Good Dog Houston

Things are looking up for this gourmet frank shop, which announced plans last year for a second location in the old Brick & Spoon spot in Montrose. That means you will soon have double the chance to stuff yourself with crazy-good Texas-made hot dogs and hand-cut fries. Load up a dog simply with house-crafted condiments like sriracha ketchup and short bus mustard, or get stacked with readymade options like the Ol' Zapata, made with bacon, Muenster, caramelized onions and jalapeño relish. An old-fashioned root beer float or refreshing pint of craft beer should help wash it all down.

READERS' CHOICE: Good Dog Houston

Lankford Grocery and Market

When it comes to greasy spoons, most people are looking for a few things: great prices, fast service and deliciously unctuous grub. After 77 years, kitschy Lankford Grocery continues to earn five-star ratings in each of those criteria. Hit the shaded picnic tables to take down colossal breakfast plates and sloppy burgers served with a side of nostalgia. Those sloppy burgers, by the way, may even be bigger than the breakfast plates. Get them stacked with everything from wasabi sauce and pineapple to Frito Pie fixins, then tack on curly fries or a Tex Mix of fried jalapeño and onion strings.

Himalaya Restaurant & Catering
Jeff Balke

If you've been limiting your fried chicken experiences to that of the Southern variety, it's time to switch up your game plan. Himalaya's fried chicken — affectionately known as "HFC" — starts with a brine that's chock-full of spices like garam masala and ginger. After a nice, long soak, the bird is generously dredged in seasoned flour and fried to an absolutely gorgeous golden-brown crisp before being served family-style. The result is Mutt City dining at its finest. You may want to call ahead for this one, as it's not always available and can very well sell out.

Andes Cafe
Photo by Troy Fields

Chef David Guerrero's large menu at Andes Cafe actually covers seven different countries in South America, but the food of Peru is a significant focus. There are close to 20 different Peruvian dishes on the menu, and they go far beyond just Peruvian-style ceviche. For lunch, dive into the sanduche de pavita, a sandwich with oven-roasted slices of spiced turkey, lettuce, aji verde jalapeño sauce, natural jus and salsa criolla. When dinnertime hunger pangs strike, go for the classic lomo saltado, a Peruvian-style stir-fry with beef tenderloin, red bell peppers, onions and tomatoes, all seasoned with red wine vinegar, oyster sauce and soy sauce.

READERS' CHOICE: Andes Cafe

Cane Rosso
Photo by Troy Fields

Cane Rosso's executive chef, Dino Santonicola, is so well-regarded in the pizza world that he's considered a "fiduciary," or someone entrusted to check out other pizzerias by Vera Pizza Napoletana, an organization that trains individuals and certifies restaurants that produce authentic Neapolitan-style pizza. That's likely one reason Houston's first Cane Rosso location, in the Heights, is turning out such beautifully browned, tender-crusted pies. The chain, which started in Dallas, advocates simplicity, an approach that allows ingredients like Italian tomatoes and fresh basil to shine on their own merits. This first Houston location has been so successful that plans for another, in Montrose, swiftly followed.

Cafe Annie
Photo by Chuck Cook Photography

Who would have thought that the big, bold Cafe Annie sign would ever be seen again, much less those quintessential Southwestern dishes that first put chef Robert Del Grande in the spotlight? What started as an idea on how to celebrate Del Grande's 35 years in Houston by bringing back a few dishes evolved into a full-blown resurrection that replaced RDG + Bar Annie's staid identity with the original, more vibrant concept. Diners can once again enjoy Southwestern classics like rabbit enchiladas, black bean terrine and coffee-rubbed filet with adobo and pasilla chile sauce to their hearts' content.

Tejas Chocolate Craftory
Photo by Chuck Cook

Dinosaur-size beef ribs are mighty impressive and have gotten a lot of press over the past few years, but the folks behind Tejas Chocolate Craftory know there's more to great ribs than size. In fact, it's the humble pork rib here that shines brightest. That's largely thanks to a balanced rib rub that includes salt, pepper, cumin and coriander. There is no sugar, but the ribs acquire just a touch of sweetness thanks to being basted with barbecue sauce at the end. These pork ribs are well worth driving for — even to Tomball.

READERS' CHOICE: Killen's Barbecue

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