Crawfish Season Is Off to a Slow Start

But here's where to get your mudbugs.

5. Tuna Melt

Where to get it: Lankford Grocery & Market

Sometimes you just want a good old-fashioned tuna melt. Mom-and-pop shop Lankford Grocery & Market has been serving up down-home comfort food since it opened as a grocery in 1939. At $6.75, the mega-stuffed, buttery and crisp tuna melt fresh off the famous griddle is one of the best in town.

I'll take ten pounds, please. Yes, all for me.
Courtesy of LA Crawfish
I'll take ten pounds, please. Yes, all for me.
Lent never tasted so good.
Troy Fields
Lent never tasted so good.

6. Salmon Burger

Where to get it: Conscious Cafe

Third Ward hangout Conscious Cafe's gourmet salmon burger is one of the place's most popular dishes...and we can understand why. The wild-caught Alaskan salmon is thick and just as fresh as the house-made bread it's served on. Piles of ripe tomatoes, crisp lettuce, safflower mayo and the ­cafe's signature sweet onion sauce help the flaky salmon sandwich shine.

7. Crab Daddy Bao

Where to get it: Fat Bao

Fat Bao's soft-shell-crab-stuffed bao is one of our favorite versions in Houston of the puffy steamed buns. It's even on our Kaitlin Steinberg's list of 100 Favorite Dishes. She probably says it best: "It's a small, fried soft-shell crab nestled in a bed of Asian-inspired slaw and topped with spicy mayo. The crunchy crab is warm and textural against the puffy, yeasty bao, which also serves to temper the hint of heat in the slaw and mayo."

Get one for $5 and add on either the tempura-fried fish bao ($3.50) or the salmon-stuffed New Yorker bao ($4) to round out the meal.

Top Five

Top 5 Cheese Plates in Houston
Fromage lovers, you're welcome.

Molly Dunn

When a menu offers a cheese plate, there's a 99 percent chance I am going to order it. Especially if it comes with a variety of breads, crackers, fruits, meats, and preserves or jams. Each of these enhances the cheese — and you can make a meal out of an appetizer.

Whether you want to munch on cheese and crackers at the bar or start — or end — your meal with a glass of wine and a sampling of artisan cheeses and meats, there are several restaurants in our great city to satisfy this craving. Here are five of the best cheese plates in Houston.

5.Kirbside Bar

The bar inside the Whole Foods on Kirby serves a variety of cheese plates for you to munch on while sipping a glass of beer or wine. If you're a cheese connoisseur, order either The Kirbside Classic with smoked mozzarella wrapped with prosciutto, Goat Brie, a fig spread, Gruyère Reserve New Zealand Cheddar, gherkins and a Spanish cocktail mix, or choose the more expensive "The Localtier," complete with local cheeses: Lonestar goat cheese, aged Brazos Valley Clothbound Cheddar, raw-milk Brazos Valley Brie, Stroope's local honey and Zilk's basil pesto. But one of the best options, for $10, is The Mixed Milk cheese plate, complete with soft, creamy Lonestar goat cheese; nutty three-month Manchego; cubed smoked seaside Cheddar; and fig preserves. The plates are served with crispy crackers. You can't go wrong with a plate of cheese and a beer.

4.Zelko Bistro

The cheese plate at Zelko Bistro is everything you want in such a plate. The selections of cheeses from the Brazos Valley vary, but you'll always have a variety of hard cheese like Parmesan or Gouda and soft, creamy cheese like Brie or crumbled blue. But the plate is not complete without its accompaniments. Chef Jamie Zelko adds a variety of grapes and strawberries and a stick of honeycomb. Pair all these sweet treats with savory bread, heavily coated in garlic, olive oil and herbs. A little bit of cheese with some bread and honey is the ultimate bite. And if you can eat outside while enjoying this platter, you'll feel as if you've died and gone to heaven.

3.Mockingbird Bistro Wine Bar

Chef John Sheely has received much praise for his wonderful cheese selections at Mockingbird Bistro Wine Bar. Head to the bar during happy hour, order a glass of wine, and choose three or five cheeses from the fromage menu. The cheeses available vary on occasion, but you always have incredible choices. Current offerings include Challerhocker, a semi-firm pasteurized cow's milk cheese from Switzerland; Smoke Blue, a raw cow's milk blue cheese smoked over Oregon hazelnut shells; and, of course, Veldhuizen Redneck Cheddar infused with Shiner Black beer from Texas. Each plate comes with a sweet and sticky fig jam, local honey and candied pecans — you can't go wrong pairing cheese with something sweet. Throw in some charcuterie such as house-made pâté, smoked duck breast or serrano ham as well.

2.Adair Kitchen

The Kitchen Cheese Plate at Adair Kitchen constantly changes, and that's not a bad thing. The daily cheese selections are paired with thin slices of delicate prosciutto, sweet grapes (and sometimes other slices of fruit), seasonal preserves and honey. Sometimes you'll be served crumbly blue cheese with hard Cheddar, or soft goat cheese with creamy Brie. Spread honey or preserves on the thin, crispy cracker bread, then top with a slice of cheese (any selection works) and a thin slice of prosciutto for the perfect bite. No matter which cheese is offered, everything on the platter pairs excellently. Order the half-platter if you're splitting with another person, or opt for the full platter if you have a bunch of hungry diners in your party.

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