Five Foods You Miss Long After You Leave Houston
Houston is a damn fine food town. Pity the Houston expat who leaves and never tastes queso again. Pity me, who left five years ago for the better weather of Los Angeles and found myself missing the grub immediately. Thankfully, I come back a couple times a year to visit my folks, and every time I drive around town and eat all the Houston foods I miss. It's a pilgrimage that puts on five pounds in a week, a Hajj of hand-formed hamburgers and homemade gravy.
Photo by Keith Plocek Whether you call it Christian's Tailgate or Christian's Totem, there's no denying the burger is a classic.
What's surprising is that over the five years I've been gone, certain foods have dropped off the list entirely. Whataburger, once a given of every visit home, now seems like a salty, soggy mess. Star Pizza does not stand the test of time. Even some Tex-Mex staples, like super thin tortilla chips dipped in warm salsa, lose their deep red allure over the years (sacrilege, I know).
But other Houston foods--five in particular--have held fast. These are the Houston foods for the ages, the ones you miss long after you leave.
5. Hand-Formed Hamburgers That Aren't Fancy
Hamburgers usually fall into two camps: machine-made patties that just aren't that good and crazy-fancy burgers with 15 options of toppings. We can dismiss the first group outright (sorry, In-N-Out), and the second group (hello, The Counter) has the quality but also tries way too hard and costs way too much.
But there's a third group: The hand-formed Houston burgers you'll find at Rudyard's, Christian's Totem/Tailgate or myriad other places around town. Subtle simplicity goes a long way, and these burgers (and tots! and onion rings!) don't drain your wallet either. Eat your heart out, Goldilocks. And have a Saint Arnold beer while you're at it.
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