The Houston Valet Conundrum

One of the most hated aspects of dining in Houston

Don't tell us the city is making you use valet. Tell us you can't afford another lot, and valet saves space. Being honest with us helps us understand where the problem really lies, which could, in turn, encourage us to do something about it.

But unfortunately, knowing the truth doesn't make us any less pissed that we had to pay a guy $5 to park three feet away. Some things never change.

Food Trucks

Houston Food Trucks' Recipes

Get your hands on Trailer Food Diaries Cookbook. Kaitlin Steinberg

I just got my hands on a copy of Trailer Food Diaries Cookbook: Houston Edition, Volume 1 here in the office, and good luck getting anything useful out of me the rest of the day. Now I can't wait for 6 p.m., when I can go home and try some of the recipes.

Austin-based author and food truck-lover Tiffany Harelik ("rhymes with garlic") released the first volume of recipes from Houston food trucks in early August, and she's already produced two volumes of Austin food truck recipes, a Portland cookbook and a Dallas/Fort Worth cookbook. The Houston cookbook is labeled "Volume 1," so we can only assume there are more to come. The Houston edition is available online and at Barnes and Noble.

For the cookbook, Harelik profiled 23 local trucks and got to know the chefs and owners who taught her some of their tricks of the trade. She also got guidance from her friend Jae Kim of Chi'Lantro BBQ and "local food truck authorities" Debra Ford, Paul Galvani, Rebecca Masson and Mai Pham, a frequent EOW contributor.

With the help of these locals and the Haute Wheels Festival, Harelik learned that, "Houston food truck fans are devoted followers who are serious about their street food cravings."


The book is divided into four recipe categories: Sauces and Spreads; Appetizers, Sides and Small Plates; Handhelds; and Sweets. The book also contains histories of the food trucks that are profiled and four "Ask A Local" sections in which Houston foodies discuss the role of food trucks in town and their personal favorites. Bernie's Burger Bus, H-town strEATS,Phamily Bites and Eatsie Boys get a lot of love from those interviewed (though not all are profiled in the book).

Some of the recipes I can't wait to try include:

• Chimichurri Sauce from Stick It

• Apple Horseradish Slaw from Good Dog Hot Dogs

• Bernie's Pickles from Bernie's Burger Bus

• Homemade Kimchi from Coreanos

• Fried Avocado Taco from H-town strEATs

• Veggie Burger from Fraiche

• Pineapple Jalapeño Italian Soda from Snow Cone Angels

• Brownies from Frosted Betty

Each of the recipes includes beautiful photographs of the food and the truck, as well as interviews with the owners, who dish on their own favorite food trucks and what it's like to be in the food truck business.

It's a wonderfully designed book with great interviews and easy-to-follow recipes. My only complaint is that the 40 recipes come from 23 food trucks, so there are a lot of overlaps in the trucks that are highlighted. And of course, anytime a book focuses on only a certain number of food trucks, there will be favorites left out. Where's the Waffle Bus? Where's Eatsie Boys? Where are Muishi Makirritos and Phamily Bites?

I suppose those will be in Volume 2, and these recipes are certainly enough to keep me busy for now.

So, Ms. Harelik, we're glad you liked our food, but you're far from done here! Come back soon and check out more of our awesome trucks. As you can probably tell, we're pretty proud of 'em.

Bar Beat

Houston's Best Tiki Bars*

Five places to get your tiki cocktail fix. Brittanie Shey

Houston is finally set to get a true 21st-century tiki bar next month, when Lei Low finally opens. Though it won't be the city's first tiki bar. The long-gone Shamrock Hilton was once the site of a Trader Vic's. There was a tiki bar out on the west side when I first moved to town. And who could forget Hula Mama's? (Answer: a lot of people could forget it. It closed without fanfare.) There's even a HAIF thread about tiki in Houstonover the years.

But you don't have to wait until Lei Low opens to get a taste of the Polynesian/Caribbean fusion that is tiki cocktails. Here are five places in Houston that pass for decent tiki bars *until we get a dedicated one.

5. Grand Prize There's a reason Lei Low chose Grand Prize as the spot for its two pop-up nights earlier this summer. The bar has an excellent selection of rums and a few classic and tiki drinks on the menu, and often sports frozen and on-tap cocktails with a tiki flair. Plus, while there are no carvings or bamboo, the dark, divey atmosphere does feel a bit like a getaway.

4. Beaver's Bobby Heugel cut his teeth here with weekly tiki night long before Anvil ever opened. Beaver's still offers the occasional tiki cocktail – the Lanai Luau and Whorechata are both favorites. They also regularly feature a house punch and spins on the frozen daiquiri.

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I was once visiting someone at the Shits Carlton in Houston.  When I walked outside & observed all of the lazy fucks waiting to have their cars parked, I was stunned.  The line extended out the front door and around the block.  It reminded me of drive-through lines for donuts. 

Most of the fucks in the automobiles could use a long fast-paced walk to shed some pounds.  Of course, we don't want these elitist pigs exposed to sunlight.  We have enough raisin-faced fuckers in Houston.