100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 61, Black Bean Burger at Ziggy's

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.

Healthy food isn't always tasty. Indeed, many health-oriented restaurants skimp on not just the fat but also the flavor. But not Ziggy's Bar & Grill. The black bean burger here is immensely satisfying -- even for a carnivore like me -- and part of that is due to the customizations that Ziggy's lets you make.

On top of the black bean patty (made in-house just like its other veggie patty, made with chickpeas, carrots, toasted walnuts and spices) I like to throw on pepper jack cheese, jalapeños and green chiles along with the standard accompaniments of lettuce, tomato and onion. The eggy bun is thick and sturdy, holding the entire mess together admirably until the last bite. It's one of the only burgers in Houston I can eat in one fell swoop because it's not greasy or soggy -- just savory, spicy and full of crunch from all the fresh vegetables.

The fact that Ziggy's encourages you to customize your burger is reflective of its general attitude: The Montrose restaurant in a charming old mansion welcomes everyone with open arms -- even your dogs, which Ziggy's allows on its shady patio (and they'll even bring out bowls of water for them). If you're into something less healthy, Ziggy's has regular burgers (in beef, lamb, turkey, buffalo and more) or cheesesteak sandwiches. But the healthier items are actually better: a pleasantly salty and creamy spinach-artichoke dip served with pita chips and cucumbers for dipping, or grilled fish tacos filled with homemade guacamole and a sweet pineapple salsa.

And if you're into booze, Ziggy's has that in spades, too: The Karbach Rodeo Clown above was perfect with my black bean burger, but there are a dozen more Texas brews to choose from. Cocktails made with Texas liquors like Treaty Oak Rum and Paula's Texas Orange hit the spot on a hot day. And there's even brunch -- with mimosas, naturally -- on the weekends.

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

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