Houston is a damn fine food town. Pity the Houston expat who leaves and never tastes queso again. Pity me, who left five years ago for the better weather of Los Angeles and found myself missing the grub immediately. Thankfully, I come back a couple times a year to visit my folks, and every time I drive around town and eat all the Houston foods I miss. It's a pilgrimage that puts on five pounds in a week, a Hajj of hand-formed hamburgers and homemade gravy.
What's surprising is that over the five years I've been gone, certain foods have dropped off the list entirely. Whataburger, once a given of every visit home, now seems like a salty, soggy mess. Star Pizza does not stand the test of time. Even some Tex-Mex staples, like super thin tortilla chips dipped in warm salsa, lose their deep red allure over the years (sacrilege, I know).
But other Houston foods--five in particular--have held fast. These are the Houston foods for the ages, the ones you miss long after you leave.