100 Favorite Dishes: No. 80, Pita Bread and Hummus at Phoenicia

Video of Phoenicia's pita being made by Chuck Cook.

​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 could make a meal out of just the hummus and the award-winning pita bread at Phoenicia, both of which are made fresh, in-house, every single day of the week at this West Houston icon. Previously, I used to do this by buying a pack of hot pita bread that had just come off the conveyor belt in the massive grocery store, buying a tub of hummus and going to home to eat them on the couch while watching House Hunters (what?).

These days, it's equally pleasurable to get your pita and hummus from Phoenicia's new deli next door, along with a few other items from the cafeteria-style line that lets you build your own mezze platter.

The hummus here is smooth and silky, without being so soft as to render its primary ingredient -- chickpeas -- unrecognizable. There's still that tiny bit of chunkiness to the tangy, tahini-laced hummus, a texture that lets you know this is the real stuff. It's never too heavy on the tahini, either, which can lead to an unpleasant side effect known as "garlic mouth," where you can taste the hummus on your tongue for the rest of the day. Of course, being able to wash it all down with an espresso and gelato from the cafe doesn't hurt, either.

The list so far:

No. 100: Dumplings at Heights Asian Cafe No. 99: Mixta Pizza at Friends Pizzeria No. 98: Veggie tacos from Radical Eats No. 97: Bean pie from Conscious Cafe No. 96: Swiss chard crepes from Giacomo's Cibo e Vino No. 95: Eggs Mia Bella at Mia Bella No. 94: Mulligatawny soup at the Queen Vic No. 93: Helado de Lúcuma from Pollo Bravo No. 92: Black bean burger from Natachee's No. 91: Chupacabra pizza from ERA No. 90: Roast chicken from El Norteño No. 89: Eggs El Salvador from Brasil No. 88: Frank the Pretzel from Eatsie Boys No. 87: Caldo Tlalpeño from Tacos del Julio No. 86: English pea soup at Brasserie 19 No. 85: Falafel from Zabak's No. 84: Buttermilk-fried pork loin with fried eggs at Canopy No. 83: Grillades and grits from BB's Cajun Cafe No. 82: Haemul dolsot from Seoul House No. 81: Pandan waffles at Parisian Bakery III

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