100 Favorite Dishes 2013: No. 67, Bad-Ass Hambur-Torta at Pistolero's
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. It's a list to drool over.
Photo from Pistolero's The bad-ass hambur-torta is neither a hamburger nor a torta. Discuss.
My dad was recently in town for a visit, and after eating fairly healthy food on the first several days of his trip, we were feeling pretty proud of ourselves. We hadn't yet given in to our normal father/daughter dining whims, which tend to include a lot of carbs and a lot of ice cream. I was trying to figure out where to take him next when he stood up from the sofa across from me and uttered a shocking proclamation:
"I want a burger. Like, a big, crazy burger with everything on it. A big, meaty, over-the-top burger."
At first I was confused, and I assumed he was kidding.
"OK, OK, hang on," I said, rolling my eyes. "Give me a second. I'm trying to think of a really good salad place."
"No," he said, his eyes widening in anticipation. "I mean it. I want a big, sloppy burger."
"Well, then," I said. "If you're sure ... I know just the place."
Which brings us to Pistolero's and the badass hambur-torta, a tower of meat, cheese and just about everything else the chef keeps stocked in the kitchen. When the waitress placed the 6-inch tall burger in front of my father, he smiled, then laughed, then thanked me for taking him to this magical place.
The hambur-torta is not something you eat with your hands, like you might a regular ol' Whataburger. This is like burger Jenga -- one false move and the whole thing comes tumbling down. Might as well just dig in with a fork and the massive serrated steak knife that impales the burger to give it structural integrity.