100 Favorite Houston Dishes 2015, No. 39: Spicy Blue Cheese Burger at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

The Spicy Blue Cheese Burger at Alamo Drafthouse with a big helping of fries.
The Spicy Blue Cheese Burger at Alamo Drafthouse with a big helping of fries.
Photo by Phaedra Cook

Phaedra Cook is eating her way through Houston and counting down her 100 favorite dishes of 2015. It's a collection of personal favorites that is also indicative of Houston dining. It's a scene where a vast range of dishes coexist: highbrow and lowbrow; local and international; cheap and expensive; modern cuisine and beloved tenets — and everything in between.

Several different theater chains now give diners the ability to have a full meal along with a movie, but it was Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse who first brought that concept to Houston way back in May 2003. It’s hard to believe it’s been 12 years.

In the interim, Alamo has integrated itself as a fun part of Houston’s community. It takes its Rolling Road Show and mobile screen to parks, breweries and other areas of town. Thanks to Alamo's relationships in the movie industry, it brings directors, stars and musicians to host screenings at their two area theaters in Vintage Park and Katy. It's the only cinema that shows anime weekly and pays attention to some of the cult niches with small but ardent fan bases. That's all in addition to all-you-can-eat cereal parties for kids of all ages, Geeks Who Drink game nights and Quote-Alongs. (The best way to keep up with all of the events is via the Alamo Drafthouse Houston Facebook page.) 

They have fun with the menu, too, creating dishes and even commissioning beers that match movie themes. A recent example is the Crimson Peak Ale collaboration with Firestone Walker Brewing, a beer that gains a pink hue from hibiscus flowers. 

The Spicy Blue Cheese Burger is my go-to order at Alamo when I’ve really got an appetite. It’s like having a burger and a basket of hot wings at the same time. There’s a big dollop of wing sauce on top and plenty of creamy blue cheese. Other than those, the toppings are wisely kept to a minimum, with just some complementary rings of raw red onion. The fries that come alongside are pretty standard, but they’re sufficient. Order some extra wing sauce, both to add a little more to the burger if needed and to dip the fries into. (None of this precludes me from still ordering a giant bowl of popcorn with real butter to share with my group.) 

For me, Alamo Drafthouse, and that burger, will always evoke memories of taking my kids to every midnight premier of every single Harry Potter movie and Lord of the Rings film. Now, all of our kids are college students, but they still enjoy going to Alamo to catch a midnight show with Mom and Dad, and that’s worth the price of admission. 

The List of Top 100 Dishes of 2015 So Far:

No. 40, Pizza at Dolce Vita
No. 41, Grilled Shrimp at La Grange
No. 42, Duck With Two Moles at Arnaldo Richards' Picos
No. 43, Stuffed Pepperoncini at Anvil Bar & Refuge
No. 44, LH Gumbo at Holley's Seafood Kitchen & Oyster Bar
No. 45, KG's Double-Brined Cast Iron Chicken at Harold's
No. 46, Ceviche Mixto at Andes Café 
No. 47, Sunday Gravy at Liberty Kitchen & BRC
No. 48, Tonkotsu Ramen at Tiger Den
No. 49, Charcuterie at Kris Bistro
No. 50, Cauliflower Steak at Backstreet Cafe
No. 51, Telur Balado at Rice Bowl II
No. 52, Green Curry at Asia Market Restaurant
No. 53, Foie Gras Breakfast at Triniti
No. 54, Korean Fried Chicken at ToreOre at Super H Mart
No. 55, Bulgogi Bibimbap at BiBiJo Express at Super H Mart
No. 56, Vegetable Plate at Hugo's
No. 57, The Cured Plate at Revival Market
No. 58, Simply Grilled Fish at Ibiza
No. 59, Tonkotsu Black Ramen at JINYA Houston
No. 60, The Rancor Burger at The Petrol Station
No. 61, Heritage Sampler Platter at Rudi Lechner's
No. 62, Oxtails at Le' Pam's House Of Creole
No. 63, The 420 Slice at Pi Pizza Truck
No. 64, Frenchy's Fried Chicken On Scott Street
No. 65, 3 Pig Mac & Cheese at Urban Eats
No. 66, Pucchia Pugliese Foggia at Sud Italia
No. 67, Triple-Smoked Pastrami On Rye At Kenny & Ziggy's
No. 68, Fume Pizza at Pizaro's Pizza Napoletana
No. 69, Banh Mi Thap Cam at Café TH
No. 70, Caramelized Onion Soup at Mockingbird Bistro
No. 71, Milk Chocolate Stout Malt at Fat Cat Creamery
No. 72, Pork Ribs at Roegels Barbecue Co. 
No. 73, Carrot Pizza at Weights + Measures
No. 74, Jalisco Wings at El Big Bad
No. 75, Mussels at Cafe Brussels
No. 76, Cresta di Gallo at The Pass & Provisions
No. 77, Beef Fajitas at El Real Tex-Mex 
No. 78, Chicken Tikka Masala from the Tandoori Nite truck
No. 79, Chocolates at Cacao & Cardamom
No, 80, Hummus Supreme at Al's Quick Stop
No. 81, Red Oil Dumplings at Mala Sichuan
No. 82, Tex-Cajun Fries at BB's Café
No. 83, Mac & Cheese at The Oceanaire Seafood Room
No. 84, The Principal Burger at Bernie's Burger Bus
No. 85, Hunter's Honey-Roasted Duck at Brennan's Of Houston
No. 86, Fish & Chips at Good Dog Houston
No. 87, Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit at Blacksmith
No. 88, "Saucy Balls" At Brooklyn Meatball Company
No. 89, Perry's Steakhouse/Perry & Sons Pork Chop
No. 90, General Tso's Chicken from The Rice Box
No. 91, Eggs, Refried Beans, Hash Browns and Hugo's Sauce at 59 Diner
No. 92, Shipley Do-Nuts Plain Glazed 
No. 93, Housemade Bologney at Public Services Wine & Whisky
No. 94, Bo Luc Lac at Cheno's (formerly Chino's) Fast Food
No. 95, Combo #5 at Soto's Cantina
No. 96, Carnitas Salad At Chipotle
No. 97, Pickled Shrimp At Punk's Simple Southern Food
No. 98, Lobster Roll At Maine-Ly Sandwiches
No. 99, Chili-Cheese Coneys At JCI Grill
No. 100, Corned Beef Hash And Eggs At House Of Pies

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Alamo Drafthouse - Vintage Park
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema - Mason

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