DEFCON Dining: House of Pies

Have you ever shown up at a party that was supposed to feature food, only to find nobody eating? Maybe they already ate it all, those greedy bastards. Maybe you're running behind, and everyone else has had their fill by the time you arrive, and the food has been put up. Either way, it sucks.

The latter happened to me recently, at a work-related crawfish boil. There were mudbugs left when I arrived, but nobody was eating them, and the food had already been cleared away. Given that crawfish is an exceedingly messy, interactive dining experience, I felt uncomfortable digging in while the rest of my coworkers sat around the table, watching me tear apart crustaceans, their hands and faces free of shell fragments and brain fat. I went without.

As I mentioned last week, hunger can be an aggravating factor in a DEFCON dining situation. This applies as much to adults as to children. The hungrier I am, the more easily I find myself swayed by the dining requests of my kids. Such was the case that evening.

As my crawfish-barren stomach rumbled, my kids began pleading for us to take them to House of Pies. They wanted breakfast for dinner. They also wanted dessert. Those two food groups seem to be constants in their dining requests. A restaurant featuring 24-hour breakfast and dessert makes a damn fine DEFCON 3 dining destination.

I went through a brief but torrid love affair with House of Pies when I was younger. I craved their Monte Cristo regularly, as if The Colonel had sneaked in and doused it with some of his addictive chemicals. The attraction has waned over the years, to the point where HoP is usually a decidedly hard sell. My hunger made me weak, though, and I relented.

Taking cues from my kids' breakfast orders, I went with a plate of corned beef hash and eggs over-medium, sided with hash browns and toast. I have to admit, it was pretty good. Yeah, I know that the corned beef hash almost certainly came out of a can, its fine dice of potato and pinkish mush of corned beef eerily recalling pet food. I don't care.

It was savory, salty and properly cooked so that the surface was browned and crispy, giving shattering way to the unctuous mess of meat and potatoes underneath. It didn't hurt that it was sided with House of Pies' best-in-class hash browns, and picture-perfect fried eggs. I do kind of wonder about the point of that kale, though. Roughage?

By the time we got done with dinner, nobody even had room for pie, anymore. Given the fact that it was well past our kids' bedtime, we headed home without dessert. I've never been a big fan of their pie, anyway. I just might have to change my general stance on House of Pies, though. At least for DEFCON dining.

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Nicholas L. Hall is a husband and father who earns his keep playing a video game that controls the U.S. power grid. He also writes for the Houston Press about food, booze and music, in an attempt to keep the demons at bay. When he's not busy keeping your lights on, he can usually be found making various messes in the kitchen, with apologies to his wife.
Contact: Nicholas L. Hall