This year, leading up to our annual Menu of Menus® issue, Kaitlin Steinberg counts down her 100 favorite dishes as she eats her way through Houston. She'll compile a collection of the dishes she thinks are the most awesome, most creative and, of course, most delicious in town. It's a list of personal favorites, things she thinks any visitor or Houstonian ought to try at least once and dishes that seem particularly indicative of the ever-changing Houston foodscape.
Fat Cat Creamery's new brick and mortar shop opened in December, and the small ice cream parlor in the Heights already has a great following. On a recent Saturday afternoon, the line was out the door, and the patio was packed with happy people enjoying ice cream of all flavors.
I've always loved ice cream, so of course I was drawn to Fat Cat. But I haven't always loved waffle cones. Generally they're rather flavorless, and they don't really add anything to the experience of eating ice cream. They're edible vessels, much like bread bowls--another unnecessary invention I just can't get behind.
The waffle cones at Fat Cat are so good, though, and I'd eat them without any ice cream in them at all.
They're called brown butter/brown sugar waffle cones, and they're made fresh every day. These cones are slightly sweet, but the predominant flavor is the brown butter, slightly burnt and rich like caramel. They're also thicker than your average waffle cone, which means they can maintain structural integrity while holding up to three big scoops of ice cream.
And the ice cream at Fat Cat is also some of the best. There are five signature flavors that are always available: Cat's Meow Mexican Vanilla, Waterloo Strawberry Buttermilk, Milk Chocolate Stout, Amaya Coffee and Cream and Chai Tea Coconut. Then there are usually five other seasonal flavors that rotate regularly. It's the tried and true signature flavors that I love, though, and I've discovered the perfect combination of flavors for the perfect waffle cones.
My go-to order is a waffle cone with one scoop of Chai Tea Coconut and one scoop of Milk Chocolate Stout. The chai tea flavor, I was surprised to discover, is made with coconut milk instead of cow's milk, so it's dairy free. It's just as rich as any of the other options, and the chai spice is neither overwhelming nor too diluted.
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The milk chocolate stout looks like a regular milk chocolate ice cream, but with the first lick, you'll be able to taste a bit of hoppiness and that rich stout bite on the back of your tongue. It's not overtly a beer ice cream. In fact, if you gave it to a kid, they probably would think it tastes a little unusual, but the kid would eat it. Still, there's a definite beer aftertaste to it that lends itself wonderfully to a brown sugar cone chaser.
Oh, and there's one more reason I love Fat Cat Creamery's new shop: There are cats everywhere. As someone whose great loves in life are sweets and cats, I wholeheartedly approve.
See the full list of favorites on the next page.
The list so far: No. 31: Cochito con Mole Xico at Hugo's No. 32: Carnitas at Molina's Cantina No. 33: Taleggio Pizza at Dolce Vita No. 34: Chiles de Padron Asados at Caracol No. 35: Morning Thali at Pondicheri No. 36: Fried Mini Fish at House of Bowls No. 37: Trompo Tacos at Taqueria La Macro No. 38: Spicy Tamale Plate at La Mexicana No. 39: Mum's Chicken Curry At The Queen Vic Pub No. 40: Canestri alla Funghi at Paulie's No. 41: Biscuit with Marmalade and Crème Fraîche at Blacksmith No. 42: Fried Oyster Po'Boy at Goode Company Seafood No. 43: Roasted Duck Red Curry at Morningside Thai No. 44: BBQ Pulled Wild Boar Sandwich at Sammy's Wild Game Grill No. 45: Guanciale Burger at Plonk No. 46: Parma 600 Pizza at Pizzeria Solario No. 47: CFC Deviled Eggs at Liberty Kitchen & Oyster Bar No. 48: The El Real Burger at El Real Tex-Mex Cafe No. 49: Custard Sandwich at Petite Sweets No. 50: Black Pepper Beer Lobster at Hai Cang Seafood Restaurant No. 51: Red Dragon Roll at Michiru Sushi No. 52: Fried Bananas Foster at Custom Confections No. 53: Bánh Canh Hue at Simply Pho No. 54: Kimchi Koagie at Koagie Hots No. 55: The Juicy Lucy Burger at Lowbrow No. 56: Eggplant Fries at Batanga No. 57: Macarons at Ganache Dessert Bar No. 58: Grilled Cheese at The Golden Grill No. 59: Baklava French Toast at Harry's Restaurant & Cafe No. 60: Patata e Funghi Pizza at Pizaro's No. 61: Old Fashioned Frito Pie at Armadillo Palace No. 62: Korean Spiced Brisket Plate at Revival Market No. 63: Bánh Mì at Les Givral's Sandwich and Cafe No. 64: Squirrel Master Burger at Cottonwood No. 65: Shorty Mac at H-Town StrEATS No. 66: Enchiladas de Mole at La Guadalupana No. 67: Bad Ass Hambur-Torta at Pistolero's No. 68: Green "Hurry Curry" at Nit Noi No. 69: Dozen Raw Oysters at Pappas Seafood No 70: Banana Split at Cloud 10 Creamery No. 71: Lazy Lane Frites at Brasserie 19 No. 72: Chicken Pot Pie at Kenny & Ziggy's No. 73: Chili Cheese Mac from Jus' Mac No. 74: Taco al Pastor at Taco Keto No. 75: 'Date With a Pig' at Sparrow Bar + Cookshop No. 76: The Heights Burger at Gratifi No. 77: Lamb Lollipops at Américas No. 78: Mortadella Sandwich at 13 Celsius No. 79: Carnissima Pizza at Coppa Osteria No. 80: The Marie Laveau Sandwich at Sandy Witch No. 81: Catfish and Grits at The Breakfast Klub No. 82: Grilled Ahi Tuna at St. John's Fire No. 83: Lobster Roll at Maine-ly Sandwiches No. 84: Greek Burger at Hubcap Grill No. 85: Pork Tamales at Irma's No. 86: Ham, Egg & Cheese Crepe at Melange Creperie No. 87: Crab Daddy Bao at Fat Bao No. 88: Sesame Soft Balls at Golden Dim Sum No. 89: Porchetta e Fagioli at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino No. 90: Uncle Daryl's Cake at The Chocolate Bar No. 91: Lobster Cake Benedict at Sorrel Urban Bistro No. 92: Homeroom at Bernie's Burger Bus No. 93: Vuelve a la Vida Soup at Connie's Seafood No. 94: Foie Gras Mac & Cheese at BRC Gastropub No. 95: Sweet Potato Gnocchi at Brooklyn Athletic Club No. 96: Chicken and Waffles at Adair Kitchen No. 97: Soft Pretzel from Mongoose Versus Cobra No. 98: Bulgogi Tacos with Kimchi at Chi'Lantro No. 99: Almond Croissant at Phoenicia No. 100: Bangkok Fries at Boheme