By Kaitlin Steinberg
By Minh T Truong
By Molly Dunn
By Brooke Viggiano
By Kaitlin Steinberg
By Molly Dunn
By Molly Dunn
By Eating Our Words
On the Menu
As part of the holy trinity of Tex-Mex (the other members being tacos and fajitas), the enchilada appears in diverse forms in our city. And thanks to intense competition among Mexican restaurants, few enchilada platters are really bad, and most are pretty good. Some, however, are just terrific. This list is not just about where to get good enchiladas, period, but what exactly to order. Here are my five recommendations:
5. Mushroom Enchiladas (Radical Eats). Although the fried avocado taco seems to be the favorite Tex-Mex offering on Radical Eats's inventive menu, not to be overlooked are the vegan mushroom enchiladas for their terrific texture (thank you, cashew cream) and rich, dusky flavors. Where's the Beef? Cheddar Makes Everything Better? WHO CARES?
4. Enchiladas Poblanas (Maria Selma). Their stuffing (shredded white meat chicken and rice) is fine and good, but what makes these enchiladas truly exceptional is the slightly sweet, smoky mole sauce and nutty dusting of sesame seeds. They taste even better on Tuesday, when all enchilada plates are half-price.
3. Shrimp Enchiladas (Lost Tios). In my recent post about Los Tios's delightful summer specials, what I did not mention was that there was a second act to that meal: a bountiful platter of shrimp-stuffed enchiladas blanketed in a thick cilantro cream sauce and cheese and buttressed by pico de gallo and fluffy rice. This dairy-forward dish might be overwhelming if not for the slight briny edge from the crustaceans and the accompanying crisp avocado salad. At least I'm never overwhelmed enough to lick the platter clean.
2. Cheese Enchiladas with eggs! (Los Dos Amigos). Numerous food critics (including Robb Walsh and Katharine Shilcutt) have lauded Los Dos Amigos for its cheese enchiladas, and I have no problem following suit. There may be nothing particularly transcendent about plain enchiladas in red sauce (though Los Dos Amigos does an outstanding take on this dish), but with the addition of two fried eggs, the platter soars to savory new heights as the yolk floods the tortillas, cheese, rice and beans.
1. South of the Border Enchiladas (Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen). Sylvia's "South of the Border" enchiladas plate is a four-stop culinary journey that begins with one "Mexico City" enchilada stuffed with chicken and topped with green salsa. From there, your fork proceeds to the more piquant "Morelia" enchilada (queso fresco and onions in a spicy red chili gravy), then the "Hidalgo" enchilada (tender carnitas in red or green sauce garnished with avocado). Last point on the itinerary is the "Puebla" enchilada (chicken dressed in an earthy mole poblano sauce) — assuming, of course, you're consuming each enchilada in its entirety before moving on to the next. Switching back and forth is perfectly acceptable, too, but be forewarned that the delicate, subtle flavors of the four different sauces and fillings are best appreciated one by one.
Taste-Testing Houston's Cronut
Pena's Donut Heaven & Grill makes the "dosant."
I've been avoiding this whole "cronut" craze since the donut-croissant hybrids first appeared on everyone's radar back in early May. I just haven't been that interested. I like donuts. I love croissants. Why do I need to eat them together? What's so magical about that? Aren't some things best left alone?
After picking up some "dosants" at Pena's Donut Heaven & Grill in Pearland recently, I think I get it.
Because I didn't arrive at Pena's at 5 a.m., I wasn't able to get my hands on owner Raymond Peña's newest invention: the maple bacon dosant. By the time I picked up some dosants around noon, there were only about a dozen left in the case, so I got one each of strawberry, chocolate and cream cheese and went to work dissecting and then eating them to figure out what the big deal is.
Each dosant is composed of three layers of rich fried croissant dough fashioned into a donut-shaped ring of awesome. In between each layer is a generous helping of pastry crème, available in a number of flavors including chocolate, strawberry, blueberry, cream cheese, raspberry and now the new maple bacon. Each is decorated on the top with something indicative of the flavor like a raspberry or a chocolate chip and then is sprinkled with powdered sugar.
The dosant is an intimidating pastry to tackle. It's taller and less squishy than the average donut or croissant, plus you have to worry about inhaling powdered sugar when trying to take a bite. Then there's the fact that the layers slide and ooze crème under the force of a knife or a bite. And, being a fried delicacy, the dosant is a tad crumbly.
Once I finally got over my reservations and finished analyzing the damn thing, I took a bite. It was chewy and crispy on the outside and smooth like the center of a croissant on the inside. It was magical. I get it now.
The chocolate and the strawberry flavors were a little too sweet for my liking, but the cream cheese version was pretty perfect. It is neither donut nor croissant, and yet it is both. It's complicated to make and tricky to eat and entirely worth the $3.50 price tag (less than the $5 price of the originals out of New York).