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.
Here are some things I love: Really crispy fried chicken, deviled eggs, maple bacon.
Here is where you can get all three of those things in one delicious dish: Liberty Kitchen & Oyster Bar.
Though the restaurant may be better known for its oysters, fresh seafood or lobster mac and cheese, the CFC (chicken fried chicken) deviled eggs are a delectable exercise in restraint. Fancy deviled eggs with all the fixings could be completely over-the-top and too rich and complicated to enjoy. Or they could be exactly like the two varieties of gourmet deviled eggs at Liberty Kitchen.
The menu offers up CFC deviled eggs or fried oyster deviled eggs, both of which are great. But the CFC eggs come out on top for one major reason: bacon jam.
Liberty Kitchen's bacon jam is made in-house (it's also served at BRC Gastropub), and according to chef Travis Lenig, it's the bacon jam -- in addition to a few other creative takes on soul food -- that keep people coming back to Liberty Kitchen. Lenig says the jam, a fragrant mix of crunchy candied bacon and tomatoes, was invented by Liberty Kitchen's culinary director, Lance Fegen. I'm told it's expensive to make due to the insane amount of bacon that gets cooked down into every bite.
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But while the bacon jam leaves the greatest lasting impression, the tiny topping of fried chicken is no throwaway garnish. Each piece is small enough to fit atop a slightly spicy deviled egg, and in spite of being surrounded by the juicy jam and moist deviled egg yolk, the outside stays crunchy while the meat on the inside is smoky and nearly melt-in-your-mouth.
Then there are the eggs themselves, which are ideal in their simplicity. A little mayo, a little paprika, a little Tabasco, and voila! Just like mom used to make.
Of course, if mom had topped her deviled eggs with bacon jam and crunchy fried chicken, I imagine we would have been invited to a lot more potlucks.
The list so far: 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