We Love Food

Our 100 favorite dishes in Houston.

Rebecca Masson's version of Hobnobs, the English "digestive biscuit," are endlessly crave-able in their simplicity. They're the dessert version of Pringles; you can't eat just one, crunching through a top layer of thinly spread milk chocolate into salty-sweet cookie itself below. Pick one up at Revival Market (550 Heights) and enjoy with coffee from the attached cafe.

No. 73: Chu chee eggplant from Nidda Thai Cuisine

1226 Westheimer, 713-522-8895

No. 1: Cheese enchiladas at Los Dos Amigos
Katharine Shilcutt
No. 1: Cheese enchiladas at Los Dos Amigos

"Choo chee" in Thai cuisine refers to a red curry that's made with galangal, caraway, lemongrass, chiles and garlic. But the most important ingredient is fresh Kaffir lime leaves. Nidda Thai heaps its house-made curry on top of battered slices of eggplant so delicate and light it hardly seems right to call them "fried."

No. 72: Sausage sampler from King's Biergarten

1329 E. Broadway, ­Pearland, 832-569-4141

The sausage sampler at King's, which has a beautiful "biergarten" outside built by owner Johann Sitler, is just shy of $11 and comes with enough food to split between two people: three sausages, bacon-studded sauerkraut, red cabbage, white bread and strong, thick mustard.

No. 71: Shawarma from Abdallah's

3939 Hillcroft, 713-952-4747

The chicken, shaved from the spit, is soft but lightly crisped on the edges. Tahini here has an aggressive pop of garlic, while pickled turnips are crisp and bright. The soft, thin pita bread that holds it all together is made fresh every day and grilled slightly to bring all the ingredients in line.

No. 70: Moules frites at the Broken Spoke Cafe

1809 Washington, 713-863-7029

Le Complet Belge is my favorite way to enjoy the duo of mussels and fries, because it comes with a pint of Stella Artois to round it out — and all for $25, which is only $5 more than the pot of moules marinières alone. Owner Catherine Duwez will whip up a special dipping sauce for the mussels with her wonderful, house-made mayonnaise. In the style of Antwerp, the sauce is meant for the mussels only — "not the fries!" as she will quickly point out — and is made by whipping mayonnaise together with malt vinegar. The combination is addictive, especially on the briny-sweet, super plump mussels that you can pop like candy until the pot is empty. No. 69: Hong Kong-style French toast at House of Bowls

6650 Corporate Dr., 713-776-2288

True to Hong Kong's gloriously messy nature of co-opting Western food into its own wondrous new dishes, the French toast here is indeed battered with egg and fried in a pan. But it's also stuffed with salty, creamy peanut butter and topped with sweetened condensed milk in place of syrup.

No. 68: Sashimi sampler at Sushi Miyagi

10600 Bellaire, 281-933-9112

The "standards" are all represented on this platter alongside less appreciated but equally delicious scallops, octopus and mackerel. Best of all is finding the small creations that Chef Miyagi has skillfully crafted from slices of lemon rind or carrot peels: swans, roses or other, abstract objects that make this dish a work of art.

No. 67: Baleadas from ­Honduras Maya Cafe & Bar

5945 Bellaire, 713-668-5002

Just one baleada will make a brilliant breakfast: a huge, fat, fluffy, platter-size flour tortilla that contains a thick spread of refried beans, a crumbling of salty white cheese and tangy crema that tastes more like sour cream. Add eggs or avocados for 25 cents more.

No. 66: Snow ice from Star Snow Ice & Teriyaki

9889 Bellaire, 713-988-8028

At Star Snow Ice, you choose from an array of toppings for your bowl of shaved ice. The fresh fruit available usually includes strawberries, mango, papaya, kiwi and pineapple. Or try the sweet red beans, topped — as always — with a generous portion of sweetened condensed milk.

No. 65: Boudin balls from MerCheri's


No. 64: Miso ramen at Umai


No. 63: Grim burger at Lankford Grocery

88 Dennis, 713-522-9555

One imagines the Grim Burger is so named because of the ingredients that veritably invite death by heart attack: bacon, jalapeños, a fried egg and a heap of macaroni and cheese. The bacon tastes like it came from a well-seasoned diner griddle, the mac 'n' cheese from a particularly good church potluck.

No. 62: Dabeli at Bansuri Indian Food Corner

11468 Wilcrest, 713-624-2009

Dabeli are basically Indian sliders, a savory potato mix that's shaped into a patty and placed between two slightly sweet, fluffy buns. The potato mix at Bansuri's food truck is seasoned with cumin, cinnamon and nutmeg, made according to an old family recipe.

No. 61: Wine and cupcakes at 13 Celsius

3000 Caroline, 713-529-8466

Every Wednesday, local baker Jody Stevens brings her cupcakes in to 13 Celsius for a limited-run wine-and-cupcakes pairing. Past acts have ranged from peaches and cream cupcakes paired with Muga rosé of Tempranillo to salted caramel and chocolate cupcakes paired with Madeira.

No. 60: Pâté de France from Spec's Deli

2410 Smith, 713-526-8787

This creation is a sandwich within a sandwich: thinly sliced Angus roast beef on one side and country-style pâté surround a filling of crunchy coleslaw. On the outside of the "inner sandwich," slices of tomatoes rest against mayonnaise on one side of the bread and whole grain mustard on the other.

No. 59: Steak and eggs from The Original Ninfa's on Navigation

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Thanks for the 2012 dining guide!