The Humble Deli Sandwich

Houston's top 10 versions.

2. Fiddler on the Roof of Your Mouth at Kenny & Ziggy's

Look at that thing. Look at it. If there's a bigger sandwich in's still going to be at Kenny & Ziggy's. The Fiddler (or the Number One, as you're supposed to order it) is actually one of the always-busy deli's smaller sandwiches, which is what makes it one of my favorites. It's more easily managed this way, and you can actually make a college try at eating the pastrami-and-corned-beef sandwich as if it were an actual sandwich instead of an impressively towering pile of meat. K&Z's meat is what makes the sandwich, though, with corned beef and pastrami so tender the thin slices nearly melt. Add a touch of ­whole-grain mustard on top, grab a pickle to crunch between bites and you're in business.

1. Roast beef at Local Foods

There are so many ways to prepare daikon radishes.
Tyler Horne
There are so many ways to prepare daikon radishes.
Local Foods stays true to its name.
Troy Fields
Local Foods stays true to its name.

Even though it took over the old Antone's location (a deli) and is now a deli itself, you won't find a typical roast beef sandwich at Local Foods, the Rice Village restaurant from the owners of benjy's. Onto the delightfully rare, paper-thin slices of roast beef goes a spicy horseradish aioli along with some of Local Foods' crunchy kale salad, rosy red tomatoes and a layer of bright-yellow curried cauliflower that elevates the entire sandwich from "quick lunch" to "experience." And like all of the other sandwiches at Local Foods, the roast beef comes with your choice of two generous scoops of freshly made sides like couscous with carrots and pickled vegetables or a bowl of soup, all of which are more exciting offerings than a traditional bag of chips — and which make the price tags on these sandwich package deals (ranging from $9.50 to $12) a true value.

Garden Fresh

Farmers' Market Spotlight
Daikon radishes, locally grown by Congolese refugees.

Even if you've never heard of a daikon radish before, chances are you've had one. It's usually found julienned and pickled alongside carrots atop most banh mi sandwiches — but the thick white radish can be used for so much more than just sandwich topping.

And at the HCC Southwest Farmers Market, you can stock up on the radishes while supporting a terrific cause: Plant It Forward Farms, which works with Congolese refugees and — according to its mission statement — provides them with "an opportunity to become self-sufficient through growing, harvesting and selling produce from a sustainable urban micro-farm within the city of Houston."

"Plant It Forward Farms is one of our newest vendors at our farmers' markets," says market manager Tyler Horne. The nonprofit can be found farming in Westbury, where the group leases three acres of land from the Braeswood Assembly of God, and daikon radishes are just part of their weekly harvest.

Says Horne of the vegetable: "Recipewise, the daikon is pretty versatile. It is a staple vegetable of Japanese cuisine, with recipes utilizing the pickled form of it known as takuan in rice and sushi. I personally treat them like a huge radish and like to cut them up raw and put them in salads or cut them into big chunks and roast them like any other root vegetable."

Other options include incorporating the daikon into kimchi you're making at home or into any other pickled, brined or fermented mix of veggies. Imagine how good daikon would taste in a giardiniera, for example. And if you have a mandoline, you can shave thin ribbons of radish and use them in place of lettuce or spring roll rice paper to make Asian-style wraps.

Since the radishes are sold with the greens still attached, you can even use those. They're a tiny bit spicy, just like the radishes, and taste great when steamed lightly and used in place of spinach, Swiss chard or kale. With something as versatile as the daikon, the possibilities are nearly limitless. Katharine Shilcutt

Top 10

Yum Yum, Indeed
Top 10 restaurants in Rice Village.

We're tackling the city's neighborhoods one by one now that the Best of Houston® issue is out. First was Montrose, then the Heights and now Rice Village, an area that's absolutely saturated with great restaurants.

One of the best things about the saturation in Rice Village is how easy it is to park your car and spend an afternoon walking (imagine that!) around one of the most charming, idiosyncratic areas of Houston. Some of the shops in Rice Village — like G&G Model Shop — feel like stepping back in time, while others — such as British Isles — take you to a different part of the world entirely.

You can also accomplish this sense of departure by dining at some of the diverse restaurants all packed into this small area: Spanish tapas at Mi Luna, Indian food at Shiva or Bombay Brasserie, Vietnamese at Miss Saigon, Turkish at Pasha, British at Baker Street Pub, Thai at Thai Spice or Thai Village.

You can even grab a round of drinks Irish-style at Brian O'Neill's, Scottish-style at The Kelvin Arms or English-style at The Ginger Man. And that's just the beginning of the breadth of charming establishments that Rice Village has to explore.

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