While the Heights boasts some well-known Houston favorites, those of us here outside the North Loop like to eat too. Here are some of the spots we think deserve a little recognition.
10. Petrol Station (985 Wakefield Drive)
Good beer, great burgers (try the lamb), friendly locals and a patio that would make Austin jealous. The Petrol Station has come a long way from the days of Guitar Hero and ping pong, and we're glad it's still kickin'. Also, how can you not like a place that does a half-pint special to honor Gary Coleman?
9. El Rey Taqueria (3330 Ella Boulevard)
The Cuban taco never ceases to amaze with its sweet plantain crammed inside a tortilla with crema (or sour cream), chunks of steak and black beans. The ropa vieja taco isn't too shabby either. On a cold night, although it's hard to imagine during this sweltering summer, the soup made with rotisserie chicken will warm you up faster than a shot of whiskey.
8. Flying Saucer Pie Company (436 West Crosstimbers) First of all, a place selling nothing but pie is already up on the awesome list in our minds, and second, Flying Saucer makes the best pies in Houston. Bold but true. The cherry pies will make you want to slap your mama, but we don't suggest doing that.
7. Roznovsky's (3401 West T.C. Jester) While we haven't quite figured out Roznovsky's hours, we do know that their burgers are damn good. If you're one who subscribes to the sum-of-the-parts theory of burger enjoyment as opposed to the giant-meat-patty theory, you're in good hands. The patties are just right, with all the lovely crisp lettuce, tomato slices and pickles coming together to make a fantastic, simple burger. If you're into crinkle fries, they've got those to
6. Mytiburger (2211 West 43rd)
Yet another burger joint? Yes. This is Houston and we love burgers, so deal with it. The patties at Mytiburger are slightly bigger than Roznovsky's, giving them the edge for people with carnivorous cravings. Also try the milkshakes and malts. Tip - skip the fries and opt for the house-made onion rings.
5. Yo Mama's Soul Food (5332 Antoine Drive)
You know you're going to like a place that's got "soul food" in the name. While some complain it's a tiny bit on the pricey side, can you really put a dollar figure on a plate that is possibly better than yo' mama's cooking? We think not. Try the ox tails.
4. Barbecue Inn (116 West Crosstimbers) There's much ado about this place, and for good reason. With the best waitresses in town as well as colossal fried chicken, shrimp and some homemade ranch dressing, this place will hush your hankering for comforting classics the moment you step inside.
3. Pho Dalat (7758 West Tidwell)
Admittedly, the pho is not the best around. The joy of Pho Dalat is in the vermicelli dishes. The chargrilled pork atop the bed of noodles is the tastiest we've found to date, and the lemongrass chicken puts others to shame. There's also an entire selection of family-style meals, with dishes like jellyfish salad, catfish in salted caramel sauce and squid with preserved vegetables.
2. Café Red Onion (12440 Northwest Freeway)
If you've tried the Chicken Brazil, there's no further explanation needed. If you haven't, go try it. Today. Café Red Onion has interesting dishes outside the realm of everyday Tex-Mex for reasonable prices. And everything we've ever had here is delicious.
1. Daddyo's Pizza (5009 Antoine)
There's something about the New York-style crust here that leaves us clamoring for words. There's no earth-shattering combinations, no fancy ingredients like smoked salmon or arugula, just good, old-fashioned, handmade pizza pies with toppings like pepperoni, peppers, mushrooms, onions and all that good stuff. Also, it's possibly the only spot in the area that's not a chain, and that counts for something.