This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston® issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.
Every time I think I've tried the best item that Wicked Whisk has to offer, the food truck surprises me the next time I visit: from pork belly udon during one visit to the Spamela Anderson burger (it's a Spam burger, just as its name would imply), the truck and its chef, Jay Stone, are always upping the game.
And then I met the peanut butter and jalapeño jelly burger with bacon one day outside Petrol Station while the craft beer bar's kitchen was undergoing renovations. Wicked Whisk had served up some excellent poutine and a Spamela Anderson during my last visit to Petrol and I didn't think this odd-sounding burger could possibly be any better, but I gave it a shot.
The peanut butter astonishingly takes the place of cheese atop the thick, juicy patty with its salty flavor and creamy texture while providing only a small background hint of sweet nuttiness. There's a nice, porky swagger from the two strips of bacon and more sweetness -- this time tempered by a pleasant, low burn -- from the acid-green jalapeño jelly rounds it all out. Nothing else is needed; no produce, no condiments, nothing.
And if you notice from the photo above that the buns seem burned, Stone admits to doing that on purpose: "I like the umami flavor from the bitterness," he told me, "and the way it all works together." Now that Petrol's kitchen has reopened, I'm happy to have the signature Rancor burgers back where they belong -- but I'll miss Wicked Whisk's food together with Petrol's excellent beers something terrible.
The list so far:
No. 100: Chili cheese mac at Jus' Mac No. 99: Texas turkey sandwich at Spec's No. 98: Custard at Petite Sweets No. 97: Caprichos mixtos at Taqueria Monterrey Chiquito No. 96: Pineapple-wasabi burger at Lankford Grocery No. 95: Farmer's MKT Pizza at Phoenicia's MKT Bar No. 94: Potatoes at Money Cat Brunch No. 93: Breakfast tacos at Sunrise Taquito No. 92: Hot dog at Tacos D.F. No. 91: Avocado gelato at Frozen Cafe No. 90: Chicken sandwich at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers No. 89: Beer-battered asparagus at Hearsay No. 88: Honey Badger omelet at Kraftsmen Cafe No. 87: Pastelitos de carne at El Jalapeño No. 86: Pancakes at Union Kitchen No. 85: Wild boar and crab pizza at Boheme No. 84: Breakfast croissant at BB Donuts No. 83: Pretzel at Anvil Bar & Refuge No. 82: Short rib sandwich at Shepherd Park Draught House No. 81: Grilled shrimp po-boy at Pappadeaux No. 80: Dahi puri at Shiv Sagar No. 79: Aporreado at Los Corrales No. 78: Oxtail francobolli at Aldo's Cucina Italiana No. 77: Tonkotsu at Cafe Kubo's No. 76: Spinach danish from Angela's Oven No. 75: Pupusas at El Petate No. 74: Pheasant dog at Sammy's Wild Game Grill No. 73: X-Tudo burger at Friends Pizzeria No. 72: Esparragos gratinados at Tintos No. 71: Gua bao at Yummy Kitchen No. 70: Geisha dog at Happy Endings No. 69: Oyster po-boy and gumbo at Goode Co. Seafood No. 68: Ceviche at Sirena Seafood No. 67: Caldo de mariscos at Taqueria Arandas No. 66: Banana pudding at Pizzitola's No. 65: Fried catfish and gumbo at Cafe-A-La No. 64: Soft-shell crabs at Banana Leaf No. 63: Macaroni and cheese at Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse No. 62: Torta burger at El Gran Malo No. 61: Black bean burger at Ziggy's No. 60: Parillada at Pampa Grill