafeterias across the state. In investigating the origins of Frito Pie, Bond concludes that it was probably invented independently by a number of people shortly after Fritos were invented in the 1930s. The first official recipe dates back to the 1950s, and since then it's been reincarnated in so many different ways that it's difficult to keep track of all the permutations. Bond is partial to the classic, and she provides a recipe that calls for few ingredients and instructs diners to eat Frito Pie the old fashioned way -- right out of the bag.
Bonus: If you don't love Amy Poehler, you're un-American. If you don't love Paula Deen, well, don't tell anyone, because they might just rip you to shreds in the comment section of a blog. Here, for your listening pleasure (courtesy of Jezebel) is Amy Poehler rapping about butter and Paula Deen. Please keep in mind that Poehler's comments are her own and do not necessarily represent the viewpoint of anyone else.
924 Congress St., Houston, TX
1424 Westheimer, Houston, TX
1010 Banks, Houston, TX
1834 Westheimer, Houston, TX
729 Studewood, Houston, TX
4504 Graustark St., Houston, TX
1641 Westheimer, Houston, TX