100 Favorite Dishes

100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 96, Pineapple Wasabi Burger at Lankford Grocery

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.

I am continually fascinated by burger stalwart Lankford Grocery for many reasons. Not only has it remained open for almost 75 years in spite of Houston's propensity for gleefully paving over its history in pursuit of the next bright, shiny bit of the future, but Lankford has also managed to remain relevant this entire time.

Houston is a city saturated with burgers, so what makes Lankford unique? For me, it's a combination of classics -- the Old Fashion burger has remained largely unchanged since my own childhood and the enchilada plate is still served every Wednesday, as it has been since the 1980s -- and newer, more innovative items that keep pace with newer kids in town like Hubcap Grill and The Burger Guys.

My favorite off this "innovative" side of the menu at the moment is the pineapple and wasabi burger. (Last year it was the macaroni-and-cheese-topped Grim Burger.) You have to be a fan of pineapple in savory applications (think a Hawaiian pizza) for this concept to work, but it pulls together beautifully with sharp wasabi-flavored mayonnaise and crunchy red onions under a mantle of melted Swiss cheese. It's messy as all hell, but a good burger always should be.

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

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Katharine Shilcutt