Once again, Kaitlin Steinberg is eating her way through Houston and counting down her 100 favorite dishes as we work our way toward our annual Menu of Menus® issue and culinary extravaganza. She'll compile a collection of the dishes she thinks are the most delicious, most creative and, of course, most indicative of our ever-changing food scene. It's a list of personal favorites, things she thinks any visitor or Houstonian ought to try at least once and dishes that are uniquely Houstonian.
Local Foods makes some of the best sandwiches in Houston. They're diverse--everything from egg salad and roast beef to smoked salmon and falafel. They're interesting, featuring such ingredients as pineapple chips, onion jam and olive crumble. They're filling--that pork torta or crunchy chicken sandwich is enough for two meals. And they're local, or at least they try really hard to be. Many of the ingredients used in the food come from nearby farms and ranches.
Most people will tell you that when dining at the new local foods in Upper Kirby, the sandwich to order is the crunchy chicken. It's packed with poultry and served on a crusty pretzel bun with crisp pickles and mixed nuts in between adding texture. It's a great sandwich. But it's not my favorite. My favorite is the garden sammie.
I know, I know, you're like, "Where's the meat?!" Trust me; This sandwich is so good, you won't even miss it.
It starts with a ciabatta roll that's crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, so it soaks up all the veggie juices without getting soggy. Then, from top to bottom, there's a layer of avocado spread, crisp pickled red onions, local purple microgreens, seasoned cauliflower, chopped lettuce, roasted brussels sprouts, roasted tomatoes and a generous smear of homemade hummus.
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There's a lot going on in that one sandwich, but all the flavors mingle nicely to create a dish that's both refreshing and filling. The cauliflower and hummus are particularly hearty, while the smoky brussels sprout leaves give an almost meaty depth to the bunch of vegetables. There's acid from the pickled onions, creaminess from the avocado and a slight bitterness from the microgreens, all in one bite.
Even better, any of the sandwiches at Local Foods can be turned into salads, and this makes a mighty good salad. It's all the stuff from inside the bread arranged artfully on a plate with extra lettuce and a bit of lemon vinaigrette.
Is it cheating to write about a dish that's actually two meals in one? We'll count it as just one favorite dish, but both the salad and the sandwich are worthy of being on the list.
The list so far: No. 90, Barbecued Salmon Salad at Brooks Family BBQ No. 91, Smoked Salmon Waffle at The Waffle Bus No. 92, Chirashi Lunch at Sushi Miyagi No. 93, Finocchiona Sandwich at Siphon Coffee No. 94, Combo Catracho at Mi Bella Honduras Restaurant No. 95, Tamal de Puerco at Andes Cafe No. 96, Cheeseburger at Sparkle's Hamburger Spot No. 97, Mi Quang at Simply Pho No. 98, Helado de Lúcuma at Pollo Bravo No. 99, Fat Fries at Fat Bao No. 100, Fish Bánh Mì at La Baguette