Cheese, Please

The best queso, like the best margarita, is in the taste bud of the beholder. But it's hard to beat the Mexican cheese dip at Noche Cocina y Bar (2409 Montrose Boulevard, 713-529-8559). Consistency and texture are big issues for queso eaters. Some places make a mean queso only on certain days. Others always have the right texture, but you have to order a side of pico de gallo to get the right amount of spice. Not so with Noche's chile con queso ($3.95 a cup, $5.95 a bowl), which always has just the right texture: not too thin and not too gooey. Spiked with onions and jalapeños and served up with crisp, fresh tortilla chips, the appetizer is a popular late-night snack for margarita drinkers. For a heartier repast, order it with hamburger meat mixed in. Throw in a cold beer and you'll have all the basic food groups covered.

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Marene Gustin