Phaedra Cook is eating her way through Houston and counting down her 100 favorite dishes of 2015. It's a collection of personal favorites that is also indicative of Houston dining. It's a scene where a vast range of dishes coexist: highbrow and lowbrow; local and international; cheap and expensive; modern cuisine and beloved tenets — and everything in between.
Talk about a comeback.
After making barbecue for years, Russell Roegels essentially re-learned barbecue theory. He closely examined what up-and-comers like Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue were preaching and attended Barbecue Camp at A&M. He returned to his Houston store, discontinued his agreement with the prior franchise and set out along with his wife, Misty, to make a better product.
The effort and education has paid off. Roegels Barbecue Co. earned a great review earlier this year from the Houston Chronicle restaurant critic Alison Cook and many more rave reviews from barbecue lovers across Houston.
His brisket is quite fine. Roegels layers a crust of two different types of black pepper and salt on top of the beef before smoking. However, it is the ribs that capture and intrigue the taste buds with a tightrope walk between savory and sweet, lean and fatty.
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The ribs use three different types of pepper and the sweet tug comes from paprika and a little sugar. They steadfastly stay more on the savory side than the sweet, never drifting into saccharine territory.
I bought a pound last weekend and brought them home to ensure they still matched my memory. I nibbled a few, then went to bed. By morning, the rest had entirely disappeared. I couldn't even find the telltale evidence of an empty box. This is what happens when you live with college students. Well, it’s an excuse to go back and get more, isn’t it?
The List of Top 100 Dishes of 2015 So Far:
No. 73, Carrot Pizza at Weights + Measures
No. 74, Jalisco Wings at El Big Bad
No. 75, Mussels at Cafe Brussels
No. 76, Cresta di Gallo at The Pass & Provisions
No. 77, Beef Fajitas at El Real Tex-Mex
No. 78, Chicken Tikka Masala from the Tandoori Nite truck
No. 79, Chocolates at Cacao & Cardamom
No, 80, Hummus Supreme at Al's Quick Stop
No. 81, Red Oil Dumplings at Mala Sichuan
No. 82, Tex-Cajun Fries at BB's Café
No. 83, Mac & Cheese at The Oceanaire Seafood Room
No. 84, The Principal Burger at Bernie's Burger Bus
No. 85, Hunter's Honey-Roasted Duck at Brennan's Of Houston
No. 86, Fish & Chips at Good Dog Houston
No. 87, Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit at Blacksmith
No. 88, "Saucy Balls" At Brooklyn Meatball Company
No. 89, Perry's Steakhouse/Perry & Sons Pork Chop
No. 90, General Tso's Chicken from The Rice Box
No. 91, Eggs, Refried Beans, Hash Browns and Hugo's Sauce at 59 Diner
No. 92, Shipley Do-Nuts Plain Glazed
No. 93, Housemade Bologney at Public Services Wine & Whisky
No. 94, Bo Luc Lac at Cheno's (formerly Chino's) Fast Food
No. 95, Combo #5 at Soto's Cantina
No. 96, Carnitas Salad At Chipotle
No. 97, Pickled Shrimp At Punk's Simple Southern Food
No. 98, Lobster Roll At Maine-Ly Sandwiches
No. 99, Chili-Cheese Coneys At JCI Grill
No. 100, Corned Beef Hash And Eggs At House Of Pies