Ten Best Signs You're a Houston Foodie

9561766.87.jpg
Photo courtesy El Tiempo
...you're not entirely sure Mama Ninfa isn't your own grandmother, too...
6. You like to tell the entire histories of Ninfa's and Carrabba's restaurants (and name at least three generations of Laurenzos and Carrabbas) for your friends at parties.
Who among us doesn't know the rocky history of Ninfa's, the restaurant where fajitas were invented and margaritas were perfected? We can all recite the story of the single mother who worked her way from small tortilla stand to restaurant empire, only to lose it all when the chain went bust shortly before her death. And we know that the Laurenzo family now owns El Tiempo, where Mama Ninfa's dreams and recipes are kept alive. And then there are the Carrabbas, related, of course, to the Mandolas. The two large Italian families came to Galveston with little but the clothes on their backs and some killer recipes, and now there are Carrabba's chains all over the country. If you don't know all this, you can read about these folks and more in our First Families of Houston Food feature.

monicapppopehotdog.jpg
Photo by Molly Dunn
The "Date With A Dog" designed by Monica Pope for James Coney Island.
5. Your hot dogs and burgers are designed by chefs, hand-formed and never previously frozen.
In Houston, we won't settle for Oscar Mayer or McDonald's. Not when we've got James Coney Island (now JCI Grill, if you're into that), Bernie's Burger Bus, Good Dog Houston, Hubcap Grill and any number of other purveyors of hand-ground, chef-made hot dogs and hamburgers. Typically relegated to the realms of crappy fast food, we take our franks and burgers seriously in Houston--so seriously, in fact that JCI hosted a series of chefs to make their own hot dogs, and we don't often think twice about paying upwards of $10 for a great burger.

papasitos-thumb.jpg
Photo by Kevin Shalin
Not too shabby, Pappasito's. Not too shabby.
4. You know exactly which Tex-Mex restaurants make the best salsa.
Any respectable Tex-Mex joint--be it a classy, sit down establishment or a lowly taco stand--makes its own salsa, and it's usually served gratis with a container of freshly fried corn tortilla chips. It's a magical moment when you taste a new salsa for the first time and realize you're going to fill up on chips and dip before the entrees even arrive. And sometimes it's so good, you have to ask for a to-go container to take some home with you, because store-bought salsa just won't do.

This story continues on the next page.


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
16 comments
leaveHtownKS
leaveHtownKS

Wow, what a stupid list.  I hope nobody reads this and thinks Houstonions are this dumb.  We invented Vietnamese food?  Phuck me.  This is just embarrassing.  Oh, we need more lists.  This list will top the list of Steinberg's dumbest lists.


Oh, Underbelly isn't really that good.  Definitely not as good as its PR machine.

leaveHtownKS
leaveHtownKS

Wow, what a stupid list.  I hope nobody reads this and thinks Houstonions are this dumb.  We invented Vietnamese food?  Phuck me.  This is just embarrassing.  Oh, we need more lists.  This list will top the list of Steinberg's dumbest lists.


Oh, Underbelly isn't really that good.  Definitely not as good as its PR machine.

del.martinis
del.martinis topcommenter

At least I got 3 of them off the list!

John Varkey
John Varkey

We can fix some but I trust you will never fix #3.

Rachel Lowe
Rachel Lowe

Ken Piddington...another reason we are going home! THE FOOD!!!

Janese Williams
Janese Williams

Thomas Hanks you totally get me!!! I've been to just about every restaurant mentioned and def all the ones mentioned in the first freaking paragraph of the article haha, Burt's had me rolling!! That place is sooooo good!!!

Bruce_Are
Bruce_Are topcommenter

As for Item 2, if you think the pho and banh mi are any better here than anywhere else then you need to get your head out of your arse.

cobra
cobra

Not real crazy about the term foodie, it played out years ago, except among the girly and fogey set at CultureMap and My Table, respectively. Interesting piece, nonetheless.

Bruce_Are
Bruce_Are topcommenter

@FattyFatBastard

My point was that there's nothing special about Vietnamese fast food in Houston. It's ubiquitous in populated areas throughout the US. 

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...