100 Favorite Dishes 2013: No. 52, Fried Bananas Foster at Custom Confections
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 courtesy Custom Confections So, yeah, it's a little phallic. But it tastes great.
Festival food can be extremely hit-or-miss. Turkey legs can be hearty and juicy or dry and overcooked. Funnel cakes can be crisp or oily. Cotton candy is, well, sugar, so it's hard to mess that up.
At Tuesday's Free Press Houston New Year's Eve event, I was introduced to some fun and fanciful takes on fair or festival food from restaurants around Houston, including a few food trucks. One of those food trucks was Custom Confections, who decided to create a new, upscale version of the funnel cake by combining it with a dessert favorite -- bananas foster.
Bananas foster is usually made by sautéing sliced bananas in a mixture of sugar, butter, rum or banana liqueur and cinnamon until they're soft, then topping them with ice cream and the sauce from the pan. Custom Confections does it a little differently.
One of the owners, Kimberly Revis, explained that she doesn't usually like funnel cakes pumped out at the fair, but she likes the idea of them. So she decided that, rather than pan frying the bananas for bananas foster, she'd coat them in homemade funnel cake batter and deep fry them.
Photo courtesy Custom Confections The bright green and pink food truck.
She and her husband and business partner, Tony, take whole bananas instead of just slices, so you get one big ol' fried banana on your plate. That's topped with a homemade butter, cinnamon and rum syrup, a few scoops of vanilla bean ice cream and some whipped cream, because why the hell not?
The fried bananas foster was served to a panel of judges at the FPHNYE Gastrodome on New Year's Eve, and it was named the best re-imagined festival food at the event. It beat out offerings from Uchi, Nara, Boheme, Happy Endings, Radical Eats, Lowbrow, Prego, Fluff Bake Bar and El Big Bad to take home bragging rights on their dish.
What makes bananas foster so great is usually the way the sugar in the bananas caramelizes and gets a little crunchy. You don't get that with Custom Confections's version, but you do get funnel cake and a hot, melty banana enveloped inside it. Pretty great for something made out of a truck.
On a side note, Custom Confections has just launched a Kickstarter to raise money for a storefront. The campaign runs through January 23, so if you want a brick-and-mortar shop for fried bananas foster, donate now.
The list so far:
No. 100: Bangkok Fries at Boheme
No. 99: Almond Croissant at Phoenicia
No. 98: Bulgogi Tacos with Kimchi at Chi'Lantro
No. 97: Soft Pretzel from Mongoose Versus Cobra
No. 96: Chicken and Waffles at Adair Kitchen
No. 95: Sweet Potato Gnocchi at Brooklyn Athletic Club
No. 94: Foie Gras Mac & Cheese at BRC Gastropub
No. 93: Vuelve a la Vida Soup at Connie's Seafood
No. 92: Homeroom at Bernie's Burger Bus
No. 91: Lobster Cake Benedict at Sorrel Urban Bistro
No. 90: Uncle Daryl's Cake at The Chocolate Bar
No. 89: Porchetta e Fagioli at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
No. 88: Sesame Soft Balls at Golden Dim Sum
No. 87: Crab Daddy Bao at Fat Bao
No. 86: Ham, Egg & Cheese Crepe at Melange Creperie
No. 85: Pork Tamales at Irma's
No. 84: Greek Burger at Hubcap Grill
No. 83: Lobster Roll at Maine-ly Sandwiches
No. 82: Grilled Ahi Tuna at St. John's Fire
No. 81: Catfish and Grits at The Breakfast Klub
No. 80: The Marie Laveau Sandwich at Sandy Witch
No. 79: Carnissima Pizza at Coppa Osteria
No. 78: Mortadella Sandwich at 13 Celsius
No. 77: Lamb Lollipops at Américas
No. 76: The Heights Burger at Gratifi
No. 75: 'Date With a Pig' at Sparrow Bar + Cookshop
No. 74: Taco al Pastor at Taco Keto
No. 73: Chili Cheese Mac from Jus' Mac
No. 72: Chicken Pot Pie at Kenny & Ziggy's
No. 71: Lazy Lane Frites at Brasserie 19
No 70: Banana Split at Cloud 10 Creamery
No. 69: Dozen Raw Oysters at Pappas Seafood
No. 68: Green "Hurry Curry" at Nit Noi
No. 67: Bad Ass Hambur-Torta at Pistolero's
No. 66: Enchiladas de Mole at La Guadalupana
No. 65: Shorty Mac at H-Town StrEATS
No. 64: Squirrel Master Burger at Cottonwood
No. 63: Bánh Mì at Les Givral's Sandwich and Cafe
No. 62: Korean Spiced Brisket Plate at Revival Market
No. 61: Old Fashioned Frito Pie at Armadillo Palace
No. 60: Patata e Funghi Pizza at Pizaro's
No. 59: Baklava French Toast at Harry's Restaurant & Cafe
No. 58: Grilled Cheese at The Golden Grill
No. 57: Macarons at Ganache Dessert Bar
No. 56: Eggplant Fries at Batanga
No. 55: The Juicy Lucy Burger at Lowbrow
No. 54: Kimchi Koagie at Koagie Hots
No. 53: Bánh Canh Hue at Simply Pho