Over the course of the next few months, I'm counting down 100 of my favorite Houston dishes. I chose some because they are such quintessential Houston creations, others for their cultural or historical significance, and others because they are just so damn tasty. Share your own nominations in the comments.
#75 Spicy Armenian Kebabs at Café Rita on Dairy-Ashford
"Lebanese dishes with an Armenian twist" is code for spicy-as-hell Middle Eastern food at Café Rita on Dairy Ashford just north of Memorial. If you like it hot, this is one of the city's best Middle Eastern restaurants. It's a buffet line, but don't bother making your own selections. Just tell George Sarikhanian, the gregarious cashier/owner, that you want something spicy. But be careful what you wish for. The Armenian kebabs will light up your lips. And the Armenian bean soup tastes like chili.
George's wife Rita does all the cooking. She doesn't believe in food processors -- she cuts everything by hand. Come early if you want some the traditional Middle Eastern fava bean breakfast soup called foul; Rita's version is loaded with lemon and garlic. If they have the kebabs with the alternating rounds of marinated eggplant and seasoned ground beef patties, don't miss them. And be sure and request some of Rita's outrageous garlic sauce with whatever you get. There's also a fiery red pepper spread called mouhammara you'll want to slather all over everything.
If you're catering an office lunch, ask for "Rita's Sampler," and George will put together a variety of appetizers and kebab plates for you. A big spread for four people is $41.95.
The list to date:
#100: Green Chile Chicken Kebabs at Chatkhara Grill #99: The All-Day Burrito at Cherry Top Bakery #98: "You Buy We Fry" Trout Basket at Hank's Fish Market #97: Chicharron de Barriga at La Michoacana Meat Market # 10 #96: Pakistani Breakfast at Kings Chicken #95: Fried Mojarra at Taqueria Jesus Maria #94: Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake Ball at Coffee Groundz #93:Cheeseburger at Leonard's Famous Burgers #92: Lasagna at Doyle's #91: Cochinita Pibil at Tacos La Bala #90: Fajita Tacos at Taqueria El Charro #89: Kubideh and Zereshk Polo at Kasra Persian Grill #88: Trentino Gelato's Dulce de Leche at Shisha #87: Deviled Eggs at Nielsen's Deli #86: Italian-Cuban Sandwich at Logan Farms #85: Vegetable Trio in Sichuan Sauce at Spicy Sichuan #84: Salchi-Burger at Brisa Cocina #83: El Ultimo Taco Truck's Breakfast Tacos #82: Kielbasa on a Sizzling Comal at Polonia #81: Shrimp and Grits at Bistro Alex, Hotel Sorella #80: A Bowl of Chili at James Coney Island #79: Lamb Dumplings at Lucky Pot #78: Crazy Irishman Sushi Roll at Soma #77:Tesar's "Magic" Burger#76: Mac n' Cheese at Two Saints