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. It's a list to drool over.
The first time I ordered at Pizaro's Pizza Napoletana, the owner, Bill Hutchinson, told me I was doing it wrong.
I wanted something light, so I ordered the arugula pizza with some extra prosciutto. I was finding it quite delicious when Hutchinson stopped by my table to inquire about my meal.
"It's great," I told him. "I love the thin, chewy crust and the crunchy bubbles on top. And the prosciutto and arugula combination is great."
"Why didn't you get the potato and mushroom pizza," he said, truly puzzled.
"I don't know..." I replied. "Are potatoes good on pizza?"
Hutchinson scoffed at my question, as if it were the most ridiculous thing ever uttered. Running through my mind were visions of french fries on top of burgers and stuffed in burritos. Sometimes the world needs reminding that potatoes don't go with everything.
Hutchinson made me promise to come back for a patate e funghi pizza at a later date, and I did, partially because I found the first pizza I ate at Pizaro's to be so good that I had faith in the chef/owner's recommendation. I'm really glad now that I took his advice.
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The patata e funghi pizza is definitely the best on Pizaro's short but inclusive menu. It's a Neapolitan-style pizza topped with truffle oil, Yukon gold potatoes, oven-roasted mushrooms, mozzarella, rosemary and garlic. There's no red sauce on this pizza, but it's much better without any added acidity. It's a smooth, mellow pie with dusky truffle and mushroom flavors accented by the earthy potatoes. The rosemary adds an herbal element that actually makes the pizza more reminiscent of some sort of pan-roasted potato dish than a pizza, but in a wonderful way.
The result is a pizza/scalloped potato hybrid -- creamy and decadent, but also finger food, as you can easily pick up each slice and eat it with your hands, rather than a knife and fork. Oh, and because it's Neapolitan-style pizza (a designation explained here), you must order the whole pie only, never a slice.
Don't worry. You're going to want to eat the whole thing anyway.
The list so far: No. 100: Bangkok Fries at Boheme No. 99: Almond Croissant at Phoenicia No. 98: Bulgogi Tacos with Kimchi at Chi'Lantro No. 97: Soft Pretzel from Mongoose Versus Cobra No. 96: Chicken and Waffles at Adair Kitchen No. 95: Sweet Potato Gnocchi at Brooklyn Athletic Club No. 94: Foie Gras Mac & Cheese at BRC Gastropub No. 93: Vuelve a la Vida Soup at Connie's Seafood No. 92: Homeroom at Bernie's Burger Bus No. 91: Lobster Cake Benedict at Sorrel Urban Bistro No. 90: Uncle Daryl's Cake at The Chocolate Bar No. 89: Porchetta e Fagioli at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino No. 88: Sesame Soft Balls at Golden Dim Sum No. 87: Crab Daddy Bao at Fat Bao No. 86: Ham, Egg & Cheese Crepe at Melange Creperie No. 85: Pork Tamales at Irma's No. 84: Greek Burger at Hubcap Grill No. 83: Lobster Roll at Maine-ly Sandwiches No. 82: Grilled Ahi Tuna at St. John's Fire No. 81: Catfish and Grits at The Breakfast Klub No. 80: The Marie Laveau Sandwich at Sandy Witch No. 79: Carnissima Pizza at Coppa Osteria No. 78: Mortadella Sandwich at 13 Celsius No. 77: Lamb Lollipops at Américas No. 76: The Heights Burger at Gratifi No. 75: 'Date With a Pig' at Sparrow Bar + Cookshop No. 74: Taco al Pastor at Taco Keto No. 73: Chili Cheese Mac from Jus' Mac No. 72: Chicken Pot Pie at Kenny & Ziggy's No. 71: Lazy Lane Frites at Brasserie 19 No 70: Banana Split at Cloud 10 Creamery No. 69: Dozen Raw Oysters at Pappas Seafood No. 68: Green "Hurry Curry" at Nit Noi No. 67: Bad Ass Hambur-Torta at Pistolero's No. 66: Enchiladas de Mole at La Guadalupana No. 65: Shorty Mac at H-Town StrEATS No. 64: Squirrel Master Burger at Cottonwood No. 63: Bánh Mì at Les Givral's Sandwich and Cafe No. 62: Korean Spiced Brisket Plate at Revival Market No. 61: Old Fashioned Frito Pie at Armadillo Palace